VeeamOnTour 2017 was quite an enlightening day. It was interesting to hear Ashok Acharya, Regional Director, India & SAARC, Veeam. He was speaking about Digital Future and High Availability. In fact, both have a deep connection and interdependence. The business needs are changing drastically. There was a time when field workforce was never an integral part of all communication in the organization. Because they were out of the organization most of the time. The same is not the case now. Even if an employee is not in the office for few hours, days, or months, he needs to stay connected always. Life has moved from pen and paper to pagers to desktops to laptops to smartphones over last three decades. Today we live in a world where almost everything we do on the smartphone. Younger generation prefers to have tablets and smart devices even for watching movies and entertainment.
Even in any enterprise Not sitting at your home you can watch movies. Or even when you are on the move. Things are changing drastically. There is a paradigm shift. Going further there is an era to come off robotics and huge data. Digital Future and High Availability is the key to this. In the 1990s we didn’t like to sit with strangers in a cab. And today we have a cab sharing concept. By 2025 180 with 21 zeroes of bytes of data. Uber has a valuation of $64b just because of the driver’s data they contain. Similarly, Tesla uses data and artificial intelligence to learn patterns of behaviors. The secret formula for success is nothing but 24x7x365. The cost of poor availability can be catastrophic.
Digital Future is Mobility and Availability
Loss of revenue and brand value of the key to focus on. External threats – DDOS attacks are becoming the major threat. Cyber attacks are a major risk. Is the cloud safe? Amazon, Verizon are recent examples of cloud vulnerability. Even the major companies are not taking care of validation of backups. Think of a partner that is always there on availability. You need to experience availability rather than just going by words. Digital Future is all about this and a lot more. And it is not too far!
I recently had the opportunity to sit-down with the CEO of StaffConnect, Bulent Osman. For those that are not already familiar with the company, I was impressed and expect you will be as well. As background, StaffConnect delivers a platform that enables organizations to transform how they reach, communicate and engage with employees. The app strives to inspire employee engagement, with the end result being an emotionally connected workforce that works harder and smarter, leading to the best possible customer/client outcomes, and in for-profit companies – ultimately driving greater profitability.
Q: What is the back story on StaffConnect – when and why was it founded? What was your “ah-ha” moment that led to the company’s establishment?
A: Throughout my high-tech/enterprise software career, I have seen firsthand the impact of a disengaged workforce. During my tenure at a well-known and highly respected, global organization, a name that mom would know, the point was truly driven home. Here, there was a lack of connection to a clear goal or purpose, and not knowing that what we were doing was making an impact. There was minimal communication from leadership regarding strategy, etc. Churn was frequent – and a clear theme emerged during exit interviews – lack of engagement. And, because turnover was high, the resources we expended on recruitment and training were crazy. You didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to make the ultimate connection that unhappy employees = sub-optimum effort, as well as employee turnover (and the associated costs) = sub-optimum customer experience = a hit to bottom-line corporate profits.
StaffConnect Incorporates a Management Console
Alternately, during my time at a startup, I had experienced the positive results of an emotionally committed workforce. Perhaps it was the nature of the beast – we were physically together much of the time either in the office or on the road, regardless of title. Communication was seamless. We felt like the company’s win was our win. And our tireless efforts and almost religious dedication reflected it.
During my time at that global software solutions provider, I had what you refer to as my ah-ha moment. This company had a huge HR department. Employee communication and engagement was a priority. Yet, they were failing at it. And, I saw the pain that resulted in that failure. I knew that technology would be the key to overcoming it. As I thought about the necessary solution, it also became clear to me that it should not only improve workforce engagement but also measure it.
This is why StaffConnect incorporates a management console to measure and report on engagement across the workforce. My other firm belief is that technology needs to be defined by domain experts that understand the use case. Our unique AppSuccess program, which works with our customers to define winning content and communication strategies ahead of implementing the mobile platform, is designed specifically by internal communication leaders that really understand how to make our customers successful.
StaffConnect Tranforms Employee Experience
Q: Could you briefly introduce and describe the StaffConnect platform? How has it evolved over time? Is the app development customer driven?
A: StaffConnect was specifically designed to be a powerful employee engagement platform that transforms the employee experience by enabling large enterprises to connect, communicate and engage their entire workforce, especially remote, non-desk employees. The customer-branded mobile app gives employees ‘a voice’, with access to company and user-generated content to increase loyalty and productivity. The cloud-hosted platform empowers employers to target that content, with analytics, to deepen engagement with everyone. Our domain expertise supports large businesses from around the world to inspire their workforces to deliver better performance, improved customer experiences, and greater shareholder value.
Our original product was comprised of features and modules which could be configured to order. Over time we have learned the most popular features and gained in depth understanding of how they are being used in order to further innovate. We have also added new features and integrations based on customer feedback and we now offer three defined products which meet the needs of different sizes or types of business along with three tailored AppSuccess service packages.
Q: Is all app development and QA done in-house? Do you Beta new features w/customers before GA launch?
A: We have a talented team of developers working out of our head office and all of our development work is managed by this team. Whilst we have dedicated QA professionals, the entire StaffConnect team is considered as QA – we use our own version of the app across our entire team and all of us take responsibility for delivering the highest standards in our product, working to rigorous testing schedules with the development team.
StaffConnect addresses employee engagement with future needs
Mobile technology to address employee engagement is a new and emerging market. Working closely with our customers to understand their use cases and future needs is imperative to us staying ahead of the market and making sure we always meet market requirements. We have strong ongoing relationships with all of our customers their feedback and insight on new features is invaluable to our continuous innovation.
Q: You recently announced customer growth of 55% — are there any particular geographies and/or verticals where StaffConnect’s acceptance is the strongest? Why?
A: We have experienced strong growth in our core markets of UK and US, but we have also seen a big rise in customers from other regions around the world like Australia, Scandinavia, and the Middle East. We are also experiencing growth in new markets, manufacturing, mining, construction, travel, non-profit and healthcare are all strong markets for us. Any market that has a large proportion of non-desk workers are all ones where we see StaffConnect making a big impact.
StaffConnect is for any forward thinking modern enterprise
Q: Who is your ideal customer?
A: Our ideal customer is any forward thinking modern enterprise. Our solution is “mobile-first” which means unlike enterprise social messaging tools, it does not require a corporate email address to set up a user. This makes it ideal for the billions of non-desk workers around the world – the baristas, the healthcare workers, the airline crews – that are often forgotten when it comes to receiving critical updates and accessing important corporate information. Our management console is designed to be able to segment users so that our customers can be very targeted in their communication strategy – delivering relevant updates and information to specific functional teams or regions. We also passionately believe that engagement has to be two-way traffic to really be effective – giving employees a voice is at the heart of what we do and many of our features have been created with this in mind – employee feedback is really important to our customers as well as encouraging employee generated content and content sharing.
Q: Where can we go to learn more?
A: There is a wealth of information on the StaffConnect website. May I suggest starting here: https://www.staffconnectapp.com/staffconnect/ to learn more about the StaffConnect App, Admin Console, and AppSuccess program. Once you have gotten their feet wet, a demo can be requested here: https://www.staffconnectapp.com/demo/. And of course, we love to brag about our customer success, some of which can be found here: https://www.staffconnectapp.com/customers/.
When it comes to Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Automation etc., a large amount of negativity starts floating around. Like, reduction in jobs, forced retirement, layoffs, and so on. On the other hand, I feel, these initiatives bring in a lot of parallel opportunities. In fact, it might increase job opportunities rather than cutting them off. Definitely, it might demand a transformation in job profiles, roles, and responsibilities. In addition, such kind of initiatives always brings in an ease and comfort in the job. For instance, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Automation etc, increase efficiency, decrease rejections, and thus enhance business profitability. And when an organization grows, there is always a scope of expansion or diversification which again brings in newer job opportunities. Of course, these require a hefty capital expenditure in first go. But then there is always an assessment of ROI and Value for Money.
When an organization decides for investment in Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Automation etc., it all depends on projections, case building, and right presentation of the proposal. More businesses these days are leveraging the cloud to store data. But there is a significant amount of opportunities to monetize and to extract business insights from the data. For instance, Veritone. Veritone is an AI SaaS provider. Recently, they have partnered with Quantum to provide users the ability to deploy cognitive engines that help in analyzing enterprise data stored.
Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Automation
It will be absolutely interesting to understand how enterprises can analyze and monetize the data they currently have stored. Or, more interestingly, how AI deployments can help to unburden the workforce, democratize costly services and ingest a huge amount of big data for actionable use. The question is if one-time capital investment saves a large spend of recurring or operating expenses, what will be your choice? Keeping in mind that this one-time CapEx will also come with a unique set of benefits. Definitely, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Automation etc. are the best bet for any industry across the globe. Only thing is to decide fast.
Yesterday I was at the Manufacturing Innovation Conclave organized by CII (Confederation of Indian Industry). Many interesting things you get to know at such platforms. Because this is the platform that collaborates industrialists, government bodies, and professionals. While there were people representing manufacturing industries of India, people were also there who are vendors for these businesses. And these people on the other side are consultants, suppliers, business enhanceers, investors and so on. In addition there were specialists of national and international fame to talk about the burning issues manufacturing industries are facing and at the same time proposing the best possible solutions to cope up with Industry 4.0 revolution that is emerging across the globe. Many interesting points are there to talk about from the yesterday’s conclave. These are the key learnings, takeaways, and innovative ideas to adopt in order to enhance the manufacturing paradigm in the country.
The concept of low cost labor is transforming to high value manufacturing. Now industries while setting up a new manufacturing plant overseas don’t look for the former but latter. That was the first important point of Manufacturing Innovation Conclave. The world is changing from Mass Manufacturing to Mass Customization. India has to emerge as some key reason for becoming a global manufacturing hub. Like, China we know for volumes and economy of scale, Germany we know for high-tech engineering production, and when it comes to the US, the world knows it for innovation. Similarly, when we talk about Japan, it is about Quality and Reliability. But when it comes to India, there is no such significant impactful point to feel high about.
Manufacturing Innovation Conclave is about Industry 4.0
Innovation is nothing but Ideas to Impact. That is what manufacturing innovation conclave is all about. These ideas can be in various buckets. Like, ideas that fail and ideas taken to the market. But one thing is very important in this regard. Fail fast in cae you have to fail. Velocity, Veracity, and Value play a major role in today’s competitive environment. The emerginb business environment is all about Collaboration, Cooperation, and Cohesion. Industry 4.0 is all about cloud, innovation, digitization, automation, robotics, IoT, and Analytics. Cobot (Collaborative Robot) is better than Robot in industrial environment.
Hardly few companies draw value out of this beautiful concept of customer feedback. In fact, most of the organization doesn’t value it. They just do it because it is part of some ISO certification they are part of. And for the sake of clearing the audit process, they have to create documents in this regard. In reality, it is neither in the blood of an organization nor top management’s priority. Hence, there is an altogether lack of seriousness in this regard. As a matter of fact, as an organization you should ask yourself – Do you deliver product or service? Or Do you deliver value? There is a huge difference between the two. It is only the question of understanding the philosophy. The day your organization understands it, there will be a clear cut direction, alignment, and integration. Rather, there will be a sense of urgency of closures.
Organizations lack that sense of closure. In fact, most of the organizations love to keep things or issues open for long than focussing on closures. It is part of the culture of an organization. Keeping customer feedback aside for a while, in almost 80 percent of the organizations leadership is not accessible to the customers. Why CEO of an organization can’t be accessible easily? And then we talk of confidence and sense of protection in customer. There are the small but impactful things that bring a lot of confidence and sense of protection in your customer.
Customer Feedback lacks Sanctity
That is the reason behind low rate of customer feedback. Hardly 5-10 percent of customers feel like giving feedback. It is all because of lack of confidence in action on it. Most of the customers feel there will be no action on the feedback. Hence, even those who give feedback, don’t provide it seriously. As a matter of fact, any organization’s one of the top goals should be how to increase the customer feedback percent and action percent in a holistic manner rather than just doing it for the formality sake.
Amazon’s Empty Chair Concept is a wonderful example of customer obsession. In every meeting that happens in Amazon one chair is empty and that chair is the chairperson of the meeting. In fact, it is indicative. And it indicates Customer. Hence, in every meeting in Amazon, the customer is of utmost importance. Another great example of customer obsession is two videos of Brussels Airlines. You can find both easily on Youtube. One is “Happy Birthday” and the other is “It’s a Boy”. What an amazing feeling it brings when you watch these videos. That is what should be the prime focus of any business. And there are examples that businesses have reached the limit of the sky with this customer obsession approach. And some businesses, on the other hand, are not there in existence anymore who didn’t focus well on their customers. Therefore, the customer is the prime key.
