Who says a good programmer can’t become a good tester? It is important to learn how good programmers be a good software tester. Most of the people will say quite confidently that a good programmer can’t be a good tester. But if you look at it from another angle you will also agree that a good programmer can be a good tester as well. In fact, if a good programmer understands few realities, he will easily learn how a good programmer be a good software tester. While programming is creativity, testing is in a way anti-creativity. Because a tester always tries to find bugs in the software that a programmer builds. Now look at it this way.
The role of a tester is to find out the defects in a code. This, in turn, enhances the capabilities of a programmer. Hence, a programmer should always be thankful to the testers who spend energies to find out flaws in his creation. Once a programmer learns two exclusive arts, it will be quite easy for him to understand how a programmer be a good software tester. These two arts are self-analysis and self-criticism. Criticism, in fact, is a very constructive tool. If a programmer is able to open his third eye, which is the eye of criticism, he can easily be a good tester. The love for your own creation stays forever. The same is true in the case of a programmer for his program or code.
How Good Programmers Be A Good Software Tester?
But after coding, if he learns to have a critical analysis of his code, it can help him to make it bug-free. Although it is difficult to weigh equally criticism like praises, it is quite important. This, in fact, helps a programmer to build stringent test cases. Which, in turn, will help in a micro level testing of the product. Rather, it will also remove the generic fear-factor that lies underneath. Finding flaws by the tester and getting known to all, especially seniors builds a fear in any programmer. But crossing this hurdle is crucial in learning how good programmers be a good software tester.
Moreover, walking on two two different roads will bring in the expertise of both. Otherwise, regular coding and only coding will make you only a good programmer. On the other hand, handling a double sword in a professional way will make you double-expert. Hopefully, by now you have become aware of how good programmers be a good software tester.
The person in this question is Bachelor of Engineering in EEE (Electrical and Electronics Engineering). Also, she has very poor knowledge about programming. But she wants to become a good software tester. Therefore, she wants to know the important skills to develop for this purpose. My reply goes like this. Having done EEE or not having good knowledge about programming doesn’t qualify that you have the right aptitude to become a good software tester. Software testing is not an easy task. And it also requires good scripting knowledge. You will have to write queries to run test scripts in software testing.
Software testing is checking the loopholes, leakages, and shortfalls in meeting customer requirements. This is not an easy task to become a good software tester. You need to have certain specific kind of skillset to ascertâin this. Check if you are able to clear advance level STQC exam or test. There is a basic level test that anybody can clear. But for clearing the advanced level STQC test you need to be very clear and thorough on software testing and quality.
Some Tips to Become A Good Software Tester
An analytical mind is ïmportant to become a good software tester. In software testing, your mind must work as a business analyst. Only then you will be able to understand exact customer requirements. And you can test a software only if you understand customer/business requirements thoroughly. It is quite clear̆ that to test a product you must be in customer’s shoes. If you can’t try to use a software like a customer, you won’t be able to justify your job of a good software tester. whether you are a part of automation testing or manual testing, coding and scripting are important to learn. Though you won’t be doing it as much as a programmer. But it is necessary. Otherwise, it becomes difficult for survival.
Well, if you think IoT Predictive Maintenance SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) is going to be same as of an enterprise, you are wrong. Even If it is a large size enterprise, it still can’t match ITO predictive maintenance SOA. IoT Predictive Maintenance SOA will be entirely different from a regular predictive maintenance SOA keeping Enterprise Architecture in mind. Typically an enterprise or company level maintenance is taken care of by internal staff or may be a hybrid setup. Hybrid setup might have various propositions. In few cases, an external agency will be minimal, while in others it could share a major chunk. Moreover, in certain cases, some organizations outsource it completely. You can correlate it with a lift contract where the vendor or service agency visits every quarter for preventive maintenance activities.
An IoT system will be not as simple as above. It will be extremely heterogeneous. While in the case of a medium or small organization most of the preventive maintenance jobs are internal. But in the case of IoT predictive maintenance SOA, there will be a high dependency on external agencies. And that too not a single but many. In such cases, a very high level of coordination is important. In fact, there will be a large team for coordination. Definitely, if you automate this system to a large extent, then the system itself can take care of coordination mechanism. In such kind of automation, the system will generate reminders, alerts, escalations and so on.
Moreover, governance is manifold and most crucial. In fact, coordination and governance will have complete responsibility in streamlining the mechanism. Basically, IoT Predictive Maintenance SOA will involve many vendors, government agencies, private companies, and individual professionals.
IoT Predictive Maintenance SOA
In the nutshell, IoT predictive maintenance SOA is like an ocean accommodating many ecosystems. While, an enterprise architecture will vary like pond and river.
In my opinion, Data Governance and Management Director should have a dual reporting. Since he is responsible for the maintenance of master data of the organizational critical database, the quality, integrity, and consistency matters most. In such a case, he should report to Director Quality Control & Audits. Because quality control is important. A small glitch in that could cause a severe loss of the organization’s reputation. Especially in financial and legal matters. There have to be regular audits and inbuilt strong control mechanism. The team will always be confident of their processes and procedures. That is why an external control and audits are necessary for exhaustive data governance.
Moreover, the same team that is responsible for data governance and management is also responsible for few more key activities. These are monitoring data quality, governance rules for updating/changing. For administering those rules, a parallel reporting must be assigned to the head of mainstream business applications. In this case, if it is SAP, then the reporting can be done to the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of the business. In fact, I would recommend a third reporting to CISO (Chief Information Security Officer). In the nutshell, it forms a core governing body for data governance.
On the other hand, there are many organizations that don’t support or entertain dual or multiple reporting. If your organization falls into this category, then let the reporting go to CISO. Because this role also has to play a major role in data governance. In that case, the other two will be the integral members of the core governance body. This governing body not only takes care of data governance but also relevant activities as above.
Data management is a serious affair. There are examples where a negligence in this regard has gone ïnto long legal battles resultïng in hefty penalties and business closures.
Yes, there are ways of measuring ROI of PR and advertising. And that too in an effective manner. In fact, there are two kinds of PR and advertising efforts in any organization or business. Initially, there will be new plans and executions. But gradually, there will be new as well as the ongoing activities. Even in some cases, few of the activities are of a short span. These are in fact, lïke a project. Measuring ROI of PR and advertising is possible only if you follow certain rules. For instance, If there are new advertising and PR efforts, you must know some basic thïngs clearly and objectively. Firstly, you must be very clear about your expected outcome. Because only then you can measure ROI. Break your expected outcomes into small components and then measure accordingly. It is something like WBS (work breakdown structure) in Project Management.
Let us take some concrēte examples of measuring ROI of PR and advertiṣing. For instance, your new activity is advertising on social media platforms. And you are advertising about a new Insurance Plan. Your ROI, in this case, is to achieve hits as per plan. In addition, the analytics must talk about the conversions. Because mere hits can’t result in business. But still, hits are important. Since without hits you can’t get conversions. It is the number of conversions that bring revenue. If you fail in achieving hits and conversions more than your plan, then the whole project needs analysis. Your campaign might be good and effective but the advertisement itself might not be effective to draw attention.
ROI of PR and Advertising
Similarly, for the same Insurance Plan launch you hire a PR agency to drive a blogger’s meet. The agenda is to invite bloggers. Educate them on the new plan and expect a post from each on their blog. The purpose is to spread the message as far as possible. And to the most feasible auḏience. ROI of PR and advertising depends on certain factors. But firstly, you objectives must be crystal clear.
There is no standard set for measuring Social media ROI. Firstly, it is not run sensibly. Even an organization is not clear who owns this portfolio. The probable candidates are – Marketing, Sales, IT, MIS, or Operations. Why Operations? Just think. Actually, Social Media ROI is a tricky thing. Firstly, like in any investment, or project, there has to be a clarity on what you want to achieve. I see many companies just landing on any social media platform officially and randomly. In such cases, they are not clear on the purpose and there in no agenda in their plan. With such anomaly, you can never think of social media ROI. Secondly, if you are clear about your goals, have you a plan in place?
It is important to learn which platform or platforms you should pitch in. Spending your energies on all platforms is not possible, nor advisable. Thirdly, never invest your money on an external agency thinking you are in safe hands and everything to smooth. Remember, your involvement and engagement is very important. Never let them drive the show without your involvement. Lastly, list down what all you are investing in building your social media ROI.
Social Media ROI
At times many companies do it on an event basis. While others do it on a regular basis. Both are fine. But it all depends on your business and your goals. An example of event-based social media drive is a yearly beauty pageant every year in a particular month. The company sleeps over social media during eight months after the event is over. But the moment next event registrations are about to start, they become quite active on their social media pages and accounts. Moreover, it depends on the particular campaign which you run on a social media platform.
Practically ROI is possible only if you are clear of the desired outcomes you have in mind. Some people claim higher outreach. Though it is important, but that is of no use if it has not come to the right or correct segment of people. Otherwise, a mere tweet with no purpose will not fetch any desired results though it may result in a surprise outcome.
Obviously like any other investment, ROI of BI is quite possible. You know operational and capital expenses on a BI. But this is one side of the picture. There are many things you have to think of. Why you deploy BI is important to understand. Definitely, management approval comes only once you are able to justify the investment. And this justification comes only if you are able to convince them. There are certain things to keep in mind while trying to convince them. Never speak vendor’s language. Rather do your homework properly, accurately and completely with the vendor before taking the case to your management for discussion and their approval. Probe your vendors as much as possible. And in complete depth.
Firstly, you need to be convinced. You must be very clear about what is the purpose of deploying BI in your organization. In addition, it is important to únderṣtand the goals to achieve. In fact, the goals must be clear function wise, and for the organization. Rather, arrive at a micro level picture than looking at it broadly. Once you are clear about purpose and goals, then your task becomes easier. Never talk to a single vendor. Even if you are talking to multiple vendors, they must be representing different solutions/products.
ROI of BI
To calculate ROI of BI, here are some key points. It must decrease time to release management reports and dashboard. In return, decision-making must become fast. A time must come after some time of installation when critical information is available in real-time or near to real-time. Think on these lines and you will generate more ideas in this regard. There need to be objective criteria to measure ROI of BI. A regular monitoring is important to analyze the results and outcomes. In fact, you must question the vendor or installation partner before your management starts questioning you. Be a little proactive in this regard.
