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Conclusion: When scanning the market to find new solutions or vendors, it is usual to consider who else uses the solutions, the size of the organisation and their customer base. Vendors often publish examples of clients that use their solutions, and particularly like highlighting those clients that represent well-known global or local brands.

Whilst being nice to know, the details provided are usually very shallow, and should never be relied on in terms of influencing a buying decision. It will take a significant effort to get any details that may actually help a project team, and in many cases, the detail will simply not be available.

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Conclusion: When multiple application software vendors claim they have the solution to an organisation’s requirements, challenge them to prove it by demonstrating their product’s differentiators and ability to process use cases.

To make the right buying decision, clients must insist the demonstration stretch the software’s functionality and the vendor’s grasp of its nuances. If this is not done, the likelihood of a wrong buying decision looms.

Vendors that do not know their software’s capabilities intimately, or are ill prepared to demonstrate them, should be rated accordingly and, unless there are mitigating circumstances, omitted from the final round in the procurement process. Vendors that are comfortable in demonstrating the software’s functionality and its ability to meet an organisation’s requirements should be seriously considered for inclusion in the final round of the procurement exercise.

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Conclusion: All organisations have technology partners. Some will have long standing partners and some technology partners will play the role of innovation lead or be responsible for introducing new technologies to their customers. However, relying on these traditional technology partners may prevent organisations from achieving digital transformation goals and may even be detrimental to innovation objectives. Organisations that are successful in the digital era will use innovation as a strategic, systemic and technological lever for establishing and supporting agile innovation cultures, new accountable business management practices and processes, and establish or participate in global industry eco-systems. This means being a capable and proactive organisation and knowing how to utilise technology partners without being led by them.

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Conclusion: Vendors use sales incentives, such as bonuses or rewards, as levers to focus the behaviour or outcomes of their sellers or channel partners. Many vendors work on quarterly results for their sellers, and set sales incentives for these periods. Vendors view sales bonuses and incentives as levers that they can put in place to try to drive a specific focus, or specific sales results.

Being aware of the existence of these incentives can help an organisation understand that incentives may be driving the negotiations approach that a vendor may be prepared to take, and on what solutions are being offered.

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Conclusion: Organisations that by law must issue open tenders for systems solutions know they will be inundated with multiple responses and spend scarce work days assessing them. Staff involved in the process also know that many solutions proposed are not practical and, even if they are, often doubt the vendor has the capacity and capability locally to implement them.

The alternative, if not required to issue an open tender, is to conduct a market scan and qualify vendors with a viable solution and the ability to implement it. Having qualified them, they can send them a tender knowing they can probably meet its requirements. If this approach is adopted, there is the risk a potential vendor might have been overlooked.

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As outlined in “Human Capital Management Solutions: Why your ICT Group needs to get involved with HR right now” (IBRS, 2017) vendors are increasingly offering capabilities right along the spectrum of human capital management (HCM), starting with recruitment, through learning and performance management, to succession planning. This infographic provides a snapshot of vendors key strengths within the HCM. This Infographic is a useful starting point for conversations with HR professionals as to the HCM areas that may be worth considering in the short, mid and longer term, and links this discussion to product selection.

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Conclusion: ICT vendors compete to gain the loyalty of channel partners to take their products to market. Vendors often run channel programs that reward partners for specific behaviours and results, which can give specific partners an upper hand in competitive situations.

When organisations go to market to purchase specific technologies, they often seek out several quotes or proposals in an endeavour to ensure costs are competitive and reasonable.

Whilst pricing should not be the only factor in choosing a supplier, organisations should be aware of the way partner relationships work with vendors and how this may influence pricing and other outcomes.

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Conclusion: Paying for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) which is kept on-premises, but paid for on an Opex model rather than as a Capex outlay, is often positioned as ‘Cloud-like’. There can be use cases and specific workloads where this model makes sense and does give some advantages to the organisation.

However, on-premises management of an organisation’s own Cloud can be lacking in the degree of flexibility and pace of innovation that can be achieved when compared to some of the larger and more successful public Cloud offerings such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.

Organisations need to weigh up specific use cases and workloads and determine the optimal balance of when to use ‘on-premises’ Cloud versus public Cloud.

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Conclusion: For the first time, Google has articulated a comprehensive go-to-market strategy for enterprise Cloud services. While the company has the technology and scale needed, it is only now outlining why organisations may wish to consider the Google Cloud Platform. Google will create a direct data centre presence in Australia in 2017 and is rapidly building a global services partner ecosystem. Google’s strengths (and weaknesses) compared to its two competitors, AWS and Azure, are well-reflected in its enterprise strategy. Google’s most significant announcements were not related to products, but rather its plans to address enterprise clients and develop a robust partner ecosystem. Australian organisations planning new Cloud initiatives for late 2017 or early 2018 may consider Google a viable option for enterprise Cloud infrastructure, though it will take another 12 months for Google’s local partner network to mature.

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Conclusion: Organisations deal with an array of ICT vendors, resellers, integrators or service providers. Prudent organisations will establish formal Supplier Relationship Management procedures to systematically manage the organisations’ interactions with suppliers, with goals of streamlining procedures and maximising effectiveness and value in these dealings.

Not all suppliers are equal in value, and SRM approaches for each should be measured in the effort applied.

A really effective SRM approach should enable an organisation to foster and grow strategic relationships with key suppliers capable of helping the organisation, for example, in driving competitive advantage. This would mean viewing the relationship with key suppliers as an asset and managing it as such. Organisations should also be aware of the risks in having too few strategic relationships which may stifle innovation or value over time.

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In the News

New cyber security rules reset $8b cloud marketplace - Financial Review - 26 July 2020

Philip Nesci, IBRS adviser and former CIO, has warned that agencies will need to get their information management sorted out to capitalise on the new rules. ‘‘Agencies need to identify their...
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Australia can build a culture of employee-led innovation - DropEverything - 24 July 2020

IBRS advisor Dr. Joseph Sweeney discusses why it falls to individuals to look at improving their work in a post-COVID world. Dr. Sweeney comments on the need to build a culture of innovation that...
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Outdated work from home policies bog down Aussie businesses - Computer Reseller News - 6 April 2020

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Centrelink crashes under demand for crisis payments - Australian Financial Review - 23 march 2020

IBRS workforce transformation advisor Joseph Sweeney said many government departments had to navigate difficult IT environments that were only part-way through their digital transformations, with...
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Inside EY's security work at ANZ - Australian Financial Review - 3 March 2020

"There is more security work to go round than there are resources. So I don't think the market is that crowded. It's important to remember that security is not something you buy and then it's done;...
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