Conclusion: Organisations source and procure research and advisory services for a range of reasons. The benefits of access to external research and advisory can vary widely from organisation to organisation. Today’s business and technology environment is changing in more radical and rapid ways. Organisations that fully access and embed the information and advice available from research and advisory services can enhance the problem identification and solving process, ensure staff are incorporating a broad range of information into their thinking and systematically include changing environmental information at strategic, tactical and operational decision making levels. Research and advisory can also be used to improve staff analysis and presentation skills. 

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Conclusion: IT organisations driving their business transformation should mature their internal consulting function to connect with business units’ service quality expectations. This should lead to consistent delivery, facilitate knowledge sharing and realise business benefits.

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Conclusion: Team collaboration solutions can be categorised by the types of work they focus upon. These are: project (time), people (social) and product (document). When choosing a team collaboration tool consider what the organisation’s teams most commonly collaborate on –projects, personal interactions, documents and ensure this work focus is a primary selection criterion.

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Business leaders must accept that ransomware attacks are a foreseeable risk. 

Conclusion: Ransomware has proven such a successful cash cow for criminals that it is unlikely they will voluntarily stop their attacks. This means that business leaders must accept that further ransomware attacks are a foreseeable risk. While there are important conversations around the level of appropriate technical controls that an organisation may wish to implement, this conversation can only occur after business leaders have decided whether they want their organisation to help fund organised crime, or not. For organisations with a strong corporate social responsibility ethos, this is a very easy decision to make, but it is imperative that business leaders understand why they are committing to better technical hygiene and accepting tighter technical controls.

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Conclusion: This month, IT Outsourcing (ITO) industry analyses for the Asia Pacific region were released. Whilst figures show a decline in ITO spend in the region, the trend towards Cloud adoption and new service models that result in cost savings has driven this decline, not the demand for external services. As vendors shift to cater to this new market and provide more specialist services, ITO sector growth is expected. These types of changes in the ITO industry have been seen in the past, as service providers adapt to accommodate customer demands and new services and technologies. These market shifts are typically beneficial for customers, vendors and business operations providing a greater range of services, higher quality service delivery and cost savings.

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Conclusion: Business investment has all but disappeared in the last five years1. Therefore it is understandable that the appeal for more investment in the drive to digital transformation will unlock innovation and a new route to productivity. However, it is not that simple, as a review of the data illustrates.

Planning the future with rear-vision perspectives is sure to disappoint, if not fail. Organisations would be better to examine their own situation and discard received wisdom, especially from vendors.

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Conclusion: Application developers and IT Managers have become enthusiastic adopters of Cloud due to the apparent large cost savings and short development time compared to using internal infrastructure when prototyping projects. However, they are often unaware of the cost impact of their choice of Cloud resources on the operational delivery of their ICT workloads.

Each Cloud service provider has its own sweet spot for particular ICT deployments, so users must be able to work out the best Cloud vendor and solution mix.

Best practice includes using the rapidly improving range of vendor-provided calculators, tutorials and tools as well as third party analysis resources, dashboards, price comparators and billing reconciliation services.

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Conclusion: Vodafone Foundation’s DreamLab1 charity has shown in its work with The Garvan Institute for Medical Research how a huge and diverse collection of the public’s volunteered processing on their smartphones can be used in aggregate to solve complex cancer research problems2.

The use of Mobile and Cloud as the first choice for ICT infrastructure and applications has not been an intuitive choice for most enterprises but the supporting evidence for its value has built rapidly as seen in DreamLab. This case shows the power of using intensely popular smartphones to aggregate processing to solve supercomputer-scale problems.

It also shows that an enterprise Data Centre is not the only place to perform large-scale processing. A combination of vastly distributed third party computing managed by public Cloud is reversing the business risks currently accepted when an enterprise deploys its own ICT infrastructure and places significant risk with the Cloud provider.

Similar applications of this Use Case include other charitable donations of processing capacity; shared processing in channel-focused businesses; supporters aiding not-for-profit organisations; or those that collaborate intensely; or Internet of Things (IoT) scale micro-processing of Big Data scale information across vast numbers of devices.

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Conclusion: Astute managers know that once a project is completed, skilled staff will be reassigned and their recall of the lessons learned and what worked and what did not is quickly lost. This is because corporate memory dissipates the longer the recall is delayed.