Recently I was at one of the busiest Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) outlet. We are drawing some important project management lessons from my experience there. The outlet is at Rajiv Chowk Metro Station in New Delhi. During my transit, I was feeling hungry. And that is the reason I was there to grab some quick bytes. There are few good project management lessons for a grab too. But before that, it is important to correlate it in terms of project management. It goes like this. Firstly, each table is a customer organization. Secondly, all the people sitting on a table are various departments of an organization. Thirdly, each order is customer requirement. As a matter of fact, some requirements may demand certain variation from the standard recipe. This is customization in the scope of work.
Floor manager is the Project Manager. Chefs, kitchen staff, cleaning staff, and serving staff are the teams. And these teams are workïng on various projects at the same time. In fact, same resources are working on multiple projects. The items in the menu are deliverables. And each constituent in the menu item is agreed on deliverables. We ordered two desserts and three food items. The filling in one of the sandwich was very less. Both desserts were missing few constituents. Moreover, in one of the food items, stuffing was too spicy. And it was very oily too.
There was a need for some actions. The project manager should know project anomalies. If delivēables are not as per commitment, it is time to raise an alarm. Hence I told the service staff to call the floor manager. In no time the floor manager was there. A conversation was about to start between a customer and project head.
Project Management Lessons
Firstly, I showed him the stuffing in the sandwich and he agreed that it was less. That is a good sign of a project manager. A good project manager will agree if there is a shortfall in the product or service. Unnecessary arguments and false claims are a big ‘No’ for a project manager. Then the desserts were also replaced. This is not a good sign. If the ingredients were available, why it was not there in first go. This is another set of project management lessons. Never leave loose ends for the customer to catch you for wrong reasons.
This is the last post in the series of interview with Rohan Shravan about his journey, learning, and the new product #iamAble Able 10 tablet for professionals. In this post, we are talking about 4 Quality Control Stages that helped Notion Ink Device Labs to offer Swap Warranty in a glitch-free manner. These 4 Quality Control Stages are quite stringent. At each stage, I learned, there is a high volume of rejection. And that rejection helps the organization to churn out the best of the pieces. Hence it helps in lowering down the rejection and defect occurring at consumer or user level.
9. What all stringent quality measures are taken during its development lifecycle?
SWAP warranty for us is possible because our devices go through 4 Quality Control stages. Primary QC is done by our manufacturing plant, which confirms the mean time between failure numbers for us. Then our team, right on the assembly line rejects devices which do not conform to the functional or design requirements. In next stage, we get the QC done through a 3rd party agency, which adds a very strong impartial look at everything. Finally, the devices are airs-hipped to India to reduce in-transit time and damage. Once they reach our labs, every single device again goes through full functional as well as design coherence test. That’s when we add those Mint chewing gums and our letters as well for our customers.
10. End consumer or business? Where does it fit best?
It is best suited for Mobile professionals. Our core focus with Able is enterprise through it is available online as well for Consumers looking for a reliable device instant connectivity.
11. Is this an international product?
Yes, it is also available in European Enterprise Market.
12. Please throw some light on the battery part. What is the backup it provides?
Able has 8100 mAh Battery. On normal usage, it should work for 8 hours with any trouble, but battery performance depends on a lot of things. On a poor Wifi network watching youtube can drain Able in under 6 hours as well.
4 Quality Control Stages demands high discipline
13. What is the current volume and pricing model?
All enterprise orders are different. Most go with Windows Pro licences, want 2 or 3 years of either SWAP or onsite Warranty, as well as additional spares. So pricing for Enterprise segment can vary anywhere between INR 24990 to INR 34990. In the consumer market, Able is available at INR 24990.
14. Any other aspect you would like to highlight if skipped by me?
One thing which differentiates us from others is our in-house design. Everything you see in Able goes out from our lab. We feel the designers have more connect with the consumer using their devices and if then something goes wrong as compared to traders for whom it was the Chinese guys who did some mistake. We are very emotional about products and every feedback helps us improve further.
15. What next in terms of technology and upscaling?
We feel there is a need for a proper product which can compete with Microsoft Surface. The Surface is an excellent example of a 2in1 which can replace your laptops. We are very keen to enter this segment, but the price point needs to be correct. We are hoping we can surprise people soon.
This is the third post in the series. We are interviewing Rohan Shravan, CEO, Notion Ink Design Labs. While the previous two posts are about his journey and learning, this post is about iamAble. iamAble is Able 10, the modern age tablet cum mini laptop. In fact, iamAble is for all professionals who don’t want to compromise with their work on the move. It is for all time connectivity with the business and profession. While it is a great solution for corporate mobile teams, it is an equally good option for individual professionals. Hence the device fits for all professional world ecosystem.
6. What is the configuration of the Able? Who is the target audience?
We have spent a lot of time asking our Cain users on what is it that would want to improve. Most wanted more compute performance, storage, and laptop like experience. Able is a result of these studies. It has 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, hard keyboard with large trackpad, large 8100 mAh battery, full aluminium design for even better cooling, 2 FULL USB ports, micro USB charging capability, large number of inclination angles for the display, even stronger locking magnetic mechanism, metallic locks for durability, integrated 3G and 64BIT OS. Able is targeted towards people looking for second smaller but efficient computing machine, something on which can rely upon for their professional work.
7. What about its sturdiness, ruggedness etc.?
From Cain, we learned, that it is the keyboard and it’s locking mechanism which needs more work. Able has 4 times the magnetic strength than Cain for Keyboard lock. The hinges on Keyboard are also metallic ensuring much longer life and limited abuse proof. The device can sustain daily abuse and Asahi scratch resistant glass makes daily usage comfortable.
iamAble is a revolution
8. What is Swap Warranty? How much time does it take to replace the faulty device with the new one?
We figured two things. First, if we have service centers for drop-ins of non-functional devices or those needing repairs, it is the user who has to spend the time to find the center and drop the device. Second, today electronics are so complex that literally nothing can be done unless device goes back to the factory.
So in SWAP warranty, our Customer Care Engineers work with the customer to understand the problem. Solve it through remote access. And when required issue a SWAP. In SWAP we first send a fresh unit to the customer and once the customer is happy, then we pick up the non-function unit. This ensures hassle free experience. It can take between 1 to 4 working days to get a SWAP device. This is the limitation of the Courier network in India, with things working out way faster in Metros. In general, it can take between 7 to 14 days in the case of Service Center based models.
We are talking to Rohan Shravan, CEO, Notion Ink Design Labs. This is the second post in sequence. In the earlier post, he explained his journey from Adam to Able. While talking about his journey, he also talked about when it started. Here he is telling how it started. During elaboration, he explained how the things evolved while his journey was in progress. While Rohan Shravan opens his heart out, it is a great learning for all of us.
3. How did it start?
It started in my 3rd year of engineering when I started collecting money and ideas to start this business. Since childhood, the potential in computers has fascinated me and the lack of what we have envisioned, drives us. We have been extremely innovative in how we have achieved things. A very simple example is how we pitched and got help from a college called, BVRIT to set up computing lab, where we could select the best students from the college to train them on our OS, and in return got extremely well design computing lab for our development.
4. Did you really enjoy this journey?
Yes. We have had the privilege to train more than 400 people, work with wonderful students and professionals, learn things which would otherwise would be impossible, drive people mad, drive engineers to give out their best (for which most hate me as well), as well as understand the ecosystem and importance or training people. 5 start-ups have come out of Notion Ink, and we hope that we can give birth to more.
Rohan Shravan continues…
5. How the things evolved during this journey? Technically, operationally, and logistically?
There is no word which can describe the difference in the level at which the real world works and what is taught in colleges. This is disappointing, but an eye opener as well. When I started it was all a vision, and each element of that vision required learning new things. We have designed touch panels, learned injection molding, internal as well as exoskeleton design for strength, battery design, designing OS from scratch, developed 20+ core apps, optimize Kernels and DVFS systems, written drivers, designed world’s smallest STN display, wrote several patents, failed at perfect execution of support system, then designing a fail proof support system, sold devices to 84 countries, worked with RBI and Banks to implement international Payment Gateways, etc.
This is a very large list and it can overwhelm anyone unless they have right people doing their part in the whole scheme of these inter-dependent/driving gear system. We are glad that today we have such a wonderful team.
It was an invitation from Notion Ink & Microsoft for the launch of Able 10. The launch date was July 7, 2016, at Microsoft, DLF Cyber City, Gurgaon. Rohan Shravan is the Founding CEO of Notion Ink Design Labs, one of the only consumer electronics product design company out of India. He has designed and developed world’s first Android SOC tablets, world’s first Android UI for tablets and continues to set benchmarks in industrial design for computers. A Mechanical Engineer from IIT Kharagpur, he specializes in Industrial Design, Manufacturing Technologies, Product Design, User Interface Design, and Machine Learning. Let us hear from the horse’s mouth about his journey so far. Welcome, Rohan, CEO, Notion Ink Design Labs.
1. How would you explain your journey from Adam to Able?
The journey has been extremely eventful. When we began, Adam was literally the only tablet out there (others fell in categories of Media players as they weren’t focusing on productivity or consumption Apps), even iPad wasn’t launched. And in last 7 years, we have seen tablet segment just explode (especially in the West). In last few years we have been trying to stay away from tablets and rather focus on 2in1s. We made Adam for providing productivity, but tablets in last 6 years have moved more towards entertainment and a little bit of content consumption. 2in1 has given us a very strong platform to again innovate on design and experiences. Able is the result of our last 7 years of experience.
Rohan Shravan, CEO, Notion Ink Design Labs
2. When did it start?
It all started as a need to add computing to people’s life, something we still haven’t achieved. Computers are today useless unless you have an app to do what you want to do. A doctor with decades of experience cannot get a computer to help them unless some programmer has written an app for that purpose. This has created a programming-computing-usage barrier between real users of computers and real makers of programs. We see future where a normal person can design his own features as if it was just a lego set.
Microsoft Imagine Cup World Finals are being held at Seattle. It is scheduled from July 26 to 29, 2016. 35 teams from various countries have been fortunate to reach finals. These teams are joining at Seattle bringing their unique visions from the future. Team Axe Julius from India is one among them. Microsoft Imagine Cup is among the most aspiring competitions on global front. It embodies the spirit of student innovation to the highest possible level. This is Microsoft’s premier global student technology competition. Every year thousands of young developers participate in this event. They amaze the world with their inspiring, innovative and creative ideas. These ideas are attempted to mold the wold around them through the power of technology.
