A Quiz Night by Bremmar Consulting: A Winner for the Kids of Cahoots

 

Perth, WA – Thursday night, 05/11, proved to be a winner all round for Perth based non-profit charity Cahoots, with their highly anticipated quiz night raising over $1k to support people living with disabilities and other exceptional challenges. The night was organised by Cahoots’ IT partner, Bremmar Consulting, and attracted 50 attendees to test their knowledge and wits in the leafy surrounds of the West Leederville sportsman’s club. 

An NDIS provider, Cahoots has run a variety of inclusive services, including camps, day trips, sporting events, shopping delivery and training over the last 30 years. Events such as the quiz night are one of the premier ways through which Cahoots are able to continue to operate so successfully. 

The initiative was part of another fundraising activity that Bremmar took part in – The Central Park Plunge. Paul and Brenton from Bremmar committed to raise a minimum of 2200 dollars for Cahoots by abseiling 50 floors, the equivalent of 220 meters, of the Central Park Building in St Georges Tce. All proceeds raised on the quiz night helped to reach the fundraising goal and, consequently, to sponsor 9 very deserving individuals to attend Cahoots camps and programs. 

Cahoots Office Manager & EA, Ash Ginich was the quizmaster and couldn’t be happier with the night, saying “We’re so happy with the way the entire event turned out. Firstly, we were able to raise funds for Cahoots, it’s so important that we can keep bringing hope, training and support to kids and young people around WA facing exceptional challenges. Secondly, and as an added bonus, I think we were able to raise some smiles from the big kids that attended. A big thank you to Bremmar IT for spearheading the initiative”. 

And the kids weren’t the only big winners, with the top teams and raffle draw winners taking home incredible prizes including google homes, movie passes, wine and wireless headphones donated to the cause by Perth SEO specialists Pathfinder Alliance and Bremmar IT

It wasn’t simply a quiz either. The night also included a huge BBQ spread and a variety of games and activities – from raffles to paper plane throwing competitions. “It was a really great night and we felt really lucky to be a part of it and to help raise funds for such a worthy cause,” said. Bremmar’s Managing Director, Brenton Harris.

The quiz night’s success has also opened the door to further family friendly Cahoot events. “Given the overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees and staff, as well as the incredible result, we’re sure that this will be the first of many events for us. We can’t wait!” stated Bremmar’s Marketing Manager, Gabriela Guerra.

About Cahoots

Cahoots (formerly Kids’ Camps) is a non-for-profit charity that offers services that are tailored to young people who would otherwise be constrained by regular services. Our aim is to add value to families with disabilities and create shared experiences and challenges for volunteers and young people alike.

We run a variety of programs and camps over weekends and school holidays throughout the year, catered to children and young people aged between 5 and 25. We run programs for children who are able to walk unassisted, as well as High Support Camps for those who need one-to-one support or use a wheelchair.

For more information on the charity work of Cahoots please visit: https://www.cahoots.org.au/

We are here to help NFPs!

Bremmar is a Microsoft Gold Cloud Productivity partner with 15 years’ experience in a range of Microsoft solutions. We help our NFP clients work smarter by making sure everyone is empowered with useful, intuitive technology solutions.

Whether it’s simply making it easier for team members to find files fast, or enabling collaboration across locations and multiple devices, we help organisations adopt the latest technologies to work smarter and enable a more connected and mobile workforce.

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Choosing between External or Internal IT Support: Why not both?

In recent years, most businesses have undergone some form of digital transformation, and at some point in the evolution of each business, it becomes necessary to reassess the organisation’s IT support model. Should support be provided by an internal person or team, or outsourced to a professional IT service provider?

For many organisations, this doesn’t have to be an either/or decision. In fact, a combination of both may offer the most efficient and cost-effective approach. The perfect balance between external and internal support will depend on your budget, the complexity of your IT infrastructure and the size of your organisation.

As we have successfully partnered with many businesses that also run an internal IT department, we would like to share the benefits and value of having an internal and external resource. By working together, both IT teams can enable a support model that allows the business to outsource a combination of functions while retaining others in-house. These functions include strategy, support, strategy execution, projects, etc.

Potential Internal/External Support Structures

1. Level 1 Support in-house. Level 2-3 Support, ICT & Information Systems Management and Strategy outsourced.

This structure can work well for smaller organisations of *70-150 employees. Your business will benefit from a responsive person on the ground – someone who can meet face-to-face with users and develop a deep understanding of your business and applications over time.