As we all know the three key pillars of an organization are Processes, Systems, and Initiatives. But more important is to understand how do you measure them in your organization? Secondly, How do you sustain them? It is also important to know that the organization where top leadership involves in their organization’s customer obsession journey have higher chances of business growth. In fact, there are examples where the top management is eager to work with people who are obstinate about customers. Like the founders of Flipkart, deliver the packets at times to their customers, not for any other reasons but to get their insights about the service and delivery of Flipkart. Empty Chair Concept is just a symbolic approach that can happen in many ways. It is not important to copy the concept to demonstrate your customer obsession. There are many examples like this.
Empty Chair Concept Makes Customer as Top Stakeholder
Similarly, working on the same Empty Chair Concept, Premji of Wipro meets 5-6 customers every month just to understand their problems.
An organization striving for Zero Customer Complaints ultimately fails to survive. This is how? The sole target of the whole organization becomes to achieve no complaints from the customer. In that journey, they intentionally stop recording customer complaints in order to show their results matching their targets. The management is happy but customer unhappiness is at an increase. And finally, it bursts to bring disasters in such a way that the organization loses all its potential customers. The organization culture has already taken a bad shape. Finally, it had to drop its best of the employees in the lack of business and survival. Such kind of goals, thus sometimes are quite disastrous and killing in nature. Instead, another company realizes this proactively and changes their goal from Zero Customer Complaints to Increasing Improvement Opportunities. The whole scenario changes in the organization. Everyone has a suggestion for improvement.
In fact, zero customer complaints or increase in customer complaints doesn’t reflect the actual health of an organization. At the most, it can reflect the health of a sub-process. If we see in above paragraph about the organization changing its goal to increasing improvement opportunities starts working as a catalyst to business growth. Definitely, all improvement suggestions will not be feasible or appropriate. There has to be a cost-benefit analysis for each such improvement. But then striving on improvements in an organization as a culture is not a bad thing at all. Rather, it helps in business maturity and ultimately in business growth.
Zero Customer Complaint Doesn’t ensure Business Growth
But eventually, these opportunities must encash in time. If they stay in papers and there is no action on them, the whole exercise is of no use. And moreover, it has to have a viral effect in the organization. Everyone must be in its grip all the time. There has to be a timeline and action plan for each improvement. If you have Zero Customer Complaints as a goal in your organization, change it immediately.
Customer Excellence culture is difficult to create in an organization but is not impossible. Though it doesn’t happen overnight. But every bit of effort in this direction counts a lot. It demands everybody’s involvement in this mission. Unless it flows in the organization’s blood and reflects in every employee’s actions, it stays merely in papers and doesn’t translate into success. If you are a customer-centric organization, you can achieve your business growth. Else, you will lose the battle sooner or later. Recently there was a fear in the global arena that your ATM or Debit card data is not safe and is easy to breach. Immediately, one of the banks acts proactively and releases an app with the help of which their customer could switch off their ATM/Debit Card within second after installation that app on their smartphone and two-step authentication. Such actions create trust and confidence in customers.
Such is the demand for Customer Excellence in today’s scenario. It requires restructuring, strengthening, and innovative actions. You need to cater to the customized product needs of your customers. In fact, it is utmost important to listen to your customer. No doubt, building a culture in the organization is a time-consuming issue. But nonetheless, never let your teams live in silos. In fact, let them understand if they are there in the organization it is just because of the customers. No customer means no business. And no business means no need of employees in the organization. Therefore, it is important to set the benchmark for customer excellence. Because this automatically brings business excellence. Hence, building a culture of excellence is important and that too in every area of activity. Different organizations do it in different ways. Like KPIs, Methodologies, BSCs, or any other manner. But mostly the goals are same.
Business Excellence comes from Customer Excellence
Therefore, if a business has to survive, it has to strive for customer excellence. If an organization’s vision and mission are devoid of the word “customer” it needs to revise the same.
CII Awards for Customer Obsession 2016 was a great insightful event to attend today. Few things are very clear out of it. It has a direct connect with technology, behavior, measure, and translate to evidence. Let me explain how? Without technology, a business can’t survive in today’s competitive world. It also involves human behavior that matters most. You need to measure both with the help of analytics. This measurement helps you to translate the things to evidence. The facts and figures make it easier to stand by your words and claims. Customer experience has become the utmost important factor for business growth. Customer Obsession has to be in the culture of an organization. Hence, Customer centricity has to be in the blood of an organization. Keeping that in mind NCH or National Consumer Helpline has come into existence in India. Though it is active in Delhi right now.
Don’t keep success in your mind. And don’t keep unsuccess in your heart. Because both the acts behave as a showstopper in terms of performance. And that is where the new mantra of India comes into the picture. It is Perform, Reform, and Transform. Because without performing you can’t reform and without reforming you can’t transform. The best way is to change your habits and look at the whole scenario in a new perspective. Looking at current competitive environment benchmarking customer experience or customer obsession can’t happen in a holistic manner. What customer expects today is better, faster, and cheaper. For instance, when it comes to e-commerce or e-retail it is the value products and deliveries that matter most. Similarly, if you are in hospitality, understand your customer’s priorities best. That is how you can win in this tough competitive world of business. Thus comes customer obsessions.
Customer Obsession means business growth
Thus customer obsession has a direct connection with business growth.
Do you live at your workplace? Or just like others just treat it as a money generating place? Is your connection with your organization merely for the sake of salary or it is much beyond that? How do you treat your workplace and how does it treat you in return? Do you miss your workplace when at home or vice versa? More importantly are you passionate about your workplace? Do you ever feel you are in love with it? And if you feel, do you try to find out the reasons for falling in love with it? Is it the quality of work, place, or both?
And two more important factors in it are management and people. These two factors can create a high amount of motivation or demotivation depending on the culture of an organization. Are you a quantum of energy when you reach your workplace? As a matter of fact, are you ready to fire all your energies to fetch out best of the results during the day? Are you able to motivate your team like nobody else can?
Do You Live At Your Workplace?
All this can happen only when you are able to live every moment at your workplace. Just introspect, do you live at your workplace? Your workplace, in that case, must be able to give you an atmosphere where you feel free, relaxed, and full of energy to deliver the best out of you. And how does it happen? Here comes the role of HR, People Managers, and the top management. Because a lot of good ideas will come in this regard from HR and People managers, but it is the top management that has to approve those ideas faster in order to get the results faster. If you as a manager feel your workplace is dull, you need to take some quick steps to make it lively.
How about a small library, recreation room, a room to relax, some indoor games, some good facilities like vending machines, a high amount of discipline, good processes in place, a workplace with no pressure. In fact, how about making it a place like a prayer room? And then once these things are in place then check again Do You Live At Your Workplace?
If you have to chose among Engagement Commitment Passion for your organization, what will be your preference? And how do you connect the three strong pillars for an organization or project management? Engagement is something very important for your individual units those are employees or team members. Each individual team member has to have an interesting engagement factor in his job to make it more lively. Working just like a robot mechanically with no human factor in it makes a job dry and uninteresting. And I think with a high factor of engagement comes the high level of commitment. The more you are able to engage your team members the more amount of commitment you can fetch of them. Like engagement, commitment also varies from person to person. It also depends on the passion factor in a team member. A right mix of engagement and commitment creates passion. It reflects in many ways.
When we talk of passion out of three key pillars of Engagement Commitment Passion, it has various touch points. If you are able to generate passion in a team member, it can do wonders in terms of deliverables and results. It is the passion for organization, passion for the job, passion for the work you assign to your team members, passion for deadlines, passion for results, passion for winning every streak. Management has a key role in generating Engagement Commitment Passion in all their employees but then it has to percolate down the line in a very swift manner. The faster it goes down the line, the quicker are the results.
Engagement Commitment Passion – 3 Pillars of Growth
Whatever is the level of an organization these three pillars of Engagement Commitment Passion are the key ingredients to its development. In fact, in the growing phase, these are the most important factors to ensure your consistent growth.
A whopping investment of 5,000 crores is something extraordinary in an Indian scenario. This is probably the first time any enterprise in India stands to invest such a huge amount in a spectrum of three years. Samsung Plant Mega Expansion in Greater Noida is a live example of this. And out of 5,000 Crore, around 1,000 Crore is already spent in terms of infrastructure, development, expansion, technology, automation, and training. Probably for the first time Samsung has got a right partner in State Government to help them in achieving their large goals. And, in fact, for the first time, a state government has been so proactive and smart to take such futuristic steps and help an enterprise to achieve their goals so fast.
That is probably something that was, at one moment of time, on the verge of dropping the idea at Samsung’s end. The previous government was not capable of understanding and coping Samsung. It is good that government changes after every 5 years. Any change brings a lot of new challenges as well as opportunities.
Samsung Plant Mega Expansion Creates A New Future
It is precisely an investment of INR 4,915 Crore for Samsung Plant Mega Expansion with a clear cut commitment to Make in India, Make for India. So far out of their complete production in India, there is a chunk that goes outside India. In fact, out of its total production in India, Samsung caters to around 60-70% of the requirement of the Indian market. Rest comes as an import from other countries. This investment of INR 4,915 will happen in a span of three years. This is, in fact, the first year.
Within a period of few months, Samsung has invested around INR 1,000 Crore so far. And for the first time, this production will cater to 100% needs of the Indian market with no import targets. And the additional production will go out of India as exports to various countries thus bringing in foreign revenue. Samsung is India’s biggest consumer durables and mobile phone brand.
This is quite an interesting fact that there is always a tussle between the three in any organization. I am talking about People Process Technology, the three strong pillars of an organization. But then it is important to understand the exact relationship between the three. Also, it is important that in this case, all three marry and live happily together. Logically, it is people that run a company. Even if your processes are world class and so is the technology if the level of people is not improving on a regular basis, everything fails. Because it is the people who have to drive the technology. A deep level understanding of technology is a must to run it optimally. If the people lack in training to exhaust or consume the state-of-the-art technology, then there is no use of that technology in the organization. I have seen in many organizations they do a lot of investment in new technology. But it stays only to the extent of investment and procurement. Afterward, they dump it somewhere in the dust because there is no capable driver to understand and run it as per business needs.
The same is true for processes when it comes to chose from People Process Technology. Even if you have right kind of processes in place, it is the people who have to adhere to it aesthetically. And what about enhancement in these processes? How will it take place if the people in the organization are not thinking in that direction? Therefore, a regular mechanism has to be in place to control it completely. Better if you are able to automate the processes.
People Process Technology and the Organization
Another philosophy says that if your processes and technology are strongly bonded, it becomes easier to drive people in the organization. That is true too, to a large extent. Assume that you have technology driven processes with complete automation and alert mechanism in place. Any deviation from process clearly escalates it to the right place and blocks the person to misuse it. Someone at the higher level will have to unlock it using his credentials. In my opinion, all three – People Process Technology are equally important. Any organization is successful where these three pillars are not treated as competitors but catalyst to the growth of that organization. All three have to sync well in order to produce the best!
Corporate Toastmasters is a beautiful concept though not so widespread in India currently. But soon it will increase its density and velocity knowing the benefits a corporate incurs out of it. A recent visit to Toastmaster Event in Noida at a corporate office was quite insightful in this regard. It was wonderful to meet Mike Storkey, International President, Toastmasters International. Also, Deepak Meno, Second Vice President, Toastmasters International was there. The agenda was to conduct a training program for the district officers. Many of the officers were meeting each other for the first time. An open house was also there for the club members. The purpose of this open house was to provide them a chance to interact with these two prominent leaders and other District dignitaries.
In India, InterraIT Toastmasters Club was the first corporate Toastmasters club that came into existence in 2006. By now, under the mentorship and leadership of Mr. Asoke K Laha, Founder and CEO InterraIT, it has gained many distinctions at national and divisional levels. As a matter of fact, Toastmasters provides the members an excellent platform to master in many spectra of leadership. Like, express themselves, socialize, and scale up their communication and leadership skills in a very catalytic and favorable environment. It also gives them a chance to connect with their peers from other organizations and districts. This way, they are able to exchange notes and ideas. This, in fact, works out to the benefit of both sides.