Every year the Microsoft Imagine Cup begins with local, regional and online contests. That is the usual pattern. It is followed by screening of best projects from each country. This year, there were more than 150 top teams from various countries to reach the World Semifinals. In the semifinals these teams were judged by a global panel of experts from various streams. These streams include Microsoft Valued Partners (MVPs), Industry experts and Microsoft staff. It goes with the theory of survival of the fittest. The best and most promising projects are teams across the globe reach to the final stage of the competition.
These finalists at the World Finals will compete for the top crown in their respective categories. The winner team will get the coveted Imagine Cup and a grand prize of $50,000. In addition to this there is a bonus. The best team will have a private mentoring session with Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella.
Axe Julius, the Indian team won at the National Finals in the Innovation Category held in April 2016. Their project is about a revolutionary way of distribution of eBooks. It will build an innovative ecosystem to benefit both the reader and the publishers. The team comprises of Akshit Sharma, Garv Jasuja, Adish Jain, and Akshay Kumar Gupta.
There will be two very exclusive celebrities on stage as judges along with others. They are Star War: The Force Awakens lead actor John Boyega, and Dr. Jennifer Tang, who was part of the Team Eyenaemia, 2014 Imagine Cup Champion.
Tourism is a multi-sector ecosystem by default. There are heterogeneous components involved in it. Due to it was and still is vulnerable in many aspects like market turbulence, economic crises, rapidly changing dynamics, and so on. But still, it has managed to stand firmly against the global economic crisis in a better way as compared to other sectors. In this process of evolution, a number of sectors were relaunched. It helped in faster recovery. These were the ideas shared by Anca Pavel-Nedea, President of the National Tourism Authority of Romania at the opening of UNWTO (United Nations World Travel Organization) Conference on Quality Management in Bucharest, Romania. As discussed in the previous post, the conference had its prime focus on ‘destination quality’ as a next step to ‘product/service quality‘.
Some new quality management initiatives and best practices were showcased in coastal destinations, spa/wellness destinations, protected areas, urban destinations, and cultural heritage destinations. If we go a little back to its origin, probably the credit goes to 103rd UNWTO Executive Council Meeting that was held in Malaga last May. It was during this meeting a proposal was tabled by Committee on Tourism and Competitiveness. It was concluded and approved that the Quality of Tourism Destination has to be defined in an objective manner. The process, so defined, should imply the complete satisfaction of all tourism product and service requirements, needs and expectations of the tourists. And it must happen at an acceptable price but without any compromise to safety, security, accessibility, infrastructure, hygiene, communication, public amenities, and all such services. All this work under the umbrella of ethics, respect, and transparency towards the cultural, human, and natural environment.
Overall, it was decided that the Quality Management Initiatives in tourism destinations must focus on following agendas keeping factors mentioned above:
The recently concluded UNWTO (United Nations World Travel Organization) Conference on Quality Management in Bucharest, Romania, stayed its key focus on Integration and Strategic Planning to achieve its goals. It emphasized that Quality management indicators and processes are the key tools for achieving the competitiveness of tourism destinations all across the globe. The key objectives need to be adopted universally and in its entirety. All the participants to the conference agreed unanimously that an integrated approach to quality management must be taken up as a top priority. And it should be made as an important agenda of the long-term strategic planning of Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) at all levels.
It is evident that if an integrated quality management approach is applied to destination management, it helps a lot in transforming the image of the destination. It can also enhance the legislative and administrative framework. And it also will help in minimizing operational and logistics challenges. It denotes that if Quality Management Indicators and processes key tools are in place universally across destinations, it will bring a healthy competition, better experience, and least variations. Talevb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General elaborated that we all are facing an increasingly competitive ecosystem. The same applies to Travel sector too. The prime focus must stay on Quality Standards to create a framework to enable stakeholders to improve their operations and services. This will have a great positive impact on the complete tourism value chain to build a comprehensive and positive tourism experience.
Costin Grigore Borc, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Commerce, and Relations with the Business Environment of Romania said that the constantly changing dynamism in the global tourism vertical indicates a steep need of qualitative transformation of almost every tourism segment within a destination. If a tourism destination has to survive, it has to be on a scale of continuous improvement of the tourism supply quality needs. And these quality needs are to be regularly tracked and monitored.
This is the last post in the Interview Series with Andrew Levy, CEO, and Co-founder of Apteligent. Apteligent is in San Francisco and is engaged in streamlining businesses involved in mobile apps distribution, monitoring, and mobile app analytics to derive business KPIs. We have been talking about various aspects of mobile app KPIs, Mobile App Economy, and its significance, Measurement Standards for Product Managers and why these standards are so critical for them. We also discussed in the previous post, Mobile App Industry Standards, and how to build a realistic set of measurements from this.
And finally in this post we are discussing the importance of laying the foundation for mobile app KPIs, what customer data is critical generating this foundation, how it is established, why is it so important for a business, and what is the gain intended out of it. All these factors are very important to understand for any business involved in mobile apps development and distribution.
5. What customer data was used broadly to lay the foundation for mobile app KPIs ? How has it been established? Why is it so important? What it intends to achieve?
The data we collect helps our enterprise customers rapidly fix app issues, develop new features, and deliver the best possible app performance & user experience. To achieve those goals we collect data about the customer journey, such as movements from one screen to another or if the app is put into the background. We combine that behavioral data with critical contextual information about the environment of the app and user. This data includes information, like the hardware and software configuration, bugs in the code, network and cloud service failures, as well as geographic specific issues.
We are able to analyze this data at scale across tens of thousands of apps and billions of data points. This allows us to deliver actionable insights and benchmarks back to our customer base. These App Metrics, like crash rate, latency averages, and app load times, directly influence business KPIs like retention, engagement, and revenue. It’s important to understand how well your app is doing relative to its peers in the App Store and have this information available to drive investments in app performance and user experience.
In this post, Andrew Levy, CEO, and Co-founder, Apteligent talks about the best mobile apps industry standards at a global level. When,where and how did these industry standards initiate? What did it lack? And finally, what do we mean by a true set of measurements? Apparently, it appears there is no organized or structured set of mobile apps industry standards worldwide for mobile app metrics.
3. What are the best industry standards for mobile apps discussed so far globally? When, where and how did it initiate? What did it lack?
There really have not been industry standards and best practices for mobile app metrics … particularly actionable metrics and standards that mobile teams can apply to measure themselves and to improve against. Until now, there has been little guidance about what metrics to apply to an app (beyond “don’t crash”), how those metrics relate to the end-user of the app, and how those metrics connect to the top-line KPIs. What has been written has focused either on top-line KPIs (engagement, retention, monetization) or is weakly based on generalizations and anecdotes from web-browser performance experiences … things like page load time and its impact on e-commerce transaction volume.
Mobile is a different beast from the web because mobile users are on the go – their interactions are typically very short and very goal- oriented. User satisfaction means delivering an experience that always works for them on-the-fly between the other moments of their lives. Recognizing the differences, we provide specific guidance for mobile teams on what mobile app metrics they should track and how they should prioritize their efforts. Our guidance is based both on current industry performance against the metrics through aggregate benchmarks, and also “best of the best” targets based on well understood human factors research.
4. What do you mean by a true set of measurements?
Simply this: If you wish to improve your business results, you must measure your end user’s experience, in their context (where they are, with the connectivity they have, in the moments they use an app). This is the “true” view of their experience. Without this visibility, you really have no idea where to focus and how to prioritize to improve your business result.
This is in continuation to the interview with Andrew Levy, CEO, and Co-founder of Apteligent. In the previous post, he presented insights on the mobile app economy and its significance. Here he is talking about the measurement standards for product managers and their importance.
2. What is meant by measurement standards for product managers? Why are they important?
There are two parts to this.
First, there is a need to understand the components that drive top level mobile business results up or down so that a business can take actions that influence the business outcome. The standard marketing metrics around adoption, engagement or retention are not enough to guide such actions.
The best set of metrics are the ones that most closely reflect the user experience – as it is that experience that will drive a user decision to continue using an app – or not.
Second, this set of metrics offers limited insights in a vacuum.
Users will rarely use only one app. As a result, their perception is strongly shaped by the expectations the entirety of their mobile interactions has set. An app may be fast, but if the user only interacts with much faster apps, it will appear to be slow – just because it is slower. The definition of a ‘slow loading screen’ in your app might be best put in the context of all of the past loading of that particular screen, ideally for that particular user. If it is much slower, it will appear slower to the user. If it is on par, the app will appear to be working as it is supposed to.
None of these metrics have absolute and static standards. They all need to be considered in the context of a particular user.
This means two things for any product manager optimizing for mobile success. It is important 1) to track the metrics that quantify the quality of user experience and to link them to the top level business outcome and 2) to understand what the user’s perception of these metrics are and how it might evolve over time to calibrate decision making.
Andrew has been co-founder and CEO of Apteligent (formerly Crittercism) since 2011. Prior to starting Crittercism, Andrew Levy was the co-founder of AdThrow, a Y Combinator company that built a data processing pipeline for real-time ad targeting. Before YC, Andrew worked at HP Software where he led teams specializing in agile programming methodologies and advocating rapid product iterations. Andrew also worked for several companies in defense and intelligence, such as Silicon Graphics Federal, Northrop Grumman, and Computer Sciences Corp. He has a B.S. in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University. It is quite important to understand the state of the mobile app economy and its significance.
1. What is the state of the mobile app economy? What is its significance?
The mobile app economy takes many forms. Ask the average consumer and they might cite their in-app purchases (IAPs) they made in their favorite game. Ask a retailer and they’ll talk about mcommerce, not just sales driven directly via apps but also in-store sales driven via their digital channels. Talk to a travel industry expert and you’ll hear about how apps build a relationship with the consumer throughout their journey and enable new experiences from the airport to unlocking their hotel door. There has been a tremendous impact across every industry vertical which has drastically altered consumer behavior and expectations.
In previous years apps used to be a competitive advantage or a way to reach new audiences. It has transitioned to being table stakes where it’s no longer enough to “just have an app.” Now brands need to exceed expectations of their growing millennial audience and really think about how to drive a 5-star app experience.
