Conclusions: The volume of digital data created and storage by organisations continues to grow exponentially, typically anywhere from 30%-60% per annum. For most organisations this level of digital data growth is not new, however what is different is that growth is now being driven by unstructured data.

Over the last 20 years organisations have made significant investments to deal with structured data, resulting in well managed structured information that supports and drives the business. On the other hand few organisations have invested similarly in unstructured data (e.g., e-mail, faxes, and documents) and many organisations are now finding the growth in unstructured data is a significant business problem.

To cope with the data growth over the next 10 years, organisations must learn to deal as effectively with unstructured data as they do today with structured data.

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Conclusion: Establishing a Portfolio Management competency is now commonly regarded as best practice for organisations seeking to gain maximum benefit from their investment in IT. Whilst there is growing interest in this practice, many who attempt it are likely to fail, or at the very least find that it won’t deliver the expected outcomes.

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Conclusion: Speed, quality, and cost with which IT solutions are built and with which IT services are delivered depends on a large number of variables. Understanding and managing these variables can lead to order of magnitude improvements – neglecting them can lead to serious inefficiencies.

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Conclusion: When selecting Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, IT managers should demand evidenced from SaaS providers as the levels of service that can be expected using a formal framework. Including IBRS’s SaaSability questionnaire in requests for information will help to ensure that all parties understand their roles and responsibilities.

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Conclusion: IT related governance processes in a federated business model, i.e. where autonomous business units or divisions have own IT staff and resources, must focus on what is needed to achieve the strategic objectives of the organisation and at the same time help each unit achieve its potential.

The governance processes typically presume each business unit will cooperate and contribute resources and expertise to the organisation when requested. It is axiomatic that failure to cooperate in the governance, or decision making, processes will frustrate efforts to get the best outcomes for the organisation.

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Conclusion: Initially oriented towards IT auditors and control professionals, COBIT1 has matured into a broadly-based governance framework capable of being used by board members and C level executives, such as COOs and CFOs, when seeking to understand and effectively harness IT capabilities. Importantly however, in its new form COBIT also provides a valuable reference guide for the CIO and his or her staff, when wanting to establish a sound framework upon which to improve IT performance at all levels.

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Conclusion: Portfolio Management is a process that allows management to prioritise and manage its portfolio of projects. The more progressive organisations within IT are finding that this approach needs to be modified in order to manage the different project types that are associated with competitive edge and strategic advantage business initiatives.

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Conclusion: Even when one has settled on implementing an iterative software development process, there is still a large number of approaches and process frameworks to choose from. Instead of another instance of a "method war", it is much more productive to concentrate on techniques from different methods, which can be strung together into a working approach that is suitable for a specific context.

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

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Conclusion: Trusted Computing is a family of open specifications whose stated goal is to make personal computers more secure by using dedicated hardware. Critics, including academics, security experts, and users of free and open source software, contend, however, that the overall effect (and perhaps intent) of Trusted Computing is to impose unreasonable restrictions on how people can use their computers1.

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It is imperative, when going to the market for any kind of enterprise software solution, that the tender document includes an IT Enterprise Architectural Blueprint to which a prospective supplier’s solution must conform. This ensures adherence to the technology standards which underpin the enterprise IT business solutions, greatly facilitating the development, implementation and support functions.

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It was also evident that a number of business and IT staff (some quite senior) who had been involved throughout the acquisition and specification process had growing concerns about the process and the path that the project was taking. However, these people had chosen to remain silent, largely it would seem in deference to Mr. H’s ebullient and fearsome style.

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Conclusion: Convergence has been an idea on the horizon for so long that it barely stirs much interest. Even so, various moves and technological changes, have brought convergence front and centre again, and with it new opportunities for organisations.

Once technological difficulties precluded the implementation of services through convergent media networks but now that challenge is no longer a problem. Various types of handsets and choices of networks for reliability and speed mean it is possible to deliver data and media services at economically affordable prices.

The outstanding issues remain the evolution of business models and applications to markets. IT executives can and should be involved in and promoting the growing potential of convergence to their organisation.

