The distributed nature of our business, and the centralised model for IT, dictates that we will constantly face the challenge of providing adequate bandwidth to projects in remote areas to enable them to effectively utilise the appropriate corporate systems run in the data centre, utilise email and connect to the Internet. Some sites are so remote that telecommunications infrastructure is a distant and unattainable dream. We generally try to service these sites through satellite connections which tend to be both expensive and slow, and generally cannot provide the required level of service. This is changing slowly however, and we are trialing both Telstra and Optus products with a view to implementing either solution for remote sites that do not have the necessary infrastructure.

Read more ...

Conclusion: The Enterprise Architect faces three major unrelated challenges today. They are to:

  • Keep the architecture or standards viable when the technology options are changing continuously

  • Sustain Executive commitment to the standards when the benefits are not immediately apparent

  • Stay informed of technology developments and advocate its adoption in advance of it proving to be a ‘winner’

The ideal person for the role is someone who is intellectually curious, politically aware and able to sell their ideas. To succeed the architect needs to gain the trust of their Executive, have access to vendors and early adopters of emerging technology and an awareness of business imperatives.

Read more ...

Conclusion: Effectiveness is, along with efficiency, the aim of many projects and investments. It is commonly expressed as a ratio, outputs minus inputs. Measuring effectiveness is however a more delicate process of evaluation than employing the blunt, and occasionally, imprecise ratio method, described above.

Comparing effectiveness with other measures of a company’s performance, such as revenue, demonstrates how well a department or a firm is working. It is more valuable than simply comparing a ‘before and after’ financial scenario.

In adopting this type of approach two factors to consider are:

  1. Adequate ‘before” the event data, showing levels of performance is required to assess effectiveness. (Sound after the event data is necessary too.) Measurement of performance and function must use all key variables. These variables may include financial items, benchmarked service levels, and people performance measures such as e.g. job, morale index or similar;

  2. Make any analysis comparative, with the purpose of showing what has been achieved. Grey, and or, so-called mixed results from an effectiveness assessment arise from weak analysis.

Implementing the techniques above should improve the quality of effectiveness metrics and thereby raise the standard of business planning outcomes.

Read more ...

Conclusion: Failure of the two main parties to use their websites to reach voters, as indicated by visitor levels just prior to the ballot, suggest important lessons for organisations marketing online.

The first is that content and information cannot retain audience interest, especially if the content is static and unchanged over several months.

The second lesson is that contact between an organisation and interactive communication through a website can be a strong tactic to galvanise a market. Evidence from the US demonstrates that the effective use of the Web, in conjunction with the mainstream media, builds momentum.

Many organisations’ websites do not change over long periods and the value of the site to the organisation, and to the marketplace, drops. Refreshed content and promotions, or other gimmicks may not be right, but techniques to reach and gather individuals, such as an online conference or chat room, can give renewed purpose to an otherwise static website.

Read more ...

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

Read more ...

Conclusion: Inability to manage the plethora of projects cutting across most organisations can lead to failed initiatives, an inability to align ICT and business investments, a lack of confidence in the organisation's ability to innovate and even substandard operational performance - quite simply operational performance can fall because renewal projects become late or are ineffective.

The main reason that these problems occur is that business initiatives are spawned within functional hierarchies and these hierarchies tend to act like silos. Organisations that are looking to effectively balance goal based and role based work need another structure to support the governance process so that resources and initiatives can become visible to the entire organisation. This paper recommends that a project office correctly implemented can play a key role in supporting the governance of goal based activities.

Read more ...

When outsourcing, a buyer must develop a relationship structure based on what type of relationship suits its organisational structure, the activities to be outsourced and how success will be measured. For instance, using a transaction-based relationship model, a strategic model or a combination of both to measure the success of the project. Relationship difficulties might arise during the course of a sourcing transaction, shifting the focus from maximising the value of the relationship to relationship tensions. The types of problems that cause relationship difficulties include a lack of clarity regarding responsibilities between parties to the contract, unmet expectations and unexpected costs. How parties will resolve or avoid these difficulties should be considered when developing the relationship structure, internal processes and resources required by parties to the agreement. When outsourcing, a buyer must develop a relationship structure based on what type of relationship suits its organisational structure, the activities to be outsourced and how success will be measured. For instance, using a transaction-based relationship model, a strategic model or a combination of both to measure the success of the project. Relationship difficulties might arise during the course of a sourcing transaction, shifting the focus from maximising the value of the relationship to relationship tensions. The types of problems that cause relationship difficulties include a lack of clarity regarding responsibilities between parties to the contract, unmet expectations and unexpected costs. How parties will resolve or avoid these difficulties should be considered when developing the relationship structure, internal processes and resources required by parties to the agreement.

