Quality Assurance and Project Management


January 25, 2018  11:03 PM

CloudPassage Halo Simplifies Cloud Workload Security

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
AWS, Cloud Security

CloudPassage Halo simplifies Cloud Workload Security. It is now available in AWS marketplace. It is a single agent software with a single billing feature. That way this single agent or single console software provides 3-fold simplification in managing Service-based Cloud Workload Security. That is simplification of Cloud Security Budgeting, procuring, and Deployment. CloudPassage is just an 8-year old company. But within a short span it is a leader in cloud and container workload security. Halo is their award-winning security automation platform. In fact it is a complete Server Secure cloud workload security solution for enterprise. With its availability on AWS marketplace, it offers best cloud strategy solutions meeting all kind of user needs. Launching in 2010, CloudPassage was the first organization in the U.S. to get a patent for universal cloud infrastructure security. Since then the company is a leader in creating innovative solutions in cloud security automation.

In fact, CloudPassage is not only a leader in cloud security automation but also in compliance monitoring for ensuring high-performing application development environments and deployment. CloudPassage Halo promises universal visibility and non-stop protection for servers. These servers, in fact, could be in any combination of cloud, containers, data center, and hybrid architecture. That means it is capable of handling any kind of simple to complex architecture of servers in any form and environment. The best part is that Halo platform is available as a service. This includes quick deployment as fast as in minutes and is easily scalable to next levels. In fact, all this is seamless. In fact, it is easy to integrate with infrastructure automation and orchestration tools that are most commonly in use. These include Puppet and Chef. It is also easy to integrate with CI/CD tools like Jenkins.

CloudPassage Halo Helps Securing Critical Infrastructure

As we all know application development and workload deployment are the most vulnerable areas that need better handling. CloudPassage Halo helps in securing such enterprises by providing the best of the solution. That is why it is one of the top choices of many global companies operating in different verticals. Those verticals include finance, media, insurance, e-commerce, transportation, hospitality, and high-tech solution providers. The product is able to integrate with AWS in a flawless manner. In fact, that enables it to leverage AWS in order to manage single agent/single console security for hosts, containers, and workloads ensuring best possible speed and scale options. CloudPassage Halo Server Secure pricing is quite simple and transparent. It comes to $40 per agent per month with a minimum option of 25 agents. That means even if your requirement is below 25 agents to start with, you will have to pay $1000 a month.

Obviously as you increase the number of agents, the pricing will be better. As a matter of fact, purchasing options and pricing tiers information is available here. CloudPassage is among advanced Technology Partners in the AWS Partner Network (APN). In a short span of operation it was able to acquire AWS Security Competency status in 2016. It supports SaaS subscriptions on AWS marketplace. In fact, it is among the top security providers for private and multi-cloud platforms. CloudPassage Halo leveraging cloud-native provides API-based security controls. It is simple to integrate with mot popular CI/CD automaton tools, SIEMs, GRC solutions, and analysis & reporting tools.

CloudPassage Halo Server Secure for High-Performance Cloud Workload Security

John Janetos, Director, Business Development, CloudPassage says, “Now, AWS Marketplace customers can buy and deploy CloudPassage Halo Server Secure for high-performance cloud workload security in a highly predictable and cost-effective way – via a single integrated AWS bill. As global enterprises rapidly embrace the cloud for mission-critical workloads and DevOps for application development, automated security that can operate at speed and scale is becoming critical path. AWS Marketplace helps eliminate protracted negotiations to make it easy for our customers to securely embrace the cloud.”

Barry Russell, General Manager of Global Business Development, AWS Marketplace and Service Catalog, Amazon Web Services, Inc. says, “As customers migrate and deploy mission-critical workloads on AWS, they’re looking for the maximum level of security available without increasing complexity. Solutions like Halo Server Secure can help customers automate their critical workload security policies for their business-critical apps as they take full advantage of the scalability and agility of AWS.”

January 23, 2018  12:47 PM

Define Measures of Success For Your Project Managers

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Project management, Project Manager

I am in a partnership with my project managers to define their measures of success. Each of the project managers has to have certain goals in life. These goals should be clear and measurable goals. Unless those are clear, you can’t ascertain how to measure them. And unless you measure them, you can’t measure a change in your life. These goals should not be same in case of different project managers. In my opinion following 3 things, my project manager should be able to do at the end of the partnership. And there has to be a measuring mechanism for this.

Measures of Success

Photo credit: E>mar on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Following are my suggestion points for measures of success:

  1. Start listing unanticipated sparks in work life. This could be a sudden breakdown, an angry customer, a meaningless meeting, or a heated argument with peers/team members. Find out the reason for each and try eliminating those causes on the basis of 80:20 rule.
  2. Start listing your tasks (including your whole team) for the day and prioritize them. Try not to duplicate tasks in multiple person’s kitties. Meaning each person, each unique task. If there are two persons involved in the same task, obviously both wouldn’t be doing the same things. Break this task to sub-tasks to allocate a unique piece to each of the team members in that case.
  3. Categorize your daily/weekly/monthly work in two sections. One for investment, another for saving. Investment is the work that comprises of routine jobs with no new learning or enhancement. Saving is doing different tasks preferably a non-routine one. Or doing the same repetitive routine task in a different, innovative, and more fruitful manner. Next, we will talk about short term and long term savings in work life.

Measures of Success Are Important To Rise

Basically, this is just a beginning of the measurement mechanism. These are just a few measures of success. There are a lot of other things that will come on this list but in a phased manner.


January 15, 2018  7:10 PM

Complete Testing Base Starts With Business Requirements Capturing

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
business case, Testing

How do you ensure complete testing of a software product? Obviously, you need to have a good strategy in place for that. Because mostly you find a bug after you deploy and handover a product at a customer site that your QC team didn’t simulate during the testing phase. Why does this happen? Well, there are many reasons for that. But most of these reasons fall back to similar kind of drawbacks. So, if you focus on these drawbacks and try to cover them up during various phases of the project, you can avoid these later stage goosebumps.

We all know that fixing of these later stage discovery of bugs requires more cost and energy that it would have actually in first place. Although we all want to release a no-bug product to the customer it never happens. There are always some late hours discoveries that either delay a launch of the product.

In worse cases, there is sometimes a recall of product too. This happens in order to fix some serious bugs and post that plan a relaunch. A complete testing or coverage is important. And this hunt begins at requirement gathering stage. Business and customer requirements are the backbone of any software. If the team is not able to collect all relevant information, it creates troubles at a later stage. If you are sure that customer requirements are complete and accurate, then the next step is to translate it properly in coding language.

This is important so that the application behaves as per the anticipation of business and process stakeholders. For this, it is important for developers to understand the business or customer requirements document well. A small carelessness here can cost manifold at a later stage. It is like disassembling the whole vehicle or machine after assembling it.

Complete Testing Has Certain Prerequisites

Most of the times, testing team refers to development document only for testing of a product. That again leaves a gap for complete testing. Referring to original business requirement document and coding document is very important.


January 14, 2018  1:38 PM

Enterprise DevOps Will Penetrate Deeper To Scale Up Faster

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
DevOps

Enterprise DevOps will be penetrating deeper in order to scale up faster. By the end of 2017, more than 50% of organizations on the global front are using DevOps. Either their deployments are in process are implementations are already over. Many of these organizations are already reaping the fruits of their efforts in this direction. That is why Forrester calls 2018 are the year of Enterprise DevOps. In a way, that makes a lot of sense. Of course, any technology during its adoption and deployment faces hiccups. These hiccups include technological barriers, users resistance, and management’s fear to adopt something new. Of course, all three have a set of reasons to support. Users always resist changing. Similarly, management always fears to invest in newer technologies. In fact, in a different perspective, faster deployments and larger volume adoptions of any new technology bring a larger scope of collaboration and brainstorming.

Enterprise DevOps

Photo credit: psd on Visualhunt / CC BY

With more participation in Enterprise DevOps, barriers will take a backseat. The technology will have more buy-ins from the management. It will become easier to get budget allocations and approvals on the basis of success stories across the globe. In fact, global vendors also play a major role in this in terms of trust building and confidence boosting. As a matter of fact, IT investments are becoming a topmost priority for CEOs. Enterprise DevOps has a good balance of risk and agility. As a matter of fact, there will be a tremendous decrease in risks during the year. A lot of open-source platforms and tools lack standardization and thus decrease in adoption. Especially when there is a clarity on understanding that these tools and platforms are not free. On the other hand, Enterprise DevOps will tighten its grip on governance and standardization. This leads to a major shift.

Enterprise DevOps Will Have A Big Say

More and more organizations are allocating IT budgets for trials and experimentations. Of course, if you are prone to fail, fail fast, learn fast, and move ahead. Don’t waste time. Cost of DevOps resources will lower futher thus bringing the overall enterprise DevOps investments down. Outsourcing experts is a better idea than employing high cost experts. This also brings collaborative ownerships. Finally, Enterprise DevOps will bring in a big culture change within an organization.


January 12, 2018  10:18 PM

Standard Operating Procedures for Food Delivery Startups

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Startup

A Standard Operating Procedure or SOP is never a one time task. It is, in fact, something to review on a regular basis. Because it works on a simple principle of life. What works well today may not be fit to work tomorrow. That is why a regular improvement is important. And as it says, improvement is a never-ending process. There is always a scope to enhance and improvise. Some basic things are very important for any startup. In this post, I will talk about standard operating procedures that are critically essential for food delivery startups. The food business is increasing exponentially. The credit goes to singular families and busy lifestyles. Everyday there are a few new restaurants coming up. Some out of these are dining while others are delivery only. For delivery restaurants packing and delivery matter most. Because these two create the first impression marks.

Food quality, taste, preparation, and presentation come afterward. There has to be an SOP for delivery. There has to be a least possible fluctuation in delivery time. Try to be as consistent as possible. Any delayed or early delivery has to have a genuine reason. But generally, nobody likes too early or too late delivery than the scheduled time. The same holds true for a project also. Recently it was an annoying moment for me to get a food delivery 20 minutes before its scheduled time. I had to perform many other things during these 20 minutes. So I was literally not ready to get it at 7.40 pm instead of 8 pm. I was in the gym when I got a call from the delivery boy.

Standard Operating Procedures Are Critical Enhancers

He was there at my place to deliver the food. Despite coming so early, he was in a hurry and was planning to leave the food with the security guard downstairs. That was purely immature on his part and annoying for me. The delivery boy should not be in a haste, firstly. Secondly, he should not take such annoying decisions. I was seriously wondering if this restaurant has any Standard Operating Procedures in place at all. In another delivery incident, the cut onions were loosely kept in an open paper packet. Though inside film coating was good to save it from getting soggy but could not avoid water coming out and spoiling other packets having bread and other stuff.


January 12, 2018  9:46 PM

Timely Communication Plays An Important Role In Business

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Communication, Incident response

Recently I visited a restaurant in one of the posh colonies in South Delhi. It is one of the best restaurants in the capital city as far as its food quality, taste, preparation, and presentation are concerned. We were a group of 10 friends. Everything was going well except three small incidents that could lead to customer dissatisfaction and discontent. These two incident are about timely communication and In hospitality and F&B when it comes to customer experience, it matters a lot and could lead to a loss of customer and hence business. In this business, or for that sake in any business, every drop counts and no customer is big or small in terms of service and delivery. Timely communication is very critical in business. It impacts business, in fact, in a huge way. If it is not timely, it loses it impact and effect.

The first incident is like this. One of my friends ordered for Guava juice. After 15 minutes and three reminders, the server informs about the unavailability of that particular juice and offered some other flavor. My friend didn’t mind its unavailability but was not happy with so much delay in informing about it. Logically the information should have come instantly. Second instant was a reorder of a starter. Again, after a lot of delays, the server informed about its unavailability. The third incident is most interesting. We ordered two Iced Tea one with sugar and the other without sugar. The drinks got reversed. The one that was sugarless went to the person wanting it with sugar and vice versa. Both the drinks were sent back for correction.

