Last updated at Wed, 11 Jan 2023 14:51:31 GMT

The New Year’s Day edition of The Wall Street Journal asked a big question in a big headline: “Can Southwest Airlines Buy Back Its Customers’ Love?”

While other airlines rebounded from extreme winter weather and service disruptions, Southwest—always top-rated, with a famously loyal following—melted down. It canceled more than 2,300 flights, stranding passengers and their baggage around the country over the Christmas holidays. The U.S. Department of Transportation is putting the entire event “under a microscope.”

Most believe Southwest will, in fact, be loved again. Tickets were refunded, travel expenses were reimbursed, and approximately 25,000 frequent flyer miles were doled out to each stranded customer. Whatever. That’s not why you should pay attention to this tale.

The object lesson that matters? WSJ’s CIO Journal followed up, reporting that “balky crew scheduling technology” caused the disaster. Airline staff who used the system had been frustrated by it for some time, but couldn’t get executive attention. A scathing New York Times op-ed on December 31, "The Shameful Open Secret Behind Southwest’s Failure," blames the strong incentives to address problems by “adding a bit of duct tape and wire to what you already have.”

Balky tech that frustrates staff: Sound familiar?

Two years ago, ZDNet reported the average enterprise managed 45 different tools to secure their environment. A few weeks ago, the Silicon Valley Business Journal said the number has jumped to 76, with sprawl driven by a need to keep pace with cloud adoption and remote work. Security teams are spending more than half their time manually producing reports, and pulling in data from multiple siloed tools.

The cybersecurity skills gap isn’t going anywhere. And the most tech savvy generation in human history—Gen Z, the latest entrants to adulthood and the workforce—is unlikely to stick it out in a burnout job laden with clunky tools. They grew up with customer-obsessed brands like Apple and Amazon and Zappos. Expectations about technology and elegant simplicity are built into all corners of their lives—work included— and they instantly know the difference between good and shambolic. Younger workers led The Great Resignation of 2021.

The trend toward XDR adoption is part of a solution. While capabilities can vary, XDR should integrate and correlate data from across your environment, letting you prioritize and eliminate threats, automate repetitive tasks, and liberate people to do important work.

If 2023 is your year to consider XDR, start with this Buyer’s Guide

Our new XDR Buyer’s Guide is for all of you who want to consolidate, simplify, and attract top talent. In this guide, you’ll get:

  • Must-have requirements any real XDR offers
  • Ways XDR is a staffing and efficiency game-changer
  • Key questions to ask as you evaluate options

Last year, Southwest announced $2 billion in customer experience investments, including upgraded WiFi, in-seat power, and larger overhead bins, as well as a new multimedia brand campaign, “Go With Heart.”  

After taking very good care of stranded customers—and true  to form, the airline did—it announced a 10-year, $10 million plan to hit carbon reduction goals. The Wall Street Journal asked: “Could not the Southwest IT department have used another $10 million?”

…and you’ve surely heard about this

This morning at 7:20am, the FAA grounded all domestic departures when the NOTAM (Notice to Air Mission) system failed. This critical system ingests information about anomalies at 19,000 airports for 45,000 flights every day, and alerts the right pilots at the right time. We woke up hearing about “failure to modernize” and also possible compromise.

Thanks for reading and come back tomorrow, as we'll be following this developing story closely.