Understanding the state of technology helps companies to plan and structure their products and distribution efforts. Businesses like predictability and without it they tend to contract and hold on to their investments. Fortium Partners puts out a monthly Technology Pulse Report for businesses to help today’s corporate leaders gain valuable insights they need.Burke Autrey the president and COO of Fortium Partners has years of experience in the software as a service industry working for and with many of the top global consulting firms. He joins Craig this week to discuss their Technology Pulse Report and what businesses can learn from reading it.
Burke Autrey the president and COO of Fortium Partners has years of experience in the software as a service industry working for and with many of the top global consulting firms. He joins Craig this week to discuss their Technology Pulse Report and what businesses can learn from reading it.
As President and COO, Burke leads the operational and administrative activities of the Firm. He ensures that Fortium’s resources are aligned to serve our Partners as our most valuable asset and our clients as our chief objective. He is responsible for developing the Firm’s services offering and practice areas as well as the internal systems, knowledge management, and relationships our Partners rely on to serve their clients. In addition to his Operating responsibilities, Burke leads the Firm’s Software Industry Practice.
Supporting his role as the Firm’s Software Industry Practice Leader, Burke has been the CIO, CTO, or COO for many software companies with Fortune 500 customers including a market-leading financial services SaaS provider, the leading SaaS provider to the retail automotive finance and insurance market, two healthcare software-as-a-service providers, an enterprise on-premise and SaaS provider for the corporate legal market, a loyalty and incentives SaaS provider, a value-added reseller of enterprise software, a business strategy software company, an online auction software provider, and a workflow/business process automation software provider. Burke serves commercial software providers in leadership roles directing product development, technical operations, product management, product support, quality assurance/testing, and leading quality/process improvement initiatives in these areas.
Prior to Fortium, Burke’s career included roles at the global consulting companies of Deloitte and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Partner in the Technology Leadership practice of Tatum, as well as direct technology leadership roles with The Walt Disney Company, SOURCECORP, Ristken Software, and others. Burke has a Master of Business Administration in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Business Administration in management information systems from the University of Texas at Austin.
Fortium Partners (www.FortiumPartners.com) is an international executive services firm that provides fractional and interim IT leadership and advisory services to companies that have an immediate need to improve IT performance, reduce spend, and improve competitive standing and operational efficiency. Fortium’s Partners are all experienced C-Suite executives of significant, recognizable companies and possess, on average, 20-25 years of experience helping CEOs, boards, and investors lead substantial technology initiatives and solve complex problems. Fortium brings a unique perspective that results in better outcomes, lower risk, and shorter time to value.
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.
Airing Date: November 5, 2016
Craig Peterson: Welcome back to Tech Talk with Craig Peterson. There is a lot of technology the businesses are using every day. And you know it’s almost impossible to keep up on all of these tech. There’s so many things to know. So many things to track and really kind of understand where everything’s going from your compensation plans all the way through what’s the latest security problems. Us business people, we got a lot to worry about. So we’ve invited Burke Autrey to join us right now. He’s the president and CEO over at Fortium Partners. We’re gonna talk about their latest technology pulse report and what it means and a little bit about what they doing as well to help businesses out. Burke, welcome.
Burke Autrey: Thank you Craig. I appreciate it.
Craig: So let’s talk a little bit about this here. Businesses, lots to track, lots to do. Over at Fortium Partners, you have quite a bit of information I read through the monthly report here which was survey results from Fortium Partners. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about this technology pulse report? Why do you make it? And what kind of information can be found here?
Burke: Well thank you Craig. So, the technology pulse report is a monthly survey that we take of CIOs in our network. We have a large number of CIOs as you might expect. Some of them are partners with our firm and others are just simply in the network and the report unveils really the most important issues that are plaguing CIOs and tries to get inside the mind of the CIO and how they’re doing in their role. It takes 3 different approaches. We’ll take the financial approach to understand how they’re doing financially. Are they ahead of budget? Behind budget? And each of the 3 key areas of capital expense and personnel. And so that’s interesting in a monthly basis for us to check in and see how those CIOs are doing and what sorts of pressures they might be experiencing and then we try to interpret what might be going on as a result of that. We’d look at the risk section that CIOs are facing, CIOs and CISOs, the security guys out there, and we poll them to find out what sort of risk factors and risk experiences they’re having in a monthly basis. And it’s very interesting to see the flow of those risk areas ebb and flow during each month. So one month it was phishing. The other month it was ransomware. And so it’s very interesting to see what those are and so we try to get interest for this and we try to zero in on some of those individuals and find out kinda what their stories are and poll our partners to see what they’re experiencing as well. And then the third area that we get from the survey is of trends and innovation. And it’s been very interesting to see on a monthly basis, we ask them what’s on your radar? The things you’re looking at… what’s in production today? And what are those things that you’re looking to retire and move to the back burner so that other things can take their place. Recently we’ve seen some interesting trends around topics like Blockchain. We see software-defined networks. We see a lot of things that tend to be a little more technical but they’re the harbinger of the types of technologies that we’re likely to see coming in the future and it helps us inform the CIOs in our network but it also helps us to be able to present these to our clients and keep an idea of where things are going.
