Media – Trends & Disruptions

Competition is increasing in the hyper-competitive Media Industry. Bringing differentiation through Customer Experience is the key strategy.

digital-media-tree
Image Courtesy: TravancoreAnalytics

Differentiation

Investments in new products and services, mainly launch of new digital services and offerings.

  • OTT Content
  • Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality
  • IOT

Deepening existing customer relationships.

  • Demand based pricing
  • Strategic M&A
  • Rethinking programming formats

Newer markets

  • 4K Video
  • 5G
  • Partnerships with Telecom providers

Renewed focus on digital customer engagement.

  • Personalized recommendations
  • Superior Analytics
  • Enhanced engagement

Transformation

Media Industry is reaching new heights through Personalization and Mobility by investing into 3 major areas.

  1. Infrastructure – Provide seamless service consistently.
  2. Customer Service – Customer care which is quick and precise.
  3. Marketing – Products and Services are targeted with high levels of accuracy and relevance of information.

Using disruptive technologies to create new business models and new revenue streams.

  1. Content Streaming
  2. Hyper-targeted content and advertising
  3. Direct-to-consumer relationships
  4. M&A, Partnerships

Way Forward

Redefine customer behavior and loyalty through digital engagement transformation.

  1. Increase revenues by capturing and analyzing data streams to spot trends and patterns, to optimize campaigns, transactions.
  2. Increase viewership and ratings through real time customer sentiment analysis.
  3. Enhanced engagement by providing personalized recommendations.

 

Thoughts…

 

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Platform Marketplace

content_whatismarketplace

Image Courtesy: Rademade

The platform model functionality for a digital mall would look something like this for its producers (store owners) and consumers (renters):

Producers/Investors:

  • list store
  • manage the rental availability of store
  • receive payment

Consumers/Retailers:

  • search for a store by building, location and price
  • message owner to request rental
  • Pay

End Users/Shoppers:

  • Search for products and make purchases

Different platform types need to look at the 3 categories and functionalities differently.

 

Viability of Market Place

Five basic activities a service marketplace needs to execute in order to prove the market viability (does my marketplace solve a problem?) of its concept.

Consumer/Producer:

  1. View/post service
  2. Book/accept appointment
  3. Send/receive payment

Platform:

  1. Analytics
  2. Marketing

 

Tools Landscape

The landscape of tools required to build a digital marketplace –

  • Front-end builders
  • Booking and scheduling tools
  • Payment tools
  • Automated marketing tools
  • Analytics engines

 

Market Place Creation – Business Creation

1.Business creation

2.Platform businesses have four core functions:

  • Matchmaking: How does the platform connect a producer and a consumer?
  • Building Liquidity: How does the platform recruit and retain enough producers and consumers to create liquidity?
  • Setting Rules and Standards: What rules will govern acceptable and unacceptable platform behavior?
  • Providing Functionality: What features should be included in your product to continually enable producers and consumers to unlock value from your platform?

3.Identify right platform opportunity and strategies

  • Exchange Platform – Services Market Place, Platform Market Place, Investment Platform
  • Maker Platform – Content Platform, Development Platform (Closed, Controlled, Open)

4.Platform Design

  • Business model, Framework for the platform type – Go-to-market, Rules and Standards, Customer Acquisition

Robert Langdon, and this time a new hero “Winston”, AI machine

Origin

Image Courtesy: Penguin

“Origin” is Dan Brown’s take on Artificial Intelligence, AI.
Drawing inspiration from Elon Musk in the form of Edmond Kirsch who develops a quantum computer “E-Wave” and looking at two fundamental questions about life on earth.

Where do we come from?
Where are we going?

The author explores wonderful concepts of AI ranging from personalized contextual interactions – taking Langdon along Guggenheim Museum,
self driving cars – a Tesla customized further by Krisch the protagonist,
modeling to a subjects tastes – likes, dislikes, in this case the fears & insecurities of Robert Langdon of spiralling staircases and closed spaces,
adaptability to changing scenarios and solving problems – helping Langdon on the run with Ambra (a strong minded beauty),
keeping the protagonists safe in all scenarios – at museum, airport, basilica.