The revenue opportunity is staggering and we’re still only at the beginning of the curve. A BI Intelligence report projects mcommerce growing more than three times by 2020 to +$284 billion in sales1. If you consider just retail projections, mcommerce is only 2.6% of total retail sales but saw over 39% growth from last year!
Each download of a mobile app matters. And so does each of the uninstall. It matters to the reputation and popularity of a mobile app. Each user has its own set of expectations and usage criteria. It counts if these expectations are met satisfactorily or the user stops using a mobile app out of desperation. It is important to gain each user’s experience in a collective manner so as so draw out critical metrics. It is also important to optimize mobile KPIs through user-centered app metric. A recently released whitepaper on the same subject brings out many key insights that are of deep interest not only for the app development organizations but also for the consumers.
The whitepaper released by Apteligent highlighted the lack of industry focus in developing objectively designed app-based metrics that helps product managers and app developers to assess and improve end-user experience and in turn business KPIs. It is always important to understand how well the app enables a user to satisfy on its purpose. But in practical, do we have such metrics in place and are these metrics helping a business in terms of revenue. Whatever business KPIs are driven on mobile, it is important to understand why their existence is critical for business. That is where this whitepaper comes into the picture. It creates the case for a new class of app performance metrics from the business and user perspective and thus formulates best practices and practical guidelines for monitoring them.
The basis of this report is data drawn from various researches done in this regard. Another source of data is from Apteligent, the company that produced this whitepaper. Mobile KPIs optimization is a key concern for most of the mobile app development organizations and so is the user-centered app metric that helps in the evolution of the former. The data provided by Apteligent has originated from insights from a large number of anonymous user-application interactions.
I had an interaction with Andrew Levy, Co-founder and CEO of Apteligent in this regard to gain his point of view on the subject. The interview would be covered in the next post.
Apteligent is a smart mobile app intelligence platform company in San Francisco. Recently, it released a new mobile app industry metrics along with a whitepaper titled “Optimize Mobile KPIs Through User-Centered App Metric”. Apteligent develops tools to empower mobile development teams and product teams to troubleshoot, resolve, and prioritize such issues that impact on users’ app experience. It sounds to be quite an important and necessary set of tools for mobile app development companies. The tools provide detailed and real-time information to developers in order to find out app crash, app freezing, and related issues in key user flows. Once the issues are identified, the same tools help in resolution.
Why such tools are important, is necessary to understand. Probably the requirement arose with the industry need to cater to the end users with a better experience in app usage. The development team with the help of KPIs provided create a dashboard to get global mobile industry and competitive insights. These insights greatly help product managers to better plan and focus their related initiatives. It also helps them in getting real-time visibility to app metrics thus enabling quick detection of issues, prioritizing their action plan based on the severity of these issues, and thereby build next releases for app improvement and better user experience.
Three of the top credit card issuing financial companies in US trust on the solutions provided by Apteligent. Similarly, two of the top three hotel chains, three of the top five media companies, three of the top five retail companies use Apteligent solutions to ensure the success of their strategic mobile app initiatives. The new mobile app performance benchmarks established by Apteligent has escalated its stature has mobile intelligence leader in building user-centered metrics that helps mobile app companies to deliver business success. These success factors for organizations are based on the tracking of business-oriented key performance indicators (KPIs) like customer engagement, new customer acquisition, revenue, crash-rate, churn etc.
We would be discussing the outcomes of this whitepaper recently released, in the next post.
Hitachi has decided to allocate major portion of its research and development budget to developments related to Internet of Things. In addition to this they also plan to open few more R&D centers outside Japan at a faster pace, as announced at Hitachi’s Tokyo headquarter. The company’s business model is to project it as a collaborator for innovation in the field of Internet of Things while offering various products and services. Keeping this in view, the company has overhauled their R&D policy and set new goals to achieve till 2018.
Internet of Things is Now
There is a huge increase in Hitachi’s budget for Internet of things related research to 64% for fiscal 2018 from 24% in the last fiscal year. This 24% accounted for new business creation and some basic work in R&D while 64% budget allocated will go in research work in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data Analytics and related areas. The company plans to increase its researcher’s strength to 3,000 by fiscal 2018 that is almost 12% higher than in fiscal 2015. The increased strength is for the new research centers to be opened in the Western countries in addition to the one recently opened in Guangzhou, China, in April. The core strength of these researchers will be AI and analytics. The new research base in China is currently focusing on internet of things applications for the manufacturing sector. There are two more bases in China in Beijing and Shanghai that have put entire focus on internet of things. The one opened in April takes their count of internet of things centers to 13.
A new concept is also coming up in Hitachi to open global collaborative innovation centers. In such centers there is a collaboration between company and its customers to create various business models. The first to come was Global Center for Social Innovation, Silicon Valley, California, North America in January this year. By fiscal 2018 Hitachi plans to open two more centers – in Beijing and London. There might be a change in its plan after Brexit regarding the new center to be opened in London. A similar facility for collaborative innovation at its Central Research Laboratory in Tokyo.
The United Kingdom is shattered internally post-Brexit. Future of Technology is not the same for the country now. The big question is will the United Kingdom remain united after Brexit? I think there will be re-polling for Scotland as a separate nation. And what about North Ireland? Few things are very clear as of now. The whole country is in a state of panic and shock. The whole EU community is eager to throw them out pressurizing them to start the exit procedure. Prime Minister Cameroon has decided to step down. There is no visibility of the next equally responsible leader in the country. There is a huge chaos beneath the carpet. It is like a silence before the storm. Like other things technology will suffer in a big way now in my opinion for following reasons. There is a clear visibility that future of technology in the United Kingdom is going to decline.
UK is divided in factions:
It is only Wales and London that are responsible for taking the poll in favor of exit to a majority. It is apparently clear that North Ireland and Scotland never wanted UK to exit from EU. The relationships between the four factions will deteriorate that will definitely impact business and technology. This brings future of technology in the UK at risk.
Future of Technology at risk
EU is gone biased towards UK:
All the 27 countries that are part of EU will not remain soft towards the UK henceforth. In fact, EU parliament has already shown their anger openly and clearly directing the UK to start the exit procedures at the earliest. Post September when Cameroon steps down as prime minister of the country, the relationships will further become harder to retain. Great Britain has probably lost its greatness and moved towards instability.
Enterprise IT in UK is bound to lose direction:
Enterprise IT will lose its direction drastically especially on international and European contracts. The UK is now out of limitations of following European privacy regulations. The companies might or might not keep working under those regulations. It will also take some time for government and businesses to absorb this shock and set a fresh direction. Internationally countries will prefer to do business with EU countries than Great Britain unless latter presents some lucrative incentives in terms of business and environment to the external world. Ireland will get precedence in getting business.
Pound will get devalued:
International Businesses will hesitate in launching new IT projects in the UK. Expansions will come to a halt. The economy will get shattered. There will be a scarcity of jobs and growth for professionals. The quality will start getting compromised and so will be the talent in the country. Budgets will shrink. Stock values will come down. Research and development will touch new lows in the country. A substantial number of international projects related to IoT and Big Data will lose their momentum thereby impacting globally.
China Mobile, Ericsson, and Intel are about to complete the world’s first ever application demonstration that is based on latest Cellular IoT technology. The demonstration is taking place at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Shanghai 2016. The joint demonstration is taking place with the help of Ericsson’s RBS6000 multi-mode base station and its pre-commercial software based on the latest Cellular IoT technology, assisted with the Intel XMM 7115 modem solution, and China Mobile’s environment monitoring application and platform. The complete setup and effort are aimed to achieve end-to-end interconnection and application of the latest Cellular IoT technology.
The data supports latest Cellular IoT technology
The demonstration involves capturing of humidity, temperature, brightness, PM2.5, and other data by multiple sensors based on environment monitoring application. The data that is collected using Intel’s XMM 7115 modem and Ericsson’s network with pre-commercial software supporting the latest Cellular IoT technology, shall be sent to China Mobile’s environment monitoring platform for further study and analysis.
What we learn from this demonstration is the fast evolving latest cellular IoT technology shifting from standard to products. As products evolve further, the same cellular IoT technology would universally be adopted in various areas such as smart wearables, smart meters, municipal IoT, smart home, smart building, smart city, logistics tracking, industrial IoT, wide area IoT, and so on, to take care of the exploring demands of IoT application.
The recent evolution in cellular IoT has been completed by 3GPP. This technology is assumed to stay there for some time, mature along with an increase in usage, and is capable of meeting the requirements of LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) IoT applications with a benefit of low cost, wider/deeper coverage, low power consumption, high reliability of transmission, and massive connections.
China Mobile launched a Cellular IoT Open Lab in their 5G Innovation Center in order to promote the cellular IoT industry and enhance the cellular IoT ecosystem in China. The purpose is to ensure availability of complete testing environment for various stakeholders in the ecosystem like industry partners, facilitate operators, developers, and testers to develop and test the product in the lab, and also to facilitate vendors like chip providers, device providers, system equipment providers, module providers, etc. The development and testing involve end-to-end interoperability testing, application testing, module testing, and product conformance certification. The lab also acts as an open industry collaborative platform to provide developers with the standard API calling basic communication capabilities thereby assisting developers quickly grab ready-to-use innovations in service, application and business model.
No business survives without automation. The extent of automation varies from organization to organization. Automation includes business applications that comprise of working software. A working software having a full documentation is a rare commodity in organizations. Over a period of time, any working software evolves that require changes. With every change, there is a change in the coding. With every change in code, there is a need of change in documentation. Any change must go in parallel for functional and technical documentation accordingly. But does it really happen?
Working Software with full documentation is rare
I remember many legacy applications that act as subordinates to the core application, stop getting attention in terms of updates in documentation. Such apps keep running on an as-is basis as long as they are able to cater to the needs of an organization. In my first organization, though we deployed a fresh enterprise application outsourced from a reputed company in Chennai, the company demanded a huge amount of customization for our payroll application that was solely developed by me. Thus we decided to keep the payroll application running as it is and procure the enterprise application without their payroll application. The integration was taken care of. The legacy payroll application kept running for almost two decades as it was easier to cater to the changes in that rather than developing that application afresh on latest platform. The documentation was taken care of till I worked in the organization. A decade later I was called by their CFO seeking some help in the same application as there were some changes to be incorporated in that due to change in incentives and salary rules.
