How Instagram Leveraged The RACI Accountability Model

How Instagram Leveraged The RACI Accountability Model

Instagram, the more beautiful cousin of Facebook, has amassed a billion active users with pretty pictures. These days, #brunchgoals has more clout than avocado toast with a Valencia filter with a power to create legions of influencers and disrupt industries that have long been stagnant. Growing at the fastest rate of any of the social media giants, behind Instagram’s polished veneer is a deep culture of innovation.

Innovation is a practice contingent on the speed and effectiveness of decisions. But in a world of instant gratification, social media fatigue and information overload, how can a business make good decisions?

James Everingham, the Head of Engineering for Instagram, took up a crusade to find a consistent, disciplined approach across the organization to make true changes. His approach isolated a critical ingredient for change that shifts paradigms and shapes cultures. Transparency, a concept that is ubiquitous as a business buzz word is the opaque glue for good decisions.

Transparency Makes For Good Decisions

Transparency in operations is elusive especially for large organizations without a working definition. Across Instagram, employees had different definitions of transparency, a liability when it comes to employee buy in for change.

Everingham came up with a solid definition of transparency: clear and consistent communication, clarity on how decisions get made, honest and clear feedback and admitting wrongdoing. All four characteristics must be present for transparency to be effective in an organization.

A lightbulb moment for Everingham was when he realized transparency differed from accountability in that inherently employees need to understand why or how decisions were being made. Like any impactful business practice, decision making must be free of all mystery with the curtain pulled back on the process and principles behind the decision.

Research shows that managers and executives fail to consistently track, communicate, and improve their decision making, an astounding finding considering decision-making drives 95% of business performance.

RACI Matrix As A Solution

For Instagram, the solution that infused transparency into decision making was a system called the RACI model. RACI evolved from the world of project management as a methodology for assigning roles and making decisions in a project. At the beginning of a project, it identifies who is: responsible, accountable, consulted and informed for the project.

RACI model is an example of using tech solutions to augment human intelligence. A model that encourages collaboration and standardization of decision-making with a formula that makes every decision understandable, consistent, and repeatable.

In the invisible hands of technology, human decision making is no longer a whimsical puzzle or a victim of speculation. Systems make high-performance teams free to innovate. When Instagram learned how to make good decisions, it pivoted as a large organization to turn the tide of operations and invest in the future.

Lesson From Instagram 

The lesson from the Instagram, the beauty queen of social media is simple. As carcasses of businesses are left behind by the pandemic and digital transformation, an organization’s best chance for survival is transforming decision- making using effective decision practices and tech driven systems. RACI model, an abbreviation of four letters is a powerful tool when it comes to being a bridge for organizations into the future.

Scion Analytics Reflects On 2020

Scion Analytics Reflects On 2020

The news cycles purred in a loop in the background with a flurry of words that were foreign before 2019 yet became intimate for every American in 2020. These words were: Wuhan, China, contagion, COVID- 19, pandemic, face masks, lockdowns, frenzy, and fear. Just like for a generation that was immobilized by the assassination of President Kennedy, we are the generation that are living amongst the greatest public health crisis in modernity.

The sky darkened during the pandemic across the world. We contracted as a nation with the delivery of every news report, rising death toll and inconsistent medical expertise on COVID- 19. The unknown like a black hole of viral pneumonia that knew no boundaries of person or institution, that killed without remorse and warning, that prevailed despite human efforts. Cause unknown, vaccine unknown, relief unknown -just clouds of illness gathering to spell disaster.  

The statistics were as dark as the clouds. Sobering and stiff like the black veil of Kennedy’s widow at the funeral in Arlington Cemetery. America, the land of the free, lost 20.6 million jobs since mid- March to reflect an unemployment rate of 14.7%, a level not seen since the Great Depression in the 1930s. The carefree days of yesterday seemed like a dream before the pandemic when America marked a 50 year unemployment low in February at 3.5%.