Read more ...

Recently I facilitated an IS strategy workshop. The audience was made up of people at DIRECTOR level - some 20 of them. All were on six figure incomes. The objective of the workshop was to confirm the business strategy for a Division. I started the workshop by asking the following question: * What are the GOALS of your Division (why do you exist?) * What objectives do you want to achieve in the next 3-5 years - are these measurable * How will you achieve these objectives (what are your strategies?).

Read more ...

Conclusion: Just as one size car does not suit everyone, so one organisational design and IT management structure will not meet the needs of all firms or agencies. As there is no perfect approach for developing an IT management structure, managers must research available options, assess their suitability and ‘road test’ them before implementing them.

Read more ...

While the intense competition in the PC market has benefited technology buyers in the form of lower capital costs, it has forced vendors into tighter product cycles and a frantic pace of incremental technological advancements with high-perceived but little real value to users. Corporate technology buyers of both desktop and laptop systems should focus efforts on achieving within their PC fleet a balance of meaningful technological aggressiveness and stability. They should also be increasingly vigilant in their assessment of the benefits of new technologies. Those organisations that do not take steps to understand vendor product transition processes and assess the impact on support will quickly develop a more complex mix of installed PCs than necessary. Escalating costs (driven by the uncontrolled installation of poorly understood technologies) will also be become a concern.

Read more ...

Conclusion: Business prospects are still difficult to predict with good news and bad in equal measure. Even so, growth is minimal and the market is flat. For business planners, management teams and CIOs, the next six months dictates a stripped down and lean strategy.

Benchmarking evidence from the practices of leading corporations shows they have adopted two essential strategic techniques:

  1. Determine organisational structure with the allocation of resources.

  2. Focus on core attributes of product and service and then develop the opportunity to enhance those product attributes.

An important ingredient to realise the strategic goals above is flexibility and preparedness to re-set priorities to trade into the next growth period.

Read more ...

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

Read more ...

With a number of significant IT projects either completed or well under way we are now turning our attention to improving the quality of the service we deliver to the company. With our IT infrastructure becoming increasingly mission critical it is essential that we constantly review and ensure the provision of the appropriate level of IT resource to contribute to the organisation’s success and growth. The challenge is how to achieve this in the tight budgetary and technically complex and logistically distributed environment in which we operate.

Read more ...

Conclusion: CIOs who sit back and wait for their executive teams to implement ICT governance are putting their own careers at risk. While business leaders continue to misunderstand measures of ICT performance CIOs face two perennial problems: good performance may go completely unrecognised while CIOs may be blamed for failures that are totally outside their control.

Read more ...

Part 1 of this article, published in IBRS July 2003, discussed different approaches taken by Public Sector agencies when sourcing IT. Part 2 outlines the management challenges faced by Public Sector Agencies when sourcing IT, focusing on the initial planning and assessment phases of an outsourcing initiative. The sourcing model selected (See Part 1: “Public Sector Sourcing Models” IBRS, July 2003) and internal processes established to manage this model should focus on achieving the business benefits sought and specific requirements of the agency as identified when defining the current IT status.

Read more ...

Conclusion – Restructure roles and responsibilities of staff only when there are compelling reasons and apply the guiding principles, as set out below, when designing the new structure.

Read more ...

More than half of all IT projects do not deliver the expected benefits. This is a metric that CEOs do not want to hear in these days of executive dissatisfaction with IT investment performance, and it is the CIO that is called to explain.

Read more ...

IM represents a new tool for business communication and collaboration – additional to the traditional forms of communication, particularly e-mail and voice. Paradoxically, IM is the personal communication of the impersonal digital world, and as such it requires its own unique set of corporate IM guidelines.

Read more ...

