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

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Conclusion: Cloud computing is not a new environment, merely the extension of a number of technologies that support IT outsourcing (bureaux, ASPs, SaaS, IaaS, PaaS). Cloud computing is technology-driven but will be and is likely to become “the next disruptive technology” in sourcing. Rightly or wrongly, many have been jumping on the cloud bandwagon because they’ve been driven to reduce costs. However, many potentially significant legal problems and their consequences have yet to be addressed. These legal issues extend beyond, and can be more complex than those that apply in traditional outsourcing agreements. Organisations considering outsourcing business applications to cloud computing must consider all relevant legal challenges at the same time as they explore the technologies.

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Conclusion: IT departments that do not effectively engage with users, at all levels, within an organisation will fail to actively promote both their services and the value they can add and, as a result, will find themselves disadvantaged during times of cost cutting.

A lack of understanding by the user of the role, the position and the contribution of IT within an organisation can lead to significant issues between IT and users.

Open communication, and an understanding and respect for each other’s roles, vision, goals and objectives can go a long way to resolving these issues.

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Conclusion: Google is working in a dynamic market exploring and challenging current approaches. While that evolving plan may confuse some observers, it may succeed, though perhaps not exactly in the way originally set out.

To help understand what Google is doing in the enterprise market, IBRS interviewed the founder and driving force of Google Apps.

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Conclusion:Increasing server power density means that the cost of power will become a critical driving force in the data centre market. Data centre operators are now talking about adding costs for power consumption to older metrics based on the number of racks or square metres. These new pricing formulas will favour organisations running virtualised environments. Consequently, many hosted organisations will perform physical to virtual migrations over the next 12 months to reduce both their power consumption and physical space costs.

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Conclusion: Project managers often find management of the change process one of the hardest aspects to deal with in their projects. While they have been trained to deal with facts and figures using templates and other project management aids, rarely do they have the necessary skills and experience to successfully manage the workplace change associated with their projects.

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Conclusion: Migrating physical servers to virtual machines is a one-off project that requires deep specialised knowledge, and IT organisations should engage a specialist third party to develop the migration plans and to perform the physical to virtual migration. This leaves IT staff free to focus on the acceptance testing of the migrated applications and on learning how to manage the environment to drive the greatest benefit from the new virtualised infrastructure.

IT organisations that have not migrated the majority of their x86 workloads to virtualised servers should evaluate the costs, risks and benefits of this migration, then identify the triggers that can be used to drive this.

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Conclusion:Departmental computing in most organisations today is pervasive, commonplace and almost impossible to control. Because it is used widely and for multiple purposes line managers, who fail to supervise its use, are allowing an unsustainable situation to continue.

Attempts to bring departmental computing under control and minimise the risks, while a worthy objective, will fail unless senior management is committed to fixing the problem and forcing line to act. Failure will not only compound the risks, it will increase the hidden (or below the surface) costs of departmental computing.

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Conclusion:Organisations are drowning in complexity and information overload. At the same time, saving costs is at the top of the agenda. The only realistic path forward lies in tackling complexity head-on by deploying analytical techniques that help identify spurious complexity and confirm intrinsic complexity. Subsequently spurious complexity can be removed by surgical intervention, one step at a time.

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Conclusion: The recent media frenzy regarding Google’s soon-to-be-released operating system is not a sign of a serious competitor to Microsoft’s Windows Operating system – it’s the last gasps of a dying IT topic. That is, the importance of the operating system. As the computing power of underlying hardware on non-desktop devices (SmartPhones, handheld devices, netbooks, game consoles and so on) increase, and as consumers become increasingly technology savvy, users are caring less about the operating system and more about the overall ‘usability’ and ‘experience’ of the applications on the devices, which are provided by user interface layers that reside above the operating system. While operating systems will remain a consideration for IT architects, they will increasingly be a moot point for users. This has significant implications for IT management.

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Conclusion: From adversity springs creativity. History shows straitened economic times can serve as a greenhouse, rapidly germinating seeds of ideas that may otherwise have taken longer to establish themselves. Six clear trends have emerged from the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) providing business advantage to early adopters. The common thread is their potential to deliver organisational efficiencies, savings, or both. IBRS believe these trends are likely to deserve a place in the IT firmament for a considerable time. CIOs should defensively review these trends; the outcome may be selective adoption or deferral, but their potency cannot be ignored.

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Recently Wired magazine featured an interview with the CEO of Facebook where Mark Zuckerberg claims that Facebook does not regard other online networking platforms as competition, but that Google is the real competitor.

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

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ConclusionTurning expected outcomes identified in the business strategy into reality, is high on the agenda of most senior managers. What is not well understood though is the role sound planning has to play in ensuring the outcomes are realised while meeting the typical project performance criteria such as delivery on time, costs kept within budget and ability to meet agreed service levels.

Project planning skills are not acquired overnight. They are based on a sound understanding of the project life cycle, as depicted in the diagram below, the ability to unravel the business strategy and plan the IT-related activities (tasks) needed to facilitate workplace change.

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Conclusion: Organisations with existing Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) may find them to be a poor fit when dealing with the unique circumstances surrounding a pandemic. The chief characteristic is massively depleted numbers of available workers, with as many as 25-40% of staff absent throughout the entire government and business eco-system. Those without effective plans face the prospect of severe disablement that may take many months of recovery. For them, urgent action is required to draft pandemic-specific BCPs or to modify, then test, existing BCPs.

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Conclusion:With infrastructure vendors jumping on the cloud bandwagon, their sales and marketing teams are increasingly using the terms “Cloud”, “Cloud Computing” and “Infrastructure Cloud”. From discussions with clients we have observed these terms are not well understood and mean a wide range of different things to different people.

This confusion is driven by a war between vendors to establish a definition of these terms that best suits their specific products, technologies and architectures. Until “Cloud Computing” and “Infrastructure Cloud” become commonly defined, which we expect to take at least until the end of 2010; be careful to define what you mean, and seek to understand what others mean by these terms to avoid significant misunderstandings between staff, vendors and partners.

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Conclusion:The Web, and social networks, as virtual places of conversation, challenge the role and effectiveness of an organisation’s communication management.

Traditional management and censorship in the unfettered communications world of the Web may only be effective to a limited degree. In this new communications landscape, organisations will have to train staff, and modify their traditional attitudes, to deal with the varied and complex online channels.

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