*70+ users is the recommended starting point for employing a dedicated Level 1 support person. If your business has anything below that, it will usually pay a premium for this resource. There is considerable competition for technical expertise from large corporations and technology firms, meaning you will need to offer a competitive package & environment to attract and retain skilled and experienced staff.

If your business has over *120 employees, this becomes a cost-effective approach that adds value to your organisation, but it’s still important to partner with a professional Managed Services Provider to provide support and regular mentoring (at least monthly) to your dedicated IT support person. Together, they can form a cohesive team to effectively support your business.

*This recommended guide is generic. Exceptions apply to organisations with complex needs or depending on how advanced they are with their IT, in which cases, the appropriate employee number count may differ.

2. Information Systems Manager in-house. Level 1-3 Support outsourced.

For organisations with more than *150 employees, or with highly complex/advanced software systems, it can be beneficial to hire a dedicated Information Systems Manager (IS Manager) – someone who has a strong business understanding and is capable of defining and managing your overall IT strategy. This person should have a deep understanding of your business processes and how to relate them to your information systems.

To allow the IS Manager to focus on their core role, you can choose to outsource other functions such as Level 1, 2 and 3 support. Your Managed Services Provider can also provide specialist skills and professional advice when needed, in areas such as application implementation, specialised application integration, custom report/dashboard creation and strategy development.

Challenges

When choosing which approach to take, it’s important to consider the common challenges faced in a mixed internal/outsourced support environment, and how to overcome those challenges.

1.   Career progression path for your dedicated in-house IT professional is one of the most critical considerations when adopting this mixed approach. If this person feels as if their role is stagnating, then they may grow dissatisfied and unproductive, or leave the organisation. We usually resolve this by developing a close partnership with our clients and helping to mentor the IT support individual as they progress into a role where they have a better understanding of the information systems, or alternatively, we can employ this person as their skills develop.

2.   Knowledge transfer is another important consideration. If you rely on only one or two internal IT support, you need to be certain that vital skills are not lost if your IT support person moves on. We mitigate this risk by maintaining co-ownership of key processes and documentation, helping to maintain critical knowledge that can be transferred to new employees.

3.   Cost, as mentioned previously, is a challenge for many organisations. It’s essential to weigh up the costs of dedicated in-house support staff versus outsourcing these functions to an efficient Managed Services Provider (MSP).

4.   External influence & exposure to the latest industry trends can be hard for an internal resource. As we work with different industries and are involved in what other companies are doing in their space, we usually help to bridge that gap by mentoring the IT support person through training sessions and by establishing a close relationship with the contact, where there’s an open communication channel and is easy for us to deliver relevant updates (at least monthly).

Conclusion

Most businesses that we work with don’t require a large IT department, so depending on the size of the organisation it can make more sense to retain one or two internal IT support staff while strategically outsourcing specific functions to an experienced Managed Services Provider.  Modern technology evolves so quickly that no single individual can maintain the skills needed to support today’s complex IT environments, with the ever-present risk of cyber-attack. That’s why a partnership with a professional IT service provider can offer the best solution for your business.

To discuss the most effective IT support options for your organisation, call Bremmar today on 1300-991-351 or email help@bremmar.com.au.

CIO’s, IS and IT managers: Why you need to develop a clear strategy for migrating to the cloud.

strategy to migrate to cloudMost businesses, not to say all, use the cloud in one way or another. The difference is in which depth they have adopted the cloud and how digital the business is overall. Even though is a known fact that businesses benefit from migrating most of their operations to the cloud, some companies are still hesitant and find the whole migration process overwhelming.

That’s when the CIO plays a crucial role and is responsible for developing a comprehensive plan that evaluates everything, from business processes & workflows to IT operations. IT leaders must have a broader view of the business and properly understand how the cloud initiatives can bring more value and competitive advantage to the business without negatively impacting or disrupting current business performance.

Samuel Greengard writes about the topic in CIO Insight and explains why the cloud migration strategy is so important.

Why a clear, comprehensive cloud strategy is vital

Today’s competitive business environment pushes companies to move more assets into the cloud. Digital technologies demand fast, agile and flexible IT frameworks.

Digital business frameworks demand a fast, agile IT infrastructure. That much is indisputable. But how to reach the promised land of innovation and business disruption is a question that confounds business and IT leaders across industries and entire sectors.

