Having been a soccer mom for the last 10 years through which I have watched and cheered my daughter Samiksha play soccer from the side lines, my husband Deepak and I always wished we had a tool to capture and track her progress over the years she has grown and transformed into a competitive player. Now that Samiksha is fourteen and a freshman in high school who has a big desire to play college soccer, we felt it would be nice to build a mobile app where we can track her progress for the next four years and then present that as part of her college resume. Therefore, the idea of ‘SoccerLogger’ got a kick.
Now, I am getting ready to launch this app soon on the iTunes App Store. We are starting first with an app for the iPhone, but have plans for a tablet version as well. I wanted to share this news so other young soccer players, their parents and coaches can use this app as a real-time game logger and generate comprehensive reports to analyze individual and team performance, during the game and after. SoccerLogger revolutionizes how a soccer player and team data can be captured, tracked and analyzed using various reports to help improve the game for an individual player and the team. It also helps bring the collective forces of player, parent and coach together to create a fact based assessment solely aimed at understanding and improving overall team and individual performance.
For more on the app and its benefits check out SoccerLogger at http://www.soccerlogger.com and also subscribe to our email list so we can notify you as soon as it is available in the app store.
If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the app feel free to send me an email at ‘email@example.com‘
You and I, can now keep track of all our games!!.
© 2013. Alur Labs LLC. All Rights Reserved.
I recently came across an article which is to be published in the February issue of Fortune magazine about how “eBay is back“. Coincidently, I was on site at eBay for a business meeting last week and surprisingly I could see and feel that the organization energy at eBay was very high. I sensed a very positive attitude and optimism from the employees who worked at eBay. Having read the article earlier to my visit, it clearly proved to me that eBay is really back and John Donahoe as the CEO was definitely leading the company with a different leadership style which is also allowing the leadership team downstream to execute the strategy and vision that he was practicing and preaching from the top.
This is a clear example how great leaders can create both economic and social value without sacrificing one objective for another. In fact the book “How Great Leaders Create Economic and Social Value” talks about CEO’s like John Donahoe who highlights that leadership is not just a skill about a company meeting its quarterly financial goals but also at the same time helping people achieve their personal goals by creating a healthy company culture that helps to promote social values with in the company and the communities that their employees live in.
For the last 17 years that I have lived in the heart of Silicon valley, I have worked for several large and small software companies and start-ups. Having worked at various organizations has allowed me to experience and observe how the leadership style has shifted recently where more and more focus is given by the CEO’s and the leadership team only to the financial performance of the company and no emphasis on the company culture at all. Recent research shows that this style of leadership will turn out to be more damaging to the company in the long run if Leaders don’t make a conscious shift soon enough to save these companies from disaster. In my earlier blog I tried to address the leadership topic in a subtle way through the topic “Why Good Leadership matters...”.
Now that I see examples like eBay making a difference, it’s time more companies pay attention to this style of leadership that can help them to be successful. The next generation leadership style that is important to succeed for the 21st century leaders will have to include strategies that will meet the needs of not just the customers and shareholders but also with the employees and communities.
- Strategy: Need to create a strategy that will connect the head and heart with shared values with all the employees. Leaders will have to identify the capabilities of a company and its employees, which will together help them to build a shared commitment to excel.
- Trust: Leaders need to earn the right to lead by being open with their vision, ideas and strategy and thereby gain trust and credibility.
- Diversity: Since most companies compete in a global market, leaders have a greater responsibility to promote diversity with a shared purpose that can help everyone to contribute to the company vision, at the same time add in their values and achieve their aspirations.
- Performance: Good leadership has to start from the top with the CEO taking the lead and being a role model. It should flow down the leadership chain so it gets well communicated to all so everyone is accountable for the overall success. Through fairness, everyone should be evaluated based on what and how they execute and equally recognized for their efforts and inputs that result in the growth of the company.
My weekend on Saturday started a bit unusual. Because of the cold weather outside, I did not have great plans to do anything outdoors with my family during the day other than going out for dinner that night. Lack of plans made me think at my breakfast table how I was going to spend my time that day. Just then I heard the door bell ring. When I checked at the door I saw a packaged shipped to me from Amazon. I realized that the book I had placed an order on Amazon a day before was at my door step ( I am amazed at the quality of customer service that amazon offers to its customers. I am a prime customer and I do most of my shopping these days online through amazon because of the connivence and the choices around products that amazon provides!!. Amazon business model is a topic that can be covered in a blog another day! ). I opened the package and there was this book “What I Wish I Knew When I was 20“. I was happy that I could spend the day reading some new material.