The Legacy Of 2020

As 2020 ends, as a nation, we reflect on the most difficult year as if designed by science fiction and orchestrated by the hand of suffering. We lost 270,000 Americans to the pandemic. Many thousands more have suffered silently and apart, socially distanced from friends and family. The dark sky cast upon each household, whether happy or sad to be in such weather.

The nature of the human spirit is such that it perseveres against all odds. Like an unlikely flower growing in the arid desert, humans are fed by hope for a better tomorrow as we endure a difficult today. In the face of the fear, the job loss, the insecurity, the overwhelming loss, Americans came together to be strong for each other and for a better country.

A Ray Of Light In 2021

A ray of light broke the darkness of the clouds as we leaned on inherent goodness and persevered for the sake of tomorrow. Businesses improvised and innovated in the wake of change, tech got smarter and social media got louder.

At Scion Analytics, 2020 was a year of great change. We took a simple tech solution for a complex problem and had a vision that it could change lives even amidst a pandemic. For a country in crisis, heavily dependent on content to survive, we are on a mission to put the control of the content into the consumers hands. We added jobs, putting veterans and talented Americans to work despite staggering job losses and took our core values to practice.

Everyday Counts

We are growing and innovating and making every day count, a luxury that is impossible to ignore in a world that has been shrinking. For a moment, we wish to be a ray of resilience, in our little corner of the world, against a backdrop that is a sky full of darkness.

As flowers bloom in the desert, so does the human spirit, unbroken and full of light, shines on as a beacon in the darkness of disaster. 

Customization In Content Analytics Platform

Customization In Content Analytics Platform

Every day businesses face different and complex issues that require solutions. It is a paradox that the more complex the problem the simpler yet more sophisticated of a solution is needed. A hot selling point in the tech solution space is customization. With the innovation of tech, bespoke software has grown up from a trend to a requirement for doing business. However, not all customizable software is created equal nor is it relevant to a business.

Businesses require customized solutions to modify, integrate or tailor their applications to increase functionality and drive growth. A software solution that is agile and responsive helps scale the business to meet customer needs and shifting market demands.

5 Reasons Why Customization Is Important 

  1. Better Efficiency- A business that invests in a custom software solution is increasing productivity by speeding processes. For example, if a business uses an analytics platform that does not support templates, it is reliant on cutting and pasting to process volumes of content. Cutting and pasting can take a varied amount of time depending on complexity and volume, a practice of the past. While 100 pages might take several employees 2 days to cut and paste, the right analytics platform can automatically populate a template within a few minutes. The business saves precious time and resources and improves processes when it stops missing requirements by outputting results directly into a template.
  2. More Secure Environment- In a tech landscape that can be increasingly compromised by security issues and threats, a customizable tech solution offers more protection than out of the box software that uses macros. When it comes to RFP automation, macros pose problems for government contracts as they make the environment vulnerable to viruses and data leakage.
  3. Better User Experience- A customizable tech solution provides a better user experience than the generic counterpart. For example, in proposal management, project managers, business development managers and proposal managers tackle complex RFPs, individually and as a team. Some outdated versions of RFP automation software used in the defense contracting space uses coding and macros for customizations. Macros are not an elegant solution for customization and many proposal managers do not have the technical skills to manage macros. A more innovative solution bypasses coding and macros with templates and preference setting. This is an immense differentiation factor for giving users more flexibility and control over the results and their experience.

Generation Of Tech

In a world that’s obsessed with personalization, businesses need to extend the same standard to the tech solutions in their workflow. A customizable solution such as an analytics platform ensures better productivity, security, and user experience. Integral components for the success of a business that are worth the investment. For as intuitive as tech is to human users, that capability should extend to business use cases as well. Software solutions that are sensitive to business demands and can be pivoted when market or customer preferences change. That is the next generation of tech.

Mergers and Acquisitions: The Content Analytics Solution

Mergers and Acquisitions: The Content Analytics Solution

It is the next generation approach to deal making: the combination of strategy with technology to bring the art of the deal into high definition. During the pandemic, mergers and acquisition (M&A), slowed and adjusted to remote business operations, an economic necessity that is even more reliant on strategic tech infrastructure.

