Archive for August, 2011

Foursquare and Credit Cards

August 31, 2011
Credit card

Image via Wikipedia

Foursquare has been associated for users to have fun and later by retail organizations to provide location-based advertising. But, it has not been yet used by traditional organizations like Banks, Financial institutions.

One use-case that justifies the use of Foursquare is one which takes care of authentication of credit-card holders. Today, I had to face such an use-case at a retail supermarket. When I tried to use a credit card to pay for my purchase, I was asked to provide an ID (either PAN card or Driving License) for authentication (since the bill was more than 20K). Once the ID card was provided, the next part of the transaction (swiping the credit-card) was completed. As soon as the amount was transferred from my Credit Card, I received a SMS from my Credit Card provider (or Bank) giving details about my transaction.

I was stumped for a minute. Had I received a SMS from the Bank before I went to swipe my card, I could have shown this message as an authentication to the person behind the till. The credit-card is tied to my profile which also contains my mobile number. So, if I checked-in to a place (in Foursquare), the retailer can validate easily that I am the card-holder. Easy, isnt it?

Are such use-cases being used by the financial institutions already? Do you know about this? Please let me know.


Agile and Fixed Bid

August 30, 2011

For long, I had this misconception that Fixed Bid and Agile do not go in the same lane. Thanks to Pete Deemer and his session today, cleared quite a bit of my understanding.

Repeating the same below for others’ convenience (writing this in generic terminology, not in SCRUM terms):

  • Once a defined scope (product backlog) has been agreed for an iteration (Sprint) and if the iteration is in progress, the scope cannot be changed. SCRUM has this big myth that anything goes. Scope can be changed at any time during the project. Wrong!
  • If there is a need for the scope to be changed, scope of equivalent size should be removed from the list of features to be developed. Thus, there is no additional scope to be developed by the project team. Hence, no CR’s.
  • If any scope agreed cannot be removed, only then there is an increase in the cost of developing the incremental scope.
  • If the customer feels that the developed software so far fulfills his business requirements, he can take a decision to stop the work immediately.
  • If an organization has a history of running SCRUM projects and has a recorded history of how many features can be  developed by a team over period of time (velocity), it can agree for a fixed-scope to be delivered for a release to the customer. The customer gets access to working software from his partner early – enabling him to get early visibility. How they are internally broken down to various sprints will depend on the team’s capacity planning.
With these items, I am quite sure that Fixed Bid projects can be initiated by IT vendors using the Agile methodology. Maybe it is being already done now but got to know it today. Thanks Pete.

Emerging in 2011

August 15, 2011

A very interesting hype-cycle from Gartner for 2011 – Emerging Technologies (as always).

Gartner Hype-Cycle

Big Data, Group Buying, Private Cloud Computing are some of the technologies which are believed to be 2 to 5 years away from mainstream adoption.

With the amount of data growing every day and different devices invented through which more data gets added every second, managing data becomes very difficult, if not impossible. Apache Hadoop is being used by many organizations now and it will not be a surprise if there is one organization which will lay claim to have the expertise to handle ‘big’ data. Will Yahoo be successful in this?

Group Buying – All of us have heard of Groupon and how Google tried to buy them for 6 Billion USD. Though there has been more controversy after the deal fell out of favor, there have been many clones that have cropped up across the globe. An interesting concept that will pick up once again with the entry of an established technology company.

Private Cloud Computing. The magic word ‘Cloud’. Gartner recently mentioned in their report for Cloud Computing 2011 that the hype was meaningless. Private clouds might still make sense for organizations who are skeptical of sharing data outside their premises.

What do you feel are the emerging technologies that you feel will cut through the hype?

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