Archive for October, 2011

Travel Television

October 30, 2011

Television is improving in a big way with recent developments – LCD, LED, 3D and now, Web TV.

Shortly, we will be able to see a day when we can take our television with us when we travel. Not the television but the content that we see on our television at home.

For instance, I stay in India and watch a lot of sports (of course cricket, badminton, etc.), bollywood-based shows (movies, songs, comedy clips, etc.) and Indian news channels (national, state and city-based). When I travel overseas, I miss out on most of these and have to watch channels that are suited to the local country. While this is good to learn about the new country, it becomes difficult after certain period of time.

To continue watching the same content that I watch at home, I need to subscribe to the different channels (if they are available) separately. Business and Leisure travel makes so many of us to travel and definitely we like to keep updated with what is going on in news, sports, business, soaps, etc. With so many channels going digital, there is no issue in them being available in other countries. If I travel on short-term, it is not worth the effort to subscribe separately for these channels.

But, surely, isnt this a business opportunity to pursue? Why not allow subscribers to create a package of channels that one would want to see and allow them to watch it on any TV in the hotel. Of course, there might be a need to have a “bridge” to play the content on any TV but surely that is a minor issue. One can do it without any problems within a country; how to do it across countries and continents would need a bit more planning and scale. Is Google (through Youtube) just scraping the surface now? Let us wait and watch

What do you think? Wouldnt you want this package when you travel ?

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This should be taken care

October 28, 2011

How many times has one heard this phrase during discussions or meetings – “This should be taken care”. Everyone nods and agrees. Period. Matter is forgotten. Nobody picks up the thread to say that I will ensure this is taken care.

Very often, we see our colleagues and friends talk animatedly (mostly in hindsight) about how things were not taken care.

If it had been taken care, we should have been in a much better situation.

If we knew it before, why did we not assign it to someone and say “You take care”. What is the worst case scenario? The person will say that it is not his responsibility and redirect to another. Finally, the round-robin has to end with someone, right?

Next time, please use “This should be taken care by xxx” – this puts the responsibility squarely on a shoulder.

Superstition and Analytics

October 11, 2011

Wikipedia states that

Superstition is a belief in a non-physical (i.e. supernatural) causality: that one event causes another without any physical process linking the two events….It is also commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luckprophecy and spiritual beings, particularly the belief that future events can be foretold by specific unrelated prior events.

Think about it – we have heard about soccer players and cricketers put on their right shoe first and then left (or vice versa). Why do they do this? They have reasons to believe that when they followed such an approach, things worked out for them. Also, when they did not follow, bad luck dogged them. They are right and wrong in their own way.

Let us revisit Wikipedia once again for Analytics

A simple definition of analytics is “the science of analysis”. A practical definition, however, would be that analytics is the process of obtaining an optimal or realistic decision based on existing data.

Does it make sense to say that analytics done badly will result in a superstition?

Maybe. What do you think?

Retiring Applications in any organization

October 2, 2011

Portfolio Rationalization. Retirement of Applications. Give it any name – it basically deals with shutting down applications that are not required for any organization. Everyone has their own way to deal with applications which have been inherited by IT groups from other groups or organizations (that might have merged). Obviously, I am not talking of the mission-critical apps in the organization – these apps are more that are being used by a minor group of employees.

Most of the time, it is very difficult to understand who use these applications and why. The organization might find it difficult to take decisions on whether to continue these applications or close them. It is mostly very optimal (and easy) to shut down such an application than budget any support.

What is the best strategy to deal with these applications? There are quite a few white-papers around on how to deal with them. I will not try to suggest any complicated steps to use here – more a common-sense approach that I feel will give everyone some points of discussion.

  • First, the Support levels of the application have to be defined. Ensure that Remedy or any other ticketing application takes care of the event-logging. Availability of Support team can be office-hours to start with (9AM to 5PM).
  • Trend analysis of the tickets logged against the application will show the fragility of the application and the specific need of support teams
  • If there is no clear pattern in the trend, one can go to the extent of shutting down the application then!
  • Such a drastic step will not result in a similar reaction from the business users, if this application is really not mission-critical.
  • If no tickets are logged after the application shut-down , it means that there might be other work-arounds that help the users to do what they wanted to achieve with ‘this’ application.
  • If there are tickets raised by users, it means that the application is being used at specific times by different groups. This application can then make do with a revised set of support hours (unlike the regular support).
This approach will take care of quite a sizable number of the non-critical applications, if not 80%. This will save time as well as efforts of people can be focused on other apps that are required by the organization.
What do you think of this approach? Do you think it will work? Or will it provide more head-ache to the Senior Managers of IT groups?

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