Corporate Toastmasters is a beautiful concept
Mike Storkey and Deepak Menon shared their valuable insights on Toastmasters and how it is important for an employee to scale up their leadership skills. During the open session at Corporate Toastmasters session, there were many intriguing queries from the attendees and media. At times, it becomes difficult for an employee to choose between his job and his journey of Toastmasters. But then it is important to focus equally on both. Because while the job is important for the present, it is the Corporate Toastmasters journey that is very important for future. In fact, not only future, it also helps a lot during their present career journey. Rather, it boosts them to rise faster in their career.
VMUG declares the release of new EUC Explore Experience for VMware Users. VMUG is nothing but the VMware User Group. The new feature EUC Explore delivers the Digital Workspace experience. EUC Explore aims to connect IT professionals, using EUC solutions. In fact, even the enthusiasts who have an interest in the subject are eligible for it. As a matter of fact, it is a unique platform to connect industry experts from VMware, EUC vendors, and community members. A number of sessions including technical insights are there on the EUC products by VMware. In fact, you can learn a lot of things from worldwide industry experts and global practice leads. Like, learn architecture and implementation of best practices. The two-day event includes a number of conferences that are dedicated to all things EUC in either New York City or Minneapolis.
That is not the end. There are EUC-specific tracks at VMUG UserCon events in Boston and Atlanta. As Matt Heldstab, Senior Windows Administrator at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System states, “VMUG has always been a valuable resource for professional development at our organization, Targeted events such as VMUG EUC Explore give attendees an opportunity to interact with subject-matter experts that would ordinarily be reserved for worldwide conferences such as VMworld.”
VMUG 4 EUC Explore Events in 2017
The Explore conference is in New York City on 16th June while in Boston it is on 1st June. Both these events shall be featuring EUC technical expert Shawn Bass, VMware EUC VP & CTO. In fact, Shawn will deliver the Digital Workspace vision to address key market trends, IT priorities, and increasing complexities in the IT environment. There will be latest announcements in the EUC portfolio. In addition, you will also learn how these initiatives collaborate to deliver a customer simple, enterprise secure experience which enables enterprises to transform in a meaningful manner.
Shawn will also throw light on VMware’s collaboration within the ecosystem with various stakeholders. He will also show the relevance of the digital workspace strategy on technology leaders in the industry. For EUC Explore events, registration is free and the event is open to all members in the tech industry. In fact, this is a golden chance to attend the event as there are only 4 EUC Explore events in 2017. And you should not miss out on this unique end user computing event. To get further details you can visit the event page here. You will find the most up-to-date information, agenda, and VMUG registration link.
New IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) chip with embedded cryptographic RoT (Root of Trust) is launched by WISeKey. This chip has machine learning capabilities thus making it smart and fit for intelligent activities. The new chip will become an integral part of the company’s IoT cybersecurity vertical platform. This, in turn, will allow IoT devices to organize in a self-manage mechanism into trusted networks. In fact, it will happen on the basis of mutual authentication, identity, and integrity. That way, it makes the complete integration quite secure and safe. Actually, the IIoT chip embedded with cryptographic RoT and problem-solving Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions is something that has come up for the first time. In fact, this new technology empowers IoT connected devices that can deliver a recognized identity and a valid integrity report to shake hands with peer devices within the community.
Logically, this new IIoT chip will enable autnehticated sensor data. Because, as of now, most IoT devices have no embedded secure systems. And that makes these devices vulnerable to various risks. Thus, by integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into any IoT hardware and platform, it can create wonders. These objects when connect to the WISe’s Vertical Platform can mange their own cybersecurity behavior thus making smarter and safer decision capabilities. This, in fact, creates so many proactive and smart capabilties in a device. Any object having this IIoT Chip can produce a huge amount of Big Data. Te analysis of this data with AI can help industrial applications to alert in advance about the failure of their equipment before it actually happens.
IIoT Chip Promises to Do Wonders
In fact, the WISeKey platform is built in such a way that it allows the IoT devices having these chips to communicate authenticated data to the cloud using a dual factor authentication at the device level. For instance, think about a smartcard that sends authenticated data of each component of the car predicting when these parts will go bad or require maintenance. Not only this, it digitaly signs all the logs required to prove that service was provided. This platform is free from any restrictions and thus various industry segments and industrial applications can use it. It optimizes productivity across industris through predictive maintenace of machine or equipments therein thus creating truly smart environment with connected applicanes. As a result it provides critical communication between devices including self-driving cars and smart homes.
What a significant evolution it is? In fact, it brings a huge amount of possibilities to the table. A small IIoT Chip and do so many wonders. In fact, WISeKey creates a technology that ensures connected devices to become intelligent devices. These devices, thus, can learn from attacks, defend themselves, and transfer this intelligence to other devices in the network.
Carlos Moreira, Founder and Chief Executive of WISeKey, says: “This new platform opens up many possibilities for improving the overall security functionalities and creating new business processes by taking advantage of the world of digital identification at the object level, which once combined with Big Data allows us to gather and process all available information and generate actionable insights.”
IIoT Chip is Actually ToC
Moreira adds, “We call this new technology Trust of a Chip (ToC), which offers a full integration of several key security elements on the chip instead of installing and testing these security elements separately on the device. This integration reduces the size of the chip, lowers the cost and increases the level of security as no one can externally access and manipulate the integrity of these chips. The ability to authenticate and remotely manage millions of networked, automated devices and equipment is becoming pervasive − from factory floors, to hospital operating rooms, to residential homes – including billions of objects and devices from refrigerators, watches, wearables to wine bottles – everything that can connect and communicate via the Internet.” Let’s see how many more wonders are the in store for IIoT chip. In fact, there is no end to imagination and giving it a color of reality.
Full-time CIOs will not be a requirement in organizations except those that are very large in size or have a consistently healthy financial status. The way technology is emerging, disrupting heavily the existing legacy IT model of an organization, it will demand a huge change in IT Organization. As a matter of fact, IT footprints are decreasing to a large scale in an organization in terms of manpower. Outsourcing, Cloud, Automation, BYOD, and many such disruptions are responsible for this. As a matter of fact, CIO on demand is a new factor coming into picture in many organizations. Especially small and medium organizations. A drawback in this regard is organizations leaving the orthodox process of hiring a full-time CIO but not availing services of an expert CIO working on a freelance basis.
In that case, a manager of the lower level person in IT, having the senior most position in the hierarchy in IT department starts feeling as CIO and thus creating a confusion in the organization. This guy is not an expert CIO but when an organization starts making him responsible for key IT decisions can create havoc. The whole technology model of an organization depends on right decisions. A wrong decision can take an organization many steps back. At times it becomes a big risk. In fact, it takes a lot of energies and money to mitigate it. Rather, it might lead to a reputation risk too in some cases. Organizations, thus, need to be wise at this juncture of transition in the IT Organization model.
CIO On Demand Is a Reality Now
But one thing is sure that CIO is not a full-time requirement in many organization. To stay in the fray, many CIOs adopt a strategy to keep creating issues and then drawing management’s attention to it in order to stay important in their eyes. In fact, such strategies will not work for long anymore. As a matter of fact, CIO on demand is already a reality. Many CIOs are leaving their full-time job to adopt this role for more challenges.
CISOs or CIOs roles are changing very dynamically. In fact, sometimes organizations have unreasonable expectations from these roles. Especially when you are working with global clients, the perspective change happens altogether. An organization must be very clear in defining JD of all key IT roles so as to differentiate and substantiate in a very objective manner. It is a persistent problem in MNCs in India. Elsewhere, like in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada don’t face such issues. JDs of key IT roles are quite clear there. In fact, they are bang on target. Changing Roles and Clarity of roles is a big concern in IT.
ISO/IEC 33000 now replaces ISO/IEC 15504. As a matter of fact, no changes have been made to reflect the updated standard. And the design of all processes is on Risk-Based Approach. Capability level of your Change Management process can be handled easily through a COBIT 5 Assessor. ISO 15004-2:2007 specifies fundamental requirements for optical radiation safety for ophthalmic instruments and is applicable to all ophthalmic instruments that direct optical radiation into or at the eye and for which there is a specific light hazards requirement section within their respective international standards. That way 15004 provides you the ability to assess and arrive the process capability. All this needs to be managed along with the changing roles in IT framework.
Changing Roles is creating big gaps
Development experience helps understanding application security well. For instance, if an organization uses SAP, the scope is mostly limited to Access Control and provisioning. If you notice, the European Infosec framework is well defined and robust. While the USA has too many loopholes. This is a true fact regarding changing roles. Coming back to JD’s, this problem is more persistent with US and Saudi Arabia companies. They even ask for CISO or CIO with a SAP, Hadoop, and .Net expertise even when inviting applications for Environment Security experts. Another ambiguous requirement that an organization had was for an Infosec Manager with ISO14001, ISO5001, CCNP, and an expertise in VLSI and Data Analytics. You would be wondering how original it could be.
In India for every cyber attack, you need to report it to CERT-IN. An interesting point to understand is how many companies follow Cobit 5? Quite a few are having their own processes and frameworks. In fact, how many organizations crave for process maturity? How do they manage their processes in terms of performance, management, and definition in a quantitative manner? Rather how many of those keep optimizing their processes on a regular basis? What is the optimization process? In the current scenario of increasing global cyber threats, it is very important to introspect these critical points to ensure that your organization is moving in right direction. Awareness about cyber attacks, threats, and vulnerabilities is quite important. Persons responsible for the cyber security of any organization can’t stay away from these burning issues anymore. In fact, ownership is quite important in these matters.
When we talk about 33XXX series of certifications, its aim is to facilitate process assessment. It has nothing to do with Risk or Cyber attacks. Since it derives from SPICE, that was used for software processes, management of process concept is derived from CMMI. In this regard, it is important to align the roles to processes. Though it is not straightforward and simple as it may appear. Because some processes cut across and overlap between multiple roles. For instance person responsible for managing suppliers has to manage multiple roles. Like procurement, contracts, invoicing, and governance. Largely, organizations believe in ‘build and run’ model. ISACA has yet not published the enabler Guide for Organization Structure. That is one of the reasons most of the organizations have their own approach on how to build their IT Organization. Still, the biggest challenge remains the mapping of key processes to respective owners.
Cyber Attacks are increasing worldwide
Logically, ownership must happen in a way that there remains no ambiguity. ISACA seems to be a very practical approach because it helps you to implement all in one go. And managing Cyber attacks in today’s scenario is very critical. Because it impacts on financials, reputation, and operations in a big way. In fact, if production head is answerable for the low product, so is the security expert for security leaks.
Digital India drive has different meanings for different companies. There are companies that are present on most of the key digital platforms actively. These kinds of companies actually live with reality and care for their customers. When I say they are present actively, that means they are prompt in replying to any query from their different stakeholders. I think social media platforms are the best to reach to anyone in today’s world. In fact, it removes the hindrance of geographic barriers. You post a tweet and within minutes you get a reply. And, in fact, the reply will be relevant. Not just for the sake of reply. And then you will get a call from their social media team to understand the problem and discuss the solution. Not only this, they will ensure that the job is done and that too within stipulated timeframe. That is the beauty.
One such live example of such kind of companies is Airtel. Such kind of actively connecting companies are not there in high volume. In fact, these companies are the bright example of turning mission of Digital India to reality. And then there are other kinds of companies that are a shame in the name of Digital drives. One such company that comes to my mind is Mother Dairy. Such company serving to masses must have ample and easiest possible means of accessibility which lacks in this case. In fact, there is no willingness that you see in their initiatives. Otherwise, is it difficult for them to create a strong social media team that builds a strong engagement with their huge customer base? Why can’t they publish their daily rates of vegetables and fruits on their portal or mobile app?
Digital India – Different Perspectives
As a matter of fact, how much time does it really take to build such small interesting but very useful features? It all depends on your mindset to understand the real meaning of Digital India. Mother Dairy is more than a four-decade-old organization in India.
Archive360 launches another world class product. It is Commvault Simpana Email and Data Migration Solution that enables fast and accurate migration into Microsoft Cloud. FastCollect is a perfect solution for Archives Commvault Edition. In addition, there is a freedom to choose. It extracts email, attachments, and all other data from Commvault Archive in order to complete compliance to It, Regulatory, and Business requirements. Rather, it preserves full data fidelity and audit trails. This helps you to ensure legal eDiscovery readiness and any other regulatory compliance. Archive360™ is a pioneer in data migration and data management solutions for the Microsoft Cloud. It announces the general availability launch of its FastCollect™ for Archives Commvault Edition. In fact, this is the first and only Commvault Simpana Email and Data Migration Solution.