Craig: Now Burke you mentioned that this is a survey primarily of CIOs. Why don’t we kind of start there? CIOs, CTOs, these are terms that are around quite a while. You got your Chief Information Officer, your Chief Technology Officer. Are we seeing this shift in the roles? Are they getting split up a little bit here? I’ve heard terms like Chief Security Officer in some places and many others. As it gets more complicated are we seeing different titles or more titles?
Burke: We are Craig. We’re seeing so that there is always the Chief Information Officer. That would call that kind of the general contractor of the technology world. The CIO, the Chief Information Officer in the way we typically explain it to clients and others is they’re the ones that are at the forefront of the leadership space around technology. And they’re the ones who are there to organize technology. To manage it and provide that leadership. You do have, as technology becomes more and more complex and more specific in certain areas, you do have other roles emerging. The CTO has been around a long time. In non-product technology companies, that’s often the person in charge of infrastructure. The computers, the networks, the data centers, that sort of thing. The CTO role is very prominent in technology companies like software companies and software and service as they lead product development and are primarily responsible for the product, the software development as well as the running of that software on the data center where the customer finds it out there. You mentioned another one, the Chief Information Security Officer, another level of obstruction of technology and focus on the security, mostly data security. Although sometimes there are aspects of physical security access to billings and data centers and so forth. But primarily, data security is where we get the details around cyber security and some other issues we’re seeing there. And then it starts to fan off from there. We’ve been seeing instances of something called a Chief Marketing Technology Officer because of the explosion of technology around the marketing functions especially at the top end of the marketing funnel where you’re trying to get demand. There’s an explosion of technologies there and it takes a really specialized skill set to understand how that works and how to team up with the CMO to get the most out of those technologies.
Craig: Really interesting as this goes forward. Lots of changes. Let’s talk about what’s in the report here this month. You mentioned, for instance, ransomware. There are many things, many risks that we have to be careful of. And I’ve seen ransomware at every one of my clients, frankly. It’s really significant. It can cost a company a lot of money. We’ve seen entire hospitals shut down because of ransomware. And somehow, I just don’t get it Burke, businesses don’t seem to think this is gonna happen to them.
Burke: Right. It’s a very difficult thing to prevent because it often comes through the employees themselves. It’s not necessarily coming in where you typically put your defenses at the network of the perimeter of the security is coming in through email attachments that people are not trained to defend against. They open it up, they think it’s a note from a friend or their boss potentially and they’re priming it. And you’re right Craig. 40% of the businesses were surveyed in that report had experienced some issue with ransomware and there’s been a five-fold increase from last year to this year. So it is definitely rampant and increasing. It’s the new area and the criminals that are doing those are making a lot of money off it because there are times they’re asking for a reasonably small amount of money. Still thousands but reasonably a small amount of money that people make that value decision to whether they’re just gonna pay it so they can get their business back on their feet and of course that is the problem. Disclose that you’re willing to pay, you become an even greater target.
Craig: Well Burke, we’ve only got a couple of minutes left here. You mentioned Blockchain. It is definitely emerging. There are financial systems that are being put in place now, including in the banking industry that is looking at using Blockchain as really it’s kind of its basis. And really there’s a lot more and so if people want to find out about this, FortiumPartners.com is your website? Is that the best place for people to go?
Burke: Yes. That’s the great place to go to find out Fortium to reach out to us if you have any questions like. You won’t find a lot of information on the site itself about technologies like Blockchain. A number of our partners will work at our blog. They will blog about that. In fact, mentioned in that article is a series on Blockchain and what Blockchain means. But we also have lots of other topics on the blog at Blog.FortiumPartners.com, if you wanna read some of those. And of course if you wanna just reach out to us coz you have a question about technology, we have a contact us place in that site as well.
Craig: Alright. So Blog.FortiumPartners. And Fortium is spelled F-O-R-T-I-U-M. Blog.FortiumPartners.com. Good information there. I really like this report. It’s straightforward. It’s pretty simple. You’re talking about a six to eight page, it looks like, report here. Bottom line, on the technology pulse available from Fortium Partners as well I’d imagine.
Burke: Absolutely. That’s correct.
Craig: Alright. We’ve been joined by Fortium Partners president and COO, Burke Autrey. And as I said you’ll find them online. Lots of great information online on Twitter as well @FortiumPartners. F-O-R-T-I-U-M. Thanks, Burke. Anything else you’d like to add?
Burke: No that’s great. I appreciate you having me on today and we’d love to hear from your listeners if there’s anything we can do to help.