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

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Conclusion: The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is concise and promotes many effective controls – most of which can be achieved through business process reengineering or redesign. Software and hardware vendors talk about fines for non-compliance, but unlike the US, these fines are almost non-existent in Australia. As such, PCI DSS has no stick but there is the possibility of a carrot: a lower risk profile.

Many organisations confuse receiving credit card payment with handling cardholder data1. These are not the same thing and CIOs should challenge the assumption that it is necessary to handle the cardholder data. Only organisations that absolutely must handle cardholder data should become PCI DSS compliant. Otherwise, organisations should reduce their risk profile by not handling cardholder data at all.

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Conclusion: To gain insight into C-level executive intentions with information management, Accenture carried out a global survey2 in 2007. Whilst the majority of respondents had well-developed views on the power of Business Intelligence (BI) as a strategic differentiator, the report unearthed an underlying frustration in achieving their vision of an organisation-wide BI capability. This echoes our experiences in the ANZ market in which we observe many CIOs struggling to bring their complete BI visions to reality.

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Conclusion: Waste is a normal consequence of marketing. It appears as high budgets in costly marketing channels, which can occasionally under-deliver a solid return on investment. In buoyant economic times wastage is accepted, but in a downturn, as is occurring now, alternatives are sought to improve efficiency, become more 'accountable' and cut all wastage.

In response, the typical strategy is to reduce budgets and seek cheaper alternative marketing channels. While these strategies are proven, to improve marketing investment returns a major piece of information is still missing, in good and bad times: that is, to have better information on consumer purchasing behaviour with special reference to the adoption cycle.

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Conclusion: Unless organisations invest in workplace transformation initiatives when acquiring expensive collaboration tools, they are unlikely to create an innovative and knowledge rich workforce. This is because while the tools such as software and video / web conferencing equipment may be used by a core group, widespread assimilation will probably only occur when sound relationship management practices are introduced.

To facilitate assimilation a comprehensive workplace collaboration plan is needed. This plan must include, at a minimum, targeted selling of the solution (different people need different strokes), helping stakeholders form like minded interest groups or virtual teams while ensuring members appreciate one another’s contribution.

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To maximise the chances for a successful implementation of significant business application software projects involving third party vendors, the preparation and publication of a well structured and detailed Request for Proposal (RFP) is essential. The difference between the success or failure of these projects can often depend on the quality and completeness of this document.

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Conclusion: Standards Australia has developed and published the Australian Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Governance Standard1, the first government driven ICT Governance Standard in the world. This provides an opportunity for ICT dependent organisations to revisit their ICT governance and confirm it meets agreed good practice. It is also a useful template for any organisation that is setting up or re-examining its ICT governance, policies, and procedures. It should be used by company directors, owners of small businesses, and other organisations to recognise and accept their ICT responsibilities and to set in place processes that ensure that ICT meets these obligations.

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Conclusion: Building a business case for supporting Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) is similar to building a case for Collaboration and Unified Communications. At this point in the technology’s evolution, business cases will rarely be able to be based purely on financial models because it is difficult to identify the productivity benefits of PEDs as discrete and measurable elements. 1 However, this does not mean that PEDs have no role to play in modern enterprises. IBRS proposes that organisations consider the benefits of PEDs via an appraisal model aimed at identifying individuals and applications with a need for greater communication and collaboration. One such model is working spheres.

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Related Articles:

"PED Antics part 1: The broken promise" IBRS, 2008-07-28 00:00:00

Conclusion: Historically, the main barriers to mobility were the high cost and the limited capabilities of the mobile devices and the mobile data network. With network and device costs plummeting, 3G network bandwidth good enough, and the computing capacity of recent mobile devices rivalling laptops from a few years ago, these barriers have now been all but eliminated.

The new mobility barriers are the lack of a robust Identity and Access Management infrastructure to securely authenticate users and determine their access level and the rigid Standard Operating Environment (SOE) currently used to manage desktop complexity.

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

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Conclusion: It is all good and well to talk about alignment between business and IT, but it is easy to get trapped – either in purely theoretical business process models that bear little resemblance to reality, or in technical jargon associated with the latest and greatest implementation technologies. Given appropriate executive backing, significant productivity and quality gains can be achieved within six months or less by implementing a small number of fundamental best practices.

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Conclusion: Stakeholder management is a critical, but often overlooked aspect of project management. Insufficient attention to the needs and attitudes of project stakeholders can lead to project failure even when the more well known components of project management have been addressed.

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As countries struggle to improve their populations’ dietary habits, now may be the right time to borrow an idea from the ICT industry: just claim it, whatever it might be, leads to higher productivity. The argument seems to work because products that linger on shelves start to move with this simple but effective message. It also motivates policymakers to design grand projects on the basis of productivity gains; it is at the centre of how business is done and it provides an unassailable argument. No one would deny the benefits of productivity.