I was surprised to see that the documentation was put on hold the day I left and none of the changes done so far, during the decade, were updated in documentation. What I could do in a few hours, because it was my baby, took me more than a week as I had to dig down the code to the extent of last changes done and then incorporated the changes required. The last thing I ensured before handing over was to update technical and functional documents.
Do you have a separate team responding to change in your organization or is it the same who is following a plan? Obviously, it is the same team that follows a plan responding to change as and when it happens. Following a plan is a day-to-day activity while change does not happen on daily basis. If you have good processes and tools in place, you won’t be changing them so frequently. There is always an internal or external (or both) factor that raises an alarm for a change in process or tool, or an individual performing that process or tool.
Responding to Change is a Quick action
Do you have a change management process in place in the organization? Does this process address to how the priorities change over in case a change request is raised? The change request automatically takes a priority over the plan in adherence. The reason behind this is the change itself. If there is a request for a change, it means there is some shortfall in the current process. This shortfall that was not until yesterday might have arisen due to change in policies, strategies, processes, a new business application introduced, or the introduction of mobility in the organization. It is a well-known phenomenon that whenever there is a launch of a core business application in the organization, there is a change in processes, roles, and responsibilities.
Following a plan is always good. It could be daily production plan, material procurement plan, development plan, testing plan, etc. If least deviations occur out of a plan over a period of time, it means the plan is well structured and matched with organizational needs. Change, as said above, does not occur every day. It arises out of a need. A need occurs out of a change. It is a cyclic behavior. A need catering to a change and a change catering to a need.
Processes and Tools are important for any project. More important is to understand the two key drivers of these. Whatever is the level of automation of processes and the advanced level of tools, it is the individuals and interactions that drive them. If the two sides are not synced well, it is doomed to be a failure or a big disaster. You just can’t keep your eyes closed or go for a sound sleep once you have a kitty of world-class processes and tools. There has to be a constant vigil and monitoring to ensure that the individuals or the team members who are supposed to use these tools or run these processes are well equipped with sufficient amount of knowledge to use those. Also, it is important to have a good governing process in place to ensure the two are going hand in hand in harmony.
Processes and Tools are important for business
A good amount of investment goes in design, development and deployment of processes in any organization. Similarly, when you talk about tools, it is either an investment in terms of procurement and deployment or there are internal development and deployment. Another set of investment goes in training imparted to individuals to acquire expertise in usage of these processes and tools. On top of everything, it is the individuals and interactions that happen in any organization that can give you the health status of processes and tools in use.
A loose link in the chain of users of any process or tools can bring a potential harm to the organization. This loose link might develop due to many reasons. It could be due to lack of knowledge, interest or training. As I keep telling my customers, put 4 individuals as independent heads of a crucial process. Monitor their performance on a regular basis. All four individuals will have a difference scale of performance. Choose the best and drop out the weakest. Let the best one be the supervising agency for the others working on the same process. Chalk out a rehabilitation program for the weakest to groom or place him on another process after analyzing his skills. Let no talent go waste. The same has to be done in terms of tools.
Customer Collaboration is a very important factor in a Software Development project. There is no success possible if a customer is not engaged well right since beginning of product development. In fact, the engagement has to start from contract negotiation, stay intact during product development and right through change management.
Customer Collaboration goes end to end
- Contract Negotiation:
A Contract can’t be finalized unless a customer is on the same floor as you. It has to be universally accepted between the two parties. The scope has to be well defined, or rather curated, to match the envisioned goals meant to be achieved through this development. The product which is right now on papers has to be carved well so that the development goes in right direction to achieve the desired goals. The design that is in mind put down on a chart has to sync perfectly with the development that has to happen. The negotiation has to happen in terms of time, commercials and deliverables. Though the scrum sizing is done at a later stage but that is done on the basis of reverse engineering.
- Product Development:
Once scoping is finalized, product development starts with appropriate team formations and role assignments. Even if this is an in-house activity, customer needs to stay in sync through this phase. It is important for a customer to stay connected and keep a close watch on the development of various pieces, and ensure the things are moving in right direction.
- Change Management:
Any change to any extent must happen in collaboration with the customer. After all, it is customer’s product that is under development. If a change is happening, it has to be in the knowledge of customer for making them understand the need for the change and its impact on the development.
As we see the importance of customer collaboration and its importance during software development is quite crucial and hence must be taken as a top priority activity.
Social Media is a wonderful platform to showcase your organization in a digital manner. You need to have a social media strategy for your organization to step in an organized and structured manner in the cumbersome world of social media. The key is to remain simple and straightforward. If you are able to raise engagement to a higher level on a regular basis, nothing like that.
Social Media Strategy is important
You need to allocate few hours for your social media management on a regular basis. Even in the case, it is outsourced to a third party, it needs to be monitored and managed. Never ever be under an impression that once it is outsourced, your responsibility is over. You need to customize social media workflow as per the needs of your organization. There is no standard pattern to it that can be adopted universally. It is not essential to jump on all social media platforms. It depends on the intensity of your direct engagement with consumers of your products or services. But even if you are an OEM supplier, your presence is essential on relevant social media platforms.
You need to have an official account on social networks. It is important to update social networks on a regular basis. These updates must include text, images, videos and voice. In parallel, you must plan and publish posts on your official blog. Sharing these posts on social networks widens your visibility. For your upcoming posts, there has to be a regular research (internal and external). Your posts must be highly informative and engaging in nature. for this, there are ways to curate relevant information through various resources. Tapping right kind of resources is important.
Listening is a great art even on social networks. You must generate capabilities to listen to your brand, product, service or organization mentions on social networks. Reply back with appropriate words of appreciation, solution etc. without any delays. Build relevant communities with a single purpose of enlightening your audience with right kind of information they seek instead of focusing on building your brand image. The branding will automatically evolve if you stay focused on former.
Build campaigns for increasing engagement on social networks. These campaigns might involve giveaways, contests etc. Collect all data and perform analytics to drive sense out of it. It might help you in appropriate decision making.
It is important to understand the fundamental approach of Agile Software Development. Once the basic elements are clear it becomes easier to adopt the methodology and move in right direction. The journey of Agile Software Development starts with a vision. There has to be a vision to clearly inscribe the requirements and purpose of this particular piece of software (the application for example) under development.
The journey of Agile Software Development starts with a vision
The vision helps you in finding out the gap between “what is” situation and the desired situation. This gap is called product backlog. The product backlog is the key driver for the whole journey. The journey ends with the successful launch of the software application.
The product backlog is like a long piece of a bun that is cut into smaller pieces that are used to make burgers. In agile terms, these smaller pieces are known as sprint backlog. Each spring backlog is like a raw piece of bun that is to be processed to prepare a bun with the help of requisite ingredients. Each pair of the bun is converted into a burger by putting several ingredients between the two buns and it undergoing a processing. Once the burger is ready, it is called a potentially shippable product in Agile terms.
Each sprint backlog undergoes some amount of planned work. This is called Sprint. Each sprint runs for 2-4 weeks depending on the size and amount of the sprint. There are two resultants of any sprint. There is a resultant shippable product that is equivalent to a finished burger that can be sold in the market. In this case, the shippable product can be handed over to the customer. If there is a gap in the finished backlog and planned, it is added in to the next sprint backlog. Usually, it does not happen. The planning and sizing of a spring backlog is defined so accurately that in normal conditions, it is achieved 100%.
To ensure the monitoring and controlling of a sprint, a daily scrum meeting is held every 24 hours.
ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning is taking a paradigm shift. Mobility and Analytics have to be two integral components of ERP. ERP or any business application’s main purpose is to help a business to reach to a matured level of a data-driven organization. A comprehensive business process management application can be termed as ERP if it permits a business to run an integrated application to manage, control, and run the business in a partial or largely automated manner to cover its mainstream functions related to sales, services, operations, technology, human resources etc. In today’s dynamic scenario mobility and analytics are the two major requirements of any business.
Business mobility and analytics provide a new power to business
The age-old phenomenon of capturing data at its point of origin, preferably in an automated manner still holds good. Various modules need to be well integrated to control the mainstream business activities like supply chain, inventory, procurement, production, finance, human resources, etc. The mantra is to integrate anything that impacts operations of a business directly or indirectly. Most of the organizations still have certain legacy applications in place performing some part of the core business even when they have ERP deployed. The basic fact remains true – More number of applications will create more chaos and problems and actually more wastage of time in identifying the real culprit behind the problem reported.
A good business application will have a single database controlled and managed in a centralized manner keeping in mind that this data has to be 100% clean, with no duplication of data, providing a single view to all users to avoid any confusions and ambiguities. Now a days ERP deployment takes lesser time as compared to earlier when it used to be complete deployment, customization, training, and execution. These days mostly it is on cloud, pre-configured, and parametric in nature. Complexities are higher where clarities are lower.
Most of the organizations have a demand for enterprise mobility from such applications. The business must not stop even when the people are on-the-go within or outside the business. An in-built analytics module is a cherry on the cake for any enterprise.
The rules of digital business plan work well provide you know the basic principles – Set right rules, vet them, and execute them with every top level leader’s involvement. Only then it can help you to stay in the competition. The relationship between plan and rules of competition is two sided. Both are dependent on each other. A right plan can enable you to set the rules of competition. A right set of rules of competition executed well will keep business ahead of competitors. But the game is not that simple.
Rules of digital business plan depend on right plan
Here are the rules of digital business to stay in the competition:
- A digital business plan has to fit the digital business goals. It calls for an altogether new business design where the physical world takes a back seat and the digital world takes the controlling front seat.
- The product has to be recreated to pass the digital world requirements. It might need a change in logistics, packaging, or even appearance & its design.
- No digital business will work in the absence of analytics.
- Cloud services will become an important tool to run the digital business.
- Top line priorities will change altogether to make the digital business plan work. Senior management will have to choose relevant projects to transform the business.
- There would be an evolution of new business models.
- Rights and authorities will take a new shape. There would be drastic changes in roles and responsibilities, the culture of the organization, and even the branding & visibility.
- There would be new dimensions to costs and risks that will require quantification.
- There would be investments to acquire staff with a different set of skills, newer technologies, integration, upkeep & maintenance, software & apps development.
- Information security will require new dimensions. Information assets valuation will be required. Risks and threats to these assets will also have new dimensions.
- Some legacies will have to be dropped, some new processes will evolve.
