Members of Dwolla’s engineering, information security and marketing teams shared some of their experiences during their presentations at the 2018 Iowa Technology Summit in downtown Des Moines. Their goals? Educate and inform members of Iowa’s technology community so they can use these experiences in their own workplace.

The day-long Iowa Technology Summit is organized by Technology Association of Iowa and brought more than 600 people from Iowa’s technology community to the Iowa Events Center on Oct. 2.

Charlie Miller, the Principal Autonomous Vehicle Safety Architect at Cruise Automation, delivered the keynote address Tuesday morning that was followed by four breakout sessions. Attendees could choose from the following tracks:

  • Security
  • Cloud
  • Leadership
  • Innovation

This is the second annual Iowa Technology Summit.

DevOps & SecOps & Bears…oh my 

Iowa Technology Summit
(From left) Dwolla’s Vice President of Engineering Skyler Nesheim and Dwolla’s Vice President of Information Security Ben Schmitt.

Batting leadoff for the security track was Dwolla’s Vice President of Information Security Ben Schmitt and Dwolla’s Vice President of Engineering Skyler Nesheim. The duo presented and took questions from the audience for nearly 35 minutes on how to foster the ideal relationship between infosec and engineering teams.

“What we are talking about is a safe way to move fast,” Schmitt said. “Ultimately, it is a partnership between security and engineering.”

In order to move faster, Nesheim said engineering and infosec teams cannot “throw reports, bugs or problems” over a wall; there needs to be collaboration across an organization to find impactful solutions.

“We want to consult and work together,” Nesheim said. “You know your team is working together when you have infosec team members talking to platform team members and they are talking nicely about code.”

Nesheim said the Dwolla engineering team believes in “ruthless automation” to combine processes between infosec and engineering. 

“We love to make every change we can with code,” Nesheim said. “We don’t like to have a human log into a console for a change, it sort of stresses the team out when we have to do that.”

Schmitt explained that as adversaries evolve alongside security controls, focusing solely on prevention is not a foolproof solution.

“You cannot stop everything,” Schmitt said. “You’ve got to detect bad stuff and respond to it. You need alarms that will never go off. If something happens outside of the normal pattern, you should get an alert. Unexpected activity is detectable.”

Nesheim said he was proud to share some of what the Dwolla team is working on and hopes that those in attendance can use that information to improve their own team or company.

“I wanted to put out in the open some of things we are doing that I’m proud of,” Nesheim said after his presentation. “I felt honored to talk about the great things the Dwolla team is doing. Those were shared ideas from our team.”

View their slide deck from the Iowa Technology Summit here.

Building Marketing Foundations 

Iowa Technology Summit
Dwolla’s Senior Marketing Operations Manager Andreya Armstrong

Dwolla’s Senior Marketing Operations Manager Andreya Armstrong says companies need to develop, establish and understand where their prospective customers are along a “sales funnel” in order to ultimately turn them into paying customers.

Armstrong presented on building a scalable foundation for “funnel marketing”, highlighting that marketing budgets account for anywhere from 11% to 25% of a company’s overall budget, and approximately one-third of that goes to marketing technologies.

“There are so many applications for marketers to choose from and so much money out there to be spent on fancy and cool applications,” Armstrong said. “So the investment is there, but people don’t know what they are doing with it.”

To take advantage of that investment, Armstrong says marketing and sales teams need to leverage automation to get rid of manual processes and work together to establish lifecycle management early—or regret it later. This helps a business identify how interested a prospective customer is in their company and whether or not it makes sense to convert them for a potential sale.

Armstrong stressed the importance of overlaying scoring with a grading system that shows how appropriate a lead is for your business.

“Scoring is a representation of how interested a lead is in you. Inversely, grading is a representation of how interested you are in the lead.” Armstrong said. “If you can get your grading and scoring figured out, automation becomes extremely valuable for your sales team.”

Dwolla continues to be a leader in the technology community, fostering the innovative talent of the Midwest. With three team members presenting at the 2018 Iowa Technology Summit, the company found a platform to do just that.

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