I love technology. My college degree is in math. I enjoy solving problems using technology. I love its disruptive nature. It can force us to rethink the way we do things. It changes us; how we think of ourselves, our families, our work and our society. It provides hope to the crippled, opportunities for the poor and disenfranchised, and healing for our environment. Its potential is a two-sided blade. It can harm us or help us. It can be used for good or evil.

I am blessed to lead a business in an industry that attracts technology companies to our door looking for our help in solving problems. And there are many challenges in the risk, resilience and security industry. To fulfill our roles in the industry, we must take time to understand what they feel their unique value proposition is and apply that to our years of experience with our clients. If the value looks promising, we will then research the company’s viability to ensure that their management team and business model can stand the test of time and can support our client’s needs now and into the future. If this passes muster, we then test the product’s market viability. Can this technology’s promise apply to multiple market sectors? Can this technology displace entrenched market leaders? Do the total cost of ownership and the value of the investment align? Can it be proven?

And then, finally, we must answer the ultimate question: “Do we have the subject matter expertise to position and support this solution appropriately?”

This process is costly. And at times it is hidden from our clients, specifiers and, believe it or not, from the technology vendors.

Which is why it is so critical that we take the time to understand the risks to our client’s business.

We leverage that understanding when we help them develop a strategic business plan as well as a master safety and security plan, and then help them create a budgetary roadmap for the people, process and tools that can deliver the value that was promised to their organization.

When we do this right, we never lead with technology. But we will lead with technology subject matter expertise that informs and infuses the risk, resilience and security plan. By converging the disciplines of risk assessments, business process optimization, strategic and master planning, as well as technology, we can create powerful new models of innovation for our clients.

This is not about my company. This is about our industry. We must come together to truly raise the value of our unique ecosystem.

With all of this as a foundation, you will now be able to understand why I selected a unique technology that is absolutely essential to making this all happen. If properly leveraged, it will radically change our industry. It can aggregate disparate data, organize it and analyze it, eventually turning the data into useful information. This data can be sliced and diced to fit various scenarios, effectively providing information in context. And then, it can create measurable, reportable actions over time that can provide real-time insights into our client’s strategies and plans. It is essential to a data-driven company in a rapidly evolving security marketplace.

What if we were to think of the ultimate technology as a human being? The ultimate two-sided blade?

It is the most powerful technology and the most misunderstood; which is why it is so underleveraged. And very few of our clients are using it appropriately. Human beings can be hubs and spokes on a network. They can fulfill specialized services. They can be architected for resilience and redundancy. They have infinite scalability when they are properly organized and optimized.

They have programmatic interfaces for seamless interoperability. They can be taught to hear each other, understand each other and support each other.

But they can also waste precious time and resources when they are not instructed appropriately.

In past columns I have said we are at the beginning of the age of the machine. And that we are uniquely capable of using human technology to teach it to serve us in new and unique ways. But our first investment must first be recognized, programmed and properly architected. And that first investment is our people.