Sections

Cybersecurity: Is it Time To Change Our Mindset?

Mark Testoni

For years, the standard approach to cybersecurity has been to build bigger and bigger walls to “keep the bad guys out.” But as the threat of cybercrime has evolved over time, this approach alone is not enough. Here, we look at the growing cybersecurity challenge and key imperatives facing CIOs.

As the Internet has pervaded all aspects of business and personal life, so has the list of cyber threats that could impact your enterprise. It’s not just rival companies looking to steal ideas. Currently an attack on your network could come from a wide range of sources. Your company could find itself under siege from organized crime, terrorist groups, and even foreign governments.

State and commercial interests are merging, with the networks of private companies now seen as key targets when countries are in conflict. For this reason, many corporations are adopting the same cybersecurity strategies as our national security organizations.

The enemy within

A data breach event could potentially cost millions of dollars, leaving your corporate reputation in ruins. With so much at stake, how do you protect your organization and its intellectual property from all attacks?

This is the challenge. Technological developments have moved so fast in recent years that few networks could ever claim to be 100% impenetrable. And as fast as IT security experts establish barriers to their systems, technologically advanced hackers find ways around them.

Rapid detection, agile response

So, how can commercial companies respond to the evolving cyber threat?

What we need is an entirely new mindset when it comes to cybersecurity. We should assume that hackers can and will access our networks. To complement the evolution of perimeter defenses, we need to shift our focus to detecting and acting on attacks as quickly as possible.

If this approach is to be successful, speed is essential. It is not enough to look in the rear-view mirror to understand what happened yesterday. We need a “front windshield view” to analyze, understand, and respond to threats as they occur.

Revolutionary new approach

With traditional computing approaches, companies simply cannot react fast enough to respond effectively to cyber attacks as they take place. These companies are often only able to determine that a cyber attack has already occurred and attempt to limit the damage to their operations and customers. The prevalence of this can be seen in the number of companies issuing reports about data breaches and offering credit monitoring to their compromised customers. Companies need a way to detect attacks as they are happening, and before the attacker has an opportunity to cause damage.

Sophisticated in-memory computing solutions are enabling this revolution in the way we approach cybersecurity. In an environment where there will never be one, single cyber-product answer, we need to bring the best of all worlds together in an integrated, high-performance manner. For example, with our strategic partners SS8, ThreatConnect, and Babel Street, we are leveraging SAP HANA as a high-performance hub to integrate real-time cyber-situational awareness and threat context. This enables the enterprise to understand the threat, find it, and act on it in real time.

This high-performance computing platform can achieve speeds many thousands of times faster than traditional data architectures. This enables the processing of huge data sets in seconds rather than days and allows analysis at true cyber speed. Companies using this capability can detect and stop cyber attacks while they are underway and before their data can be compromised.

Setting priorities

From the outset, we need to understand that breaches are possible and not all targets can be protected equally. Instead we must identify the high-value targets that are most likely to be attacked and prioritize the areas where a security breach would be most damaging.

For example, finance operations and critical infrastructure are key for most organizations. In addition, personal information is a high-value commodity that cyber criminals are increasingly targeting.

Managing security risk

The Internet has given us the greatest opportunity for economic expansion since the Industrial Revolution. And when you consider the fact that e-commerce accounts for trillions of dollars each year, losses due to security breaches seem minimal.

However, cyber crime is evolving and the threat is growing.

There is no absolute solution or quick fix. The imperative for CIOs is to deploy their available resources effectively to close the aperture of risk as much as possible, and re-evaluate their strategy on an ongoing basis. They need solutions with speed to detect and stop attacks while they are underway. And they must use the latest in-memory technology innovations to stay one step ahead of the cyber criminals.

Threats to your organization can come in many forms, including Supply Chain Fraud: Theft That’s Hidden in Plain Sight.

Comments

Mark Testoni

About Mark Testoni

Mark Testoni is president and chief executive of SAP NS2. He is one of the nation’s leading experts in the application of information technology to solve problems in government and industry, especially in the U.S. national security space. With more than 15 years of IT industry experience, 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, and 30 years of public sector management experience, Testoni is a sought-after business strategist and thought leader, with a proven record of rebuilding under-performing organizations and converting visionary ideas into reality. record of rebuilding under-performing organizations and converting visionary ideas into reality.

