Srinivas Reddy’s Weblog

My Tech Rants

Technology trends and Need for simple software

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Web technologies are increasingly moving away from App server (3 tier) to mirco services architecture More details here : and

Balancing IT budgets between specific application needs to generic services/solutions supporting E2E optimization (generic tool adaption in agile DevOps world not be practical). This blog post highlights this dilemma for the SAP aware folks It is helpful to think in terms of Jobs to be done and tools needed to support this, a concept presented well by Harvard Prof. Clayton M. Christensen at a tech event here: The trend is towards open platforms where knowledge sharing in network increases value of product/service to unlock trapped value, see link for details

What are the major vendors doing in this context? From the recent Oracle keynotes and SAP TechEd keynotes the common thread is in bridging the SaaS apps with the on premise apps using PaaS technologies. While the legacy vendors try to simplify their offering using “cloud” cover its really startup and open source solutions that are pushing the innovation envelope.

Multiple layers of abstraction in people and technology stacks is the root of all legacy driven complexity. Simplification needs decision making / smarts to be handled in micro nodes for scalable processing in human and technology contexts. Paradigms: Top down vs Bottom up  – Centralized vs decentralized – Big data / Network optimization / New Biz processes / next gen resource management – Cloud standardization vs custom extension needs (core and context). Cloud apps need fast/productive turnover times for build/deploy cycles which is pretty disruptive for legacy Dev/deploy models (on premise and early j2ee cloud) to compete with. Key part of TCO is TCD in Dev/Ops cycle including maintenance/support/upgrade with extension support.

Change is about people and mindsets. Simplicity starts in the mind. Given individual mindset changing behavior needs transformational leadership.  Fear of change, job loss, uncertainty, insecurity can make people do things which are anything but simple and smart and technology can only accelerate this trendSad smile

Written by srinivasreddy

November 11, 2014 at 7:30 am

Posted in opendata, SAP, Technology

Multisided Platforms

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As the year ends, this is my last day to make up for all the blogs that I was not able to post 🙂 This post is inspired by an HBR article here. Platforms are about creating marketplaces for buyers and sellers to transact at scale. This can happen in a traditional reseller business model (Walmart) or in its modern digital versions. The vendors can offer infrastructure and services (Amazon) to make transactions easy and efficient. The bargaining (pricing) power ranges based on what value each player brings. High value product (apple), High volume product (Kindle, Salesforce, Facebook). Multiple bundling/packaging options will be needed for effectively running Multisided Platform. Each entity needs to plan where they want to be in the Multisided Platform(MSP, yes one more three letter acronym) world. To complicate matters the platform providers can themselves be sellers in the marketplace (Amazon, Google,..) making it difficult for sellers to decide on contributing to the marketplace/what to contribute. While Microsoft with its windows platform had shown the power of platforms, in a more global and digital times much higher economies of scale are being achieved. This needs digital strategies to monitor and drive MSP based industry disruptions (business transformation). Need to align  core and context in a MSP world.  Cloud offers a means to more efficiently participate in the MSP world and each Industry/Line Of Business/Nation/Company/Individual need a digital transformation plan. Data driven decision making will be possible provided the digital infrastructures are extended to leverage new data capture capabilities (social, mobile, internet of things) and can analyze and act on them. Business processes need to be transformed to leverage enhanced digital integration (system of record & system of engagement). This needs a overhaul of legacy systems to modern digital infrastructures. This will be a gradual transition with huge upside for winners. In the process a lot of industry transformation will happen. Examples of some already doing this are – Uber in the car rental, Airbnb in hotel industry. Resource management will happen in a global distributed (business) network. What part of the value can be best provided by MSP (rating, payment rules,..), sellers, buyers. Should sellers setup own shops (apple stores like) to let buyers experience the product or let MSP do marketing/sales for them? To be able to get critical mass of buyers and sellers to the MSP a huge investment in the ecosystem for the long haul will be needed. As the HBR article rightly points out MSP is not for all enterprises and other niches will exist.

The digital content trying to engage you in the holiday season is a good case study to understand MSP. Given the different media trying to grab user attention, be it Content on Mobile-TV-PC-Tablet-Game Console-physical Books-physical people-physical events/places. While appstores (ex from Apple) try to engage users with 12 days of free app gift each day, online movie stores (ex from Amazon, Maxdome, Sony Enterainment) make great real time offers. How is engagement and transactions being driven? Are enterprises struggling to make their “Systems of Record (read ERP)” work in sync with their “Systems of Engagement (read social networks, web stores)”? One thing is for sure a lot of such user activity/engagement is being tracked by the MSP’s to even better target the end user. Expect the Amazons or Google or Facebook’s of this world  to know a lot more about you than you can even imagine. 

