Service mindset

Thought it will be worthwhile revisiting it based on several discussions earlier this week.

Cloud/SaaS focus is more about the second ‘S’ in SaaS that stand for ‘Service’ over first ‘S’ – Software. It is the ‘Service’ aspect that differentiate SaaS with traditional Software product approaches – particularly in the enterprise space. There are various ways to architect and deliver Software across various different computing Platforms – traditional and/or Cloud.

So what define a ‘Service’ mindset. Here are some aspect that make a Service different from traditional product: 

  • Know how customer are using the product automatically. Through software can you proactively advise customers for effective use of the solution addressing their problem
  • Continuously deliver new commercial value to customers that customers actually consume
  • Software is super easy to install, setup, update, upgrade and done without much human intervention.
  • All your customers are keeping current and on the same version of software (release/update)
  • Intuitive customer experience that delight users every time they use the software
  • End users get easily trained on new feature/functionalities as part of the new enhancement rollout
  • Deliver stellar quality of software that enable high SLA (six 9s) and software always on. Reliable, Redundant, Scalable and Secured

Just ask how your product/organization can achieve these – regardless of the underlying architecture or platform. It is more about what matter to customers over purity of computing platform or architecture. And we will find real issues can be solved various ways across different computing platform.

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New chapter


I am starting a new chapter in my professional life. I will be joining CA Technologies as Sr. Vice President of Business Unit Executive this coming Monday. Some of you may already know CA Technologies as it has been in the Technology business for some time now. CA specializes in IT solutions that help customers manage and secure their complex IT environments. If you are a big business – financial institution, government or any other sector that has IT department – chances are you are using CA technologies in the IT organization

This is an exciting time for businesses like CA. CA already has a strong foothold in the IT environments that do large-scale business critical transactions across huge set of data. CA Customers have been relying on its proven solutions for decades as they perform millions of mission critical transactions everyday in a secure and reliable way. We know it as we rely on our financial institution to ensure every transaction happen in a secured and reliable way. And these institutions are doing millions of these transactions everyday across a large dataset that is accessible via multitude of devices.

Technology landscape continue to change and we are now witnessing significant business transformation happening in the enterprise world due to technologies like BigData/Social/Cloud/Mobile/etc. All this leading to data centers getting modernized and hybrid infrastructure getting in place. Datacenters are becoming the platform of business growth that foster agile innovation, build renewed customer intimacy expected of the social world while improving on organization collaboration/productivity without loosing on security and reliability. So net-net this is an exciting time to be in the technology business and I am excited to be joining CA to become part of this industry transformation.

I deeply appreciate all of your support and cherish our relationship. THANK YOU for giving me such a good journey.

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Why Agile


Product organizations are going through significant transformation. Business/commercial expectations of the Product organizations are changing; customer (buyer) behaviors are changing; how software gets priced; distributed and implemented is changing; People/employee expectation within an organization is changing; etc. All of this has led to the Product organizations transforming their inner-working and organizing things differently.

As someone who has been introducing Lean/Agile at large, distributed, global organization and preaching, evangelizing Agile for several years now – I have found organizations that have adopted Agile find themselves well situated to be able to transform successfully. Over the years, I have seen my fair share of successes and challenges in its adoption across several large R&D organizations globally. Good news is that Agile is now well understood and accepted as a practice. It is more common now for me to meet Agile converts then Agile detractors so-as-to-speak. It help promoting Agile discussion now then what it was several years back.

These days, it is more common where someone will engage me on “How” to achieve agile. It is a healthy sign as an organization should continue to retrospect/improve or implement Agile practice. I also encourage organization to engage right agile coach to provide refresher on lean/agile practices. However, for the agile transformation to be successful in an organization – it is vital that people are remaining true to “Why” an organization is pursuing Agile as it help with the “How” of agile.

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Achieving elusive personal goal

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.

I have been trying to reduce my weight for several years now without much success. This has been one of the most difficult personal goal for me to accomplish during the last several years. Like with countless other folks around the world – my goal will often start with a new year resolution that usually lose its steam somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd month. Loosing weight/getting fit is the most common new year resolution that people find it hard to keep. Like a yearly ritual, earlier this year – I committed myself (again) to the cause. This time though I saw the success that had eluded me all those years. Finally, I was able to shave off 5 inches from my waist line and weight 35 lbs lighter to get on the right height/weight category. To top it off – I have been maintaining it now for several months.