Digital Business Plan can act as a strong bond between CEO and CIO provided it is well evaluated, documented and executed engaging all the stakeholders. All good efforts go in vain if any of the above three steps fail or lack seriousness. CIO has to play a major role in the evaluation process being done by the board including CEO. CEO & Directors on board might lack complete knowledge in understanding and evaluation of digital business strategy.
Digital Business Plan brings a paradigm shift
The top management expects CIO to perform as their lead technology strategist and there is nothing wrong in it. But important to understand is if CIO is well equipped to fulfill expectations of the people on board? CIO is not only to be equipped with ample knowledge of the subject but also be able to educate senior management on the trends and industry standards being elevated in the outside world. CIO is supposed to work very close with the top leadership in the organization to build strategic plans that are powerful enough to enable business for future growth in these fast-changing technology environment.
The foremost goal of any enterprise is to grow, sustain, and stay competitive in the market. Most of the businesses are turning to digital as a worldwide trend. Whatever strategies or plans are deployed while turning to digital business it is very important to align internal knowledge bank and external consultants so as to achieve the target well. Since most of the CEOs and directors on board don’t carry that expertise in digital business as per Jorge Lopez, Vice President and Senior Analyst, Gartner, they start banking on CIO to lead the show. It becomes CIO’s responsibility to create and validate Digital Business Plan for the organization.
As stated by Jorge, a digital business plan will see the light of the day only if it executed well and to achieve that every leader on board has to act on it. CIO has not only to lead but also to ensure the action part. At the same time, CIO must be very clear on the business goals, its alignment with Digital business plan and a stringent process of evaluating it.
A substantial increase in urban areas is not only bringing new challenges but at the same time creating new opportunities to build a sustainable and scalable environment for households, enterprises, societies, and communities. A city is not only supposed to be responsive and responsible towards its households but equally towards a large chunk of population entering and exiting on a regular basis for work and education. The volume daily commuters increase manifold because of such inflow. All these factors bring smart city opportunities.
Smart City Opportunities are as high as its challenges
Smart city opportunities also have another challenge – to compete with other smart cities across the globe. There has to be a continuous economic growth, increasing business avenues, and the creation of new jobs. By 2050, 7 out of 10 people will be living in an urban area. This would be happening due to the expansion of urban areas and conversion of rural areas into urban areas. When a country grows, there is always a shift of rural population to urban areas for betterment in various aspects. The negative side of the increase in urbanization is the population increase that becomes a reason for the increase in crime rate. When the population of a city doubles, the increment in crime rate goes higher by 15%. Safety and security thus becoming a key area of improvement and automation.
Initial thrust is important to cater to smart city opportunities
Cities are more culprit in increasing pollution. Cities are responsible for more than 75% of energy consumption and Carbon Dioxide emissions. Another serious concern is of traffic congestion. To address all these issues there has to be a systematic approach adopted. Smart city opportunities increase manifold with the requirement of broadband Internet, cloud services, Internet of Things (IoT) services, and sensor-based networks. All these become prominent factors of ant smart city implementation.
Initial thrust is important to cater to smart city opportunities in order to build and gain momentum. Once the things come to shape, it becomes easier to sustain it further.
To know smart city challenges, opportunities, and solutions, it is important to understand what factors differentiate a city from a smart city. What makes a city smart? Some key features that make a city smart are –
- Environmental sustainability
- Smarter financial models
- More efficient and better-integrated services/devices in infrastructure
- Economic sustainable operating model for citizens
- Enterprises and tourists
- Better means and methods to ensure citizen’s health, wealth, and security
- Modular approach with easy integration
Environmental sustainability is a must for a smart city
Technology can play a major role in tackling all these smart city challenges. Some key challenges being faced by cities are:
- Exponential urbanization is shifting a larger chunk of population from Rural to Urban belts. This could be taken as a challenge as well as an opportunity.
- The rate at which population is being absorbed in urban areas increases the potential of a huge scope of improvement. There is a large amount of migration from rural areas to cities.
Worldwide awareness towards the need of environmental sustainability is increasing. Recently COP21 agreement was signed by almost 200 countries expressing commitments and evolving legal obligations.
- Cities are seeking smarter financial models to create more efficient and better-integrated services. The same goes for infrastructure so as to drive citizen, enterprises, commuting, transport, residence, traveler and other services in an economically sustainable manner.
- Administrative authorities are required to handle citizen’s health, wealth, and security in a more organized manner. Urbanization needs to be inclusive, social, and participatory in all aspects.
Smart City means Scalability, economic & environmental sustainability
The top 600 cities in terms of their size in the world are estimated to generate almost 65% of global GDP growth through 2025 as per a report published recently. IoT applications in cities would be having an economic impact of between $900 billion to 1.5 trillion per year in 2025. This all shows a tremendous scope of growth required in terms of the development of smart cities across the globe. A smart city will have to have a regular growth plan on its charter to sustain and grow.
This is the last post in the series of discussion with Shawn. We talk here about advantages to Agile eCommerce development over Waterfall eCommerce development, It all depends on the risk appetite of an organization that builds the courage to take Agile eCommerce development or Waterfall route as project management approach.
Advantages to Agile eCommerce development
6. What are the advantages to agile over waterfall eCommerce development?
Agile project management approaches are gaining in popularity – and for good reason. Without some agility in your project approach, you risk wasting resources and time developing a product that does not meet the needs of your audience.
Overall, companies that operate in a highly innovative space and are comfortable with a moderate level of risk are well-suited for an agile eCommerce approach. The more comfortable you are with embracing change, taking risks and iterating based on customer feedback, the more agile your approach should be.
On the other hand, if you work in an industry that is highly regulated or risk averse, you may be better suited with an approach that is more aligned with waterfall. Just keep in mind that waterfall projects tend to take much longer–think years–versus an agile project approach, which focuses on rolling out a minimum viable product (MVP) very quickly and iterating frequently based on customer feedback and market conditions. Agile approaches often keep you far ahead of the competition because you can release the new version of your product or offer several times throughout the year.
7. How important is Salesforce in CRM and project management?
Salesforce is the holy grail of CRM technology. It is the largest cloud software in the world and its growth is evident in its latest earnings statement, where it’s revenue rose to $1.92B from $1.51B in Q1 2016.
In terms of project efficiency, Salesforce helps our clients manage their customer relationships more effectively, especially when they do commerce natively on Salesforce. It saves them time because they use one technology for all customer interactions, and they can gain a 360-degree view of the customer experience–from marketing to sales to commerce activities.
The ability to customize permissions and responsibilities based on a person’s Salesforce role and have a holistic view of the organization from top to bottom makes it much easier to strategize, communicate, delegate, and prioritize.
This is the third post in the series. We are interacting with Shawn Belling on his valuable views on various topics like eCommerce Project, B2B & B2C, Project Management, Agile, Waterfall, Collaboration, Vendor Management, Vendor Relationships, eCommerce Portal, SaaS and a lot more.
Vendor Relationships can be much like marriages
4. How do you plan to collaborate with multiple vendors on a project?
Any technology project that involves external vendors requires a vendor management and communications plan. These relationships can be much like marriages, and everyone involved should strive for the best outcomes, but plan for the worst. Detailed communications plans must be discussed, negotiated and agreed to during commercial discussions. What’s more, project leaders from all vendors and the performing company must adhere to these communications plans.
Vendor management plans must include escalation plans and plans for addressing other possible situations that routinely come up during a technology project. At the planning phase of the project, create a comprehensive vendor risk assessment and mitigation plan to help prepare for unexpected roadblocks.
During project execution, the performing organization’s project management and governance team must rigorously hold vendors accountable for reporting status and issues, and for developing and executing plans to keep the vendor’s portion of the project in “green” status.
Vendor Relationships is like strive for the best outcomes but plan for the worst
5. What technology platforms you will prefer for building eCommerce portal?
More and more, companies are adopting SaaS, cloud-based commerce platforms to power customer experiences and digital purchasing. This is true for both B2B and B2C organizations.
Companies are adopting this technology, specifically commerce systems native on Salesforce like CloudCraze, because it allows them to go to market faster and generate ROI on commerce investments in a matter of weeks, not years. There is also a much lower total cost of ownership associated with commerce on Salesforce because you do not need to invest in infrastructure typically associated with hosted legacy commerce platforms.
This post is in continuation to the previous post. We started a conversation with Shawn Belling, Vice President that will be posted in a series of posts. In this post, Shawn is talking about eCommerce roadmap, eCommerce project, the key stakeholders in this type of projects, and how would we differentiate between a B2B and B2C eCommerce project.
eCommerce Project Governance Team must Embrace Change
1. What key points are taken care of while building B2B eCommerce roadmap in the context of project management?
The B2B eCommerce roadmap is a long-term program plan outlining the series of projects necessary for the company to realize its commerce vision. Program directors and managers at companies implementing a commerce platform should recognize that the strategy and roadmap will take place over a series of projects. Each of these must be planned and managed so they provide value with each release, while at the same time set up the next phase of the project in the program. The overall project governance team must embrace change in the roadmap as they learn from the early projects through feedback from customers, as well as internal and external stakeholders.
The most important external stakeholder in eCommerce project are the customers
2. In an eCommerce project who all are the key stakeholders – internal and external?
There are often several internal stakeholders, including executives, and the sales, marketing, customer service, product management, distribution, procurement, and finance teams. Depending on the company vertical and organizational structure, the involvement and influence of these stakeholders will vary.
Naturally, the most important external stakeholders in any eCommerce project are the customers. Business partners and suppliers also have a stake in the outcome of an eCommerce project, as well as investors and other performing organizations.
3. What are the major differences between B2B and B2C eCommerce project?
B2B and B2C projects are becoming more and more similar as consumers demand intuitive, easy, and automated experiences in both their personal and business lives. Whether it’s the B2B or B2C industry, projects vary based on the product and organizational structure. Factors such as the amount of strategic input necessary from teams and departments, corporate culture, product development, economies of scale, and risk aversion all make a big impact on the timeline and development of a project.
Shawn Belling has a Master’s certification in Project Management, a Master of Science degree in Project Management, and as a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) with PMP, ACP and Scrum certifications, Shawn Belling gives a unique perspective and expertise on versatile subjects of agile project management. He is a well-known speaker, teacher, and consultant on the subject. He is actively using this rich experience to transform the e-commerce experience by enhancing CRM structures.
