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Conclusion: This month, the high activity in mergers and acquisitions has continued. However, there has been additional discussion on the impact of these acquisitions on the industry in general, as well as the high volume, and whether this type of activity could have a negative effect on the Australian market – in particular, if the current regulatory frameworks governing mergers and acquisitions are sufficient to protect competition and avert potential misuse of market power. It is critical that regulators are aware of industry trends and how new practices may affect the market, as well as be open to feedback from vendors that have direct experience with circumstances regulators may not be familiar with.

Conclusion: Relationships at work between managers and employees are important and can influence the success and effectiveness of individual teams or whole organisations. Both managers and employees need to understand the bias that can occur between a view a manager may take about an employee they have invested in and ‘hired’ or selected, versus an employee that is thrust upon them or that they inherit from another manager; for example, employees that join an organisation as the result of an acquisition.

When managers are ‘invested’ in the selection of employees, a relationship exists that reflects on the managers’ judgement and decision-making skills, having believed that they have made good hiring decisions. No such relationship exists when the managers have no involvement in the selection of the employees but are assigned to managing the employees.

The more that managers understand this, the better they can focus on avoiding viewing employees differently. The more that employees understand this, the better they can recognise potential issues, and work to improve their career prospects by ensuring they work for a manager that has ‘chosen’ them, or at least learnt to understand their abilities and contributions.

Conclusion: This month, a number of failures due to external vendor systems performing essential functions have been prominent. Disruption caused by these types of outsourced solution failures become disproportionate when they facilitate critical tasks conducted by consumers. Similarly, reactions can be disproportionate when tasks are deeply intertwined with others, such as government agencies requiring submissions of consumer information or reports to set schedules. These types of failures highlight the fragility of systems and the need for sturdy response measures in case of disruption – responses which must extend beyond technical and local issues, but also cater to practical matters. For instance, an acknowledgement from certain government agencies that consumers depend on vendors to fulfil regulatory requirements, and allowances from agencies when failures interfere with customers meeting their responsibilities to these agencies. Vendors require different layers of protection and responses. This includes dealing with externals and their associated issues that can increase difficulties of failures if not identified and factored into vendor response measures.

Conclusion: Successful businesses need their people to be productive and to perform well. Effective communication may assist i.e.suring they do. Effective communication is about thought leadership, defining a purpose, informing tasking and priorities and, most importantly, listening. Opportunities that impact productivity and the fiscal performance of organisations are often lost or not fully prosecuted due to poor communication. Poor communication will result in less than optimal planning or reduced time to react, causing the need to compromise. This, in turn, results in poor prioritisation, and i.e.erything is urgent, nothing gets the appropriate focus.

To communicate effectively at the personal, work unit and organisational levels requires a level of discipline in adherence to the basic principles of effective communication, which will lay the foundation for success.

Effective communication will improve productivity, reduce risk, reduce costs and reduce time to market. Effective communication will deliver line of sight for your strategic outcomes and in doing so will be a combat multiplier for your business.

Conclusion: This month, the number of tenders and plans has continued to grow, highlighting the important role projects play when it becomes necessary to replace legacy systems, capitalise on new or evolving solutions or simply adapt to changed business operations or environments. Customers understand that avoiding complacency and market disconnect is critical, yet this still exists, with project plans to replace technologies such as paper-based messaging or tape data storage being announced just this month. It is critical for vendors to provide advice and ongoing support for customers in order to strengthen and simplify migrations and transformation, and more importantly, identify project objectives and final goals when replacing legacy systems.

Conclusion: With both the NSW and commonwealth parliaments passing respective Modern Slavery Acts in 20181, there are now real implications and consequences for business leaders and their suppliers who ignore the risks of slavery within their supply chains.

Unlike the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act 2010 which applies to tangible goods offered for sale, Australian firms will need to disclose their efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their supply chain of both goods and services. This means at least 2,100 public and private firms2 have until 1 July 2019 to ask explicitly of suppliers, whether local or foreign, off-premise Cloud or on-premise device manufacturer: What are you and your organisation doing with respect to modern slavery risks?

For many organisations in Australia this will mean more than just adding new evaluation criteria to be applied to current and potential suppliers. Rather it requires providing an accurate attestation on the issue of modern slavery which will require lifting the hood on all manner of “as-a-Service” offerings. Thereby exposing aspects of service delivery that the majority of firms previously thought they no longer needed to concern themselves with, having “transferred” risks, such as those found in supply chains, to their vendor partners.

Conclusion: Finding superior talent has always been a challenge, even more so now. Traditional attraction and retention strategies still have value in most situations. However, there are novel ways to think about attracting talent in a digital world, including rethinking the need to attract talent at all by rethinking the business problem.

In many cases, technical skills can be taught on the job. What is harder to teach – and is therefore highly sought after – is the triple-crown of critical thinking, creativity in problem solving and curiosity. Consider putting those three characteristics at the top of the talent wish list and adapt existing recruitment practices to identify, attract and retain the right talent.

Conclusion: This month, discussions regarding rising costs associated with outsourcing have been prominent. Whilst benefits from outsourcing in the form of efficiency and financial savings have been clear for some time, customers can find that savings are not as high as expected due to increased complexities associated with new offerings and associated implementation. For instance, customers that moved to the Cloud for storage and compute solutions benefited from the large number of vendors in the market and more competition. However, as the market has matured, customers demand more sophisticated offerings to leverage new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. As a result, infrastructure and associated services have become more costly, coupled with add-ons and Software-as-a-Service costs. Whilst cost benefits remain a priority for customers, it is also important for thorough cost optimisation reviews, and the engagement of specialist services to rationalise and assist with the management and restraint of outsourcing expenses.

Conclusion: This month, discussions regarding offshoring initiatives have been prominent following announcements by two vendors that plans are in progress to send work overseas. Though offshoring can be beneficial in terms of cost and the ability to obtain talent not available in the local market, the approach can cause difficulties for organisations. For instance, local protest or a loss of customer confidence can arise due to perceptions that offshoring practices are simple cost-cutting efforts which come at the expense of quality service. However, offshoring initiatives can be critical to meet demands for vendors to provide new, quality offerings in a highly competitive environment. The need to go beyond the local market is driven by more than mounting staff costs. Although risks associated with cultural barriers or customer backlash exist, benefits can be significant when providing unique and high-quality offerings. Vendors must achieve a balance between local and overseas services, as well as maintaining a positive view of offshoring as more than a simple cost-cutting exercise which results in low quality service, to an exercise that can enhance offerings resulting in improved services.

Conclusion: This month, security issues and responses to threats specific to managed service providers have been discussed. Attacks on vendors can be particularly serious because of provider interaction with customer environments and access to information. These difficulties can be exacerbated by other issues facing vendors, such as obtaining additional resources from contractors, inexperience or lack of expertise with complex, unfamiliar environments. Recent attacks on service providers have raised concerns because of threats to customer environments, as well as flow-on effects such as uncertainties relating to vendors and difficulties establishing trust with customers. New programs, education and vendor collaboration have been launched to address provider-specific security issues. It has been recognised that establishing best practices and protocols to help avert, detect and respond to security threats is required in the industry.

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