“What I Wish I Knew When I was 20” is a book written by Tina Seelig, a neuroscientist from Stanford School of Medicine. She is the executive director of the Stanford Technology Ventures program and also teaches courses on entrepreneurship and innovation at the Stanford university. She wrote this book as the 20th birthday gift to her son based on her experiences and her interactions she had with her students and with various entrepreneurs around the world. As Tina Seelig puts it this book is ” A Crash course on making your place in the world”. The information in this book is amazing and has brought a new perspective to the way I will look at new ideas or problems that I come across in my day today life. This book is filled with fascinating examples from classroom to the boardroom, of individuals defying expectations, defying assumptions and achieving amazing success.
I wish I had read this book 20 yrs ago!!. I would have been a different person all together.
Though its not too late for me, I have decided to pass on the baton. I have handed over the book to my 14 yr old daughter Samiksha to read. I am quite sure this book will change the course of her life and the outcome, who is already exploring the path to entrepreneurship through her non-profit that she recently started called Soccer4Kids.
I hope I am passing on a small gift of inspiration as a parent to my daughter!!.
As President Barack Obama sets off on his second-term journey with the big inaugural yesterday, Jan 21 2013, which also coincided with Martin Luther King Jr. day, watching MLK’s ” I Have a Dream” speech on this day provided a new meaning on how far this country has come since independence .
This also, made me wonder what Leadership is all about and the leaders we see in our lives today. What can we learn from these proven leaders!!.
What makes one a good Leader?
A Leader is the one who provides “hope” and “change” through his leadership.
Leadership as we know is a learned behavior and rarely is one born to lead.
Authentic leaders do not crave power. They have a set of morals and values, exemplary character, confidence, and trustworthiness.
A leader needs to be trusted and be known to live their life with honesty and integrity.
A good leader “walks the talk” and in doing so earns the right to have responsibility for others.
In order to lead and set direction, a leader should inspire confidence in others and draw the trust and best efforts of the team to complete the task well.
A leader should work to inspire the team and its members to achieve the objectives so the whole team is successful in the long run.
Hence we need to understand that “Leaders are not born they are made“.
Macho Leadership is Overrated …
A current trend in the leadership philosophy that I see today is where leaders try to lead the way as bullies. These leaders lack goodwill, empathy nor sympathy. They are greedy for power and they have a personal agenda to be the leaders. It is their way or the highway!!.
It’s important to identify such macho leaders early on who try to operate through bullying and brute force to achieve their personal glory. This type of leadership can cause more damage than good to any organization, team or a company.
Good Leadership matters because no one and nothing comes to success without it.
I came across an article of Deepak Chopra “The Conscious Lifestyle: The Soul of Leadership” on the spiritual side of leadership.
In recent years the business world has become more competitive and more volatile. Technological changes are faster, there is greater international competition and the market is global.
So a good Leader is one if he can provide hope to the folks around him to the changes, through good leadership by providing a solid vision and a strategy that leads the way to facilitate better and greater innovations.
Hope you share similar thoughts on this topic!!.
For couple of years now, mobile innovation has primarily focused all its resources and time on the consumer market. In 2013 there are tremendous opportunities and market demand for innovative solutions and products that address the needs of a mobile strategy for enterprises.
In 2013, analysts have forecasted 1.2 billion smartphones and tablets will be sold worldwide, up from 821 million in 2012. With more and more enterprise encouraging the idea of BYOD for their users, having a mobile strategy is not an option anymore. It is a necessity for all enterprises.
What is it to have a mobile strategy?
Most enterprises now have aligned a strategy to address their mobile user needs to meet their business goals through evolving technologies. Hence creating a compelling mobile experience for their users is now becoming a competitive necessity.
Here is the standard requirements that companies have adopted around a mobile strategy so far:
1. Mobile Apps to provide easy and secure access:
Most companies have a mobile strategy starts with mobile app to accommodate the user driven IT world and provide easy access to content like the ability to connect to files and documents from smartphones and tablets as efficiently as they can from laptops and desktops.