Timely Communication Is Critical For Any Business Or Project

Surprisingly the same mistake repeated again. A suggestion was given to the manager to adopt a different color straw for the sugarless drinks to avoid any confusion and embarrassing moments. In fact, there is a great learning for project managers in these incidents. First is about proper and timely communication. That too in time before it loses its sanctity and value. Second is accuracy in delivery. Latter can happen only if there is a hundred percent accuracy in understanding customer requirement. The third important element that comes out from these two points is training. In fact, a lack of proper training could create bigger risks to the business. So, whether it is a project or business, a timely communication and accurate delivery is quite important for a customer. Hope it makes sense. Would love to read your experiences in similar regard in comments section.


December 31, 2017  12:28 AM

Emerging Technologies in Healthcare For Coming Year

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Emerging technologies, Healthcare

Artificial Intelligence is not far from reality in healthcare. If we talk about emerging technologies in this field, probably AI is on the top. That is, in fact, quite evident as AI Talk was the key component of HIMSS17 in Orlando. As a matter of act, more than 85% of hospitals in the United States are using some form of AI or other. For instance, NewYork-Presbyterian is running some important projects in this regard. Similarly, machine learning is also a fast-emerging concept in healthcare. Rather, the job profile of ML engineers is in high demand in healthcare industry. Main applications that this industry is focusing on using this technology are clinical decision system, claims collection system, radiology, and so on. But as of now the whole gammut lacks standards and metrics. While the deployment and development of technology is taking place, this need to evolve faster.

In lack of proper standards and metrics in place, these emerging technologies might now lead to the fruits to the industry it is capable of. Rather these should be in place before the deployment begins. Moreover, it also creates a threat for employment of human. In case, a machine learning algorithm proves to be more effective and accurate, it might be a problem for human radiologists, for instance. Obviously, any new technology comes with a set of pros and cons. But this is quite serious as this might emerge as a most concerning issue in the industry. In fact, we will have to wait and watch what actually happens in near future in this regard. Kyu Rhee, MD, IBM Watson Health, Chief Health Officer raises a very valid point in this matter. A couple of months back he defines three fundamentals for AI without which it loses its sanctity.

Emerging Technologies in Healthcare

Firstly, it has to have a valid purpose. Secondly, it should have transparency. Finally, the skill. In fact, the purpose should not be against humans. Rather, emerging technologies should be a help to humans. All the systems and algorithms should be transparent. And there will be a new skill emerging as Human + AI.


December 30, 2017  11:26 PM

User Manual Documentation Is A Critical Task During Project Management

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
user Manual, user training

User manual documentation is an important activity. It is the most critical document. Because it becomes high in demand soon after the deployment is complete. That is the time when the deployment team members are not there at the customer location. Though a proper training takes place and all key users get training. But still, while performing the actual business processes on a new application in the organization needs some or the other kind of help from the user manual. The user manual, thus, has to be accurate, precise, and at the same time descriptive. There should be enough and relevant use cases or examples. Let use take an example. I had to book a taxi. The taxi driver calls me for the directions to my place. I tell him take a right turn from the main road signal light. Soon after the turn there is a bank.

The taxi driver reaches the bank and calls me to inform. I tell him to drive a little further. There is a park. Just before the park there are two gates. I tell him to wait for me there. There is a gap in what I intend to tell him and what I tell him actually. That creates a confusion. Thus when I reach where I think the cab should be, it is not there. The cab, in fact, is standing a kilometer ahead because of my confusing directions to the driver. Now, that should not be the case with User Manual Documentation. It has to be very clear for each step, field, and value. That is why it is not everybody’s task. There are experts for the job. These experts know well what to create and how to present. Despite all good efforts, these documents also need revisions.

User Manual Documentation Should be Process Driven

Mostly revisions in user manual documentation are due to some changes in code or process. But at times, it is also due to some ambiguities in the document that need corrections.


December 30, 2017  10:37 PM

Code Testing: How To Ensure An Error-Free Mechanism

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
quality, Software

Two QC engineers working on a code testing project complete their task with the submission of their testing report. The project was small but critical. Everything is happening as per plan. The next step is to launch the product for a small group of end users. In fact, this is going to be the most crucial phase of the project when the real effort of all the teams will wait for appreciations. But everybody has only one thing in mind. What if something doesn’t work? What if something goes wrong? If it is not too drastic, there is, in fact, nothing to worry. As the project manager has already had a week’s time in the buffer before the handover, launch, and training. This training would be for the larger group of the end user.

The plan is to record the complete training session and then make it available online for anyone. The alpha code testing phase starts well but on the second day, there is a blast. The product doesn’t behave as per the requirement and some of the important test cases fail. In fact, it was more about handling exceptions. But any discrepancy at this level is serious for every stakeholder. But then, that is the reality of life. And this can happen because it has a probability to happen. There are certain test scenarios that are reported as a pass but in reality, it didn’t happen so. The product immediately comes back with a report to the development team for the necessary patchwork. New timelines come into place.

Code Testing has to be a fool-proof mechanism

As per plan within next three days, the patchwork and code testing have to happen so that the product comes back to the same group of few end users for alpha testing. Everything is under control though. At the same time, an internal team starts analyzing the cause of this failure. It is important for learning and avoids future failures in the similar stream. The team submits a report to QC and product managers with a recommendation to punish the tester who was responsible for this failure. Both the managers send back the report with two suggestions.

First, bring to the table a set of recommendations how to avoid such hiccups in future. Second, recommend a proper training mechanism to ensure QC engineers don’t fail in future. Knowing which QC engineer made mistakes and taking action against him or her doesn’t suffice the purpose. The purpose is to equip them more in terms of training, knowledge, practice, and confidence to perform error-free tasks in future. And thus code testing doesn’t leave any gaps like this.


December 28, 2017  2:50 PM

Digital Transformation Has Created A New Level of Competition

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Digital transformation

Digital Transformation is a trending phenomenon on the global spectrum. Every organization is performing online transactions and other activities in one way or the other. In fact, it has become one of the key points during every boardroom discussion. Every department in an enterprise is working towards some innovative or creative digital solution to develop and deploy. And the ones which are already in place keep reviewing them for what better is possible. Internet and lowest possible data rates are responsible for a tremendous increase in customer expectations towards flawless digital experiences. So whether you are a customer, buyer, seller, employee, or employer, it has become your basic need without any doubt. Online transactions are increasing manifold on daily basis. Like, online bookings for travel, movies, shows, events, gas, courier etc. In addition, online payments, purchases, orders, etc. In fact, there is no end to it.

Digital Transformation

Photo on Visualhunt

To cater to all these needs every business is working hard towards it. Obviously, for every development and deployment of any component of digital transformation, It department has to play a phenomenal role. In fact, acquiring business knowledge for them has become a very important factor. Because without the knowledge of business processes in depth, coding, testing, and deployment is impossible. User experience also is playing a major role. Any app that doesn’t impress users in terms of quality, speed, navigation, and comfort is prone to dump in a dustbin. In fact, even if the concept and purpose are good, such basic flaws in any app make is worthless. On top of it, it is an era of global competition.

Digital Transformation Is The Bew Sprint Track

The moment you have a new concept and you don’t develop and launch it fast, somebody else will take the lead. And if you are able to launch it in time, then keep engaged in new releases, updates, and features. Because even if you are able to launch a new concept first, it doesn’t guarantees to stay you ahead in the race. That is just the beginning of Digital Transformation.


December 27, 2017  3:22 PM

A Small Carelessness Can Spoil The Whole Customer Experience

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
quality

Customer experience matters a lot in today’s world of high competition. Especially when it comes to Entertainment. I had a bad experience recently at PVR Cinemas. PVR is a premium chain of theatres in India. You get a luxury cinema experience in these theatres. No doubt, the costs of ticket and snacks inside are quite high. But then once a while you don’t mind visiting there with family for a good quality of entertainment. The service quality is good for snacks. You pay for snacks and tell them your seat number and auditorium number at the time of order. They ensure to deliver it to your seat the moment it gets ready. That gives you a royal experience, no doubt. That is the reason why people prefer going there for fun, food, and entertainment. PVR is a multi-screen or multi auditorium property. They are all across the country.

We had a good service at the ticket window. Getting tickets promptly and gracefully by the young staff adds value to the customer experience. Mine was auditorium 1. I was there with my family. There was some time for the show to start and the entry also was about to start in the auditorium. Hence, we decided to order some snacks. I paid for three dishes and told them my seat number and auditorium number. So far the customer experience is quite good. But nobody was aware that a small carelessness from the delivery staff would spoil the whole experience. So we enter the auditorium and take our seats. And soon the movie begins. After around 30 minutes a delivery boy reaches my seat and hands over the tray having our dishes. And that starts the moments of trouble. There were only two tissue papers while we were three.

Customer Experience Matters a Lot

Obviously, one of us had to consume the dish without having tissue paper. It was important because the dish was saucy and having a tissue paper was necessary. And that momentary small incident was bad enough to spoil my mood. That is probably a serious example of a bad customer experience at PVR Cinemas.


December 27, 2017  2:55 PM

MPesa from Vodafone – Why Is It So Customer Unfriendly?

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
apps, Mobile payments

Mpesa is a mobile wallet service from Vodafone. Vodafone is one of the largest mobile operators in India. This service that they provide is similar to Paytm, Airtel money, and many others. In simple words, you have to download the app on your smartphone. Register yourself and then top up your account through your bank account, debit card, or credit card. That is as good as the other similar apps do. And then you can pay your bills, transfer money, or buy movie tickets etc. with the help of this app. Similarly, other apps above also do the same. Now, different apps have different offers. So in this app from Vodafone, when you top up INR 1000 from your bank or card, you get INR 50 as a bonus. So your net balance becomes INR 1050. Similarly, there is a different kind of offers for different purchases, spends, etc.

Surprisingly, there is a strange condition in Mpesa that is not there in other services like Paytm and Airtel Money. Why Vodafone is doing this customer unfriendly gesture is difficult o understand. The condition is if you don’t do any transaction in your account Vodafone deducts INR 50 from your Mpesa account. I don’t think any other digital or physical similar service has this condition. So either Vodafone is quite stringent in its policies or their customers don’t mind it. But, in my opinion, this is my money. So why should I allow them to deduct any amount because I was inactive for some period? Even if I was inactive, I have certain money lying on my account. And, in fact, even if there is no money paying in my account, how does it matter? But Vodafone had a different opinion on this but was not very clear or convincing.

So, when I raise a query somebody calls me from Vodafone office. I inquire why has there been a deduction from my Mpesa account, I am told that I didn’t transact for a period of last 6 months. When I ask which another similar service is doing this, there was no answer. And when I ask why are you doing it, they tell that since there is a tie-up with ICICI bank. But my point is why only Mpesa is doing it and no other similar service provider does it? Is it a customer friendly activity? Are you losing customers because of this? If yes, then you need to relook into this policy. In fact, there are more ways to attract customers for more transactions.


December 27, 2017  2:06 PM

Expanding Boundaries of PMO In An Enterprise Will Benefit More

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
IT projects

PMO or Project management office is a great way to control projects in an organization. The capabilities and scope of this mini organization within an enterprise should not limit to only software projects. In fact, every initiative that has a target of measurable results in terms of time, money, and improvement is a project. As a matter of fact, an initiative has no meaning if it has no targets. Rather, that would be a meaningless activity resulting in a waste of time, money, and efforts. Such activities are biggest wastes in an organization. So, logically all measurable initiatives should come under the lens of PMO thus controlling projects efficiently. These, in fact, include other than software projects even. The major activities of this office include defining and controlling project management methodologies. All projects can’t follow the same methodology. There are many factors to decide for a particular project type.

