Back to Basics: Objectives for Successful Cloud Adoption

Picture this. You are a part of a multinational retailer of consumer electronics and you decide to quickly develop and deploy a social application to achieve your goals for the shopping season. You are confronted with a very aggressive time line, meaning that your social application may have to scale up very quickly. The timeline may not even be possible through your company’s traditional IT channel.

Wondering how to tackle this? Leverage cloud computing to deploy the social app to gear up for the shopping season. The cloud computing paradigm presents many options including:

  • Using Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) to build this application quickly
  • Building the application using traditional technologies, deploying it on an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform and scaling on demand

The bottom line is that you can rapidly deploy scalable applications in the cloud, by leveraging the key features of flexibility, scalability and on-demand resources. No doubt, cloud is re-inventing the way IT can rapidly enable business outcomes. Gartner has found that by the end of 2013, the size of the cloud computing market worldwide will reach $150 billion. Additionally, by the end of 2016, more than 50% of Global 1000 companies will store customer-sensitive data in the public cloud.

It is time for your organization to consider adopting cloud computing if you have not yet already. But, where do you begin? And, what benefits can you expect? Continue reading

Dodd-Frank’s Third Anniversary: The IT Journey To Date

As we approach the third anniversary of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in July, it is worthwhile to take a look at its impact on banks and their respective IT departments so far.

The implementation of the rules has been fraught with delays and confusion. The regulators who were entrusted with the job of proposing the rules and transforming the guidelines into policies have struggled to reach consensus with the industry, and have therefore been forced to repeatedly revise and delay compliance dates. The ongoing process prevented the initial implementation of strategic solutions, since firms were not willing to risk investing in new technology until the final rules came into better focus. If we accept the inevitability of these new business requirements, we can try to look at the regulations in a different light — that of an opportunity for businesses to leverage regulatory change to improve their efficiencies and achieve strategic goals. Continue reading

Dodd Frank Compliance – Leveraging Business Intelligence for Business Transformation

The Dodd-Frank act has stirred emotions as well as opinions from those both inside and outside of the financial services space. While there are still ongoing debates on the merits of the legislation, there is perhaps more consensus on the fact that the rules have been implemented in a less than optimal manner. However, at this point it is clear that the rules are here to stay — at least for now. As financial entities plan and implement their answers to the regulations, it is worthwhile to take a look at the benefits these regulations potentially have for business transformation. Continue reading

Embarking on a Social Media Journey: Five Key Focus Areas for Companies in Regulated Industries

The nature of financial, healthcare, insurance and defense industries implies the non-negotiable need for high levels of regulation. In these stringent environments with strict controls on policies and procedures, leveraging social media platforms to increase collaboration among employees is challenging. To succeed, there is a need to establish well-defined processes, policies and codes of conduct to help employees use these social networking tools. The other dimension which adds to complexity is hosting environments – on-premise or hosted. It is equally important to ensure that all of the policies and procedures adhere to industry specific acts like FINRA, HIPAA, HITECH, AIA (export control, IPR and copyright etc., policies), etc.

Here are five key areas that organizations functioning in highly regulated environments should consider while setting up a social media platform Continue reading

State of the Union for Employment Engagement: Are Your Employees Engaged?

What are the biggest challenges facing your company today? Are they the financial collapse, global recession, reshaping the existing business model and strategic priorities, or changing technology paradigms covering mobile, social and cloud? Or is it something much more fundamental than any of those?

Is your company losing touch with your most precious asset — your employees? Are your employees truly engaged and aligned to your corporate mission?

If you believe the recent HR studies, employee engagement is at an all-time low. The pressures of today’s work environment continue to alter how businesses operate, how companies engage with their employees and ultimately how people connect with their companies. Continue reading

Business Transformation: A Holistic Approach to Client Onboarding

Business transformation is defined as a fundamental change to processes or operating models. In most cases, the first consideration is the driver for transformation, that is, the cause of the business transformation. These drivers can fall into a wide spectrum of causes, including the desire to enter a new business, a regulatory change, or a recognized competitive issue. Often change is not taken voluntarily but is enforced. We are not often fortunate enough to have an opportunity to leverage change to actually transform a process. In many cases, change is driven by regulation, and in other cases competition may drive the change. New mandates in regulatory compliance such as Dodd-Frank and FATCA have not only created need for change but have also created opportunities for transformation. We must be careful not to confuse business transformation with process improvement. An improvement affects only a single factor such as compliance or speed to market where as transformation is a change that affects multiple areas. Continue reading

Branch Banking May Outlast the Online Channel After All

There have been many articles and opinions written about the demise of the banking branch. These discussions have dated back to when the ATM was first introduced and have been brought up again more recently due to the rise of mobile banking. Today’s consumer bank provides services across physical branch, ATM, online, mobile and tablet channels. The branch is by far the most expensive of the channels to manage. Banks face the dilemma of trying to determine the right combination of staffing, services, locations and features to be provided in these brick and mortar facilities. Continue reading

Capitalizing on new technology trends

A decade ago, there were about 400 million people on the Internet; today, there are nearly 2 billion. More than 940 million people around the world have 3G mobile phone subscriptions, and more than 500 million use Facebook.

We are in the midst of unprecedented technology evolution, with multiple technology disruptions/trends transforming the way business is conducted. Today’s world is characterized by increasingly fast transformations, boundless interconnectedness and prevalent interdependencies. Continue reading

Big Data – Push Aside the Hype, the Value Lies in Action

As eCommerce (eAnything for that matter), Web 2.0 and several other buzzwords have come and gone, one of today’s biggest tech/business buzzword is “Big Data.” While the term itself continues to gain momentum in the media (see the Google trends graphs below), the technology has not caught up with the hype and the hype is fading to the point that Gartner has placed it in the “trough of disillusionment”. Continue reading

Best Practices in Requirements Gathering: Focus, Flexibility and Adaptability

Based on different studies and surveys, it has been found that a good 60-70% of IT projects fail and only a lucky minority is able to reach fruition. Success here is being defined as the delivery of the agreed upon requirements while adhering to the proposed schedule and budget. One of the key reasons for project failure is a sub-standard requirement analysis. An activity as upstream in the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) as requirements gathering and analysis is crucial to the success of any IT engagement. Ensuring a meticulous execution of this phase is bound to have a positive impact on the downstream activity leading to high quality deliverables and a higher level of customer satisfaction. Failure to do so can translate to higher costs, delayed completion and strained customer relationships. Continue reading