Benchmarking that Propels Transformation Forward

Benchmarking that drives transformationDigital transformations are even more impactful, and often more disruptive, to corporations and their cultures than traditional IT transformations, which focus primarily on systems. The business value impact can be substantial, as is the risk of failure.

Benchmarking can help crystalize targeted outcomes by identifying what measurements are most important and showing progress against both internal and external guideposts. Whether they are used to compare to a competitor, track current performance, or understand the impacts of an industry trend, benchmarking can serve as a catalyst for achieving transformation goals.

How can IT leaders can drive successful digital transformation through benchmarking?

  • Engage Your People
    Ensure that your transformation benchmarking is heavily informed by the people who will actually lead and work on transformation initiatives. While external benchmarks are valuable guideposts, your people and teams know best what your organization can handle.
  • Be Clear on Timing
    Benchmark early in transformation scope planning. Delaying benchmarking until you are at the doorstep of implementation risks missing key signals that can come from benchmarking at the outset of business process redesign and the insight that comes from systematically testing and monitoring early stage transformation efforts.
  • Support the Leadership Conversation
    Use measures to facilitate a regular executive conversation on your company’s strategic digital health. The right high-level measures give feedback on the pace of transformation that elevates the dialog above the quarterly tug of war. The ability to continue collaborative conversations beyond your last strategic off-site can improve your partnering dynamic and keep the focus where it belongs – digital competition.

When these benchmarking steps are addressed appropriately, several enablers of transformation success are bolstered:

  • Clear, shared and measurable expectations and progress milestones are set
  • Feedback loops focused on tangible, actionable points are established
  • Course correction earlier in the process appropriately adjusts future targets
  • Effective communication that demonstrates progress and motivates people and teams

We have more to cover in our ongoing benchmarking series. For now, we would love to hear from you about what role benchmarking plays in your organizations, where you run into challenges and how you are solving for success.

Maureen Vavra

This is the second installment in StrataFusion’s benchmarking series.

Career Day Outcomes:  Trends in IT, IoT and Privacy Mean More Complexity, Opportunity for IT Professionals

With increasing prognostication around the looming IT talent shortage, it’s refreshing to engage with the students at Merritt College. As this next generation prepares to enter the IT workforce, Cybersecurity Career Day events not only help connect them to industry and business leaders but also create engagement opportunities for learning and collaboration.

MerrittCISEAt the event Nov. 2, about 100 attendees had the pleasure of hearing from three panels that included Instructors, leading CISOs from a number of industries, and students. During the day’s interactions, we clearly saw that the proverbial pendulum is swinging back toward privacy. In fact, discussion about GDPR and California’s Consumer Privacy Act explored what it will mean to students – from IoT expansion and an exploding attack surface to the increasing friction between IT and OT (Operating Technology).

As privacy discussions elevated, it was particularly rewarding to have Michelle Dennedy, Cisco’s Chief Privacy Officer, as the keynote speaker. She provided students and peers alike with a unique perspective of current trends, insight into the evolving landscape of privacy and IT, and shared the personal journey of her own career path.

An important outcome of the day is the awareness that cybersecurity and IT professions are not only needed but increasingly require more complex and greater ‘political’ skillsets inside organizations. Technical acuity and collaborative agility are professional strengths that are not only highly valued today but will be an absolute necessity in the future.

Thank you to all who participated!

Mark Egan

Building a World-Class IT Organization: Teams and Careers  

This is the second installment of a two-part series. Read Part 1 here.

The IT landscape is evolving fast and one of the best strategies for organizations to keep culture on track is to continuously reinforce the IT/business connection by encouraging teams to partner and focus on business goals. In part one of this series, we shared three keys to unlock world-class culture: articulating your message, encouraging participation, and investing in your people.

These focus areas set the stage to build effective teams and provide challenging career opportunities. How can you ensure your culture is working for you and getting the right results?  

Emphasize team building. Acquire and grow talent through interdepartmental teams.

  • Commit to professional development so you have time to recruit from within and train employees from other areas when an initiative provides opportunity.
  • Leverage internships to tap into bright game-changers with new perspectives around usability, innovation for applications and technology – disruption is good!
  • Bump up the bonus structure for employees who successfully recruit new talent.
  • Capitalize on Agile techniques to broaden job responsibilities. Dev Ops can be an open recruiting and training area for employees who want to broaden their base even if they stay in their existing department.

Support career growth:  Retain high-potential talent by providing maximum growth opportunities.

  • Ensure that new employees are on-boarded, have clear role definition, are trained and have a mentor. Identify and manage poor fits quickly and fairly.
  • Allow rotations into and out of IT to reinforce the value of business experience.
  • Give feedback and career coaching regularly to ensure employees are developing, have a plan and know their value.
  • Insist on regular training, development and new experiences, and provide the time and space for it. Set up a training sabbatical structure every few years if budget allows.

A world-class culture is one of the most effective recruiting tools you can have because the best ambassadors are your employees. Be sure to reward behavior that aligns with company values and recognize results that support the business strategies and culture. Gartner reports that as digitalization expands beyond IT into more areas of business, demand for people with specialized technology skills will continue to increase. Competing for talent is expected to get more intense. As the battle for talent escalates, companies must focus on culture and opportunities to recruit great candidates and retain top performers.

To assist with your talent quest, be sure to check out Merritt College Cybersecurity Career Day on Nov. 2.  The event will offer CISOand Instructor panels, as well as a keynote address from Cisco’s Chief Privacy Officer Michelle Dennedy.

Maureen Vavra

Cisco CPO Michelle Dennedy to Keynote Merritt College Cybersecurity Career Day

MerrittKeynoteCybersecurity Career Day at Merritt College in Oakland is gearing up for an exciting event on Nov. 2.  Keynote for the day is Michelle Dennedy, Cisco’s Chief Privacy Officer. Michelle’s career path as a privacy leader at top technology companies will inspire students.