Wow, all seems a discussion on personality traits!

Brown dwells, though fleetingly, on AI and robotics,
implants – to make humans better at everything,
cyborgs – humans and computers tightly coupled as one cognitive unit,
and unlimited possibilities and applications – making predictions about the future.

Looking further ahead, there are no fundamental limits to what can be achieved.
But an explosive transition is possible, although it may play out quite differently than in the novel where super intelligent AI clashes with the ideal vision for the future of humanity.

People preferring interaction with machines, robots taking over jobs, autonomous weapon systems are scenarios unfolding everyday.

The short term and long-term impacts depend on who controls AI and whether it can be controlled at all.

Given significant developments in Artificial Intelligence, it’s worth asking: What aspects of ideal AI have not been achieved yet?

There is need to achieve a clearer picture – AI may completely revolutionize how we live and work, and this requires us all to look at understanding and engineering a beneficial AI.

The book, I  thought may not be a gripping roller coaster like Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, but is an interesting take on Evolution, AI, the unanswered questions of human life.

Thoughts…

 

Cloud Services – IBM Story

IBM

Image Courtesy: IBM 

Transition of every technology company to the cloud has driven an explosion in IT demand led by Smart computing devices, Mobile Solutions, IOT, Cloud Computing, Security, Data and Advanced predictive analytics. IBM, International Business Machines Corporation, the technology giant primarily into hardware, middleware and software services has turned to expertise in cloud computing for Information and Communications Technology services.

The complete breadth of solutions in the infrastructure-as-a-service market, the platform-as-a-service market, and the software-as-a-service market and its vast services business helps clients move to and manage cloud infrastructure. Open Standards is a compelling draw for clients.

Playing by its Strengths

IBM keeping catch-up with the changing landscape of technological advancements.

Strategic acquisitions and divestments.

Transformation led by great leadership.

  • Louis V Gerstner, transformed IBM from hardware manufacturer to Integrated IT Services provider.
  • Sam Palmisano, focus on consulting and software.
  • Ginni Rometty, SoftLayer acquisition and strategic divestments notably X86 business to Lenovo.

Evolution to a Cloud Platform Company

The evolution of IBM into a Cloud Platform company is summed up by Ginni Rometty. “IBM is a cognitive solutions and cloud platform company, and everything we do is focused on that”.

Factors contributing the transformation of IBM into cloud service provider:

  1. The IT industry evolutionary shift from client-server models on mainframes, to PCs and servers, to Cloud.
  2. Decline in the company’s legacy businesses, weaker financial results.

IBM has focused on its Brands and R&D to drive its cloud strategy viz., Watson, Bluemix which is summarized below. IBM annually invests approximately $6 billion for R&D, focusing on high-growth, high-value opportunities. They have 12 global labs. It has acquired and invested to build capabilities for developers, big data, analytics and cognitive computing. Watson group was established to develop and commercialize cognitive solutions.

IBM Brands – Watson, Watson Health, Systems, IOT

IBM R&D – Watson, Bluemix, Blockchain, OpenWhisk

Acquisitions – TRUVEN, SoftLayer, The Weather Company, cleverSafe, bluebox, StrongLoop, USTREAM

Open Source – Cloud Foundry, OpenStack, Docker, Kafka, Hadoop

Partners – SAP, VMWare, NetApp, box, GitHub, Twitter, Apple

IBM Bluemix: Cloud Architecture

Through Bluemix, the company’s platform-as-a-service powered by SoftLayer, IBM offers a wide variety of cloud services, like build with infrastructure, Watson, software and services. The cloud platform is a single entity that offers “a full spectrum of services from infrastructure to industry focused software”. IBM has enhanced its platform with native Data and business process Integration Services, support for Containers and Cloud Foundry runtimes, Storage, Mobile, IoT, DevOps, Security and data privacy services.

A complete listing on solutions, infrastructure and platform is given below.