Tags:

CIO , cybersecurity

Keys To A Successful ERP Implementation

Larry Perlov

ERP implementation projects aren’t as easy as they look, and they don’t look very easy. Every year, organizations spend millions of dollars to implement different ERP solutions with the hopes that the new solutions will allow companies to scale, reduce operating expenses, or become more effective at serving customers. However, many of these projects fail to achieve the benefits companies envision when they set out on their transformation journey.

In this blog series, I will share the three most important questions to ask before starting an implementation project, so when your organization starts the project it will be well positioned for success.

Why change?

Some implementations are technical replacements; others are grounded in desired business outcomes. Regardless of the type of implementation, if it doesn’t come with clear objectives, it will likely fail to improve a company’s business performance. That’s why any significant project should be grounded in a strong “Why?” – a strong business case – especially when the decision involves an ERP solution that could take significant time and resources to implement.

A good and clear “why” becomes the “true north” for the implementation and provides an ongoing focus for any important decisions or dilemmas throughout the implementation.

To define your “why,” you need to identify the most important outcomes that your business stakeholders want to achieve as a consequence of the ERP initiative. Every organization’s “why” may be different. At the highest level, the “why” for many organizations is usually associated with increasing throughput, reducing operating expenses, improving working capital, or improving compliance.

There are many activities that can help you define your “why” with respect to an ERP implementation.

“So what?” “Who cares?” and “How much?”

The answer to “Why?” must be strong enough to serve as your project’s “true north.” You can more effectively establish this by asking “So what?” or, more diplomatically, “What are the (positive or negative) ramifications of this?”

For instance, if the answer to “Why change?” is “To improve our visibility,” asking “So what?” could expose a higher-level outcome such as “To improve profitability of customers by identifying which products our most profitable customers buy repeatedly and enable us to promote those product to customers who don’t currently buy them.” This feels better and more aligned to the broad category of increasing throughput.

We can further test this by checking “Who cares?” – the answer we are looking for is someone at a senior enough level whose personal business plan for the next 3-5 years is dependent on improving this outcome. If the answer to “Who cares?” is not an executive level stakeholder, you are too low, and you need to ask “So what?” again.

It is also important to quantify these as much as possible; i.e., “By how much would revenues increase if we get this right?” If quantification is not possible, at lease a qualified order of magnitude is very important.

As a starting point, look ahead to six to twelve months following the change (go live) and outline any related clear, measurable outcomes you expect to accomplish as a result of the project. These outcomes should align fully with your overarching business strategy and your senior leadership team’s view of what is most important.

Next, ask yourself what the risks and benefits are associated with both making the change and with not making the change. By understanding the potential impacts associated with both making the change and not making change, you will be able to really understand why you should – or should not – implement an ERP solution.

For more about the keys to a successful ERP implementation, please check out our new thought leadership paper: Creating a Recipe for Success: Questions to guide the development of a first class ERP solution.

About Illumiti

Illumiti is a leading systems integration and management consulting company with offices in Canada, the U.S. and Switzerland, serving customers globally. Its team enables customers to realize their vision by leveraging the world’s leading on-premise and cloud-based business applications. Illumiti helps its clients achieve optimized operations in the key areas at the core of their business, by implementing custom-fit solutions from SAP and other vendors faster, at a lower cost, and at a lower risk than other alternatives. Illumiti is a member of United VARs LLP, which is an SAP platinum partner. Illumiti has been recognized as the top SAP reseller for Canada for five consecutive years and is one of the fastest-growing SAP channel partners in the U.S. For more information please visit www.illumiti.com.

Comments

What Support Looks Like In The Era Of The Cloud And The Internet Of Things

Fred Isbell

As we near the end of this year’s spring event season, one thing is clear: Digital transformation is in the air.  The annual SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG events are now behind us, but people are still buzzing about the sessions, stories, lessons learned, and best practices shared. There’s profound interest in how innovations are adopted, such as running a Live Business, digital boardrooms, and enabling the latest technology.

