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8 Key Ingredients for a Future-proof IT Roadmap

9 May 2018

When a software glitch during an upgrade brought down Woolworths’ cash registers, shops around the country had to close. The company had no way to collect payment, and shoppers with full trolleys were asked to walk away. It was another reminder that IT is the nervous system of every business. When it fails, the business fails. And as every CIO knows, the pace of change isn’t slowing, which means the IT roadmap is more critical than ever.

So what are the ingredients of a future-proof IT roadmap?

1. A holistic view of the company’s future state

The roadmap’s description of the company’s future state needs the size the company will be and where it will have locations.

It also needs to consider whether hardware will need to have the capacity to be updated, for instance, to make it cloud compatible in the future.

Many new applications are cloud-based, and regulation demands that they are hosted on shore.

The cheapest solution today might not deliver the cheapest cost of ownership if it’s not scalable or adaptable to the future state.

2. Investigating further than like-for-like replacement

Sometimes an IT upgrade is a matter of a like-for-like replacement. A server might just be swapped for a faster one, one with more capacity or both. But every investment is made to solve a problem, and nowhere more than in IT is it possible that new ways to solve that problem have been conceived since your last investment.

Once the roadmap process has identified a problem, there should be an investigation of possible solutions, not just a pricing exercise for the latest version of the old solution.

3. Contract suitability

Leasing, buying, renting… Every model has pros and cons, different business impacts. The IT roadmap needs to include internal and external analysis. Contracts should be reviewed, and external benchmarks checked, to determine the optimal purchasing strategy.

4. Software compatibility

There is a trend towards questions of configuration rather than customisation when it comes to software. Customisation tends to be complicated and, expensive. It takes people and resources to maintain customisation where relying on appropriate configuration out of the box is leaner. Customisation can also stifle the upgrading process because upgrades are usually for out-of-the-box solutions.

Also, when choosing software, there is the apparent need for an investigation of compatibility. Systems that don’t talk to each other are a costly drain on the most expensive resource for most businesses—staff time—and they lead to a higher rate of errors.

5. Software scalability

Software, like hardware, might need to be scalable if growth or right sizing is on the agenda. It’s important to understand what the contract says about user seats—whether, for instance, there are limits on the numbers of concurrent users—and expectations regarding support and frequency of upgrades.

6. Security

Your IT roadmap should discuss your security plans, and whether you plan to test your defences. It’s important to have a security policy developed by an expert. That policy will be the standard against which your IT procurements are assessed. Do they meet your parameters for risk, for instance?

7. Internal resource capability

Offices might still be aiming for paperless, but people less isn’t even on the radar for IT. You need people to install, maintain and support your systems, so your roadmap must look at the capabilities of the people you have. Do they have the knowledge they need to do what’s required today? And do they know how to do what will be required within the horizon of your roadmap? If there are gaps, can they be addressed by training or do you need a recruitment strategy?

8. Supplier assessment

An avenue of efficiency that should always be explored is whether your top suppliers can provide more services than they are. Consolidating suppliers often delivers better value through streamlining services into a single contract for efficiency and transparency. And of course, buying more from one supplier creates opportunities to negotiate better pricing and quality of service.

Capturing a vision built on research

A comprehensive IT roadmap brings together the business strategy and the vision of the CIO and the IT department about how to support that strategy. It’s built on research into what’s possible and what’s being done in the industry. We have extensive experience in aligning management plans to the IT roadmap to facilitate painless execution and procurement. We know how to bring diverse business units into the discussion about the vision, and how to present the particulars of the options available.

If you need expert help with the IT roadmap to provide market insights or tender activities, contact: Allan Ho, Senior Category Manager, Mutual Marketplace. t: 07 3493 3888 | m: 0434 22 66 88 | e: aho@mmpl.com.au  or John Smith, Procurement Manager t: 08 7099 8630| m: 0430 847803 | e: jsmith@mmpl.com.au

Annooncements - Office Leasing

5 Avoidable Costs That Might Be Hiding in Your Next Retail Lease

23rd March 2018

 

The rent for a retail space is the usually the number that’s front and centre when negotiating with a landlord. But the spotlight on rent makes it easier to miss significant costs that might be hiding in the shadows.

