ICT Strategy News

All our ICT, Telecommunications, Data Centre and Smart City News

ICT Strategy - Westpac CIO Curran warns ‘Big Tech’ is out of step

Vendors ‘slam dancing’, not delivering.

Westpac CIO Dave Curran spoke with iTNews  about Big Tech being out of step, which displays the importance of having a agile ICT Strategy with focus on delivery services and strategies that are inline with the business.

Strategic Directions have maintain our vendor independence, to ensure that we can focus on delivering the best outcome for our customers.  Not all product or solutions are a good fit for all organisations.

Speak with us today to a vendor independent review.

Vendors ‘slam dancing’, not delivering.

Source: Westpac CIO Curran warns ‘Big Tech’ is out of step – Finance – Strategy – Software – iTnews

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Gartner Strategic Planning Assumption 2022

Gartner predicts by 2022, as a result of digital business projects, 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the traditional, centralised data centre or cloud, up from less than 10% in 2018.

Key Findings

  1. Moving processing and content collection/delivery closer to the sources and consumers of information offers significant benefits and creates new business models.
  2. As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes mainstream, analytics will be needed at the edge of the network for real-time feedback and business process optimization. This will make the use of edge computing vital.
  3. The adoption of edge computing will be slowed by a lack of awareness of its benefits and a lack of skills in its use. Organisations that lag behind in addressing these issues will miss opportunities.
  4. Cloud computing and edge computing are complementary concepts, not competitive styles of computing. Organizations that use them together will gain the benefits of both centralized and decentralized approaches.

Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018: Cloud to the Edge

Source: Gartner Reprint

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Top 10 Technology Trends Impacting Infrastructure & Operations for 2018 - Smarter With Gartner

Interesting article from Gartner 

In 2018, IT will be increasingly tasked with supporting complex, distributed applications using new technologies that are spread across systems in multiple locations, including on-premises data centers, the public cloud and hosting providers.

David Cappuccio, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, says I&O leaders should focus on 10 key technologies and trends to support digital transformation.

I&O leaders should focus on 10 key technologies and trends to support digital transformation.

Source: Top 10 Technology Trends Impacting Infrastructure & Operations for 2018 – Smarter With Gartner

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Mobile devices a necessity in today's business world - TrackVia blog

The technologies and policies to enable this requires a carefully designed and executed strategy.

This article from looking at “Keep flexible and carry on: policies for a mobile workforce”

Key Findings

  • Workforce mobility is a useful tool for talent acquisition in a competitive market.
  • Change management and collaborative technologies are key.
  • Businesses must ensure remote workers heed cyber security advice.

Securing staff with the right technical skills is high on the agenda for Australian businesses. PwC’s 2015 Global CEO Survey showed that concerns over availability of key skills are at an eight-year high among business leaders. With 44% of jobs at risk from digital disruption in the next 20 years, to ensure future prosperity we must not only attract the right talent but employ policies to retain them, too.

Last week, Business Insider reported on what may seem as a radical approach to stop tech talent from leaving: allowing staff to work abroad for three months every year.

HR director for Melbourne-based start-up Envato, James Law, told the publication: “If an Australian company can open up the world as a backdrop for work and professional development, great workers are less likely to feel that traditional pull of heading offshore to grow their careers […] Flexibility promotes agility, which we’ll need to compete and thrive”

Whilst three months’ absence may be outside the scope of many enterprises, flexible working is without doubt a growing feature of the tech business landscape. What are the considerations for catering to a mobile workforce?

Source:Keep flexible and carry on: policies for a mobile workforce

Workers are increasingly using smartphones and mobile devices to conduct their business, making mobile virtualization a legitimate and necessary option.

Source: Mobile devices a necessity in today’s business world – TrackVia blog

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New Technologies Will Drive ICT Spending Back to Double the Rate of GDP Growth, According to IDC | Business Wire

The changing workforce and the thirst for technology, smarter devices, better customer service and the desire for instant transactions, the desire for companies to become more agile and responsive is becoming more of a focus now than ever before.