After listening to customers, practitioners, and analytics throughout the first half of this year, I was inspired to invite the following panel of subject-matter experts for the third installment of a webcast series sponsored by Digital Business Services from SAP:

  • Elaina Stergiades, research manager of IDC Software and Hardware Support Services
  • Michael Rieder, senior vice president and global head of SAP Enterprise Support & Premium Engagements
  • Sei Drake, chief architect of Co-Engineering and Innovation at SAP America

To kick off the conversation, we discussed the rise of the 3rd Platform that IDC says is a factor driving growth of innovations, new business opportunities, and more. Yes, digital transformation is front and center, but with it comes a need for simplification, not increased complexity. And on top of it, there’s an incredible explosion of data from a variety of places, including the fast-accelerating Internet of Things (IoT).

What should businesses do? The idea of tackling these issues and providing the support needed to succeed is reminiscent of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” painting!

Future of Support-1

According to Elaina Stergiades, the promise of the 3rd Platform and the evolution of solutions that support it are transformational. Moving away from a reactive, manually intensive, and linear process, businesses are steadily adopting a proactive and more predictive model. In fact, this new brave world is bringing great technology to innovate the support process and customer experience, including:

  • Cloud solutions: Delivers wider access to support data from anywhere to share across the entire user experience and with new levels of integration
  • Social technology: Supports collaboration far above traditional hierarchical (and inherently slower) support processes
  • Enterprise mobility: Enables support monitoring anywhere and remote support and resolution without traditional, closed boundaries
  • Predictive analytics: Forecasts issues before they reach crisis level while offering a better and more direct, personal response

Michael Rieder continued the discussion with insightful observations about the market dynamics that businesses are facing. He supported Elaina’s perspective and the need for proactive support for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid environments. He noted that it is critical for businesses to reimagine support by keeping six foundational pillars in mind:

  • Mission-critical support
  • Total cost of ownership
  • Continuous improvement
  • Accelerated innovation
  • Integrated support
  • Business service support

Sei Drake has weighed in on this topic before in his blog post on “How to Prepare Your IT Landscape for the Digital Economy.” From his perspective, the evolution of support is happening against the backdrop of changes in the IT industry and the marketplace. The rise of cloud-based solutions and the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) are bringing a whole host of new considerations, especially the need for DevOps and co-innovation. We found his suggestions for customers’ considerations quite helpful with examples across several industries.

Like the webcasts I hosted before it – Unlocking the Potential from the Internet of Things and Transforming Digital Visions into Reality – this third in our series was another insightful thought-leadership webcast from Digital Business Services. Be sure to view the on-demand replay and share with your colleagues.

Comments

Fred Isbell

About Fred Isbell

Fred Isbell is the Senior Director of SAP Digital Business Services Marketing at SAP. He is an experienced, results- and goal-oriented senior marketing executive with broad and extensive experience & expertise in high technology and marketing. He has a BA from Yale and an MBA from the Duke Fuqua School of Business.

How Much Will Digital Cannibalization Eat into Your Business?

Fawn Fitter

Former Cisco CEO John Chambers predicts that 40% of companies will crumble when they fail to complete a successful digital transformation.

These legacy companies may be trying to keep up with insurgent companies that are introducing disruptive technologies, but they’re being held back by the ease of doing business the way they always have – or by how vehemently their customers object to change.

Most organizations today know that they have to embrace innovation. The question is whether they can put a digital business model in place without damaging their existing business so badly that they don’t survive the transition. We gathered a panel of experts to discuss the fine line between disruption and destruction.

SAP_Disruption_QA_images2400x1600_3

qa_qIn 2011, when Netflix hiked prices and tried to split its streaming and DVD-bymail services, it lost 3.25% of its customer base and 75% of its market capitalization.²︐³ What can we learn from that?

Scott Anthony: That debacle shows that sometimes you can get ahead of your customers. The key is to manage things at the pace of the market, not at your internal speed. You need to know what your customers are looking for and what they’re willing to tolerate. Sometimes companies forget what their customers want and care about, and they try to push things on them before they’re ready.

R. “Ray” Wang: You need to be able to split your traditional business and your growth business so that you can focus on big shifts instead of moving the needle 2%. Netflix was responding to its customers – by deciding not to define its brand too narrowly.

qa_qDoes disruption always involve cannibalizing your own business?

Wang: You can’t design new experiences in existing systems. But you have to make sure you manage the revenue stream on the way down in the old business model while managing the growth of the new one.