Shawn Belling has an expertise in Project Management
Shawn Belling, Vice President, Product Development and Support, CloudCraze has expertise in project management, CRM, Salesforce, eCommerce, Agile, and a lot more. With the growth and expanding the complexity of SaaS (software as a Service) platforms, project management has been experiencing a drastic change over a decade. The emphasis is shifting more towards an agile over waterfall approach. Three key parameters of success that have evolved over a period of time are Speed, Accuracy, and Quality. That is the Mantra as per Shawn Belling.
Shawn happily talks about various topics related to Project Management, B2B eCommerce, eCommerce Roadmap, Art of Collaborating on a project, Advantages to Agile over Waterfall eCommerce Development, Role of Salesforce in CRM and Project Management etc. I recently got a chance to have a detailed discussion with Shawn Belling on various aspects and his perspective on these ever-emerging concepts related to the topics stated above.
Few important aspects that emerge out after the discussion can be summarized as below:
- The B2B eCommerce roadmap is a long-term program comprising of a number of projects.
- Key executioners implementing a commerce platform must understand the strategy and roadmap.
- Planning, Managing and Setting up for next phase must go in parallel.
- The overall project governance team must embrace any change in the roadmap.
- The key learning from a project comes from feedback from customers, as well as internal and external stakeholders.
The interview series with Shawn Belling is there in the next few posts. Continued »
Analytics has a tremendous amount of power. This power is not always constructive. It can be destructive too. It all depends on data based on which it is being done, the time frame during which it is being done, results you draw out of it, and people who have to take decisions based on this. If all these factors are synchronized well, you can get wonderful results out of it. And if any of the factors goes out of sync the results drawn can lead to haywire.
Analytics has a tremendous amount of power
Analytics has an ability to redefine your business model to such an extent that it becomes the biggest catalyst of growth. With so much being talked about technology, data visualization, 3D printing, Hadoop, data warehouses, cloud computing etc. across the globe, it is important to take a technology-centric approach where the solution is pushed rather can getting it otherwise. Though organizations have been accessing these technologies but very few of those would be sure of what to do with it. Operational and financial data is the biggest resource to get greater insights and objectively drawn business value with the help of Analytics. Such is the power of analytics.
The power of Analytics is not always constructive
Big Data is the next big thing being discussed aiming to solve big problems. In an act to be part of Big Data initiatives, companies have become overstressed how to use their data. In this race, they have lost the art of using the data at their fingertips. Therefore, to solve all important, high-risk or high-value problems and propositions reliability has gone somewhere else. To measure the value of a business, analytics can play an important role. But more than that analytics must add value to the business. It must help business in combating big issues like high absenteeism, overtime reduction, an increase in production, customer satisfaction, revenue growth, quality enhancement, timely deliveries, and so on.
Startups start with a big promise but then something happens that makes these startups fail after some point of time. This makes everyone wonder Why Startups fail? Around 40% are not able to cross their incubation period. Rest 30% fail within first 3-5 years depending on their ability to sustain and then opt out of the game when no juice left. Hardly 20-30% of startups cross 5 years of their early life and are able to sustain happily in terms of some juice left in them to survive. During this journey, some brighter ones are picked by existing big players if found suitable for value addition in their business. Some get funded by large groups, heavy individuals or similar kind in a wake of showing some substantial results. But overall, the journey is painful not mostly resulting into a healthy and happy ending.
Why startups fail instead of excellent projections
The biggest mistake startups make in demonstrating rosy projections for the sake of attracting lucrative funding offers leads them to a wrong direction. All projections are based on certain set of assumptions. If there are no assumptions it reflects half job done in preparation of the projections for that project. Missing assumptions or semi-presented assumptions are harmful to a project and may lead to failure. The absence of a full organizational structure is permitted in a startup but not its vision and mission. There have to be primary goals and secondary goals in place. These goals must carry some do-ables with concrete timelines. There has to be a regular monitoring for these critical tasks.
Lack of vision and mission is the reason why startups fail
Excess expenditures need to be controlled. In fact, all expenditures need to be controlled. No expense should be permissible unless it is for the sake of extracting oxygen for the organization only to help it survive. Usually, funding corrupts minds and leads to expenses that are not at all necessary but just to satisfy some top guy’s whims and fancies. Avoid it. Discard it.
Excessive unorganized expenses become reason for why startups fail
If you don’t have a digital strategy in place, formulate it. If it is there in place, here is a checklist if it is aligned well with your business or not. Having no strategy about the digital arena in today’s world is a crime, having a wrong one in place is a suicide. A haphazard strategy is powerful enough to destroy your business. And the opposite of this holds good equally. A well thought and designed strategy work well for the organization or business. Following are the key guidelines to ensure that digital strategy aligns perfectly well with the business strategy:
- Why Digital:
Why Digital? What is the need? Is important to understand.
- Business Goals:
While formulating the digital strategy for your organization, ensure that it is well aligned with your business goals. Your business needs will be the best thing to create digital strategy framework.
- Digital Strategy Goals:
Be Clear about your digital goals and ensure that that have to be in line with the organization’s vision and mission.
Digital Strategy lives on connect. No connect means no life
- Stakeholders Connect:
Ensure you are connected with the stakeholders digitally as part of your strategic goals.
- Social Media:
There are many platforms but you need to be clear which to start with based on your requirement and business product or service range. Which Social Media? How much? Plan of execution? Measuring factors? Measuring frequency?
There are many pointers that need to be taken care of while formulating the digital strategy for your organization. A structured approach is always better with well-defined goals instead of jumping in the river without any purpose and goal. If you have well-set agenda you will not wait for things to happen on social media to take action. Rather, you will be driving it as per your own wish in your own defined direction. In any case, engagement is the key. If you are able to engage your stakeholders well, you are bound to be a winner.
Businesses need to have a proper corporate digital strategy in place due to an exponential increase of penetration by buyers and consumers on digital platforms. There are businesses who decide strategically not to have a presence at all or a very mild presence on various digital platforms. This is basically a feature of those businesses that lack accountability towards their customers and other stakeholders. Less visibility will result in less interaction thus helping businesses staying stain-free. This is what a business with wrong practices thinks, but that is not the case anymore. Your digital absence itself is a negative impression. The more you hide, the more it goes against your business.
Corporate Digital Strategy is important in today’s digital world
Then there are businesses who are present on social media platforms but you will find the last post as stale as rotten eggs. What will a consumer gain if on visiting a business page on Facebook or on the twitter account, the latest post is a marked date that is earlier than a year or more! Your presence and at the same time staying inactive for a long period reflects more negative against the business. The trust seems to be gone if you have not been interactive on these media.
Corporate Digital Strategy has to have important ingredients
Well if you are there on social media platforms, at least two of them, and are active too, then what matters most is your level of engagement and interaction. One of the largest telco when approached by a consumer through a tweet regarding an issue, gets a fixed reply like
- Please contact our customer care number
- Someone will shortly connect to address to your issue
- We have passed the issue to the relevant department
and so on.
Corporate Digital Strategy – Formulate, Roll out, Engage, Drive
These tactics do not work now. You repeat your tweet raising the same concern and you get one of the same fixed replies which are of no help to you. You stay with your concern that keeps lingering on in a dark tunnel provided to you by the business. Businesses must avoid such “dark tunnels” while facing their customers. In today’s scenario customer will not tolerate it and will not hesitate in declaring you bluff openly on such platforms.
The demo zone at Nokia India Innovation Day was most lively with Nokia end-to-end Solutions being showcased. There were 8 segments and at each segment there technology and media enthusiasts to understand the innovative solutions being showcased. Here are the 8 Demos that were showcased:
- Nokia AirScale Wi-Fi:
Being an expert in mobile networks, Nokia has built cloud-based, carrier-grade Wi-Fi solution that has a unique combination of deployment simplicity and gigabit wireless performance. The launch of Nokia AirScale Wi-Fi will empower mobile operators integrate seamlessly Wi-Fi with their existing networks of any kind to improvise customer experience and create new avenues for creating revenue streams. The solution also enables service providers without licensed spectrum to run a Wi-Fi service so as to take advantage of mobile edge computing and analytics thus delivering advanced context-based services.
Live tracking is possible with a high level of coverage of NB-IoT as compared to the conventional LTE-based solution (Cat.4 modem). NB-IoT is in process of getting standardized in the LTE specifications of 3GPP Rel. 13 (LTE-Advanced Pro). It showed possibility of deeper penetration with NB-IoT in rural and inbuilding structures.
Nokia end-to-end solutions are quite innovative
- IoT Use Cases:
The demo segment showed how service providers can get advantage of newer technologies with the enablements of IoT-based business models. The project is based on connected service vehicle, smart bus shelter, smart university campus, and other smart buildings.
- IoT Scale Monetize and Secure:
It showed scaling and upscaling of the networks creating horizontal solutions for IoT. The solution involving protect and assure network, apps, devices, and data is powerful enough to monetize connectivity and gradually expand services across IoT ecosystems thus taking it to a larger scale.
- Smart Home:
Network providers (Telcos, Community Broadband providers, Cable MSOs etc.) can take advantage of the residential gateway already existing in each home, whether a fiber ONT or DSL modem, by expanding their services into Connected Home/ Smart Home.
- Smart City:
There were setups demonstrating Smart Parking, Smart Metering, and Smart Lighting. I would be taking these three in a separate post later.
- Nokia Airscale Radio Access:
This is a next-gen solution from Nokia called AirScale Radio Access that goes beyond imagination as it has a capability of radically altering the way networks are designed. Operators who will be using Nokia Airscale Radio Access will be future ready including high-end requirements of IoT, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Smart Factories and so on. This will also cater to the advanced technology requirements like Video streaming demanding extreme performance. A complete solution, and first of its kind, of Nokia AirScale Radio Access live, combined with 5G-ready air interface is being demonstrated at Mobile World Congress 2016.
- Nuage Networks:
This demo was about controlling remote segments of networks in a very different manner. The Nuage Networks by Nokia VNS Solution, software-defined network (SDN) goes in a steady manner across datacenters in private, public or mixed cloud environments thereby extending to remote locations anywhere.
Nokia end-to-end Solutions would be exciting when rolled out in live scenarios.
It was exciting to attend Nokia India Innovation Day 2016 where Nokia demonstrated some of its innovative technological launches in various streams like Networks for Cloud, Transformation from LTE to 5G, IoT etc. Nokia has evolved as an end-to-end player in multiple technologies such as IP, Mobile, Fixed, and Optical that are promising at a global level in order to connect more and more people and things across through the programmable enablements.
