A short description about your blog
Want to get a feel for somebody? Read their blog as a start. Security expert and provocateur Marcus Ranum, CSO of Columbia, Md.-based Tenable Network Security, has this write up posted in the “events” section of his blog
“Computer security has historically been a disaster and continues to be one [according to Ranum]. Many practitioners have attempted to explain the issue in terms of risk management, failure to communicate, or lack of education. In reality, it is a simpler social problem and is not solvable by any means short of a redesign of human behavior.”
When it comes to managing security policy, name your poison: do you keep it via wiki, knowledge management system, or CMS? Or, is that all important document still paper-based this many years into the digital evolution?
A related question: How do you render your policy operational? By this I mean, how do you motivate employees with all those theoretical security ideas and make sane, safe practice something that’s part of the daily routine? From what experts have told me, a digital security policy can be a first step of a bigger process (including training) in getting this important work done.
As the CIO, you may be asking your organization to take on something new, such as cloud-based computing.
Written about amply throughout the blogosphere, the cloud appears to have nearly everyone smitten, including, perhaps, your IT compatriots at other firms.
Sure, there’s hype, but mostly, this adoration makes sense to me. Cloud has a great story, whatever its inevitable drawbacks. There’s the promise of running necessary utility operations, such as encrypted data storage, at a lower cost, for example. There’s the promise of “slicing and dicing,” via services, various specific capabilities for better application design.
More importantly for the purposes of this blog entry, looking at sourcing assets this way forces you to evaluate what you have and why you have it. (Even projects such as server consolidation aren’t quite as illustrative, technologists have told me.)
In the mode of IT-related soul searching, you might also be considering adopting lighter software with a smaller footprint. When the app is deployed this way a main appeal is centralized management, with little client-side baggage—and less drag on performance. Again, given facts of IT life such as sunset application support, this is a great story that makes sense to explore.
Lean BPM and efficiency
I’ve got another method with a good story for your consideration. It’s called lean BPM and it’s also gathering momentum. Part deep technical analysis, part philosophical pondering, it is said to do the hard work of gutting the unnecessary out of process. It can make the process easier to manage. Lean also promises to shape business workflows in ways that are truly customer-, and personnel- friendly.
Autumn’s nearly come around again and with it, that earnest, back-to-the-books and back-to-brass tacks attitude. As I look out the window of my home office in Astoria, NY, for instance, my neighbors, post Labor Day, are stepping just a little more lively. (This is so for even the hippest, for whom any display of eagerness tends to be verboten.) When I’m out on Steinway Street about eight blocks from here, the atmosphere seems—at the risk of sounding overblown—utterly gilded with intent. At offices everywhere, no doubt, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and “by Gosh get things done.”
Sure, one blast of intense Indian summer heat and all bets would be off, but I’m sensing a shift, away from hunker down and wait, away from waiting at all. Planning, of course, is part of this shift. And I’ll bet that IT is in the thick of your company’s key strategic planning efforts.
In researching BPO trends, the subject of business process management surfaced. This view of “process as a platform” asserts that the application suite can help refine—and automate—work’s detailed, procedural steps. This digital step-by-step makes it easier for managers to keep a handle on either internal work or to source out sections of that work to able-bodied providers and still meet key objectives such as quality. (Performing credit checks in the larger loan application process is an example of this.)
Another way to look at the automation/outsourcing method “combo platter” is that helps a business transform. I wonder if transforming is something you’re keen to do?
This week I spent much of my time doing research for a trends in business process outsourcing (BPO) piece that will be coming soon to a smart, tech-oriented portal near you. ☺
I mention BPO now because one notion that came up repeatedly in describing the new, lean corporate America was the idea of “doing more with less.” More than one specialist remarked on the quest for a lighter operational footprint in the aftermath of economic downturn. It’s still in play in a fragile recovery that’s in early days. Even the recovery, as it continues to unfold, won’t save us from fewer bodies and work sourced differently, it seems.
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