SantaThis is my last post before I take off for the holidays, so I’m going with a holiday theme. Let’s talk about all I want for Christmas. (And I apologize for reminding you of this song; apparently, it’s already the number one streaming Christmas song.)

All I Want for Christmas–With a Technology Twist

  • All I want for Christmas is a SIEM (Security and Incident Event Manager) that works for smaller organizations. I’ve been talking up Azure Sentinel lately. It uses consumption-based pricing, which offers some opportunity to be a cost-effective SIEM for small and mid-sized organizations. Whether the answer is Azure Sentinel or some other solution, we need to move SIEM’s into the mainstream.
  • Here’s another thing I’d like for Christmas: real-world digital transformation. “Digital Transformation” has been a trending term for a while now. But what exactly does that mean? Let’s start by focusing on the “transformation” part. If you were to set out to fundamentally transform the way your organization works, what would you do? And what benefits would you expect to see? Answer those questions and you’re on your way to creating a meaningful digital transformation strategy.
  • All I want for Christmas is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We’re starting to see MFA implemented for administrator accounts. That’s great, but we need to start thinking about the rest of the organization. I frequently hear that “MFA won’t work here” or something like that. It’s time to challenge that presumption and see if things have changed. Maybe users are more receptive to the idea than they were the last time you checked.
  • All I want for Christmas is the application of machine learning to content categorization. What’s the biggest impediment to setting up a content management system? It’s the same impediment that stands in the way of rolling out Information Rights Management (IRM). People get stuck trying to figure out what “tags” they want to use to characterize their content. I’m convinced that some machine learning algorithm could crawl through a pile of content and generate a starting list of tags, based on factors like frequency of occurrence. I’ve even talked to a few AI startups about this. If you want to help co-create such a thing, let me know.
  • Here’s something else I’d like for Christmas: reimagining grants managers as technical managers. Grants management is one of the biggest software applications being run in many foundations. And yet, there seems to be a perception that the people running grants management applications aren’t technical. Grants management—the workflow to process and approve grant applications, together with procedures to track grant activity—is probably the single biggest operational activity in a foundation. Imagine if we thought about it the way other companies think about and manage their operations.
  • I would say that all I want for Christmas is video interoperability, but I don’t like asking (even Santa) for the impossible. Suffice to say that there are technical/protocol and business reasons that stand in the way. It would be great if video conference services worked well together. But my advice continues to be, “find a service that works for you and get everyone in the organization to use it.”
  • Santa, it would be great if you could deliver better phone spam detection and blocking. OK, this is more of an annoyance than anything. Still, it bugs me that phone companies aren’t taking a machine learning approach to identifying and blocking spam call activity. Blocking specific numbers is just another game of whack-a-mole. Carriers could identify the circumstances that define a spam calling campaign (e.g., placing hundreds of calls in an hour) and either block the activity or dynamically price it out of business.

All I Want for Christmas–With a Management Twist

  • I hope Santa brings me continued interaction with up-and-coming technology leaders. I spent time working with some great “emerging leaders” this year and I really enjoyed the experience. It’s great to spend time with folks that will challenge your assumptions and make you rethink your “what we all know” ideas.
  • Speaking of interaction: hopefully Santa will also bring me encouragement to step beyond my comfort zone and spend more time calling customers. You would think, given how much I enjoy talking with customers, that I would do more of it. Unfortunately, I get lazy or shy and hide behind email. I need to talk with customers more, and I hope you’ll call me on it!
  • Finally, all I want for Christmas is more civility in social media. Services like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are great for keeping in touch and managing those weak ties that would otherwise disappear. Yet, we’ve seen in political discourse that these services have (knowingly or unknowingly) encouraged tribalism and hardening of one’s convictions vs. dialogue. Social media companies would do well to refine their notions of “customer engagement” to steer away from the negativity that spreads so much more widely and quickly than positive comments.

Whether it’s Christmas, Kwanzaa, Chanukah, the Winter Solstice or Festivus, my biggest wish is that you have a happy, relaxing and rejuvenating time. See you in the New Year.

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