Where does Security Architecture fit or not fit with Enterprise Architecture?

In the video below on CxO Talk, I asked Edna Conway, CISO of Cisco about the architecures fit into each other.

In my view Security Architecture is a subset of Enterprise Architecture. However, since security is important at all levels, a Security Architecure gets deep into and can work in parallel with Enterprise Architecture. At the user level, perhaps we should know the threats that are out there.

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Are there tools, worksheets, anything else available for cities to become smart even though they aren’t part of Mastercard’s initiative?

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5 Questions to Ask About Decisions

We make decisions every day. Sometimes these decisions can be simple or can be complex. Sometimes these decisions can be made individually or are made as part of a group. Sometimes these decisions can be insignificant or can have huge consequences. Sometimes these decisions can be good or can be bad. According to estimates, an average adult makes 35,000 remotely conscious decisions every single day!

In the context of an organization, our decisions can range from hiring/firing people, creating/retiring processes, adding/removing product features, escalating/deescalating service requests, buying/building/retiring technologies and many more. When it comes to deciding if your organization is going to go on Business and Digital Transformation journeys highly depend on who framed that question and what contexts were they looking at to pose such a question. Contrary to popular belief, Business and Digital Transformation is not for everyone.

To understand if your organization is equipped to begin and thrive in its Business and Digital Transformation journeys then you have to make a concerted effort to understand if going on these journeys was qualitatively assessed or just someone’s intuition. You have to take into account if your organization’s Strategy, Politics, Innovation, Culture, and Execution are in-line with your journeys. You have to make your people, processes, products, services, and technologies reflect these journeys. You have to make sure you have the right structure and roles in place to be successful in these journeys. Lastly, you have to make sure that everyone and everything is on the same page by having a common mission that not only attracts but motivates the organization.

Ask the following self-assessment questions to determine if your organization is ready for Business and Digital Transformation journeys:

 TodayTomorrow
1.Who is directly responsible for Business and Digital Transformation?Who should be directly responsible for Business and Digital Transformation?
2.What are the specific goals/criteria you want to achieve through Business and Digital Transformation? What is the alternative if you don’t do this?What should be the specific goals/criteria you want to achieve through Business and Digital Transformation? What should be the alternative if you don’t do this?
3.Where do Business and Digital Transformation start and end in your organization? Executive? Middle Management? Front-line Employees?Where should Business and Digital Transformation start and end in your organization? Executive? Middle Management? Front-line Employees?
4.When is Business and Digital Transformation an asset vs. liability?When should Business and Digital Transformation an asset vs. liability?
5.Why Business and Digital Transformation?Why should you do Business and Digital Transformation?

As you ponder the above questions, it is prudent to think of Business and Digital Transformation as holistic journeys that are also connected to each other. You have to make sure how Business and Digital Transformation is understood and how perceptions about it can create obstacles. You have to be aware of patterns that you can take advantage of and what patterns you shouldn’t even consider. Use common analogies to discuss/share Business and Digital Transformation and have firm value propositions (backed by data) to illustrate the point of doing (or not doing) all of this.

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Review of the DC Startup Week 2019

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Washington DC Startup
Week 2019 which was from September 9th to the 13th. During this week, the DMV (DC, Maryland, and Virginia) startup community came together to learn and grow from each other and from experts around the world. Following are some of the things I learned as I attended the various talks, pitches, and workshops:

Financial Projections for SaaS Companies from GSP

  • Most SaaS companies charge the client(s) everything upfront for the services
  • Freemium model should be used only to figure out what the actual pricing might be
  • Customer services should be a cost so gross profits look good
  • 15% of base salary is a good measure to determine employee benefits
  • When you add customers then you need to add employee (Sales and Marketing) too
  • Sales and Marketing projections should not be constant over the years
  • To get Venture Capitalist (VC) funding:
    • Keep financial projections until year 3
    • Determine if money will last for what you want to build
  • Know your industry’s Customer Aquisition Costs (CAC)
  • My Thoughts:
    • Determine the likely cost (money, reputation) of a data breach
    • Create a checklist of what to do and not to do when making projections