Total worldwide ICT spending will grow from $4.3 trillion in 2016 to $5.6 trillion by 2021, according to a new IDC Worldwide Black Book forecast.

A large proportion of this spending will come from the fast-growing IoT market, which is forecast to reach almost $1.3 trillion in annual revenue by 2020, of which more than $1 trillion represents new opportunity outside of traditional technology market categories (devices, infrastructure, software, services, and telecom)

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Are you investing in IoT for 2020

With the increasing demand for technology and ICT expenditure expecting to hit 5.5 trillion by 2020, companies are considering their telecommunications strategy for the next 5 years.

One of the drivers for this is the growth is the Internet of Things (IoT). As electronic sensors are the enabler for IoT we can look at the investment in this area and according to PwC’s 6th Annual Digital IQ survey of nearly 1,500 business and technology executives, the IoT movement is underway

Top 10 industries investing in sensors
31% Automotive
25% Industrial
22% Hospitality
20% Healthcare
20% Retail
18% Entertainment
17% Technology
13% Financial services

This graph shows the IoT spending evolutions from 2016 – 2021

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DCW Event Preview - Data Centre World London 2018

The largest and best attended data centre event for business returns in March 2018 for a 10th year edition. 2017 brought 19,926 (BPA number) senior decision makers from across the technology ecosystem together, alongside 500 leading suppliers and 600 world-class speakers from across the globe. 2018 is already on its way to exceed all previous years figures.

Source: DCW Event Preview – Data Centre World London 2018 – Data Centre World, the world’s largest, most influential gathering of data centre expertise

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Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity

Business continuity and disaster recovery planning (DR/BC) is something Strategic Directions have been helping clients with for over 14 years.

The importance for organisations to ensure they have appropriate recovery provisions for not only natural disasters but Power Failures, IT Software Failure, Human Error and Hardware Failure is critical – you need to have a plan to deal with all levels of disruption.

In such an event, companies need to not just look at the loss of data, revenue, IT services but reputation with employees, suppliers and customers.

All organisations have experienced some form of disaster, but it is those organisations that have a current DR/BC plan in place that deal with these effectively, reducing the impact to business operations, staff and customers.

The cost to business caused by potential disasters can be devastating, but worse is having to explain how this has happened to people affected, your staff, business partners and most importantly customers.

Five Questions to Ask Yourself?

Can you locate your DR/BC Plan?
What are your aspects of critical service and how quickly must they be recovered
Customer Services (Phone, Email)
Employee Services (Distribution, File Access)
Team Responsibilities (Who is in your DR Team)
Communication Assets (What is your plan dealing with media?)
Are you certain your data is protected, recoverable, assessable and what is your data recovery time?

Vendor Independent with local skills and global knowledge Strategic Directions are happy to discuss your DR/BC plan to see if it will ensure the impact on your business is acceptable in the event of a disaster.

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Outstanding Educational Opportunities in a Vendor- Neutral Environment March 12 – 15, 2018, San Antonio, Texas, USA

With more than 3500 professionals worldwide, and member organisations that include many Fortune 500 Companies and other Multinationals around the globe, AFCOM has gained a reputation for hosting one of the world’s best annual Data Center Educational Forums – “DATA CENTER WORLD”.

Founded many years ago as a vendor independent group of data centre professionals – AFCOM now has Chapters in many cities in North America and in other Countries (including Australia.)

Any professional Manager, with responsibilities relating to data centres, should seriously consider attending this blue ribbon IT Event at least once. More than 30% of attendees are Directors, while most attendees have very senior status in their organisations.