These factors include processes, documents, approvals, and other mechanisms. Hence similar kind of projects can be put in a single project type. Similarly, different projects, depending on their nature and various factors will land into different project types. Then, on the basis of a project type, we define a project methodology. Though all four stages of project management are important to follow but not necessarily in the same manner. For instance, a web project will have a different process to handle than an in-house development project. Similar will be the case for another kind of projects. Although the sequence of the four stages will remain same in all projects various steps within those stages will vary. PMO is responsible for all this.

Let Every Project Come Under PMO

In fact, all six sigma and kaizen projects also should work under PMO. In the same manner, all projects that HR, Marketing, Design or other departments must have PMO as a controlling agency in the organization. For instance acquiring an organizational certification like Oshas or ISO 14000, deployment of ISMS, or moving from SAP to Hana is again projects to come under PMO. Are we ready to look at PMO in a broader perspective?


December 26, 2017  2:41 PM

How IVR System Can Be Made More Intelligent And Customer Centric?

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja

An Interactive Voice Response or IVR System is a good tool to automate some business processes especially operations. Recently I started feeling that most of these IVR Systems are not intelligent and customer-centric. It might be that the configuration is not proper though the product might have ample capabilities in this regard. Even then it is a flaw at business end that needs an attention and correction. Let me take an example of one of the largest telecom operator in India, Airtel. I am a big fan of this company. Because I am using their broadband for more than a decade with a good amount of satisfaction on a consistent basis. In fact, social media has become a magical agent in creating higher bonding possibilities between a customer and business. Now, it all depends on how brave a business is to be present and responsive on social media platforms.

Like, if I talk about Airtel, they have a phenomenal presence on Twitter. And they are quite responsive. At least, that is my experience with them not once or twice but multiple times and different reasons. So, let me take a recent example. One fine morning when I wake up I find that the internet is not working. Though the router is on, its data LED is not blinking thus indicating that the data transmission is not happening. I reboot the router just in case there is an initialization issue, but the situation remains same. I call their support number for technical support and the IVR system begins. Since it was around 7.30 am probably their staff was not available to take a call but the system keeps telling me to hold on and some technical person will connect shortly. I waited for 15 minutes but to no avail.

An IVR System can be made much smarter

Those 15 minutes were quite irritating that resulted in a tweet to the company. Immediately I get a call. Someone at the other end politely informs that there is a breakdown in my locality and by 1.30 pm the internet will start working. Since I had an alternative backup plan in place, it didn’t affect me much. So I request the gentleman to note down a couple of suggestions regarding their IVR system. Firstly, when I called from my registered number, the system knows who I am and from which locality am I calling. Hence, it can intelligently tell me that there is a breakdown in my locality that will be rectified by such and such time.

Secondly, when there is no technical person on the seat, the system should not put me on hold. Rather there should be a mechanism to inform the customer and get a call back as soon as the technical person arrives.


December 26, 2017  2:10 PM

Business Automation To Include AI, ML, Robotics, and IoT

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Artificial intelligence, Business Continuity, Internet of Things, Machine learning

Business Automation has become an important factor in business continuity. As a matter of fact, you can’t think of surviving in the changing scenario of business on a global canvas, if you are not thinking of automation. Mind it, automation has no end to it. It is not a single thread of a business. Think of automation in the whole entirety of business. In fact, it is important to look at the extent of automation of many businesses that are doing excellent. For instance, think of businesses like Uber Airbnb, or Ola that are completely automated. If you look at the complete cycle of customer operations, you find no manual intervention in the whole process. It is simple. And it is simply flawless. You don’t need any manual assistance during the whole process. In fact, everything is flawless and simple. That I call a great philosophy of business.

As a technology head of an enterprise, if you treat every stakeholder as your customer, then it makes life easier. Try giving them your best at all levels. And in turn, expect them to engage you in real business activities so that you get the crux of it to the deep root level. Then business automation becomes easier. In fact, the whole concept of automation is changing. So far even if you are able to automate one of the business threads or process, you would make the top brass happy. But actually, there is nothing to be happy about it. The reason is a partial automation is always a painful proposition. It makes your business vulnerable and error-prone, in fact. Because it will need more manual joints at both ends. By manual joints I mean it will require some manual intervention and feeding at both ends.

Business Automation has to be complete in all respects

Even most of the IVR systems in the name of business automation are getting useless these days. The reason for that is that those are not intelligent and are not customer centric. How? I will explain in my next article with a real life example. Stay tuned.


December 26, 2017  10:59 AM

Technology 2018 – Changing Paradigms of Technology

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Technology

2018 will be the year of transformations, innovations, and evolutions. A lot of newer technologies will emerge. And at a faster pace. At the same time, things will evolve. Technology will not stay limited to the closed IT department. Technology 2018 is about to bring a lot of changes in the whole paradigm. As far as IT is concerned, it will expand its horizon in the whole enterprise. Not in terms of deployments but participation. In fact, every department in the organization will become an active stakeholder in organizational technology.
As a matter of act, suggestions from CIO/CTO will take a backseat. It will be other departments that will be suggesting technological changes they require. That too in a more concrete and crisp manner. And if this doesn’t happen in your organization, you are lagging behind in terms of technology. You need to check the overall balance in the organization.

Every enterprise has to have a balance between its IT department and other departments. Technology 2018 is balance in terms of technological collaborations. If requirements come from the departments, IT needs to get the right vendor and technology in place in order to cater to that need. CFO roles can’t stay limited to the financial part during technological deployments and vendor selection. Rather, it has to go beyond that. Even a CEO has to be a frontrunner in terms of what and why of technology in his or her company. Things will be moving at a very fast pace. Gone are the times when you deploy a technology and relax for next three to five years. In current scenario, it will not be a surprise if you have to call off a deployment in between becuase a lot of changes have happened in between the finaliztion of product and procurement.

Technology 2018 Will Bring a Sea Change

The rule of the game is longer deployments will be big losers. Shorter and modular deployments will be the ultimate winners. That is Technology 2018 mantra.


December 15, 2017  9:59 PM

Successful Implementation Leads To Project Closure? Wrong

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja

If you feel a successful implementation, handover, and signoff by the customer leads to project closure, then you are absolutely wrong. It might appear right on papers or in project management terminology but not in terms of business success. If you really want to measure the success of a project, it must be able to fetch the business goals in absolute terms post-deployment. Because only a successful business case can help you get further business from the same customer or other customers. Remember, that your existing customers also play a major role in spreading a word about your product and service. That could be about the success as well as failure. And, in fact, that matters a lot. A research paper says its impacts is on almost 50% on your business. an organization always looks for a feedback from an existing customer or product user prior to a new purchase.

There are many examples where the seller company declares a project as a successful implementation and the buyer company is yet to use the product to its fullest. As a matter of fact, the product or solution, sometimes, is as good as not in place. Because, either it doesn’t fit well in the environment or it is too complex to use. One more important point to remember in this regard is post-project support. When you are supporting a product after its successful deployment, you need to ensure 100% upkeep. In fact, even if the usage hiccups happen not because of and fault in the product but users. Rather, it is really critical to remove user’s hesitance in that regard so that they use the product fearlessly. Basically, if there are any faults still existing in the product, ensure to take them up as soon as possible and make it flawless.

Successful Implementation Needs Post-Project Attention

Even if a product is strong and has a successful implementation history, it needs attention. A lack in post-project support might call for a big trouble.


December 15, 2017  8:29 PM

Five Business Elements That Will Decide The Success in 2018

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Business Continuity, Data-security

There are many business elements that decide the fate of a business. With the changing dynamics of business on a global front, it is important to understand what are the top business elements if set right will ensure a success in business. As a matter of fact, how do you measure the success of your business is also important. In my opinion, a consistent growth, low employee turnover, no loss of existing customers, and successful completion of running projects are some of the important factors. Also, it also depends on how to leverage technology to your business. Because if you are doing a lot of work manually that is possible through automation, then it is merely a waste of resource, time, and money. Don’t hesitate in making good investments in technology that always turn out to be gainers in long run. The mantra is assess wisely and deploy fast.

The world is moving to cloud. It helps in many ways. Firstly, it reduces your opex and capex burden. Secondly, it reduces your maintenance and upkeep efforts. Thirdly, it provides you latest and best in technology with a fraction of the investment. And finally, it helps you concentrate more on core pain areas thus making you a little more proactive in your approach. Now, it is important to understand what all you need to achieve it. Firstly, you need to have a right team in place. What you have and what you need might not be in right alignment. Don’t throw your people out but make them capable to shorten that gap. Help them in all possible ways to understand, train, and equip them with a right set of skills and vision. The second business element on top priority is business data. Ensure to systematize and automate it as much as possible.

Business Elements

In addition, to reduce paperwork and ambiguities, capture the data at its point of origin straight in the system. Next, one of the most important business elements is security. Whatever you build, launch, create, test, deploy, or sell, security feature has to be on the top.


November 30, 2017  10:37 PM

Startups Warranty Pack To Keep Them Away From Dying Early Deaths

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Startups

Let’s create a startups warranty pack. Every startup grows with its own set of issues and hence thus needs a personalized remedial action to fight against those issues. So there are different kind of clinics for treatment of startups facing different kinds of issues. Now let us assume there is a startups warranty pack that helps them to keep away from dying an immature death. Because usually, startups have a tendency to die during their growing stage. More than 70% of startups, on an average, are not able to survive after a period of three years. And 50% of that 30% those survive are not able to sustain the business by the end of five years of their tenure. So, let us see what kind of services a startup would need to ensure its survival and sustenance. Those would be as below:

Startups Health Check Clinic: This can be a mandatory clinic to visit by every startup every quarter during their first three years of existence. The purpose of this checkup would be to monitor their health in terms of their goals, growth, and financials as per their initial plan. Actually, launching a startup has become a fashion these days. Strategically it is good to mold youth towards setting their own business rather than keeping them unemployed for long thus increasing their frustration.

Various clinics as part of Startups Warranty Pack

Startups Shampoo Clinic: Well, this is for startups getting stale at a faster pace. Stale means the ideas resonating initially inculcating good energies fading away. Those ideas would need a good shampoo of brainstorming to wash away the dust gathered over it over a period of time.

Startups Massage Center: Startups with diminishing energies due to any reasons need to attend this kind of service from their startups warranty pack in order to rejuvenate.

Startups ICU: These kinds of startups are on the verge of their existence. This is the last push to put them back on track but usually to no avail.

Startups Tonic: Some external push or source of energy is helpful for these startups to keep them running towards their goals.

Startups School: These startups start a venture without any proper knowledge or study. They jump into it just for the sake of it. They need to go back to school to strengthen their roots.

Startups Sports Ground: This is another kind of remedial module in startups warranty pack. Here a number of startups join to have some fun and sharing.


November 30, 2017  2:16 PM

Mother Dairy – A Classic Case of Non-Digital India By A Legend

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
digital

More than four decades of its existence, India’s leading milk and vegetables organization is struggling hard to associate itself with Prime Minister Modi’s Digital India drive. We are talking about Mother Dairy. Even parking lots these days display the number of slots available. This is not a rocket science and requires a small and decent app to manage it. Then why its milk and vegetable booths display the items quantities outside each booth. In fact, why not make it available on a mobile app. The moment I load this app, sensing my location, it can display my nearest stores. Once I select a store it lets me know the inventories. Rather, like online cinema tickets, why can’t I purchase my items and pay online. I get a code displaying which I get these items from that store. Is it something very difficult?

Mother Dairy

Rather, it will bring a good amount of transparency thus raising customer satisfaction tremendously. Another issue is of the price of vegetables and fruits. The store buys a minimal quantity of a high rate product to sell and instead sells the stale product at the same rate. Moreover, the store keeps items of his choice rather than respecting customer demand. In fact, a simple online consumer survey can forecast what items are in demand at a store and thus replenish it accordingly rather than depending on the store owner’s whims and fancies. Thus it has become a game of high manipulation and that is the reason for organization not having a good reputation. There is no control at the organization level a store selling to vendors and finishing the fresh stocks instead of selling those to the end consumers.

