Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Finding successful tech solutions for DoD

Maj. Gen. Brett Williams is the director of operations at the US Cyber Command. He recently wrote an opinion piece entitled, "Why too many technology solutions fall short." His assertion is that solutions fail because it's tough to balance the risk across the three stakeholder groups, essentially those: 1) controlling the money, 2) responsible for operating and defending the network, and 3) using the solution.

While Williams' viewpoint is that of the Department of Defense information network, his observations are easily applied to IT solutions in commercial enterprise. When it comes down to a successful IT solution, Williams says it's all about risk management.

To implement a solution, the three groups are going to evaluate the various risks related to the solution differently:
"The resource people frequently do not understand the operations. The security people can tend to be risk-averse to the point where operational effectiveness is unnecessarily degraded. And the operations people do not want to be bothered with the messy details of acquisition or security. They just want it to all magically come together to satisfy their specific needs."
Sound familiar? Williams' suggestion for a possible solution to help avoid "buying yesterday's technology tomorrow" is to create a fourth group charged with operating independently to balance the risk across the three other groups in a way that allocates resources most effectively to achieve acceptable levels of operational effectiveness with levels of security.

This team would be made from a mix of experts from each group and would report directly to senior management.

At Uplogix we frequently run into the first two groups in the purchase cycle due to the breadth of our solution. Group 1 knows the cost of supporting a network and appreciates the potential savings of Uplogix. Group 2 quickly sees the application of our feature set in their daily operations. And as for Group 3? Well after Local Management is implmented, all they know is that their network just magically comes together. And that's OK with us.