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Posted on: September 20-2016 | By : Mallika Kamat | In: Business Agility,Software Development | 1 Comment

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    The IT industry is the most evolving industry across the world. Continuous innovation and transformation of IT keeps business across the world running. However, transformations are uncomforting, they involve investment of time, effort and capital. To make these transformations faster and efficient—in terms of cost and effort—it is imperative to undergo a major overhaul across the organization.

    When I say Agile does it ring the bell? Agile has become a buzzword in the IT industry. It is not just a software development methodology, it is the beginning of change in the organization structure and change in mindset. Organizations are rapidly transforming to agile from the traditional waterfall methodology.

     

    What is driving this change?

     

    Waterfall methodology holds good for straight-forward simple projects, but falls short when adhering to a rigid structure and more intricate projects. For a complicated project filled with uncertainty, agile tends to be more successful than others.

     

    Agile can be loosely defined as the ability to move and think quickly and easily. The main reason behind transforming to agile is to produce top-notch quality working software in short, fast increments, also known as continuous delivery.

     

    Agile adoption and transformation

     

    Most organizations recognize the benefits of agile, but transforming an entire organization from waterfall to agile is a difficult task. It involves a mindset and culture change in the workforce, which can be uncomfortable for most. It also involves changes in the organization’s structure, team dynamics, tools, processes, stakeholder interactions, etc.

     

    The organization can take care of the following best practices when undergoing transformation.

     

    Vision for change

     

     

    This is one of the most important step that every organization should consider when beginning the transformation. They should highlight, why agile model is the best option for the business and what are the benefits it can deliver. The leadership should also communicate how the transformation would impact the stakeholders.

     

    Setting up an implementation team

     

     

     

    Once the vision is clear the leadership team should identify the right set of people to own, plan and execute the transition. The implementation team should include senior members from the IT organization who have experience in agile development and are convinced that agile will yield better benefits. They should have the freedom and flexibility to navigate through the organization structure and get their tasks done. However, there should be a governing body to just oversee and monitor their work.

    Identify quick wins

     

     

     

    Once the implementation team takes over, they should quickly identify projects or a bunch of enhancement requests that could deliver critical functionality to production faster, using agile methods. These should then be presented as business cases to showcase the benefits realized to the leadership team.

     

    Branding

     

     

     

    The implementation team should run a branding campaign and create a very catchy tagline.

    Branding and continuous communication within the organization is necessary to reinforce the need for agile and its benefits to tech and business teams. Communication and socialization could happen through multiple channels such as corporate newsletters, broadcasts, leadership blogs, internal road shows, posters, contests, quizzes, etc.

     

    Train and coach

     

     

     

    Agile transformation is not possible without proper training and coaching. The implementation team should plan for structured and packaged training sessions to impart knowledge on the fundamentals of agile to all teams across the organization. The training programs should focus on the best agile engineering practices and behavioral aspects.

    Often IT organizations, who are new to Agile, avail the services of external consultants, trainers, and coaches to conduct structured training programs for the teams or provide guidance on project execution.

     

    Scale to entire organization

     

     

     

    Based on the results of the early experiments and quick wins, the implementation team should plan for implementing agile practices across the IT organization. Pilot results should be broadcast to the entire organization, thus developing a positive environment for change.

    The leadership team could also encourage non-technology projects to adopt agile practices with necessary tailoring so that the entire organization could be in tune to work in agile mode.

     

    Continuous improvement

     

     

     

    To successfully scale up agile adoption, the implementation team along with the leadership should draft a long-term plan to sustain the change and embed it in the organization’s culture. Rewards and recognition should be introduced to support and sustain agile adoption.

     

    The leadership team should take feedback from the stakeholders on a continuous basis to validate that the business is benefiting from the large-scale adoption of agile practices.

     

    In this way, as the organization matures, teams start committing and focusing on technical practices and DevOps, thus reducing the turnaround time and successfully transforming into an Agile organization.

     

    Author
    Mallika Kamat

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    Mallika Kamat
    Mallika has over 19 years of experience in Delivery Management, majority of which is in the BNFS...

