Monday, 5 December 2016

How to establish a successful BYOD policy for a software development company

software development companies

The success of a BYOD program lies in cautious creation of a bring-your-own-device policies, but many companies are negligent to write them. BYOD trend is becoming the leading strategy for provisioning subscriber devices in most software development companies in India over the next few years. There are a lot of interesting strategies, products and services that make BYOD effective and easy for the companies. BYOD isn't a free-for-all, do-what-you-want condition. Cautious planning and end-to-end strategizing are required before a company purchases any systems for managing BYOD.
Here are some of the key factors to consider for establishing a successful BYOD policy:

The permissible devices
The devices used during the decade of Blackberry services were pretty clear (i.e. only the Blackberry phones were used for work). Now in the era of iPhone and android, this decision is not that easy. Make sure you specify the devices that are permitted in your corporate network. The version and model number of these devices should also be taken into consideration while selecting the devices. The device choices can be any of the following:
  • Android phones
  • iPhones
  • Android tablets
  • iPads
  • Laptops
  • Phablets (i.e. Phone + Tablets)
  • Notebooks

Security of data and devices
There is a lot of confidential information in the mobile devices connected, and accessing the corporate network of your software development company. There is a need of strong password attached to devices of employees at all times. Many employees don’t even have a password or screen locks on their personal devices, because they see it as an interference to quick access, so this needs to be addressed to prevent security breaches. Other security factors include the use of antivirus apps, other security softwares and proper configuration of firewall in your BYOD policy.

Services for selected devices
It's important for employees to understand the helpdesk boundaries when questions or problems creep up with personal devices. To set these boundaries, you'll have to provide a solution for the following questions:
  • How much support for initial connections by personally owned devices, to the corporate network will be available?
  • If a device breaks, what support is assured from IT representatives of the software development company?
  • Is there a provision of application support on devices owned by the employees?
  • Will you limit Helpdesk to tickets addressing email, calendar and other personal information management-type applications only?
  • Is your support basically a remove and reconfigure operation?
  • Will you provide other devices on a temporary basis to employees while their phone or tablet is being serviced?

Permissible applications
You need to make a decision on what apps will be allowed or banned which is commonly referred to as whitelisting or blacklisting. A BYOD policy should explain that IT has the authority to prohibit the use of certain applications that might threaten the security or integrity of the data used in corporation. This applies to any device that will connect to your network, whether corporate or personal. The concern is whether users can download, install and use an app that presents security or legal risk on BYOD devices that access sensitive corporate information of a software development company. What if a poorly written instant chat messenger steals your organization's address book?

Alignment with acceptable use policy
Allowing personally owned devices to potentially connect to your VPN introduces concern regarding what activities may and may not be permitted. Some of the points that require discussion are:
  • If you set up a VPN tunnel on a mobile device and then your employees post to social networking, is this a violation?
  • What if your employees browse objectionable websites while on their device's VPN?
  • What if they transmit, either purposely or not, inappropriate material over your network, even though they're using a personally owned device? What authorizations are there for such activity?
  • What monitoring approaches and tools are available for enforcement of such policies?

If you already have an acceptable use policy in place, integrate BYOD policy with it.

Employee Exit Plan
What happens when employees with devices on your BYOD platform leave the organization? How do you enforce the removal of access tokens, e-mail access, data and other proprietary applications and information? The consideration of how will the back up of user’s personal photos, apps, video, etc. will be performed before the mobile device is wiped, is of prime importance. Make a clear plan, document it and share this with the employees.

BYOD agreement
A written and properly implemented agreement between authorized users and the organization is essential. Companies should run any proposed policies by their legal advisories before drafting any agreements and putting them into practice. Laws vary significantly from authority to authority and from nation to nation.

Conclusion:  If you have not embraced BYOD yet, get ready, because its propagation will only continue to accelerate. With a strong BYOD policy, IT can sleep better at night knowing that they have governed their BYOD environment.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Revenue Streams for SaaS

custom software development companies
SaaS on its own isn’t a profitable business model. It becomes profitable only when united with a strategic revenue model. Right pricing structure is the key in SaaS business space, involving a variety of themes and variations. Profitability is the one factor, the software outsourcing companies need to go after, right from the start.