The way deals are getting done will never be the same for non-obvious reasons.

The Next Generation of Deal Making

Historically, in the corporate world, M&A require a lot of care for the integration strategy with respect to people, processes, and systems. The slightest friction among the melding of two companies can be a forecast of disaster for the new entity. Research shows that more than 50% of M&A does not generate the expected ROI. Another study paints a bleak reality of M&A success rates. According to Forbes: “80% of M&A fails at the implementation stage due to ineffective change management, lack of HR representation, dearth of HR skill set, and inadequate roadmaps. These studies show if done incorrectly M&A can also result in significant loss of value”.

The Sacrificial Turkey

Sometimes war stories paint a picture better than statistics. When Northrop acquired Grumman, it was an exercise in patience for the two titans. One of the most repeated complaints by Grumman employees was that Northrup management did not give away fresh turkeys to employees on Christmas. A longstanding Grumman tradition that the employees treasured was discontinued without explanation by the parent company. A decision that saved thousands on turkey costs while costing Northrup millions in operational efficiencies by sparing turkeys.

The turkey serves as a sacrificial symbol of how small decisions can impact a merger. In simple terms, the purpose of M&A is for a company to purchase a company to form a more profitable new entity. If the success of the merger is dependent on creating efficiency in the organization, software tools are the state-of-the art solutions for that purpose. If something as small as a turkey on Christmas can cause problems in a M&A, the adaptation of new enterprise sales systems and platforms conversely can add value to M&A. Tech solutions such as the Professional Document Analyzer (PDA) can introduce efficiency in the RFP process by ensuring better planning and delivery across the M&A life cycle.

Content Analytics Platform Solution 

The precept of content analytics platform as a horizontal solution that increases consistency and productivity is a nod to industries being transformed by technology. Manual information processing has since the beginning of time been plagued by the human tendencies to tire, get distracted, or overlook information. New technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the M&A process by automating low-value, high-volume tasks.

A content analytics solution saves the companies in transition time and resources- two things that are a hot commodity during a M&A. For example, if company X merges with company Y, it will have to integrate the RFP processes to win business. If company X parses RFPs by sentences but historically, company Y has been parsing RFPs by segments, documentation chaos ensues during the M&A.  The introduction of the PDA as a horizontal solution, gives the joint companies complete freedom over content analysis. RFPs can be parsed, analyzed, compared, and vetted for compliance in infinite ways. The complicated yet dazzling history of M&A shows the gravity of small decisions in the M&A lifecycle. Even in a focused area such as proposal management, giving employees the right tools, the next generation of tech solutions can have a significant impact on the success of the deal.

Customization In Content Analytics Platform

Customization In Content Analytics Platform

Meet the RFP, a procurement document, part dinosaur of manual processes and part long poker game of winning business. High maintenance when it comes to communication and selective in successful collaboration.

The RFP process is often replicated but hardly duplicated in its complexity.

Ask any proposal team to elaborate on the love/hate relationship between winning business and the RFP.

But why, such contention?

The 5 Problems With The Request For Proposal Process

  1. RFP process is slow- It is a fact, that any major purchase an organization needs to make using the RFP process takes an average of three to six months. That is practically an eternity in the modern business world, where technology facilitates business operations at the speed of light or at least a smartphone. Add in the factor that crafting a proposal from collecting to organizing the background information to writing the response may take weeks or months depending on the complexity of the requirements. That equates a long sales cycle in a world of instant gratification.
  2. RFP process is unpredictable- From the procurement side, when an RFP receives vendor responses, there is no guarantee that any of those vendors will offer the right solution. From the proposal side, such effort, time and money are spent on crafting and targeting responses that can land as costly mistakes. A business is only as efficient as its win rate which is highly correlated to the number and quality of RFPs answered- a unpredictable statistic.
  3. RFP process is inflexible- When purchasing process is slow and restrictive, it is hard for a business to be agile and innovative. It’s impossible which highlights a major problem with the RFP process. It is archaic and inflexible with little allowance for technological innovations.
  4. RFP process is full of comprise- In a perfect world, vendors would send out RFPs and get exactly what they want for the right price. In the real world, the RFP process leads to significant compromises. It’s a dance of businesses ignoring RFP specifications in favor of offering their own solutions. If the path from proposal to contract is full of comprise, the result may be less than desired.
  5. RFP process is dependent on clear communication- To complicate the RFP process further, clear communication is elusive in the architecture of the document yet demanded for the response. Clear communication is strategic and actionable, a practice that is often lost by the multiple players involved on the proposal team. The proposal management process relies heavily on collaboration and communication which is made difficult by siloed teams with different functionalities and responsibilities. The procurement process is in dire need for clear communication, something that is not easily supported by manual processes.

