Monday, December 24, 2018

Tech Forecasts: what is the next big thing in 2019?

It is the time of the year when consultants and analysts take stock of the technology trends and prognosticate over emerging technologies. There are many variances to the forecasts and the number of trends predicted, ranging from “top 5” to “top 20” and in-between*. The predictions are around flavors of digital tools and technologies - AI/ML, big-data, SMAC, analytics, Big Data and a few BHAGS like autonomous vehicles and commercial space travel.

Having spent the past couple of decades in the vibrant global tech world, I continue to study and reflect on these forecasts. When read collectively, they are a barometer of where the business investments are headed, especially since the major trends seem to converge on a few common themes. It is also obvious that most analysts glance at the short-term rear-view to ‘predict’ what they see bubbling to the top.


Corporate Digitization playing catchup with Consumer Tech

In the past few years most of the promising emerging technologies were adopted by consumers before finding their way into the corporate world. The earlier generation of iPhones set the bar high for smartphones and consumer adoption eventually leading to BYOD in enterprises. Similarly, consumers began to experience ubiquitous access to WiFi and corporate IT began to follow suite. Machine Learning enabled Chatbots and digital assistants are re-defining consumer User Interfaces using voice and Natural Language to interact with systems.

Many of these technologies are being designed into application platforms and products, enabling corporate users. It is likely that in 2019, we will encounter “2.0” of many of the trends that have already been firming up this year. Let me illustrate with a couple of technology trends that are common in analyst reports


  • Blockchain – Even with the wild swing in the market for Bitcoins this year, tech watchers continued to keep the focus squarely on the underlying cryptographic techniques. Blockchain adoption has moved beyond pilot to production in several industry verticals. Adopting Blockchain techniques to enable trust and traceability between corporate entities will transform some segments of the industry; but it is primarily an underlying technology plumbing to enable Enterprise Architectures, and will be transparent to most users. This is because even the most innovative techniques in data and integration are primarily about enabling secure data transfer. 
  • Robotics and Automation – I spent the good part of this year strategizing and operationalizing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for a Fortune-500 company. These Intelligent Automation techniques continue to make inroads without waiting for organizations to transform their business processes. The reason for this is rather straightforward: even as we move into 2019, there are too many gaps in legacy platforms and processes, that are either too expensive to transform or replace. This is the sweet spot that where adoption of intelligent Automation will continue to make inroads.
  • Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing – Chatbots and intelligent assistants are appearing in a variety of internal and external facing corporate scenarios. However, these are just a small subset of use-cases. Most software vendors are beginning to embed AI and ML techniques into their technology platforms that include supply-chain and planning, recruitment, talent sourcing, big data and analytics, financial data processing and within ERP and CRM systems among others. Such adoption of AI and ML, while transparent to corporate business and technology teams are transforming usability of systems and productivity of users. 

So what do the technology forecasts mean to us?

The year-end is certainly the time to reflect on changes personal and professional, but technology trends and innovations do not follow any calendar; especially not the Gregorian calendar.

  • ‘Technology innovation’ is really a continuum of change that we need to be embracing 
  • Depending on the nature of your role in an organization and its business, there are some technologies that will influence you and your business more than others will. 
  • Your businesses’ appetite for change will dictate the pace of adoption in your organization
A link to a small sampling of tech forecasts - Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019 || Deloitte's 2019 Technology Industry Outlook || ZDNet What’s next for 2019? IoT trends and predictions || Inc. 31 Tech Predictions for 2019 || Looking in a rear-view - Top 10 technology trends to watch in 2018


Thanks for reading! Please click on Like, or Share, Tweet and Comment below to continue this conversation or share your favorite 'trend to watch' | Reposted from my LinkedIn Blog


Sunday, December 23, 2018

Career question: Is LinkedIn a useful platform for Job hunting ?

I don’t agree with the premise of the question that LinkedIn is for ‘sales people’. I am not a salesman, and I am quite active on digital platforms like Quora and Linkedin, and use the latter to network professionally.
Here is my little story.
A little more than a year ago, I moved back to India to be around for my aging parents (ref: What were your experiences moving back to India after getting US citizenship? What are the best ways to make this move?).
I applied for an FMLA from my (then) employer and decided to job-search in Bengaluru where I was going to be based. As an Indian American, most of my old professional network in India had scattered in the years since I had migrated.
I was clear about the kind of role I was looking for. I was looking for a non-sales role in technology management, Enterprise Architecture or solution design. LinkedIn stood out as an ideal platform to network and to revive my old network. A few ways I began leveraging the platform
  • I activated Linkedin Premium . It is money well spent, and allows candidates to get more analytics about advertised jobs, and to reach out to recruiters and others
  • Began actively contributing to the forums on Linkedin - Liking and Commenting on interesting articles, responding to queries and posts in groups that I was interested in.
  • I increased the frequency of my Likedin Pulse (blog) posts on a variety of topics
  • Continued to apply for interesting roles being advertised in job section
In a matter of weeks, LinkedIn analytics indicated that my profile was beginning to stand out among peers.
  • Many in my network began ‘looking’ at updates on my profile and reached out with a ‘hi, how are things’
  • I began to receive queries from head-hunters
  • I began to receive responses to my job application and had some good interviews and discussions with hiring managers
Yes, I got a couple of interesting job offers and finally took up my current role.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

EA Q&A : Who are the potential stakeholders in an Enterprise Architecture program?

Here are a couple of recent questions that came to me from an online forum -

Question 1> Who are the potential stakeholders in an Enterprise Architecture program? 

 My response follows

The potential stakeholders in an Enterprise Architecture (EA) program may include:
  • The Sponsor of EA program - The business, functional or technology sponsor of the EA program will be a key stakeholder
  • The Sponsor’s direct reports - Those people will generally be engaged directly or indirectly in EA reviews
  • The Sponsor’s reporting managers/executives - The sponsor will engage his/her reporting executives in the EA program
  • IS and Technology stakeholders - The CIO/CTO may engage key people from their team for the EA program
  • Functional stakeholders - The term ‘functional’ or ‘Business’ is generally broad and may include operational leadership and functional leaders who drive strategic initiatives across the organization
  • Functional and operational team members - Do not underestimate the tacit knowledge that can exist in pockets across the enterprise. EA’s may have to engage with a wide spectrum of subject matter experts (SMEs) from across the organization
This is not an inclusive list, but just intended to guide you to explore the list of stakeholders.
After you identify your stakeholders, you will need a Responsibility assignment matrix (RACI) to ensure you engage and communicate with stakeholders.

---------------------------

Question 2> What kind of personal/technical skills are required for an information architect (IA)? I major in information science and planning classes for next semester.

 My response follows

There are many ways of looking at Information Architecture (IA).
  • In many organizations, Information gets granular when you engage with specific business, functional or technology Domains. Each will have a specific vocabulary, taxonomy and other business dimensions that you will have to gain expertise in. For example, an IA for a Finance domain may be different from that in Legal or Commercial areas.
  • The TOGAF Standard, Phase C: Information Systems Architectures - Under IS Architecture, TOGAF takes into account Data and Application Architecture.
As you plan to major in information science, you could broaden your knowledge by taking some courses in functional domain areas.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Experience applying for vamsha vriksha (Family Tree) at #BBMP

My father recently passed away and I was planning to sell a Car registered in his name. The dealer wanted me to get a 'Family Tree' document, though he didn't explain how to get one.

I searched for "How to apply for a Family Tree document at BBMP?" but couldn't get answers, so I thought I'd share my experience here.

I went to the Sub-registrar office in Yelahanka, Bengaluru, where I was told to go to the local 'Nada Kacheri'. Here is my experience:

  • I went to the BBMP-help center in Hebbal where the guys asked me to fill the form and get some affidavits.
  • I went to a 'Xerox/LIC' shop nearby, where the agent said, he could prepare the affidavits, documents etc required for the application. It would cost about Rs 650
  • He took copies of family member's Aadhar cards and prepared the docs and uploaded it online, and gave me a printout with an affidavit. 
  • The agent said, if I wanted the documents attested/registered immediately, it would cost Rs 5,000 more, which I felt was a bit steep. I refused. 
  • He said, I could submit it myself. However, they (BBMP) would make me run around a few times asking questions. 
  • I took the documents the agent had prepared and submitted them at the 'e-Counter' at BBMP office on 4th Jan. 
  • A few days later, the online status of application showed"Application Date: 04-Jan-2019 Due Date: 14-Jan-2019 Application Status: Application Pending With NK Operator for Hand Over to RI"
  • The status then changed to "Application Pending With NK Case Worker for Receive from RI"
  • On 14th Jan, I got a call from the case worker at BBMP. She said that I had not attached a copy of property documents or tax-paid receipt. 
    • I replied that the application was for Family Tree needed for a car that was registered in my (late) father's name. 
    • She said that the attestation was generally given for property document needs and I had to stop by with a copy of those, else the application would be put "on hold."
  • I was tied up at work the next few days and couldn't go back to the BBMP office. 
  • On 17th Jan, before I decided to go back to the office, I checked for the status of my application online on nadakacheri website and was pleasantly surprised. 
  • The application status showed "Certificate Has Been Approved and Pending For Print" 
  • I was even able to use the application number to print a copy of the family-tree with a Note : "This is a Free Copy"


I was pleasantly surprised. Thanks #BBMP !


A few facts about attestation of a family tree.