The conference has several vertical channels including:-

  1. Infrastructure Technologies
  2. Data Centre Design and Development
  3. Data Centre Management and Operation
  4. Data Centre Strategies and Trends
  5. Security, Data Sovereignty and Risk Management
  6. What’s next – future issue to consider

The Conference also hosts an outstanding Vendors Exhibition, where many of the world’s leading Data Centre Suppliers show their current and future offerings. There are also many opportunities to network with other data centre executives (who not surprisingly have the same problems or issues confronting them.) Many contacts remain long after you get back – in some cases can become life-long friends.

The key words for this Conference are “vendor – neutral”, guaranteeing an environment free of vendor influences (although most vendors are exhibitors – allowing you time to chat with them and see what they have to offer, if you so wish!) AFCOM goes to extraordinary lengths to maintain an independent stance and many of the presentations / learning sessions are given by end users, who are able to share their experiences with other users. There are some vendors invited to present – however, they are engaged to talk about specific technologies, rather than making a straight out sales pitch. Any vendor who abuses this privelidge is prohibited from further presentations.

Strategic Directions has been an active member of AFCOM for several years and established the Group in Australia in the mid 90’s. Our Director, Mike Andrea has for several years been a Director of the prestigious AFCOM DATA CENTER Institute, (the only Director outside North America.) The Board consists or several of the most senior data centre executives from major companies such as HP, and BICK, and provides thought leadership to the data centre industry through a series of white papers and other research.

Strategic Directions Executives attend every Conference and have presented on many occasions. The Company   has been a Strategic Partner of AFCOM, here in the Asia Pacific Region for some years.

The company is often accompanied by senior representatives of Australian Companies, Federal and State Agencies. We are able to guide the attendees to the presentations that are of particular interest to them, and the “aussie contingent” regularly catch up for meals and networking opportunities.

If you or anyone from your team would like to attend, contact Strategic Directions at or log on to the Data Center World website at  :-

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Cloud Computing Challenges

Cloud Computing Challenges – the experts all agree – plan carefully and avoid unnecessary pain!

A recent look at Cloud commentators around the world – confirmed what we at Strategic Directions already knew. (Eureka!!)

3 Internationally respected (but totally unrelated) Cloud Forum Organisations all agreed that one of the major concerns to customers when moving to the cloud was:-

Lack of resources and expertise                          (Open Cirrus :- )

Lack of resources and expertise                         (Cloud Tweaks :- )

People and Processes                                           (Forbes Technology Council :- )

The internationally regarded Forbes Technology Council comments “it’s critical not to get caught up in the hype….do proper planning.” Forbes offers firsthand insights on technology and business from elite CIOs, CTOs and other executives. They asked some of their senior members to identify challenges they thought a business might have to overcome when moving its operations to the cloud. This is what the executives (all from different organisations) had to say:-

  • Getting the solution right from a myriad of options
  • People and processes
  • Having a defined Strategy and associated Business Objectives
  • Getting over the psychological barriers (trusting your decision)
  • Time, cost and security challenges
  • Not getting caught up in the hype
  • Change Management issues (as with any major IT Project)
  • Dependable technological infrastructure
  • Accurately estimating the true costs of service
  • Avoid too much modification or customisation
  • One of the biggest challenges is translating your security posture to the cloud environment
  • The financial model – plan wisely!
  • Connecting legacy systems – they are most often not “cloud ready”


We note a very interesting point here !  The vast majority of the concerns identified have nothing to do with the actual technology!


This is not to demean Cloud solutions – the benefits are well known – merely to emphasise the “associated” issues that any organisation needs to be aware of, but which are often “lost in the translation.”


Other challenges identified by Open Cirrus included the lack of standards, different terminologies between vendors, lack of clear guidelines regarding the operations of cloud providers. Also, they note, bringing hybrid cloud infrastructure into the mix has made it even harder for organisations to determine the best choice.

The bottom line is – get objective advice and guidance before “setting sail” upon uncharted waters!

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Data Breaches

Mandatory Disclosure and Statutory Notification a wakeup call for Business – November 2017


Recent news articles have highlighted the seriousness with which the Federal Government is treating Data Breaches affecting Australian organisations.