What does that mean for you as an individual? Be deliberate in all the (digital) interactions you take part in. Make sure you understand the power of platforms (be it social/professional networks, communities of practice, marketplaces,..) and have data driven experiments in place to ride the industry transformations. Ensure that all the data gathered from your engagement/transaction by the MSP’s is also available for you take some smart decisions as well.  While I do not want to end up making predictions for 2014, expect to hear monetizing “Digital Data” (big or small) a lot. Wishing all readers a very Happy New Year and hope you can keep all your new year resolutions, even if it means writing a blog post on the last day of the year 🙂

Written by srinivasreddy

December 31, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

What’s all the “(Big) Data Hype” all about anyway?

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Its been a long time I blogged, it feels good to get back to it again. With all the digital data around it sure is difficult to take some time out to think what does it all mean anyway. This blog post is an attempt in this direction. We have been hearing the statement “Data is the next intel inside” for some time now. A recent statement by IBM CEO “Data is the next natural resource” is really a much stronger statement and needs some introspection into.What’s all the (Big) Data hype all about anyway?

As predicted here a decade ago, data has grown explosively in the 3-Dimensions of Volume, Variety and Velocity. The database landscape graph here is good portrayal of how the tech community is trying to address this problem in the different dimensions.   As of 2012, about 2.5 exabytes of data are created each day. The info graphic below shows some sources for this data.


Given that there is already a huge amount of digital data existing and much more being created everyday why should be care? I was recently at the CeBIT tech exhibition show with the theme “Shareconomy” and how (Big) Data driven “Smart” applications are and will change the world was a common theme at different exhibits. While cloud computing (be it IaaS, PaaS & SaaS) has mostly focused on reduced infrastructure costs its really value is in ability to enable companies learn from the data usage and help them focus on things that really matter for their customers. New business models are enabled by big data. While some companies like Salesforce see the data deluge as an opportunity to build “facebook like” user interface for enterprise end users to ease consumption. Other companies like KhanAcademy leverage the data to create a “flipped classroom” education platform where “learning” is emphasized than “teaching”. Data enables “feedback loops” to “validate learning” which is the key principle for lean startups to enable sustainable business. Advances in IT enable leveraging the unstructured (big) data with the structured (enterprise) data to engage with customers in new ways in real time. Products and services are being built much faster and customer acceptance measured to improve or kill the new offering based on such “experiments” in real time. Such “Agile” enterprises are the one setting the “speed of innovation” for their industries. Facebook’s recently announced “Home” interface for mobile highlights the importance about owning the data interface to end users. If you can “engage” the users you can have a greater impact on your companies bottom line. This quality is best highlighted by Amazon and its letter to its shareholders is very insightful in this regard.

Given that (Big) data is important how can we best profit from it? Given that we live in ever increasingly digital (thanks to our mobile devices) world we need to be smart as to where we are engaging in the “digital world” and why. “Time” is the critical resource and we need to use it in the optimal way. (Big) data needs “Big filters” to help us not be drowned in the data. One needs to develop skills to do “Data driven experiments” to learn from the “consumption” patterns to create sustainable business value. While “Open Data” access to different data sets is partly driving the current (Big) data hype. Its important to ensure “openness” of critical data sets at the same time taking care of the privacy and intellectual property rights concerns.

We will have much more data in the future, thanks to devices like goolge glass. Given a lot of IT innovations are still needed to make Big data vision a reality we will do well to enable this data driven disruption than be surprised by it.

Written by srinivasreddy

May 3, 2013 at 10:00 am

Posted in Mobile, opendata, SAP, Technology

Reflections on use of ICT by Science Teachers in Europe in developing teaching material

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Having just completed my part time project to support Science on Stage (The European platform for Science Teachers) to develop teaching material for ICT (information and communication technology) in natural sciences I would like to share my thoughts in this blog. The project which lasted almost a year was sponsored by SAP CSR initiative and had an objective for European Science teachers to use ICT to collect, analyze and visualize data. Quite a few science teachers (coming from over 11 EU countries) involved in the project were new to programming. In my role as one of the programming experts to support the teachers learn and use software tools I got involved in helping with the programming aspects of the teaching material.

After initial identification of topics (ranging from Bicycle to space, Monster rain,..)for developing teaching material different software tools were evaluated for usability in the projects. Interestingly while the physics teachers were pretty comfortable with the idea of using Java to for developing programs for the Biology & Chemistry teachers idea of programming in it was not at all a option. Technically teachers needed to use ICT tools to collect data (ex: Spring Oscillations, Flight of ball, random rabbit selection for breeding..), analyze this data  (ex: compute acceleration, rabbit offspring generation,.. ) and visualize this data (ex: plot trajectory, population distribution,..) Among the tools initially evaluated included open source physics library, Logger pro (commercial video analysis tool), Tracker (open source video analysis tool), SAP Xcelsius, Google Docs, SAP Streamwork. In the project halfway status review meeting it was clear that the Physics related learning modules were pretty advanced in developing the programming content (based on Java) in the other sciences some additional tool would be needed to better help the teachers. It was here that the tool Scratch was presented to the teachers and they were pretty happy to try it out (thanks to its end user friendly development interface) and eventually ended up using it in some of their projects. The final results of the project are available online here as iStage teaching material and the related content is also available on the Apple app store as iBook.