Speed and accuracy are the key ingredients of Commvault Simpana Email and Data Migration Solution. The salient features and benefits of FastCollect for Archives Commvault Edition are as below:
- It is a multi-threaded, multi-server platform. Therefore, it provides the best performance and accuracy of all migration solutions.
- The native Commvault APIs enable search and filtering of emails by various parameters. Like date range, custodian, or any other useful criteria.
- Zero reliance on Commvault API ensures fast and accurate data extractions.
- It takes care of message level chain of custody reporting. Thus legally defensible reporting controls eDiscovery risk thereby ensuring strict SEC regulatory compliance.
- The best part is that it does not require indexing or data gathering before extraction. Therefore, it begins message extraction within no time of installation. Whereas you talk of any other extraction solution and that will take days or weeks to index before start. That is the real beauty of this product.
- Another best thing is its intuitive and powerful graphical user interface. This virtually eliminates any need for training. And in turn, it ensures faster time to migration.
Michael Osterman, Principal Analyst, Osterman Research says, “Commvault Simpana has been a popular enterprise backup software platform that was intended to streamline backup, archiving and reporting. However, it can be more complicated and expensive to manage than many enterprise customers anticipated. Moreover, once the enterprise data was captured in the Commvault Simpana archive, there was not an adequate solution for extraction and migration to an alternate platform. IT professionals that have experienced limitations in their Commvault archive, and have wanted to move or at least explore other possibilities now have a solid option to do so with Archive360’s new FastCollect for Archives Commvault Edition.”
Commvault Simpana Email and Data Migration Solution
Bill Tolson, Vice President of Marketing, Archive360 adds, “For countless organizations around the world, to better meet IT, business, legal and compliance requirements, as well as the desire to simplify management and lower costs, organizations are moving their on premise email and data archives into the cloud,However, for those that are sitting on terabytes of data locked-into a Commvault archive, this goal has been out of reach… until now. Archive360’s new FastCollect for Archives Commvault Edition enables Simpana users to quickly, easily and accurately extract everything from raw messages to attachments to metadata, while maintaining an item-level audit trail and full data fidelity, for compliance and legal requirements – and then migrate it into the Microsoft cloud, or other solution of their choosing.”
Archive360’s new FastCollect for Archives Commvault Edition is available now. And probably that is the best of class Commvault Simpana Email and Data Migration Solution.
Now, data from all these sources can be tapped and integrated into a single display—effectively a management HUD — that can create a single source of truth. Trending information is offered in the form of histograms; then using Pareto charts, the next level of analysis reveals the most prevalent causes of KPI anomalies, along with the factors most likely to positively impact and resolve those outliers. The dashboards also identify “improvement levers” that will accelerate deployment of solutions.
The ability to see multi-disciplinary performance data, in one place and in real-time, allows managers to respond immediately to unfolding situations. Countermeasures and preventive actions are more likely to be deployed. Because unfolding situations are more quickly addressed, larger strategic objectives are also more likely to be achieved.
In implementing such a system, it helps to have outside assistance. Deploying a cross-discipline, integrated management solution requires three essentials:
- First, a process and structure that helps the company determine its goals and requirements for the solution, along with the help chains that are available.
- Second, a complete inventory of metrics, in a hierarchical format, that will define desired behaviors and performance. Bad metrics drive bad behaviors—and good metrics drive correct results. The right metrics will foster a culture of improvement.
- Third, a regimen of coaching to help the management team use its HUD correctly. Positive results require ongoing mentoring and support; for most companies, such coaching resources are not available internally.
With the speed of business accelerating, it’s essential that managers keep pace by having actionable, current information close at hand. By integrating real-time data in one place, in a form that provides insight and suggests solutions, it’s possible to match the rate of change in business—and effectively navigate the path ahead.
Most of the organization’s environment is multifaceted and complex. And hence it needs a cross-discipline, integrated management solution. In fact, even if any organization starts simple, growth is something that automatically creates complexity. Because, as an organization grows, the number of people, processes, and functions also grow. This growth brings different paradigms, benchmarks, and people with different ideas on board. Below part is in continuation to David Pate’s ideas from previous post on managerial skills in today’s enviroment:
Without a heads-up display to provide more complete understanding, what people see is often only part of the picture. A disconnect occurs between perception and true situational awareness. HUDs, for example, have given aviators a new way to instantly assimilate all the data pertinent to their task, then immediately influence the outcome of that task.
Obviously, business is a similarly challenging, data-driven pursuit. Until now there hasn’t been a way to gain a single, clear view of the factors driving the most complex processes in business—one that integrates data from many disparate sources into a single dashboard. But that situation is changing.
In particular, small-to-medium sized companies have not had the ability to integrate data from multiple disciplines—finance, sales, manufacturing, human resources, R&D, and so on—to gain a holistic view of affairs. Until recently, the only option was expensive and slow manual collection. As a practical matter, this made it impossible to use integrated data for anything more than retrospective analysis.
A new breed of solutions, however, can pull data out of their siloed repositories, in real time, combining for instant comprehension. The range of acceptable sources is remarkable: SQL Server Reporting Services, flat files, sensors both in the field and in company facilities, and enterprise systems spanning Enterprise Resource Planning, Supply Chain Management, Customer Relationship Management, and Manufacturing Execution Systems, to name only a few.
The concluding part of this article is in the next post.
David Pate is Managing Director of TBM Consulting Group. The company is into operations and supply chain consulting.The scope of work includes helping clients leverage operational excellence using lean and other technological advancements. In the later half of March this year, TBM Consulting Group launches Dploy Daily Management. This is a powerful tool residing on the cloud that tracks execution and performance metrics. Not only that, it also performs root cause analysis suggesting countermeasures mitigate a potential risk. It integrates well with key business applications like ERP, MES, CMMS etc. The ultimate goal of the suite is to enhance and improvise effectiveness of daily management activities with the help of a close tracking mechanism of individual metrics.
David Pate writes an exclusive byline for my blog readers to equip them with the essential knowledge that managers should have. Here we go:
Wouldn’t it be great to have a heads-up display for business? A way to gain a holistic view, correctly and in real time, of what is happening so you could react effectively—and still keep your eyes on the horizon ahead?
Heads-Up Displays (HUDs) have been available for fighter pilots since the late 1950s. Thanks to technology advances, however, HUDs are today a deployed in more situations and applications than ever before. Common in commercial aviation, HUDs have found their way into automobiles, game consoles, race cars, and military vehicles; currently under development for soldiers and surgeons, the displays are being considered for everyone from skiers and scuba divers to runners and even tourists.
HUD technology is in strong demand for one critical reason: it brings together performance-related data quickly, without diverting attention and while there is time to act. Invaluable for complex and fast-evolving environments that are impacted by many variables, the appeal of HUDs is to be found in their ability to put many forms of data in a single place.
This article continues in next two posts.
There are so many testing techniques around the globe. A lot of companies keeping a very low budget for testing don’t bother for standard testing techniques measurable quantifiers and qualifiers. In fact, testing in their ecosystem is not a fundamental characteristic. Neither they have a strong customer base that demands this. Rather, their products also don’t fall in standard category and hence there is no resisting demand for a good testing technique. But generally, such products, vendors, and customers who don’t give high weightage to the adoption of good testing techniques lack quality. And this lack of quality impacts not only their working environment but also personal life. Such is the value of quality in life. And obviously, without the adoption of good testing techniques, you can’t bring quality in work and life. A benchmark is a must.
Any testing technique must have following qualifiers:
- Approved Technology:
Whatever technology you adopt, it must be an approved technology. At a personal level you can go for any kind of technology but when it comes to a professional front, it has to fulfill certain criterion. Especially in the production environment whatever product you launch or use, it must follow standard technology techniques.
- Wide Acceptance:
The technique you adopt must have a wider acceptance localy and globally. Well, if your product is totally local with no global market in sight, then also it must follow this factor. Because permanance is not consistent and constant in any organization. In need, you must be able to get trained manpower on the same technology.
- Global Presence:
The testing tehnologies you adopt must have a global presence for the same reason as in the previous point. Especially when you are planning to expand globally.
- Fulfill Requirements:
Obviously any technology, howsoever good, is useless if it doesn’t suffice your purpose.
- Availability of Support:
And finally, the external support must be available on the testing technologies you are working on.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Altaro’s Co-Founder and CEO, David Vella and Co-Founder and VP of WW Sales & Marketing, Stephen Chetcuti Bonavita, during their North American launch of the company and the general availability launch of its VM Backup version 7.
Q) Could you briefly introduce Altaro – the elevator pitch – the company, its technology and target customer(s)?
Altaro Software is a leading developer of Virtual Machine (VM) backup and recovery solutions, with their flagship product Altaro VM Backup, a high-performance backup solution specially developed for small and mid-market businesses. Specialized in backup for virtualized environments, Hyper-V and VMware, Altaro aims at delivering a fast, full-featured yet affordable backup solution and is equipped with an outstanding, personal support team, determined to help the clients succeed in protecting their environment.
Having a network of over 6,000 IT resellers worldwide, Altaro is heavily focused on building a global channel to deliver its solutions to SMBs worldwide.
Q) You recently launched Altaro into North America – what prompted this move?
While our headquarters are in Europe, from the outset, we’ve been very focused on selling our products to an international audience, in fact, we have over 30,000 customers using our software around the world, out of which 40% are based in North America. North America is one of our fastest growing markets, therefore it was a natural progression for us to focus on North America.
Q) And, you launched a new product: VM Backup version 7 – what is it and what’s new?
With the launch of Altaro VM Backup V7, Altaro introduced the best deduplication in the industry, Augmented Inline Deduplication™ of backups across VMs and boot from backup. For customers, this means much lower storage requirements and significantly lesser data to be transferred, with a resulting dramatic saving in bandwidth – resulting in storage savings of 63% to 96%. Moreover, with more VMs backed-up, customers enjoy a dramatic increase in storage costs.
Q) Competitors? Who are they and what differentiates VM Backup version 7 from their solutions?
Veeam is the most well-known player in the industry, however their solution is complicated and built for the Enterprise customer rather than the SMB, this means that it is much more difficult to use, much more expensive to purchase and includes many enterprise level features which the small and mid-market do not need to use or do not need to pay for. Altaro’s solution is built from the ground up for the SMB, which means that customers get an easy to use, affordable product which will allow them to be up and running quickly. Altaro’s deduplication technology is also up to 50% more effective than Veeam’s which means more cost savings on storage requirements.
Q) Anything else you wish to add?
We also recently rolled out a groundbreaking new Cloud Management Console for customers and partners to monitor and manage all their Altaro VM Backup installations from a single online console. More info at http://www.altaro.com/vm-backup/cloud-management-console.php
Q) Where can readers go to learn more?
A recent visit to BM Munjal University, Gurgaon (or Gurugram) was an eye-opening day. It was the second semifinals for the India Innovation Challenge 2016 on April 22. There were 24 student teams pitching their product to the panel of judges from IIM Bangalore. Also on the panel were various Industry Experts. There was a high level of enthusiasm among students showcasing their hardware prototype through and exhibit booth to all the evaluators and visitors. The same energy I could find on the face of Sanjay Srivastava, Director University Program, Texas Instruments India. In the lobby area near the auditorium, the student teams were presenting their product demo. What all it demonstrates is magnificent disruptive ideas coming from these budding scientists and innovators of India.
The winning team would get a funding of around INR3.5 Crores. This is a good amount to convert their team into a reality. The collaboration is DST-Texas Instruments India Inc. The contest is heading towards its final stages. More than 11000 students were participating from over 600 engineering colleges from across India in this contest. These 24 teams were from 22 engineering colleges. The first semifinal was on April 15, 2017 at IIM Bangalore (now Bengaluru). India Innovation Challenge is a good way to nurture innovation. Everyone could sense a stream of pathbreaking innovation with a focus to bring socio-economic change for India. Most of the entries are in close proximity with the Government’s vision of Swaach Bharat, Digital India, Smart Cities, etc. These solutions have the potential to address pressing problems across various sectors. This in turn promises to bring positive change to the lives of millions of people.