The mobile apps could be a native apps to support and meet the needs of specific mobile devices, which are made downloadable through the app stores or they it could rich HTML5 based web apps. Refer to my earlier post for more on the benefits of HTML5 : Future of Web Applications as I see it.
Also, check out this article on HTML5 vs native app
2. Maintain control and security while providing a simple End-User experience
This would require the need to support a mobile device and access management solution to make sure they can enforce and control these mobile devices on who, how, where and what resources the users can access. Refer to my earlier post for more on Mobile Security – BYOD Trends and Needs
3. Support a Social-Business context through evolving technologies
Mobile users are using the mobile devices for their personal and their professional lives— whether they’re working remotely on mobile devices or at the home office. This means that tools around collaboration, file sharing, workflow systems, WLAN capacity, network bandwidth and other network resources should allow users to fully engage both on business and social terms at the same time. This would require enterprises to support a flexible model to support their evolving business needs through technologies to provide better, faster and secure transactions without compromising the privacy of these mobile users.
So far go good…It will be interesting to watch how this strategy will evolve in the future?.
Cloud computing in the areas of Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a service (SaaS) were the words of 2012. Vendors like SAP, IBM,Microsoft, RedHat, Oracle, VMWare and Citrix all entered this space early on and now we see that these solutions are evolving into second generation products in 2013 (Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2013/01/14/the-second-generation-of-cloud-startups-is-here/#ST0T4K7MFbYxhGlA.99)
Now that cloud computing is making a huge impact in other market areas like big data, social and mobility, to help drive and support new business scenarios, we will see more and more hardware and software vendors embarking this journey around their products and solutions. ( See: Gartner: 10 critical IT trends for the next five years)
Benefits of the cloud offerings is often associated with reducing cost and increasing agility. While this is true, the more strategic role that cloud solutions can play for the customers and the vendors are in achieving operational excellence, product leadership, customer intimacy, and open innovation. Cloud computing is part of a long and powerful trend towards virtualization. Virtualization acts as a stepping stone for cloud which mainly helps to bring down the operation cost down, at the same time facilitate speed and agility in deployment and maintenance in the long run.
Given the above factors, the following are typical areas to consider when thinking of ROI when adopting a cloud strategy:
- Hardware costs – how much will this save in terms of the servers and storage devices.
- Maintenance for the hardware – will there be any savings ?
- Software licenses cost – usually the license post for a cloud solution is priced less than on premise. How much cost can be reduced per seat?
- Maintenance for the software – include both the vendor support and your internal support costs
- Facilities costs – can you lower the power, HVAC, building costs etc.?
- Productivity/efficiency costs– what is the learning curve, are the people who will use the new system more productive? what is the cost involved for training?
- Agility around new opportunities – are you able to respond faster, but cheaper, to opportunities that otherwise would have taken more development time and money?
Over the weekend the CBS 60 minutes program covered the approach of Design Thinking (http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50138327n) where company like IDEO incorporates human behavior into product design, an innovative approach that is now being taught at Stanford university these days to get the younger generation to think differently.
This made me wonder why innovation is not a topic that is strictly enforced by all product development companies. When it comes to the product life-cycle, innovation is a word that is loosely thrown around. Management tells their employees that they promote innovation but there is no goals or requirements that is tracked around innovation specifically.
Importance of Innovation
It’s a well know fact that ‘creativity’ is about coming up with ideas while ‘innovation’ is about bringing ideas to life. If product companies have to innovate they need to take risk with their ideas which requires time, investment and resources. Let’s take the example of Proctor & Gamble (P&G), an american multinational market leader in consumer goods. This isn’t accidental. It’s the result of a strategic effort by P&G over the past decade to systematize innovation and growth. Their product portfolio at any point of time is a result of dedicated focus on innovation. They will lose their #1 place in the consumer goods market if they do not innovate. Apple is another well know example who had dominance with its product portfolio because of its innovative culture that Steve Jobs always championed for. If Apple does not maintain its track record with innovation, the company will very soon lose its market share against other competitive vendors.