IBM Cloud Solutions Infrastructure Platform
Video Compute Boilerplates
Cognitive business operations Storage APIs
Private cloud Network Application Services
Cognitive solutions Security Blockchain
Risk Management Containers Cloud Foundry Apps
Connect to Cloud VMware Data & Analytics
SaaS Migration   DevOps
Developer solutions   Finance
Sales performance management   Functions
Financial performance management   Integrate
Social and email   Internet of Things
High performance computing   Mobile
VMware Solutions   Network
Hybrid cloud solutions   Security
Worker safety   Watson
Marketing    

IBM Advantage

IBM’s general strategy is to focus on areas where the company can differentiate itself and build a durable competitive advantage. Competing on price in the cloud infrastructure market doesn’t make much sense for IBM.

IBM is unique in that it’s involved in each layer of the cloud. The underlying hardware, the cloud platform that runs on top of it, and the software that clients ultimately use enabling to build a fully integrated stack. Thus, the right level of optimization and performance can be introduced to really meet the needs of different workloads that clients have running on the cloud.

Way ahead

  • Hybrid cloud – IBM’s acquisition of Gravitant offered a good demonstration of IBM’s cloud strategy. Gravitant is a cloud brokerage and management platform, allowing customers to compare various cloud providers based on cost and performance, and then manage their cloud infrastructure, potentially across different providers, or in a hybrid configuration, from a central location.
  • Alliances and partnerships across the spectrum for ICT.
  • Keep transforming based on internal and external analysis which has been its hallmark.

Conclusion

IBM’s philosophy of creating the future should hold it in good stead.

Create new customer value with applications, services and processes.

Connect applications, data and services in new ways.

Optimize any application, data or service for cloud agility and economics.

References

https://www.ibm.com/cloud-computing/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bobevans1/2017/06/15/inside-ibms-stunning-transformation-to-the-cloud-10-key-insights/#3bcc4e447ec5

https://www.fool.com/investing/2016/06/30/how-ibms-cloud-strategy-is-different.aspx

https://www.fool.com/investing/2016/06/16/ibms-cloud-strategy-3-things-you-need-to-know.aspx

http://www.dqindia.com/the-complete-breadth-of-ibm-cloud-solutions-is-a-compelling-draw-vivek-malhotra-cloud-leader-ibm-india/

https://hurwitz.com/turning-its-strategy-on-its-head-why-ibm-is-leading-with-cloud-services/

Jump back! Build a career you love…

chickencrappyjob

Knowing when you should or shouldn’t quit your job can either make or break your career.
There may be circumstances beyond your control when quitting is the only option.
But major reasons attributed are –

  • no recognition
  • no promotion
  • no salary
  • workplace stress and politics

And even when you rise above these, there is

  • no clear vision and hence no drive
  • no interest in the work
  • no plan of action

Leading to a more bigger and dangerous obstacle of all – COMPLACENCY
Complacency which instills fear of rejection, fear of facing the job market again, fear of even updating the resume!

As much as this is a problem with organizational issues, individuals have to rise above complacency to redefine their approach and thinking, to break out of the spiral of negativity and to find their passion again.

In the end, this may not necessarily be quitting your job!

Thoughts…

Future of employment…

employ

Mark Bonchek makes a point on how leaders can let go without losing control in this article on HBR.

Below is a brief summary on the ideas looking at how the future of employment is taking shape.

Transformation of business and society at large by digital disruption and accelerated change are mainly attributed to how we communicate.

Mass communication technologies like radio, television and film all broadcast in “one-to-many” model where a single message is sent to a large audience.

Today, digital platforms have created a new world of mass collaboration where social media has created a more distributed, diverse interaction. In this “many-to-many” world every one is a co-creator.

For companies, this means new relationships with both the customers and employees. Mass communication in hierarchical organizations is making way for networked forms of management and governance. Alignment to goals, empowerment, scale and speed are the norm today.

This means companies need to move from hierarchy to networks and processes to principles. Processes being replaced with core set of principles that empower distributed decision making have led to some of the most astounding success stories.

Amazon’s leadership principles, Red Hat’s open source principles drive home the point on current and future way of employment based on a distributed governance model for networked organizations.