In her current role at Cisco, Michelle is responsible for the ongoing development and implementation of the company’s data privacy policies and practices, She is a strong voice in the security world addressing the opportunities and challenges in cybersecurity staffing, while helping ensure diversity and inclusion will pave the way forward.  Michelle’s career is impressive, and her leadership is inspiring.  She is a leading expert not only in AI and digital privacy and privacy engineering, but also works across industry, business groups and teams to drive privacy excellence along the security continuum.

The Career Day event underscores the important role IT and cybersecurity experts will play in the global economy moving forward with panelists sharing unique insights based on years of real-world experience. While there is no cost to attend, space is limited. If you’d like to reserve a spot, please email your name, company name and contact information to info@ciseeducationfund.com.

Mark Egan

Merritt College Cybersecurity Career Day, Nov. 2

Instructor Panel Announced: Teaching Students Cybersecurity Skills Required for the Future

cise_logo_merritcollegeTo ensure an excellent cybersecurity program at your business or organization, you
must have top talent. And with more focus than ever around security in a digital world, an IT talent gap looms on the horizon as industry works to recruit top candidates to fill a fast-growing number of security roles.

On Nov. 2, Merritt College will host its Cybersecurity Career Day in Oakland, Calif. By melding thought leadership panels and candidate networking, this event will help business leaders understand the future cybersecurity landscape and connect to students preparing to enter the workforce. I am particularly excited about the Instructor panel that has just been announced, which will focus on teaching cybersecurity skills for the future.

This instructor-led panel will be crucially important as it will explore the areas of concern that business and organization IT leaders face to staff for cybersecurity in a shrinking pool of talent. And talent is what makes this cybersecurity program special. Learn more about the program.

The Career Day event underscores the important role IT and cybersecurity experts will play in the global economy moving forward with panelists sharing unique insights based on years of real-world experience. While there is no cost to attend, space is limited. If you’d like to reserve a spot, please email your name, company name and contact information to info@ciseeducationfund.com.

Mark Egan

Solving the Cybersecurity Talent Paradox

CISO Panel Announced, Future of Cybersecurity Career Day Nov. 2 at Merritt College in Oakland, 

MerrittCISEEvery day it seems like headlines report about jobs being replaced by AI and other transformative technology.  While some types of jobs may see change, other areas, like cybersecurity, will see incredible growth in coming years. By 2021, it is estimated that there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity positions available in the U.S., while college institutions are expected to matriculate only 35,000 students with a Bachelor’s degree in computer and information services. Regardless of the latest trend or newest tech, one thing is clear: cybersecurity will be increasingly important to business and talent that is on the cutting edge will be in high demand.

To help industry identify and fill this gap, the faculty at Merritt College has teamed with Consortium of Information Systems Executives (CISE) to develop a fully accredited, two-year Associate of Science degree in Cybersecurity.  On Nov. 2, 2018, the College will host a Cybersecurity Career Day in Oakland, Calif.  Attendees will have the opportunity to meet highly-qualified students and learn firsthand of their training, experience and determination to enter the cybersecurity field.

cise_logo_merritcollege

CISO Panel Announced:

During the event, thought leaders will be part of an engaging Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) panel that will offer companies and students important insights into the future of cybersecurity and the coming IT talent crisis. The panel includes:

This event underscores the important role that IT and cybersecurity experts will play in the economy moving forward. Our stellar panel will share unique insights for industry and job seekers based on years of real-world experience. While there is no cost to attend the event, space is limited. If you’d like to reserve a spot, please email your name, company name and contact information to info@ciseeducationfund.com.

Building a World-Class IT Organization

The Secret to Sustaining an Empowered Culture

At StrataFusion, we like to share what we are seeing and learning at Information Technology and Services organizations that are in sync with the business and delivering great results. One of the best predictors of success is a vibrant culture. In the systems world, we stress the importance of people, process and technology, and there’s a reason why the word “people” comes first. So what can you do to connect with your teams and build a strong culture?

Three Keys to Unlock World Class IT Culture

  • Articulate your message. First and foremost, ensure your IT strategy, project portfolio and focus areas are directly and dynamically tied to business imperatives and goals that your team understands.
  • Encourage participation. The perspectives people bring to the table are crucial for success, and a feedback loop instills collaboration and enriches contribution. Value diverse knowledge sources by bringing in team members from other business areas to cross-pollinate and innovate.
  • Invest in your people. Winning the talent war is a never-ending journey. Organizations must hire and continuously provide training and development opportunities to people who are energetic, tolerate ambiguity and are excited to learn new approaches and skills.

The Power of Culture 

Culture plays a bigger role in IT success than many leaders think. It’s an attention-getter that shines through in your best people, as they also recruit the highest potential new employees. Culture must clearly articulate authentic company values, and these enrich your product and services. A strong culture is built on a foundation of trust. This means maintaining an environment that challenges the status quo and offers learning experiences – from success and failures – to clear the way for risk and rewards. It also means enabling teamwork and promoting diversity, because everyone brings a unique skill set and point of view to the table.

How can you strengthen culture? Hire, train and then empower employees to work with accountability. Take an agile approach and provide maximum flexibility to meet business needs. Reward self-management successes and discourage micro-managers. Never neglect communication of good or bad news so people understand the organization’s goals, IT strategy, plan and results.  It’s crucial to update progress frequently and get input about how your team can tangibly support it.

Today’s IT teams have innovative ideas to bring to business collaboration, so take advantage of it. When you are truly committed to cultivating a culture of growth, the payoff is huge.

This is the first blog installment in a series on building world-class IT. The next installment will focus on building teams and careers.

Maureen Vavra