To win in today’s market where disruptive startups and agile competitors are advancing on all sides, digitizing the enterprise to infuse greater agility and innovation is critical. This means transforming your operating model, which includes reimagining products and services, business models, as well as business function strategies for marketing, operations, and finance. To succeed, companies need to challenge themselves by being granular, and in many cases, revising legacy policies.

Unfortunately, concerns about cybersecurity are holding companies back from achieving their digitization goals. A new Cisco research report, “Cybersecurity as a Growth Advantage,” found that security concerns caused:

  • 71% of companies to hold back on innovation
  • 39% of businesses to halt a mission-critical initiative
  • 60% of firms to reconsider digital projects

Over the past six months, I have had the privilege to meet with more than 100 of Cisco’s top customers from around the globe to reimagine their businesses through greater digitization initiatives. In these briefings, I emphasize cybersecurity as an enabler of growth and innovation, not simply a defensive capability to be “bolted on” to existing infrastructures.  This new report supports the position I encourage leaders to take: make cybersecurity pervasive across the network while ensuring that security is a true business strategy measured across every facet of a company’s operations.

The research also identified a unique market segment of cybersecurity first movers. By implementing a cybersecurity and digitization strategy simultaneously, these companies increase the pace of innovation and the overall digitization process. Further, they have higher confidence in the security of key digital capabilities, R&D,  Big Data/analytics, cloud, operations, and more expansive business models enabled through the Internet of Things (IoT).

Becoming a digital business requires holistically building cybersecurity into business operations, and digital products and services. As initial efforts succeed, leadership teams and workers will gain the confidence and expertise needed to further expand their digitization strategies, instead of being shackled by cybersecurity doubts, as many companies are today. Most important, digitization and security together will serve as a major force in driving growth and innovation.


Kevin Bandy

No Longer with Cisco