Could you implement this in your organization, with your team?

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Network Simulators

Preamble

It is a very costly affair to deploy a complete network of computers, routers and data links to validate and verify a certain network protocol or a network algorithm. It is under these circumstances that network simulators are particularly useful to test new or existing network models in a controlled and reproducible way. The network simulators accomplish this task saving both time and money.

The purpose here is to design, implement and launch a network simulator to assist designers and practitioners of computer networks at various enterprises and organizations at large.

 

PRODUCT

Simulation workflow

The general process of creating a simulation can be divided into several steps:

  • Topology definition:The creation of basic facilities (# of nodes) and define their interrelationships.
  • Model development:Models are added to simulation (for example, UDP, IPv4, point-to-point devices and links, applications).
  • Node and link configuration:models set their default values (for example, the size of packets sent by an application or MTU of a point-to-point link); most of the time this is done using an attribute system.
  • Execution:Simulation facilities generate events, data requested by the user is logged.
  • Performance analysis:After the simulation is finished and data is available as a time-stamped event trace. This data can then be statistically analyzed with tools like R to draw conclusions.
  • Graphical Visualization:Raw or processed data collected in a simulation can be graphed using tools like Gnuplotmatplotlib or XGRAPH.

Simulation scenarios – Dimensions

Routed Topology

  • Define nodes, links, bandwidth, delay, queuing and other characteristics. Define routing protocols running in the nodes (unicast/multicast). Use topology generators (e.g., GT-ITM).

Connections, Traffic and Agents/end-host protocols

  • End host protocols such as TCP, ftp, Telnet, UDP with traffic models like constant bit rate (CBR), with distribution (Poisson or Pareto), trace driven. Connections are TCP sender/receiver or group members.

External events and Failures

  • External events include start and end of TCP connections, join/leave patterns for multicast groups. Link failures, packet loss patterns and congestion patterns may follow a failure model or distribution.

Network Simulator Components

simulatorcomponents

3 main components are depicted here.

(i) Packet level discrete-event simulator

(ii) The simulation engine is written in C++ / Java / Python and mainly handles an event queue and per packet processing (such as TCP and forwarding caches)

(iii) Most of the unicast/multicast routing protocols are libraries or implemented in Object Tcl as in case of NS3

SCALING

Internals of Scaling

A network simulator should enable users to represent a network topology, defining the scenarios, specifying the nodes in the network, the links between the nodes and the traffic between the nodes, minimally.

Larger scale and complexity of specifying details of protocols for network traffic, graphical representation of simulated environment, allowing advanced form of customization, programming framework to create applications to simulate the networking environment are to be considered in all the components that make up a simulator.

scaling

Of note here are 2 important concept

  • Levels of Details vs levels of Abstraction
  • Levels of Aggregation vs levels of Decomposition

Greater the levels of details, lesser is the level of abstraction that can be represented by the network simulator. And greater the level of decomposition, lesser is the aggregation of the network represented. Hence a semblance of balance needs to be arrived at when designing the network model.

 

PAIN POINTS

  • Large Scale stresses assumptions in protocol design and implementation
  • Drastic change at high rates
  • Link and topology delays and bandwidth span higher orders of magnitude
  • Topology performance tied to path packets take in network
  • Application dynamics with respect to multi-protocol interactions and user activity
  • Traffic has no commonly accepted model and usually shaped by congestion response

 

VALUE PROPOSITION

Features

  • Design hierarchical networks using various types of nodes.
  • Test, analyze various results apart from devising models for routing etc.
  • Network components broken down to reusable generic objects

Use Cases

  • Simulate network vulnerabilities from various sources of attacks.
  • Risk of network configuration changes.
  • Policy management – Usage from monitoring and reporting to resource allocation.
  • Testing High Availability

The value proposition stems from the fact that applications range from providing different network models to specific applications of use. Some of them may be called out here –

(i) Simulation and testing of next generation wired/wireless networking standards.

(ii) In-car network model simulation for either Ethernet/IP based network.

(iii) Distributed network simulation means business/commercial training in all aspects of simulation design and development from basic interoperability concepts to system design and architecture, to scenario development.

(iv) Rolling out of new network services across deployed commercial networks.

 

CUSTOMER – MARKET

Market Analysis

Enterprises mainly rely on OEMs for network devices and simulators provided by the OEMs, though they may not fully meet the requirements in some cases. It tells that organizations lean on the ease of doing business with the same vendor for related services.

At the other end of the spectrum are SMBs and government agencies. These are served not only by OEMs but also smaller players like Netsim, Shadow and the new entrants.

Companies are looking at partnering with government agencies and organizations to gain a foothold in the market place.

Newer network technologies look far different than a decade ago and strategies continue to shift under the weight of data center, SDN, cloud and other technology trends.

Planning for emerging technologies, evolving IT/DevOps tools other than Chef and Puppet, current trends in data center and cloud with IT vendors riding the converged infrastructure wave would play a significant role in defining the strategy.

 

POSITIONING

This is mainly derived from the below points –

  1. Current players in the market.
  2. Strengths in terms of either features or solutions or both.
  3. Feature parity across the players providing network simulation.
  4. Comparison of features bundled across as basic and advanced.

 

GTM CHANNELS BRANDING

 gtm

  • Awareness:
    • Focus on Push Mechanism on Digital Marketing to Increase Footfall on Website and to potential users – To establish brand.
    • Conduct campaigns via tech forums/events.
  • Credibility:
    • Publish blogs from Advisory Board.
  • Engagement:
    • Sales through Tech forums/events and Website, with regular suggestive feeds.

Channels Marketing Branding

  • Website
  • Social Media
  • LinkedIn Page, Groups
  • Advisory Board formation and Events organization
  • Monthly Newsletters
  • Posters / Banners for branding
  • Brochure / Catalogue for branding

 

CONCLUSION

It is imperative to define strategies for growth and higher returns for any solution of network simulation.

  1. FOCUS on the core solution being offered – simulator.
  2. PROTECT the market by delivering best in class customer experience and continuous Innovation.
  3. GROW returns on existing solution offering and invest/ramp-up in new areas of interest to customers and market.

Identity & Access Management – A perspective 2

identity-and-access-management-1

In the previous post, we looked at Identity and Access Management (IAM) dwelling into aspects of features and products, thus defining value propositions.

A key aspect for any new entrant in this industry is an understanding of the gaps in the market.

FUNDING AND FINANCIALS

Companies like Okta, Centrify, Onelogin and Ilantus have gone through various funding rounds. Major investors are Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Samsung Ventures, DoCoMo Capital, Scale Venture Capital and Intel Capital.

Estimated Revenue and Revenue per Employee play as key differentiation in the market. Revenue estimates range from $10 million to $30 million though there are not enough consensus.

CUSTOMERS AND SEGMENTS  

Adobe, LinkedIn, Chiquita, MGM Resorts International, Shire Pharmaceuticals and Western Union are some of the customers across segments like Financial, Energy, Retail and Managed service providers.

Customer base is mainly distributed across the geography of operation for a company. Newer segments like Health care, Government & Education, Non-profit & Charities are areas of growth.

TECHNOLOGY AND STANDARDS

These are the main competitive product strengths in terms of technology.

  1. Architecture to handle data
  2. Mobile capabilities
  3. Service beyond single-sign-on and address identity in hybrid world

Standards and compliance’s to name a few –

  1. PCI DSS
  2. Sarbanes Oxley
  3. FISMA

FUTURE OF MARKET GROWTH

Various studies estimate the IAM Global Market to grow at 9% CAGR and the Cloud-based IAM Market to grow at a whopping 25% CAGR.

WHAT IS LACKING?

Pricing information, blogs and use cases, App and systems integration, partners may just be some of the content to look at. Streamlined and a scalable content management becomes imperative.

CONCLUSION

Shifting business perspectives to collaborate and share information across organizational boundaries with focus on open systems would define the way forward. A ‘Simplified’ Identity and Access Management platform that works with on premise, cloud and hybrid IT environments is the need of the hour.