At the center of the equation: “As innovation cycles are compressed and demands on businesses grow, organizations must move beyond legacy and on-premises IT,” states Jack Sepple, senior managing director at business and IT consulting firm Accenture. “The opportunity to advance revolves around the cloud.”

This requires a major shift in thinking. It’s also a journey fraught with challenges, including deciding what applications, services and infrastructure to place in the cloud, and what type of clouds to use for various tasks. Private, hybrid and public clouds have different implications for an enterprise.

“Relatively few companies have the luxury of adopting a greenfield approach, along with cloud-native thinking,” says Ranjit Bawa, U.S. technology cloud leader at Deloitte Consulting. For everyone else, “It’s important to move beyond a piecemeal approach and develop a clear strategy for migrating to the cloud.”

The challenges of migrating to the cloud

Industry studies show that upward of 90 percent of organizations use the cloud in one form or another. But this breadth of adoption doesn’t necessarily reflect a depth of adoption. Some companies have four or five enterprise applications in the cloud, and others have dozens or hundreds.

“Most organizations are moving to the cloud in a somewhat haphazard and chaotic way,” Bawa says. “They are migrating application by application or business product by business product.” The approach is cumbersome, time-consuming and resource intensive. In the end, “Many of these companies find the task overwhelming.”

The challenges of migrating to the cloud aren’t lost on anyone. For many organizations, it’s challenging enough to map business processes and workflows, especially when mainframes and other legacy systems remain in use. But there are also vendor issues to consider, security concerns to address, and overall strategic issues to tackle, including what type of cloud to use.

“It can be a very long and drawn out process, so it’s important to consider how best to make the transition to the cloud,” Bawa explains. In some cases, an enterprise may want to tackle the process incrementally over months or a couple of years. In other instances, it may want to move operations over to the cloud en masse.

A CIO must examine the issue closely and carefully, Accenture’s Sepple advises. A company may still require certain legacy IT systems for internal reasons, or to interact with partners or others in a supply chain. Regulatory issues might also play role in formulating a strategy. Of course, there are also OPEX and CAPEX factors to consider.

“The reality is that almost no organization, other than a cloud-native company, is going to move completely into the cloud anytime soon,” he says. “The most progressive companies at present are perhaps 60 percent to 70 percent of the way into the cloud.”

The cloud is a mature technology

One thing is clear: CIOs and others have become far more comfortable with clouds, including public clouds, over the last few years. There’s a growing recognition that the cloud is more than a way to trim expenses and manage costs effectively. It can deliver strategic and practical gains. Operating faster and better may lead to greater innovation and disruption.

In many cases, cloud providers deliver higher levels of service and better security than many organizations can muster internally. These capabilities, in turn, support initiatives such as DevOps and agile, faster app iterations, and the real-time digital framework that unlocks innovation and ultimately value. Clouds also unlock opportunities to use leading-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning.

“The technology has matured to the point where it’s apparent that the cloud offers a superior solution,” Sepple argues.

Developing a comprehensive plan requires a CIO and other business and IT leaders to examine—and often reexamine—everything from business processes to standards. Sepple says that it’s important to step back and view business and IT operations in a broad and comprehensive way, all while looking for specific ways to unlock value and gain a competitive edge. This may lead an organization closer to software-defined networking or enable the use of APIs that redefine the business or the consumer marketplace.

Deloitte’s Bawa says that CIOs should consider three broad strategic approaches for cloud adoption. The first is to build out a cloud environment in parallel to a current legacy environment, thoroughly test it, and then switch systems over. One Canadian insurance company he worked with recently shifted about 50 percent of its operations to the cloud using this approach, which required about nine months of planning and execution.

A second method, Bawa says, is to identify specific products or services and move all systems associated with them into the cloud. If an organization opts for this approach, he suggests prioritizing different groups of products and services based on complexity, cost and risk.

The third approach involves establishing new products, business lines and operations natively in the cloud, or adopting an M&A-as-a-Service model for mergers and acquisitions.

To be sure, today’s highly competitive business environment is pushing organizations to move more assets into the cloud. Digital tools and technologies demand fast, agile and flexible IT frameworks.

“The cloud is redefining the enterprise,” Bawa says. “It represents a truly efficient operating model. As the pace of innovation accelerates and organizations look to become disruptors, they must find ways to drive change into production on a daily basis.”