India Innovation Challenge
It was the 2nd semifinal of 7th Texas Instruments India Innovation Challenge Design Contest. Texas Instruments collaborates with IIM Bangalore and Department of Science & Technology (DST).
In fact, Texas Instruments takes India Innovation Challenge to greater heights after collaboration with IIM Bangalore and DST. It has become a benchmark.
I would call Digital Business Technology a mix of IT, Business, and Computer Science. Though earlier businesses were using computers for their business applications. But a lot of factors that have emerged and have become and integral part of the business are the key contributing factors of Digital Technology. The emergence of technologies like Cloud, Mobility, Analytics, etc. have become considerable factors in changing the whole paradigm of business. Earlier, we had a seat or desk concept where everything will happen. Especially the business transactions. Be it physical or on a computer. The person was able to perform only while on the seat. It used to hamper business while the same person responsible for such transactions is on leave or traveling. Such hiccups used to cause a delay in business transactions. The life was cool as there was no concept of analytics, real-time reports, dashboards, mobility, cloud, etc.
But now due to Digital Business Technology, the life has become quite dynamic and productive. Nothing stops the work even if a person is away from his or her desk. The concept of the desktop, laptop, and a fixed desk is not there anymore. A handy mobile device is capable of your all business needs. In fact, everything has become digital. Be it a business application, decision making, business transaction, advertising, marketing, sales, operations, and financial transactions. The virtual world has become a bare minimum necessity in this real world. Now, you can have a video conferencing while on the move. Similarly, you can approve vouchers, purchase orders, and other business documents with the help of workflow apps on your mobile device. The concept of office-less businesses is emerging fast. This is all due to Digital Business Technology. And the world, in fact, has become too small with this.
Overall, it is clear that no business in today’s world can survive without adopting Digital Business Technology. It is all global now.
It is important to understand relation concept in database. A database comprises of multiple tables. All tables are an integral part of the database. In fact, all these tables connect to each other with the help of some keys. It is the key that acts as a pointer in two tables thus establishing a relation. It is as simple as the relation concept in any database. Suppose you have a table EMPLOYEE MASTER and another table as EMPLOYEE ASSETS. Now Employee Master will have all the basic details of an employee. And you generate a key Employee Code. In the other table Employee Assets, you need not repeat this basic details of an employee. Just create records with the existing Employee Code which establishes a relation between the two tables. This relation becomes handy at the time of creating new records, reports, and dashboards.
To learn the relation concept in database further, let us think about the same two tables above. While entering Employee Assets of an employee who is already having some assets in his name, you need to add new assets in his or her name. While entering these details from the front end by an end user, you need to give a screen to enter the data. Now some information about this employee must reflect here like Employee name and existing assets, for instance. The former will come from the Employee Master while the latter will come from Employee Assets. It is the Employee Code in both the tables that make it possible.
Relation Concept in Database
Unless you have a common key that establishes a relation between the two tables, it will never be possible to fetch the correct information from the two tables. Meaning, if this relation is not correct, you will be showing wrong name agains an Employee Code. That is the relation concept in database.
Content is growing exponentially across the globe. Though regulatory compliance is not growing at the same pace but still paving its way for some stringent actions at enterprise and governance level. In fact, all industries, organizations, and governing agencies are raising a concern regarding information assets that need to be proper identification, retainment, security, sand safety in a systematic manner. This tremendous increase in data growth demands a sturdy, fast, smart, and cost-effective data storage solution. In addition, when it comes to governance, legal, and regulatory compliance, the need becomes more specific in terms of security, safety, and time-bound.
Thus arises the need of an archiving solution that can archive content without any compromise with security and protection for a longer period as per compliance needs. And in fact, the solution should be able to reduce the long-term cost of ownership. Whether your precious data resides on cloud or on-premise, it has to follow the compliance and regulatory needs. Industries are following regulatory requirements strictly. The stipulation of retaining certain types of content and securing for a specific period of time is taking place. For all this period you need to secure your data ensuring no alteration takes place. And in case there is any alteration, there has to be a foolproof audit trail mechanism in place.
Content is the key to any business
Industries like Health Care, Government, Legal, Financial, Pharmaceutical, Hospitality etc. have to protect their customer data as per regulatory requirements. And why only these industries, it is becoming aparantly necesary for any industry. It adds a lot to an industry’s reputation. An adverse news about data leakage from the database of an industry can bring its doom’s day at a fast pace. At some point of time it is important to learn that all the good things are taken for granted by the customer. But any adversities in regard to content especially the one concerning consumer directly can cause a big harm to a business.
Seagate has an advice for global business leaders and entrepreneurs. It is to sharpen their focus on data. Especially the data that is critical to the success of global business impact. The reason for this is quite simple. Total worldwide data will increase exponentially to almost 160+ ZB (ZettaBytes) by 2025. Which is simply 10 times the current day value. And the majority of this data will belong to enterprises. They would be creating and managing this humungous data on a regular basis. Thus the new study forecast 1 10-fold rise in the worldwide data by 2025.
In response to this, global data and storage leader Seagate advises global business leaders and entrepreneurs to enhance their concentration on the mega trends that are the driving factors of this voluminous data growth over the next decade. They must keep examining their business’ direction for the data in all aspects. like creation, collection, utilization, and management. The IDC white paper, Data Age 2025 predicts that the data creation will swell to almost to the size of 10-times of today. It would reach to a total of 163 zettabytes by 2025. Seagate is sponsoring the white paper.
It clearly spells out that the speed of conversion of analog data to digital is stupendous. And it fastly is replaced by a different era. This era focuses on the value of data. Not only that, it manages the creation, utilization, and complete life cycle of data that has become the nerve of business. This data relates to consumers, businesses, governments, and so on. There is a large amount of sharing and accessing of this data between multiple agencies and devices. Data Age predicts the primary creators of the bulk of the world’s data will shift from consumers to enterprises. By 2025, enterprises will be creating 60 percent of the world’s data. This will empower business leaders to embrace new and unique business opportunities. But it will need to make strategic choices about data collection, utilization, and location.
Global Business Leaders
Seagate CEO Steve Luczo says, “While we can see from this new research that the era of Big Data is upon us, the value of data is really not in the ‘known’, but in the ‘unknown’ where we are vastly underestimating the potentials today. What is really exciting are the analytics, the new businesses, the new thinking and new ecosystems from industries like robotics and machine-to-machine learning, and their profound social and economic impact on our society. The opportunity for today’s enterprises and tomorrow’s entrepreneurs to capture the value of data is tremendous, and our global business leaders will be exploring these opportunities for decades to come.”
IDC SVP Dave Reinsel says, “From autonomous cars to intelligent personal assistants, data is the lifeblood of a rapidly growing digital existence – opening up opportunities previously unimagined by businesses. Technology innovation will be vitally important to evaluate and fully activate the intricacies of what’s contained within this large volume of data – and storage, in particular, will continue to grow in importance, as it provides the foundation from which so many of these emerging technologies will be served.”
PwC India is a leading global professional services organization operating in almost the countries across the globe. It announces the launch of the PwC Insights as a Service (PIAS). The service offering allows enterprises to embrace advanced analytics and data science capabilities in a crisp manner. The three winning factors are quick, flexible commercials, and lower TCO (total cost of ownership). Two unique features of PIAS are “all you need” and ready-to-deploy platform. The fully managed solution thus leverages PwC’s intellectual property in advanced analytics, big data, and IoT (Internet of Things). In addition, PwC has a cross-sector consulting expertise to deliver business results. As a matter of fact, PwX Insights empowers business users within an enterprise in a unique manner.
PwC Insights ensures to help all its users of all levels in a business ranging from C-suite executives to data scientists. The platform has an edge over other similar solutions for certain because of many reasons. Firstly, it comes preloaded with data automation and management tools. Secondly, it contains industry and domain-specific machine learning and cognitive algorithms. These reasons help enterprises to jumpstart the solution execution quickly thus improving business outcomes. In addition, it comprises of industry leading, multi-level data security and 24/7 support. The solution is available on Microsoft Azure. In fact, PwC plans to roll out 30 such solutions in the market over the next year. These solutions will be on a pay-as-you-go engagement basis.
Raman Bhushan, Partner, Advanced Analytics, and Data Science, PwC India says, “There is enough and more evidence to suggest that analytics-driven decision making drives better business outcomes and creates competitive advantage. With Insights as a Service, we are addressing our clients’ needs of building next-gen analytics capabilities, with minimal investments in technology and talent. PIAS helps our clients gain a competitive edge through insight-driven decision making that brings together PwC’s advanced analytics capabilities and technology consulting expertise along with Microsoft’s Azure platform.”
The beauty of PwC Insights is its ability to ingest any kind of data be it structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data. In fact, this data could be coming from diverse sources. But the solution ensures to deliver impactful insights in the areas of customer value management, sales and distribution, demand forecasting, marketing mix, fraud detection and also incorporates IoT analytics solutions, among others. Further, it delivers personalized views to users in half the time of traditional models and provides robust data security.
Pawan Kumar S., Joint Leader, Technology Consulting, PwC India says, “PwC is constantly looking to move the needle in terms of delivering data-driven actionable insights that address our clients’ need to grow and optimize their business at an accelerated pace. The Insights as a Service is the latest in our lineup of advanced analytics solutions that not only draws on our deep industry and domain expertise and proven ability to deliver strategy through execution, it also combines the power of Machine Learning, Stream Analytics, and other new generation analytical capabilities.”
The Smart Cube brings something very innovative to help business in a big way. The product is Smart Fleet that we will be talking about a little later. It is a global analytics company delivering analytics and research services/solutions to large enterprises, financial institutions, and management consulting firms. In fact, so far, they have a credit of performing over 35,000 studies covering almost all industry segments, functions, and regions. They have a global team of over 600 analysts. Their teams become an extension of their clients’ in-house teams and thus deliver analytics and insights well within time.
The Smart Cube has its headquarters in the UK. Other offices include the USA, India, and Romania. The company owns ISO 27001:2013 certificate has regular audits by BSI for assurance on data protection and confidentiality. Now they launch Smart Fleet which is a golden weapon for fleet managers. The solution gives fleet managers better supplier options in a smart manner. The features like enhanced data visibility empower fleet managers to diversify supplier relationships and thus reduce TCO (total cost of ownership). In fact, it will transform the way they manage their fleets and engage their suppliers.
The problem arises when businesses use multiple fleet suppliers. And this is happening in most of the cases today. All these fleet suppliers provide different reporting data, in diverse formats. In addition, this reporting data has varying levels of accuracy that makes the situation more complex. Due to this, fleet managers use manual spreadsheets for their daily routine jobs. This, in turn, is the most unreliable and time-consuming method to maintain. Moreover, it offers inflexible reports and that too with a lot of limitations. And when, in such situations, there is a further pressure from senior executives for visually appealing timely reports, the whole system cracks.
This is when, for the first time, Smart Fleet presents a centralized analytics of a business’ vehicle fleet. That too in situations where the business has a number of suppliers. In fact, the system supports better decision-making with a comprehensive visualization, analysis, and reporting tools. The solution resides in the cloud thus having a flexibility of drawing together multiple data sources and providing a singular view in return. This gives fleet managers an improved visibility of key metrics. These include metrics like CO2 emissions and average fuel consumption (AFC).
Joe LaRosa, CPA, MBA, Global Fleet and Business Consultant says, “Fleet managers need a variety of information such as total cost of ownership, maintenance records, lease details, current driver details and CO2 emissions to make the most strategic and cost-effective decisions for their business,With the average firm using at least three suppliers, collecting, standardizing, cleansing and visualizing of data has become a full-time job. Smart Fleet eradicates these challenges, allowing fleet managers to work with as many suppliers as they choose, without worrying about how to consolidate reporting data.”
So if you are still facing the burden of maintaining spreadsheets or legacy systems, it is the right time to move to Smart Fleet. Because it is an agile solution that delivers relevant and up-to-date information. There is an automatic data cleansing process and error identification mechanism that ensure data accuracy. Also, it ensures providing comprehensive visualization and analysis tools. In fact, the industries using Smart Fleet confirm up to 80% reduction in time spent on data management. Thus allowing them to focus on value creation and driving better business performance.
Jeremy Weil, Chief Product Officer at The Smart Cube says, “To make the best commercial decisions for their business, fleet managers require holistic information on the overall fleet available to them. Smart Fleet uses the latest data visualization techniques and cloud-based technology to ensure all information is instantly and easily accessible.”