Apart from determining whether the objectives of the project were or were not achieved, an open and frank conversation needs to occur regarding the project’s outcomes and stakeholders need to be:

  • Brave enough to admit failures and shortcomings
  • Modest when highlighting successes
  • Generous in giving credit to all who contributed to the project’s success
  • Prepared to adopt practices and approaches that worked well
  • Comfortable in disseminating the review’s findings to all who need to know.

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Conclusion: While the increased adoption of public IaaS1 can reduce cost and simplify technology procurement challenges, IaaS does not meet all IT organisations’ sourcing requirements such as legacy applications maintenance and IT service management. Hence, IT organisations are left with no alternative but to use multiple service providers to satisfy all their needs. This will increase clients’ governance cost of service providers and extend the duration of external services acquisition. As a result, a service broker model has emerged to provide one single point of accountability to all sourcing deliverables, simplify go-to-market strategies and fulfil the Cloud migration requirements in a cost-effective manner. IT organisations should assess the applicability of this model to their environment.

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Conclusion: Migrating to Office 365 requires a significantly different set of skills from on-premises office suite upgrades. Traditional skills will need to be reassessed and new skills will be needed internally. Also, some specialist skills are only required during the migration so may best be acquired from experienced external providers. Understanding which skills need to be developed, added or outsourced is essential for a successful and economical Office 365 (O365) migration.

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Related Articles:

"The journey of Office 365: A guiding framework Part 3: Post-implementation" IBRS, 2016-05-05 00:21:00

"The Journey to Office 365" IBRS, 2015-05-01 14:58:56

"The journey to Office 365: A guiding framework Part 1" IBRS, 2016-03-01 04:23:10

"The journey to Office 365: A guiding framework Part 2 migration" IBRS, 2016-04-01 04:43:19

Conclusion: IT executives in financial services organisations have expressed frustration at the seemingly vague requirements of APRA, but this misses the true intention of APRA. APRA is not anti-Cloud, but the regulator insists that financial services organisations consult with APRA so that APRA can gauge the maturity of the proposed plan. This is not a mechanism to forbid Cloud, but rather a sanity check to ensure the stability of the Australian financial market by ensuring that organisations are not abrogating their risk identification and management responsibilities.

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Conclusion: This month has seen a high level of activity in tender issues, funding allocations and new ICT projects by government agencies seeking to reap the benefits offered by emerging technologies, ongoing innovation and digital transformation. This follows general trends in outsourcing because of the advent of new technologies, contract structures and solutions that can be tied directly to fulfilling business objectives. Whilst the technologies exist, a report issued this month regarding CIO concerns has flagged difficulties still prevalent when attempting to take advantage of innovations, attributed to outdated existing technologies, policy and budgetary constraints. As the ICT outsourcing industry continues to evolve at a fast pace, organisations must adapt their inner workings to suit new technologies and business structures before they can take advantage of benefits, and avoid project failures because contracts and businesses are misaligned.

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Conclusion: This note seeks to analyse two questions: Is a return to the high period of IT investment likely? And what were the conditions surrounding the last one?

The answer to the first question is, currently at least, of a very low probability. The conditions or background that produced the long IT investment boom are not seen today and are not likely to provide the same business environment in the near-term either.

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Conclusion: User-centricity, positive customer experiences (CX) and active customer engagement are the necessary central drivers of any business’ digital transformation.

Customer experience trends and issues need to be addressed methodically using a checklist to produce the necessary reviews of current approaches and plans to transform them into best practices.

Systematic use of the tools contained in contact centres, customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, algorithms in apps and communications-enabled business process will be the only responsible path for enterprises committed to improving their customer experience.

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Conclusion: To facilitate business and IT transformation PMOs must be given a role that puts them at the forefront of advising management where best to invest scarce resources in business and IT-related projects whilst ensuring business systems are successfully implemented.

To be successful PMO staff need:

  • People management skills to help project managers reach their potential
  • Business acumen to assess competing claims for funds for business systems projects
  • To be able to shape management’s expectations of what IT can and cannot deliver.

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By Guy Cranswick

The standard method to assess the future is through the type and function of technologies. The starting point is the way new technologies modify processes and thereby rebalance requirements and outputs. An alternative approach is to examine how executive management will adapt to technological innovation, because management maintains longstanding principles and objectives that are noteworthy in the implementation of technologies.