Role of Innovation in Software companies
80-90% of the big software companies these days take small and safe bets to innovate with their products. They mostly listen to their customers and their feedback and meet their needs by adding features and functionality to the existing products. They then tag that as their strategy for innovation. On the other hand, all the big innovations of new ideas are brought to life in software startups. Startups are backed by venture capitalist who fund them to convert the bigger and smarter ideas to transform them into profitable, commercial revenue generating product and services.
Overtime big software companies lose their product edge over competitors and to stay current in the market they acquire these software startup companies and integrate them into the existing product portfolio. Over the process of integration the products produced by larger companies lose their real value, the product becomes bulky and complex. Hence this strategy is not always effective. This need to change!.
Innovation as a Strategy
There are various well-known innovation frameworks and best practices that is already available, which enforces the importance of adopting the concepts of innovation at every step of the product life cycle. This should be the new way of thinking irrespective of whether the software products are developed in large or small companies.
In order to promote the cycle of innovation as the heart of a software product life-cycle, companies should enforce a strategy and promote a culture with specific goals that can be tracked and monitored around the product.
Here are some of the steps that can turn innovation into success for any product.
- Encourage free flow of ideas and reward them.
- Allow to share knowledge around the ideas across the company.
- Allow to interact with inside as well as outside the company resources who have the knowledge around these ideas.
- Educate and allow to seek knowledge around market and the technology trends.
2. Market research:
- Is there a need or desire for the product?
Is the size of the potential market adequate?
Will the customer buy the product?
- Will the product satisfy the market needs?
3. Competitive and Risk analysis:
- Will the product have a competitive advantage?
- Is the advantage profitable ?
- Do we have all the internal resources to build and sustain and make the difference?
- Can we get a buy-in from the top management and support it?
4. Revenue and growth:
- Are forecasted returns greater than costs?
- Are the risks acceptable?
- Does the product fit your overall growth strategy?
- Can it help us tap into additional markets?
- Can it help us to be market leaders and establish to strengthen the brand?
Fraud is a serious problem and requires new way of thinking to address this problem. Irrespective of the market type whether its financial services, online retail, point of sale or healthcare, fraud prevention and management is the biggest pain point for all customers these days.
In the security market to address Fraud, the real-time security intelligence along with the power of Big Data is spearheading the growth of solution vendors to innovate and differentiate their solutions from old-school security vendors.
Fraud causes companies to lose money in many ways. These days there is a greater need for a real-time solution to help to organizations automatically detect the anomalies with their users or system behaviours early on, which then can help to notify and take appropriate action This will prevent fraud and the loss of revenue.
Let’s take the example of healthcare to list out some of the well know challenges around fraud.
- Organized groups defrauding insurance companies through elaborate schemes against government-sponsored programs or private health insurers
- Patient medical IDs are stolen or duplicated for financial benefits
- User impersonation for prescription drug benefits and many more…
Meanwhile, hospitals and HMO pay a heavy price through fines and litigations if they don’t comply to all the Healthcare laws that are enforced by the government. So, they have to ensure appropriate checks and measures to prevent violations by their users/patients/doctors when they use the applications and systems.
Old school way of Fraud management:
Most companies have invested and adopted multi-factor authentication methods (ex: password, smart cards, One-Time Password (OTP), biometrics etc) as an only mechanism to identify and protect their users who are using their applications and systems but also a way to manage fraud. The picture here suggests a mechanism that they enforce currently to do a fraud evaluation.
These companies have quickly understood that multi-factor authentication alone cannot scale and address fraud issues since the bad guys have figured out a way to break through these multi-factor authentication mechanisms.
This is why there is a need for real-time intelligence security solution!.
Real-time Security Intelligence through Big Data
The challenges that makes realtime intelligence gathering the right approach to address fraud are:
- No single layer or a multi factor authentication is enough to keep determined fraudsters out of enterprise systems. Multiple layers must be employed to defend against today’s attacks and those that are yet to appear.
- No authentication measure on its own, especially when communicating through a browser, is sufficient to counter today’s threats. Additional fraud prevention layers must be utilized.
- Malware is the biggest immediate threat, malware-based attacks are spreading to multiple sectors and enterprises.
