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Mivy James

Digital Transformation Director and Head of Consulting, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence

Challenges are a perennial feature of any digital transformation but can be particularly acute in high trust environments, says BAE Systems. That’s why culture, empowerment and advice are all important.

Governments and other organisations in high trust environments will benefit from digital transformation if they embrace an enterprise-wide agile culture, empower their employees and use tech as an enabler to meet business goals.

That’s the view of Digital Transformation Director and Head of Consulting at BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, Mivy James. She says data sensitive clients face huge risks when adopting new technology but, with expert advice, they can predict future trends, react to continual change and gain competitive advantage.

“The whole organisation needs an agile and digital transformation culture to take decisions quickly,” says James. “This is about having a fluid hierarchy and empowering employees to collaborate and use tech confidently within a set of rules.”

We monitor threats through threat intelligence so we see trends emerging and can warn clients to take preventative action before it is too late.

COVID-19 has accelerated the need for digital transformation

James, a vastly experienced computer scientist at the trusted security company, says digital transformation has risen further up the corporate agenda during the pandemic.

Throughout the crisis, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence has transformed clients into modern digital organisations, putting in place secure remote working procedures to adapt to the new normal

“Going digital is one thing, transformation is quite another,” says James. “Alignment from the leadership teams to the front line is critical when designing complex digital processes in a fast-changing and unpredictable environment.”

Machine learning must be fair and ethical

There are huge benefits from machine learning for organisations in high trust areas if they understand why they are investing in it and how to do it correctly.

Machine learning has become increasingly mainstream. However, organisations must also ensure that any system is ethical, fair, accountable, reliable and transparent. If it is, machine learning can boost consumer trust in how data is used by developing creative outcomes that improve people’s lives. Without this understanding of the ethic and bias aspects, machine learning will not reach its potential; it’s no longer the technology that’s the limiting factor.

Process reengineering

James also advises clients to consider improving business processes before investing in digital technology.

“Many companies go straight to automating and putting something in the cloud without first looking at how a process could be enhanced to meet business goals,” she says. “Sometimes you have to dismantle a process, look at it again and then decide what technology you need, or in fact, whether you need new/more technology at all to address that particular business challenge.”

The use of cloud technologies will benefit these organisations that want to achieve the agility and resilience the cloud offers without compromising on security.

There are different options:

  • Mission Cloud: enables organisations to achieve the benefits of public cloud for sensitive projects with a lower security risk
  • Hybrid/cross domain cloud access: for businesses that want to take advantage of public and private cloud environments at different security levels to allow collaboration and the transfer of data between domains
  • Secure serverless: a new secure way to achieve efficiency and agile benefits by building security around the functions within the applications without the constraints of servers.

Many organisations use public and private cloud facilities, but often prefer the flexibility of public cloud to interact with consumers in areas such as e-commerce. It is easier to adapt the functionality and for stakeholders to collaborate.

Digital collaboration

One of the myriad consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has been an increase in digital collaboration. With workforces deployed to kitchen tables and home offices around the country, employers have had little option but to trust people who are working remotely and accessing potentially sensitive data and sharing documents.

“It is crucial to keep track of who is making use of what technology and data to do their job effectively,” says James.

She adds: “This goes back to creating a digital transformation culture where you empower people by educating them on what is safe to do. If people continue to work from home, there must be secure remote systems in their own environment.”

Organisations are being urged to use intelligence gateways that filter inbound and outbound traffic, so it is clear what is being moved from one person to another and how sensitive the information is.

It is crucial to keep track of who is making use of what technology and data to do their job effectively

Be prepared

But the pandemic is no excuse to let your guard down. Expert outside counsel is critical because there will always be security risks for high trust organisations. These can come from disgruntled employees, industrial espionage and state-sponsored hacking attacks.

“We monitor threats through threat intelligence so we see trends emerging and can warn clients to take preventative action before it is too late.”

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