Originally sourced from: http://www.cioinsight.com/it-strategy/cloud-virtualization/why-a-clear-comprehensive-cloud-strategy-is-vital.html  

IT is joining forces with other Business Units to contribute to overall business outcomes.

We are living in the days of digital transformation. Technology is now, more than ever, embedded into the workplace and is an area that businesses rely heavily on to achieve business goals. Innovation is also crucial to gain competitive edge over competitors.

From supporting the basic to the most complex business functions, IT is now part of most business projects and is working closely with different business units. It is finally gaining a new strategic role in the corporate scene.

The report below, published on CIO Insight, presents how IT is moving from simply support to a more strategic role, becoming key in contributing to overall business outcomes.

IT and Business Units Share Tech Responsibilities

The line between IT organizations and line-of-business units is getting increasingly blurry, according to “Building Digital Organizations,” a new report from CompTIA. By the end of this year, seven out of 10 Global 500 companies will have dedicated teams focused on digital transformation and innovation, according to industry research. A mix of both business and IT employees are likely to staff these teams, given that the majority of professionals feel either highly or extremely confident in applying tech innovation and functions to business goals, according to the CompTIA findings. Many respondents said technology now plays a critical role in strategic pursuits and is even redefining business. And a significant number of them believe that every work project is, in fact, a tech project. With technology budgets on the rise—in both the IT department and the business units—organizations will position themselves to better address major obstacles to digitization, including cyber-security threats, software development difficulties and data management issues. “Companies are starting to recognize that new tech trends are leading to a new operational model: the direct contribution of technology to overall business outcomes,” according to the report. “In the past, technology served more of a supporting function … [however] over time, businesses have moved to a much more strategic approach when it comes to technology.” Professionals from 350 U.S. businesses took part in the research.

IT and Business Units Share Tech Responsibilities

As the line between IT and the business blurs, they are working closely to address barriers to digitization: security threats, software challenges, data issues.

Can-Do Attitude

73% of the professionals surveyed are either highly or extremely confident in applying tech innovation and functions to business goals.

Productive Force

43% said technology enables business processes, and 39% said it drives business outcomes.

Influential Component

36% said tech plays a critical role in strategy, and 34% said their organization is redefining its business based on IT.

Consolidated Effort

30% said they have established strong collaboration between business and tech functions, and 23% said that every project is a tech project.

Fiscal Projection: IT Department

51% of the survey respondents at large organizations and 60% of those at midsize companies said their IT department’s tech budget is increasing.

Fiscal Projection: Business Units

42% of the survey respondents at large organizations and 56% of those at midsize companies said the tech budget in business units is increasing

Top Priorities for IT

Infrastructure: 35%, Innovation: 26%, Integration: 20%

Top Data Challenges

Need to fully utilize existing data: 44%, Demand to perform analytics faster: 43%, Need better ways to present data: 37%, Issue of highly segmented data: 35%

Most Challenging IT Functions

Security: 50%, Software development: 47%, Data-related tasks: 44%

Respected Party

59% of the survey respondents said IT still plays a primary role in strategic decision making.

Originally sourced from: http://www.cioinsight.com/it-management/slideshows/it-and-business-units-share-tech-responsibilities.html 

CIO’s: Human Resources is emerging as a partner with IT.

As we have mentioned in previous articles, IT is crucial when it comes to employee experience.  The ongoing and rapid developments in the technology industry have given rise to a range of equipment and solutions that empower employees to solve problems, develop skills and interact seamlessly, resulting in a more engaged, satisfied and effective workforce.

By working together, IT and Human Resources can modernise the corporate technology to attract and retain skilled employees. How? Bob Egan, Chief Analyst and Founder of Sepharim Research Group, presents some interesting points in his article on CIO.com.

Understanding the workforce

The latest Future Workforce Study from Dell EMC and Intel has some eye-opening findings for both IT and HR (Human Resources) leaders. Among them: Forty-two percent of millennials are likely to quit a job if the technology they have available to them is substandard. Across most consumer demographics, but especially millennials, most people complain that the technology they have at “home” is more modern and more valuable than the technology they have in the workplace. And while companies race to embrace new enablements like smartphones, 39 percent of workers say employee-employer trust is waning or trust isn’t there at all. Let’s just think about that for a minute.

Almost half your employees may be ready to walk out the door either because they find the technology they use at work inferior or they don’t trust their employer. Wow.