Like the picture shows, a typical user will make multiple clicks and will interact with multiple applications in the background through a browser before he gets to the shopping cart. This would mean there is a way for us to gather a lot more data and information about the user and analyse his behavior realtime
Here are come of the steps that will help us build real-time intelligence around the user behavior:
1. End point Data : involves capturing context of users at the endpoint which is his device. For example is he using the browser on a PC, desktop, tablet, smart phone. Capture the user’s IP, geo-location, authentication credentials and many more.
2. Session Data: gather, monitor and analyze user’s session (ex. http post parameters and other session attributes) and his navigation behavior on the browser. Compare this with his earlier navigation patterns to identify abnormal patterns based on his transitional history.
3. User Data: gather to monitor and analyzes user’s behavior to identify any anomalous behaviors during the transaction .
4. Context Analysis: Analyse the relationships among internal and/or external entities, systems and their attributes (for example, users, accounts, account attributes, machines and machine attributes etc.). Analyze the application logs, system logs, database logs and build predictive models for the user behaviour around applications and the systems involved.
The intelligence gathering and analysis in the above steps involves gathering the right data and also analyzing the data with an effective algorithm. This is where the Big Data plays a role to help build an effective and accurate model based on the user’s interaction with the application and system, that will help detect anomalies and prevent and manage fraud efficiently.
The secret to the success of such a Real-time Security Intelligence solution boils down to the quality of data collection and the advanced algorithms that addresses the 3 Vs of Big Data not only to build accurate predictive models but also support self learning for the solution to get smarter over time.
The awareness around Big Data is on the rise and is exciting!. As we all know in the technology space the word Big Data revolves around the 3 V’s, the Volume, Velocity and Variety of the data that is typically seen in all enterprises these days.
The blog on visualize the 3V concept is a good resource that provides a view into Big Data if you are not so familiar with have this question: “What is Big Data?.”
It’s 2013, the time is so right for all enterprises to pay more attention to their Big Data. With the right technology and processes around their Big Data, enterprises can now trigger new ideas around business growth in 2013.
Some of the exciting new strategies that enterprises should look at for their Big Data are:
1. Build advanced predictive models with the information that they already have around their customers and products to create new product and marketing services that will help to differentiate them from their competitors.
2. Data Mining that will help to understand their customers buying persona that will facilitate to capture new customers and markets.
3. Real-time analytics to understand the past behavior patterns of the customers which then will provide greater ability to satify the existing customers by providing personalized services that is relevant to meet their needs and wants.
Facebook hit the Big Data issues where they had to process huge amounts of structured ( ex. …)and unstructured ( ex. video, email, text) data half decade ago. Facebook joining forces with Yahoo then lead to the creation of Hadoop, a software platform for processing and analyzing epic amounts of data streaming across the modern web. These days the social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn have to deal with Big Data to keep their system operational. Guess what they are using to process and manage their Big Data. It is all done through Hadoop. Today we have eBay, and dozens of other high-profile web vendors are using Hadoop to analyzes their vast amounts of data generated during their online operations.
Reshaping the Business Model around Big Data
Most enterprise have Big Data that they have gathered in their data warehouses over the years. But they do not know how to use them nor do they know what the benefits that the various data that they have gathered over the years or the new data that they can collect will help. This is why business needs to spend more time to understand the importance of their existing data and think of ways that they can incorporate data which can help them to grow their revenue.
Let’s look at some examples to understand the value of Big Data in these specific markets. Mobile applications, tablets and smartphones are creating customers and services to consume and integrate structured and unstructured data from a variety of sources.
1. HealthCare Market:
Business objective: Providing, enhancing and streamlining how hospitals connect with and care for their patients. Develop and facilitate personalized therapies and diagnostics to the patients
Big Data opportunity : Incorporate a Big Data analysis engine to build predictive models against patients cynical history, genetics, blood work etc.models.
Why: This will facilitate the doctors to make best treatment recomendations in a timely fashion for their patients. This will help to offer the best care at the same time reducing the healthcare cost by avoiding unnecessary treatments to patients.
2. Retail Online Market :
Business objective: Revolves around connecting the merchants with the consumers in a more effective way such that the consumers can find what they want conveniently and effectively in a timely fashion. This would require merchants to know what the consumers are looking, when and where.