Accounting Procedures for Startups

  • Investors look at accrual accounting
  • Investors will compare your gross profits to your industry
  • Projects should be positive and show a real picture
  • My Thoughts:
    • Except googling there seems to be no place to look at various industry gross profits for various industries at one centralized location

Fundraising

  • There are three major main sources of funding:
    • Government Grants
    • Angel Investors
    • Venture Capitalists
  • Keep in mind what you are building towards and the specific milestones
  • Provide monthly (or sooner when needed) updates to investors:
    • Summary of what happened
    • Challenges
    • List of Ask(s)
  • Ask investors what is their investing process
  • Pay yourself minimum (initially) to enough (when a company becomes self-sustaining)
  • Avoid these common mistakes:
    • Asking for more money isn’t always better
    • Don’t be afraid to negotiate
    • Focus on product/service and customer service
    • Show the landscape of the market, trends and where you fit in

Best Practices for Corporate and Startup Partnerships

  • Startups bring freshness to the organization
  • 3 things corporations care about when looking at startups:
    • A problem needs to solve
    • See something incidental
    • If this scales up, we will have problems
  • Nurture partnerships overtime
  • Transparency and timing is important
  • Always do due diligence before taking on a partner
  • Help people think outside the box
  • Corporations need mechanisms to speed things up
  • Figure out corporations pain points
  • Have a champion internally in the corporation that can pitch for your product or service
  • Corporations look at their internal capabilities vs. external capabilities of startups
  • 75% of USD $100B Venture Capitalist money goes to California, New York, and Massachusetts

Using Design Thinking for Products and Services

  • Design for simplicity
  • Design to make things easier

Finding Product/Market Fit

  • Have a focus on who your client is going to be
  • Sometimes your products/services might be ahead of its time
  • Don’t lie
  • Don’t assume success in one market will translate into another
  • It is best when the majority of the sales are inbound
  • Show/have evidence of traction
  • The lifecycle of a Startup Funds:
    • Ideation – friends and family, crowdfunding, bootstrapping
    • Seed Stage – minimum viable product (MVP)
    • Series A – real revenue
    • Liquidity – exit
  • To iterate on your MVP go to different groups to see what works and why it works
  • Be self-aware
  • Show repeatable product/service and then figure out how to get customers
  • Customer Aquisition Costs (CAC) strategy is very important
  • Think about your exit strategy and who would buy your company
  • Validate the market
  • Have a conversation with your competitors
  • Develop relationships with potential acquirers
  • Always have a domain experience
  • Watch a customer go through the product
  • To get a product/service market fit:
    • Who are you trying to help
    • Make it your priority to know pain points
    • Listen to negative reviews
  • As investors, they care more about the numbers (money) than the story
  • Figure out your why
  • Focus on the revenue model
  • Give real-world examples of pain points

Startup Pitches

1. Guardian Savings – a digital savings bank for children

2. JSkills – providing career transition skills training for journalists

3. Forget me not AI – personalized automated customer interaction

4. Akku – portable battery pack pickup and drop-off

5. Tabitha – Restaurant payment processing app for customers

6. Mully Lingua – Language and culture immersion app

7. Co-Tripper – Single mom group travel

8. Koin Street – A place to manage digital assets

9. Please Assist Me – Chores completion services when you are out of the house

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How do you create a seamless channel from offline/physical to online/digital and vice versa?

In the video below on CxO Talk, I asked Charlie Cole, Chief Digital Officer (CDO) of Tumi about how to create cohesion between offline/physical and online/digital customer experiences.

In my view, organizations of all sizes also have to be cognizant of the following:

  1. People’s attitude can affect your customer experiences
  2. Process/Flow/Organization/Order can affect your customer experiences
  3. Products of lower quality can affect your customer experiences
  4. Services that are not friendly can affect your customer experiences
  5. Technology that does not keep the customer as the focus can affect your customer experiences

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