Like it or not, millennials are the first of future generations driving massive change in the workplace. There are two compounding observations to be mindful of:

1.Millennials are ascending into the ranks of management in the workplace.
2.The first true digital natives, known as Generation Z, are starting to enter the workplace.

 Keep in mind that the people who make up Gen Z are generally less trusting, more anti-establishment and are used to having everything personalized for them — all much more than the generations who have come before them.

What does that mean?

If many CIOs and their IT groups have come to be known as the department of “No!”, then I suspect that HR (Human Resources) groups now sit on the precipice of becoming the department of “Oh No!”

Here is what I think is going on

CIOs are focused on delivery.

CIOs have been worried most about their capability to deliver, while CEOs, in particular, and the rest of the CXO bench in general, are focused on business outcomes. In many organizations this communications paradigm is a key disconnect. Cloud migrations are a perfect example; economic savings are seldom realized while the benefits of driving business velocity and IT agility are underappreciated.

BYOD and rogue IT are everywhere.

The race to provide mobile solutions and BYOD (bring your own device) has wreaked havoc in many organizations. This is generally because these solutions are bolted on to dinosaur-class infrastructure, legacy application extensions or retrofits, and archaic perimeter-based security solutions. And as we have seen, when IT gets in the way, millennials, more than any other group to date, empower themselves to sidestep the barriers placed in their path to success — hence the birth of rogue IT and the use of “unapproved apps,” e.g. rogue apps. In some large enterprises, I’ve witnessed more than 18,000 rogue apps in use.

Data is growing at exponential rates.

The pace of technology solutions is accelerating. Data is growing at such an exponential rate we can barely measure it. As IoT (Internet of Things) takes hold, by some estimates, upwards of 180 zettabytes will be collected by 2025. New questions are arising about how we provision, secure and analyze all this data to benefit the business.

Speed, intelligence, personalization, business velocity and agility define the new digital dawn. Great tech is not about business enablement. Great tech is about business empowerment. I think that this is what defines digital transformation.

The key issues for the CIO

For the CIO, two critical questions rise from all of this:

1.How do they modernize IT to drive business velocity?

2.How will they evolve their enterprise infrastructure and solutions, to be at least as agile as the employees they expect to use it?

What I’m describing isn’t about disruption. In fact, few if any CIOs or business leaders whom I speak with like the word “disruption.” It’s about digital transformation. It is about digital cohesion; seamlessly integrating the power of computing, networking, analytics and harnessing these capabilities into the future of the workplace. The objective is to foster more convenience and applied decision making that maximizes enterprise value and minimizes the mundane.

For most organizational CIOs, the critical issue is about time, not money. Competing in the era of digital business is about accelerating business velocity and business agility by orchestrating first and foremost around the cloud and mobile. Equally, at its core, a digital business is heavily dependent upon analytics, new security models and automation.

And it is about talent. Never have we faced the criticality of attracting and retaining great talent as such a make-or-break top priority. Skills that were important even just five years ago are becoming less relevant, and the new higher-level skills are scarce. What does this mean?

HR and IT as partners

I think this explains a trend I’ve been seeing over the last year. HR is becoming a buyer of IT. Now before your head explodes, let me explain that HR isn’t about to absorb or consume some of the IT budget, as some business groups and marketing have. Instead, your sales organizations might start developing the skills to talk to a generally non-technical HR executive who more than ever is emerging as a partner with IT, both as a corporate influencer and talent advocate.

 Some of the key issues facing HR from an IT perspective include:

1.How does a solution help make our employees more productive?

2.How will a particular solution grow as the demands of our employees’ grow?

3.How will a particular solution help us to attract and retain great talent?

4.Will a particular solution engender trust or alienate employees in the workplace?

HR and IT can learn from one another and become allies for both investing in modernizing tech and in acquiring new talent. CIOs and HR are both strategic stakeholders in a company.

Enterprises should ask themselves how HR and IT can work more strategically together, so they can strengthen their joint strategic roles in the company and deliver more value to the C-Suite, and for the bottom line.

Bob Egan is chief analyst and founder of Sepharim Research Group. This article was sponsored by Dell, but the opinions are those of the author and don’t necessarily represent Dell EMC’s positions or strategies.

Originally sourced from: CIO – http://www.cio.com/article/3173736/analytics/why-hr-and-it-are-now-strategic-partners.html