Business Insider was writing lately about Citi’s view to disruptive technologies. The picture they have drawn about this payment ecosystem is quite interesting. This ecosystem or value chain has many players and many roles. Most of them have their own old positions to protect and there are only few new players visible who have nothing to lose. Maybe some of the potential players are left outside of this picture? Interesting equation for future is who will have power combined with interest to create something tangible about mobile payments?
Second part of equation is the tricky end user. When considering the issues related to end user acceptance of mobile payments most crucial roles are played by easiness and availability. I experienced mobile payments at beginning of this century, while queuing to lunch at premises of an innovative and advanced company. Only reason for queue there was the test drive of mobile payments, which was taking considerably more time to process than just wiping the debit card. This experiment was disappearing after few months trial period. Availability (solution was based on SMS) of solution was secured, but easiness was forgotten. These are the same issues todays mobile payment solutions are challenged with: you need to deliver the key (currently credit or debit card) of some sort that is widely accepted among users and utilization must be easier than earlier. I think Google, PayPal, Apple or similar companies could have chance to challenge global banks and credit card companies because of their current user base.
Third part of equation is the merchant: what is it there for them? New solutions definitely should increase competition, but in stable markets where debit cards are widely used cost structure for merchants is already quite bearable compared to highly charged credit cards. This will increase the challenge for new comers: get high availability fast with competitive pricing.
Definitely interesting opportunity for players in different parts of value chain, although i think credit and debit cards were already quite mobile. Now all players in related industry need to think out of the box to pick the benefits of this disruptive trend and its impacts into payment value chain. I believe that end results will be easing up everyday life of consumers.
Real time utilization of analyzed data provides new opportunities for solutions. Collection, combination and modeling capabilities are critical for success and need to develop significantly from current stage. What we would like to do and what we can do might differ when we take in real time as parameter.
Social media will find its role as part of data flow and contact channel. Enormous ammount of data is daily created in social media, which can and most probably will be used commercially at the end of the day.
Opening data sources and developing tools are easing up enrichment of data. Many governmental organizations all over the world are opening their data sets for public use. Good set of available data now is visible in www.data.gov
This book has introduces nice way to analyze current architecture level of an organization. I find it helpful as with this kind of model you can turn an abstract thing like enterprise architecture more tangible and it also provides means for pointing out the progress while you are seeking higher levels of maturity of architecture. Naturally you may need to adjust some of the measures defined in the model, but basic principles introduced in this book provide clear and good starting point.
We have utilized the ideas from this book successfully at same time also taking benchmark of our architecture maturity level in iCMG’s competition. The category we participated was “New service offering”. Basic story from us was business transformation that is supported by growing enterprise architecture maturity level. Naturally you need also committed and capable people to utlize the framework, it is not working alone.
This book was definitely interesting and useful reading. One open ended though after experiencing this book was: is there another stage after business modularity, which was defined as highest stage here. Also it would be interesting to figure out, if organizations in different industries actually can be happy with some of the earlier stages in this four level model.
Cloud is good for services that are independent and do not have direct relations to components placed into other environments. If services have good interfaces, which can isolate the parts located into cloud then flexibility is increased.
Cloud is an excellent option when you are seeking scalability and want to avoid excessive initial investments to infrastructure. Most optimal case for cloud is, if you can utilize software as a service (SaaS) model. For example in case of using CRM (like salesforce.com ) additional benefits include availability of solution also outside company network, which is quite convenient for mobile salesforce.
Cloud is not good for cases where solutions are business critical or they are not planned for virtualized environments. With business critical i mean here situations where network connectivity and availability are really cruicial, like call center solutions. Also if you want to keep your vendor close to you, it might prove to be tricky with international cloud providers.
Cloud has also security related challenges, which mostly connect to local legistlation. In some cases there are strict rules where data is located and how utiliztion is limitted. Some times security levels are set so that you need to be able to prove how secure environment is. In thiskind of cases it most often makes sense to forget cloud and stick with traditional approach.
In real life there is always a solution for thiskind of issues. You always have an option to choose hybrid solution, where you cherry pick best sides of both worlds (this naturally comes with prise of compromise in some potential benefits).
