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Sam Higgins

Sam Higgins  was an IBRS Advisor between August 2017 and January 2020 who had over 20 years of both tactical and strategic experience in the application of information and communications technology (ICT) to achieve business outcomes from large complex organisations. Through previous roles as a leading ICT executive, strategist, architect, industry analyst, program consultant and advisor, Sam has developed an extensive knowledge of key markets including as-a-Service (Cloud) computing, enterprise architecture (including service-orientation and information management), enterprise applications and development, business intelligence; along with ICT management and governance practices such as ICT planning, strategic sourcing, portfolio and project management. Sam’s knowledge of service-oriented architecture and associated business models is widely recognised, and he was a contributing author on the Paul Allen book Service-orientation: Winning Strategies and Best Practices, released in 2006 by Cambridge University Press. As the former Research Director for Longhaus he undertook the first in depth research into the implications of cloud computing and other “as-a-Service” ICT offerings on the Australian and near shore markets. The 2010 report entitled, Defining cloud computing highlights provider gaps in the Australian ICT market, was widely reported in both the online ICT industry press and mainstream media.

 IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.
 

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Conclusion: The release of Amazon’s Echo in 2014 heralded the first of a series of “ambient” technologies1. These new devices are unobtrusive, multiple purpose and capable of responding to conversational input through integration with virtual digital assistants (VDAs) such as Amazon’s Alexa.

A key enabler of these platforms is the ability to implement “skills” or expand the platform’s capability to interpret and respond with appropriate conversational content beyond the basic function of the device itself.

The consistency of information required by organisations under omni-channel delivery models, combined with under-resourced editorial teams, mean organisations must prepare for conversational channels by transforming existing content sooner rather than later.

Failure to do so will see history repeat itself through short-term replication of content to support new channels only to have that content and channel functionality merged back into increasingly sophisticated content management platforms at significant cost.


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IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.
 

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Conclusion: Technologists consistently under-estimate the growth of data volumes. The result is tactical actions aimed at increasing capacity achieved by adding storage on-premise using traditional bulk storage solutions or moving technical workloads, such as back-up or disaster recovery, to Cloud-based Storage-as-a-Service offerings. This reflects a decades-old mantra of “disk is cheap, buy more disk”.

When the lack of predictability of data volume growth is combined with the need to capture then distribute data from new sources as well as control the hidden cost of data movement across networks, these tactical responses fail to deliver transformational value to end users.

To deliver effective and efficient data storage solutions, IT infrastructure architects must collaborate with their information and data management colleagues to identify the demographics of data being managed1; they must then select storage solutions that optimise data capture, storage, distribution and access based on these characteristics, not simply by volume.


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Conclusion: Despite repeated audits pointing to failures by IT to deliver expected outcomes, organisations continue to publish IT plans that do not adequately address the fundamental dimensions of IT planning, being the IT Business Plan, IT Strategies and IT Program of Work.

These elements are often developed as a single composite document, but this approach fails to recognise that each dimension:

  • requires a different method of creation
  • is owned by different stakeholder groups
  • has a different purpose and audience
  • requires renewal on different cycles.

Failure to ensure that all dimensions are addressed presents risks to implementation both in terms of effective up-front investment selection as well as ongoing IT governance arising from gaps in critical decision-making information.

To avoid these risks, organisations should maintain the content of each IT planning element as a separate deliverable even if the desire, or requirement, is to regularly produce an “annually” updated composite document.


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Conclusion: The current wave of digital transformation will see the retirement of large numbers of legacy systems. Although the cost of operations, including storage of data, in newer Cloud-based solutions is often cheaper, the cost of migration of historical data to new platforms can be significant. IBRS has observed increasing numbers of digital transformation projects where the decision is being made to preserve legacy systems using back-up infrastructure techniques at the application and/or database level without any reference to regulatory records management requirements.

Many legacy systems were not designed with a long-term view of key business records and information they capture and generate, nor are back-up technologies designed for long-term archival and retrieval of individual records. The result of these strategies is the potential for access to official records and chains of evidence to be interrupted – a situation likely to be viewed by regulators and stakeholders as a failure of the organisation’s record-keeping obligations.


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Conclusion: When undertaking business-oriented transformation programs, such as the current wave of digital transformation, it is important for Enterprise Architects to develop an EA for IT in parallel – not as a separate or independent IT transformation effort.

Establishing the EA for IT requires that the IT organisation itself becomes the “enterprise” in context, ensuring that IT has a true business blueprint that reflects the needs of its wider organisational context. This will require that Enterprise Architects identify an effective set of contemporary reference models for what it means to deliver IT in an As-a-Service world.


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 IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.


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Conclusion: Despite increasing focus on information and data in an as-a-Service age, thought leadership in the data management discipline has waned. Today, few of the frameworks, methods and bodies of knowledge that emerged either from the data modelling fraternity or the records management community in the last decade remain active.

This leaves organisations seeking to address the impacts of increasing privacy regulation, cyber security risks from increased digital delivery or improving data integrity to support automation with only one real choice – the Data Management Association (DAMA)’s Data Management Book of Knowledge whose 2nd Edition (DMBoK2) has emerged after almost three years of international collaboration.

Despite the wait, DMBoK2 provides a much-needed update on an already solid foundation addressing contemporary issues with the exception of fully addressing the challenges of data science in its broadest form. Organisations seeking to comprehensively address data management would be well served by adopting DMBoK as a foundational model, thereby ensuring they have a single point of reference regardless of the specific outcomes or priorities that need to be addressed now or in the future.


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