The rate of change can appear dazzling and complicate accurate perceptions and understanding of long-running forces. The way to solve this common problem is to use fundamental principles, or axioms, in order to forecast a plausible view of the future. This method was done in a 1958 Harvard Business Review article (‘Management in the 1980s’, Harold J. Leavitt & Thomas L. Whisler, https://hbr.org/1958/11/management-in-the-1980s), in what transpired to be a remarkably prescient examination on the state of management in the 1980s. The article is also notable for using the phrase ‘information technology’ for the first time.

We propose, in similar spirit, a generational look into the future using the same principles. It should not be read literally. Twenty-five years is too distant to be confident of any forecast and the 1958 paper more closely modelled the 1990s, which demonstrates that forecasts can miss, although not be entirely useless.

Intelligent Business Research Services (IBRS) adviser Joseph Sweeney discussed digital disruption and investment. He said Australia had a “cultural problem” with reinvesting savings from technology back into businesses.

“When you look at Australia’s history of reinvesting in the business — taking profits and ploughing them into technology, by western standards we have very low reinvestment in business. And that’s a cultural issue,” Dr Sweeney said.

Outside of the big four banks and Telstra, Australia lacks world-class cyber security teams.

by James Turner

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend the world's largest cyber-security event, RSA Conference, in San Francisco. This year was the 25th anniversary of the conference, and there were 40,000 attendees, and over 500 vendors exhibiting.

My experience at RSAC reflected my experiences at many other international cyber-security gatherings over the years. I have come to the conclusion that Australia has pockets of cyber-security leadership that are world-class, and in some instances, world-leading. But these pockets of capability – almost all at the top end of town – are insufficient for the nation's needs.

In Australia we have a small number of organisations with big cyber-security teams, and established leaders with excellent bench strength in their direct reports. Principally, these pockets of cyber maturity are in the big four banks, and a hothouse of talent that has emerged in Telstra.

Conclusion: Design thinking is increasingly being utilised by organisations in Australia and globally to create new products and services. Based on the current level of adoption by leading organisations and those investigating design thinking it could be considered the next best practice concept. However, like other best practices, it is the art of applying the technique that reaps benefits, rather than just following the process.

In other words it is the nuances that need to be considered closely and not just the elements that can be seen and touched. Understanding the elements of design thinking and, most importantly, applying the right people using the right approach with the right expectations will ensure that the results match the promise. Empathising with users, customers or consumers is the first step in the process and is critical to the success of all the effort that follows.

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Conclusion: Forward thinking IT organisations wishing to create a service differentiation should analyse their value activities to construct a “uniqueness capability”. The outcome should convince business lines that IT services can generate business value at a competitive price. The value chain firstly requires to address service delivery processes by constructing the IT value chain1 , secondly to realise cost advantage2 and thirdly to create service differentiation (this note).

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Conclusion: Office 365, like Google Apps, holds the potential to impact workplace practices through new collaboration capabilities such as real-time co-authorship. However, this potential may only be realised if activities for the Office 365 environment go beyond the traditional post-implementation review plan. Instead, organisations wishing to see genuine changes must create a post-implementation review plan which must assess the extent to which business benefits have been delivered over the long-term.

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Related Articles:

"The Journey to Office 365" IBRS, 2015-05-01 14:58:56

"The journey to Office 365: A guiding framework Part 1" IBRS, 2016-03-01 04:23:10

"The journey to Office 365: A guiding framework Part 2 migration" IBRS, 2016-04-01 04:43:19

"The journey to Office 365: Part 4 – Skills" IBRS, 2016-06-02 00:26:00

Conclusion: Cyber security can be perceived by outsiders as an occult domain. Psychologically, people can respond in many ways to something they do not understand with responses ranging from denial to fear. Consequently, a frequent challenge to better security maturity is inertia, rooted in ignorance. It is imperative that security practitioners break down this barrier by communicating with decision makers in a way that empowers the decision maker. Consequently, valuable conversations about risk and threats can be grounded in conversations about reliability, resilience, safety, assurance and reputation. Security may not need to be mentioned and, in many cases, even raising the label of security can undermine initiatives that had security as an objective.