Subscriptions

The biggest misconception today in SaaS business is that monthly subscription is the only source of revenue.

However, starting from subscriptions is not at all a bad idea. Subscriptions are the trendsetting SaaS pricing models. The benefits of subscriptions include:
  • Continuously recurring revenue
  • Better growth rate
  • CLV

When analyzed thoroughly, the subscription model defeats the licensing model.

Upsells

“Upsell” is the generic term for improving both customer value and expenditure. Successful SaaS sales depends on upsells.

Attracting potential customers is a tougher job than upselling the existing customers for a software outsourcing company. It’s less profitable, too. It’s six to seven times more expensive to gain a potential customer than to retain an existing one. You get an extra layer of profit on the average profit, when you upsell an existing customer.
  • Extra Storage, Speed, or DataOne of the commonly used ways to upsell customers, is by giving additional storage, speed, data, bandwidth, etc., along with pertinent costs. Depending on the product and customers, this could be a great way to provide users with the correct level of service at a suitable cost.

New Versions

Charging for new versions of your SaaS carries plenty of risks, but for some businesses, it is the most relevant way to charge. Here, the hardest part is persuading your customers that it’s the right thing to do.

Affiliate Sales

With a successfully executed affiliate program, the software outsourcing company can reduce marketing costs, effortlessly enter new markets, expand your business, and retain your existing customers. Customers who are successful with affiliate marketing will stick with you for longer duration, resulting in a reduced customer attrition.

But use this affiliate program with little cautiousness. If it isn’t properly checked or monitored, it can result in tacky marketing and uninvited exposure to adjacent markets.


APIs

It’s critical to focus as much on revenue streams outside the application as within the core product. One such beyond-the-application revenue stream is the API.
An API is a means of making the SaaS compatible with other software applications. Some developers will pay substantial API fees, eyeing the potential of a SaaS that is integrated and customized for their needs.

If an API is created, do an accurate cost forecasting. From a development perspective, APIs are expensive, and future support burdens may offset the potential cost.

White Label Licensing

If customers want to sell solution to their customers, it’s worth some consideration. Hence, charge should be levied accordingly and license agreement should be setup to avoid any future pitfalls.

Setup Fees

A setup fee is a nice way to validate clients during the onboarding process. A client who is willing and able to pay a setup fee is a client who can afford your service commits to use it.
There are always two sides of a coin. Some clients see it as a major turnoff if they are charged every time they turn around. Charge fees to customers only if the services generate true value to them.

Reporting

Some SaaS providers have successfully developed a revenue model by which they charge for reporting. Whether the reports are automatically generated or manually prepared, they can add a huge value to clients.

If a reporting model can be developed that gives value to the client, while at the same time proves the ROI of the SaaS, then charging the client is justified.

Advertising

It’s relatively easy and cost effective to build a SaaS with some space for advertising space and revenue. Ads within the SaaS is a hands-free way to earn enduring and recurring income. Companies like SaaSAds specialize in the integration of advertising within SaaS.

However, there are some risks involved. Some users may find these advertisements as annoying. Advertising work great, only for freemium models.

Customer Service

Customer service is not cheap. Hiring and retaining the right people is tough enough. Support personnel must be trained continually not only in the software itself, but in the best way of guiding customers to solve their issues themselves. If the software is complex and customer doesn’t have enough knowledge about it, it will cost a lot to have a fully staffed support team.

Customers needing additional support can be charged a monthly fee. For e.g. A retainer fee to get support when they need it.

