When the Cloud bursts in Diwali season

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“CLOUD APPLICATIONS”

The phrase has been buzzing since about a decade now, but unfortunately over 75% professionals I come across nod their head pretending to understand all about it, but are clearly looking at infinity figuring how to make this guy shut up.

Former Indian Income Tax Department’s additional commissioner once went on-record saying that India’s Unique Identification Number program (similar to US-SSN, Canada SIN programs) will not work because the data is on cloud and “if it rains, the data will leak from the cloud”

So, here’s your pocket guide to Cloud Applications lingo, take away 2-3 things from this article, just throw them out randomly in your next meeting and watch everyone else nod their heads.

An example scenario  –

In your next meeting when you hear the word “Cloud”, get alert and say “There are all different types of Cloud services SaaS / Paas / IaaS / RaaS. What kind of Cloud model are you suggesting because it will make sense only if we consider the SaaS model?” Chances are that the conversation would end over there, but in case someone googles SaaS quickly, go to the white board and write–

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Mentorship lessons from Grand Master Yoda

yoda-mentor

“Always two there are, no more, no less: a master and an apprentice.” – Grand Master Yoda

The Jedi Order had it all figured out “a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away”. Most trades had also figured it out since in the middle ages. But, it is high time that the Corporate World actively promotes the idea of building a Knight-Padawan relationship to hand down knowledge and skill and build masters and leaders of the future.

Every new employee joins the organization with unlimited potential and a drive to rise to the top. Let’s call this employee Deb. With no mentorship program in place, Deb feels lost about what to do and how to do. A 4 years experienced team member, let’s call him John, lends a helping hand and gets Deb started and trains her. 6 months in, Deb is considered an expert and given independent assignments for which the Johns step in, stays up extra and trains Deb. In return, Deb finishes up low-level work for John. Voila!!! Establishment of Master-Apprentice relationship in the team. What’s sad about this is that John goes completely unrecognized for his leadership and initiative by the “Managers”, but he does it anyway without expecting results.

“Always pass on what you have learnt” – Yoda Continue reading “Mentorship lessons from Grand Master Yoda”

Redefining role of Information Technology

Photo Credit: http://www.managementinnovation.it/en/it-vision-strategy/

“The business has too many strategic projects going on, let’s look at these capital IT projects after 3 years”.

“Our ERP is outdated now, give us the cheapest upgrade option to keep it supported”

“We have a business to transform, just keep the lights on

“Our applications are good enough, they capture transactions and provide us reports, no need for a change”

“Unless there is a hard financial ROI with a payback in 3 years, it’s a no”

I’m sure most of you have heard or seen this conversation or a form of this conversation happen among CEO, CFO and CIO from CEO/CFOs to CIOs. And if you are a thought leader somewhere in the organization, you shake your head and are like “Darn! I hate this strategy of doing nothing” and then think if it even is a strategy.

Let’s see what are the flaws in each of these arguments.

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How to distribute Overtime Labor cost of Exempt employees – Story of a joint family

A Prelude, but not a Pre-requisite to this blog is
Why reporting OT hours is important – A Lesson I learnt from my mom

Introduction

Joint families? Extended families living under the same roof with an ecosystem in which everyone supports one another. There are differences among members, but the common goal is the success of the whole family. In one such joint family (furniture builders since generations) there lived 4 brothers.  Their parents (Exec Management) live in the same house and are responsible for keeping the family tied together.

 Bro 1 Manages day to day affairs of the house like Finances, making sure all kids are taken care of, buying household supplies, etc. Overhead & Admin
 Bro 2 Goes out and finds people who are in need of furniture in their homes and convinces them to buy furniture from their 4th brother Sales and Proposals
 Bro 3 Builds and maintains the house like building new rooms, or furniture, etc. as the family keeps growing with more kids. Sometimes, he invents new type of furniture, which the Bro 4 can later mass produce and sell. Capital Cost
 Bro 4 Builds and ships the furniture. He also collects cash from his customers after he ensures the customers are happy with the product. Operations / Cost of Goods Sold

All the children (employees) of the house work for typically one of the brothers and are compensated with a fixed weekly allowance (exempt employees!!). There are a few children, though, who work for multiple brothers on a regular basis or a brother is helping another brother by lending one of his children.

The Story

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Why reporting OT hours is important – A Lesson I learnt from my mom

When I was young, I got a fixed weekly allowance. I was expected to do my chores of cleaning, laundry, grocery runs, et al, But, no matter how good or bad I was, whether I helped mom with the dishes or not, I would get that allowance and I would not be asked how I spend it or ever be threatened that you would not get it. You would think I was not motivated to do my household chores, but you’re wrong… Every school year my allowance went up slightly and I was allowed to marginally negotiate for my allowance. So, I grew up in an environment where I was an Exempt employee.

As I was growing up, I kept a journal and on the last page of the journal was the year’s calendar. I gave myself a star everyday I went overboard to help mom. During my appraisal, I would count my stars and remind mom of the incidents when the stars happened. She remembered all the black stars, so am sure she had a journal of her own 🙂 Turns out I was mostly a star employee of my mom and used to work much more than expected and it helped with my annual raise or she was not maintaining her journal well enough. Most importantly, it taught me the importance of maintaining a quick record of any extra time spent on doing my normal job duties.

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Why ERP needs nurturing after go-live

This damn ERP will never get better!!! It’s been almost 6 months now and I can’t get the reports and new issues crop up everyday!!!

Ever heard this before?

Over the years, I’ve seen clients getting frustrated for not being able to get their money’s worth after spending hundreds of millions and then there is painful change management. This frustration comes from the top and runs deep in the organization’s veins down to the intern hired for 2 weeks for data entry.

Top management complains: they can’t see the reports with accurate data from the system after spending millions.   Continue reading “Why ERP needs nurturing after go-live”