Translate Anticipatory Thinking into Effective Strategic Initiatives
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Translate Anticipatory Thinking into Effective Strategic Initiatives

By Ken Bell, SVP & CIO, Orbital Sciences Corporation

Ken Bell, SVP & CIO, Orbital Sciences Corporation

Practically speaking, we really can’t wait around for “wwws” to give us Internet privacy and secure enterprise operations so I have high hopes for the technology market delivering things like “intrusion deception”, widespread cost-effective and practical encryption, practical DLP and chip-based security functions. Solutions that would make my job easier and bring in a transition I am looking forward to the maturing of SDN. Cisco, AT&T and others appear to be making commitments to it. As computation continues to commoditize, I think we can expect this technology to become mainstream, much like virtualized computing has made that transition and helped drive down enterprise IT costs.

Second, full blown private enterprise cloud computing seems to be clearly in our future. Public cloud services are still unsuitable for companies in security-sensitive industries like Aerospace & Defense but the private cloud cost model is shaping up for companies that have matured their internal server and storage virtualization skills and are prepared to extend them.

My top two wishes for 2014

1. Secure Internet: The need for “cybersecurity” to protect enterprise intellectual property and personal privacy in the face of intrusive governments, advertisers, media companies and thieves siphons an immense amount of energy and capital away from more productive company operations. The world could use a “wwws” that doesn’t impose a security tax on innovation and utility

2. “Small Data”: How much data do we really need and why spend shareholder’s money to save virtually every bit that gets generated? Moore’s Law and clever software have helped drive down the cost of saving all the chaff as well as the wheat but friction losses (complexity, administration) are still imposed on productivity and enterprise investment by the constantly growing network overhead devoted to housing and protecting the good stuff as well as a large amount of waste and trivia

Value methodical innovation

The senior IT leadership team has been able to direct more energy toward anticipation and to translate anticipatory thinking into more effective strategic initiatives. It helps to have been working in an engineering-oriented industry that values methodical innovation–we can better resist market froth and the lure of adopting new things in retail time. “Partnering” has become a pretty debased term in the IT world but a shared service like ours, operating in that mode, really does let our internal IT service customers focus on their industry programmatic responsibilities while the IT organization assesses candidate technologies to bring those that add real enterprise value.

My word for a CIO

The phrase “IT and the business” has imposed unfortunate thought  constraints about our profession suggesting that IT is in some way separate from the rest of the enterprise. Technologists who act that way make it easy for the rest of an enterprise to respond in kind where such behavior wouldn’t typically occur in the case of more mature business functions. Nobody in their right mind, for example, would think “finance and the business” or “HR and the business”

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