Conclusion
SaaS business can be highly profitable, as long as the planning is for profits to happen. Discovering revenue streams other than monthly subscriptions is the key to maximize the profits for software outsourcing companies.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Common myths and truths about BDaaS

software outsourcing companies

It’s exciting to see Big Data-as-a-Service (BDaaS) starting to take off. Numerous media outlets have covered the effect of this emerging trend on software outsourcing companies. While there is not yet a precise definition of BDaaS, common subjects are emerging and diverging. Here is a take on some of the truths on BDaaS:

All of the BDaaS service providers have slightly different capabilities

A host of services now uses the BDaaS signature. These services have both commonalities and key differences:

Most vendors are cloud-based, but with different architectures such as single-tenant and multi-tenant. These BDaaS vendors are promoted as a managed service with varying levels of management. Some are Hadoop based or other open-source software based. A few vendors include access to external or third-party datasets. A few have their own innovative visualization capabilities, but most of them support industry-standard tools.

Most BDaaS vendors essentially offer Big Data Analytics Processing-as-a-Service. This distinctive issue will persist, requiring that buyers be assiduous in their evaluations.

Currently, as a consequence of the Big Data trend, enterprises can turn to Big Data as a Service (BDaaS) solutions to bring the storage and processing together. Interestingly, a definition and classification of BDaaS is missing today and various types of services compete in the space with varied business models and foci.

Big Data-as-a-Service improves enterprise dexterity and competencies

With big data’s well-documented capability, an outsider might wonder why most software outsourcing companies don’t have programs to implement BDaaS yet. There are a lot of complex new technologies, legacy investments, many other IT priorities and a shortage of skills that is delaying this implementation. BDaaS removes many of these technical and skill blockades to data processing, so enterprises can focus on using data efficiently and be more flexible and adjustable to change. BDaaS enables smoothness, agility and compatibility. For instance, enterprises find it's relatively faster and easier to adapting changes at lower cost and efforts. Smoothness is the extent to which your BDaaS can be quickly and cost-effectively repurposed and reconfigured in response to changes in the constantly moving world.

Security, privacy and integration are key issues for BDaaS

While many software outsourcing companies in India have developed skills and competencies to manage these worrying data challenges on-premises, the cloud is an altogether different environment. Organizations still find it difficult to understand this new paradigm, and integrate it with substantial legacy investments. BDaaS providers, many of which are digital groups and software companies, often have different approaches on issues like security and integration, requiring careful inspection.

Implementation challenges can arise from lack of preparation, crisis in expertise and compromised data security, all of which will have to be taken care of in the future management of BDaaS technology.

Here are some common myths on BDaaS:

Hadoop as a Service = Big Data as a Service

Big data is not only about Hadoop. While earlier definitions often closelycharacterized big data as newer formats like semi-structured data (sensor data,logs etc.), in common use, big data is often used for “all the kinds of data a company has to deal with.” (TechTarget, 2016)survey provides a meaningful insights on format of database organizations consider “big data”:

79% include structured i.e. organized data (e.g. customer records and transactions)
59% include semi-structured i.e. semi organized data (log, clickstream,sensor, social)
52% include unstructured i.e. unorganized data (videos, audio, images)

Add to this there are lot of analytic processing requirements for different data jobs in a company(real-time, batch and advanced), and clearly Hadoop is not the suitable engine for every big data job. That’s why visionary BDaaS providers offer multiple processing engines (Hadoop, MPP SQL and Spark) to address the full range of data and analytical needs.

Big Data-as-a-Service threatens Information Technology

BDaaS is poised to help IT leaders and enterprises, empowering them to quickly offer big data capabilities within the scope of existing data and governance programs. Instead of stickingto Hadoop for six months, IT can source BDaaS that meets companywide requirements and then reallocate crucial resources to help the business analyze data more effectively. IT can rapidly implement BDaaS in days or weeks, enabling their organization with extraordinary data access, infinite scale and new agile data analytics capabilities.

Conclusion

The term ‘Big Data as a Service’ may be rather inelegant and clumsy but the concept is not. As more and more software outsourcing companies in India realize the value of implementing Big Data strategies, more services will emerge to support them as well. Data analysis brings positive change to any organization that takes it earnestly, and this includes smaller or larger scale operations which neither have the expertise nor the budget nor time to develop that expertise to do it themselves.