Mother Dairy India A Classic Tale of Un-Customerization

These vendors then sell these items further to end consumers at a higher rate. It doesn’t take time, money, or efforts to do such transformations. It is all about mindset. Being a government organization nobody question Mother Diary why it is staggering and struggling so hard to become an integral part of Digital India? Who is to blame? Government, organization, public, or the system?


November 30, 2017  12:30 PM

Three Vital Organs Of A Startup And How to Cope Well

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Business Agility, Startups

Communication, customer handling, and technology are three vital organs of a Startup. And why only for startups, these are equally crucial components of any business to thrive and survive. 70% of startups die to their natural death within three years. Rest 20% close their doors in next two years. So effectively, it is hardly 10% of startups that are able to cross a period of five years of their survival thus proving their strength of surviving against all odds. Interestingly, it is not lack of finances that become the first-hand reason for their failure and subsequent death. It is usually a conflict of interests among the top management executives that is the prime reason. In the beginning, all may seem to be in tune thus reflecting everything is right under the blanket. But as the time passes and startup sets to grow top management starts diverting their interests.

In fact, it happens in either case of a startup doing good and bad. Ego could be one of the key reasons responsible for growing differences among or between them. But prior to that if the three vital organs are not in the focus right since the start of business, it has a potential of causing exponential harm to it. Let us think about communication. Especially whatever you communicate to customer is very important to note. Each and every word matters. Commitments are thoroughly under scrutiny. Hence, you ough to honor your committments and words given to the customers by all means. This is a world of internet. Things spread so fast that you don’t even realise. Referrals, reviews, and feedback are the three things from customer end than can destroy or expand your startup empire in no time.

Vital Organs of a Startup

You might be an emperor of your kingdom of whatever size. But while talking to customer, you have to forget that and talk like an employee or service provider. Pay respect to every customer. Leverage technology as much as possible that is available in plenty. Only thing is to know what and how of that. Taking care of vital organs of a starup is the most essential activity of a startup.


November 30, 2017  11:19 AM

How A Startup Fails Due to Aggressive Behavior? A Case Study

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Startups

At times customer tone might be harsh or taunting. In such cases, you need to be patient and keep your head straight. In fact, keep yourself off from any aggressive or abusive remarks. And no aggression in actions. That could be suicidal for the business that is right now in the adolescent stage. Your presence on social media gives an additional leverage to connect with your customers and prospects. That itself can be a boon or bane for you depending on the situation. For instance, let us take a recent case of a food delivery startup. A customer places an order with this startup, say at 5:30 pm wanting a delivery by 8:30 pm. He gets an alert by 6 pm that the food delivery might be late for half an hour. The customer is okay with that hence doesn’t take any action and waits for delivery.

Around 7:40 pm the owner of this startup calls the same customer requesting a delay in delivery by 1-2 hours. The customer gets angry and asks the owner if he is under the impression of liquor or what? How can a customer wait two hours extra than his usual dinner time? On the other hand, this talks annoys the owner and despite his commitment to the customer to deliver the food by 9:40 pm this poor business owner decided not to deliver at all without informing the customer. Around 10 pm when the customer gets no food or intimation he calls back the owner who rejects the call. The story doesn’t end here. The customer is from Digital Media and is a potential social media influencer. In fact, it is a negative sign for a business to step back from its commitment and thus losing respect.

A Startup May Fail Due To Various Reasons

In such cases, a startup or business not only lose respect in customer’s eyes but also on its own. Businesses with such lose temper don’t survive and face a decline in their reputation thus leading to closure.


November 30, 2017  10:59 AM

Customer Behavior Can Aggravate Your Response And Mar Business

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Customer behavior

Customer Behavior Can Aggravate Your Response And Mar Business. This is very true. Especially in case of startups. Because initially, a business has no reputation, loyalty, and branding in the market. It is all that it has to create. In fact, this is the hardest phase of a business. At the time, it takes years for a business to create it. And at the time, it takes no time to lose it. So during this phase respect your customer more than anything else. In fact, go to an extent where you decide to create only success stories. Success stories are always dear to an individual as well as an organization. The more people you have on board that are passionate to build success stories, the more beneficial it is for your business. Howsoever small stories those maybe but at this juncture, size doesn’t matter. Success does.

But prior to respecting your customer you need to respect yourself. Respect every word and commitment you give to your customer. Because at this juncture your customer is the best marketing guy to get your next customer. As a matter of fact, in a way, a customer pays you and also becomes your brand ambassador in the market depending on the treatment he or she gets during the transaction. Even if a customer brings another customer to you, you are saving money on your marketing efforts. And in today’s world, every penny counts. So, whatever is possible to please your customer. But ensure all this happens without any compromise. Especially no compromise with quality, service, and delivery. Because generally a good customer will not give false referrals or vouch for a business unnecessarily. But of course, false promises from your end may lead to disasters.

Customer Behavior is a Key Issue

Therefore, customer behavior is a tough thing to handle for which you need to keep your cool always on top.


November 25, 2017  10:48 PM

6 Top Agendas of A Project To Strengthen Project Management

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
IT projects

If we look at a project lifecycle it mainly involves achieving a set of milestones through some teams while updating the progress to key stakeholders. There are always top agendas of a project in place. All these activities are of prime importance. Without setting some goals, agendas, and milestones, there is no sanctity of a project. Without setting up relevant teams to perform various tasks to achieve those goals you can’t attain progress on a project. And without having a regular mechanism of monitoring and reviewing the progress of a project you can’t think of keeping it on track. Though the criteria to perform these three agendas might differ from organization to organization and project to project but overall criteria remain the same. Some organizations adopt automation to achieve these goals while others prefer manual. And rest of those believe in a heterogeneous mechanism.

Whatever is the mode following whatever criterion, the success of a project is most important. Top agendas of a project will include Setting goals, establish measuring criteria, learn while doing (and even after that), Create strong feedback mechanism, monitor team & product behavior, and have a successful closure. The setting of goals is the beginning of a journey. Without setting a destination, there is no purpose of a journey. Now, once we have goals in place, there has to be measuring mechanism in place. When we aim for progress, growth, and closure, it needs a process to measure it. How do you ascertain you are moving in the right direction? How do you know you have right teams in place? And how do you know what are the contingencies seeking immediate attention? Every step in a project is a learning. It is important to capture that.

Top agendas of a project

If you lack a feedback mechanism, you will not get ample scope to improve. While a good feedback motivates and accelerates your progress, a negative feedback is equally important. Rather it is the negative feedback that helps you to set your improvement goals. Hence, invite feedback from anyone and everyone on a project. In fact, keep it one of the top agendas of a project if you want it to close successfully.


November 25, 2017  9:41 PM

How To Create Two Way Motivating Photons At Work?

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Management

How much time as a manager do you spend with your team beyond the day to day activities? Do you know what are motivating photons and how easy it is to create them? Having regular meetings with your team members is one thing. These are the routine activities to follow up, review, monitor, and discuss plan and actuals. In fact, these all pertain to your running projects. But the life of your team members has more than that. How many times do you relax with them and go a little informal? Rather spend some moments with them talking about their aspirations in life. Who are all there in their family? What are their interests and hobbies? Which sport do they like most? I feel, don’t have a regular agenda for these activities. That makes it boring and an activity to showcase to your management and HR.

Rather the actual goal is not that. In fact, the actual goal is to create a personal connection. Rather the actual goal is to create Motivating Photons. Creating a personal touch with each of your team members is an art. It takes a heart to do that. In fact, these are the things that stay in our minds forever. I still remember such kind of informal moments and feel those create deeper impact in life. Rather this kind of activities returns you more than what you give to others. And this give-and-take doesn’t come into records in any official books. Because these are part of personal growth mechanism. These are, in fact, small packets of energy that create additional positive stream towards achieving your official goals. Otherwise, also we all get less time for our families and friends because of increasing work pressures.

Motivating Photons are Magical In Nature

Even at home, at times, we are mentally not at home due to deadlines and upcoming meeting agendas. Under those circumstances, what is the harm in creating some lighter moments at the office? That is, in fact, one of the best ways to create motivating photons at work place. And it creates magic in life and improves personal life too.


November 25, 2017  8:25 PM

Project Team Member To Project Manager – How To Cope With Job Transition?

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
IT projects

Well, you are a successful team member working on various projects from time to time. Your success is visible to everyone. And now the management thinks it is the right time to escalate your position. Thus, you rise from the position of a senior developer to a project leader. And a job transition phase starts. So, instead of your deep and singular engagement in development and nothing else earlier, now the things are different. In fact, now you have to manage a team of developers and their deadlines. You have to report to your project manager weekly about the progress of the project. This comes with a note of key deviations that are impacting the deadlines. Not only that, now you have to plan and strategize to mitigate the risks of these delay-causing issues.

Because the main idea is to get the things back on track so that overall health of the project remains intact. As a project leader, now you and your teams have to achieve all the milestones in time. At the same time, with this job transition, you need to keep the progress well in shape. Because now, you manage the success of the project and everything lies in your hands. It happens that your yesterday peers become your subordinate and start reporting to you. This is because of your position change from a senior developer to a project leader. In fact, this is not an easy situation to handle. It might become a cause of conflicts and differences between the two of you. As a result, to avoid that, you have to manage things well.

Job Transition is not easy to manage

Soon after your job transition, it is better to make the things clear right in first go. You need to make it clear that friendship remains as it is but the team will have to follow the new rules of the game. At the same time, your technical engagements will decrease. And managerial activities will increase. Now, your discussions will also be with non-tech stakeholders. And it will not be only the development team that you will manage, other teams like QC also will come in your spectrum.


November 16, 2017  9:23 AM

Security Is The Fourth Pillar Of Product Or Application Functionality

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Application security

If you are in product development, you would be well aware that in addition to stability, scalability, and usability, security is the fourth pillar of functionality. These four components, in fact, have become an integral part of the basic functionality of any product, project, or service. Security has become so important because of most of the business data is shifting to the cloud. High exposure will definitely demand a higher amount of security. A product has to be stable. Role of quality control is prominent in this regard. A product under development or after development has to undergo all kind of quality control checks to ensure it is not going to fail easily. Similarly, any product that you launch in the market has to be scalable in most of the cases. Especially, for a business application, it has to cater to all kind of existing and future business needs.

Quality assurance has an altogether different role to play. It is the quality assurance that is responsible for evaluating and assessing quality assurance on a regular basis. Security is one of the critical features that QC ensures to test during product testing. But it is QA that has to ensure the process and methodology to adapt to ensure 100% testing and thus creating the fourth pillar of functionality as strong as possible. Not only that, QA is the agency to draft out what all security features are important for a particular kind of application. It can be or rather should be jointly done with information security experts in the organization. If you have global certifications like 17001 or ISAC, it makes your job easier.

The Fourth Pillar of Functionality Should be As Strong As The Other Three

But still, a constant watch on changing trends across the globe is important to understand for deployment the necessary ones depending on your organizational needs. Security, in fact, has become the basic need of an application. And that is all about the fourth pillar of functionality.


November 15, 2017  11:02 PM

Victim, Survivor, Or Transformer – What Kind Of Project Manager Are You?

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Project management

As a Project Manager, you always need to take a stock of situation about your current state and what state you want to acquire. Are you a victim, survivor, or transformer? Beyond whatever amount of knowledge and power you have, the most important factor in your success is an effort. It is, in fact, the amount of effort that matters in your success or failure. A continous habit of pumping a fresh quantum of effort is always good for transformation. Acquiring a position of a successful project manager is good to have. There is always a scope of improvement in life and work. A change is always welcome in that regard that should help you upscale your current state. If you are a victim, you will always blame your team for their problems. In that case, you will hesitate in taking any onus. Neither will you put any efforts.