This follows hot on the heels of the recent announcement that the Federal Government is planning to invest up to $140 m into an “industry led” cooperative research centre focussing on cybersecurity.


The government has just released a draft of the statement it expects organisations to file if they suffer a data breach after February 2018. Under laws passed last year, organisations will have to report a data breach as soon as practicable, including its severity, the type of breach (financials, government and tax details and other “sensitive” information), and the estimated harm to those impacted.  The OAIC (Office of the Australian Information Commissioner) will collect and publish statistics in connection with the scheme, with a view to reviewing this approach 12 months after the scheme’s commencement. Comment on the draft statement is accepted until 23rd October this year.


AGC Networks Australia recently hosted a group of C-Level executives to discuss the upcoming requirements. Concerns that were identified relating to this new Legislation included:-

  1. What to do to comply with the new requirements
  2. The extent of the data they are expected to collect
  3. Defining “breach vs compromise” and what exactly constitutes “serious harm”
  4. Agreement that Cyber Security is not just an IT risk – it is a Business risk and a Board risk

In the end, the discussion group agreed that the following actions needed attention in the future:-


  1. While focus on the notification process is important, organisations need to focus on prevention in the first place….
  2. Contracts and Service Agreements need review in consideration of the legislation….
  3. Incident management plans are vital, but this is part of the cyber security strategy and prevention is still the first step…..


These recent initiatives underline the fact that cyber security is no longer associated only with military, government or large corporate targets. All organisations are at risk, and must proactively consider the security and privacy of their ICT services and the customer / supplier information they manage.


A crucial part of any organisation’s strategic plan MUST recognise the very real threat of cyber-attack, including prevention in the first instance, ongoing management and monitoring, and recovery once a legitimate breach has been identified.

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Three Key Components for Managing Cloud Services

The traditional train of thought to managing vendors is changing with the wider adoption of cloud services. Partnerships are key for business critical ICT services; as is transparency as to both what the organisation expects and how the vendor proposes to provide the service.


Management of cloud based services requires a change in thought regarding the construct of three key components being; contracts, relationship and performance management.


Contracts:  The contract must address the relationship, based on the vendor type, required by the organisation.  Vendor’s relationships under service based contracts for ICT services require more performance based with outcomes defined rather than products specified, well defined inter-vendor dependencies and integration points, not just with the organisation but its partners also.


Relationships: The more strategic the partner (ie. the greater reliance the customer has on it), the greater the risk to the organisation of things were to go wrong. It is important to categorise your vendors and manage each category accordingly e.g. a Legacy or commodity cloud service could be deemed as low risk whereby a new or strategic partner should have a higher focus from the outset of the vendor management function as it will deliver the highest return in terms of strategic business outcomes but also introduce higher risks that require mitigation.


Performance: The cloud vendor must be accountable for the delivery of services in a similar manner to the organisations IT manager being accountable for the delivery for an on premise service. Vendors must be performance managed over the life of the services contract against agreed criteria to ensure the organisation is achieving optimal performance from their cloud services.  As important as it is to agree performance criteria during the establishment of a contract it is of utmost importance that the organisation understands the criteria and has the ability measure it.  Performance must be measured and reported against agreed KPI’s – and the services contract should include penalties on the service provider commensurate with the lost value or productivity to the organisation noting that incentives and rewards should be considered for the vendor exceeding the KPI’s and increasing organisation value or productivity (e.g. positive media releases regarding the success of the service).


Organisations must understand the varying levels of control they will have across public, private and hybrid cloud solutions for managing their cloud service contracts, relationships and performance. Understanding this in advance will significantly increase the likelihood that an organisation will select the correct cloud service model to support their business needs whilst aligning to their business risk appetite.


The traditional models of vendor management have changed. Three key components can ensure successful cloud deployments, reduce the risk of excess costs and ensure the organisations data integrity is maintained and is accessible through all stages of the cloud service agreement.

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