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Conclusion: This month there have been a high number of new senior appointments and workforce expansions in the IT service industry, flagging the need to monitor and change resources which support businesses if required. Whilst strategic planning and initiatives are central to business development, the need for an effective skills base to successfully implement plans in increasingly complex and unique environments, which change quickly, is clear. Both the skills base and the framework to maximise benefits are required. Regular assessments of a company’s human resources, and structures in place to utilise them to achieve business objectives, have also become crucial. Structures need to be sufficiently flexible to accommodate new and targeted skills required to support both business and fluid IT environments.

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Conclusion: The analysis of various and complex data sets could provide a catalyst for team collaboration. One of the challenges organisations will face in combining teams is setting out the conditions in which they will work together. Looking past obvious differences in background, or so-called professional culture, will be necessary to organise roles with the talents available.

Initially devise pilots to assess teams and roles and the value of the output. The development of data projects should produce quick benefits in terms of output and team cohesion. Understanding of the analytical insights should be shared widely in order for the benefits to reach as many within an organisation and bring change where it is needed.

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Conclusion: The high-risk and high-reward Agile approach for systems development enabled many organisations to respond quickly to changing management strategies and yielded significant productivity benefits, according to a 2015 survey1.

However the same survey found not everyone has been so successful, as lack of experience in using the Agile approach, and organisation resistance to change, have frustrated almost the same number of organisations.

Once IT and business management have decided that Agile is the right approach they must:

  • Champion and defend its use
  • Actively track progress and allocate extra resources to the project if justified
  • Provide a safe environment in which a retrospective review can be conducted
  • Widely disseminate the lessons learned from the review, including strategies that succeeded and failed, without attributing blame

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Conclusion: Advisor reviews of recent business cases evaluating Cloud contact centres (CC) show that any upgrade needs to be driven by a customer service business strategy (not just a technology refresh).

Cloud delivery has become the dominant technology for any new contact Centres for two main reasons:

  1. Simplified contact centre acquisition and operation, and

  2. The new paradigm supports a wide range of current and emerging business strategies by providing relatively direct and complete integration into related enterprise systems such as CRM, ERP and eCommerce platforms which are critical for service fulfilment and creating positive customer experiences (CX).

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Conclusion: Most IT professionals see Cloud as simply a replacement (sometimes even competition) for the tasks they do now – provide CPU cycles, storage and internal communications. Looking at Cloud through such a narrow lens is a big mistake. Cloud is not just a replacement for IT processes – it is a replacement for all business processes that are based on legacy in-house IT capabilities.

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Related Articles:

"Why In-House IT is not like Cloud" IBRS, 2016-03-01 05:05:35

Conclusion: Organisations that fail to develop the skills of their BAs, or give them intellectually challenging roles, are in danger of losing them and their corporate memory. BAs used wisely are often the glue holding complex projects together.

Use them to elicit and simplify business requirements, develop compelling business cases and redesign business processes and the investment will reap dividends. Allocating them mundane tasks and failing to involve them in critical decision making meetings will demotivate them and give them a reason to move on.

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Conclusion: Deployment of Office 365 as a pure Cloud solution has lagged the sales of Office 365 licences. This is partly due to lack of formal migration strategies, confusion over the licensing and user options1, although non-technical issues play a bigger role. To assist in the move to Office 365, IBRS has identified a framework that will assist organisations in their journey.

Read more ...

Related Articles:

"The journey of Office 365: A guiding framework Part 3: Post-implementation" IBRS, 2016-05-05 00:21:00

"The Journey to Office 365" IBRS, 2015-05-01 14:58:56

"The journey to Office 365: A guiding framework Part 1" IBRS, 2016-03-01 04:23:10

"The journey to Office 365: Part 4 – Skills" IBRS, 2016-06-02 00:26:00

Conclusion: Organisations often look to their competitors for new ideas and innovations and to provide a comparison to their own operations and business direction. Public sector organisations tend to look at other public sector organisations at different levels such as local, state or federal and public sector operations in other countries. Australia generally looks to Canada and the United Kingdom for advances in public sector administration and operations.

However, there are many lessons to be learned from other sectors and industries that could have significant benefit for individual organisations. Failure to identify and harvest the lessons and ideas from other industries will place organisations at a significant disadvantage in the future.

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Conclusion: Cost advantage can be achieved by firstly, estimating the existing services costs. Secondly, use cost effective external services. Thirdly, integrate services. Fourthly, retain cost advantage. This can be achieved by removing duplicated activities and influencing cost drivers.