It is important for a project manager to look into a mirror often and ask himself if I am a victim, survivor, or transformer. A victim project manager will lack deep connection with his teams. His engagement in project also will lack depth and appear shallow. Despite having a good knowledge, if you are a project manager in its category, you will not be living your project which is very important for the success of a project. A person who is not able to take care of his own wounds will not be able to serve others well. On the other hand, a transformer always looks back to pick best and worst parts of his experience. It helps in learning ways to enhance his own skills and inspire others to excel. That is why, understanding your role is a very important thing to ensure its success.

Victim, Survivor, Or Transformer – What Are You?

Among victim, survivor, or transformer, a victim will always blame others for everything. A project manager in a survival mode will become obsessive, fastidious, and workaholic. Work will be his safest place against any kind of disappointment or mistake. This category of project managers define themself by their success and tell the story of their career often. For both these cateogories of project managers, learning how to transform is very important.


November 15, 2017  9:32 PM

Ten Project Management Lessons To Keep A Project Manager In Control

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
IT projects

Recently read a beautiful book The Way of The Cat: Surviving Metastasized Cancer by Itzhak Be’er. Though the book is about fighting cancer, there are a number of learning points for project managers. These ten project management lessons are quite thoughtful and can give a good amount of boost and courage to manage any kind of projects and drive them to a successful ending.

When we say a successful project, it means it qualifies the three measures of time, financials, and resources. While every resource has a direct or indirect linkage to financials, gradually the two key factors that remain with us to make any project successful are time and budget (or financials). So let us look at ten project management lessons to make any project a win.

  • A War Just Broke Out And You are The Commander: Take every project as a war. Obviously, it is the project manager who has to lead and create winning situations under any kind of circumstances.
  • What Are You Willing To Do To Make It Successful: Put everything at stake with no compromise. Keep introspecting and probing within if there is a hole in the basket that needs a fix.
  • Knowledge is Power: Of course, it is. A lack of knowledge in any field of project management is a critical key that can mar the progress of a project. The key areas where you need to ensure a good amount of knowledge are project, team, resources, budget, timelines, and stakeholders. In case, you feel there is a gap in any of these areas, fill it fast before someone else takes any advantage out of it.

Ten Project Management Lessons

  • The Time Factor is Critical: Closure of each task as per plan is important. Any task having a substantial variance in plus or minus needs assessment till it comes to a logical conclusion of reasoning.
  • Never Trust Anybody: Be firm about everything happening in and around your project. Every onus falls on the project manager. There are deviators and confusers everywhere.
  • Do Not Let Statistics Discourage You: Carry a clear insight and keep your instincts alive. Even though, at times, statistics may become discouraging but keep driving the vehicle with full control.
  • Innovation Is Key: This is a very interesting point. Especially, when the things are getting slower and statistics becoming discouraging. A project manager needs to find out newer ways and create better roadmaps towards the goals.
  • Synergy is Important: Every single unit of a project is a small unit of energy. All these energies need to be synergized in order to ensure every step moving in right direction, together.
  • Find Your Support Circles: It is not bad seeking support from various functions in case of a crisis. Don’t skip any opportunity to knock a door in need. But it is important to have a knowledge of which door to knock for assistance.
  • Stretch Yourself and your teams: It is good to create celebrating moments in life. For this, you need to stretch at the time of a war. Keep all your energies intact during a journey. Also, upscaling is a very important factor.

Hopefully, these Ten Project Management Lessons will help every project manager to excel in life thereby ensuring a successful project closure every time.


November 14, 2017  9:47 PM

Flipping the IT Paradigm: Enhancing Reliability of City Services While Reducing Costs

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja

An Interview with Danny Santee, Enterprise Systems Supervisor, Information Technology, City of Aurora

Tell me a little about the City of Aurora and its priorities.

DS: As the 3rd most populous city in Colorado with over 350,000 people, the City of Aurora has over 3,000 employees who together adhere to four core values: integrity, respect, professionalism, and customer service. The City of Aurora’s guiding mission is to be an innovative national leader across all facets of local government. This means not only ensuring that the city is a safe and desirable place to live, work, and visit, but also maintaining a superior civic infrastructure.

In terms of infrastructure maintenance, what role does the IT department play?

DS: The City of Aurora’s IT organization supports every single city department, some of which include police, fire, safety, 911, city management, and parks and rec. We have two true datacenters that support our employees’ IT requirements, and we also maintain around-the-clock access to our public website for city residents and others who wish to visit. Our datacenters support a wide range of standard city management applications, which include everything from computer-aided dispatch, geography information systems, financial and payroll systems, and police records management to water and facilities management, building permits, tax and licensing, golf and recreation registration, storage and management—the list goes on.

What challenges has the City of Aurora faced in supporting all city departments in terms of its data centers?

DS: The city’s datacenters supported a storage area network (SAN) that was both oversubscribed and thinly provisioned. Back in 2005, Microsoft SQL Server sprawl had started to reach unmanageable proportions. Back then the IT team had turned to what at the time was a relatively new technology, VMware, to try to address the problems. This solution involved virtualizing about 80 percent of the city’s servers. The city also turned to PolyServe to address the issue—but recently, PolyServe was end-of-life, so we needed to find a new solution.

How did you go about identifying another solution that could help with SQL Server management?

DS: As soon as we found out that all product updates and support for PolyServe would be eliminated we started exploring other options. We knew our datacenters would continue to grow and that we would continue to need to add and refresh infrastructure and applications. We were guided to DH2i (www.dh2i.com) by a very helpful HP Support Manager who recommended we check it out. DH2i—which was co-founded by two senior members of the PolyServe development team—was a relative newcomer to space. But the HP Support Manager said he thought the DH2i solution offered an even more powerful solution for SQL Server management and could overcome the PolyServe technology’s flaws and shortcomings. So as the Enterprise Systems Architect, I immediately reached out to DH2i to find out more about whether this solution could work for the City of Aurora.

IT Paradigm

How did you make your final decision?

DS: After a few exploratory calls, we learned that we could start out with a “try before you buy” 30-day evaluation program, which really helped our IT organization decide to pull the trigger. So during this trial period, we used the DH2i solution on our three Dell Sandy Bridge Servers, each with two sockets and eight cores per socket, plus hyperthreading. This totaled 32 CPUs per server plus 128 gigabytes on each. The testing period was a success, so we moved forward with the DH2i solution. It initially went live to support our fleet systems, which are responsible for the city’s cars and trucks inventory—as well as maintenance and repair records.

In upgrading to this more advanced system, were cost a concern for the city?

DS: Yes, costs were definitely top of mind since our goal is always to save our residents money and spend the city’s budget wisely. Fortunately, the reasonable costs for the DH2i solution were part of what made this such a huge win for the City of Aurora. First, we were very happy with the licensing model since we could run multiple instances. For SQL Server 2012, based on our purchase window of SQL Server 2008 R2 with SA, we could grandfather-in socket purchases, which meant all sockets would receive a free upgrade.

How did the costs compare with your previous solution?

DS: We saved a lot of money with DH2i since the licensing costs for SQL Server on VMware were crazy! Specifically, the Enterprise Edition cost four times the amount per CPU, despite the fact that from a functional standpoint, we really only needed the Standard Edition. This model just didn’t fit for us since it’s a priority to spend our citizens’ money wisely. We don’t have the silo mentality that many still have of “if you are doing it for your VMware, then do it for all your databases.” In terms of a specific cost comparison, using a VMware-based solution with hardware, Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise Edition, plus software support would have cost us around $750,000. The DH2i solution cost less than one-quarter of that.

Besides the cost-savings, are there other benefits that the city realized from switching over to the DH2i solution?

DS: Today, not only are we achieving cost reductions of over 70% due to Microsoft SQL Server sprawl being eliminated, servers being fully optimized and licensing costs were basically cut in half. Our database administrators are much more productive, we’ve achieved much greater utilization of our infrastructure and our systems are more highly available.

Can you share some specific improvements that led to these positive outcomes?

DS: I’d point to three very tangible improvements that led to this:

First, the new solution overcame the restrictive Microsoft SQL Server deployment model, since DH2i’s InstanceMobility feature removed the rigid binding of one instance to one server. We can now move instances more quickly, reliably, and safely.

Second, the new solution enabled affordable and reliable high availability. DH2i uses prioritized failover and other advanced features to ensure the highest levels of availability without requiring expensive hardware or Enterprise SQL Server licensing.

Third, DH2i delivers the fastest and highest level of SLA assurance by enabling dynamic, automated load balancing of SQL Server instances to servers with the lightest workloads.

In short, we’ve been able to practically eliminate the time needed for labor-intensive “firefighting,” so to speak, when it comes to IT support in these areas and instead rededicate the resources toward activities that support and enhance the IT services provided to the city departments that also benefit the people of the City of Aurora.

What are your future goals in relation to SQL Server management?

DS: The City of Aurora currently has 9.56 Terabytes of SQL Server on our DH2i solution. Our Compellent SAN, which is where the production DH2i software is configured, is using all 3 tiers with our SQL. We place Logical Logs in our Write Intensive SSD Tier 1. We use both Tier 1 and our Read Intensive SSD Tier 2 for our databases. For our large blob-spaces, we additionally use the 7.2K HDD Tier 3. We just successfully finished upgrading 13 of our DH2i SQL instances to three new Cisco UCS B200 M4 Blade servers each with 256GB of RAM 2 Sockets with 8 cores each plus hyper-threading running Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard which can host SQL Server 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2016 (as we licensed Standard Edition of SQL Server 2016 per core). We’re excited about the future with DH2i on board.


October 29, 2017  1:20 PM

Having Robots As Board Members Would Be A Reality Soon

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Artificial intelligence, Data Analytics

AI (Artificial Intelligence) and AR (Augmented Reality) are not merely buzzwords anymore. Neither are two technologies just a topic of discussion or research. The two have become the reality of life and are getting visible in many of the real-life projects. Robots are becoming an integral part of our life. Industry verticals like Travel, Space, Hospitality, Healthcare, Automotive, etc. are already adopting these technologies fast to leverage. Obviously, whenever a new technology comes there are early adopters, observers, and followers. Early adopters always have an edge over others in terms of acquiring new learning by experience which others in the fray miss. And this learning comes either way, irrespective of you succeed or fail. In fact, failures equip you better to risks anticipation and mitigation well in advance.

The fact of the matter is that our personal and professional lifestyles are changing. Work is becoming easier with the adoption of newer technologies. Nonetheless, challenges never exit from life whatever advancements you achieve and adapt. Fear of robots replacing workforce for production and other repetitive jobs are quite genuine but then that itself creates another pool of opportunities. In any case, production through robots will definitely increase efficiency and productivity. That also increases the risk factor. A small fiddling with a piece of code will bring everything to halt. All it requires to stop robots functioning or start malfunctioning is an alteration in the code. That is something very serious and can lead to disasters. Using AI, companies like Ola, Uber, Netflix, MakeMyTrip, Oyo etc. have been able to change the complete business model in the logistics, travel, hospitality, and entertainment sectors.

Will Robots replace Human completely?

In fact, the human-machine partnership is going to acquire a new shape altogether. Robots will replace human in many fields in no time. As a matter of fact, machines will be performing the roles of human beings who in turn will be busy creating more tasks for these intelligent machines while making them more intelligent.


October 27, 2017  12:00 AM

Hyper-Personalization Is The New Mass Production

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Business Agility

It is becoming a world of hyper-personalization on a mass scale. Mary Meeker brings internet report every year. And in her report, she brings a lot of interesting insights about India. We are not a desktop economy anymore. Mobility is the changing paradigm agent. Predictive support systems are becoming a reality. The process of discovery ascertains the cost in the healthcare industry while in the food industry it is not the case. Like, when you go to a restaurant you are able to guess the cost of food on the basis of its location, size, level etc. But the same is not the case when you go for a health checkup. You never know what may come up during diagnosis and how much that discovery may cost depending on the level of severity of disease discovered.

