Last Technology Observation (for a while)
Like so many traditional silos in business, technology leadership has also morphed and changed. And if you're like me, you might look at the whole tech leadership side with a jaundiced eye. So I want to share some of the things I see in the tech world and bring it all home for you and your business.
Let's use three time frames. Past. Yesterday. By that, I mean anything that happened up to, say, five or ten years ago. Present. Today. By that, I mean the last five or ten years. Future. Tomorrow. I mean, anything after early March 2020 — the start of the COVID pandemic.
Past, Present, Future
Yesterday, we met the IT team and the head of the IT function. Many times, the leader was called the Chief Technology Officer. The best had the business knowledge necessary to align technology-related potential with the organization's goals. Overall, they were the face of the infrastructure (hardware and software) driving the organization and the point person controlling the budget, the people, and the policies.
Today, we meet the head of the Information function. They are often known as the Chief Information Officer. Let's avoid all discussions on the permutations of what, where, and how this function interacts and only acknowledge the role is an essential addition to the technology team. The best of this specialty is responsible for managing, implementing, and usability of information and computer technologies.
Tomorrow, we meet the head of the security function. This function is still very new and may be called the Chief Information Security Officer. They are responsible for protecting and safeguarding the infrastructure, the applications, and the information received, held and pumped out of the organization. In other words, ensuring the entire information flow from beginning to end is free from potential security breaches and complies entirely with local and global laws.
What am I getting at?
At its core, technology leadership's evolution has been an acknowledgement of the way we humans use these tools. First, we started with hardware and software. Then we added the useability of the information generated and the infrastructure being used. Then we moved on to compliance and security to protect our infrastructure, investment, intellectual capital and information pipelines.
We humans need to evolve ourselves and acknowledge the entire information flow from beginning to end —
• Remains free from potential security breaches,
• Stays in complete compliance with local and global laws and,
• Maximizes our efforts and potential within our company vision.
As the technology world has matured, so have we, the users and business owners.
In the beginning, we were giddy with excitement over our new toys. But, soon, we realized we needed to keep the hardware and software safe and protected from internal threats. (A spilled coffee, old equipment needing replacement before the expiry date, a disgruntled employee.) So we went in search of thoughtful advice.
As time passed, we realized all those tech tools were not helping us be as efficient or effective as we wanted. (Remember the slave to the tools complaint?) So we needed to get some thoughtful advice on how to combine or meld technologies, streamline our operations, and make what we had, perform better.
More time went on. We realized (or more than likely, we were told) that the information we received and issued needed to be protected and safe. We needed to protect the identity of the person/organization and comply with privacy laws. And simultaneously, we needed to ensure our equipment, intellectual capital, and information could not be hijacked. More thoughtful advice of a different sort was required.
My question for you today
Are your hardware, software, applications, and internal processes reasonably up to date, helping your employees give you their best efforts, keeping all your information and intellectual capital safe, and adequately warding off sneak attacks from nefarious characters? If you say yes, how do you know? If you say no, do you know how much borrowed time on which you are living?
Yes, I am serious.
In some of my previous lives, I objected to buying extra hardware and even upgrading hardware because that was just not as important as marketing campaigns for new products or even new capital for assembly lines. Until the tech equipment crashed and we lost days simply recovering. I have also objected to investing in still more tech stuff that governments dictated I comply with. Until an organization, I worked with got into massive trouble with the elementary spam laws. I shudder to think what would have happened with their lax personal information filing.
And as far as being taken for a sucker — well, like all of us, I was ashamed when I became a victim. I was conned out of $800 — before the invention of the desktop. So I am triply concerned about hacking and cybersecurity. Because these are way more serious, can any of us fully imagine how awful it is to recover from lost time, information, and damaged reputation?
The technology world has matured since the late seventies/early eighties. Today technology is ubiquitous. And we have become so used to it that we no longer think about it. Yet, technology is still a young phenomenon.
And from here on
It is no longer adequate to see our technology leadership stage as having the latest, greatest, and backed up regularly. It is simply not enough to comply with all the rules and regulations for security and protection. No, we need to raise our own game in our business. We must seek thoughtful advice on how to engage, lead, and change across the company through the digital age that is here to stay.
Your business can't operate like 'the old days.' You want it to thrive in your future. So take the necessary precautions now and invest in your tech's power, agility and security. The future YOU will thank you.