Nokia India Innovation Day showcased many innovative brilliant ideas
Nokia India Innovation Day 2016 included demonstration of Nokia’s design of IoT-based solution to make it a reality for designing smart cities, smart homes and public safety solutions. The demo zone was equipped to showcase the connectivity of people and things in various ways and for various solutions. The biggest hurdle that comes in such large-scale solutions is ‘slow and complex’. Nokia demonstrated how it is eradicating these hurdles from the creation of IoT applications without any compromise with quality, design, and security.
Under Networks for Cloud Era, Nokia India Innovation Day 2016 has some wonderful solutions that showcased how large sized networks can get benefited from automation and virtualization while using less hardware with a high focus on drawing high levels of efficiency, innovation, business opportunities, and quality. Nokia has brought out it’s converged offering for fixed, mobile, IP, and optical networks. These solutions are blended well with connectivity and providing a new paradigm for the programmable world.
Nokia has been innovating in designing solutions for 5G that are promising to initiate the pace and the standards for 5G technology.
Jacques Vermeulen, Director Smart Cities, Customer Operations, Nokia talked about the real initiative happening in Nokia regarding IoT. With the increasing extent of urbanization worldwide, the possibility of connecting more and more devices is growing exponentially thus tending to make IoT a reality.
Milivoj Vela, Technology Vision Lead for Middle East Asia & India, Nokia highlighted 5G features and how it has become a new generation of radio systems and network architecture thereby delivering extreme broadband and ultra-robust framework. It results into low latency connectivity and huge networking for the IoT thus enabling the programmable world that in turn will transform individual lives, society, and economy in a big way.
Nokia India Innovation Day 2016 demo zone had various solutions at the display like IoT use cases, IoT-Scale Monetize and Secure, Smart Home/Building, Smart City, NB-IoT, Nuage Networks, AirScale Radio Access, and AirScale Wi-fi. We would talk about these in detail in the next post.
A project manager encounters various people related issues in a project.
When there are people, there are people related issues in a project.
Understanding people related issues in a project is an art.
There are all kind of people you recruit for your projects coming from different companies creating people related issues because of different levels of understanding and different standards of same things like performance. When people are there in an organization or a project, there are people related issues. A project manager encounters various people related issues during each project lifecycle. Understanding people related issues is an art. Some of these issues, if not handled properly, may lead to a critical edge. Following are the most common people related issues in any kind of organization:
1. Communication: Understanding same communication by different persons in an organizations is an issue. In a growing business communication of expectations plays a major role. A regular communication is a must. Initially only 15-20% of persons will be able to understand the expected action. Gradually as the teams and organization mature, the alignment becomes better thereby lessening the gap between sender’s and recipient’s levels of understanding.
2. Recruitment: The higher the employee turnout, the higher will be fresh recruitment. The higher is the fresh recruitment, the higher is the number of issues of disconnect. It is always better to define standards for each role. Each role must be clear on the minimum level of deliverables beyond which nothing is acceptable. Yes, as they progress above the level, they can be categorized as good performers and excellent performers. Initially people coming from different organizations will have different benchmarks of performance, good performance, and excellent performance.
3. Documentation: If a proper documentation of rules & regulations, processes & guidelines are non-existent, it calls for a trouble.
4. Feedback: A regular feedback to each member of the team is very important to close the gap in understanding what organization expects from them, and also lessens the chances of repetition of same mistake from an employee. A bad feedback will give a chance of improvement and a good feedback will give a chance to improve further.
5. Authority: Never let people take authority for granted. It must be clear to each one of them that authority comes with responsibility, ownership, and understanding. People who try to avoid responsibility can be improved by giving them some authority.
Hope this article helps in tacking people related issues in a project.
Data privacy, data security, and data control are key cloud adoption barriers.
Workforce management and business case are few more cloud adoption barriers.
To add the pain Infrastructure and resource management are also cloud adoption barriers.
Data privacy, data security, and data control are the first set of concerns that flash in the mind when we talk of cloud adoption barriers. Obviously, there are many hidden barriers that are over and above the traditional issues. For years you are managing your own data center, mostly on-premise, that has eaten a lot of dollars for its setup, maintenance, upkeep, and upgradation from time to time. When you think of moving all stuff that resides on your application servers, database servers, and any middle layer servers to cloud, it creates a big uproar as far as top management is concerned. It is a big decision, after all. What will happen to the infrastructure, resources, and workforce stands in front of IT to answer to the management.
Building a business case is important and projecting this transformation beneficial for business is equally important. You must understand the benefits of cloud adoption vis-a-vis cloud adoption barriers. There are many benefits such as:
- There would be improvement in productivity.
- There would be less controlling costs to reduce your operational cost in a significant manner.
- Your compliance risks would be minimized substantially. Your IT resources would get free.
- Your licensing costs would go down.
- Your upgradation costs and new software cost also would decrease.
And there are many more to it.
Only word of caution – a lot depends on cloud service provider (or partner). You need to do a good amount of research before zeroing down on your cloud partner. The vendor has to be there in the market for long, with a good number of satisfied customers, the older the better. Also you must be very careful in finalizing your SLAs (service level agreements) with the vendor.
Big Data Risks are not away from Organizations using big Data.
Advanced analytics can help businesses to mitigate Big Data Risks.
Big Data Risks in financial services have to be zero effectively.
Big Data Risks are not away from organizations using Big Data. Advanced Analytics can help in a big way to mitigate risks arising out of Big Data. big Data risks in financial services have to be zero effectively to survive business and customers. The more is the involvement of big data in a business the more is the risk. Big data not only contains large volume of data but it is mostly in unstructured or varied structure form and is also driven from multiple sources thereby implying multiple chances of risks. It is become quite a clear concern for organizations working in the financial sector. Advances analytics opens new windows for big data solutions thereby enabling new ways to mitigate financial risk arising out of big data. It also provides a prominent competitive advantage to the business. Obviously, lesser risk in a consistent manner means more business and large customer base. A business survival may become difficult in case it is not able to mitigate business risks thereby creating cautiousness among its customers to move away from it and find out a better deal.
Big Data management is not an easy task as it involves larger number of risks and challenges. Some of the risks can be listed as below:
Tons of data: If you tend to perform your big data analytics on a spreadsheet, you are sunk in a muddy water. A spreadsheet will never be able to give you real picture of trends, opportunities, threats etc. You won’t be able to sort such a large volume of data in desired format to chalk out relevant trends and patterns. Breaking into smaller chunks of data and drawing out conclusions will not be right. It will not be a fruitful exercise. There has to be a powerful analytics tool to ascertain all these things.
Delayed Analytics: If you are performing analytics on an older set of data, it will be of no use in terms of business benefit. Your analytics has be either real-time or near to real-time in order to read the behavior of your customers, markets, and other stakeholders and take appropriate actions. An automated analytics tool is required in this regard.
Unstructured Data, Multiple Sources: Mostly big data is stored in an isolated manner and it takes a lot of time to convert unstructured data coming from multiple sources into useful information that empowers you to act in the right direction. A lot of time gets wasted in cleaning of this data and reorganizing it in a useful manner for integrating it with your business applications.
Project Manager’s Rule Book is very important aspect.
Every project manager has to build his personal Project Manager’s Rule Book.
It is very important to follow your personal Project Manager’s rule Book.
As discussed in my previous post – 5 Golden Rules For Project Managers, a project manager need to carry his personal rule book for making any project successful. Though there are many rules that a project manager may add to his personal Project Manager’s rule book, based on my experience of over 25 years in project management I would keep following 5 rules on top of my priority list:
Delegation: A project manager has to be capable enough to estimate each team member’s core strengths and interests to draw out their capabilities. This will help in assigning tasks with least risk involved in timely and accurate closure of the tasks. Project timelines, tasks allocation, budget, and resources are the most critical elements of any project. If a project manager is able to delegate tasks in a most balanced preposition, there is nothing like it.
Transparency: A project manager has to be transparent in all aspects in multiple directions. It means transparency in terms of team selection, task allocation, chalking out project tasks, WBS (work breakdown structure), and all kind of project meetings. Stakeholders engagement and bringing things on the table in a transparent manner to them is very important.
Honesty: A project manager has to be honest. A well known verbatim – Charity begins at home – applies here as – Honesty begins at home. The foremost aspect of honesty is to be honest with yourself. If you follow this, being honest with others will not be difficult. If you do this, you will get the same in return from each team member and other stakeholders. Don’t keep a space for dishonesty in driving any project – either at your end or at others’. The message has to be clear to everyone in the team in bold.
Technical know-how: A project manager has to be strong in technical know-how of the projects he is working on. If you are not, there are possibilities of others playing tricks with you in this portfolio.
Empowerment: If you don’t empower other, people will stop acting proactively feeling lack of security, protection, and decision making.
Hope to know what you feel in my list of Project Manager’s Rule Book. And would also like to know what top aspects you choose in defining your Project Manager’s Rule Book.
These 5 Golden Rules for Project Managers are must to win their teams.
Golden Rules for Project Managers apply globally.
Golden Rules for Project Managers need to evolve regularly.
These 5 golden rules for project managers are a must to win their teams irrespective of project type or geographic location. These rules need to evolve on a regular basis. Although priority and hierarchy of these rules might vary depending on size of the project, on-site or off-site, and co-location of teams. Let us talk about a project manager Ravi who is working in a software company and holds a key position in making projects successful. A successful project means timely closure, within budget, with least deviation in teams and resources. All these are correlated components of a project. A hike in team size or even resizing will impact on progress of a project.
Similarly if your estimation of resources overshoots it is going to hamper not only your project budgets but also on the timely closure. this is because arrangement of resources take time and time is the most crucial factor in case of progress of a project. That is why Ravi stays cautious about his projects and ensures right budget, team size, team members, and resources estimations. He understands well that each estimate has to be as accurate as possible, right in the beginning of a project otherwise could lead to a disaster. He keeps evolving his set of golden rules for project managers.
For Ravi following are the set of 5 Golden rules for project managers based on his experience and hit rate. Hit rate for a project manager is achievement of success in projects out of the total kitty of project handled so far. Here we go for Ravi’s 5 golden rules for project managers that is continued in my next post – Project Manager’s Rule Book.