Software platforms : Hand-over of ownership

I heard this request so many times.

“I engaged this XYZ company who helped us develop this platform. They have created all the required modules and also deployed it for us on their custom hosting environment! But then, now I need to take over and keep maintaining it myself. How do I do it? I feel I cannot afford the maintenance that they charge and they are also not interested in continuing the support because they have a line up of new clients.”

Sounds familiar?

Here’s Samyojya’s checklist to assess a product owner’s software platform ownership readiness!

1. Favourable cost impact

Are you positioned well monetarily to initiate the take over of application? Custom application is developed with a clear set of goals on your mind. Is the added application ownership cost helping you elevate to the next level of the business vision? Does the new control help you with new customer acquisition, saving costs over time or even impacting your topline/bottomline? Now that it has been some time since you gave the requirement and development had happened, it is not a bad idea to look for other solutions in the market that meet your need instead of your own custom-developed product. If we take a simple example of cost, for instance, hosting. Depending on the complexity of your system, it can go from tens to thousands of order of pricing be it rupees or dollars!

2. Technical expertise reloaded

Frameworks are changing all the time. Applications need upgrades and support over a period of time. Also, the security vulnerabilities are growing at an exponential level. Owning software is no more an easy job. It is a responsibility! You are accountable for user data, accounts and such sensitive information. That also calls for teams that you can groom to tame the new beast. Software platforms come with lot of configuration, setup, troubleshoot procedures and so on. Are you going to continue using the same cloud provider or a hybrid cloud? There is a huge demand for expertise that can do this weight-lifting for you. Be it a cloud consultant or production support engineer or a backend developer, it is important to have the right minds watching over your systems (and backs).

3. Product vision and alignment

It is highly unlikely that the software product/platform stays as it is for a long time. The users always want something more from the system. So, you have to have a channel that is listening to feedback from users on how the application/platform is going to impact their day-to-day work. Are the processes going to be smooth or going to make their life more difficult. How many times have we heard system admins at stores complain “System is down. We are restarting!”. A software platform is an extension of your operations. This is one of my favourite aspects of software engineering. How can the systems you take ownership of align to your long term vision?

For further assistance on software ownership acquisition and structured knowledge transition, talk to us at +91 8762744064 / naveen.karnam@samyojya.com.

Ice breakers for service seekers

I work with startups, entrepreneurs and ideators to shape and build their products. My focus is around the IT Solutions but my problem solving always goes beyond the technology realm. Part of what I do is to find technology service providers for building tech solutions. In my 3 years of conversations as an IT Consultant with boutique agencies and freelance consultants , I studied (learnt some things the hard way) what helps service seekers lock the right service provider. I feel, I should share 5 things that are highly critical for effective service provider-seeker conversations.

 

1. Authenticity:

Am I speaking to the same person as I have exchanged emails with or had telephonic conversation with?

“On call, they sounded like they offer different types of web development services but looking like they don’t seem to do much of e-commerce development.”

If this sounds familiar,  we are talking about the same thing.

With technology at finger tips, it is a no-brainer these days to have websites and digital portfolio handy. If the service seeker doesn’t know the strengths of the service provider, they start the conversation with an entirely different expectation. The service provider on the other hand may not have diverse offerings that the seeker expects, but they might we very deep in a niche area like natural language processing or image processing. With the lack of this context, it is very likely that the mismatch of capabilities is misunderstood as incapability of the service provider.

 

2. Protection

Often, I hear entrepreneurs being cautious about their competitive ideas being copied and replicated in a different form. If they don’t feel secure disclosing their ideas and vision, it is almost impossible for the consultants to offer something that takes them a step further. So, it’s extremely important that the ideator’s IP is protected by all means.

I also hear concerns from the service providers about payment dues that extend forever. The question I hear often is “Are they doing well as a business?”. The risks of service engagements are multi-fold. Is there something that can ease the financial burden on the service charges? May be a fixed initial payment or clearly defined milestones. Assuring the quality of service is integral part of negotiations.

 

3. Clarity

It is very hard to find our GPS coordinates in the product development lifecycle. The product design could precede early-adopter market identification (though ideally that’s not what we would like to have done). For service providers, it is really really important to have this clarity. In some cases, they may not be able to make the best of their assumptions. As seekers, the onus mostly falls on the seeker to paint a clear picture about the opportunity the team is going after. Experienced providers can gather from their industry expertise and give new perspectives. For instance, blockchain app developers know the latest trends on the type of businesses they hear from.

 

4. Synergy-to-focus

The right domain lead should speak to the consultant. The more the number of hops it takes to do the same pitch to multiple teams the more exhausting the effort is going to be.

I was at a meeting few days ago at a medical device manufacturing company where the CEO, Technology Head and Product Head were in the meeting with consultants while doing the pitch. All questions were discussed over the presentation and the executive lunch that followed. Business cards were exchanged and follow-ups happened immediately after the meeting. Neat!

