'Lightning' strikes in London

Marc Thaler

LONDON – How much information could you pack into a 10-minute talk?

That was the challenge posed to the five speakers who participated in Tuesday’s “Lightning talks” at the MAX 2014 EU Customer Conference.

Lightning-Talks“Sometimes, our attention spans aren’t as quite as long as we hope they might be,” GFI MAX Director of Partner Community Dave Sobel deadpanned.

Here’s what each speaker discussed:

Why being a geek is more important than ever
Seth Robinson, CompTIA’s director of technology analysis, said the notion that IT is going to be treated like a utility “doesn’t pass the sniff test.” The reason, he said, is due to complexity.

“Because it’s so complex, everyone needs the skills to deal with that complexity,” he said. “Now is the best time to be in technology and use those skills.”

He offered three reasons:

  • Everyone needs technology – People are using it in new ways.
  • Problem set is growing – Security, for example, is a significant issue.
  • The role of the CIO is changing – The CIO’s main job was previously to ensure system reliability. That’s still the case, but using technology to move the business forward is now the mission.

“Technical skills are very, very important – still,” he said. “People are going to need the expertise that we can bring them.”

Sharing an idea: Connect the dots of an ISMS (ISO 27001 – NIST 800-53) Remote Audit system
Speaking in a second language, Giuseppe Serafini, of Giuseppe Serafini Law Firm in Italy, said there is a theme running through many conversations – across geographic locations:

“We nowadays have a lot of security standards worldwide … or in a specific sector,” he said. “It is fundamental to consider the concept of a security audit.

“May I use MAX to perform and document an audit process on (an) information system that is relevant for one of the security standards?” he added. “In my opinion, the answer is, ‘Yes we can.’”

Community and collaboration

Give serious consideration to the potential value of engaging with your peers. That’s what Lee Evans of Vital Network Solutions encouraged the audience to do.

“It can make you more competitive,” he said.

Evans also said it’s important to deliver a clear message. It is critical that customers – current and potential – are not confused.

“Take the time to tailor your message,” he said.

Five marketing tips for your business
Simon Dobson of The IT Marketing Agency closed the session with the following tips:

No longer ignore Facebook – Dobson said there are 24 million active daily users of the social network in the UK alone.

“We’re hitting the point where it cannot be ignored,” he said. “Where else can you get an audience that big? Create a business page. Start using it.”

Advertising space – Use your twitter account’s cover image as an ad banner.

“Use that space to sell. In a newspaper, you’re going to have to buy that space,” he said.

Pricing – The way people buy is changing, Dobson said. They want to know how much a service will cost.

“Be less fearful about quoting pricing,” he said. “The brave will prosper.”

Social media – Blogs, forums and other online services enable you to create content as well as push content created by others.

“Position yourself as someone who’s in tune with the market,” he said.

Take a risk – Simply put, be brave.

“Sometimes,” Dobson said, “you’ve got to take a chance.”