A recent study says that the advancement in medical technology will make people live for 150-200 years of age. But then who those people will be? That will create a wide gap on the basis of race, social status, etc. The trends are changing to cater to hyper-personalization. In that context, Simplification, seamless delivery, liquidation, etc. are few of the challenges for technology. Changes in processes have more to deal with changes in mindsets. There is a lot of data. Every company is sitting on piles of data. The key missing point is the person who joins the dots. Technology is growing very fast thereby creating a lot of scope for industries to take enough of leverage. Analytics is not only about buying a tool. It is rather a cultural issue. Management’s vision plays a major role in this.

Hyper-Personalization Is The New Global Trend

Analytics is not an end to a journey. It is, in fact, beginning a new journey. In fact, when we talk about hyper-personalization it becomes more relevant.A data strategy is quite important. Somebody from an analytics company says merely capturing just name and mobile number of a customer will be worthless. In my opinion, that is more than enough in terms of providing you a lot of useful data only if you apply your brain and use various APIs. In fact, this can provide you with a person’s lifestyle, family, friends, travel patterns, hobbies, and a lot more. The customer has always been a key to success of a business. Hyper-personalization is the catalyst to it.


October 26, 2017  11:05 PM

Potential of Robotic Process and Automation is Endless

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Business Agility, Business Continuity, Collaboration, Internet of Things, iot

Potential of robotic process and automation is endless. Limitation is only at ideation, development, and deployment. IoT is no more merely a point of discussion. In fact, it has become a business case in many ways. Every business is now technology and data-driven. As a result, successful business cases become industry shaping agents. Especially the innovative ones. When we think of technology these days it comes to mind that everybody is embracing technology. It is not that industry drives technology adoption. In fact, it is the consumer that forces technology adoption by an industry. The speed of adoption is increasing tremendously. Every new initiative in technology is making things better, faster, and cheaper. At the same time, data privacy concerns are rising at the same pace. Government is coming up with its own data protection regulations. Every new development, in fact, comes with a new set of threats.

Robotic

Photo via Visualhunt

If you look at top three concerns of CEOs, 83% of CEOs have a high focus on speed of technology change. Talent and cyber threats are the next topmost concerns. In today’s digital world technology and data are the tools for progress. Most of the organizations struggle with charting a roadmap. Is technology a disrupter? Image-based processing, AI, social media, wearables, automation, and chatbot engines are playing a major role in industries. One must understand key themes to deal with this disruption. Such as data analytics and AI. Data is the new currency, in fact. Big data analytics can help in customer service. So is true for Robotic. Process automation can reduce operational costs and at the same time can increase quality and productivity. Digital framework and strategy, collaboration tools, processes, and culture, integration are some of the differentiators.

Robotic is going to be a big changemaker

Air taxis are changing the whole concept of transportation. Disruptions are forcing birth of innovations. As a matter of robotic is going to change the complete preposition between an employee and employer.


October 22, 2017  10:04 PM

Hidden Costs In A Project Failure That Cost A Business A Lot

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
IT projects

Every project is important for an organization. No organization would wish for a project to fail. But still, project failure happens. That too despite all good efforts by respective stakeholders. Then why do projects fail? And why do we have all kind of genuine reasons behind those failures? For a number of years, there is a big hue and cry that 80% of projects delay or fail because of change in specifications or business requirements. If that is true, why are we not able to get a concrete mitigation to this most threatening risk to a project? Probably, an Agile approach is a solution to it. But that is true to what extent? At least, I am not sure if this is a 100% foolproof safe bet to avoid failure of a project. Not all projects are a top priority in an organization. But its important doesn’t go off.

In fact, every project has something or the other at stake. Otherwise why a project would start. And as I say, no project starts with an intention to fail. Logically, a project failure could cost an organization a customer. It can go worse to that extent. Losing money on a project is not as crucial as the reputation of the organization. Money you can create in another project but reutation building take more than that. Reputation loss, in fact, leads to multifold losses. Different studies show that getting a new customer is five times costlier than retaining an existing one. That is a proven fact. Khalid Saleh, author of Conversion Optimisation, The Art & Science of Converting Prospects to Customers, says that around 45% organizations spend more efforts on acquiring a customer than retaining an existing one. Interestingly, the other 55% who focus more on retaining progress fast.

Project Failure Should Be A Big NO At Any Cost

What it means is that putting more efforts to avoid a project failure returns in a better way than otherwise. Engaging customer and quality team throughout reduces the risk to a larger extent.


October 21, 2017  10:00 PM

Data Privacy Is Of Utmost Importance In Healthcare Organizations

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
cybersecurity, Data privacy

Data Privacy is of utmost importance in healthcare organizations. Especially, the data that pertains to patients requires complete safety and protection. This data, if leaks to unreliable sources can lead to a big amount of blunders that might become difficult to handle and control. That is why healthcare industries need to be proactive in their approach in this regard. In fact, there are ways available in the market, thanks to advancements in technology, that can pre-emptively control issues pertaining to data privacy. As a matter of fact, every healthcare organization must have a strong mechanism in place for data security. It should be a component of all their projects as a top priority. Cyber attacks like ransomware and malware are of serious concern in today’s world when most of the data is online thus increasing the extent of threats and vulnerabilities. There is a tremendous risk, in turn.

Data Privacy

Photo via Visualhunt.com

We all know that all these threats like malware and ransomware strongly impact patient care, finances, workflow, operations, and reputation. Cybersecurity and data privacy in the healthcare industry is a patient safety issue. Thus, protecting patient also includes protecting their information. In fact, this is a norm these days. It comes by default. As Jacki Monson, VP and Chief Privacy and Information Security Officer at Sutter Health in Sacramento, California, says, “Our cybersecurity team is constantly threat hunting, and if they find potential threats, they work with engineers to address them before an attack happens. We share information with other organizations and participate in various task forces to obtain threat information. We also have a 24/7 monitoring service. If there is a legitimate threat, they notify us and we go into incident response immediately.” In fact, there is a task force that regularly evaluates and monitors cybersecurity issues.

Data Privacy Is A Top Most Concern

In the nutshell, data privacy is a collective concern for the patients as well as the healthcare organizations. Probably one of the top concerns.


October 21, 2017  9:23 PM

Why DMARC Is Important To Deploy To Check Spoofing and Phishing

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Hacking, Phishing

DHS (Department of Homeland Security) has come out with a new regulation about an email security program. It is now compulsory for the US federals to deploy DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance). The purpose is to control all kind of hackers, scammers, and other kinds of online risks. There have been a number of cases of impersonating government email addresses. So much so that reportedly every 4 emails from .gov addresses have at least one email that is spam with malicious and criminal intentions. Hence, it becomes necessary to understand why DMARC is so important and what it does exactly. Basically, it is a reporting protocol that authenticates email and checks policies behind it. In fact, it works on top of two other very popular and important protocols SPF and DKIM. It adds linkage to the sender’s domain name, relevant policies for recipient for authentication.

DMARC checks for authentication failures on the basis of above. Along with these, it also checks for identification failures at recipient end and reporting from recipient to sender. The whole purpose is to protection and improve the whole process and protection of domain from unauthorized emails. SPF is Sender Policy Framework that authenticates an email on the basis of the path it takes right from the point of its origin. Similarly, DKIM is Domain Keys Identified Message. This, also, is an email authentication process on the basis of signature of the sender. In fact, it merges DomainKeys with the email specifications thus helping in tracking and identification. As a matter of fact, DMARC prevents spoofing of emails. It is important to control hackers who are experts in making their emails appear coming from completely authentic sources. It is, in fact, important to control online ecosystem in a scalable manner.

DMARC is a strong protocol to control spoofing

DMARC, to summarize, not only authenticates sender and receiver but also the traffic and path. That is how it is able to control spoofing, phishing, and hacking in an impressive manner.


October 20, 2017  3:36 PM

Bug Taxonomy Enhances Software Testing Experience

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
quality

Bug Taxonomy is a practice that is becoming prominently important in software testing. It not only enriches testing team’s experience but enhances the whole testing mechanism. You can call it a tool to make your software testing process stronger and fruitful. In fact, it is a process of categorizing and listing of possible bugs in a module or piece of code to perform a particular function within a module. While this listing becomes a valuable repository of quality control team it also helps in optimizing their productivity. As we all know there is always an employee turnover in any organization especially the software companies. So when an experienced testers leaves the organization and a new one joins in his or her place, Bug Taxonomy becomes handy to add a level of maturity and experience thus giving a thrust in testing. On the other hand, it has many other benefits.

Bug Taxonomy removes duplication of job by testers investing a good amount of energy and time in reinventing the wheel every time they start a new testing. It also helps senior testers in the team to keep improvising it by evaluating it on a regular basis and brainstorming with others. Maturity of test cases also gets a new level with it. It is, in fact, always good to keep it reviewing and evolving form time to time. Whether you are a single product selling software company or having multiple customers demanding multiple products entirely different from each other, this technology always creates wonders. And it is always true that even in a new product there are a lot of functions that already exist. Thus the existing collection of taxonomies is helpful in those cases. You need to have a track and recording of each taxonomy for that matter.

Bug Taxonomy is a handy powerful tool

Bug Taxonomy helps in removing redundancies and inefficiencies across the team. In fact, it creates a repository of knowledge and experience of teams working on various projects. It also builds a strong bond between engineers with a long experience and those who are fresh in the field.


October 20, 2017  3:18 PM

Business Process Automation With Robotic, AI, and Machine Learning

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Artificial intelligence, Business Continuity, Machine learning

Business Process Automation is important for business continuity. It is not the case that organizations that don’t go for automation have no business processes in place or no business continuity plans. But if there is a scope of automation that helps in enhancing your business then why not go for it? In fact, with so much of technological advancements, organizations are using robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning for scaling up of automation. Obviously, there has to be a specific maturity level in the processes in place. Only then you can think of their automation. Maturity includes standard processes in place with benchmarking and plans to succeed. As a matter of fact, it requires consistency, patience, and knowledge for standardization of business processes. It is not that you just establish a process and start thinking of its automation. Firstly, you need to ascertain it to reach to a level.\

Since there is a tremendous increase in data to handle in an organization that demands a high volume of repetitive tasks, it is good to go for business process automation. Utilizing intelligent manpower for such kind of activities is a waste of talent and resource. It will, in fact, impact the growth of not only the individual but also of the organization. Logically, business and IT is a symbiotic relationship. IT has to help business in its growth with the help of latest IT machines and information systems. At the same time, business has to ensure a continuous flow of funds for upkeep and upgrade of existing machines, systems, and manpower. None of the two has to become stagnant thus losing importance in the organizational ecosystem. In fact, it implies for any two departments or functions too in the same way. That is how business runs successfully.

Business Process Automation Is The Need Of The Hour

Modernization of IT systems is important to stay ahead in this world of technology. Organizations don’t hesitate in overhauling of the complete setup, if need arises to that extent. It depends how old legacy systems are there are part of business dependencies. A continuous review of existing business process is crucial.


October 20, 2017  12:41 PM

Dynamic File Management Should Cater To Four Key Functions

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Data, Data sharing

Dynamic File Management system comes into picture where flexibility is in demand. In fact, it is every enterprise’s requirement. But think of an environment of an auditing firm or an investigating firm where the access and authorizations change on a regular basis depending on customers and the executives handling those customers. In fact, this extent of these requirements is always there in varying prepositions in most of the organizations. For all such organizations this solution is one of the top priorities. All in all, it has to cater to four key functions in order to serve well. These four functions are Analyze, Move, Manage, and Explore. As we all know, data is the new asset for any organization. That is why no enterprise can dare to ignore this aspect. Most of the organizations believe in automating file workflow. It requires proper file analysis on various parameters.