Big Data opportunity : Incorporate a Big Data analysis engine that builds predictive models that will help to make better decisions
- Build consumer models with their transactional history, buying pattern, interest in types of goods, browsing pattern, buying power pattern in $ amount etc.
- Generate a catalogue for the Merchants based on the type of goods, price, value and access.
Why: The predictive models will help to effectively connect the merchants with the consumer so its a win-win for all business entities.
3. Financial Market
Business objective: Provide a High-Performance Trading platform that is effective,accurate and reliable
Big Data opportunity : Advanced analytical engine that will allow for the analysis of complex data sets and the ability to connect patterns and relationships applied to analysing news, social media feeds, scanning incoming emails, or disecting company regulatory filings to generate predictable models
Why: This will facilitate the traders to make effective and accurate trading decisions that is profitable
Big Data Technology and Solutions:
With the 3 Vs around Big Data, enterprises will have to look at the technologies, solutions and data stores that will help them to be successful with Big Data.
Big Data Technology & Data Stores: There are lot of vendors that can offer products around Big Data software platforms and data stores. This was the first areas that got a lot of attention from vendors to address the Data management, processing and operational issues around Big Data. Machine Learning engines are still evolving which will help build accurate and a reliable predictive models . Because of the nature of volume, variety and the velocity with which Big Data has to processed it requires an accurate and a reliable model-building process which has to be automated through advanced algorithms to be effective.
Big Data Solutions: Right now most of enterprises are trying to build specific tailored solutions in-house to address their basic needs. The Big Data solution space is still a evolving and there is lot of opportunities for innovation and creativity The solution market for Big Data is still an untapped market.
The story is a bit different when it comes to realtime analytics. Enterprises clearly understand the importance of real-time analytics and how it provides a value to the current business. As a result there are vendors who have already built cool realtime analytical solutions that the market wants and that help enterprises reshape their existing business model.
Having been a product manager for the 10+ years for enterprise software, I have always watched and observed how the Product marketing teams handle product launches, their go-to market initiatives and the ongoing marketing programs around the Enterprise software products. It’s always one thing to build a kick ass software product which the market wants but the success of market adoption of the product and the ability of sales team to convert it into positive selling opportunities greatly depends on how the marketing is handled for the product. I see that in the Enterprise software realm more importance is given to the product quality alone (ex. features, packaging, UX, etc) instead on the importance of the product marketing to clearly identify, understand, serve and satisfy the market.
If you look back at Microsoft and what Bill Gates did to take the company to where it is today, Microsoft became the market leader not because of better products they had then but because of better marketing. Look at how consumers are fascinated with Apple products these days. It’s because Apple has done an excellent job in understanding what its consumers want.
We all know that the ultimate marketing secret weapon for all products whether its consumer based products or enterprise software products, is to make the consumers/buyers/customers understand the Unique Selling Proposition(USP) of a product. But as per the old school of thinking the USP always revolves around 4 Ps which is Product, Price, Place & Positioning. Based on my observation of the consumer products and comparing that to Enterprise software products, continuing the USP marketing strategy on the 4P approach for Enterprise software will not been very effective in the long run and definitely needs a paradigm shift.
The paradigm shift around marketing Enterprise software should now involve emphasis from Products to Solutions, Place to Access, Price to Value and Positioning to Education. The new school of thought calls it the SAVE approach of Product Marketing (see the latest Harvard Business Review magazine article “Rethinking the 4 P’s”)
Here is what Product Marketing need to do:
- Instead of focusing on defining the product features start to highlight what are the solutions that buyers/customers can build with the product to address their business issues. This would require a good understanding of the buyer’s persona and what their pain points
- Focus on addressing the end to end experience that the buyer/customer will have to get access to the Product instead of focusing only on the packaging and downloading aspects of the product
- Articulate the benefits that the products will offer by solving their business issue and providing a realistic expectation on the ROI instead of focusing on the price and the competitive differentiators alone.
- Invest in resources that will tailor and provide better education of the product to the buyers so the end to end experience of the product from purchase to deployment to maintenance of the Enterprise software is a pleasant experience for the buyer and the customer that you are targeting in specific markets.
Sooner the Product Marketing team adopts the SAVE way of thinking, the better it would be for the overall growth and success of Enterprise software products!!.