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

StrataFusion Expands Expertise in M&A, Large Project Space and IT Outsourcing with Partner Jim Murphy

StrataFusion’s growing partnership of trusted advisors is giving clients the expertise they need to solve the challenges they face. Earlier this year, StrataFusion welcomed Jim Murphy, who has been advancing business through the application of technology for JMurphy9-2018more than 25 years. His executive experience spans a number of demanding and high-profile roles, particularly in the large project space, from M&A to IT outsourcing.

“StrataFusion’s Partners are industry-recognized executives with incredible credentials,” Jim says. “I’m honored to be part of this team and truly enjoy the collaborative approach to provide clients with world-class advisory services.”

Previously, Jim served as CIO of Hewlett Packard’s Outsourcing Business and oversaw the IT integration of EDS, one of the largest technology acquisitions of all time. He also served as the VP & GM of HP’s multi-billion-dollar Server Support business, where his global team provided mission-critical services in some of the world’s most demanding environments.

“The experience each of our partners bring to StrataFusion is a winning combination for our clients,” says Ken Crafford, StrataFusion’s founding partner. “As trusted advisors for organizations and companies in a variety of industries, it’s crucial we have diversity of experience to meet the many challenges our clients face as the business landscape evolves.”

Need guidance from a trusted advisor? Learn more about StrataFusion here.

StrataFusion Expands Expertise in Digital Transformation and NextGen IT Readiness with Edward Wustenhoff

New Partners, Diverse Experience

StrataFusion understands the spectrum of needs clients face and is expanding its partnership with experts who are solving today’s business challenges.  Earlier this year, StrataFusion welcomed new partner Edward Wustenhoff, whose background brings exceptional expertise in digital transformation, design, management and continuous improvement.EWustenhoff9-2018

Since joining StrataFusion earlier this year in February, Edward has been helping clients to move their IT infrastructure teams and technology toward the next generation of IT readiness for cloud, containers and distributed micro services.

Edward guides IT organizations to stay aligned with the latest organizational principles, processes and technologies. He brings a strategic mindset of how to transition IT organizations and enable new technologies for business success. Leveraging his deep understanding of all aspects of cloud services, Edward is uniquely qualified to help organizations adapt to the ever-changing landscape of IT technologies and the associated management challenges that come with transformation. With an impressive record of success gained from several decades driving design and adoption of world-class technology infrastructures, global operations management and deep technology provider understanding, Edward adds an exciting dimension of executive-level insight to advise StrataFusion clients.

Before joining StrataFusion, he was responsible for internal IT infrastructure at industry leaders like Netflix and Applied Materials. Serving as a Chief IT Consultant at Sun Microsystems, he developed and published the Operations Management Capability Framework and Model, and the associated assessment service for the Professional Services division. He also was part of the Advanced Internet Practice helping ISPs and ASPs design, deploy and manage large-scale infrastructures.

“The depth of experience that Edward brings to our partnership at StrataFusion adds another dimension of capability to serve our clients,” says Ken Crafford, StrataFusion’s founding partner. “Our clients face many challenges as the business landscape evolves, and our aim is to always have the right expertise to help navigate change and continuously improve.”

Need guidance from a trusted advisor? Learn more about StrataFusion here.

Benchmarking the Benchmarks

StrataFusion clients span just about every industry, and we hear from them frequently asking for assessments and benchmarks so they can compare their performance, cost, or compliance information with similar companies. While business overall is relying on data and insights more than ever, benchmarking information can be scarce for mid-sized companies.

In our research, we see current benchmarking information is formed around basic performance or cost, and that is not a good reflection of today’s IT challenges; or, more importantly, the direction IT needs to go to achieve future business outcomes. As companies across industries continue to deal with the complexity of digital transformation, and even the transformation of their own IT departments, we know most benchmarks out there aren’t actually addressing the issues they face. What’s needed are benchmarks that identify and drive the strategic value of IT services.

Partnering with our clients and industry thought leaders, StrataFusion is developing benchmarks and metrics that address the key business concerns that are challenging IT leaders and organizations.  Areas of focus include revenue generation and management, digitization, process change, collection and use of data, velocity of change, responsiveness and customer focus.

As we continue benchmarking, we have some additional topics on the radar, such as communicating with the Board, transformation and Cloud readiness, and easy no-brainer IT wins.

Your input is welcome, so feel free to share your thoughts and questions at SFGBenchmarking@StrataFusion.com.

Maureen Vavra

Will Digital Transformation Ever End?

Three focus areas to help business navigate never-ending change

Technology is changing the world faster than ever before. As consumers and as business leaders, we now navigate each day with an expectation of change.  The digital transformation that is sweeping the economic landscape certainly makes for exciting experiences but also requires businesses to be more agile than ever before and quickly adapt to market needs.

So what should technology leaders do to help the business adapt?

  1. Be part of strategic decision-making: Today’s technology leaders aren’t just focused on the network and systems. Modern technology strategy is crucial to innovation and should be focused on holistic business adaptability and helping their organization rapidly develop high-quality products and services to drive customer experience. Internal business partners must also leverage technology to accomplish their goals and seize opportunities.
  2. Know the customer and provide an incredible experience: You don’t have to look far to see major consumer disruption examples, from the way people want to shop, bank and travel. The same is true for business customers. But too often, technology leaders become bogged down in the actual technology and lose track of their customers and what they need. Leaders should be talking to customer regularly to understand the problems they are solving. In fact, 62 percent say delivering an excellent customer experience defines success as a digital-first business. Check out IDG’s 2018 State of Business Transformation.
  3. Be agile and be fast: Fast-moving change is one thing business leaders can all count on. With blockchain, IoT, big data, and mobile computing becoming mainstream topics, the never-ending “need for speed” will continue fueling transformation. Technology leaders are key players who must strategically guide organizations through disruption and provide the insights and expertise for decisive decision-making to move fast.

So will digital transformation at some point end? Yes and no. With the expectation of never-ending disruption ahead, what will come after the “digital” transformation — the AI transformation or the VR transformation? Whatever it is, change-ready technology leaders who are focused on strategy and embrace a customer-centric mindset will be well prepared to define business outcomes and set the pace to ensure business relevancy and success. And while the “digital” part will inevitably shift at some point, continuing transformation is a safe bet for the future.

Mark Egan