Sunday, November 08, 2020

So.. did you smile today?

Sometimes there’s no reason to smile, but I’ll smile anyway because of life. Yes, I’m one of those people who always smiles.

I smile when I enter a room.

I smile when I see other people.

I smile when I’m by myself.

I smile when I see the sun.

I smile when things are difficult.

Am I crazy? A pessimist would say yes.

But smiling is an attitude. Most people think it’s an effect of something.

“I don’t have a reason to smile.”

Well, there you have it. You’re thinking all wrong.

It’s not like you have to do something, or buy something to smile.

When I smile, I think, “I’m happy to be alive.” I do not even think life is good.

Some days I’m a little tired. Maybe I didn’t sleep well. Maybe I worked out too hard in the home. Maybe I just worked too hard at the office.

But I’ll still smile from the inside.

I smile when I wake up

I smile when life is bad.

I smile when I listen to music.

I smile when I see a stranger.

I smile when I hear a good story.

I smile when I see rain.

I smile when I put on my running shoes.

Never gloomy. Never sad. Even when I’m down.

I wasn’t always like that.

Smiling is a skill. Being happy is also a skill.

You practice it every day. How? Just walk around and smile. You say to yourself, “I choose to smile.”


Does your boss scream at you? Smile.

Do you lose money? Smile.

Is you girlfriend/boyfriend sad/angry? Smile.

Is you son/daughter annoying you? Smile.

Does your co-worker patronize you? Smile.

That’s small stuff. There’s real pain outside of all the trivial things that happen in your life. When I’m angry, upset, gloomy, I give myself 4 minutes to feel sorry for myself.

“Oh poor you.”

Now, smile again.

You can’t feel two emotions at the same time. It’s just impossible. Your brain isn’t capable of that.

When someone I love is upset, I do something weird so they smile. You can’t be upset and be happy at the same time.

It’s a strategy.

Humor, laughter, enjoyment, and smiling are the secret to living a good life.

Best thing about it?

IT’S ABSOLUTELY FREE !!!


So... did you smile today ?


- Nilesh Roy.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

For a small amount of perspective at this moment, imagine you were born in 1900.


Imagine you were born in 1900.

When you are 14, World War I starts, and ends on your 18th birthday with 22 million people killed. 

Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until you are 20. Fifty million people die from it in those two years. Yes, 50 million. 

When you're 29, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, global GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy. 

When you turn 39, World War II starts. When you're 41, the United States is fully pulled into WWII. Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war and the Holocaust kills six million. 

At 52, the Korean War starts and five million perish. 

Approaching your 62nd birthday you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, could well have ended. 

At 64 the Vietnam War begins, and it doesn’t end for many years. Four million people die in that conflict. 

As you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends. 

Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How do you survive all of that?

Perspective is an amazing art.

Let’s try and keep things in perspective.

Let’s be smart, help each other out, and we will get through all of this.” 

In the history of the world, there has never been a storm that lasted. 

This too, shall pass.

Shared by #NileshRoy

The Current State of Affairs in India!!

Raju Mhatre had a 1 acre land at Panvel near proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport. With the real estate boom, land prices shot up to Rs. 4 crores per acre. He sold his land and got a hefty sum of Rs. 4 crores. He indeed became a rich man. From a marginal farmer tilling a 1 acre land and growing some paddy and other stuff earning pittance, he suddenly became a rich man. Now he became Rajudada Mhatre. 

Then what happened? He got many friends and bought a Mahindra SUV and loads of gold chains, gold rings in all fingers, and gold bracelet, and good costly clothes. He and his friends partied every night in dance bars. Money started flowing in Wine, Meat, and Women. After a few years, Rajudada's gold bracelet, then gold chains, then gold rings, then finally SUV got sold off. He again became Raju from Rajudada. 

By then the real estate developer who bought the land from Raju had constructed a residential complex on that land. Raju now works as a watchman in that residential complex. 