Having services virtualized into cloud does not take away nor decrease the need for service monitoring and management. Viceversa they are becoming even more important as cloud enviroments usually increase the ammount of external vendors operating around your infrastructure.
One way to tackle these challenges is to re-engineering of issue management. Escalation processes most propably need to be renewed and you need to clarify roles and responsibilities of your vendors to match new situation. Most important thing is to secure proper interaction between vendors.
Dependencies between systems can prove to be difficult to manage, if you are utilizing several different cloud and physical environments simultaneously. Network connectivity and traffic loads need to be carefully planned as traffic is not anymore staying with in one network. Vendor relation is also changing, if you are moving at the same time from single hosting partner into multivendor environment.
These challenges can be tackled with functioning integration solution and professional network design. You might be interested in possessing some of these capabilities inhouse also. On top of these services has to be categorized carefully based on their special requirements so that their locations (cloud vs traditional environment) can be decided based on good judgement.
Good sides of cloud solutions include cost savings. Price per server is usually significantly lower compared to traditional lifetime costs of purchased servers. There is now investement needed also. This creates better transparency of technology stacks cost structure.
Scalability is also obvious benefit, but real time scaling is amazing capability. Only imagination limits opportunities you could have. If you wish you can create a service, that is available 9am-5pm. After working hours all servers would be run down and recreated next morning. Maybe not so brilliant way to use scalability, but serves well to illustrated capabilities.
Speed of delivery is nice enchacement for new development. No need to wait for delays in server order/delivery processes.
Inorder to enjoy of those above mentioned benefits you need to be able to avoid potential new vendor locking situations and understand throughly different options you can utilize for utilization of cloud. Additionally you need to secure that tools for automated scalability and monitoring are readily available, as these tend to be capabilities traditionally possessed by your hosting partner. Own sourcing and needed capabilities close to development projects need to be secured too. After having these you are ready to enjoy the sun shine behind cloud.
Just browsed through this book, while trying to figure out what makes some companies better than others. Few observations from that walk through:
Topic is little different compared to the current quarter economy. Collins and Hansen decided to study companies which have successful track record of 15+ years compared to stock market and relative to industry where they operate. Environment of these studied companies was turbulent and they survived from small start to 10x position.
Seeking for maximum growth during good times was seen as bad thing, because it would make company vulnerable during bad times. Writers seem to promote consistency as basis for good long term success.
Fire first bullets then cannonballs approach: low-cost, low risk experiment or testing should be done inorder to validate what will actually work. Resources should be concentrated to effort only after figuring out that goal is reachable and potential return is high enough. Less innovation is enough as long as efforts are directed wisely.
Good companies exercise productive paranoia, obsessing about what can go wrong. This approach will balance their risk taking for better results. Taking time available, before risk profile changes, for careful decision making, seem to produce better outcome, than rushing a decision. SMaC: Specific, Methodical and Consistent. SMaC is giving clear guidance regarding what to do and what not to do.
I think one of the key ideas was that good companies can utilize luck for results, seizing the opportunity. Better companies can even turn bad luck into good results.
This book was definitely interesting reading. Trying to figure out how those lessons learned could be turned into practical results in today’s fast moving business life.
Scope and efficiency of cloud based solutions and developmet are boosted up. As integration to cloud environments becomes easier and safer through cloud interface, new innovative ways to utilize cloud become possible. We get over either or attidude.
Real time capacity scaling is now treat for few, but soon it should be part of any cloud set up. At same time platform virtualization standardizes and we start to see real offering in arena called platform as a service (PaaS). Currently many offering are developing, but each has their different merrits and handicaps. Business solutions offering as software as service (SaaS) becomes mainstream. In this arena we already see many significant moves, but so more focusing into few specific processes like CRM or billing.
Discussion around “bring your own device” is quite heavily focused into devices and whether those should be allowed or not. I think the key question is do organisations want to make their services available any time, any where. After answering yes to that question, it really does not matter any more who brings the device (naturally the security concerns need to be taken care).
I think that services that are openned to be available out side organzations office network are increasing productivity. They are not so weird thing either anymore as there are readily available services like salesforce.com and other real SaaS solutions also handling companies key assets: customer information. So why not consider similar approach for other services too?