Here are my reflection on why I succeeded this time around as compare to various past not-so-successful attempts. They are not that much different from how one would approach accomplishing goal in professional environment:

1. Learn from the past: Set up realistic goal that can be accomplished.

Failures of the past turned out to be (as always) not all lost cause. They provided an insight into what was not working and what was working. They also provided me healthy dose of realism, at the onset, to ensure the level of commitment that is needed to accomplish the goal. So I knew getting in (like everything else that need to be accomplished in life) that it will not come easy and it will take time (months) to accomplish it. It helped me develop patience – not to walk away early and helped me develop a multi-prong approach that included diet; exercise; and discipline.

2. Discipline: Change old habits to develop new behaviors.

Probably the hardest part as an individual is to change your own long-standing behavior. And to develop new long-lasting habits it is important to develop discipline around those new behaviors you want to learn. I am a foodie kind of guy and I love drinks in social setting. It is hard to say no to a good food and probably harder to say no when drinks are offered. It is much hard to say no when your loved ones and great friends are on the other side offering you that extra food or drink that you love with that innocent look on their face.

However to reduce weight – one has to develop a healthy discipline around what you eat and how much you eat. At the end of the day – loosing (and maintaining) weight is a math problem around how many net calories you intake in a day. For normal people like me – Calories are easy to eat but it take quite an effort to burn those extra calories. Drinks are equally culprit in adding up your daily calorie count. So this time around – I learned to say no (smilingly); or just walk away; or pace myself to a slower speed than everyone else in a social setting that allowed me not to have any extra intake where people persist feed for one more round.

Also, being regular at exercise is important to develop good metabolism and physical strength while loosing weight. You don’t want to lose weight by starving that make you physically weak or feeling tired all the time.  As I have always enjoyed sports and have been playing some sport regularly all my life – this came natural to me to keep up with a sport/exercise routine that I enjoy.

3. Measure what need improvement:

I believe in measuring what matters. Thus far though I avoided applying it towards losing weight/getting fit. Thanks to the mobile revolution now there are several good apps for it. So I downloaded couple of smart apps on my iPhone that I started using it on daily basis (actually several times a day) to count every meal that I ate; as well as calories I burn due to exercises or playing some sports. These Apps were of tremendous help in keeping tab of how much calories I was eating every day.

More importantly Apps helped me made a calorie literate person and closed the knowing-doing gap. This may be a known science that people already practice – however relating food size portion towards how much calories I was eating towards my daily goal was not well understood by me. Also, I started weighing myself regularly at the same time during a week. It not only helps understand the progress – it also become an early alert system to course correct (particularly during the holiday seasons) when you start to gain weight. Key here turned out to measuring regularly – which is now part of my regular routine.

4. Adapt to the changing environment: 

Other challenge for me was to adapt to my traveling nature of job that usually comes with various dinner/drink late evening sessions as part of every day life. So how to keep healthy balance while at home versus while traveling became part of the discipline to develop. I tried not kill myself to keep up with the same food/hours/etc. I went with the flow and adapted to find the right food/drink necessary to maintain the overall goal. Eat salad during lunch hours if you know dinner is going to be heavy. Also, I focused more on the portion size than what kind of food I was eating. It generally worked well for me. I switched to drinking more water over other soft drinks. It is more likely that you will see me carrying water bottle in my hand during those evening sessions when everyone is queued up for free drinks. Or I will be pacing my wine much slower while others are gulping it down.

5. Celebrate successes: Have fun along the way

Knowing loosing/maintaining weight will be a long haul process and I was not ready to live like hermit by avoiding all food/drinks that I enjoy. So I focused more on portion size (based on type of food/calorie) that allowed me to eat everything. Also I celebrated small successes along the way with mouth savoring food or drinks – preferably with low-calorie option, if available. It made the long journey fun and provided me the necessary encouragement to keep going rather than fall prey to the temptation when you deprive yourself too hard of all good things one can enjoy.

