Melbourne Branch Workshop

21 April, 2017

On Friday 21st April 2017 Melbourne Members came together for a workshop with The Melbourne Committee and several board members to provide feedback that will be used to help shape AISA in Melbourne.

Below is a summary of the key themes from the discussion and for ease of reference, these have been split out into National and Local feedback.  For those members who could not attend please do continue the conversation and add your views by emailing;

Melbourne Branch Discussions

1.    Delivery of content

There was a general agreement that AISA plays a role in networking and members did attend Melbourne sessions for networking purposes.  Members also confirmed that keeping up with CPE credits was linked to their attendance but was not always the only driver.

Members felt that Melbourne should have an option for those who cannot get into the CBD and are located in regional areas or have parental commitments with school drop off/pick up etc.  We discussed Live streaming but it was suggested that this could potentially mean members who had registered to attend in person may choose to dial in last minute.  This would potentially have the following effect;

  • Members would miss the opportunity to network
  • Vendors may be less willing to sponsor events if there is limited attendance in person by members
  • Food wastage (catering is ordered and paid for the day before by the sponsors)
  • Speakers who are shared amongst branches may have reduced attendance in other states if interstate members dial in to a session that happens in Melbourne first

An alternative solution could be to;

  • Provide a 20 min summary of a speaker’s session either over Webex or recording and make this available to all members after a speaker has completed all of their ‘rounds’ of the branches.  The importance of having good structure and purpose for any WEbex/recording was highlighted by a member
  • Provide archived content on the website of vendor presentations (also raised in a national context – see below)

2.    Vendors

  • Tori highlighted the fact that vendors play a key role in sponsoring AISA – the organisation would not exist without their support. 
  • A member called for those 5 min vendor intros at branch meetings to be more specific – tell us how your product fits in and give us an example of where it is being used, better still bring a customer to tell your story

3.    Focus Groups

  • There was a desire to bring back the local study focus groups e.g. CISSP in Melbourne.  These groups rely entirely on volunteers and It is critical that we have volunteers who can take ownership and run with these groups
  • Where ISACA are running a group that would be relevant to AISA members, members generally seemed to agree it made sense to send AISA members to the ISACA sessions e.g. currently in Melbourne ISACA are running an Architecture focus group so there is no need for AISA to start a separate group

4.    Subjects for future sessions

  • Over the last year, Josh noted that;
    • Technical sessions had high levels of registrations but low levels of actual attendance
    • The most popular session in the past 12 months was DevOps
    • GRC and Legal appear to have fallen out of favour – reasons why were unclear
  • There was discussion around whether or not we should charge for premium events/speakers to ensure the value is being realised
  • A member noted that we should look to differentiate from those sessions run by the technical meet up community
  • A member felt there was a gap AISA could fill with content that sat between high level Gartner style events and the very technical meet up style events
  • Suggestion was made to alternate technical v's management (every other month)
  • Also a structure of a Hybrid workshop was suggested
  • Start with a 20 structured talk then make it interactive afterwards
  • Whatever we decide we should be very clear about the content and structure of the sessions
  • Suggestions for speakers included the following areas;
    • Soft skills
    • Careers
      • It was suggested by Tori that we ensure we maintain the demographic of the meetings and they don’t just become a place to job hunt.  This happened in another branch where the focus was too heavily on careers.  We want to support and encourage but also ensure we service the majority of members with our content
  • Noted that a member stated we must be clear around the difference between education and training if we intend to provide it

5.    Outreach and collaboration

  • Do we want to offer mentoring at a local level? We would need volunteers and would need to look at a structure (maybe use the example of the ANZ initiative)
  • How will we collaborate with other groups (ISACA, SIT etc) also mentioned as part of national discussion themes
  • A student member noted that students will be looking for placements in June/July for the summer semester – can we help them?
  • Whilst AISA will be driving government collaboration at a national level, there could be a role to play for AISA to collaborate with local government – members agreed we should look to explore this

6.    Capturing ongoing local member feedback

  • At a local level, members can still email to provide feedback or talk directly to the branch executive
  • Member surveys were also discussed – online surveys have very poor response.  Other branches have had success with surveys straight after the session.
  • Josh has agreed to run local focus groups to ensure Melbourne members have a chance to provide feedback on an ongoing basis about the sessions that work/don’t work


AISA National Discussions

With board members present, AISA members in Melbourne had the opportunity to highlight a couple of areas they felt the board could assist;

1.    What Is AISA and who is AISA targeting?

  • Members felt strongly that AISA needed to define how it fits in to the ecosystem and the role it has compared to other industry organisations – defining a purpose was key.
  • Helaine confirmed that The Board have commissioned some research into this space and will provide updates to members once available.

2.    Linked to item 1, do we need different “Stratas’ of membership with content to match e.g. technical, management and student as it is not a one size fits all?

  • The board will investigate this following the outcomes of the research outlined above

3.    What role does AISA have in education and training (linked to 1)?

  • Some work is already being done in this space with regard to AISA input into education
  • Helaine is on the committee for Box Hill institute’s vocational course  - will have input into what needs to be on the curriculum
  • Other Universities are looking for endorsement for their courses as they see AISA as the premier organisation.  Yale have also approached AISA.
  • In terms of knowledge sharing, The Board are also looking at whether AISA should archive information and have AISA members contribute to a body of knowledge

4. Alex also kindly provided members with a general update on what the board are working on;

1. Governance

  • Looking for company secretary
  • Driving better collaboration between board and branches.  More automation for branches so they can do more things for members locally

2. Finances

  • Budgeting process starting now
  • Will be releasing forward looking statements in June
  • AISA is financially viable, has money in the bank and is on the up with regard to financials

3. Priorities

  • Focus groups
  • Member engagement - will be looking to push up engagement this year and ensure more people are engaged and vote
  • Getting more involvement with government and higher education
  • Fostering next generation of sec professionals
  • Getting AISA a better foothold in government
  • Joint events with ISACA, Ruxcon, (ISC)2, Day of the Month, OWASP etc

4. Staff Updates