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IBRS conducted an online survey of prequalified IT decision makers in Australia & New Zealand. The respondents were asked questions focusing on their experience of operational issues relating to identity and access management. The results of this survey are presented in this report, and a high level analysis is given.

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

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Conclusion: The corporate battle for search supremacy between Microsoft and Google over Yahoo! has been a good spectator sport for several months. So far it’s unresolved, but it should refocus attention on search marketing strategy, on optimal tactical channel selection and the opportunities that may emerge from a new landscape in search marketing.

With changing conditions in the economy leading to greater uncertainty, organisations ought to use this time to re-examine their search strategies and to look for better value and accountability from search channel suppliers.

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Conclusion: While Virtual Desktops are one of the hottest infrastructure topics of 2008, simply virtualising a typical desktop environment and migrating that to the data centre will prove to be a very costly mistake. Instead organisations should look beyond the Virtual Desktop hype and focus on implementing a Dynamic Desktop architecture that increases desktop agility and lowers the total cost of ownership. Once adopted the Dynamic Desktop architecture can be used with any type of desktop deployment method, i.e., Full Desktop, Virtual Desktop or Terminal Services, and becomes the foundation for reducing desktop cost and increasing desktop flexibility.

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Conclusion: Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) are flooding into enterprises. In addition to the technical challenges and costs PEDs place on IT departments, PEDs may be actually hindering service quality and productivity. Management need to step back from the promises that PEDs offer, and take a long, hard, pragmatic look at how these devices are really being used.

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Related Articles:

"PED Antics part 2: a collaborative perspective" IBRS, 2008-08-28 00:00:00

Where a major information technology project is discontinued; failure to provide this will result in a significant project financial loss, diminished credibility for the IT Department and, for mission critical projects, could mean a loss of revenue for the organisation.

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Conclusion: In the current credit and liquidity market investors demand more transparency, and accurate and timely product and market information, yet most legacy banking systems are not up to the job. There is a strong business case for replacing legacy banking systems to restore organisational agility, and to improve the quality of service offered to customers.

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Conclusion: Organisations considering outsourcing are increasingly focusing on the ability of service providers to implement effective relationship management in their outsourcing arrangements. A systematic approach to the evaluation of service provider relationship management capabilities is more likely to lead to the selection of a service provider who will be able to work with the buying organisation to help it achieve its outsourcing goals.

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Conclusion: The threat of a data breach (unauthorised access to data) is not just from hackers, and not just as a result of malicious intent. Carelessness and oversight by trusted inside sources has been shown, repeatedly, to be the root cause of numerous data breaches. Recognising this, many organisations (particularly in government and finance) include security awareness training as part of an employee's induction.

But this one-time security awareness training is easily lost in the information overload experienced by new starters. Security awareness training is vital but in order to realise the benefits, and prevent the acts of carelessness, it is even more important to repeatedly expose employees to the training to keep their level of security awareness elevated. Elevated security awareness helps create the human firewall: probably the most cost effective security resource you can get.

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Conclusion: Unless an organisation consistently conducts project PIRs (Post Implementation Reviews) for business systems (IS development, staff training and business process redesign) and IT Infrastructure projects it cannot claim to be learning organisation.

Done well the reviews can help avoid mistakes of the past, sustain the project’s benefits and aid staff development.

Organisations that do not review outcomes from business systems and IT Infrastructure projects, or do review them but pay little attention to the lessons learned, will probably continue to make unwise business systems investment decisions and fail to develop their people. 

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Conclusion: Business departments not getting the services they want from their IT departments see Software as a Service (SaaS) as a very attractive alternative to get applications currently not being provided or to replace unsatisfactory or poorly supported applications. CIOs must be prepared to find (possibly renegade) SaaS applications in use in their organisations. They must set in place the relevant support and appropriately skilled staff to manage this potentially disruptive technology.

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Conclusion: In March 2001 the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published a management brief1 addressing problems in implementing large IT projects in the public and private sectors. Observations in this report included “...budgets are exceeded, deadlines are over-run and often the quality of the new system is far below the standard agreed when the project was undertaken”.

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Your organisation is planning to outsource some of its IT functions. You have a competent purchasing group, a long standing arrangement with a firm of legal advisors and an experienced IT management team ready to go. So your expectation is that you should be able to handle the selection and transition to a service provider without resorting to external advisors.

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Conclusion: The usefulness of Web based applications is not limited to the provision of Web-enabled front-ends to traditional business software. The Web also allows the design of applications that are capable of putting powerful human intelligence at our fingertips. Tapping into that intelligence to solve truly hard problems possibly constitutes the next disruptive innovation. Intelligence has never been cheaper!

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Conclusion: Managers who can retain their best people are well on the way to a successful career. Because many IT professionals and managers have unique skills their retention is vital to business success. Conversely when they resign ‘with regret’, their loss may delay projects, increase system failures and adversely affect their manager’s career.