Conclusion: SMS has proved more versatile and effective in business-related communications than simply a means of chatting with text. By reducing costs and simplifying the process of communication, SMS is proving to be effective for firms dealing with their suppliers, customers and staff.

Firms of all sizes – and Government departments - can likewise benefit from SMS in two key ways. Firstly, it is a marketing communication channel which can be used for product promotions and secondly, it has proved its worth as an operational communications tool which can be used for channel management within an organisation.

Experience shows firms can cut costs and increase efficiency by using SMS to deliver timely and useful information to stakeholders. Having said this, it is important that the ease with which messages can be delivered should not be equated with permission to flood mobile phones with frequent and irrelevant messages.

Read more ...

Conclusion: In 2003 any failure of e-commerce systems through problems with supporting technology is seen as a failure of the whole organisation. Many business leaders have recognised that they need better models for governing IT investments and ensuring effective IT operations. To their dismay most CIOs have not recognised that change is required. Today many CIOs are ‘playing the wrong game’. Unless they quickly understand what is required they will be replaced with managers who do.

Many CIOs have remained focused on low cost operational support when they should be working hard to grow corporate capabilities in IT strategic planning, enterprise architecture, program and project management, relationship management and technology R+D.

For years CIOs have been waiting for an opportunity to work with business as a full partner. Today that opportunity is staring many CIO’s in the face and most haven’t recognised it.

Read more ...

 

Conclusion: Without experience and knowledge of the local outsourcing market, public sector agencies risk inefficiencies when developing outsourcing practices that are sufficiently flexible to change as the agency’s circumstances change.

When outsourcing public sector agencies require solid governance, accountability processes and regular reviews to ensure the approach taken will suit their internal structures, policies and IT needs.

Ongoing information support is also critical so the agency has a thorough understanding of the changing environment, local outsourcing market and lessons learned from other public sector agencies that have adopted different outsourcing strategies.

Read more ...

Since the IT industry continues to consolidate, with acquisitions of both large and small companies a weekly event, users must keep several questions and action items in mind to respond effectively if and when one of their main suppliers is suddenly acquired. It is important to remember that all acquisitions are takeovers – there is no such thing as a friendly merger – and if you are a customer of the acquiree you have to be extra diligent.

Read more ...

Conclusion: Carried out judiciously a benchmarking exercise can yield unexpected and significant benefits. Conversely, when few performance measures are captured and unit costs are unclear, the exercise is a waste of time.

Read more ...

Conclusion: Every department within an enterprise is under greater scrutiny to prove their worth. For the IT service department rising beyond a service supplier relationship with the rest of the firm or agency means marketing their wares in two ways:

  1. Delivering services in a timely and responsive manner which like all actions can be a matter of execution;

  2. Opening and maintaining two-way communication channels with all areas of the organisation: necessary to deliver services today and to anticipate next stage requirements. To achieve these aims may require implementing some tried and tested marketing and market research techniques.

Getting the approach to marketing right can make a difference in effectiveness for an organisation, not just for the IT department.

Read more ...

The company has just won the largest job in its history and you are excused for celebrating long into the night and, perhaps, over indulging slightly. However when the baroccas have kicked in, and the effects of the alcohol have worn off, reality sets in.

Read more ...

Conclusion: No solution comes shrink-wrapped and perfectly adequate so that it can be considered complete and that is true of e-learning. If the implementation of e-learning in the workplace has stumbled the two guidelines below will assist in getting better results:

  1. Ensure that the e-learning process is continuous – not constant – but persistent for all employees over time;

  2. Test, test, test, not just the e-learning software package but also what the users thought of it as much as the content of the program.

If e-learning is viewed as a process, not just a one-off event, it will become part of the working schedule and also integral to the productivity of the organisation.

Read more ...

Much can happen during the course of an IT services agreement, causing parties to re-evaluate an arrangement, and seek change or termination. A prudent approach to IT outsourcing arrangements recognises the long-term likelihood of changed circumstances and provides both parties the option of re-assessing and if necessary changing the services agreement. The agreement should have a shared vision, coupled with a precise legal framework and processes to allow for parties to affect the most desirable solution: review of the current arrangement, followed by renegotiation or termination.

Read more ...

