Well that was a busy and fun weekend! As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in the Starbucks at Heathrow Terminal 5 on the way from Budapest to the FireEye Momentum conference in Las Vegas. Just at this moment, I’m wishing I’d been more sensible last night. But hindsight is not much help. But what a weekend and what a year! We had a lot to celebrate with excellent results giving us a superb platform for 2015. So now, the challenge is on to maintain this energy – this momentum. It’s an interesting word. The main definition according the Oxford English Dictionary is “The quantity of motion of a moving body, measured as a product of its mass and velocity.” I was fortunate to be asked to present at the sales team kick-off event and I used the word ‘momentum’ a few times. Barrie Desmond, our Group COO, also included that same message. And to cap it all, as the finale guest speaker, we were lucky to have the excellent Chris Akabussi (@krissakabusi). If you haven’t seen him speak, do try to be at an event where he is presenting. I found his session truly inspiring and he reaffirmed all of our core messages regarding our challenge for this year, creating velocity, maintaining momentum and another key word phrase ‘being disruptive’. (On top of this he’s a top bloke who was funny, engaging and had time for everyone – not always the case with some guest speakers).
Momentum and disruption – two opposites. From a company sales perspective, the momentum we’re talking about is our own path for growth, profitability and, through these, longevity. We are of course aware that our competitors are out there trying to find ways of disrupting our momentum and we are in turn tracking, managing and mitigating these risks. So how can we maintain our momentum? One of the elements of our strategy is to be disruptive ourselves and that’s what part of the kick-off was about – our strategies for being disruptive and how our teams can contribute to the disruptive nature of our business. We’re here to help our partners (vendors and resellers) to be disruptive.
So what’s so good about disruption? It’s all about change. Technology is about change. Technology challenges the normal, the old way of doing things, the accepted wisdom of doing what everyone else is doing. Spend a few minutes thinking about the huge impacts of technological changes and you can quickly see that new disruptive technologies have changed the very fabric of our lives, the way we travel, the way we communicate, the way we work and the way we play. The best new technologies are always disruptive either creating a completely new ‘thing’ that we can do or by fundamentally changing the way we do an existing activity.
The digitisation of all kinds of information has given the opportunity for enormous disruptive changes. Just consider for a moment the transition of music from old vinyl record, 8 track tape, cassette tape and then the move to CD. The 8 track tapes and cassette tapes were a major change. With some miniaturisation, it became possible to music of your choice in a car and finally on your person. The move to CD was the big one though and the music industry was caught out by the implication of the change that came with it and unprepared for the impact that came with it. From that point on, music was digital and, in its digital form, it can be moved around copied from one media type to another without loss of quality. With that, peoples’ expectations about how they could enjoy and share music changed with such force and momentum that the music industry has been changed forever. Their business model was fundamentally disrupted and new businesses with strategies that adapted to these changes have emerged successful.
The same has happened to the photographic and camera industry, the newspaper industry, the film industry and every other area where an entity can be digitised. Change is the single constant and long may it continue. It creates opportunities and can improve and enrich our lives. Note I said ‘can’. Not all disruptions are welcome or designed to enrich or enhance our lives. There are those among us who apply disruptive approaches to our detriment. These are our enemies and, in terms of information security, it is our role to disrupt the disrupters. My Advice for 2015? Be CARM, be disruptive, have fun, do good and make a positive difference. That’s my challenge to you this year.