Astute managers identify their best people and develop strategies to keep them as well as their likely successors. It is called career protection insurance.

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I was recently involved with a small business which had some very ambitious growth plans. The CEO of this organisation was an unashamed disciple of Jim Collins the author of the book, “Good to Great” and is enthusiastically following its philosophies as he grows his organisation. The book examines businesses which had been returning mediocre to good results over a period of time, and how they transformed themselves into great companies returning superior levels of performance.

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Conclusion: The release of Microsoft’s hypervisor into a market already dominated by VMware will trigger a tidal wave of marketing from Microsoft that is designed to move the virtualisation “goal-posts”, enabling Microsoft to score some desperately needed wins. These messages will be targeted at CEOs, CIOs and Departmental Managers who will then likely ask IT Architects and Infrastructure Managers why they are not using Microsoft’s virtualisation products.

To prepare for this onslaught IT professionals must understand both Microsoft’s strategy for shifting the goal-posts, and how to deal with it, and the strengths and weaknesses of Microsoft’s new hypervisor.

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Conclusion: A new age for business applications is unfolding. Arguably, in 2008 applications are at a tipping point akin to that experienced in the early to mid-1990s, which was marked by the emergence of mature ERP technology and subsequent explosive sales growth. CIOs are urged to put applications firmly on their radar and begin acting upon their application portfolios as well as the methodologies and governance approaches that underpin them.

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Corporate document management initiatives can often fail to deliver expected outcomes because too much emphasis is placed on the choice of technology at the expense of the more critical issues of people and process. As corporate electronic document management systems are used by all staff within an organisation they will not be successful unless all business units have been engaged during the implementation and the supporting processes are simple and practical. Adoption will be accelerated through identification of tangible, personal benefits for end users and their reinforcement during training and implementation.

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Conclusion: Many organisations continue to have trouble having projects complete within budget, on time, and meeting user requirements. This is in spite of a plethora of project monitoring metrics and methodologies designed to prevent this happening.

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Conclusion: Although Microsoft’s new range of servers products have been available for some months, it is only now that the software giant’s marketing engine will go into full throttle. Understanding Microsoft’s likely marketing strategy that will endevour to shift the market from virtualisation to what it calls “Dynamic IT,” and being prepared for this strategy’s ramifications and the pressures it will create for IT managers will be essential to managing expectations from the business and smooth technology deployment.

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Conclusion: Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is now viewed as a necessary pre-condition for maximising the contribution of an organisation’s IT projects to the achievement of corporate goals. Unfortunately many Small to Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) have made the decision not to implement the process due to its cost. The guidelines provided in this paper have been found to be effective in allowing a scaled down version of PPM to be implemented in a cost effective fashion within SMEs.

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

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Conclusion: Deprovisioning old accounts which are no longer required on corporate information systems is an essential process to managing complexity and supporting information security objectives. While provisioning and change management are aspects of identity management that often get more focus as they are seen as business-enablers; deprovisioning, as part of an identity lifecycle process, may not help businesses make money, but it does help mitigate risk. Failing to deprovision legacy accounts which then become a conduit for fraud could well be seen as a failing of due care and governance. After all, we are pretty good at stopping payments to employees once they have left; why aren’t the two processes combined.

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Conclusion: Even though the National Broadband Network (NBN) will not be ready for another year, and despite the lack of detail provided about it; speculation about the value of this network is widespread. The covert nature of the planning process is one major reason for criticism of the NBN. A second reason is the degree of understanding into the broadband market that underwrites its strategy and the NBN solution offered in a commercially litigious marketplace.

The National Broadband Network may become an object lesson for executives involved in strategic planning in that use and adherence to independent facts is critical, and the development of solutions must extend from that understanding of the industry or market. Although rollout of the NBN is delayed it is highly probable that policymakers will have to develop a better plan in the next three years.

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Conclusion: The recent strong media attention on Green IT, coupled with aggressive vendor marketing, has left the impression that many IT organisations have made significant progress in reducing their environmental impact. In recent conversations with our clients it seems this media and vendor attention has raised concerns with some organisations that they have fallen behind their peers in this area.

To help clarify the status of Green IT in ANZ we recently undertook a survey that indicates most organisation are still in the earliest stages of reducing their environmental impact of IT. While there is great interest in Green IT, and the majority of organisations have a mandate from the executive to reduce the environmental impact, there is a strong disconnect with the IT organisations ability to effect change due to lack of budget and formal programs of work.

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Conclusion: ‘May you live in interesting times’ is reputedly a Chinese curse. It is also a phrase that will resonate with CIOs, who in 2008 are challenged by their organisations to concurrently act as:

  • One of the drivers of corporate innovation,

  • A generator of cost-savings; whilst

  • Contributing to the corporate green agenda.

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