Conclusion: Clients need suppliers who will keep their promises and deliver quality products and services at the agreed price. Suppliers, for their part, need a long-term and profitable business relationship with their clients. To succeed, both must strike the best possible deal and sustain the relationship so their needs are met.

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 Conclusion: CIOs and IT operations managers must avoid the risk of succumbing to green fatigue. Greenwashing is rampant, with every IT vendor promoting its products as "green." Most IT publications have at least one Green IT focused section. At the same time organisations are continuing their focus on cost reduction, often with IT under the magnifying glass. In these circumstances, it is easy for Green IT to be given lip service only while everybody gets on with the "real work". This must not happen. The biggest green issue for IT is how to reduce the energy consumption of the data centre. Organisations should first focus on reducing the energy consumption in their data centre: not only does it bring a significant green benefit but it saves money.

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It’s been a comparatively quiet (and not very interesting!) month for deals, though there have been a lot of government tenders. Most interesting is all the talk about consolidation – in all areas (platforms, networks, data centres, service providers, basically everything) – consolidation to cut IT costs seems to be key.

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Desktop virtualisation is no longer the hottest topic in the media, however it still gets considerable interest from IT executives. As part of a series of roundtables that I am running on “The Evolution of the Desktop” I have just finished speaking to 28 IT executives on this topic. From these conversations it is clear there is still a strong interest in finding a better way to deliver the desktop that both reduces the TCO and increases agility. That is, simplifies remote access, enables business continuity and speeds up deploying new desktop applications.

The centralised virtual desktop, commonly known as VDI (which was VMware’s product name), was once considered a promising way to achieve these goals. However many IT organisations have discovered that simply moving the desktop into the data centre does not solve the real problem which is the management of the desktop image (the operating system, applications and data). Leading organisations are now recognising that it is necessary to radically change the way they build the desktop image so that the management costs and problems can be radically reduced.

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Conclusion: When establishing or enhancing an IT governance framework, one size does not fit all. For full effect, governance practices need to reflect an organisation’s ethos. Time can be the enemy of good governance practice; what works well at the outset may need to be tailored and progressively refined to suit evolving organisational maturity, changes in personnel and the interest of executives in contributing to the IT agenda. In essence, a multi-factorial, time-phased approach is recommended for instilling and maintaining effective IT governance.

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Conclusion: Increasing your data centre efficiency is a journey that has clearly defined steps. Organisations should focus on defining clear, measurable objectives, planning and monitoring efficiently rather than on the technology that vendors promote to deliver data centre efficiency.

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Conclusion: IT security managers in larger organisations in Australia and New Zealand are approaching cloud computing very cautiously. The leading concern is the geophysical location of data and the risk this introduces to organisations – primarily from the possibility of a data loss resulting in reputational damage. This means that organisations will have carry less risk if they retain data in a jurisdictional cloud.

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Conclusion: Given the hype around the interactive aspects of Web 2.0 and the continuing popularity of Business Process X – with X being any element of the set {Management, Modelling, Analysis, Re-engineering, Integration} – the role of artefacts in enterprise collaboration and in value chains is easily neglected. If an organisation looks beyond the hype and invests in a comprehensive and accurate model of artefact production and consumption, the result is an understanding of business processes and value chains that is much more useful than the average business process model.

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Conclusion: Software vendor Zoho is pinning its growth on the rapid adoption of cloud services with the aim of being the IT department for SMEs. This business strategy might seem overly optimistic as its potential success may even be partly dependent on Microsoft. According to Zoho, the status of Microsoft in delivering products online is an implicit approval of the delivery and use of software by smaller vendors.

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Conclusion: With the exception of an improved web browser, Windows 6.5 offers organisations little benefit over Windows 6.1, and developers will find accessing the iPhone-like features cumbersome. Organisations with Microsoft-based mobility initiatives should either ignore 6.5 and wait for Mobile 7, or expand support of alternative mobile platforms.

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The structure of the IT function will more often than not be influenced by the structure of the organisation it serves. There is no one right way to organise IT within an organisation. Rather there are a variety of models, each with their own benefits and disadvantages. Whatever model is implemented however, it is important to ensure that decisions on the optimum structure for IT are driven by business rather than political imperatives, and that the CIO has significant input.

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Conclusion: Astute CIOs know that to be successful they must assume, or act out, many roles. One role they must not overlook is that of engaging stakeholders during the budget or planning cycle and helping them identify ways to maximise the benefits of existing IT investment and canvass ways to exploit emerging technologies.

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Conclusion: Outsourcing IT can involve significant ongoing expenditure for buying organisations. A systematic approach to this activity with the right level of senior management involvement is the best way to achieve your outsourcing goals.

