Project Management & The Risks of an Information Economy

Project Management & The Information Economy Risks

Manoush Zomorodi hosts a weekly tech oriented radio show in New York City called “note to self.”  In her March 9th, 2016 episode entitled, “Why You Feel More Productive But the Economy Isn’t” Manoush discusses the curse of growth expectations on the economy (Zomorodi, 2016).  Growth expectations for businesses create a disconnect where the business must work for its customers by providing a competitive product while simultaneously growing the value of the stock for shareholders.  It’s not just enough for Nike just to make good shoes.  Good shoes alone don’t show growth in the business.  Growth happens with expanding profit margins or expanding product line.  The world’s billions in stocks are committed to companies that are fighting to find room for growth in their bottom line.  When the business moves towards creating that space for growth they create a project.  This cycle is one reason why project management will continue to be a highly demanded skill set for years to come.

I have always enjoyed working with computers and for my master’s I’ve selected Information Technology with an emphasis on Project Management.  I won’t be completing my degree until May of 2018 and have some time before I have to commit to any particular industry.  I’ve looked at the saturation of IT tools and projects across the economy and chose this path due to its versatility in a variety of industries.  The project management jobs I’d like to do after training all involve information technology.  I want to transition businesses to open source solutions to give them more control over the production efforts and help them maximize productivity along the production chain.  To facilitate this goal I would like to work in new systems development, new systems training development, and new systems integration.  

The benefits of going open source generally includes a reduced software cost, greater predictability over software feature inclusion, reduced cyber threat, and open communities of information to facilitate adoption.  Working in this field on projects for new systems, training, or integration programs would allow me to leverage my formal and informally developed skill set.  Because these skills span several industries it broadens my opportunities for future employment.  Nearly every industry has an IT project in the works but the industry I am most curious about right now is still in its embryonic stages, cyber insurance.  

Cyber insurance is of particular interest to me because of what it does for quantifying a market’s value and associated risk.  It puts price tags on processes.  I’ve often explained to my coworkers the miracle of price tags in a market.  Price tags are a summary of knowledge.  They communicate the cost of labor and machinery for resourcing, manufacturing, transporting, and selling the wide variety of products available to billions across the globe.  Although we once raised chickens for eggs, I find it amazing how the entire cost of production for a dozen eggs including feed, transportation, life cycle of the hen and refrigeration costs are all summarized in three digits when I approach the eggs at my local grocery store.

Cyber insurance’s role in the information economy will not be just to underwrite risk, but more importantly to calculate good and poor practices within the digital industry allowing quantifiable comparisons between solution implementations.  The scope of this need is enormous although not immediately obvious to all market participants.  Skitsko’s 2016 article on digital logistics is based on the foundation that we are living in an information economy and that for each economic component there is an informational component.  Back in 2009 Bandyopadhyay opined in his article “Why IT Managers Don’t Go for Cyber-Insurance Products” that the issue was on the demand side of the economic spectrum.  “The size of the U.S. cyber-insurance market (annual premiums) was expected to reach $2.5 billion by 2005…. In 2008 the size of the cyber-insurance market was estimated at $450 million” (Bandyopadhyay, 2009).  This under performance of growth has allowed many complacent practices to perpetuate within the IT space.  Target’s 2013 breach was the visible the culmination of several poor practices being implemented across several different levels of business (Roecker, 2016).  

Keith Kirkpatrick cites Target’s breach as one of the major proponents for encouraging businesses to adopt cyber security policies.  In addition to increased awareness he also cites evolving regulatory requirements with the EU’s pending legislation having major impact on the horizon (Kirkpatrick, 2015).  Yu’s 2014 article in Rutgers Computer & Technology Law Journal illustrates the legal challenges of using traditional consumer grade licenses with cyber loses highlighting the complexity of building this industry based upon traditional products and policies.  The risk for any new project must necessarily involve the risk of its digital compromise and creating the tools to evaluate and communicate that risk to the market is something that has me thoroughly intrigued.

References

Bandyopadhyay, T. Mookerjee, V. S., & RAO, R. C. (2009). Why IT Managers Don’t Go for Cyber-Insurance Products. Communications Of The ACM, 52(11), 68-73. doi:10.1145/1592761.1592780

Kirkpatrick, K. (2015). Cyber Policies on the Rise. Communications Of The ACM, 58(10), 21-23. doi:10.1145/2811290

Pilinkiene, V. (2016). Trade Openness, Economic Growth and Competitiveness. The Case of the Central and Eastern European Countries. Engineering Economics, 27(2), 185-194. doi:10.5755/j01.ee.27.2.14013

Roecker, J. F. (2016, April 20). How Big Is Your Target? – Freedom Penguin. Retrieved May 21, 2016, from http://freedompenguin.com/articles/opinion/how-big-is-your-target/

Skitsko, V. I. (2016). E-LOGISTICS AND M-LOGISTICS IN INFORMATION ECONOMY. Logforum, 12(1), 7-16. doi:10.17270/J.LOG.2016.1.1

Yu, A. (2014). LET’S GET PHYSICAL: LOSS OF USE OF TANGIBLE PROPERTY AS COVERAGE IN CYBER INSURANCE. Rutgers Computer & Technology Law Journal, 40(2), 229-255.

Zomorodi, M. (2016, March 9). Why You Feel More Productive But the Economy Isn’t. Retrieved May 21, 2016, from http://www.wnyc.org/story/you-work-harder-why/

Image courtesy of:  http://thefintechtimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/dominos.jpg

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