     
    Posted on: March 21-2016 | By : Swati Phalke | In: Analytics,Big Data,Business Agility,Digital Skills,Digital Solutions,Enterprise Technology,Leadership | No Comments

    For many years in the IT services business, there was a reasonable amount of demarcation in project execution using technology skills such as Mainframes, Client Server, Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence, and ERP. Projects were getting executed in silos for every Line of Business (LoB) within an enterprise.

    However in today’s digital world, there has been a huge disruption of the business model. Boundaries within the businesses are getting blur. For instance, retailers are entering into banking space to enable quick lending, sports companies are entering into consumer wellness, and mobile companies are entering into payments. Enterprises have restructured themselves to capitalize on the synergies within various lines of businesses. Hence, many digital projects need multiple technically-skilled professionals to join hands to deliver these business driven projects.

    With the growing demand for Digital Transformation in every industry, there is a scarcity of talent that can work on digital transformation projects. Most of the organizations are focusing on building a talent pool of digital capabilities. Experienced professionals have an opportunity to reboot their careers as digital transformation professionals, since digital transformation is the core focus for ‘change the business’. In the near future, these projects will move to the ‘run the business’ phases. It is thus essential for all IT professionals to gain digital skills and have a clear understanding of the digital technology landscape. There is a need to create digital technology talents at all the levels – right from entry level engineers to the top leadership of an organization.

    Though a fair amount of effort is required to technically upgrade skills, many softer aspects play a crucial role. Following are some of the guidelines for making this career transition:

    • Get the basics right, stay curious and have a learning mindset:

    To become an expert in any field, it is absolutely important to have the basics right. This not only ensures a strong career foundation, but also make up-skill and cross-skill easier. One must be receptive to learn from every interaction with teams, peers, leaders and the experts from a particular field. A learning mindset plays an important role in this transition. As experts say, “Growth stops, as the curiosity to learn more stops”.

    • Strong data analysis skills:

    Digital solutions play with complex data at the backend. Sensor data in case of Internet of Things (IoT), structured – unstructured – social data integration, web logs, call logs data, image reading and processing, predictive model building are some of the key areas where data analysis plays a very crucial role. In depth understanding of the data, interaction with business experts to gain more insights, data lineage are some of the important focus areas for Digital projects. Hence, it is important for the project teams to collaborate with each other and creatively gather data insights and get bigger picture. Having strong data analytics skills is a must.

    • Technology mapping to up-skill to digital:

    With all the above mentioned softer aspects, basics in place; a lot of effort must be spent on technological upgrade. It is important to understand digital technology mapping to the current skills.

     

    Following table can be considered for mapping the Current skills to Digital skills for opportunities in the digital world.

     

    Digital space is vast and has many technologies and Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) products. Above table focuses on few leading technology stacks for mapping purpose. To excel in your field of choice, identify the technology stack and map them against the skills required. Learn those skills to stay in demand and to become an expert.

     

    Available learning platforms:

    Technology advancements within each of the Digital technology stack is at the fast pace. It is essential to use all available platforms to get into the new Digital technology. We get easy access to many articles and blogs on social platforms. Spending some time daily in getting technology updates is a must. Online universities, classes, tutorials, certifications, practice platforms, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) are available in abundance. One needs to be proactive and leverage these platforms to the fullest and capitalize on every opportunity to move into the digital space.

     

    Remember, digital disruptions have been creating new avenues for growth and enhancements. As organizations are bracing themselves to modernize, individuals too should update their capabilities to stay ahead of the competition.

     

    Swati Phalke

    Practice Director, Digital One, Syntel

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    Swati Phalke

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    Swati Phalke
    Swati Phalke is Practice Director, Digital One at Syntel. She has over 19 years of technical and...

     
    Posted on: March 21-2016 | By : Visukumar Gopal | In: Analytics,CxO Innovation,Innovation,Intelligent Business,Project Management,Software Development | No Comments

    We have already seen why it is important to invest in PMCoE, however, establishing it requires real dedication and commitment to create value for the organization.