6. Develop operating rhythm in personal life: You are what you regularly do.

Being fit is a life style choice that don’t happen instantly. One has to develop healthy life rhythm to make it part of your daily behavior. Overtime, these rhythm become second nature and necessary to maintain what you worked so hard to achieve.

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This is an exciting time for people working in the technology field. Technology landscape is constantly changing and not a period goes by when we don’t hear about innovation happening all around us. In fact, we experience most of the innovation as consumer sooner these days. So one has to keep investing in personal growth and keep probing – how prepared are you when such new technology opportunity knocks at your door step?

If your answer is yes – then pat yourself on the back and keep doing what you are doing keeping up with the learning and preparedness to ride the change curve. You may find yourself as someone who get sought after in the industry to lead/participate and shape the future. Good chances are you may also be creating some of these opportunities.

However, if the answer is no – you may want to start thinking what you should do to be prepared. We all know change happen regardless and time don’t wait for anyone. Sometime the challenge is how to get started and one struggle thinking through what need to be done. My advise is to find friends who are successfully keeping up with the change to understand what they do to remain prepared. You should spend more time with them and learn a lot through hand holding;  seeing how others are approaching the change can be the inertia one need to get started. It is the effect of having a good peer network that supports and draws you out. Just make sure you approach it with a positive attitude and be committed to put in the hard work it requires. Also, pay attention to what need unlearning as well as at times past behavior/practices need to be let go before learning/relearning new approaches. So cherish the past, learn from the past but don’t let the past hold us back.

Finally as the saying goes – luck is when preparation meet opportunity. So invest in yourself and be prepared to make the most of the opportunity knocking on our door step. You sure don’t want to miss the excitement that is shaping in front of us to put our fingerprints on it!

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Employees, Customers and Shareholders – who comes first?

Key stakeholders of a company are its shareholders, customers and its employees. Businesses are organized for the benefit of its shareholders. Nevertheless, the question of corporate priorities and which one should come first, second, or last – is a never ending debate.

From a company board and business order of priority perspective the answer would be shareholder because a company exist on its ability to attract shareholders to invest in their business. So shareholders should come first.

Another point of view remains that at the end of the day it is about customers. A customer is the one who pays both employees and shareholders. And a business that can lead to happy and loyal customers due to its focus on customers – drive the growth of the business. A growing business – lead to happy employees and happy shareholders. So you could say Customers come first.

Another point of view remains that a company need employees first who are motivated to use their skill and knowledge in creating happy (and repeat) customer experience that earn value on behalf of the shareholder. In that context – taking care of employees is more important that lead to happy customers and increase in shareholder value.

Bottom line all 3 stakeholders in a company are interrelated. And in a healthy business these should be aligned.  Taking care of employees and having a good people strategy is key to the success of customers; having happy and loyal customers is key for a growing business; and having a growing business is a key for shareholders to seek return they expect on their investment; and having a company that attract investment is key in having financially strong company that can provide safe future to its employees.

What do you say?

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Know thyself

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. ~ Tao

I enjoy meeting people who are self-aware. I look for the opportunity to work with them wherever possible. Working with them usually turns out to be a great experience where I end up gaining more and learning something from the interaction. Self-awareness means knowing your strengths, weaknesses, knowing what you want to become, what drives you, what you care about, etc.  It is a sense of who you are and a vision of the person you want to become. Usually self-aware people tend to make the most by playing to their personal strengths and compensate their weakness by working with people whose strengths are complementary to them. They are comfortable in their own skin; try to live their own life rather than mimic and be someone else.

To develop self-awareness though one should be willing to hold a mirror and seek an honest picture. As easier as it sound – it is hard to develop self-awareness. It helps to be surrounded by lot of trusting family and friends who are candid and able to provide you with an honest feedback. There are few other ways people can assess their personality traits; their strengths and weakness such as by using Myers-Briggs; DISC; StrengthFinders; 360 reviews, etc. What is vital though is be true to yourself and more we become aware of ourself – we gain acknowledgement of our own “quirks” better.

People who are self-aware usually stand out as they know themselves really well and play the role that suit them. It make them generally candid, competent and confident. Learning to become self-aware is a good starting point to grow individual leadership skill and increase your span of influence.

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