This is not a standalone case of some Raju Mhatre of Panvel, but also some Charan Singh Chaudhary of Gurgaon also, or a Venkatakrishnan Nadar of Chennai or a Balakrishna Gowda of Bangalore. 

Why I am writing this story?

This is because I am reading lot of posts and outrage by liberals that Modi hasn't given any money in hands of poor. They are demanding that Modi must splurge lakhs of crores by distributing it to the poor. Same logic is used by these liberals by saying that temple gold and wealth must be given to poor people and thereby pull them out of poverty. This is a very flawed and senseless logic and has been proved wrong again and again over centuries. If we take 70 years history, we will see that all farm loan waivers and all kind of grants, subsidies, etc hasnt helped farmers in becoming rich. Same goes for all casual labour. The UPA Government with an Economist Prime Minister used NREGA to pay money to poor labour and what happened? He burned a huge hole in the state finances by borrowing money and diverting tax money in feeding poor people and then what happened? Did those labourers become rich? No. They remained as poor as they were when the scheme was launched. What happened to lakhs of crores wasted in NREGA? It failed in poverty alleviation.

The fact remains that you can't remove a person from poverty by giving him money and making him dependent on government and perpetual state support to remain alive.

The series of packages that the government has announced are starkly different from the Congressi socialist way of giving dole outs to poor and keep them perpetually poor and thereby become dependent on a Maai-Baap Sarkar. The current package endeavors to make farming economically viable by allowing farmers to directly access the markets and get a better price, instead of being forced to sell to a cabal of dealers in APMC who are fleecing farmers and making money in intermediation. What is the contribution of those APMC traders in the food chain? What value do they add to the food chain? Answer is No, Nil, Ille, Kacchu Naahi. They make money only because they have licences to operate in a closed circuit oligopolistic APMCs.

We dumped Nehruvian Licence - Permit - Quota Raj in Industry, Imports, and Exports in 1991 and reformed the manufacturing and trading part of economy. But we miserably failed to reform the agricultural economy. Now finally farmers are freed from the clutches of traders who were fleecing the farmers and becoming fatter. 

Farmers cannot become rich by getting one time big money or small sums every day or every year. They become rich when they learn the art and science of earning money and undertaking farming activities in an economically viable manner. For this Government is supposed to create a right market condition for farmers to get a fair price for their produce instead of allowing them to be exploited by traders - who make cheese thick margins without doing anything. 

This is why I believe that whatever Modi Govt has done by reforming agriculture sector is a landmark radical reform that no other politician had the courage to undertake. He is helping poor farmers by teaching them to fish in deeper waters with mechanized boats and fishing equipment, instead of giving them a fish everyday to eat.

Nilesh Roy | emailme@nileshroy.com | +91 982 009 4678.

Pharma 4.0 - Impact of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

With the growing number of medical ailments across the globe, the pharmaceutical industry will undoubtedly become more important than ever in the near future. There is a paradigm shift from the mass production of drugs to offering more customized and specialized drugs to a smaller group of patients and this is greatly expected to improve the effectiveness of treatments. The Pharma 4.0 initiative is expected to not only address productivity issues but also provide the industry with smarter tools that can help ensure drug safety. Everyday factory equipment, people, and processes are thus getting increasingly smarter with the advent of digitization.

The introduction of digitization in pharmaceutical manufacturing will also be instrumental in enabling a seamless data exchange across the pharmaceutical supply chain. The connectivity of product, people and process is what constitutes the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Manufacturing will undoubtedly be the biggest beneficiary of IIoT. Thus, industries such as pharma and healthcare will certainly stand a good chance to continue to benefit from IIoT. Analytics-enabled data management vis-à-vis traditional paper-centric approaches will come a long way in being crucial enablers for important management decisions. The pharmaceutical industry should consider making investments in IIoT technologies, most of which are already mature in other industries and have proven effective in improving the efficiency of complex manufacturing operations. Leveraging lessons from this should help companies improve their financial and operational performances.