Data Age 2025 White Paper by Seagate Cheat Sheet brings out a number of conclusive and eye-opening facts. The key focus stays on the year 2025.
Overview of Data Age 2025:
- 20% of the data within the global datasphere will have the potential to be critical
- The average connected person will interact with a connected device 4,800 times a day
- More than 25% of data created in the global datasphere will be real-time and IoT real-time data will make up 95% of this
- Just over 20% of the data created in the global datasphere will be useful for analytics if tagged, yet only 15% of this data will actually be tagged and analyzed
- 90% of all data created in the global datasphere requires some level of security, but less than half will be secured
Data Continuity over Time:
- Of all data in the global datasphere, 20% has the potential to be critical to the continuity of our lives by 2025
- Compound Aggregate Growth Rate (CAGR) of data between 2015 and 2025
- All data will grow 30%
- Potentially critical data will grow 37%
- Critical data will grow 39%
- Hypercritical data will grow 54%
Interactions per Connected Person per Day:
- The average rate per capita of data-driven interactions per day will increase twentyfold in the next 10 years
True Mobile and Real-Time Data:
- By 2025, connected users are expected to number 75% of the world’s population
- Real-time data will increase at 150% the rate of overall data creation
Machine Learning and Data Tagging:
- By 2025, just over 20% of the data created in the global datasphere will be useful for analytics if tagged, yet only 15% of this data will actually be tagged and analyzed
Security as a Critical Foundation:
- In 2015, less than 30% of data was created by the enterprise while in 2025 this figure will be nearly 60%.
- The burden falls on enterprises to manage more than 97% of the global datasphere
- The percentage of data requiring security will near 90% by 2025
Seagate Technology Plc’s financial results for the third quarter of the fiscal year 2017 ending March 31, 2017, prove highly increasing demand in storage worldwide. And why should it not be? The fast evolving concepts like Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Cloud, Analytics etc. demand are taking shape into reality. And thereby it propels the storage requirements in an exponential manner. In that context, for the third quarter, the company reports revenue of $2.7 billion with a gross margin of 30.5% and net income of $194 million. In addition, diluted earnings per share are $0.65.
On a non-GAAP basis, that excludes the next impact of certain entities, Seagate Technology reports a gross margin of 31.4% with a net income of $329 and diluted earnings per share of $1.10. The company generates $426 million in cash flow from operations during the third quarter. It has paid cash dividends of $186 million and successfully raises $1.25 billion in investment grade debt. In addition, Cash, Cash equivalents, and short-term investments exceed $3 billion at the end of the quarter. Around 300 million ordinary shares were issued and outstanding as of the end of the quarter.
Steve Luczo, Seagate chairman and chief executive officer says, “The results of our financial performance this quarter reflect a stable demand environment, good operational execution, and momentum in the stabilization of our business model. With a market-leading and cost-efficient storage solution portfolio, Seagate is well positioned to support our existing and new customers in a world of accelerated data creation and increased storage needs driven by emerging technologies and new business models. We will continue to focus on future growth opportunities, generating profits and building lasting value for our shareholders.”
Overall, it is interesting to watch how Seagate Technology and similar trade companies are going to fulfill the exuberant storage needs worldwide. In addition, it is not only about the storage but also about the quality and consistency. In fact, it is a very versatile phase of technology.
Schneider Electric stands among the global frontrunners in energy management and automation. With an employee base of around 150,000 globally serving more than 100 countries, they are the pioneer in assisting them to streamline their energy and process in a much safer, reliable, sustainable, and efficient manner. their revenues for FY2016 were around Euro 25 billion. The organization has a wide expertise in managing from the simplest of switches to complex operational systems. With this, they help their customers improve their operations. In fact, they reshape industries, transform cities, and enrich lives. As they say, Life Is On.
Schneider Electric aims to make India’s first greenfield smart city in Naya Raipur. Naya Raipur Development Authority (NRDA) zeroes down to Schneider Electric India on the basis of their global specialization in energy management and automation. This results into signing a contract between the two for the development of the first greenfield integrated smart city. Naya Raipur is the capital of Chattisgarh. In fact, Schneider Electric will execute this project along with their consortium partner IL&FS Technologies. As a matter of fact, this is a tripartite contract.
Rajat Kumar, IAS, Chief Executive Officer, Naya Raipur Development Authority, says, “It is a happy moment for us today as the Naya Raipur Smart City project takes off with the consortium and our partners. This is a unique project, one whose organic growth we shall pursue aggressively. The project shall be spread across verticals and integrate these diversified segments and I look to our dynamic team to make this real in a short span of time.”
Schneider Electric will be taking care of the development and execution of most critical activities in the project. Like Command & Control Center, transportation, surveillance, citizen applications, Smart Grid, Water Management, and overall Building Management. There would be more than 100,000 IO points for connected devices in the transportation system. This will include, edge control, various applications, analytics, and a number of services. The open, scalable, and interoperable technology design gives it an extra leverage for scalability and cost control. IL&FS will take care of e-Governance and Transportation.
As a matter of fact, Schneider Electric aims to complete their first fully integrated city with all features a smart city can have. This includes physical & social infrastructure, Governance & Legal framework, 24×7 quality water supply, smart metering, complete automation of utility bills, enhanced security mechanism, complete safety, citizen-centric mobile apps etc. In addition, there will be city portals to control the complete ecosystem.
Prakash Chandraker, Managing Director, and Vice President, Schneider Electric Infrastructure Limited, says, “We are delighted to be a key partner in delivering a world class integrated city with a focus on the safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability and connectivity of citizens. We shall leverage advancements in IoT, mobility, sensing, analytics, and cyber security technologies to make Naya Raipur a true smart city.” Overall, it is going to be a challenging project.
Who else would be the best person to talk about Cyber Security Best Practices than Carl Manion? Carl is a Managing Principal at Raytheon Foreground Security. He is responsible to provide advice and guidance to enterprises of all sizes. He guides the organizations to tangibly realize their corporate security visions and thus bring out the best practices. Carl is, in fact, a cyber security professional and veteran U.S. Army officer. He has more than 23 years of experience in cyber security services, cyber threat intelligence operations, and respective IT management fields. He masters in threat hunting and security information and event management (SIEM). As a matter of fact, Carl has extensive expertise in various fields of enterprise security technologies, incident response mechanism, and security operations managment.
In fact, the success story of Carl’s leadership experience does not stop here. Besides displaying his expertise in the U.S. Army, he has been working as cyber defense strategist with many Fortune 500 companies. Like, USAA, Texas Instruments, IBM, and Locheed Martin to name a few. He leads and manages security operations, programs, and projects at these enterprises. His organization, Raytheon, educates students from Khalifa University on cyber security best practices. Carl delivers a lecture to around 30 students from Computer Engineering department of Khalifa University of Science and Technology. This is under the banner of Cyber Acedemy. Raytheon launched this academy globally in the UAE last year.
Cyber Security Best Practices
Carl says, “When it comes to cybersecurity, skilled individuals are your greatest asset, and developing local cyber capacity is key for effective and long term cyber defense. Technology alone is not enough to defend against the highly advanced, well-resourced groups and individuals behind many of today’s cyber threats. It takes talented cyber threat analysts, security engineers and malware researchers who can think like your organization’s adversaries, understand the tools, techniques, and practices they use and develop the necessary counter measures.” That opens a new horizon for Cyber Security Best Practices.
Data archiving is a topic gaining increasing importance in the enterprise due to the critical business and IT implications it carries. Not long ago, it was a topic pushed to the back burner, and/or confused with backup. Today, savvy IT and business professionals know that the consequences of not understanding and employing the right archiving strategy can have disastrous consequences for an organization – today and into the future.
Today, I am speaking with Bill Gallagher, Director of Worldwide Sales, Alliance Storage Technologies on this important topic.
A: Due to the exponential growth of content and the increase in regulatory compliance and mandates across many industries, organizations are becoming increasingly concerned that certain types of information assets need to be properly retained and secured in an appropriate manner.
Worldwide data growth will continue to explode. According to a Northeastern University blog and infographic, “The total amount of data in the world was 4.4 zettabytes in 2013. That is set to rise steeply to 44 zettabytes by 2020.” This data growth explosion is driving the need for faster, smarter and more cost-effective data storage solutions. Moreover, when combined with increasing stringent and complicated internal governance, and external legal and regulatory compliance mandates, the need for long-term data preservation solutions has never been more critical.
Whether from increased regulatory oversight, corporate governance mandates, escalating storage costs or malicious acts such as hacking or ransomware, there is a growing trend to archive content to ensure it is stored on durable media that provides security and protection in an unaltered state for decades while reducing the long-term cost of ownership.
Q: Are there any specific industries that are feeling the pain more than others?
A: There a many industries that must strictly follow regulation which stipulate how certain types of content must be retained and secured for a specific period of time in an unaltered state. Some of the more obvious industries are Health Care, Government, Financial, Legal and Pharmaceutical. More specifically, in the United States the Healthcare industry’s HIPAA HITECH mandates require the protection of personal healthcare information, with stiff penalties for breaches, while Financial industry mandates such as the Security and Exchange Commission’s 17a-4 and 17a-3 rules specify the record types and the manner in which they must be retained. In Europe, the new GDPR mandates are being implemented with wide reaching implications on the long-term preservation and protection of data. In addition the corporate world is also highly regulated and requires that certain content be archived in accordance to the mandates.
Q: Many business organizations still view data backup and archiving synonymously, how do you separate the two?
A: Many firms think they are archiving their data, but they are actually performing backups. Backup is a way of taking an image of your data for the purpose of restoring data, preventing its loss in the event of a disaster. But backups are in general repetitively taking an image of the same data over and over and not taking into account versioning of files or the associated metadata related to the file at a point in time. Backups fall significantly short of meeting the requirements for permanence, authenticity and longevity. Finding and retrieving older documents is nearly impossible with just a backup solution.
Digital archiving is the long-term retention and management of historical, fixed-content digital assets. These assets contain data that is specifically retained to satisfy industry compliance regulations and corporate governance, in addition to providing litigation support and records management. Often used for legal discovery requests, an effective archive solution can mitigate risks and enable business success.
One of the fundamental principals separating backup from archiving is the requirement to store specific content unaltered for extended periods of time. If an organization is required to archiving content, it is most likely driven by a number of government regulations mandating varying lengths of record retention, ranging from 7 years to 100 years or even to “forever.” These records and images must be authentic and readily accessible.
An estimated 70–80% of all corporate data is static content. Just think of all of the backups you do on a systematic basis, and how much of the data in those backups never changes. Then think of the time and money you could save if you had a solution that let you back up only the data that requires short-term protection. You could then permanently archive your remaining fixed-content data to safe, secure media that is easily and readily accessed.
Q: Data is one of a business organization’s greatest assets, are you finding that IT is still wanting to keep all data onsite – even archived data – or are they moving it to a public cloud environment? What are the scenarios for it making sense to keep data onsite vs. moving it to the cloud?
A: In general, there is no one distinct answer to this question. Depending on Industry and regulatory mandates, customers are in different stages of cloud adoption. A driving factor is their view and requirements on maintaining control of their corporate data. Based on this, they are making decisions to embrace cloud storage, maintain on-premise control, or remain undecided.
For those organizations choosing to embrace cloud storage, they are increasingly realizing the value and benefits of leveraging low cost Cloud storage; however, when archiving to the cloud, there appears to be a preference to use a multi-tiered storage architecture which leverages a hybrid model allowing for permanent-unalterable onsite copies of last resort that are also simultaneously archived to the Cloud. This type of architecture can reduce cost and complexity while being secured using AES-256 bit Data Encryption with on-premise encryption key management to ensure sensitive content is not compromised. This architecture ensures user maintain control of their data assets on-premises and in the cloud.
Hybrid Storage, or more specifically Cloud Integrated Storage (CIS) solutions, combines the strengths of multiple technologies to provide a data archiving infrastructure that drives competitive and financial business advantages. Businesses and enterprises can now realize an archiving system specific to the needs of the organization according to capacity, scalability, performance, features, and budget.
Blending compliant archive storage technologies with the reliability, availability, and utility of the Cloud also requires a software management layer to transparently and seamlessly integrate all storage tiers into a single footprint that provides users with affordable choices for archiving data locally and on the Cloud with full access and management capability across the archiving ecosystem.