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Conclusion: Automated software and system testing will never be the testing silver bullet. One of its components though, the automated generation of test data, is one of the powerful weapons in the software testing arsenal1 and its deployment can provide a strategic advantage in the testing battle. The key is when and how to automate test data generation and which of its features are most effective when deployed. Two of its most useful benefits are reducing risks by protecting personal details and lowering costs by significantly reducing the numbers of tests required.

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A monthly review of all of the sourcing activity, upcoming tenders and news items. Especially interesting this month are a couple of security deals, in particular, identity management. The security services market seems to following the selective sourcing trend that started a few years back, with highly specialised (and sometimes very quirky) security deals.

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At IBRS, we get to see our fair share of IT project failures. We often get called in at the last minute to explain why or how some project is going FUBAR and to suggest remediation tactics. What never ceases to amaze me is that so many of these project failures are identical.

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Conclusion: vCloud Express is a new entry level Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering based on self-service portals, credit card payments and VMware’s enterprise class virtualisation products.

CIOs should look at vCloud Express as a low cost, low risk way to learn how to use public cloud infrastructure. Since vCloud Express may be seen by some groups (dev/test, business units) as a way to side-step the perceived bureaucracy of the IT Organisation, CIOs should develop a strategy to embrace this use as a way to retain control and ensure relevancy with dissatisfied customers.

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Conclusion:SharePoint’s rapid installation across organisations (and especially within the public sector) is leading to fragmented deployment, which is then causing difficulties when attempting to merge or share content and applications. Organisations that are part of a federation, such as Local and State Councils – can alleviate future integration bottlenecks, reduce investments in application development, increase the rate of eServices delivery and help ensure that stakeholders can share information, by adopting the governance practices from the open source community.

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Conclusion: User interface design, implementation, and validation can easily turn out to be the most expensive part of application development, sometimes consuming over 50% of the overall project budget. This does not have to be the case. If user interface and usability requirements are specified at the appropriate level of abstraction, the required design and implementation effort can be reduced by an order of magnitude, whilst consistency and usability of the resulting application is greatly improved.

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While it is commonly accepted that the success of an IT department is very much dependent upon its people, processes and the relationship between IT management, IT staff and their clients, an important relationship which is often overlooked is that between CIOs and the executives to whom they directly report. It is critical to the delivery of an efficient IT service within an organisation that a strong and mutually beneficial relationship is established between the CIO and their manager. CIOs must work continually towards maintaining this relationship.

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Conclusion: Organisations with immature IT governance processes push many of the decisions that need to be made by the business, back to IT. This creates a downward spiral, often characterised by IT making poor decisions about business/IT investments (due to insufficient business context), consequential failure by IT to deliver business value, then loss of confidence in the IT function, sometimes resulting in the CIO losing his or her job.

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Conclusion:The participation rate of IT and Business Professionals in teleworking is growing and has the potential to reduce occupancy costs while increasing productivity. That is, using ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) to support work activities away from the employer's office. Growth in recent years has been triggered by the availability of robust IT infrastructure and an increasingly IT literate workforce.

Despite its upside, surveys1have shown that teleworking, if not effectively managed with boundaries put around its participation, may negatively impact business relationships and lead to work-private life conflicts.

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Conclusion: All organisations are involved, at one time or another, in procurement. This is either through the sourcing of goods and services, or the supply of their products and/or services to buying organisations. Despite the importance of procurement many managers in IT do not fully understand the process and as a result do not take advantage of the opportunities that a well- planned procurement project can deliver.

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Conclusion: Any successful software testing regime uses a judicious mix of manual and automated testing. Manual testing is best in those areas that need spontaneity and creativity. Automated testing lends itself to explicit and repetitive testing and to scenario, performance, load and stress testing. While not all tests can be automated, given good tools there is no reason why much testing and test data generation and test management cannot be automated.

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Conclusion: While some organisations with distributed sites are benefiting from WAN optimisation, there are variables which will have a direct impact on the viability of a deployment. These variables can be sorted into three categories: cost, environment and desired outcomes. The most important is the last – desired outcomes. Many WAN optimisers have been deployed to remove branch office servers, only for IT departments to discover that application latency was causing more of a headache for users.

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Related Articles:

"WAN Optimisation - Latency will tear us apart" IBRS, 2009-06-29 00:00:00

Conclusion: Like a toy that comes with a ready meal, Google Apps is seen by universities as suitable for student users. By its cost per student and terms of service, Google Apps exemplifies how the principle of good enough (POGE), has been accepted to service student needs.

With ever-present financial pressures institutions will consider Google Apps, and for its trading cost it is a viable alternative, which will develop and in all likelihood offer more features in the future.