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Conclusion: As cyber security gains awareness among business leaders, many organisations are undertaking new cyber risk management initiatives. However, these initiatives can be misdirected if business leaders are not clear on why they are doing them. On the journey to improving an organisation’s cyber security maturity, the question “why?” is a powerful tool to test alignment of security to business requirements.

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Conclusion: This month there has been a focus on supplier governance models based on the service integration and management (SIAM) approach which can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of IT environments. By establishing converged and hybrid technical foundations and utilising multiple suppliers significant benefits can be achieved. However such an approach may be problematic if disparate arrangements and processes for contract execution are employed. The SIAM approach provides a single and end-to-end user experience, despite multiple suppliers’ underlying IT functions. This type of model allows for greater efficiency and cost benefits, as well as faster IT overhauls for companies needing to increase capacity, upgrade, or wishing to access new technologies and solutions. However, the model also requires strong implementation partners for analysis and a strict system definition combined with strong management capabilities, to support a very tightly integrated environment where many components can operate as one entity.

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Conclusion: Since the inception of Bitcoin, the blockchain is now viewed as a potential technology improvement to many ordinary transaction and data storage functions. The financial sector has led the way, from investment banks to stock exchanges, but deployment of the blockchain has application in other industries. Its clear advantages may yield much efficiency leading to reduced costs. Organisations should examine how and when they might adopt the technology.

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Conclusion: CIOs continually wrestle with how to replace or modify failing core systems and having to convince management to invest in modernising them. They also know that ignoring a bad situation will probably cost the organisation more to fix the longer they postpone the replacement decision.

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Conclusion: Although virtualisation is widespread in computing and storage, software-defined everything (SDE) is 3–5 years away from broad adoption by enterprises. Early adopters are major ICT Service Providers and enterprises with specific opportunities.

Enterprise architects need to understand the implications of SDE now as Cloud and managed services projects using software-defined technologies ramp up, or risk becoming irrelevant and wedded to displaced traditional sourcing and delivery concepts.

Failure to appreciate the impacts of software-defined ICT will mean that businesses will be making planning and budget decisions today for ICT futures based only on current practices that are becoming superceded. 

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Conclusion: Cloud architectures offer a vast array of possibilities that are not an option for organisations limited to conventional IT solutions. Do not let infrastructure people convince the organisation they can match Cloud capabilities solely using legacy in-house resources

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Related Articles:

"Why in-house IT is not like Cloud (Part 2)" IBRS, 2016-04-01 05:08:33

When the leadership of IT and business management work well as a team there are few limits to what they can achieve in delivering services to clients. However for the teamwork to become a reality line management and IT professionals must put aside special interests and focus on implementing initiatives that deliver outcomes that meet the objectives of the organisation.

Agility is achieved when the team is able to quickly identify the source of a problem or business opportunity, corral their resources and expertise and respond with alacrity.

One area where teams struggle is identifying and putting into practice the guiding principles under which they will pool their resources.

This MAP is designed to guide and stimulate discussion between business and technology groups, and point the way for more detailed activity. It also provides links to further reading to support these follow-up activities.

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Conclusion: Deployment of Office 365 as a pure Cloud solution has lagged the sales of Office 365 licences. This is largely due to IT groups’ unfamiliarity with the Office 365 environment: unlike Office Professional, Office 365 can be run across new devices, provides real-time collaboration1 and offers new tools based on analytics. Simply replacing Office Professional with Office 365 will not deliver new value to the organisation: it will simply move the organisation from a CapEx to an OpEx model. Organisations should view Office 365 as a set of services that support the broader digital workspaces strategy. Organisations first identify the business benefits being sought and create a future state vision for end-user computing. Investments in Office 365 may then be used to support the digital workspace strategy, and a deployment plan developed.

To assist in deployment planning, IBRS has developed a framework that will assist organisations in their journey to Office 365.

Read more ...

Related Articles:

"The journey of Office 365: A guiding framework Part 3: Post-implementation" IBRS, 2016-05-05 00:21:00

"The Journey to Office 365" IBRS, 2015-05-01 14:58:56

"The journey to Office 365: A guiding framework Part 2 migration" IBRS, 2016-04-01 04:43:19

"The journey to Office 365: Part 4 – Skills" IBRS, 2016-06-02 00:26:00

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