Merijn Helle: Traditional brick-and-mortar stores are putting a lot of capital into digital initiatives that aren’t paying enough back yet in the form of online sales, and they’re cannibalizing their profits so they can deliver a single authentic experience. Customers don’t see channels, they see brands; and they want to interact with brands seamlessly in real time, regardless of channel or format.

Lars Bastian: In manufacturing, new technologies aren’t about disrupting your business model as much as they are about expanding it. Think about predictive maintenance, the ability to warn customers when the product they’ve purchased will need service. You’re not going to lose customers by introducing new processes. You have to add these digitized services to remain competitive.

qa_qIs cannibalizing your own business better or worse than losing market share to a more innovative competitor?

Michael Liebhold: You have to create that digital business and mandate it to grow. If you cannibalize the existing business, that’s just the price you have to pay.

Wang: Companies that cannibalize their own businesses are the ones that survive. If you don’t do it, someone else will. What we’re really talking about is “Why do you exist? Why does anyone want to buy from you?”

Anthony: I’m not sure that’s the right question. The fundamental question is what you’re using disruption to do. How do you use it to strengthen what you’re doing today, and what new things does it enable? I think you can get so consumed with all the changes that reconfigure what you’re doing today that you do only that. And if you do only that, your business becomes smaller, less significant, and less interesting.

qa_qSo how should companies think about smart disruption?

Anthony: Leaders have to reconfigure today and imagine tomorrow at the same time. It’s not either/or. Every disruptive threat has an equal, if not greater, opportunity. When disruption strikes, it’s a mistake only to feel the threat to your legacy business. It’s an opportunity to expand into a different marke.

SAP_Disruption_QA_images2400x1600_4Liebhold: It starts at the top. You can’t ask a CEO for an eight-figure budget to upgrade a cloud analytics system if the C-suite doesn’t understand the power of integrating data from across all the legacy systems. So the first task is to educate the senior team so it can approve the budgets.

Scott Underwood: Some of the most interesting questions are internal organizational questions, keeping people from feeling that their livelihoods are in danger or introducing ways to keep them engaged.

Leon Segal: Absolutely. If you want to enter a new market or introduce a new product, there’s a whole chain of stakeholders – including your own employees and the distribution chain. Their experiences are also new. Once you start looking for things that affect their experience, you can’t help doing it. You walk around the office and say, “That doesn’t look right, they don’t look happy. Maybe we should change that around.”

Fawn Fitter is a freelance writer specializing in business and technology. 

To learn more about how to disrupt your business without destroying it, read the in-depth report Digital Disruption: When to Cook the Golden Goose.

Download the PDF (1.2MB)

Comments

Tags:

How To Answer The Question: “What Is Our Digital Strategy?”

Dany Ortchanian

Anxious boards around the world are asking their CEOs: “What exactly is our digital strategy?”

That has very quickly become the most relevant—and the most loaded—question you’ll hear in pretty much any board meeting. A minority are answering it well, but most are struggling.

All companies feel mounting pressure for a change of business model to keep the business from becoming redundant in the digital economy and to continue growth. They are trying to understand how to change that model in reaction to shifting macroeconomic trends, and unlock opportunities to increase profits, grow the customer base, and become more productive.

The question that perhaps is not being asked as often in boardrooms is: “Will this ever slow down?” In truth, no one knows, but the likelihood is that this constant change and forced business reinvention will continue on a path of relentless acceleration.

Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn last week is a perfect example of the dizzying pace at which businesses are expected to make enormous decisions that will determine their future. Microsoft spent $26BN, a 50% premium, on a company some would argue is on the ropes after a weak Q1.

Microsoft is simply reacting to the pace of change by acting fast, thinking big, and trying to get ahead of the game. It might be comforting, or possibly anxiety-inducing, for boardrooms to know that even a cutting-edge company like Microsoft must to make huge decisions on-the-fly and constantly evolve its business model to keep growing.

The investment is certainly not guaranteed to pay off, but that’s the reality we face in today’s digital world, in which every industry feels the disruption.

Check out these InfoDocs about digital disruption in Canada (in English and French). They spell out, step-by-step, how any business can start tackling its digital strategy.

Comments

Dany Ortchanian

About Dany Ortchanian

Dany Ortchanian is vice president, Eastern Region for SAP Canada. He provides executive support and guidance to enterprises across all industries in eastern Canada, devising strategies that help them get the best out of SAP solutions to achieve business success.

Tags: