Will they Pass the Test? War Game with Key Vendors and Find Out.

Recently we opened a podcast series on War Games... gaming what-if scenarios with key vendor partners before something bad happens.

To listen checkout seprio.com/podcast.

We sat down with special guest Caren Shiozaki to get her take on war games. Caren has experience as both a participant and as a facilitator. She is currently the CIO at TMST, Inc., a mortgage company in Santa Fe, NM. Caren is also the Vice Chair of the SIM national board, and the founder of SIM’s national cybersecurity special interest group. She holds ISACA's certification in the governance of enterprise IT, and is a certified e-Discovery specialist. 

Here’s a peek into our conversation.

Pat (Seprio): What do you mean by “war games” in choosing and managing vendor relationships?

Caren (Guest): Traditionally, the term is used to refer to strategic scenarios used by the military to plan reactions and defenses to anticipated moves of opponents on the battlefield. In the business world, War Games have been used as a tool to develop strategies to build a competitive advantage, and be prepared for the competition’s future plans.

Technology has traditionally utilized tabletop exercises to assess business continuity plans, policies and procedures. This involves key personnel discussing potential scenarios in a low-key setting. The people walk through their responses to unfolding situations. War Games takes that concept a step further by involving teams in the simulation of operations using rules, data, and procedures designed to depict an actual or assumed real-life situation with teams taking on different stakeholder roles. In light of today’s increased risk of cyber threats, War Games can be very useful in developing a company’s resilience.

Pat: Why is war gaming valuable?

Caren: Military war games allow the Generals a better understanding of the battle landscape, and anticipating enemy actions. They come away from the games with a better understanding of strengths and what needs improvement. The same concepts carry forth into the corporate world, whether you're utilizing war games to gain competitive advantage, or building business resilience.

Pat: How do you go about positioning war games with your vendor or prospective vendor? 

Caren: Vendors are key stakeholders, if not critical partners in your business. The services they provide are a part of your critical infrastructure; the people working on your account are an integral part of your team. As such, they should be included in your games, and they should expect to participate to the fullest extent required.

Pat: How do you actually conduct war games?

1) Decide the subject of your war game.
2) Build the team of people.
3) Conduct relevant research for the game and create the playbook.
4) Pre-game preparation of the team (get up to speed on research and analysis materials, make assignments, set ground rules).
5) Conduct the game.
6) Develop conclusions to scenarios and outcomes. Make recommendations.
7) Do the “hot wash” (Summarize lessons learned)
8) Develop new business strategies and/or identify tech solutions to improve performance.

Pat: For those who want help in this area, how do they go about getting that?

Caren: Depending on the complexity of your war game subject, and the composition of your team, it's a good idea to engage an unbiased third party to serve as facilitator of the exercise. 

If you're running a war game for a business scenario (e.g., feasibility of a M&A, exploring new product development) traditional advisory firms such as McKinsey or Deloitte have experience assisting companies in developing and running war games.

Seek consultancies that can bring a more technical perspective if you're running war games for technically oriented issues such as business continuity management.

--- End of Conversation ---

This topic is the first in a series of three on War Games with our special guest Caren Shiozaki. For the blog series, sign up for notifications seprio.com/blog. For the podcast visit seprio.com/podcast.

If you’d like to explore the value of war gaming in your environment, visit seprio.com/wargames.

Protecting business priorities when partnering with vendors grows more complicated every day. Because of constraints in resources and expertise, many teams find themselves at a disadvantage managing vendor evaluations, negotiating terms, and securing fair financial value. Overcome those constraints, reduce risk and preserve fiscal health.

Seprio... Protect your business priorities. Contract better.

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