Enterprise IT Context for the CTO

Bob Gourley

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Thank you to all who could make it to The Synergy Forum

Bob Gourley

We were so pleased to see so many business partners, friends and associates at Cognitio's second annual Synergy Forum on 4 Oct. To all who could make it, thank you very much for deciding to invest your personal time and energy into this event.

We will be providing more detailed summaries of event sessions over the next few weeks. For now here are a few highlights:

  • Cognitio CEO Roger Hockenberry provided actionable context on the coming age of digitization, where data has become the new gold. Generating the right data, protecting it, and channeling it to business objectives, has been the Cognitio services in greatest demand across multiple sectors of the economy and in government. We should all continue to hone our skills in understanding how to continuously improve our ability to create, analyze and protect the right mission-focused data, and the means to do that is really quite simple: we can all learn from the great masters.
  • Learning from the great masters was a key theme of the event, with speakers like LtGen Bender of the US Air Force being an example of a seasoned innovator who knows how to focus and lead people, process and technology to enhance the value of the digital resources to business and mission objectives. The many lessons he shared on enterprise innovation will stick with us all.
  • The nation is continuing to deal with challenges to cybersecurity, and the foreshadowing we all received from Kiersten Todt on the work of the President's Commission on Cybersecurity indicates continuous progress will be made. There will always be work to be done here, adversaries are also innovating, but together we can make a difference. Everyone at the forum heard first hand how we can help- when the report comes out, read it, understand it, share it, and keep providing feedback on how to improve the state of the nation's cybersecurity protections.
  • When it comes to your cybersecurity program, incident response is of critical importance and all of us can make improvements there. But we should also keep aiming to evolve beyond incident response. Cyber threat intelligence is an enabler to help achieve that objective. Having one of the nation's greatest cyber threat analysts (Ron Carback) lead us through a discussion on this topic helped us all get our head's around it.  The context provided by Marc Sachs on "Unrestricted Intelligence" was also key and is a theme we will be returning to as we continue to move this concept forward. Cognitio's David Horvath, a telecommunications engineer and project manager who has enhanced defenses in large enterprises for decades, brought lessons learned from successful projects including remote access and WiFi implementations.
  • The new gold of data can also be used to enhance cybersecurity directly and the examination of methods and models for doing so, including machine learning, artificial intelligence and semantic indexing, provided a roadmap any organization can leverage to enhance their use of data in this way.
  • We are facing a "Cambrian Explosion" of new technologies and multiple panels addressed how to leverage the benefits of this explosion of tech while mitigating the challenges it produces. Cognitio's CTO Dan Cybulski is known for his ability to select and evaluate tools from massive numbers of candidates.  Exelon Energy CISO Dennis Gilbert provided compelling arguments that underscored the importance of navigating market research with a strategy.
  • Perhaps the greatest engine of transformation and innovation in the enterprise today is cloud computing. Our all star panel of experts with proven past performance in cloud transitions dove deep into lessons learned and helped provide insights for anyone seeking to improve their use of these technologies whether inside or outside of their enterprise. Cognitio's Adam Gerhart, known for his ability to accelerate cloud transitions, brought integration and software engineering lessons to the interaction which also included three of the nation's most accomplished enterprise technologists (David Bray of the FCC, Dave Wilmer of DISA, Shawna Wimpy of USAF).
  • A data strategy is like a campaign plan. It should help move you towards your objective in ways that mitigate risks but ensure you will accomplish your goals and help you dominate in the marketplace. The panel of proven performers at the event dove deep into how they have leveraged data strategies to maximize return on their organizational data holdings. Michael Moll, a data scientist with Cognitio, leads cross-organizational teams in identifying and articulating mission needs and prototyping, developing and delivering data solutions. The FBI Deputy Director for Technology and CIA Director of Digital Futures and Intel Corporation's data architect were the perfect group to examine this critical data topic.
  • Governance is key to ensuring all strategic objectives are accomplished, including data strategies and cybersecurity objectives. We tackled this topic by tapping into the wisdom of accomplished executives who know the strengths of a good governance program. The lessons of Larry Larsen, CISO at Apple Federal Credit Union, and Chris Ward, highly accomplished cyber architect at Cognitio, and Jeremy King, accomplished executive recruiter, brought to governance will inform our reporting and delivery for the foreseeable future.
  • Artificial intelligence is the topic of thinking machines. The field is growing dramatically with the proliferation of high powered computers into home and businesses, especially with the growing importance of self-driving cars, robots, smartphones and related autonomous technologies. Key to how mankind can optimize this all was highlighted by Bob Flores of Cognitio, who built an articulate argument for enhancing the ability to shape policy over AI. Paul Brubaker, founder of the Alliance for Transportation Innovation, was the perfect moderator to pull insights from Bob and other panelists Dev Shenoy and Tom Reed, both of which are among the community's greatest thought leaders in AI and autonomous computing.
  • Another key contributor to our shared lessons learned was Michael Stonebraker, who brought the community decades of lessons in data architectures and data strategies. He did so with a great mix of humor and tech wisdom and provided context that should keep all of us aware of the importance of knowing your objective and not falling for the latest data fad.

We will be examining and providing more context from the event in the coming weeks. We would love to hear your views if you were there, and if you could not make it would love to hear what questions you may have on the event. We would especially love to answer any questions you may have on how to improve your organization's data strategy or cybersecurity posture. Contact Cognitio for more info.

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Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder of Crucial Point and publisher of CTOvision.com