  •  A "family tree" is a self prepared genealogy/pedigree by the family members that can be attested by a government, generally a revenue official (or tehsildar). 
  • An attested Family Tree is required to support a will or for other requirements supporting  inheritance of property.
  • In Karnataka, the "Nadakacheri" system is designed to submit an application for family tree. One needs to pay the fee online and print the application along with copies of documents - address and identity proof of family members (Voter card , Aadhaar card etc) along with a notarized document from the applicant. In addition, one may need a copy of Death Certificate for the deceased member/s 
  • You can upload copies of documents along with the online application. In addition, The printout needs to be submitted at a local BBMP help-center (if in Bengaluru) or at other "Nadakacheri" designated centers.
  • It takes about 7-10 days for the application to be processed (could be "speeded up" for a small fee to an agent, if one is in a hurry)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

FAQ for NRIs: After being an NRI, what are the major setbacks you are still facing after returning to Bengaluru?

My wife, son and I have US citizenship (and Indian OCI) and we moved back to Bengaluru about two years ago. My dad, who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer a while ago was starting to gradually slow down. My aging parents lived alone in Bangalore, and I got the dreaded phone call from my mother on the verge of breakdown herself, asking for help.
We had our fair share of setbacks after returning back to Bengaluru after a couple of decades in the west. Here are a few:
  • I’ll club the usual suspects - Traffic, pollution and general chaos of the life - in one bucket. This is something I had to work through and accept as a way of life here.
  • Bangaloreans have become more parochial and less tolerant of outsiders Refer to the question on Quora “When will outsiders leave Bengaluru?” and my response. Bangaloreans like me who have spent time outside the city and country are likely to feel a bit out of place in the new “Bengaluru
  • Organic growth of the city - I had grown up and worked in the Bengaluru where people still rode bicycles for short distance commutes. Now Cars, bikes and scooters are much more ubiquitous. After living in the west where zoning laws and regulations are generally respected, it takes a while to accept that such organic, unplanned growth is the way of life.
  • Bangalore was known as a Garden city, but there are hardly any private gardens (ref my post - Return to India Musings: when a home becomes a golden egg). Houses that had some patch of greenery or even a few coconut trees are giving way to concrete structures and flats.
As far as the last part of the question goes “Do you regret coming back to your home city and not being able to go back to your desired foreign land?”
I haven’t yet reached the point where the regrets outweigh the decision to move back.

Career advice: How did you succeed in a career in IT? What did it take to make it to a comfortable salary?

A recent online came to me asking me

How did you succeed in a career in IT? What did it take to make it to a comfortable salary?

My response follows 

The career in the dynamic world of global Information Technology (IT) has afforded me a comfortable living while earning in Rupees, Pounds, Euro, SFranks, C$ and US$.
My first job after I finished my masters in technology was in Bengaluru. My employer initially trained me as a MS windows developer and later in mainframe technologies. About 6 months after I joined, my manager asked me if I had a valid passport and if I would be willing to travel to England. Heck yeah! I thus found myself in the U.K. where I spent a couple of years.
From UK, I moved to the U.S for better opportunities. Along the way, I learnt new technologies, systems and processes, and got married. In my quest for the ‘American dream,’ my Permanent Residence (Green Card) application was approved. And along the way my wife and I naturalized as American Citizen, retaining our OCI status.
In 2003 when the Offshoring boom was taking off, I joined Infosys and spent the next decade working with a cross section of clients across geographies - in Canada, Europe and India. Based on my observations, I also wrote “Offshoring IT Services” published by McGraw Hill
While my family and I were comfortably settled in the U.S, we decided to move back to Bengaluru. My aging parents lived alone in Bangalore, and I got the dreaded phone call from my mother asking for help. Initially, I worked remotely for my employer and then switched jobs. This required revisiting my strengths and reviving my network in the local market.
Paraphrasing old adage, my career in the dynamic world of IT has allowed me to “join the Information Systems, and see the world.” Literally.
My career has given me an opportunity to live and work across dozen countries across three continents, and to visit scores more.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Looking for an ideal way to spend with kids? Check out Jawahar Lal Nehru Planetarium


If you are looking for an ideal way to spend with family, kids and others interested in Astronomy? Check out Jawahar Lal Nehru Planetarium.

Located at the heart of the city, Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium (JNP) is administered by the Bangalore Association for Science Education (BASE). BASE is devoted to science popularisation and non formal science education.

Here are some pictures and details from our recent visit to the Planetarium. Our most recent trip was in Sept 2018.

Little Vijay pointing at the stars !

Location : Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, Sri T. Chowdaiah Road, High Grounds, Bangalore - 560 001
Working Hours 10:15 am to 5:15 pm (Mondays and Second Tuesday are holidays)

Practical tips: 

  • There generally are long queues at the Planetarium. If possible, book your trip online before your visit.  Website: http://www.taralaya.org/contact-info.html
  • You should plan to spend at least 1 hour for the show and budget additional time at the park surrounding the Planetarium complex. 



Check out my review on Tripadvisor


The Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium in Bengaluru is one of the hidden treasures. It is an ideal place to visit with family, friends and kids.

The area around the Planetarium is well maintained and landscaped and the park outside has a great play area and outdoor science 'learning' games for kids.

The auditorium indoors is air-conditioned with comfortable seats and the sound-and-light show is well orchestrated.



More pictures from our trip

Inside the Auditorium 

The Planetarium


More pictures of the park