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Conclusion: With storage capacities typically growing at 35%+, most organisations are finding they must routinely add more capacity. To avoid creating silos of storage capacity that can not be shared and optimised, or building a storage infrastructure that becomes increasing complex and costly to manage, IT organisations must properly plan and execute storage acquisition.

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Conclusion: As many mid to large organisations are re-evaluating their online presence, designed pre-2001, web content management (WCM) has emerged as a growing concern. To address the concern, IT managers must evaluate three critical non-technical issues before looking at WCM solutions or risk substantial overspend on solutions that may hinder organisational online efficiency and agility.

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Conclusion: For an organisation to gain maximum benefit from IT infrastructure being built with new technology there needs to be a corresponding change in the approach to the management of this infrastructure. Infrastructure management needs to move from a “build to order” to a “factory” type approach, where infrastructure services are supplied, as “orders” for these services are received.

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Conclusion: All too often scalability considerations are limited to a technical discussion of implementation technology combinations, and other aspects of scalability are ignored. Organisational scalability is only achievable if not only software architecture, but also knowledge management and software portfolio management are part of the equation.

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Conclusion: Legal firms acting on behalf of copyright holders of images are sending out thousands of copyright infringement notices globally, seeking hefty fees from companies whose web sites contain copyrighted images. CIOs need to understand some of the legal nuances and be directly involved in planning and implementing measures to minimise the financial risks of web content. 

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Conclusion: Effective and responsible management of IT security should concern executives at the highest levels of management. Leading practice suggests, but does not mandate, separation of the IT security function from the IT management function. One of the ways that this can be achieved is with the appointment of a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) with total accountability for all IT security matters within the organisation. A pro forma Position Description for the CISO role is provided herein.

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Conclusion: In the IBRS Trends forecast for 2007, we stated that governments would adopt a new approach to e-government, “moving it from being simply a ‘publishing medium’ to it becoming a true extension of its service arm.”

The purpose of this paper is to examine where the new approaches are taking form as they evolve over 2007. Governments consider their policy options and how they will be delivered well in advance which means that while developments may be emerging, not all will be apparent to users by December 2007.

In the last twelve months Australian and New Zealand governments have been expounding their revised strategies and taking action to fulfil their policy vision. In IBRS’s view governments could adopt a number of basic processes. These processes should be integrated in the implementation of the plans so as to achieve the objectives.

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Conclusion: Until recently, Digital Rights Management (DRM) has been viewed primarily as an antipiracy technology. The recent advances in DRM and digital media management technology now mean that DRM is able to provide significant and new revenue generating opportunities for suppliers of existing or new digital products.

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Conclusion: Over the last 10 years the IT applications and infrastructure in many organisations has rapidly evolved forcing IT departments to implement a variety of new technologies. In many cases this has resulted in technology silos that are complex, difficult to maintain and costly to extend. To support the business through the next 10 years, IT organisations must transform this complex legacy into an agile infrastructure that enables change.

A starting point for this journey is the development of an infrastructure architecture based on reusable, end-to-end infrastructure design patterns that leverage internal and external best practices, skills and technologies.

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

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Conclusion: Managers often go into a formal market scan (or test) for goods and services with an incomplete problem statement, limited grasp of their requirements and their priorities and expect to emerge knowing which suppliers can meet their needs and their likely price. This approach is unrealistic and naïve.

Market scans need much preparation and should be complemented by a team of informed and experienced business professionals.

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It would not be unusual for an IT Manager to feel as though they are ‘caught in the headlights’ when an unsolicited proposal from a supplier with an attractive price and favourable terms and conditions lands on the desk. For the record, advertising literature sent to a prospect is not unsolicited proposal.

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Welcome to the annual review of the most important IT trends for 2007. The IBRS Advisors have looked hard at their crystal balls and predict the following trends emerging in the next 12 months.

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

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Conclusion: In politics it is generally considered that the first 100 days of office are critical for a new leader to assert his or her authority. Insightful and visible actions taken during that time instil confidence in the new leadership and set the right tone for the future. Arguably, a similar dictum applies to IT leadership.