To Win Business

These are just some of the glaring problems with the RFP process. A process that is heavily invested in manual labor and processes and the technologies of the past. At the core, RFP process is complicated because it demands precision in winning business. There must be a better way to do business. 

Capture Manager Meets The RACI Authority Matrix

Capture Manager Meets The RACI Authority Matrix

The proposal manager drove down the grey street darkened by winter clouds intermittently punctured by stranded snowflakes. He fixated on the Christmas decorations put up on lamp posts by the city. Festive giant snowflakes lit up by dazzling holiday white lights as illuminating signs for the corporate set heading home for the holidays. He did not remember the last time he had so much time away from the office in December. His wife stocked up on wrapping paper and their house was like a window holiday display at Bergdorf Goodman in the suburbs. All silver bows and plaid wrapping paper destined for presents and warm tea and cinnamon cookies by the fire. It was idyllic, happy, warm like a Hallmark greeting card.

Meet The Proposal Team 

At the office, business planning for the new year was well underway. His boss hired the capture manager on full time.  He was to be the hunter of opportunities for business development.  The proposal manager thought it was a particularly good fit. The capture manager was strategic and meticulous in information gathering to turn the collected data into actionable items for the pursuit. He was quick and relentless, a quality that served him well when it came to doing customer and competitor analysis.

The Capture Manager Meets The PDA 

As the capture manager organized the pursuit team, the proposal manager was beaming at the chance to share more of the capabilities of the Professional Document Analyzer (PDA) with him. If business development was akin to a theater with businesses auditioning on a stage, the capture manager was in the role of the hunter supported by the proposal manager in the role of the farmer. The former sizes up and vets new business while the latter nurtures and harvests business. Other roles on the team include the business development manager, the proposal writer, the project manager and the architect, all active players in the process.

RACI Authority Matrix 

While, the proposal manager has shown the PDA’s compliance matrix to the capture manager once before, he was excited to give him the real holiday gift of the RACI matrix. The real RACI matrix had assigned roles of Responsible (R), Accountable (A), Consulted (C) and Informed (I) instead of a splattering of Xs on a chart. This was a time saver to kill confusion and wasted communication between the team. If the project manager was to be consulted on the floor plans, it was marked as such. The project manager did not need to be assigned the floor plan task.  A dynamic and customizable document that assigned the roles in the play with precision for winning business. The RACI was far more sophisticated than the team Excel spreadsheet they had previously used.

Year With PDA 

The capture manager instantly knew that the RACI matrix was a competitive advantage for winning business. It was a peek into the future of proposal management. The next generation of business strategy that included intuitive solution tools that simplified and enhanced the proposal process. The new year was bright with the promise of efficiency without coding and macros. The PDA was much more than a RFP automation software, it was the bridge between the human intellect and artificial intelligence.

The snow fell on the dark fabric of his coat as he got out of the car. The heard faint sounds of jazz escaping through the door cracks to greet him. He was convinced his wife made his favorite roast this evening. This evening was a glimpse of the future in time for snow.

QC Readability: The Professional Document Analyzer

QC Readability: The Professional Document Analyzer

As a professional writer, I write a lot. As the creative behind the Scion Analytics blog, with words, I bring inanimate tech solutions to life in full color.