Bibliography

TechTarget. (2016). TechTarget Big Data Analytics .

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

BYOD in the classroom

software development companies
From laptops to tablets and smartphones, educational institutes like schools and colleges across the world are testing out ane-learning environment, where pupils bring and use their choice of technologically equipped devices in the classroom. Though the benefits seem obvious, the influx of mobile technology in educational system has also provoked criticism from parents and teachers alike, similar to the BYOD recoil witnessed within software development companies in the past few years.
Educational institutes are finally presented with two options:

  • Adopting a BYOD program, moving along with the technology, inspiring student participation, and changing the curriculum to include BYOD-driven topics.
  • To levy of a BYOD policy, setting guidelines to govern the presence and practice of these potentially trouble-causing devices.


Parents site the probable negative impact of allowing freed digital connectivity in schools. No parent would argue for open and unmonitored online access for kids of any age. Some of the concerns are:

  • Distractions of online video games.
  • Excessiveusage of social networking sites leading to victimization or predation
  • Download (and creation) of inappropriate content
  • Social status and humiliation of devices

But have a look at the other side of the coin. The latest incarnation in the tablet and smartphone makes the information uprisingmore personal and omnipresent, certainly. The smartphone’s connectivity and portability gives us anindication of  IOT.

The influence of these devices on the lives of grownups and children of today is astonishing but this is just the beginning. We are experiencing a wave of invention in digital devices. Consider the clues of the next generation that are already coming to life in wearable devices like Google Glass.

In this decade, it is as much important to teach children how to use their other device’s “brains” as it is to teach them to use their physical brains — to ignore such an obvious and powerful growth would be careless. Certainly there are more efficient ways to use digital devices to make us more effective beings and these better ways should be taught.

So how are teachers and administrators going to handle the risks of freed online access with the responsibility to teach students how to leverage this inimitable technology? Here are some of the solutions to this:

  • Look to lessons learnt in the parallel adoption of desktop computers by the software development companiesfor patterns and best-practices for adaptation. 
  • Search for tools to manage content access to block for children and to advice for older users. 
  • Surround the access points of these devices with security and not only the devices themselves. 
  • Leverage the speed of these new technologies to learn and participate in experiments with innovative institutions in the digital world.

Support the local school in their efforts with BYOD and technology ingenuities. Connecting technology with learning in the minds of the children is an important inner link to establish. These are not just tools for playing games. Help the children to expand their association with the devices beyond the short-attention span media that they are meeting in the entertainment arena by exposing them to deeper, quieter sources of interaction like e-books. Demonstrate that these devices can be used for knowledge gaining and knowledge distribution. Parents should show them how to manage work-life balance with the help of these devices.

Conclusion

By acknowledging that smartphones, tablets, and laptops arerealistic components in the lives of every human being and by accepting it openly and actively in the exploratory use of these tools for education, we are opening the door for our students that leads to the core of the 21st century experience.


Monday, 12 September 2016

Benefits of BYOD in the classroom

custom application development companies

Today’s generation of students is different from previous generations. They keep their mobile devices on them eternally and expect connectivity all the time. Therefore, as our culture continues to become more and more gadget dependent, BYOD in schools (bring your own device) becomes BYOD in education and it is inevitable. There is going to be a wave of devices arriving at the school wireless network, whether software companies in India like it or not. The times is changing and education and softwares developed by software development companies must change with it.

Here are some benefits of implementing BYOD in classroom:

1) Workforce ready students

The world today’s student’s upbringing is becoming increasingly tech-addicted. We use our mobile devices all the time for just every task we do these days. Today’s students will likely be using mobile devices in their future vocations, so why not in still them with the tools they will be working with in the future.  It provides a chance for teaching courteous/appropriate use of mobile devices which they will be using when they grow up to become future professionals. The whole point of education is to prepare them for their future.

2) Teamwork becomes easier

With BYOD technology in the classroom, students can easily team up on projects and even with students from other schools. Group effort is the key to engagement in today’s classrooms.