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Conclusion: Most organisations are fairly adept at dealing with routine changes that have minimal local impact on processes and systems. The topic of change management becomes an order of magnitude more challenging when the changes in question amount to a fundamental shift in the business model or in the way in which the business model is implemented: Form needs to follow function, new approaches need to be validated in depth before company-wide roll out occurs, lower and upper limits apply to the speed of implementation, and expectations need to be managed judiciously.

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Conclusion: Large companies can expect a significant business crisis once every four to five years and, if the disruption is significant, the organisation will be seriously affected or may never recover sufficiently to resume business.

The focus on what were once considered separate activities, business continuity, and disaster recovery, has changed and both are now considered an integral part of corporate governance. This integrated approach is now called Business Continuity Management (BCM) and should be the lynch pin in any organisation’s risk management.

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The challenge going forward is to implement the IT Strategic Plan over the next three to five years while continuing to service the business both from an operational point of view, and through the delivery of the appropriate business systems. A particular issue is how to balance the introduction of a new IT architecture based on a services orientated model, while delivering application systems which may not comply with this architecture but are perceived by the business to meet their requirements.

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Conclusion: One of the hottest IT issues at the moment is Software as a Service (SaaS.) However, SaaS is not yet a well-defined, nor well-understood approach. Like most IT buzzwords, vendors are rushing to stake their claim. Having a framework to evaluate the different approaches taken by vendors is essential for planning future IT architectures.

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Have Microsoft Operating Systems reached their best-used-by date? Ten years ago such a question would have seemed ridiculous. Today however, there are several indications that the Microsoft rule in the OS domain should no longer be considered as one of the fundamental constants of IT.

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Conclusion: Tesco’s move to sell its own brand of software has been perceived as a direct threat to Microsoft, but the UK retailing giant signals several broader effects for IT vendors and suppliers, for users, and an opportunity for other companies.

As the world’s fourth largest retailer, Tesco’s market share influences markets and by selling its branded software, it may, over the next two to three years, be a catalyst for change in the consumer software industry.

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Conclusion: Conflicts will arise during the process of purchasing IT assets and services unless there is a clear definition of roles. Put simply, IT management’s role is to identify what is required and implement it, while Purchasing’s is to ensure what is required is supplied at the best value for money and the transaction meets probity requirements.

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Conclusion: Risk management for IT projects or services that involve suppliers e.g. software and hardware suppliers or system integrators, is a more complex activity than the risk management of a project when there is no supplier involvement. There are not only additional considerations that must be addressed in the risk management process; there are also additional risks that will have been introduced through the involvement of supplier(s) of IT products, services or other resources.

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Conclusion: Linux on the IBM mainframe (z/Linux) has been available since 2000 but is not widely adopted. As IBM increases its resources promoting z/Linux in Asia-pacific it is an idea that will be raised more frequently in this region. While recent advances in z/Linux (e.g., 64-bit implementation) make it a powerful and technically viable platform, with some organisations reporting significant benefits in specific circumstances, z/Linux will remain a niche solution rather than a common alternative to Lintel and Wintel.

The factors involved in making a decision to migrate Linux from Intel to System Z are extensive and complex, ensuring that the adoption of z/Linux in Asia-Pacific will remain slow and usage will stay very low though 2010.

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Conclusion: Weaknesses in the approach to risk management, when applied to IT projects, can lead to poor project outcomes. A holistic approach that encompasses people, structure and organisational culture, as well as tools and process, is needed for the successful management of project risk.

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Conclusion: Deciding whether major business solutions, or ICT enabled projects, should proceed to the next stage during a review is pivotal for sound governance.

When lip service is paid to the review process project failure may just be around the corner. This view was put forward by the UK National Audit Office, and was endorsed in the November 2006 Review of ICT Governance by Queensland Government, which stated that one of the three prerequisites to project success is ‘rigorous challenge and scrutiny of projects and programs at each stage of the life cycle’.

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Oracle has long been a major contributor and supporter of Linux, beginning in 1998 with the first release of the Oracle database on Linux and later with the release of Oracle applications and middleware. Oracle has made significant contributions to the Linux kernel over recent years, e.g., the Oracle clustered file system, and in the process developed considerable Linux expertise.

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