Conclusion: Consultants can be a potent weapon provided you are using the right consultant for the right reason; you manage the assignment appropriately; and you insist on a deliverable that is implementable in your organisation.

CIOs should review their selection and management processes for consultants. Consultants should win assignments based on value for money outcomes - not on daily rates - and assignments should be managed end to end from the pre-proposal stage to implementation.

Read more ...

Conclusion: By helping geeks (those who deliver technical solutions) resolve the ambiguity inherent in their work environment you can help them deliver quality technical solutions and meet your work-related objectives.

Read more ...

IT cost recovery is an ongoing issue for CIO’s as they try to regain the cost of providing IT services to the business. As illustrated by IBRS in previous publications, while there are a number of alternative cost recovery methodologies available to organisations not all methodologies are suited to all companies. This month, I will share with you the processes we apply when back charging for IT services. The methodology we use could be considered fairly unique; I certainly have not come across any other company utilising similar techniques. While I am by no means claiming our methods are any better or worse than others, they do have the advantage of being fairly simple both to understand and to administer, and most importantly, they work for us.

Read more ...

The scarcity of skilled in-house IT staff and strong project managers in Medium Enterprises is increasingly leading to the use of multiple outsourcers for major projects. However, poor selection and inadequate management of the relationships with the outsourcers that occurs through the lack of project management and outsourcing management skills are critical factors contributing to IT project failure. A disciplined approach is required to enhance the success rate of IT projects. The most important thing that a CIO can do is to ensure that the business managers understand the goals of the outsourcing and the impact on business operations.

Read more ...

You are the only person in the elevator on the ground floor at 7.15am. Just as the doors are about to close, you see the CEO hurrying to catch the elevator and press the ‘Open Doors’ button so she can join you. She says breathlessly, “Thanks. Our meeting is timely. I read your report on our business information management dilemma last evening and raised it with the Chairman before I left. He just contacted me on the mobile phone and said he wants to talk about it when I get out on the 20th floor.

Read more ...

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

Read more ...

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

Read more ...

The US Defence Force is setting the pace for the universal adoption of IPv6 as the new IP has been mandated for its "security grid" counter terrorism initiative set for 2008. Essentially, IPv6 and its predecessor IPv4 define the way information is transmitted on and devices connect to the Internet.

Read more ...

The need to more efficiently manage the enormous volumes of documentation which construction projects produce has been acknowledged, within the industry, for some time. With the increasing complexity of projects and the different models for project delivery this volume is increasing significantly and, along with this increase, the need for more efficient systems becomes even more important.

Read more ...

 

Conclusion: “Offshore outsourcing” or the practice of outsourcing IT or business functions to other geographic regions is growing, with similar trends forecast for the future. While offshore outsourcing offers cost-cutting opportunities, it does possess risks unique to offshore projects, which have resulted in mixed success when adopting this strategy. Detailed risk assessment, strategic planning and ongoing management must be conducted by any organisation considering an offshore project, or commercial benefits will be lost, ultimately negating proposed cost savings.

Read more ...

Conclusion: While attracting and retaining staff is no longer a pre-occupation of CIOs, the challenge today is to manage IT professionals in a way that maximises their contribution and minimises the possibility of them seeking another role.

Read more ...

IT cost recovery is viewed as a necessary part of establishing a clear service relationship with business units, but by itself it will not reduce costs or increase efficiency. In fact the worst cost recovery systems, with IT-centric cost algorithms, reinforce the image of IT as a techno-jungle with no concept of business value, dealing in “funny money” (what do I get for a CPU second?). Misinterpretation of fixed versus variable costs can also lead to faulty decision-making.

Read more ...

Conclusion: Despite the recent hype over search engine marketing the basic elements remain simple. They are:

  1. Ensure the listing of the website is clear, complete and comprehensive;

  2. Review it in 6 months, just as all marketing channel investment is periodically reviewed;

  3. Don’t spend more time and effort than is due to the task relative to the investment committed.

With these three guidelines the quality of the listing on search engines ought to be competitive

Read more ...

Subscribe

Want to get the latest papers from all our advisors? Subscribe, and we'll send you the information you need.

Invalid Input
Please enter a valid email address
Invalid Input
Please enter your mobile phone number
Invalid Input