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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Conclusion: IT/MIS within an organisation can be thought of as a business and, like any business, should have an active marketing plan in place. Such a plan helps the CIO and key members of the MIS group actively promote to all parts of the organisation the value of the services delivered by the MIS Department. The plan should be couched in business terms understood by each user community and not in “IT-speak”.

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

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As the company has grown a need for more transparency and accountability for IT costs has been identified. Consequently we have revisited our recovery model and made the decision to alter the charge from a fixed percentage of project turn over to a monthly fee per computer. The decision was also made, in line with the new IT Strategy for the Leighton Contractors Group, that ownership and life cycle management of all IT Assets would be the responsibility of the Corporate Information Systems Department and that the monthly charge should apply to all business units.

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Conclusion: With recent vendor movements in the Web Content Management (WCM) space and related Enterprise Information Management (EIM) space, there is a great deal of focus on how organisations organise and distribute content online.

Much of the hype surrounding vendor announcements and lucrative tenders for web development obscure a far more important trend: the movement of content from being a product in itself to being seen as the result of a series of organisational processes. This is similar to (although not as far-ranging) as Business Process Modelling (BPM) and many of the approaches used in BPM can be applied to process-oriented web content planning.

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Conclusion: It has been five or more years since many organisations built their current websites and increasingly many of them are examining ways to improve the design and content. While planning for the future is sensible it is apparent that many legacy issues remain. These legacies are evident in the available technology being used and, probably more importantly, in the planning and thinking of the site’s next phase of development.

How the web is developing and its overlap with other digital media are significant factors in a web strategy and its execution through to a content management strategy. Organisations should recognise and adapt to user behaviour if they want their next generation websites to be effective.

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Conclusion: Shared services commenced as a movement in the early 1990s and rapidly became a worldwide trend in both the private and public sectors. Conceptually the prospect of doing of more with less is appealing. However, anecdotally, there have been just as many failures as successes, especially in the delivery of IT shared services.

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Conclusion: Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is used to refer to a whole variety of approaches to achieve enterprise software integration and/or some degree of reuse. By now there is reasonable consensus in the industry around the essence of service orientation, yet no Web Service standard can ever prevent implementers from making glaring mistakes in their use of the SOA concept. The number of SOA implementations is growing, and some valuable lessons can be learned by looking under the hood and assessing the results against the original expectations.

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One of the more difficult IT related decisions that an organisation may have to face, is whether to bring outsourced IT functions back in-house. There are a wide variety of reasons why such a course of action might be contemplated.

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Conclusion: Many organisations are watching with interest the experience of others in their adoption of SOA, which is a collection of self-contained programming and data access services typically used for repeatable business processes such as for credit authorisation for point of sale transactions. Questions are legitimately asked whether SOA as a concept is another fad or is here to stay.

Early adopters claim SOA is worth the investment and, if used in conjunction with Web Services to link to other applications including legacy systems, a productivity enabler. Nevertheless, these adopters point to the need for a disciplined approach by developers and its use only when justified on business grounds.

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Conclusion: Distribution is an essential part of doing business and for some industries; media especially, its products can only be accessed through a complex distribution network, mostly through retail outlets. Underpinning that distribution network is an economic basis which appears to be changing. The change in that base will increasingly affect the mode of business.

Not all organisations face identical commercial changes to their distribution networks but where once brands, and media in particular, developed their online properties on the heritage of the traditional brand; now, Web properties have a brighter future than the heritage brand. That change in fortune may be explained and attributed to electronic distribution, not declining fortunes to the brand itself; but simply its access to the market

Organisations can deal with, and manage change, by being ready and planning ahead; by anticipating that distribution is a business function that will be modified according to competitive forces and market conditions.

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

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I recently facilitated three panel discussions at Storage Network World. Using an interactive response keypad I was able to run a series of polls to the 80+ delegates. The results are very interesting and cause for some industry reflection.

When asked what the “most important business issue” was, they said “reliability and availability” closely followed by “business continuity”, with “cost containment” a distant third. When asked their “biggest storage related challenge”, the top response was “Managing growth and meeting capacity.”

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Conclusion: Much has been written about the benefits of iterative, incremental software development. There is virtually no software development or integration project that could not benefit from an iterative approach. Yet many large, high-risk software projects are still managed according to the “good old” waterfall approach. And in those cases where projects are run in accordance to some iterative methodology, often the benefits of the approach are not fully realised. The risks of getting it wrong in transitioning to an iterative mode can be minimised by adhering to a few basic guidelines and by seeking assistance from an expert practitioner during the first project.

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Conclusion: Organisations striving to reduce their cost base may choose to investigate shared services strategies in areas such as Finance, Human Resources and IT. Changing past practices, and more importantly delivering bottom line benefits, can be challenging, particularly in IT. Whilst the stakes may be high, the organisational risk can also be high and resistance is likely to be encountered from those who fear their futures threatened by any planned changes.

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Conclusion: One of the more difficult aspects of the management of projects is the decision making process associated with shutting down troubled projects. There are a range of factors that can influence decision makers and prevent them from making a rational decision to close down a troubled project. These include project related influences, psychological and social factors as well as organisational pressures.

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Conclusion: With mobile device shipments predicted to grow in excess of 50% per annum though to 2010, IT organisations must learn how to deal with this trend. The key is to ignore the glamour and glitz associated with the mobile device and focus on the benefits that mobility brings to a core business process. Mobility projects have many of the same characteristics as ERP or CRM projects and IT organisations should apply the lessons learned from implementing such applications.

To avoid becoming a “solution looking for a problem”, organisations must resist the technology hype from telecommunications carriers and use a top down, business process improvement focused approach when considering whether to invest in mobility projects.

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Conclusion: Estimating the cost of software development projects is notoriously difficult. The simple “thumb suck” technique still enjoys significant popularity, and although attempts to introduce a more rigorous estimation process usually lend a scientific touch to the process, any numbers that are not based on historic metrics tend to collapse like a house of cards. Obtaining useful metrics is the hard part. The only way it can be achieved in a realistically short time frame, is by adopting an iterative, incremental approach based on timeboxed iterations of constant duration.

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In April 2006 I discussed the turn around in this company’s fortunes due to the unprecedented resources boom1 and the significant increase in large infrastructure upgrade projects. This growth is rapidly increasing and we are currently winning an average of one project a week. The latest large Joint Venture project to come our way is the $1.88 billion Gateway Bridge Duplication in Brisbane. There are other large road projects in Queensland to be awarded over the next month, following closely on Peter Beattie’s win at the recent State Election. Our chances of winning a good proportion of this work are very high.

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