In order to leverage a Cloud or Hybrid Cloud archive architecture, any solution will need to provide a multi-facet set of features that address the contemporary requirements of data storage infrastructures such as compliance with industry regulations, disaster recovery, high-availability and the benefits of the Cloud.
Q: The data archive debate seems to be centered around disk and tape vs. cloud, but you are seeing resurgence in interest around optical technology – can you talk a bit about that?
A: Long term data retention, security and durability are major considerations when securing critical content in an unaltered state. For years organizations archived content to disk, tape and optical. Disk and tape offered an initial lower cost, higher capacity and IT familiarity which resulted in a higher degree of comfort and adoption. Optical technologies have been trusted by thousands of organizations for many years, and have had a large following, but its initial overall capacities, performance and cost in the past did not keep pace with these other technologies. Today optical has now taken a ‘quantum’ leap forward in terms of the capacity, performance and cost, now offering a 100 year life expectancy at $.04 per GB. With optical roadmaps leading to significantly improved capacity and performance at an even lower cost per GB, the economics plus incredible durability of Optical make it a superior solution for long-term data archiving.
For archiving, record authenticity is a key attribute of Optical storage media as organization are required to retain and secure content in a permanent-unaltered state. Tape and Disk are both magnetic-based solutions and are natively rewritable media types that employ a software/firmware WORM (Write-Once, Read-Many) lock to prevent the drive from erasing and rewriting. This technique only emulates the native attributes of Optical WORM which uses physical phase-change technology that cannot be altered or rewritten, making it physically impossible to alter.
Media life of spinning disk and tape is much shorter than Optical and requires ongoing maintenance and generational upgrades. The newest generation of optical has a life expectancy of 100 years and provides data durability that is unprecedented in the storage marketplace. Optical is a non-magnetic media that much less sensitive to environmental conditions (temperature and humidity) and requires no proactive maintenance like tape. Records can sit untouched on Optical for decades without the need for any maintenance or power required and without fear of media deterioration.
Optical complies with industry regulations for record authenticity in a way that cannot be matched by either magnetic disk or tape technology. This is critical for many organizations and is one of the principle reasons Optical is chosen over tape and spinning disk for archival storage. This is why Optical has always been referred to as the “gold standard” for data archiving and is often noted as “the copy of last resort” by organizations that cannot afford to lose mission critical content.
Q: What advice would you give to an IT, business or channel partner working to set an archiving strategy?
When exploring archiving alternatives, it is imperative to consider all requirements for the retention of your critical business assets as well as the overall long term cost of such. Items to consider include:
- What industry, government or corporate mandates will impact what data must be retained and the cost/impact of non-compliance?
- Determine your risk tolerance over loss of control of your data. Do you wish to maintain a copy of last resort at all times under your control? Is this data critical to the continued success of your business?
- How will the data be secured to ensure protection from unauthorized access, exposure, or in the event of a disaster? What are my business continuity objectives for this data?
- With Archive data being retained for decades rather than years, what is the long-term cost of the solution? You must factor in decades of re-occurring cloud storage subscription cost, technology refreshes required with Disk and Tape, and the pain of frequent data migrations and related cost.
In selecting an archiving solution recognize they are not all created equal. For example, an archive solution that offers a multi-tier (disk, cloud, optical) storage archive will offer unprecedented long-term retention, security and data durability that will preserve content for 100+ years at a cost that competes with tape.
A recent survey of Ireland chapter of Project Management Institute (PMI) brings out stunning results. It says a majority of Ireland project managers fear a Brexit skills shortage. There is a serious shortfall in availability of skilled project managers according to industry leaders. Probably this is one of the major risks that is resulting out of Brexit. 60 percent of project management leaders participating in this survey say that there is a lack of enough experience in Irish project and program managers. And hence, the existing lot will not be able to fulfill the current need of project management professionals for the nation. In addition, more than 70 percent of the respondents in the survey say that the scenario is going to be further complex. The gap is increasing at a considerable pace and hence increase the risk in the shortage of Ireland project managers.
The concern is definitely serious when it comes from the horses’ mouth. As a matter of fact, there are certain more serious revelations in the survey regarding Ireland project managers. Because two in three respondents feel a rise in the need of the level of resources to complete projects in the coming year. There are more than 50,000 project management employees in Ireland as per latest estimation. These include sectors like finance, construction, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, IT, and public sector.
Ireland Project Managers
Niall Murphy, President, Ireland Chapter of PMI expresses grave concern regarding this wide gap in skills. Regarding Ireland Project Managers, he says, “Project management will be instrumental in navigating this uncharted territory that is Brexit, from managing a company’s future trading relationships with the British market to working with major financial institutions who are expected to relocate here.” He further adds, “Without a sufficient supply of skilled project managers nationwide, there is a concern that projects will not be effectively delivered. This shortage needs to be tackled, as it will ultimately affect the Irish economy as a whole,”
Definitely, the current scenario of Ireland Project Managers is taking a serious turn. It needs immediate attend to stop damage to projects.
There are ample benefits when you migrate to the cloud. Imagine a huge data center consuming a lot of power and engaging a lot of manpower. On the other hand, a one-time cloud migration would take away all these hassles away from you. But before you plan to migrate to the cloud, there are a lot of considerations to be taken care of. So far all your critical enterprise data was on-premise. The same is now going to reside on a server that is not under your control. You might have a service level agreement but you never know who all have access to that server where your business data resides now on the cloud. In that manner, cloud migration is a serious activity and your cloud partner must address to certain critical concerns.
Though till now all your enterprise data was in your own data center, but still there were many security concerns. And of course, you were taking care of that via firewalls, routers, switches, virtual private networks, AD server etc. Still, you can never claim to be 100% risk-free. But the moment you go for cloud migration, I feel, your risks increase. Or so it seems to be. In reality, it might be different. Cybersecurity protection is a major concern on the cloud. You might have to redefine business continuity plans. In the same manner, IT disaster recovery also will have a different paradigm now. How about taking Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service to protect against security threats and incidents? After all, business continuity is always a top priority irrespective of whether your business-critical data is on-premise, on the cloud, or undergoing cloud migration.
After all, IT disaster recovery and a strong cyber security mechanism need to complement each other in order to protect sensitive data. Hence, whenever you decide for cloud migration, your cloud partner must be able to address these issues first. Otherwise, it might be too late, later.
Automation in workplace. Is it a point of worry if it is happening in your organization? A recent report from PwC in this regard says around 40% of U.S. jobs would become obsolete by the early 2030s. And it is because of a high risk of automation. Downsizing is a favorite action point of any top person of a business enterprise. Because this is the best way to show your performance. Secondly, it also helps you to get your books from red to orange, if not green. I am sure, a lof of people are there who lost their job because of this reason in their organization. I know an organization in India, a leading education company, where a new CEO joins with a big bang three years back. He comes with a promise of bringing a revolution in the business. And obviously, the first thing he performs is downsizing.
But even after three years, the company is still in red. Because the CEO has not been able to do anything other than his first and world’s most favorite action. On the other hand, advances in technology, computer modeling, robotics, etc. are all becoming a threat to blue and white-collar jobs. Even if you are not a victim this time, you might be in the list next time. Is there a growing threat among an organization’s white-collar and blue-collar segments? Does automation in workplace create a fear factor in any employee’s mind that his/her job would get a severe impact in the future because of this?
Automation in Workplace
Is it important to remove an employee from his job for the sake of automation? Yes, I think. As far as removing from the job and not from the organization, it is fine. Obviously, you didn’t recruit donkeys in your organization. And if this is the way of paying for the loyalty of a good employee, in my opinion, it is wrong. Automation in workplace should not come with a fear to your organization.
Podcasting is a Business or Bust? This is an important point of discussion. Especially, in today’s scenario when the whole world is going digital. Whatever business you are into, it depends on how you leverage it to your benefit. Why has podcast an edge over a videocast? There are many reasons. Firstly, the size of data. A video is manifold in size in comparison to a podcast. Secondly, you need a simple platform for streaming. Thirdly, you need lesser preparation because it is only about voice. And finally, it is easier to stream at the user end and hence less cumbrersome. If you are not using podcasting as a business platform currently, sooner you will need to. But you have to ensure to create a profitable business approach to it.
I think, these days, every industry need to podcast. Because every industry has a set of audience and prospects. It might become a strong weapon for your business to attract new leads. And obviously, new leads are always welcome in any business in order to significantly grow your business. But you have to be careful about investment of time. If you are podcasting spending a lot of hours and are not able to reap any benefits out of it, then there is something seriously wrong in your methodology or approach. Most important part is to reach your audience, prospects, and listeners. If, despite your al good efforts, you are not able to, you need to reinvent or realign your process of podcasting.
Podcasting is a very important tool, in my opinion for all industries. Especially if you are into music, movies, education, automobile, health, hospitality, F&B, or for that sake, any other business. In fact, you just need to sit and think, who all would benefit if you pass on a little piece of information about your business, product, or service via podcasting. And then define process for it to implement it fast.
CIO roles are changing globally. It is expanding vertically and horizontally. A CIO is not to constrain himself merely within the four walls of Information and Technology Department. In fact, one who limits himself within that sees the exit from the organization sooner or later. A decade back a CIO having higher visibility outside these walls would be taken up as wasting time according to the top management perspective. But not now. In fact, in today’s scenario, the management assumes a CIO to be more interactive with the business head and department leaders. And those who don’t are having less interest in the business. That is how the top management and HR takes it. And obviously, why it should not be? How information technology is a different island than the business. Both have to exist on the same ground. That brings new CIO roles.
So various CIO roles that come to my mind in today’s changing paradigms are as below:
CAO: Chief Automation Officer. Automation is the key. Business can’t afford it technology ignores any mainstream process and doesn’t focus on automating it. In fact, unless all key business processes undergo automation, you can’t move towards sensible and meaningful analytics. Hence, Automation is the key role that a CIO has to carry along.
CDO: Chief Digital Officer. This, in my opinion, is the most demanding CIO role in the current scenario. If an organization is not digital, it is like a dead fish in the sea.
CKO: Chief Knowledge Officer. This is another CIO role that one has to take care of.
CDO: Chief Data Officer. When we talk about big data, Internet of Things, and Cloud, it indicates that data is flowing from various streams. A CIO has to own all these data streams to provide his organization a meaningful bouquet of information and analytical reports.
And if you notice any other important CIO role coming to your mind, please do participate via the comments section without fails.
Choosing a right business process management software for your enterprise is a very important decision to make but not before this. Before everything else, you must be very much clear that whether your organization needs one or not at this stage. It all depends on the maturity level of an organization to adopt a right kind of BPM software. A small mismatch might create a big fight between adoptability and adaptability. Firstly, let us understand what is a business process. A business process is nothing but a logical design of activities that regulates a provision of a product or service for an end user. This end user could be an external or an internal entity. For this, you create workflows. And to adhere to workflows there come project management and task management into the picture. A lot of things connect back and forth to streamline this.
Business Process is not that difficult to manage. You can do it even without a Business Process Management Software. But as the business expands, you strive for higher efficiency and productivity. For this, you need to perform certain important tasks. Firstly, you need to focus on automation of workflow. Secondly, you need to find out the bottlenecks. Thirdly, you need to regularly review your business processes. And finally, you need to remove these bottlenecks and renovate redundant procedures. To organize it all in an efficient manner, it is advisable to go for a good Business Process Management Software.
Business Process Management Software
Remember to evaluate exhaustively these software before purchasing one. You have to ensure that the final product is able to address the direct concerns and issues of your organization. In fact, your ultimate goal is to go for a business process management software that has certain capabilities. Firstly, it should optimize your business. Secondly, it should remove the complexities and anomalies in the business. Thirdly, it should focus on timely automation. And finally, it should have a dashboard to provide you relevant metrics and reports in order to ensure regular improvement.
Finteract is a platform to engage startups with finest of minds. Technology is changing fast. Commerce is changing its dimensions and meaning when it comes to the digital world. IT services are transforming to IT entrepreneurship. A lot more was happening during Spring Conference 2017 at Novotel, Vizag. Fintech Valley is a revolution in Andhra Pradesh. Fintech Valley launches Finteract. It aims to promote multi-disciplinary thinking in order to create greater expressiveness and meaning to the fintech culture. They call it as ‘Fintectonic’. There were two founders and a UI-UX strategist to inaugurate this series of conversation. The founders include Nitin Saluja, Founder, Chaayos and Dharmil Sheth, Founder PharmEasy. In addition, it was Priyanka Agrawal, famous design thinking UI-UX specialist from Fractal Ink.