 

5. Trust

In some cases, the service providers come back with an indecisive tone after the meeting. It is not clear at the outset what the problem is. The pitch was excellent, the questions are well-answered, the parties sounded completely convinced and have a great energy.

It is very important to establish a strong channel of trust across the parties. There are cases where the pitch is convincing but the track record is not. Or the nature of the market is volatile and company is struggling through a possible melt down. Most cases, the parties are open to discuss the differences. There are cases, where this doesn’t proceed.

In short, the consultant is bringing something to the table that is not-obvious. There are clear gaps that need to be bridged constantly. Trust is a very strong theme, be it on the potential, capability, curiosity or outlook, that sets a good tone for engagement.

 

Conclusion

Each engagement I worked with relied on one or more of the above factors. This list is definitely not exhaustive! I would love to hear from you about your experiences and perspectives. Please comment and share your feedback.

Future of work ( Fictional Perspective )

Ever since, I started thinking about Samyojya, I have been dreaming about how our workplaces in future are going to be.

Are the work cubicles going to be capsules where we jump in and stay connected from the place where we station ourselves into? Are we going to plug our heads into a VR system that takes us to our work in the virtual reality?

Are engineers going to work with interfaces like Mr. Tony Stark does?

 

Are we going to teleconference like Jedis?

The Clone Wars Preview Guide: "The Wrong Jedi" | The Star ...

The possibilities are limitless.

With comic-con around the corner, I had to talk about it for now.

Stay tuned with us for more in this space.

We are empowering online collaboration in new ways!

Software Collaboration (Part I)

I believe all software is built after a debate among the designers (developers/engineers) and system (hosting server/container/system) in incremental steps – unit by unit. We consult for companies/individuals who require software systems for their everyday needs. Some of them for their businesses and some of them for their daily needs.

I hear, “It doesn’t matter what platform it is on! I just need something that works. I have my salaries to pay end of the month and a business to run.”

Some of our clients do not just want a software that works. They want software that is not only functionally sound but also looks good, feels good, fast and snappy.

They say,

“I don’t want to upgrade it every other week”.

“It doesn’t seem to work too well on this version of Ubuntu”.

“Oh! You are upgrading to Python 3? No way!”

So I say, “What works for you works for us. I enable you to solve your problems! It could be an issue with your server or an issue with your code or even with your process or architecture. I can find people who will solve it for you.”

And then I hear “…Ah! Interesting. Then you must be costly!”

Then I say, “Depends. Let me tell you what we need to do now. We can talk about numbers later.”

I can’t help listening to my engineering inner voice shouting inside the head. “Do you really think you can under-price it if the discussion gets there?”

Gig Economy and evolving collaboration

Flexibility is the mantra of today.

We want to reduce commute. We want to spend more time with family. Or we want to manage time across diverse businesses. So we want to plan our lifestyle to suit our preferences.

Organizations are rethinking productivity, motivation, impact and collaboration in a new perspective – Are we flexible enough?

If you are a project head, how do you connect with the skilled professionals? Do you hire them? Do you tap on your professional network to screen them initially?

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How much of flexibility do I have in picking my partnerships with skilled work groups? Based on our market survey so far, this is a snapshot of impressions from the project experts we have interacted with.

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There is an opportunity that we are exploring in the project management ecosystem.  A good mix of in-house, consulting and gig modes of engaging professionals. Advancements in connectivity, digitalization of tools and familiarity with online services fuels global engagement. Diversified talent and globalization of economies provide a better scope for sharing expertise and accelerating productivity in the modern digital collaboration scenario!

Let us know what you think in the comments.

Feel free to reach us at product@samyojya.com

Open Collaboration – The way forward

Fuelled by internet and devices, our activities are more connected. Video calling, emailing and posting became inseparable parts of our lives! At the same time, we are always on the move – to work, over the weekend, on a holiday, visiting family and friends or attending a social event. So, Mobility is the need of the today! No wonder most of us choose to give a break to metro or a long drive to office some times a month. While 4G and 5G technologies force us reimagine the possibilities of data speeds for connectivity and mobility, we are seeing growth in virtual spaces & virtual reality.

In construction, automobiles, media productions and gaming industry one can feel the surge in connected commerce.

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While the consumers open up to innovative connected commerce technologies like hologram, 3D conferencing and others, enabling professionals to come together and build awesomeness using various collaboration platforms becomes a new game!

Emails, instant messages, meetings and calls go beyond the boundaries of establishments within cities (may be even countries). Our interactions at work become closer to realtime message exchange through innovation in communication channels, data sharing and tooling. Experts in niche skills can reach global initiatives. Highly trained dynamic teams  can be formed instantly! Experts can also quote and obtain competitive pricing.

We, at Samyojya, are building an open collaboration initiative. We are re-imagining the possibilities of working together remotely.

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Stay tuned!