I am in the business of telling stories. A calling that is creative and demanding at a high level, a command of language and imagination. Marketing departments, businesses across all verticals and brands, these talented people know that stories move business. Stories engage, sell and entice the reader. They are equal parts magic and metrics, emotional chemistry that can turn fickle customers into brand advocates.

Plain Language

Writing is effective only when it is understood. Even good stories lose their magic when writing lacks clarity. Can a professional writer be saved from complex language? Enter plain language, writing designed for the reader to understand it as quickly, easily, and completely as possible. In 2010, plain language was signed into law as a standard of communication for federal agencies. It is relied upon in times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic and national announcements considering the average American reads at an 8th grade level. It works in its simplicity and sophistication. Great works of literature on examination have been written in plain language often. That’s a nod to Ernest Hemingway, a personal inspiration.

Knowing the rules of engagement for plain language is helpful for a writer. But applying the rules of plain language to unruly sentences and loops of thoughts disguised in fussy paragraphs is hard. The Professional Document Analyzer is a product that helps with words on many levels. The QC readability capability incorporates the Flesch Kincaid readability tests to measure how easy it is to understand the content.

QC Readability As A Feature

Initially, the QC Readability capability was intended to make sure a proposal response is structured on an appropriate reading level. It has customizable settings for plain language rules as the allowance for adverbs, complex sentences, passive voice etc. Another feature of QC Readability is a dictionary. A user can set up a unique dictionary with terms and language to be excluded in a document. A useful functionality for verticals faced with complex jargon and terminology that need consistent context across documents.

The efficacy of QC Readability has graduated from the world of RFPs and proposals to touch any type of content on the page. I ran a blog I wrote for Scion Analytics as an experiment. In an instant, I was able to see where my writing struggled: 4 long sentences, 2 uses of passive voice and a reading grade level of 10th grade. I can go through multiple edits, compare versions, and improve as a writer with the intelligence of this tool.

The Future Of Content

The future of communication is plain language. Simple to understand and easy to read, plain language gives power to the thoughts and emotions of the story without the distraction of complex language and construction. The Professional Document Analyzer is a simple solution to conquer the complexity of content. It empowers the user to control content with a mission of a content revolution.

As a writer, I want to control the page. QC Readability is the instant gratification of plain language delivered by a tech solution that intimately knows content. And that is a good story to tell.

Cost Transparency Matters

Cost Transparency Matters

When it comes to cost transparency, historically it has been a taboo dialogue between consumers and companies. Especially in the fast-paced world of tech, cost transparency often becomes an afterthought as high fixed costs, such as research ad development and overhead mystify expenses to consumer.

But the tech consumer has a right to know and tech companies can no longer be elusive.

It is a new era for tech where the consumer revels in hyper personalization of product and brand. As innovation is commodified, the price tag needs to be deconstructed. A practice that makes choosing an analytics platform as tech solution as a seamless process instead of a guessing game.

Why Is Pricing Transparency Important

Why is pricing transparency important in the decision-making process?

An argument can be made that pricing transparency when choosing a tech solution is not only important but necessary to make the right decision.

Historically, the philosophy behind transparency in sales is building trust. Forbes draws a parallel that having an honest dialogue between a consumer and company is an integral building block for a long-term relationship. A Forbes contributor mentions, “If we think about our interpersonal relationships, when people share things with us- as long as they don’t overshare- we tend to like them better. We find it interesting that we are seeing evidence of the same thing in our relationship with companies”. For competitive companies, the concept that transcends economics is vulnerability.

Furthermore, the pricing for a content analytics platform is an opportunity to explain everything the company did for a customer in putting that solution together. The equation is composed of the features, the capabilities, the software development, the talent behind the solution as well as the sales and marketing team that bring the product to market. Pricing that is available to the consumer is a testament to the intricacy of product development as much as to the power behind the product.