Lot of interesting content was developed by the science teachers and the programs developed by them and their students also were pretty impressive. I personal developed a Xcelsius based dashboard for demonstrating biology concepts related to breeding in rabbits. Getting to integrate this into a wordpress based public website from EMBL here was more effort than I had planned for :(  The additional teacher training given to multiple the ICT learning in schools with tools Tracker and Scratch was pretty well received. The tools are good examples for how domain specific tools can look like that can help teachers develop ICT enhanced learning modules (they can be still improved but are much less challenging than using eclipse and java to develop programs by the science teachers).

Even as the Teacher community prepares for the next project (which also happens to be supported by SAP) to use Mobile phones in learning context, it is also a good point to reflect back. While the Science on Stage community has created a lot of useful content over the years I personally think they can do better in making the content more consumable and extendable in the web by making it more social. This is one area we plan to do more in the next project 🙂 The blog posts from “social is the plural for personal” provide some good ideas for this.In case you are personally interested in contributing to supporting the community please get back to me. A lot of interesting mobile projects are in the pipeline and a lot of development support would be needed 🙂 Personally I can say from experience that you can get to learn a lot in the project and in particular get to meet a lot of motivated science teachers from across Europe. The feedback from teachers like “I used Skype first time to collaborate”, “I still cannot program but now know what needs to be done” “working across countries in interdisciplinary manner” was very motivating considering that most teachers were working outside their normal school teaching duties. Science on and off stage in Europe seems to have a good future 🙂

Written by srinivasreddy

November 16, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Where is the Software Industry heading anyway?

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Having recently attended a huge software developer conference it provided enough inputs for me to lean back and think where is the software industry heading anyway.  This post is to share some of these thoughts. The key message for me was “Consumption is King”. “Cloud”, “Mobile” and “Social” are redefining consumption and software industry is reinventing itself to adapt to these new realities. There are two key aspects to consider in this reinvention. First, how is software production lifecycle changing  and the second, what software is being produced.

Currently 90 day product release cycles and much lesser implementation times are demanded by the enterprise software world as is the norm in the consumer software space. This is where the classical “on premise” packaged software world fails and the “on demand” software as a service model excels. For the producers of packaged software this would mean a fundamental change in their business model from production processes, delivery models, sales models to support models. While the “cloud software” vendors have been able to build infrastructure from ground up to support such a business model the traditional vendors are still adapting. How does the modern software business model look like? It begins with the data layer with a next generation database. With the In-memory databases promising the best potential here. Having datacenter competencies to support high volume/low cost multitenant applications is essential. Most vendors are racing to establish their “Platform as a Service(PaaS)” offering to own this space (be it Salesforce with Force platform, Microsoft with Azure, Amazon web services, Google, VMWare, Facebook,…). This is still a market up for grabs. Its most likely that the traditional software stack (Database, Application Servers, Messaging Servers,..) will manifest itself in some specialized forms of “PaaS” offering with focus on Mobile, Collaboration(read social), Analytical, Transactional apps or a combination of a few. In this context its all the more important to get end users to using the platform, a developer ecosystem to build for it and for the vendor to efficiently integrate with other platforms.  The software production process to support global supply chains at cloud speed will be a real challenge. While most vendors are adopting variants of open source development processes (including contribution to open source products) , challenges on how they can be integrated and supported still remain. This production model which permits lower costs and greater adoption will most likely survive in particular for software at infrastructure layer. “Appstore” model to enable easy discovery and consumption of software is the new software delivery and sales model.  Its difficult to predict how this can look like in the future but the need for “instant” gratification will remain.How can the future support models looks like? While the “Maintenance Service tax” driven support model will surely change how the vendors can build a model to leverage “community” to drive support cost down and offer the benefit to end users will be important.

What new applications are coming from the software industry anyway? I like a recent Mckinsey article that “software layer” can enrich all customer touch points. Software is not only enriching but also enabling entirely new kind of experiences. Some examples for this are 3D printing, khan academy style teaching, Google glasses project to name a few. The software layer is enabling mass production of personalized goods/services and in the process disrupting traditional industries in different domains. With social networks acting as “filters” for the ever increasing data flood, information consumption and production will continue to explode. Its building rich applications on this software layer that will create the predicted new millions of jobs in IT. The recent software stars like “Instagram” and “Pinterest” show how fast things can be a hit in the “new software industry”.

Written by srinivasreddy

April 15, 2012 at 8:24 am

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