File Analysis parameters are size and type of file, owner, access type, duration of access, and so on. All this is a part of Dynamic File Management. A concrete log mechanics has to be there in order to control any ambiguities in rules. Logs also become handy for auditors and forensic purposes. If automation to a larger extent is able to suffice the purpose, why not go for it. Automation in workflows is always beneficial in terms of increasing mobility, productivity, and accuracy. If the complete automation is accurately built, the automation part avoids manual intervention and the accuracy part brings error-free mechanism. This brings a high level of consistency in the whole ecosystem. That, in fact, helps in raising the level of trust in the organization. As a result, it leads to a higher value in employee satisfaction level. This kind of companies achieves higher success rate.

Dynamic File Management Helps In A Big Way

Business rules and roles & responsibilities help in defining authorization and access levels of individuals. Accordingly, the file movement takes place in the system. In fact, alert and escalation process is a useful add-on in Dynamic File Management system. The system generates auto-alerts and escalates the things accordingly to the right hierarchy depending on the exception and its severity. It is always good to create meaningful rules for exceptions.


October 20, 2017  9:41 AM

Data Storage Management To Scale Up For High Reliability

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Big Data

Data Storage Management is one of the top five priorities of any enterprise. Though the ownership lies with the centralized IT but only to the extent of the technical solution. The sanctity, usage, and usefulness have to be with the respective departments or functions who are the controlling agents of their data coming from any source. Obviously, the data is increasing at a tremendous speed and so are the risks that associate with it. Now, all kind of data thefts is happening online after the world has become digital. The funny part is that many organizations who accumulate a huge pool of data in their data centers don’t use it to that extent. It impacts them in two ways. The cost of data management goes higher and creates a deficit since there is no significant use of that data is happening. This is quite a sad state.

On the other hand, there are organizations that are taking full advantage of data and driving their business with the help of analytics tools in a best possible manner. In any case, data storage management requirements are increasing thus demanding it to scale up for higher reliability and availability. Four prominent factors that ensure reliability are scale, distance, security, availability. It is immaterial of the size of an organization. Rather, it depends on the line of business and severity of data. So, the volume of data, definitely, plays a major role. If there are multiple data centers, the distance between those is also an important consideration. In a way, file management system becomes a sub-component of data management. Security will have a triangular aspect. The three corners of that security triangle would be global, local, and industry-specific. And it is important to cater to all the three.

Data Storage Management Solutions Have To Be Secured

Automation is the key in today’s world of technology and digital. It is important to create a strong shield around your Data Storage Management Solution. The new digital economy very clearly states Data as the most precious asset for any enterprise.


October 19, 2017  11:23 PM

New Digital Economy Says Data Is The Top Valued Asset of an Enterprise

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Digital economy

New Digital Economy says data is the new currency. In fact, in today’s world, it is the top valued asset of an enterprise. But most of the organizations don’t understand it and thus doesn’t take it seriously. But they forget one important learning of the business. Anything that is relevant to your business you are ignoring or not giving proper value becomes a powerful tool for their competitors. In an organization, most of the day remains in custody of IT who don’t know how too accrue it in business terms. Or even if they try to get something out of it, it is from IT’s perspective and not the business perspective. That is the reason the cost of data becomes a burden rather than accruing benefit out of it. What could be the reason? Is it the lack of business engagement or involvement?

Or it is an indication of too much dependency on IT? It might also be a reason of ignorance. Whatever is the case, New Digital Economy is something that is becoming a top most priority for a business to drive it in right direction. Logically, every business unit needs to have their individual data management mechanism, dashboard, and a set of intelligent tools. Going a step further, within a business unit, each of the key department should have a similar kind of setup. This is remove dependency of a business unit from centralized IT. At the same time, the similar dependecy of deparments on their IT will go off. This can happen only if they follow above two steps. The way data is growing at a tremendous speed, it is becoming the need of the hour. Otherwise data will keep on accumulating and servers become data dumping yards.

New Digital Economy Is The Key To Success

It is strange that data storage and upkeep is IT’s requirement. But when something happens to data like data loss, the respective departments start blaming IT. This relationship between IT and the respective departments or a business unit needs to strengthen right from the point of origin of data with a co-ownership model.


October 13, 2017  10:53 PM

Digital Transformation Achieved with Dynamic File Management

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
Digital economy

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Cuong Le, Senior Vice President of Field Operations for Data Dynamics to discuss what has become a very hot topic – “digital transformation.” He shared with me his thoughts on the challenges being faced by those hoping to reap digital transformation’s numerous benefits, as well as strategies and technologies that are successful in overcoming them. We then went on to discuss the recent introduction of the Data Dynamics StorageX 8.0 dynamic file management platform.

Q: Digital transformation is topping the list of virtually every business and IT professional’s priority list. And while the benefits are numerous, the obstacles are abundant as well. What are the primary challenges your customers are facing today?

C.L.: Organizations must adapt to meet the requirements of the new digital economy where data is the most prized asset. Unfortunately, the management of the underlying storage for this most valuable of assets still remains with centralized IT, who look at data from an infrastructure perspective, as a cost to manage, rather than the asset that it is.

The challenge is to shift the management of data storage from centralized IT to individual business units. Agile management of data storage requires a modern file management solution that can scale to today’s storage needs and can address the challenge of distributed, heterogeneous storage.

Data growth is compounded by distributed data repositories that create technical challenges and place a large burden on the IT staff.

Proprietary storage resources create technology barriers. It prevents or creates obstacles to file movement and depending on where data is relocated, new proprietary technology creates lock-in once again, continuing the cycle of vendor lock-in.

For organizations who successfully make this transition, it will lead to a more focused approach to each application’s and user’s need for data and their ability to access it when and where they want it.

Q: Do these challenges differ across geographies, vertical markets, and/or size of organization? Likewise, are you seeing differences in challenges between business and governmental agencies?

C.L.: Three factors that pressure data storage management are scale, distance, and security – all which vary depending on organization size, the distance between data centers and industry-specific security issues. For large, multi-national corporation, successful data storage management requires sophisticated file management solutions that can scale to petabytes of data and perform with high reliability.

Automated file management workflows enabled by API’s are key when managing petabytes of data. GUI storage management consoles are sufficient for managing tens of terabytes of data, but when the job scales to hundreds of terabytes or petabytes, a GUI console is not practical and is prone to operator error. API’s empower DevOps, IT Service Management, and line of business organization to implement file data management practices in their applications. To ensure file data is managed the way they need it to, but also ensure that its available to provide the highest value to the business. The most efficient data management is always to have it done by those who know and own the data.

Data security is an important issue for all industries, in particular for the government, financial and healthcare which are popular targets for hackers. File permissions are a vital part of an organization’s security; therefore, when moving files and restructuring file systems, a modern file management solution is needed that can ensure that all file permission remain intact before, after and during the migration. Business is also very dynamic with mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures they need the ability to change and establish the right file permissions as needed.

Q: What strategies/technologies are topping the list as possible solutions?

A dynamic file management solution is top on the list. A dynamic file management solution is responsible for three key functions: analyze, move and manage.

  • – File analysis is a requirement to build an automated file migration workflow. Files are analyzed by size, type, owner, last access (and more) and selected by migration and management. Integrated file analytics ensure accuracy as file information flows directly into the workflow without manual intervention.
  • – File movement is scheduled based on the organization’s business requirements. Sophisticated file movement processes allow for network throttling, stop/restart, and provide full item-level reporting for each file moved, including exceptions.
  • – File management policies support file lifecycle management and cloud tiers. Organizations can design automated policies to manage files on an ongoing basis to support business needs.
  • Q: You recently launched StorageX 8 – could you tell us a bit about it and how it addresses the aforementioned challenges?

    C.L.: The StorageX 8.0 dynamic file management platform empowers you to analyze, move, manage and modernize your data where you need it and when you need it, from your data center to the cloud. StorageX is built using industry standards and operates completely out of the data path, freeing your data from technology lock-in, complexity and risk. Enterprises who are consolidating data centers and modernizing legacy applications rely on StorageX, the most trusted name in file management.

    The StorageX’s powerful analytics empower you to deeply explore your managed storage resources based on name, location, creation, last access, attributes, and SID. Analytics directly feed automated policy workflows for Phased Migration, Archival Migration, file to object conversion and more. Using StorageX, you are in control of Your data. You can move files confidently from File-to-Object or File-to-File and place YOUR data in the location YOU want to optimize your business strategy. It empowers its users to:

  • – Use powerful analytics to uncover the truth about your storage resources
  • – Add custom tags and meta information to drive your business processes and file analytics
  • – Utilize tiering, archival, and replication
  • – Unleash the power of your data and transform your business
  • – Let automated, policy-driven workflows power data migration
  • – Breakdown the barriers of incompatible and distributed managed storage resources
  • – Archive unstructured files to object and access using the StorageX Retrieval Portal
  • – Modernize applications to directly access object files via the StorageX Developer APIs

  • September 30, 2017  3:54 PM

    Endgame Testing Is An End-To-End Complete Product Exploration

    Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
    Agile, quality

    The overall scope of Endgame Testing varies from product to product but its sole purpose is to perform those testings that are not part of sprint testings in Agile. These would include complete functional, load and performance, security, usability, and integrity testing. Basically, it covers those testings that involve complete product rather than its parts or sprints. As the book, Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams says that in this case, you need to concentrate on overall product functionality. In fact, it should “confirm that the application is working correctly, give you added confidence in the product, and provide information for the next iteration or release.” Logically if you see exploratory testing as part of the Endgame Testing makes a lot of sense. It, as a matter of fact, helps in identifying defects in a very effective manner. This testing happens just before the release.

    Here user’s perspective plays a major role. It emphasizes on a smooth flow between various components that different teams develop as part of an Agile project. Integration, user experience, and logical flow are the key point of focus in this testing. The purpose is to find out the defects or flaws in the product that are not possible to identify inside agile teams. And it includes flawless flow across the product. If we see, in Waterfall approach, there is an ample scope of testing the product as a whole. But the same is missing in agile where there is no such test group. Rather, in Agile, each team handles testing and development of only the component they handle. Even the forward or backward integration testing is partial with the help of emulators or mocks. More or less, every component’s testing is in isolation.

    Endgame Testing is the last step before production

    Overall, the goal of endgame testing is to explore and evaluate a product in terms of the value it provides to the customer.


    September 30, 2017  2:49 PM

    Security Testing Steps For Testing Team Of An Organization

    Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
    Application security, code security

    Security Testing is not a new phenomenon but its depth is compellingly increasing due to avoid security flaws in an app that becomes an invitation for hackers. If we follow proper security testing steps everything can be taken care of to a larger extent. In fact, it is essential to understand these steps thoroughly.

    A concrete plan plays a major role in the success of any project. Without planning execution is always prone to failure. You can form a strategy only if you have a solid plan in place. Especially in case of security testing, it has to be exceptionally well in terms of identification of all the vulnerable areas to look into. Rather, a scenario wise plan will be a batter preposition. Actually, flow of business logic goes into coding. After coding (or during coding) you need to spend some time with developers to get the crux of flow of the same logic in the application. That means the busines flow not becomes application flow. In addition to helpin in mapping the both, it also helps in identification of logical vulnerabilities. Though automated tools help in testing but still vulnerabilities like authorization bypass should be taken care of in manual testing.

    Threat modeling is next to go for in Security Testing Steps. If you design a model of high-level threats to the application, it helps a lot in creating proper test cases. Identification of development components like coding language, technology stacks, technology platforms, etc. are also part of the same step. With the help of historical data of other projects you can ascertain the pros and cons of each of these components.

    Security Testing Steps Provide Guideline

    Selection of right testing tools is critical. Open source tools like Zed Attack Proxy and Nmap are good in that zone.