The Power of The Consumer 

Another consideration is that accessibility to pricing is a basic right of the consumer to information in a free market. As the marketplace becomes more competitive, so does the need for accurate information when making corporate and enterprise level purchases across all verticals. For some companies, being mysterious about pricing is a missed opportunity to relate the value proposition to the consumer. Forbes research reinforces this correlation: “ In fact, new research shows that when a company selling T-shirts, for example, itemizes what it spends on cotton, cutting, sewing, dyeing, finishing, and transporting each shirt, consumers become more attracted to the brand and more likely to purchase”.

Fair Pricing Is Transparent 

The flow of dollar signs and consumer spending habits make the bottom line clear: pricing should be transparent. For a content analytics platform, it should not be based on a nonpublic equation influenced by revenue, number of proposals/year or number of users. For some consumers, elusive pricing strategies serve as a warning sign that they are being taken advantage of or worse subject to bad business practices. If faced with an obscure equation when shopping for an analytics platform, it is best for the consumer to look for more transparent pricing usually indicative of a better product.

Scion Analytics Remembers Our Favorite Holiday Memories

Scion Analytics Remembers Our Favorite Holiday Memories

The holidays, a time of the year where we gather, reconcile the year and hope for things to come as the clock strikes midnight. There is an effervescent warmth to the holiday, like champagne bubbles or freshly baked cookies with a cinnamon aroma to fill the house. This year, we saw unprecedented things and the world contracted away from danger with a public pause.

Cheer, Hope, And Love 

A pause that needs to be filled this season more than ever with holiday cheer, hope and love.

Some great writers have a theory that our life is a compilation of four or five significant memories that define a lifetime. Memories of a holiday are close to the heart because they gift us authentic memories with family and friends. The years pass, things change, people grow up and grow old but every year we gather to honor a special bond, to give thanks and celebrate life.

Scion Analytics Team Favorite Holiday Memories 

In the spirit of the holiday seasons, here are some favorite memories from the team at Scion Analytics. Kristy Martinez, Social Media Manager set the tone with the holidays being all about family. She says: “My favorite holiday memory is having a family party and staying up till midnight to open all of my gifts with my family. Its favorite holiday tradition. Then, on Christmas morning we would eat at Cracker Barrel and after, we would go downtown St. Petersburg and eat at our favorite pizza place and hangout all day with my family.”

Fiona May, Director of Marketing emphasized how much fun she has had with her family playing games and spending quality time during the holiday.  She remarks: “Growing up, my favorite holiday memories revolve around some fierce and spirited rounds of UNO, Monopoly, and Life games with my family. Every Christmas, we (my immediate and extended family members) gather on Christmas Eve to play games, eat a ton, rapidly fire out some incoherent clues and gestures, and then we all pass out from too much fun!  On Christmas Day, after Christmas service, we would have a feast, with all hands on deck “helping”(sneaking some tastes/bites) to set the table, and continue the epic battles that started the night prior. We will then continue the next day at our favorite beach for a family picnic celebrating Boxing day. Those are the simple moments I enjoy and I look forward to the most in the midst of all the hustle and bustle the holiday season brings. Being thankful and celebrating life with the family will always remain the reason for the season for me.”

John Pachkoski, Contract Software Developer also remembers games as being integral to holiday fun. He says: “My favorite memory is gathering at my aunt Rosalee’s house to play board games and have everybody in the family hanging out and exchanging stories. Another fond memory is the excellent Polish food my aunt made for the occasion. “

A crowd favorite is opening presents and Jim Eddy, CEO reminisces about this holiday tradition. He said: “My daughter hopping up and down with excitement that she got the electronic keyboard so she could learn how to play piano.” Another holiday tradition was a favorite of Len Terranova, Solutions Director. He mentioned: “I really liked when my daughters participated in the school and church holiday presentations and choruses.

They always occurred in mid-December, just in time for the height of the Christmas season and really made the holidays special.”

Some members of the Scion Analytics team loved spending the holiday season with snow and holiday cheer on the mountain. Aaron Prince, Contract Software Developer takes snowboarding seriously with some warm holiday memories.