The overall purpose of Finteract is to organize a specialist talk to share experience and learning. On the same lines, Fintech Valley aims to dynamically catalyze this thriving spirit to inculcate innovation. These things do not happen merely by raising funds or building infrastructure. It needs to build a culture and atmosphere that curates an environment for these ideas to grow.
During his Finteract session, Dharmil Sheth says, “People struggle to accept change. Resistance and opposition are a part of disruption. I foresee technology leading this disruption and changing policy in the industry.” Priyanka Agrawal recommends, “To
innovate, you must have a beginners mind. It is through only small insights and lateral thinking those innovative solutions can be born.” On similar thoughts, Nitin Saluja believes in simplicity. If you need operations to do wonders, then the think tank has to do their job with perfection.
Overall, Finteract was quite a meaningful interaction with entrepreneurs and experts. Probably, it is important for industry leaders to find right kind of experts that can become a catalyst for their business. After all, it is just a question of right kind of energy and synergy to create wonders.
Spring Conference 2017 at Fintech Valley Vizag witnesses overwhelming participation. There were many global companies participating in the event. In fact, it is Andhra Pradesh government’s project to develop Vizag as a national and global giant for fintech initiatives. Most of the participating companies came up with quite innovative projects. In all, there were 30 international delegations attending the event. And overall, there were not less than 150 startups competing in four Fintech challenges. Out of this around 40% participation was from across 15 countries. These global companies include those from Singapore, Switzerland, and Japan. March 9 was a historical day for Andhra Pradesh. It was the inauguration of Spring Conference 2017 at Novotel, Visakhapatnam. This marks the beginning of a new era in shape of Fintech Valley. In fact, this is just a start of a flagship initiative.
This initiative aims to bring together industry, academia, and investors to work together in an innovative manner to co-create and build the fintech ecosystem. As a matter of fact, this would be a unique platform where the financial experts and startup community will get a chance to share mind-space with a wide range of experts from various streams of the profession. In fact, anyone having disruptive ideas is most welcome to be a part of Fintech Valley. Though Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu was not able to attend the Spring Conference 2017 in person but he was there for an hour over video conference to talk about the vision and mission of Fintech Valley.
Spring Conference 2017
In addition, he will chair the Fintech Valley Forum. In fact, during his address, he was quite enthused. He says, “The Fintech Valley Spring Conference is our step in joining the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is a spectacular combination of technology and Internet of Things (IoT). In recent times, technology has started influencing our lives in a comprehensive manner. The demand for Fintech is growing each day. To meet this demand, we would need the support from Fintech and Cybersecurity companies. We also need the academic institutions to adapt curriculum that trains individuals to contribute to fintech sector. I extend my best wishes for the success of the initiative and hope it provides multiple opportunities to meet the futuristic requirements of our country and the global economy at large.”
Special Chief Secretary and IT Advisor to the AP Chief Minister, J. A. Chowdary states during his keynote address, “Indian IT 1.0 is facing difficulties. The next flight towards IT 2.0 will be backed by fintech. The tectonic shifts this will cause and entail is captured by the expression ‘fintectonics’. It is a fintech culture we are creating here – a culture of doing something for the betterment of the common man, a culture of creating an ecosystem by getting the right industry linkages and finding the right formula for the critical manpower.” In addition, other prominent personalities present on the dais at Spring Valley 2017 were Roy Teo, Director, Fintech & Innovation Group, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS); Utkarsh Palnitkar, Partner KPMG; George Inasu – COO, Fidelity Financial Services; Puneet Pushkarna, Chairman, TIE – Singapore and Joe Seunghyun Cho – Co-founder and Chairman, Marvelstone Group.
A Discussion with Bill Tolson, Vice President of Marketing, Archive360 (www.archive360.com)
In speaking with IT professionals, I constantly hear about the same dilemma – how can IT support its corporate client base in providing what feels like an endless supply of share drive capacity? In fact, I would challenge anyone to find an IT professional that isn’t faced with the continuous pleas from their corporate end users for more and yet more, storage. Today, I am talking with Bill Tolson of Archive360 regarding this topic.
J.K.: In speaking with Archive360’s client base, are you hearing that data storage continues to top IT professionals’ priority lists?
B.T.: Absolutely. Today’s end user – whether they are in a profit/non-profit business or government agency have become accustomed to saving everything – from documents to presentations, to emails and so on. And, I know I am guilty of it myself, I never delete a thing. I think almost anyone you speak with will admit that they have become a packrat of sorts, holding on to everything “just in case.”
Add to this, corporate, legal and regulations compliance professionals are facing and imposing increasingly stringent guidelines and policies regarding the retention of current, as well as aging low-touch inactive or “grey” files. These low-touch files could hold potential relevance in current or future legal proceedings, or are necessary to meet compliance regulations.
J.K.: So, IT professionals are finding themselves responsible for low-touch inactive files that are clogging file shares. And, it is the convergence of these problems that are forcing IT to purchase additional file share capacity, along with adding the management resources necessary to keep it running smoothly and backed-up.
B.T.: Agreed. The cost of purchasing enterprise storage can be very steep, with the cost to keep it operational just as expensive or even more so.
J.K.: I believe you have similar statistics, however in my experience and based on prevailing industry research, the yearly management cost of enterprise storage is about $3,200 per terabyte (TB), or about $.27/GB per month. For a medium sized organization, with 100 TBs of share drive capacity, that is a spend of $320,000 alone in overhead (including management, backups annual support agreements, etc…). That is on top of the cost of the storage itself which typically represents a thousands if not hundred of thousands of dollars investment. So, what do you view as the solution?
B.T.: What if, instead of purchasing new share drive capacity each year, you could automatically move low-touch and inactive files to a cloud-based file share drive extension, while still maintaining total and ultimate control? What if you could do this while still maintaining the ability to search for and access the files at anytime? What if you could ensure that same — or in some cases even increased — levels of protection, security and performance? What I am suggesting is that more and more savvy IT professionals are turning to the public cloud to support their HSM (hierarchal storage management) share drive strategy, as their lowest cost storage tier.
Extend Your Share Drive Capacity
J.K.: What do you view as the benefits of this combined on-premises and cloud HSM strategy?
B.T.: What we are seeing consistently in customer’s that have deployed this strategy is that it has enabled them to avoid being forced into purchasing high priced share drive storage for inactive data. IT still maintains high touch business critical files locally, while low touch files are moved automatically to inexpensive cloud storage. This represents huge savings and allows IT to redirect these resources to activities and technology investments that support revenue generation, and other core organizational goals. All, while keeping all share drive content available, secure and protected for business, legal and compliance purposes – at the absolute lowest price possible.
Extend Your Share Drive Capacity
J.K.: Is there a particular cloud platform that view as an ideal solution for this scenario? And, what advice would you offer to those exploring it?
B.T.: We would recommend Microsoft Azure should be among the top contenders. As IT professionals explore leveraging the Microsoft cloud as their share drive capacity extension, we also highly recommend that they pair it with a migration and management solution that will enable them to create tailored policies, such as age and access based policies, for on-premises share drives that will automatically move files that meet their specific requirements, while still maintaining access to the files via their local departmental share drive. This capability offloads low-touch inactive files from the on-premises share drives, freeing up space for more active files – and putting an end to the annual share drive purchase.
J.K.: Virtually limitless elastic scalability, teamed with high performance, data protection, and security, and high availability, as well as many other enterprise-class capabilities – all at a dramatically lower cost – seems like a no-brainer to me.
Fintech Valley must be a dream project of the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister personally. Whatever you say about this project in words is less than what is actually happening. The project has an amazing response not only from Indian companies but across the globe. Fintech, in fact, is the new buzzword in the state. And why state, the same should happen across the country. The project is in right hands. Chief Minister, Nara Chandra Babu Naidu is an agile and dynamic personality. Witnessing Fintech event in Vizag during 9-10 March was really amazing in all aspects. Not only in terms of the learning but the amazing work happening in this regard. The head of this project is none other than the chief minister himself. That itself says the seriousness and gravity behind the project. The two-day event was full of a high level of enthusiasm and collaborative effort.
With so much of disruption happening across the globe in business and technology, Fintech Valley in Vizag is the right answer to everything with one powerful shot. It aims to target great outcomes from the digital disruption in Fintech and innovation. It brings together the two with the right proportion of amalgamation thereby creating a solid bond. There is a right mix of public and private players. Not only this, there are many other remarkable factors. Firstly, it has the state of the art incubators and accelerators. Secondly, there are innovation labs. Thirdly, it includes mentorship and angel investors. And finally, it is the right place for anyone willing to break free from traditional processes. The self-sustaining global Fintech Ecosystem has higher goals than just access to Fintech and its innovators.
Fintech Valley Vizag
Right from the initiation Fintech Valley nurtures an oasis to take care of cyber security, block chain, digital awareness, and research. Nothing less than international standards. On one hand, it equips individuals and businesses with a unique set of opportunities. These opportunities will help to grow through enabling market access for startups to angel investors. While, on the other hand, it promises to provide world-class infrastructure, funding, human capital, research, and innovation. The vision statement by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu promises to create 5 lakh jobs in Andhra Pradesh by 2020. And all this will drive through technology-enabled services. In fact, The Fintech Valley is like a playground for start-ups and innovators looking to disrupt traditional business processes.
Andhra Pradesh ranks number one for ease of doing business. It imbibes a strong IT industry with a turnover of over INR 2,000 crore. On top of it, there is a strong support of a robust industrial base along with educational infrastructure which is constantly expanding. Fintech Valley in Vizag is the perfect destination in India for an unmatched global level business opportunities and goal setting.
The Digital Platform is the best way to reach masses in case of governance and administration. This is what the latest move by the governing party in the center signals. There are many things that BJP is doing in India which no other party could do so far. Definitely, if you have good intentions for the masses, you need to take serious steps towards that. And those steps need to be big in shape. Because smaller steps lead to smaller achievements for a smaller group. But when the group size reaches to billions, there have to be bigger moves. Obviously, digital is the key in today’s world. The people reading physical newspapers is shrinking. And the volume of online communities is increasing exponentially. Even in the remotest of locations, people have plasmas, smartphones, and they do online shopping too. The world is changing fast.
The Kerala state BJP unit comes out with a master plan. This plan focuses on citizen welfare schemes by means of digital media. It also intends to take up environmental issues on digital platforms so as to have larger participation and contribution. The digital platform helps you to connect faster and to much larger audiences. Evidently, BJP’s hold in southern cities is weaker. This might help them to strengthen their position in upcoming central elections in 2019. As per the master plan, there will be 1000 digital service centres across the state. The focus will be helping people in removing their doubts and sharing more knowledge about various welfare schemes like pension and insurance.
Kummanam Rajasekharan, BJP Kerala President says, “The mechanism will be implemented at the booth level. The state-level programme has already started and the plan is to implement the digital help-desk, titled Deendayal Helpline, across the state in the next one month.”
In addition, the digital centres will also provide a number of useful e-services to people. Of course, the digital platform has a great potential.
Information security frameworks questions are quite common across the globe. Technology and business keep raising concerns about the information security. The information security framework comes into picture for that purpose. It is entirely dependent on the business framework and security needs. Hence a common framework will never suffice all businesses in general. It has to have precisely as per the needs. For instance, the information security framework in banking would be quite different from any other business as far as transactions and customer information are concerned.
Here is a recent question on ITKE regarding the same. Would you give me guidelines on development steps and initial requirements of information security framework? The answer as per my knowledge goes like this. Information not only talks about digital information but the physical information too. Hence the three spectra that you need to take care of while creating your policies must include – all critical data in devices (databases, emails etc.), all information on paper/files/physical, and all key personnel in the organization having critical business information. Logically, there are two kinds of risks as far as information security is concerned. Firstly, there is an internal security risk that you need to mitigate. Secondly, there is an external set of risks.
Information Security Framework
Though the security needs might be same in both the cases on a broader level. But there has to be a different set of processes and procedures to tackle both. It is apparently true that the risks from the people inside are higher than outside. The reason for this is that there is a high level of data and information exposure to employees. Therefore, you have to handle rights and access quite wisely. In fact, there is another prominent concern in this regard. That is about sharing of passwords. There are many cases where a manager shares his or her password with subordinates just to shred off some of the responsibilities. Information Security Framework is definitely a serious concern. Also, there has to be a constant review policy for the same.