    Don’t perform testing just for the sake of it. These Security Testing Steps are just a guideline. Relying completely on automation in testing is another weakness. Hackers would be happy if you don’t apply your mind in customizing it and taking a step ahead of standard style of testing.

    Security is the key driver in all Security Testing Steps. Don’t ignore SAST (Static Application Security Testing) and DAST (Dynamic Application Security Testing).


    September 30, 2017  12:08 PM

    Security Flaws – Top 3 Code Vulnerabilities Causing Security Gaps

    Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
    Application security, code security

    Increasing presence on internet demands higher level of security. Same way, enterprises are moving to cloud for residing their valuable data and applications. All this attracts potential risks, especially in terms of virus, ransomware, and malware. In fact, hackers only need a small wsecurity flaw to penetrate into your servers thus causing a big harm to your data and applications. Not only that, this in turn, also impacts business continuity and reputation. In adition, there are huge financial losses due to heavy ransom demand for unlocking or decrypting your data. Any vulnerability in code can produce leakages and security gaps. Though there are many leakage possibilities of that you need to think of while writing a code. As a matter of fact, testing has to be the strongest area in the whole development cycle. You need to find the best of the tools, methodologies, and skill to tackle that.

    The most common gap in coding causing security flaw is Hidden Field Manipulation. This is most prominent in e-commerce portals. On the other hand, you need to adopt extra protection for an e-commerce website due to the kind of transactions it handles. Recently there was a case reporting a billion of loss during a month due to amounts getting debited from the company account insrtead of customer’s accounts for purchase transactions. Was it due to a flaw in code or an intentional move by an employee is yet to ascertain. In Hidden Field Manipulation, applications encapsulate some hidden fields within web pages. Due to immature handling of coding standards some of these field carrying highly crucial information might land a company into a big trouble.

    Security Flaws Can Land An Enterprise Into Big Trouble

    The second most common factor responsible for security flaws due to code vulnerability is Cross-site Scripting. This, in fact, is more prone to happen because of careless coding. It becomes a golden gate for hackers letting them steal sessions or inject malicious content thus defacing a webpage to vulnerable content or redirecting users to malicious sites.

    Security Flaws

    Photo via Visualhunt.com

    The third most common loophole in coding is Cross-site Request Forgery. This kind of Secutiry Flaws happen due to negligence of coders while coding. If acode doesn’t understand the value of random tokens and reauthentication on a critical data transaction page, it could cause havoc. In fact, if these two factors are mssing an attacker becomes free to perform transactions on behalf of users. Depending on the accessibility rights of a user, the intruder can cause any volume of damage to an organization.


    September 30, 2017  8:26 AM

    Security Testing for Web Applications Is A No Compromise Affair

    Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
    Application security, Cloud Security, code security

    Increasing presence on the web is also exposing our applications and data to higher risk. These risks include cyber attacks that are now increasingly creating panic for enterprises. That is why security testing for all kind of web applications are very important. In fact, important to an extent that there should be no scope of an iota of compromise in that. It not only require suitable taskforce and tools but also exhaustive security testing plans. This planning should start right from the beginning of a project. The overall purpose is not only to ensure a secure application launch but also a riskfree user experience. Achieving this is not a difficult task. But you need have some fundamental things in place before you start. Because building a strong security fence within the code provides you a good amount of confidence to go ahead. Adopting a right path is important.

    Security Testing

    Photo via Visualhunt

    With Petabyes of data transactions happening across the internet with the help of a large number of web applications calls for a tight security testing methodology. An end user will always expect a hassle free experience in this regard. Monitoring every transaction is an impossible task. Hence, a foolproof exception handling mechanism needs to be there in place. That too with respective provision of automatic alerts and alarms. There is an overall atmophere of panic due to continuous cyber attacks. A higher number of virus attack incidents also indicate increasing threat in our digital space. This, in turn, demands adopting right tools, people, and methodologies to tackle these issues. In fact, there are a number of reasons to increase the intensity of security testing for web applications. The key is realization. Without realization nobody understands the gravity of matter. It is not necessary to wait for an incident.

    Security Testing Should Be a Top Agenda

    Enterprises need to act smart in creating comprehensive security testing agenda rather than launching a web application without bothering about it. After all, creating a secure customer experience is the call of the day.


    September 25, 2017  8:24 PM

    Huawei Connect 2017 Releases Open Edge Computing IoT

    Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
    Enterprise IoT, Huawei, Infosys, innovation

    Three industry experts in their respective fields join hands to adopt open edge computing IoT. The aim is to adopt innovative practices. Huawei joins hands with Infosys and Wapwag at Huawei Connect 2017 for this mission. Infosys is a leading provider of Information Technology and business consulting services in the global arena. Wapwag is a provider of smart water affair solutions. Huawei, as we know, is a leading global ICT (information and communications technology) solutions provider. The ultimate goal is to enrich lives and enhance efficiency by connecting world in a better way. Together they release a series of important innovative practices that include smart robots/ machine tools and smart water affairs based on open edge computing IoT. This, in turn, will definitely help in accelerating the implementation of industry applications. Industries like manufacturing and water management are developing towards intelligent IoT because of digital transformation.

    Huawei Connect 2017

    Photo credit: ntr23 via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

    Despite all technological advancements, the network front still enocunters a number of challenges. Those include managing heterogeneous connections, data analysis, data processing, and device management. That is where the need of smart industrial robots or macchine tools solutions arise. For this Huawei and Infosys have been working together for some time to find out solutions using open edge computing IoT. The solution also supports the interconnection with industrial robots or machine tools from different suppliers. In addition, it rapidly adapts to intelligent data processing requirements in various industrial manufacturing scenarios. Obviously, this helps manufactures in a great way to proactively predict faults thereby improving maintenance efficiency of robots and machine tools. In addition, Huawei and Wapwag jointly launch the innovative smart water affairs solution at Huawei Connect 2017. This solution works on the basis of edge computing IoT and has a high level of adaptibility under differnt working conditions.

    Huawei Connect 2017 witnesses 116 partnerships

    The solution presented at Huawei Connect 2017 works perfectly even when there are many types of interfaces and protocols. Thus, it meets the demand of intelligent data processing at the edge in different water management scenarios. In addition, it realizes intelligent connections of water supply devices. Also, it manages scenarios like where old and new water supply devices coexist. Or when you deploy devices from multiple plants. As of now, Huawei edge computing IoT has plenty of use cases in fields like elevator connection networks, smart manufacturing, power IoT, smart cities, smart water affairs, and lighting IoT. As a matter of fact, Huawei had recently 116 partnerships in the industry in order to initiate the Edge Computing Consortium (ECC). In addition, these partnerships also aim to promote rapid innovation and accelerate digital transformation through open architecture.

    Already more than 100 countries and regions across the globe are using Huawei enterprise network products and solutions. To accelerate enterprise digital transformation there is an intense need of smart connection of everything. That has been the primary aim of Huawei Connect 2017. As a matter of fact, as of now, 197 of the Fortune 500 and 45 of the top 100 have selected Huawei as their digital transformation partner.


    September 25, 2017  6:21 PM

    Social Media Education Becoming Important To Impart

    Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
    social media

    Fragkiskos Filippaios is the co-author of the paper “Social Career Management: Social Media and Employability Skills Gap”. He is also associate dean for graduate studies at the University of Kent. Social Media Education, according to him, has become an integral part of education. Especially higher education has to take a lead in this. “Universities and colleges fail to appreciate the need to include the use of online social networks in the curriculum,” he says. “Therefore, there is an urgent need to equip graduates and future professionals with those tools.” Practically, if we see, social media is (or rather has already) penetrating every level of society in personal and professional capacity substantially. In fact, businesses that function similar to social media platforms are getting successful. Similarly, business apps that work like social media platforms get more appreciation from its users, especially the millennial forming a substantial share in any organization.

    Social Media Education

    Photo credit: mkhmarketing via Visual Hunt / CC BY

    Gradually a time will come when every employee at a workplace will be equally contributing to the organization’s social media management. That is why social media education becomes more important and essential. As a matter of fact, many enterprises are already taking it quite seriously. There is a paradigm shift from assigning social media responsibilities to a particular team or person to recognizing that it has become the responsibility of all employees. Otherwise, it makes a good sense. You can’t keep away your employees from social media platforms. In fact, if that is the case, let them also be a stakeholder in the responsibilities. As a matter of fact, two years back there was a study published by Altimeter that says 47 percent of organizations provide social business training for their staff. In 2013 it was 45 percent.

    You Can Get Online Social Media Education Easily

    That is the reason of existence of social media training and certification sites offering online courses like SocialB, Splash Media U, Expert Rating, Hootsuite Academy, Market Motive, and Mediabistro. In fact, Social Media Education Certificate from these and likewise online academies carries substantial weightage.


    September 22, 2017  2:17 PM

    IoT Products Need Increased Adoption and Customer Engagement

    Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
    Customer engagement, Enterprise IoT, iot

    There is a lot happening around regarding the new technologies like IoT, IIoT, Big Data, Cloud Migration, Cloud Security, Analytics, and so on. For any technology to mark success, its adoption and mass engagement is important. The same us true for IoT Products too. While we talk about smart home, smart buildings, smart cities, smart transport, etc., IoT, perhaps, is the basis of all this. But before arriving at a stage where you really start working on smart technologies, a basic framework has to be in place. In such kind of project mass engagement and mass acceptance is one of the most winning criteria. And how do you achieve that? Obviously, design something that appeals to masses. And why will something appeal to masses? When they find some benefit in that technology. Because we know the power of technology. Also, we all crave for betterment in life.

    IoT Products can bring revolution in life. But there are certain guidelines to that. Firstly, it is about delivery. What are you going to deliver to the customer or user? What additional services, functionalities, and capabilities will happen and how will it enhance the value of customer adoption? Secondly, any IoT Project requires some seamless outcomes. For this, you need to develop or adopt suitable strategies right from data gathering to implementation. Thirdly, whenever there is a good level of adoption and engagement you need to materialize it to study user behavior, level of satisfaction, risks, etc, and then accordingly enhance your product. User experience is the key thing in the whole cycle. Something has to be there that is beyond customer expectation. That something extra could add a huge value to customer experience. These are some basic things to keep in mind while developing the product.

    IoT Products need to have a direct impact on consumer’s life

    Above all, it is always wise to keep looking into the future. Whatever IoT Products we talk, think, develop, or deploy, it has to have a substantial impact on consumer’s life.


    September 19, 2017  9:47 PM

    How Critical Is Social Media Presence For An Enterprise?

    Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja
    Social collaboration, social media, Social networking

    Social Media presence is becoming as important for an enterprise as the physical world. Any thread related to the organization on any of the social media platforms – good or bad – can’t be ignored. It needs to be addressed to in a timely manner. In fact, in an almost real-time environment. Paradigms are changing fastly. If you ignore Social media, networking, and analytics, it may become one of the key reasons of downfall in business revenue and reputation. As a matter of fact, your ignorance might become bliss for your competitors. Social collaboration and social networking are becoming two important factors for employees, external stakeholders, and customer connect. Gone are the days when FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. were not permitted during office hours. In fact, now social media presence matters a lot to any organization. Human Resource, CXOs, and Marketing & Sales have to be an integral part of it.

    Social Media Presence

    Photo via VisualHunt.com

    Merely social media presence will not suffice the purpose. There are many enterprises having an account on twitter for instance but are not at all active there. You need to understand the power of social collaboration and social analytics. As a matter of fact, this can give you ample information about your customers and their liking or dislike about your products or services. In fact, social media connect has taken a leap over contact number or email address of an organization. As a customer, if you want to start a communication thread with an organization social media is the first choice. As a matter of fact, you find organizations replying faster on social media posts than the emails and phone calls. That is the power of social media. In fact, social media teams are a middle layer between the external world and an organization as a strong pillar.

    Social Media Presence Counts A Lot

    Taking advantage of social media presence you need to create an effective data pool.


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