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James Hatch, BAE Systems: Computer Weekly Downtime Upload podcast

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We talk with the principle digital officer at BAE Systems Digital Intelligence business concerning the challenges of digital in high-trust organisations

The tech industry appears to create silos. Originally, the role of the principle information officer (CIO) was to mix business also it, however in some organisations it has morphed right into a role that holds responsibility for this infrastructure. Such organisations, the top of This is a back-office function, to help keep the lights on.

Another role, that of the principle information security officer (CISO), heads up the IT security section of the organisation, making certain data is kept secure and that security policies adhere to industry regulations or government legislation.

The advent of big data analytics has seen the emergence of the principle data officer (CDO), who’s now tasked with driving artificial intelligence (AI) adoption in the organisation. Sufficient reason for all of the hype around digital transformation, the principle digital officer (also CDO) role is currently de rigeur.

The latter may be the role James Hatch has had at BAE Systems, but one he sees as encompassing all areas of technology and business necessary to benefit from tech innovation. Such innovation is desperately needed in a few high-trust organisations, that have to work within the constraints of a governance and regulatory compliance framework that may hamper the progress of digital innovation.

Hatch may be the chief digital officer at BAE Systems Digital Intelligence, section of the aerospace groups systems organisation, that was established in the beginning of 2022, combining 4,800 people across cyber security, data intelligence and space disciplines.

In the last decade, Hatch has run cyber services within the systems organisation. Lately, he’s got been exploring the main topics digital advantage within the context of digital transformation. Digital technology is increasingly section of doing business rather than back-office function that supports the business enterprise, he says.

For Hatch, the work of a chief digital offer represents some sort of functional underpinning role generally in most modern organisations, in charge of the delivery of outcomes to customers, whether those are citizens, consumers or other organisations. Unlike job functions like CIO and CISO, the CDO is in charge of ensuring the business enterprise and the technology that underpins it are joined up. It really is a location Hatch has been concentrating on to create the agenda for the business enterprise in 2023.

Digital technology is increasingly section of doing business rather than back-office function that supports the business enterprise
James Hatch, BAE Systems Digital Intelligence

I have already been working through our plans for next year, he says. Tools and technology was among the four types of change that people have to look at. Another three are policy and process, people and skills, and culture and leadership.

What this demonstrates is that even yet in their own strategy, the proportion centered on tech is about 25%.

BAE Systems recently reviewed the existing state of play within three high-trust sectors digital landscapes: government, aerospace and defence. Within the study it commissioned research from Vanson Bourne, which discovered that of the 120 respondents from organisations in the united kingdom who were involved with their organisations digital transformation, 84% said digital advantage was crucial or essential with their organisation.

The survey, conducted between May and June 2022, discovered that 97% of these polled faced barriers to achieving an electronic advantage, and only 21% of respondents in high-trust sectors said these were digitally mature. Regardless of the relatively low degree of digital maturity, the survey reported that 83% of organisations agreed that while there have been challenges to overcome to attain digital maturity, the reward for doing this was worthwhile.

Hatch says the outcomes show that there’s been challenging in high-trust sectors, with regards to reaching the full potential of digital technology and practices. The task is that digital transformation is constrained by the special requirements needed in high-trust organisations. Doing nothing or avoiding tackling this issue is not the solution.

We have been ready where our adversaries, if they come in crime organisations, or are nation states, or they’re competitors, ‘re going by way of a fairly rapid progression of digital transformation, he says.

However, he says that because of the barriers set up within the high-trust sector, it really is fundamentally more challenging to accomplish digital transformation than in a sector with less control and regulation.

Within high-trust sectors, he says: Its similar to a human and cultural tug-of-war. You can find assumptions and mindsets which are included in peoples jobs and careers in what may be the right solution to do things. You need to find common ground before you make significant progress.

That is something he believes the high-trust sector can study from engineering industries in charge of developing safety-critical systems.

Hatch believes the simplest way to tackle this cultural tug-of-war is through innovation, improving productivity and delivery within high-trust organisations by maximising the usage of digital technology and practices. He says that no real matter what stage of maturity an organisation is on the digital maturity journey, probably the most important things to accomplish would be to keep your systems updated and patched, this means changing them regularly and making changes in their mind.

It really is about having a continuing change process that keeps you updated and keeps you competitive, he says. This, says Hatch, represents a simple shift from the programme to a pipeline mindset. I believe [this mindset shift] pertains to both cyber security also to innovation and productivity.

Securing software innovation

From the software development perspective, there were several efforts to handle open source security issues. Open source offers developers a method to build new applications quickly by firmly taking benefit of freely available open source components. But questions are increasingly being asked about how exactly to make sure these components in the program supply chain are kept fully patched.

I believe weve probably passed the type of peak hype on open source, says Hatch. Its likely to change everything, and everything is certainly going open source. But we also recognise that theres value in enterprise software providers offering buyers confidence, insurance and a contractual [agreement].

Its no good being safe if youre not secure because security undermines safety, in fact it is no good being secure if youre not productive and innovative and in a position to move quickly
James Hatch, BAE Systems Digital Intelligence

Alongside open source, the thought of perimeter-based security no more fits the requirements of organisations that want the free flow of data to and from external business partners. Modern IT architectures use open application programming interfaces (APIs) and microservices, supplying a deep degree of integration between external partners and internal back-end systems.

Describing the task, Hatch says: Its no good being safe if youre not secure because security undermines safety, in fact it is no good being secure if youre not productive and innovative and in a position to move quickly.

For Hatch, there exists a role for digital industry partners to utilize high-trust organisations, providing a gateway to greatly help them deploy commercial technology, including open source technology, in high-trust environments.

Within the high-trust sector, Hatch believes the role of the principle digital officer has the capacity to operate in a manner that allows the average person who has overall responsibility for the organisation’s digital technique to maximise the power technology brings. He sees a have to differ from programme thinking, like a digital transformation programme, to a pipeline approach, where security is in-built.

You’re defining an outcome, working towards it using pipeline thinking by continuously driving towards a distant objective, making progress at all times, he says.

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