He said: “My favorite holiday memory is snowboarding on Christmas afternoon every day for six years at Whistler. After a day on the mountain, spending the evening with family and friends”. Phillip Ferguson, Support Technician also loved snowboarding, he said: “During Christmas 2009, I spent two months in Switzerland. A couple of friends and I went snowboarding down the Alps”.

Marina Roukalova, Content Creator loves the special occasions on the holidays. She said: “My favorite memories are getting dressed up, going to Christmas parties with my family and friends where there is as much food as love. “

Holidays Are To Make Memories 

And sometimes, the things that are classic remain untouched by time and undeterred by world events.  Alexandra Hayes, Contract Tester concludes: “When I lived in New York, I loved to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center”.

After all, holidays are to make memories.

Happy Holidays from Scion Analytics Team!

Politics And Technology Solutions

Politics And Technology Solutions

As technology evolves with hyperconnected society, governments must adapt politics and enforce policies to retain their integrity and protect their economic interests. In 2018, Donald Trump passed the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) which expands the jurisdiction of Committee on Foreign Investment in United States (CFIUS) to review certain foreign acquisitions of and investments in U.S. businesses in national security.

This law raises questions about the global tech politics and the importance of choosing an American owned or foreign owned tech company when it comes to doing business.

FIRRMA On A Consumer Level 

  1. CFIUS has the authority to review certain minority foreign investments in US businesses in critical technology, critical infrastructure and sensitive personal data of US citizens
  2. The new regulations will have a significant impact on investment in large segments of U.S. technology. CFIUS will also require more information in its determination, including the U.S. business’ critical technology, government contracts and data-gathering practices.

Why Is This Important When Choosing A Tech Solution?

Stricter government regulations make it more imperative that a company knows the origin of the provider it employs for its tech solution. Supporting an American owned company helps the national economy and makes it easier to do business with the American government which offers tax incentives for tech innovations. This is because the US federal government may see a foreign owned company as posing a risk for classified government material.

Risk Of Foreign Owned Tech

 In fact, FIRRMA has a stipulation that CFIUS will continue to have jurisdiction over transactions that could result in foreign “control” of a U.S. business that raise national security concerns. National security continues to be interpreted broadly to include technologies such as semiconductor, AI, biotech, robotics, big data, analytics, and microprocessor technology. This level of surveillance makes doing business with a foreign owned tech solution more volatile and the software at risk for being forcibly removed. Both considerations pose a threat for disrupting business.

While, the US government scrutinizes tech solutions owned by foreign government, it also considers tech solutions funded by a foreign government to be a complexity. The Department of Defense has special security agreements with tech companies with foreign funding. The agreements ensure that company policies and procedures are in place to certify that foreign entities cannot gain access to classified information or controlled unclassified information. Therefore, if a company wants to profit from the defense or intelligence market, it must consider the benefits and drawbacks of working with a foreign funded tech solution. Just like federal government contractors are subject to a background check, foreign funded companies are subject to rigorous background check and clearance procedures which may impede business operations.      

American V Foreign Source Code 

Besides foreign ownership and funding, US government laws apply to the infrastructure of tech companies, especially when it comes to source code and data. Source code that has been developed by outsourcing overseas is more vulnerable that American code. The presence of foreign code alone makes it more difficult to control and protect the software from security threats. In fact, American legislation passed a bill that American software companies are required to report foreign source code reviews. The result of a somewhat controversial condition of doing business in countries like China and Russia.

Data Management 

When it comes to data management, the regulations of FIRRMA grant CFIUS the authority to review investments in US businesses that maintain or collect, directly or indirectly “sensitive personal data” or “identifiable data”. This poses an interesting intellectual question when it comes to the management of unstructured data which is collected from endless outputs of personal information by a vast majority of businesses.

Therefore, if a business wants to use foreign based identifiable data it is subject to review by the American government. In contrast, data stored in America is protected by American laws and regulations that make it more secure from being unknowingly shared or sold.

The business of tech is moving at the speed of light requiring governments to create laws and regulations for national interests and security of tech solutions. From foreign owned companies to data storage, when choosing a tech solution, the consideration between American and foreign providers comes with a price.