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Conclusion: Astute CIOs and business managers must consider not only which COTS (Commercial off the Shelf) vendor best meets their needs, but also how to best deploy the solution. This is because many vendors not only offer a mix of on-premises or private Cloud or SaaS (Software as a Service) solution but due to a limited local presence may lack the capability to implement it.

A further complication in the debate is that many COTS solutions are functionally mature which often means the selection decision hinges on their meeting qualitative and non-functional requirements.

Conclusion: Learning Management Solutions, Talent Management Solutions and Performance Management Solutions are increasingly offered as Cloud-based SaaS services and are merging into a single product category: Human Capital Management. For Australian organisations, this is both a blessing and a curse. In the long term, it will lessen the need to integrate previously disparate solutions. In the short term, it means that selecting a solution to meet a specific need – say creating and delivering eLearning resources to the workforce – must factor potential future needs of the workforce and the broader issues of Human Capital Management. ICT groups need to proactively provide guidance and governance to HR around the selection of solutions for all areas of Human Capital Management.

Conclusion: Automation is understood to facilitate repetitive but essentially simple tasks. In conjunction with general purpose machine intelligence, virtual personal assistants and technologies leveraging artificial intelligence, automation will expand into more operational roles.

As the technologies improve, the potential applications will expand and play a larger marketing role.

Conclusion: Data overload and the ease of accessing various types of data has created a problem of what to use and where. This is manifested in the choices of analysis which tend to the facile, such as Return on Investment, which can be applied universally even when it is not strictly applicable. Furthermore, the relative priority of some types of measurement, and in which cases, is vague. It is not always feasible to strive for the absolute solution, such as the comprehensive view, and therefore a graded and qualified response is more pragmatic.

Conclusion: Opposition to workplace change stemming from the organisation’s digital strategy agenda1 is inevitable. Astute IT managers expect it and identify initiatives to minimise opposition.

Digital strategy (or transformation) initiatives typically generate both overt and covert workplace resistance. Its sources may vary from situations such as:

  • Senior managers who fear that failure could adversely impact their career
  • Overworked middle managers claiming they cannot cope with more workplace change
  • IT professionals maintaining legacy systems not prepared to learn new skills.

Managers responsible for driving digital strategy agenda must identify where resistance is likely and determine how to minimise it. Assuming no resistance to it is unwise. Alternately, continually questioning the agenda may not reflect opposition but an indication staff are determining how to best implement it.

Conclusion: The options for processing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) range from on premises to managed services to public Cloud to SaaS (Software as a Service). The attributes of all the solutions, including the risks, costs and benefits, can appear overwhelming and may persuade risk averse senior management to make an expedient decision and keep the status quo.

IT managers must engage their risk averse peers and force them to think through the issues and make a strategic, rather than an expedient, decision as whatever they decide will have long-term ramifications.

Conclusion: Just as every marketable motor vehicle needs skilful designers and a proficient driver to reach its destination, an organisation needs visionary leaders and skilled staff to digitally transform its business model.

Technology, whilst important, represents just one wheel of the motor vehicle. Overstating technology’s value is simplistic. Vendors who promote technology, and their solution, as the cornerstone of the digital transformation strategy do themselves a disservice.

Conclusion: In a rapidly changing business environment driven by demand for enhanced client services and immediate access to business data, CIOs who can deliver what is needed will thrive. Conversely CIOs unable to meet the CEO’s and Board’s transformation objectives and leverage service providers could quickly find themselves redundant.

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.

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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