Digital technologies have thus become a quintessential component of the manufacturing industry in automating operations, streamlining processes, and integrating the different manufacturing departments that are otherwise not adequately connected. IIoT technologies will enable manufacturers gain a 360-degree view of their plant operations with the ability to drill down to any level of detail at any stage of product development. This essentially would mean that data would be made available at just a tap of the screen. Manufacturing companies will transform from being small local hubs to global market places with the introduction of IIoT.

The pharmaceutical industry has been among the forerunners in adopting these digital technologies that can help improve process efficiencies, reduce efforts, and increase profits. Within the industry there has always been an impetus to manage manufacturing processes more effectively.

However, the pharmaceutical industry faces several challenges in being one of the most regulated manufacturing industries. The industry demands a good understanding of manufacturing processes and strict adherence to stringent regulatory standards that guide these processes. Due to regulatory compliance issues in this sector, it has become mandatory for companies in the pharma industry to implement digital technologies. As is the case with any other industry, pharmaceutical manufacturing is faced with challenges, such as the need to enhance product quality, improve process efficiencies, reduce cycle times, reduce scrap and rework, track products, ensure adherence to regulatory guidelines, reduce downtime, and connect the supply chain among several others. This wall of challenges will however crumble eventually, thanks to the advancing benefits of digitization.

Nilesh Roy | emailme@nileshroy.com | +91 982 009 4678

Note: This is a curated article.


Monday, August 22, 2016

6 Hidden costs of an ERP you might never realize you're paying for.

ERP Solution is a beautiful software which has an ability of bringing operational transformations to the businesses. Only suggestion is to wisely know the difference between the cost projected by the vendor at first and the final amount you would end-up paying.

6 Hidden costs you might never realize you're paying for: 

1. "System Cost" is usually only the basic edition of the software 
Published pricing often refers to the basic package of the ERP. This is often the basic edition of the software. You are likely to be charged extra fees for additional modules, which, ironically, are what attracted you to the ERP in the first place. So if you’re getting a complete ERP suite expect to shell out more money. 

2. "User licensing Cost" increases as the number of users increase 
Many vendors charge by user license, that is, there’s a fee for every person using the system. The published price may just refer to a single user (it is often the case), so you better enquire wisely regarding user license.

If you have a pool of ERP users in your organization, it is often cost-effective to get a multiple license or search for vendors who offer multiple users at one license. 

3. "Database licensing Cost" is charged per database 
ERP solution deployment needs lots of databases to process the information. Some vendors charge per database license, the more wide-reaching your datasets are—for example, inventory, manufacturing, human resources, and payment have different databases—the higher your total cost. 

4. "Remote access Cost" is separately chargeable 
Mobile accounting is the toast of today’s ERP solutions. Imagine your sales and inventory teams can interact on-location and real-time, through smart phones that can access your on-premise or cloud ERP via Internet . But, often, vendors charge an add-on fee for remote access. Again, enquire wisely even if you see mobile access is included in the product’s promotional materials. 

5. "Support Cost" is only for a limited period of time 
Normally, you’ll be given a limited period of “free” technical support (e.g., three months), but after that, you’ll be charged with a per month subscription fee. Paid support can include basic customer support and learning tools and solutions, which, in some cases, benefit SMEs without an in-house technical team. It’s like outsourcing your I.T. staff. Just make sure the paid subscription support has enough inclusions to justify the cost. 

6. "Upgrade Cost" is advisable but should only depend on your requirement 
Be careful while paying for system upgrades. Most of the times, vendors use tactics, where they hide the need to upgrade the ERP on a regular basis for a fee. You end up paying for additional fees just to keep your ERP running properly. 


Nilesh Roy | 22nd August 2016.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

:: The cockroach theory for self development ::

At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady.

She started screaming out of fear.

With a panic stricken face and trembling voice,she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach.

Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky.

The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but ...it landed on another lady in the group.

Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama.

The waiter rushed forward to their rescue.

In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter.

The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behavior of the cockroach on his shirt.

When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant.

Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behavior?

If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed?

He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos.

It is not the cockroach, but the inability of the ladies to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach that disturbed the ladies.

I realized that, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss or my wife that disturbs me, but it's my inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs me.

It's not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me.

More than the problem, it's my reaction to the problem that creates chaos in my life.


Lessons learnt from the story:
I understood, I should not react in life.
I should always respond.
The women reacted, whereas the waiter responded.

Reactions are always instinctive whereas responses are always well thought of.

A beautiful way to understand............ LIFE.

Person who is HAPPY is not because Everything is RIGHT in his Life..

Friday, January 02, 2015

Happy new Year 2015



Wish you and all in your family

A Very Happy New Year 2015. 

May GOD ALMIGHTY fulfill all your wishes and dreams that you so long wanted to come true.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Six questions you should ask before signing up with a cloud service provider


Before Marrying That Cloud Provider, Be Sure It Isn’t a Bridezilla



When it comes to the cloud, selecting the right cloud provider can be challenging at best and nightmarish at worst. The cloud includes a variety of ways to deliver technology services, from standalone software applications like hosted email or databases to very new and exciting uses that include disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), storage as a service, or platform as a service (PaaS) applications. While there are obvious advantages to entering into a cloud partnership including decreased IT costs, increased flexibility and a reduced focus on IT maintenance issues selecting the right cloud provider is a critical first step in realizing those benefits in a way that creates a synergistic, long-term and fulfilling relationship.



That’s why I have put together a list of the top questions IT pros should ask when they’re considering a cloud partner for the long haul.


Is the cloud infrastructure backed by at least a 99.9 percent up-time SLA, and is there financial compensation for not meeting it?

Is there a defined change control process for scheduled maintenance, upgrades and security patches?

Are there additional charges for services like backup, OS License, security patch deployment and system management/monitoring?

What type of security and monitoring practices are in place at the data center (i.e., firewalls, IDS, vulnerability scanning, etc.)?

Does the cloud provider allow for easy scalability and addition of resources, including CPU, memory, storage and bandwidth?

What kind of disaster recovery services does the provider offer?

“For a CIO or IT manager, choosing a cloud provider can feel like choosing a spouse”. “Joking aside, the relationship between the client organization and the cloud provider they choose is a deep and meaningful one. The client trusts the cloud provider with what oftentimes amounts to mission-critical data and information and relies on that provider to keep that information secure and available in sometimes heavily regulated environments. Therefore, choosing the right provider is a serious decision that has to be made with the utmost care and concern.”




The Promise and Perils of Cloud Computing


Like most things in life cloud computing is a double-edged sword. It can either eliminate internal IT or be used by IT to drive business innovation.

Speaking at the IBM Pulse2012 conference
today, Danny Sabbah, general manager for IBM Tivoli, strongly urged IT organizations to be a lot more proactive about pursuing the latter path. Clearly, many line-of-business executives are taking advantage of cloud computing to sidestep IT. What internal IT organizations need to do in order to make it less appealing for business executives to go around IT is to simplify, standardize and then automate their IT environments.

According to Sabbah, it’s all the complexity within IT environments today that is making it hard for IT organizations to dynamically respond to the needs of the business. Instead of relying on a “tools du jour” strategy, Sabbah says that IT organizations need to implement cloud computing in a way that accelerates business innovation or you risk being bypassed all together.

Sabbah says that cloud computing done right should make the business more resilient to rapidly changing business conditions, while at the same time providing more choice and flexibility across a hybrid cloud computing environment. Furthermore, Sabbah says that those cloud computing platforms should not only be application workload-aware, but also come with built-in security and analytics capabilities.

As IT has become more complex, the business has actually become more susceptible to disruptions because of any number of IT issues, adds Sabbah. Not only has the rise of mobile computing exponentially increased the number of end points that need to be managed, Sabbah says there are roughly 13 billion security events a day that need to be analyzed. And as physical systems become more instrumented, the amount of data that needs to be managed is increasing at rates that no IT organization can keep pace with.

None of these issues are ever going to go away. IT leaders need to figure out how emerging technologies will ultimately better serve the needs of the business. Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before somebody else, for better or worse, makes that decision for them.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How to Test Your Backup Strategy: Five Simple Questions

Backup strategies are like rashes: people tend to ignore them for as long as they can, then they ask a specialist if it’s going to be OK.

There’s a lot of good ways to back up databases. The challenge is finding best strategy for your data. To find out if your SQL Server backup strategy measures up, ask yourself the following questions:

1. How Do You Know When Your Backups Aren’t Successful?

People deal with lots of databases, and it’s hard to keep track of every last one. Different strategies are used to manage backups for all these databases — sometimes a service external to the database runs the backup. Do you know when that service fails, or doesn’t start? At other times, individual SQL Server Agent jobs handle backups for each database. If a new backup is added and a backup job isn’t created, will you know it wasn’t run?
  • Make sure you have an alert system for failures.
  • Supplement your backups with regular checks of last backup date. Make sure you’re checking the last date of log backups if you’re not using the simple recovery model.

2. How Much Do You Lose if Even Just One Backup File Goes Bad?

Backups take up a lot of space. There are a lot of backups, and people rarely use them. It’s human nature to go a little cheap, and keep them only in one place. That place may have been provisioned using RAID 0. Wherever it is, a backup file might get deleted or corrupted.
You need to look at all the different types of backups you run and consider things like this:
  • If you’re using just full and transaction log backups, the chain ends at the last good log backup.
  • If you’re doing full backups once a week and differentials on weeknights, those differentials are no good without the full.
For critical databases, I prefer to keep backups in more than one place— onsite and offsite. Think you can’t afford an offsite location? Here are the rates for Amazon S3.

3. How Fast Do You Need to Restore Your Data?

If you’re a manager, this is your ‘Recovery Time Objective’. If you’re a project manager, you just call this ‘RTO’. If you’re a database administrator, this is the number of minutes until you’re pumped full of adrenaline and sweating heavily when something goes wrong. Whenever I’m considering a backup technology, I want to know how long it will take me to restore my data if everything is gone except the backup files.
This means you need to know:
  • How long will it take to get to the backup files? If they’re on tape or in a magical Data Domain device, can you access them yourself?
  • How long will it take to copy those files to a good place to restore them from?
  • If you don’t have a server to restore to, how long will it take to bring one up and configure it?
  • How long will the restore take?
If my backup technology can’t meet my Recovery Time Objective, I need to start thinking about high availability options that can mitigate my risk. Once you’ve got high availability in place, you still want to keep a plan to restore from backups and test it periodically, but you’re less likely to need to use it.

4. How Much Data Can You Afford to Lose if Your Transaction Log File is Vaporized?

When you stop and think about it, isn’t ‘Recovery Point Objective’ a strange way of saying how much data it’s OK to lose? When you think about backup strategies, you need to know:
  • Can you do incremental restores? (And have you tested it?)
  • Can you restore to a single point in time? (Example time: right before the data was truncated. And have you tested it?)
  • If your database and transaction log files disappeared and you were left with only the backup files, how much data would be lost?

5. How Much Can Your Backup Impact Performance?

Whenever your backup is running, you’re burning precious resources: CPU, disk IO, memory, and (depending on your configuration), network. In many cases, it’s just fine to use this up during non peak times. However, for VLDBs which are backing up multiple terabytes and for critical OLTP databases which serve customers around the globe, backups need to be run as fast as possible. After all, backups are only one part of maintenance.
When your performance is critical, these are the questions you need to ask:
  • Are you backing up at the right frequency? If we’re talking about a slow transaction log backup, check how often it runs.
  • Are you using all the available magic? If you’re using SAN storage, have you explored all the options for backing up your databases from the SAN?
  • Are you using backup compression? Compression can burn more CPU, but reduce the amount of writes and overall duration of your backup.
  • Does your backup have enough throughput to the storage device? Whether you’re using iSCSI or Fiber Channel, throughput is often a big part of the solution.
  • Have you read the SQL CAT Team’s Case Study on backing up VLDB’s? It’s chock full of configuration tips to make your backups blaze through faster.

That was More than Five Questions

It’s true, I cheated. Got your own backup test? Tell me in the comments!

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

:: 10 things you should know about NoSQL databases ::

Takeaway: 
The relational database model has prevailed for decades, but a new type of database — known as NoSQL — is gaining attention in the enterprise. Here’s an overview of its pros and cons.


For a quarter of a century, the relational database (RDBMS) has been the dominant model for database management. But, today, non-relational, “cloud,” or “NoSQL” databases are gaining mindshare as an alternative model for database management. In this article, we’ll look at the 10 key aspects of these non-relational NoSQL databases: the top five advantages and the top five challenges.

 

Five advantages of NoSQL

 

1: Elastic scaling

For years, database administrators have relied on scale up — buying bigger servers as database load increases — rather than scale out — distributing the database across multiple hosts as load increases. However, as transaction rates and availability requirements increase, and as databases move into the cloud or onto virtualized environments, the economic advantages of scaling out on commodity hardware become irresistible.
RDBMS might not scale out easily on commodity clusters, but the new breed of NoSQL databases are designed to expand transparently to take advantage of new nodes, and they’re usually designed with low-cost commodity hardware in mind.

 

2: Big data

Just as transaction rates have grown out of recognition over the last decade, the volumes of data that are being stored also have increased massively. O’Reilly has cleverly called this the “industrial revolution of data.” RDBMS capacity has been growing to match these increases, but as with transaction rates, the constraints of data volumes that can be practically managed by a single RDBMS are becoming intolerable for some enterprises. Today, the volumes of “big data” that can be handled by NoSQL systems, such as Hadoop, outstrip what can be handled by the biggest RDBMS.

 

3: Goodbye DBAs (see you later?)

Despite the many manageability improvements claimed by RDBMS vendors over the years, high-end RDBMS systems can be maintained only with the assistance of expensive, highly trained DBAs. DBAs are intimately involved in the design, installation, and ongoing tuning of high-end RDBMS systems.
NoSQL databases are generally designed from the ground up to require less management:  automatic repair, data distribution, and simpler data models lead to lower administration and tuning requirements — in theory. In practice, it’s likely that rumors of the DBA’s death have been slightly exaggerated. Someone will always be accountable for the performance and availability of any mission-critical data store.

 

4: Economics

NoSQL databases typically use clusters of cheap commodity servers to manage the exploding data and transaction volumes, while RDBMS tends to rely on expensive proprietary servers and storage systems. The result is that the cost per gigabyte or transaction/second for NoSQL can be many times less than the cost for RDBMS, allowing you to store and process more data at a much lower price point.

 

5: Flexible data models

Change management is a big headache for large production RDBMS. Even minor changes to the data model of an RDBMS have to be carefully managed and may necessitate downtime or reduced service levels.
NoSQL databases have far more relaxed — or even nonexistent — data model restrictions. NoSQL Key Value stores and document databases allow the application to store virtually any structure it wants in a data element. Even the more rigidly defined BigTable-based NoSQL databases (Cassandra, HBase) typically allow new columns to be created without too much fuss.
The result is that application changes and database schema changes do not have to be managed as one complicated change unit. In theory, this will allow applications to iterate faster, though,clearly, there can be undesirable side effects if the application fails to manage data integrity.

 

Five challenges of NoSQL

The promise of the NoSQL database has generated a lot of enthusiasm, but there are many obstacles to overcome before they can appeal to mainstream enterprises. Here are a few of the top challenges.

 

1: Maturity

RDBMS systems have been around for a long time. NoSQL advocates will argue that their advancing age is a sign of their obsolescence, but for most CIOs, the maturity of the RDBMS is reassuring. For the most part, RDBMS systems are stable and richly functional. In comparison, most NoSQL alternatives are in pre-production versions with many key features yet to be implemented.
Living on the technological leading edge is an exciting prospect for many developers, but enterprises should approach it with extreme caution.

 

2: Support

Enterprises want the reassurance that if a key system fails, they will be able to get timely and competent support. All RDBMS vendors go to great lengths to provide a high level of enterprise support.
In contrast, most NoSQL systems are open source projects, and although there are usually one or more firms offering support for each NoSQL database, these companies often are small start-ups without the global reach, support resources, or credibility of an Oracle, Microsoft, or IBM.

 

3: Analytics and business intelligence

NoSQL databases have evolved to meet the scaling demands of modern Web 2.0 applications. Consequently, most of their feature set is oriented toward the demands of these applications. However, data in an application has value to the business that goes beyond the insert-read-update-delete cycle of a typical Web application. Businesses mine information in corporate databases to improve their efficiency and competitiveness, and business intelligence (BI) is a key IT issue for all medium to large companies.
NoSQL databases offer few facilities for ad-hoc query and analysis. Even a simple query requires significant programming expertise, and commonly used BI tools do not provide connectivity to NoSQL.
Some relief is provided by the emergence of solutions such as HIVE or PIG, which can provide easier access to data held in Hadoop clusters and perhaps eventually, other NoSQL databases. Quest Software has developed a product — Toad for Cloud Databases — that can provide ad-hoc query capabilities to a variety of NoSQL databases.

 

4: Administration

The design goals for NoSQL may be to provide a zero-admin solution, but the current reality falls well short of that goal. NoSQL today requires a lot of skill to install and a lot of effort to maintain.

 

5: Expertise

There are literally millions of developers throughout the world, and in every business segment, who are familiar with RDBMS concepts and programming. In contrast, almost every NoSQL developer is in a learning mode. This situation will address naturally over time, but for now, it’s far easier to find experienced RDBMS programmers or administrators than a NoSQL expert.

 

Conclusion

NoSQL databases are becoming an increasingly important part of the database landscape, and when used appropriately, can offer real benefits. However, enterprises should proceed with caution with full awareness of the legitimate limitations and issues that are associated with these databases.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tips for taking your contact centre into the cloud.

Business Week claimed in 2008 that ‘cloud computing is changing the world’.  In the same year, commentators quoted on CNET.com suggested cloud computing represented a ‘paradigm shift’ and was ‘the new black’.  Hyperbole surrounds this subject.

Cutting through the hype is vital if enterprise level cloud services are to be brought to bear on the contact centre.  Most people use the cloud to mean cloud computing.  In fact, computing power is simply one service, albeit one of the most common, that can be delivered via the cloud.  As a rule of thumb, cloud delivery means a service is pay-as-you-use, scalable, based on shorter contract terms – hours rather than years and consumed via a web portal.

A cloud-delivered contact centre meets these criteria, combining hosted IP telephony and automated, voice-activated software-as-a-service to deliver a package that is deeply scalable and can be purchased in new and flexible ways, such as per concurrent agent and by the hour.  This new level of cost granularity will allow chief operating officers and heads of customer service to measure more closely than ever the efficiency of their contact centre infrastructure, unlocking service improvements and additional cost savings in the future.

The cost efficiency of a contact centre is based largely on how successfully it can be operated at or near its capacity.  This is the key advantage of a cloud-based contact centre.  For example, imagine a travel company taking hotel bookings for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.  The company has invested in contact centre infrastructure sufficient to handle peak demand in a normal month.  As the World Cup approaches, peak times may comprise twice as many incoming calls as their contact centre has been manned to cope with.

But imagine now the company employs an automated service that presents the customer with choices about the hotel they want, the room type, length of stay, whether breakfast is included or not, and so on.  Critically, the service is based on applications hosted on virtualised servers in the cloud.  If the travel company is using software-as-a-service in this way, scaling up services for only a few hours is suddenly feasible, as it no longer requires the company to have free server space itself, or trained customer service agents waiting on hand to process the calls.

In 2010, finding the right technology partner to move contact centres into the cloud, and the right commercial model to buy those services, will be vital.  This year, in particular, purchasing decisions will be under scrutiny by finance departments, regulators and investors.  What advice, then, can be given to organisations planning to negotiate increasingly complex and nuanced technology and payment models?  Here are BT's tips – ‘ten for 2010’:

1)            Don’t underestimate ‘self-service’ technologies.  They can do more than you think and customers don’t dislike them as much as they might say.  Two thirds (60 per cent) of US and UK customers would rather use a voice-based self-service system than an offshore contact centre to improve service efficiency.

2)            Voice-based self service can also improve efficiencies and stop avoidable manned contacts – two vital outcomes in the current climate.  Remember that with self-service and virtualised options, you can deliver 24/7 customer service without employing a 24/7 rota of agents.

3)            Hosted services help you cope.  The advantages of hosted services are not just the obvious financial ones such as the avoidance of capital expenditure. One real benefit is the ability to scale.  If your demand fluctuates by 40 or 50 per cent, that means for much of the time you are paying for twice as much capacity as you need. Hosting services in the network means you pay only for what you use – and they can simply be scaled by a factor of 10 or 100 if that is required.

4)            Take the call to the agent not the agent to the call. Save money and the environment by using cloud-based contact centres, routing calls to agents, instead of having your agents go to a place to receive calls.  It saves money on facilities, increases the pool of skilled workers available, increases their productive hours and allows resources to be flexed as needed.

5)            Read up on virtualisation!  Virtualising services is happening all over the place, right now.  It will provide agent savings (of up to 15 per cent, according to BT estimates) while improving the average answer time, thereby improving customer satisfaction.

Hosted contact centres, delivered from the network, are the quickest, most cost-efficient way to virtualise resources.  This can improve service quality by connecting the best person with the right skill to the right enquiry every time.  Moreover, costs can be optimised, by maximising the use of expensive skills and managing skills centrally as one big ‘pool’.  Any agent can be available to any call, just by connecting to the hosted platform.

6)            Choose non-geographic telephone numbers.  That way, you are not tying your organisation to a specific location.  The number can move with you as you grow without you having to change your main contact numbers. Your contact number can even become part of your brand.

7)            Consider looking beyond call recording as a ‘tick in the box’ for industry regulation.  Instead, view it as an aide to understanding your customers and improving the quality of agent interaction.  Let automated analytics loose on your archive of recorded calls and learn things you never knew about your customers, your agents, your IT infrastructure and your products and services.

8)            As the delivery of customer contact services becomes increasingly technological, organisations must think carefully about what is mission-critical.  Is operating contact centre infrastructure a central aspect of the organisation?  Concentrating on core business competences is likely to meet the approval of your shareholders and investors, and letting a specialist provider operate your contact centre infrastructure takes away the problems of supplier management and service support.

9)            Protect yourself against rapid change.  Innovations such as cloud services, virtualisation and unified communications are likely to bring about a step change in the way customer contact is delivered and priced.  The best way to remain at the leading edge of this change is to work with a partner focused on delivering these innovations with the stability and security required by international enterprises and Government bodies.

10)        Pick a partner that understands the full range of contact centre technologies – from network management and telephony, to cloud delivery of applications and services.

One of the features of 2010 will be the increasingly innovative use of cloud services, and contact centres are no exception to this trend.  For heads of customer service and chief operating officers, the focus this year is to balance exemplary customer service and cost containment.  They may find the cloud – without the hype too often associated with it – is the way to achieve both.

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