Identity & Access Management – A perspective

Image courtesy: tom’s IT PRO

Identity and access management (IAM) is the security and business discipline that “enables the right individuals to access the right resources at the right times and for the right reasons.” It addresses the need to ensure appropriate access to resources across increasingly heterogeneous technology environments and to meet increasingly rigorous compliance requirements.

Identity management solutions govern the access to resources – applications and data hosted either on premise or the cloud. In the wake of ever evolving technological advancements, authenticating identities and their authorized access to information are imperative for companies to safeguard their interests, strengthen compliance and reduce risk.

IAM CYCLE

Image courtesy: UBC

PLAYERS

Major players in the market today (not in any order) –

Centrify Identity Service, Microsoft Azure AD Premium, Okta Identity and Mobility Management, OneLogin, Ping Identity Ping One, SecureAuth IdP, Smart Sign In Perfect Cloud, Oracle Identify Governance and Administration, IBM Identify and access management.

Considerations for choosing a particular vendor may be broadly stated as below.

  1. Identity solution whether Active Directory, LDAP, SAML, RADIUS, OpenID, OAuth
  2. Multi-factor authentication support like OTP, SMS, E-mail, Q&A
  3. Mobile device management, Cloud management
  4. Price and Features

FEATURES

Obviously this raises the question of what features? Hold on…

  1. Single Sign-On
  2. Enterprise Mobility Management
  3. Hybrid Identity – AD, LDAP, SAML
  4. Multi-factor Authentication
  5. Policy Engine
  6. Provisioning
  7. App Integrations
  8. Built-in Reporting

VALUE PROPOSITIONS

IAM providers bundle the features as different product offerings to customers. Thus you may have a product for sign-on, a product of access governance, product for provisioning and so on.

This is greatly governed by the productizing process of Understanding Value, Creating Value, Capturing Value, Communicating Value and Delivering Value.

Features of value to the customer are identified and products defined. Pricing and positioning through proper channels are done for effective delivery.

PERCEIVED GAPS

New entrants of Identity solution providers do analyze the market and plan the strategy for the product but a few gaps are noteworthy in the industry.

  1. Funding and Financials
  2. Customers and Segments
  3. Technology and Standards
  4. Future of market growth
  5. What is still lacking?

CONCLUSION

Though a detailed discussion on perceived gaps will follow, suffice it to say that, shifting business perspectives and next-gen capabilities & trends place Identity Management field at an important cross road where alliances and partnerships are going to play a major role.

Agile – A Perspective

The Agile manifesto emphasizes value on ‘Individuals and interactions’, ‘Working Software’, ‘Customer Collaboration’, and mostly importantly ‘Responding to Change’.
These lay bare that process and tools, a good complete and extensive documentation, customer negotiations, long release cycles are a outdated lot, passe.

In today’s ever changing market place, the agility – deftness, swiftness or dexterity of responses define Success.
Adaptive planning, continuous improvement and deliveries, flexibility to respond to change – measure success and this is what Agile Development is all about.

Evolving requirements means agile teams organically grow solutions to meet them. Agile methods like Scrum, Kanban do not require long term plans. All work to be done is written down, these are the ‘Product Backlogs’ in case of Scrum, ‘Tasks’ in Kanban. Estimates on the work items are drawn using techniques like Planning Poker, Bucket System.
Based on the team capacity and effort estimates the overall time required to do the work is arrived at.

Work items are grouped into User Stories, Epics and Themes in Scrum. An epic in agile Scrum terminology is a group of related user stories or may appear as a large story. Epics generally cover an entire use case or work flow for a feature related to user interaction with a system in software development.

What Agile brings about is a more customer centered approach or more aptly called Customer-driven innovation. This means talking to customers, walking in customer’s shoes, to understand their problems in great contrast to existing norms of top down approaches in the industry.

Agile gives teams ownership of the products bringing in more focus to delivery. This is because teams are formed around the work/product which are far more effective than teams formed around organizational charts.

Yes, there are questions on effective Portfolio and program management, Strategy but that is a topic for another day.