    To extract true value from PMCoE, it needs autonomy. To enhance efficiency of any organization, the PMCoE brings cross-project utilization; repeatable processes; improved asset sharing and best practices across geographically distributed teams, under one umbrella. PMCoE should also build standard and strong academy and preparedness for continuous improvement, these characteristics are very important for this centralized function.

     

    A part of this CoE should follow a formal process to develop a forecast plan that identifies corporate goals and objectives.This helps improve master planning and capital budget planning processes, provides enterprise-wide forecast of future projects, facilitates the organization’s project management maturity. In short, it helps to structure project execution.

    PMCoE should build common processes, tools, templates, and technology. These guidelines are to be used consistently across the organization to manage all authorized projects. This helps improve efficiency and shortens the learning curve for new project managers, reduces project timing and costs, improves project organization, planning and management skills, enables tracking of earned value – actual versus planned project timing and cost, and facilitates regular management review of project status.he organization’s project management maturity. In short, it helps to structure project execution.

     

    Moving on to academy, PMCoE develops and delivers programs to provide knowledge. Academy helps develop skills and capabilities required at all levels in the organization to effectively apply the standards in the management of all authorized projects. Academy helps improve new product and/or services, time-to-market, quality-to-market, and cost-to-market. It also reduces project timing and cost, improves project organization, and planning and management skills.

     

    Preparedness refers to the formal processes that ensure and validate that the required standards, knowledge and skills are present before project start-up. Work in process and post project reviews including documentation of lessons learned are carried out to ensure the success of all authorized projects. Preparedness also ensures that continuous improvement of forecast, standards, academy, and preparedness elements occur timely. This way, project standards are properly applied to all critical projects and facilitate creation of an environment for a learning organization.

     

    Around 40% of projects are only successful, within parameters of time, budget, and as per the defined scope and quality delivered. The remaining 60% projects fail to meet one or the other parameter. Even experienced project managers and project teams need assistance from time to time. This reiterates the need for PMCoE. It is a proven organizational resource that ensures better performance through consistent processes, intellectual capital, tools, techniques, and hands-on support. Hence there is a need for PMCoEs across all verticals.

     

    In the next blog of this series we will see how to build a PMCoE that penetrates your organization and helps deliver successful projects.

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    Visukumar Gopal
    Visukumar Gopal is Practice Head, LEAN & Knowledge Management at Syntel. He has over 20 years...

     
    Posted on: September 22-2015 | By : Deepika Das | In: Analytics,Big Data,Business Agility,Digital Solutions,Enterprise Technology,Healthcare Informatics,Regulation and Compliance | 2 Comments

    The significance of personalized medicine/precision medicine and its benefits is still new to the masses. However, the number of personalized medicine products has more than quadrupled in recent years. From the meagre 13 personalized medicine products available in 2006 to more than 70 in 2012, experts predict the American market for these drugs will double – increasing the market share from $9.2 billion in 2013 to $18.2 billion in 2019.
      (more…)

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    Deepika Das

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    Deepika Das
    Dr.Deepika a Dentist by profession, and an MBA in Healthcare IT has around 3 years of experience in...

     
    Posted on: March 25-2015 | By : Gary Ayingaran | In: Business Agility,Industries,Outsourcing and Technology Integration | 4 Comments

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      The IT industry is witnessing a dynamic shift, not just in technology, tools, infrastructure and methodology, but in the choice of geographical locations for outsourcing and offshoring, as well. As the outsourcing industry matures, a dynamic shift simultaneously takes place across regional outsourcing landscapes. Historically, organizations have been able to tap into relative wage differentials across geographies to build a strong value proposition for offshoring. While cost arbitrage continues to be a significant driver of global sourcing for most companies, the cost advantage is slowly diminishing due to factors like wage inflation, talent scarcity and throughput. Organizations, who are diversifying their outsourcing locations are looking for increased flexibility to service delivery, build new capabilities with access to local skill and to leverage the growth in the domestic economy. (more…)

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      Gary Ayingaran is the Center Head of Syntel’s Philippines facility, where he manages operations...

       
       

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