These are just five of the clauses you might overlook while you’re focussing on getting rents down.

1. How often will you have to refit your branch?
Landlords want their shopping centres looking good (and so do you), but what does that mean regarding how often you’re expected to fit out. It could be as often as every 12 months and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

2. How good is good?
You expect every lease will have a make-good clause; otherwise, tenants could just walk out at the end of the lease, throwing the keys over their shoulders. But there’s good, and there’s good as new. If you’re not careful to specify a standard during lease negotiations, you might find yourself agreeing to onerous terms. We’ve seen landlords try to mandate putting in glass that has to come from overseas or lavish floor coverings.

3. Unforeseen restrictions
Seemingly simple clauses can cause headaches for credit unions and mutuals. A common clause may restrict putting anything in the tenancy shop glass facing the mall. Sounds reasonable until you consider that could prevent you putting in an ATM.

4. Additional running costs
Malls are open when credit unions and mutuals usually are not—weekends and late nights on Thursdays. For obvious reasons, landlords would like all their tenants to be open to ensure there’s as much going on as possible. If that doesn’t work for you, it’s something you have to deal with during lease negotiations.

5. A little more outgoing than there should be
In addition to your rent, landlords will expect contributions to other aspects of running the mall. When you know what to look for, you know what to specify in your lease as included (and to be covered by an auditor’s report). We’ve seen tenants unwittingly agreeing to or paying for things through outgoings that weren’t agreed, such as structural repairs and capital items (assets) and some statutory costs when the landlord will have the ongoing benefit of these, not necessarily the tenant.

Using your leverage
It might seem like your options are limited when you want space in the limited number of malls that offer high foot traffic and a brand aligned to yours. But it cuts both ways. Mutuals and credit unions are desirable tenants, and there are ways to use that to your advantage when you know how.
It can take a whole team months to negotiate efficient, cost-effective leases in shopping centres. The key is to make sure you’ve got people on your team who know where to shine the spotlight, what to do when they don't like what they see and how to avoid excessive legal costs down.

If you’re thinking about negotiating with a landlord for a retail lease for your mutual or credit union, contact us to find out how we can keep your costs down—both during the negotiation and throughout your tenancy.

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Business people sitting at office desk, putting puzzle pieces together, finding solution, high angle view.

Strategic Acquisition By Mutual Marketplace

2nd March 2018

SUCCESS STORY CONTINUES

Procurement company Mutual Marketplace today announced the successful acquisition of Indue Limited’s property management business, which procures and manages office and branch properties for credit unions and other mutual financial institutions.  

This strategic acquisition creates exciting opportunities for Mutual Marketplace to grow its nationwide platform and support Australia’s broad network of Mutuals with professional source-to-pay services into the future.

Significant Growth

Since its inception 10 months ago − as a joint venture by two of Australia’s largest credit unions People’s Choice Credit Union and Credit Union Australia Limited − Mutual Marketplace has been consistently delivering improved procurement outcomes to the mutual sector. The acquisition of Indue’s impressive property portfolio will further strengthen the company’s mission to deliver practical solutions across the procurement process by delivering best practices that yield positive results and drive savings.  

The purchase of Indue’s property management business, renamed Mutual Marketplace Property Pty Ltd, opens up countless possibilities for Mutual Marketplace to expand its activities into a large diversity of categories, building on what Indue has achieved while providing additional value for customers.   

“Delivering aggregation benefits to our clients is always at the forefront of our business so we are excited about the breadth of scale this opportunity provides. Indue has built many commercial alignments and we will continue the good work they’ve started.”

Richard Austin | General Manager

Roadshow

Meeting their new customers is a priority for the team at Mutual Marketplace. A national roadshow is scheduled to commence on Monday 5 March to share the company’s vision and methodology.  

“At Mutual Marketplace, we focus on improving the lives of our customers and we achieve this by making buying decisions easier and more intelligent. We pride ourselves on delivering enhanced procurement outcomes to make our customers more cost-efficient, enabling them to focus their energy on helping members achieve their financial aspirations.”

Richard Austin | General Manager