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Conclusion: Microsoft licensing costs for SharePoint range from free to well over A$100,000. Minimising installation costs requires organisations carefully analyse user requirements, business needs and then narrowly define what SharePoint features are actually needed, then work through Microsoft's licensing model, taking into account existing enterprise licensing arrangements. Savings of over A$30,000 on SharePoint deployments are possible through careful selection of licensing options.

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A monthly review of all of the sourcing activity, upcoming tenders and news items

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For the last few years IT has been slowly catching up with the messages of environmentalists such as David Suzuki, David Attenborough, and Tim Flannery (tree-huggers, all of them!). IT has come to the rude awakening that “oh wow, servers run on electricity! And you’re telling me that electricity is made with fossil fuels? And that means that my awesome clustered Exchange server is helping kill the Ozone layer, the whales, and future generations of Icelanders? Shocking! (Pun intended)”

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Conclusion: The terms “IT” and “governance” are frequently coupled, sometimes glibly and often inappropriately. Indeed, IT governance seems to have a multiplicity of meanings but is generally seen by IT people as a “white knight” in which business user engagement, properly executed, will overcome a troubled IT situation.

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Conclusion: Windows 7 is ready for release and by now most organisations' IT departments will have spent some time evaluating the product. While initial reviews have been positive, a fundamental question still needs to be asked - does this new operating system offer your enterprise anything of substantial benefit that would warrant its use?

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Conclusion: The largest cost for a data centre migration is typically the cost of new hardware deployed to mitigate the risk of hardware failure during the migration. Organisations should look seriously at using a physical to virtual (P2V) process as the basis of their migration strategy to lower hardware costs, lower power consumption, and avoid the risk of hardware failure during the migration. There is also the compelling benefit that the worst case scenario, for any failure mid-project, is a rollback to the status quo.

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Conclusion: The data centre is an essential IT resource with a finite capacity. Due to the very long lead times and very high capital costs for expanding that capacity, IT organisations must be sure they have sufficient head room to accommodate near term growth and a plan enabling long term growth.

Organisations that run into their data centre’s capacity limits will have significant constraints placed on IT and on business growth. Based on recent incidents at ANZ organisations this risk maybe much greater than you think.

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Conclusion: The role of the traditional service desk has been to act as the single point of contact for clients for operational incidents and to track their resolution. With ITIL v3‘s (IT Infrastructure Library – version 3) having as one of its objectives the improvement in IT Infrastructure service delivery, one way to do it is to expand the role of the service desk. In its expanded role, the service desk takes on activist responsibility for delivery life cycle functions, including implementing continuous service improvements.

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The tendency to promote highly skilled and successful technical people to managerial positions as a form of recognition and/or reward, if not thoroughly thought through, can have the effect of weakening both the managerial and technical streams of the IT department Before making such a promotion the ability of the technical people to make the transition successfully must be considered and the necessary skills and techniques to be successful managers imparted through training and education. Continuous mentoring through the provision of advice and support, particularly in the early days, is essential to a successful transition.

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Conclusion: Historically grown organisational structures and simplistic job descriptions sometimes stand in the way of creating a high-performance team. Taking personality attributes into account when assigning roles and responsibilities can have a measurable influence on overall costs, delivery time, functional fit of IT solutions, as well as on skill development in the team.

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Conclusion:Cloud computing is promoted as the next disruptive technology in the organisational use of IT. If this does happen, no matter what else changes there are some verities which must not change, in particular meeting legal requirements. There are at least seven areas where a move to cloud computing should not be contemplated unless the legal requirements can be demonstrably satisfied.

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Conclusion: Google Apps' products are developing rapidly. These developments range from the large and significant, to the small minor adjustments. Google has increased its pace of development, and enterprise users will want to gain a strategic view of how the Apps mature in the next two years.

Google Apps' driving force, Rajen Sheth defines the corporation's main ambitions in two areas: to improve functionality, perhaps in ways that have not been considered by users, and to redefine enterprise messaging and collaboration. Whether they can achieve such ambitions is not foreseeable but they will offer many new tools and enhancements to reach that objective.

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Conclusion:The transitioning of work being outsourced from client to service provider is the highest risk part of any outsourcing deal. If problems arise in the transition there can be serious consequences to the client organisation's business activities, especially in situations where the availability of IT systems is critical to business operations.

Despite this many clients organisations take a "hands off" approach to the transition, as in their view it is a service provider responsibility. The client executive must not abdicate responsibility and instead must take an active role in overseeing the transition.

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Some commentators have been sceptical about Google''s intentions with the Chrome OS. Is it a mere distraction? Why has Google bothered?Is Chrome part of a broader plan? As a former CIO, Chrome appears to me as just one element in a complete armoury of products Google is developing, all aimed at the CIO heartland.

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