3) Learning outside the school walls

Students spend many hours outside the school on their mobile devices. So why not use it as an advantage. Let them use these devices as engaging learning tools in the classroom. Then, they can simply bring their homework, educational games, projects, books, etc. and everything they need to continue learning outside the school can be accessed with a swipe of the finger.

4) Personalised instruction

BYOD provides a chance for personalised education. Teachers can use media to cater to the different learning needs of the students. Then all students can learn and shine at their own pace.

5) Cost Saving

Although BYOD is really about delivering education in innovative ways, saving money isn’t a bad objective to have additionally. With the students using their own mobile devices as classroom technology, schools can save some serious money on technology costs. Schools nowadays spend a fortune trying to keep up with all the latest and updated technology that can be used for education these days. So let students bring in their latest technology in the classroom and remove that burden from schools.

6) Gamification

It’s an old saying that ’Video games make children dumb’,  but apparently there are all sorts of new games these days that parents and teachers actually inspire video game playing. There’s an app and a game for everything these days that makes learning a funny and exciting experience.

7) Education becomes more interactive

BYOD allows student to use their own devices in the classroom to make learning more fun and interactive than ever before. Students can interact with students and subject matter experts in other countries, create a digital scavenger hunt or take virtual field trips. Hence, the possibilities are endless and students love it.

8) Increased Engagement

Students these days live for technology. So it only makes sense to use their love for technology in the classroom if we really want to get them engaged.

9) Student and Teacher exchange the roles

BYOD changes the entire learning and teaching model. With the technology they are using for BYOD, students can have more command over their own learning. They can raise questions and do research instead of just listening to a lecture from the teacher.

10) eBooks

In the real world, things and information are constantly changing. Till the time most textbooks reach the classroom, the information contained in them is considered outdated. BYOD allows students’ access to the latest and updated information available through ebooks/digital textbooks. Many digital textbooks also offer interactive aspects as well.  Also, students can easily carry them around and access them whenever they want.

Conclusion
By acknowledging that smartphones, tablets, and laptops are realistic components in the lives of every human being and by accepting it openly and actively in the exploratory use of these tools for education, we are opening the door for our students that leads to the core of the 21st century experience. Software development companies should consider this view while developing new generation softwares.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

BDaaS - Big Data as a Service

software outsourcing company in india


The terms software as a service, platform as a service and infrastructure as a service are known to cloud enthusiasts. Now, by combining the data used in a software outsourcing company in india, by each of these all together and up scaling the amount of data involved, the term that we arrive on is Big Data as a Service.

What is BDaaS?

BDaaS is a term used to describe the varieties of outsourcing of Big Data functions.This can range from supply of data, to the supply of analytical tools through which actual analysis can be performed by interrogating the data and provision of reports. Some vendors have BDaaS packages which include consulting and advisory services provided by them.

Why is BDaaS useful?

There are many advantages of outsourcing or virtualizing your analytics activities which involve huge datasets.

The fame of Hadoop has to some extent made Big Data usable for all – anyone can use cheap off-the-shelf hardware and open source software to analyse data, if they invest time and resources effectively in learning how to do so. However, money is being spent up front on components and infrastructure for most commercial Big Data initiatives. 

Also, on top of upfront costs, storing and managing huge amount of information requires an ongoing investment of time and resources for a software outsourcing company. When you use BDaaS, all of the techy “nuts and bolts” are theoretically, out of sight and out of mind, giving you ample time for concentrating on business issues.

BDaaS providers often leave this decision making to the customer – the providers have everything set up and ready to go – and the customer simply rents the use of their cloud-based storage and analytics engines and pays either for the time they used these or the amount of data crunched. BDaaS vendors often take on the cost of complying with the standards and policies as well as data protection. When the data is stored on their servers, they are often held responsible for it.

(Twitter, 2016) usage statistics on IBM’s Analytics for Twitter service, which provides businesses with access to data and analytics on Twitter’s 5000lakhs tweets per day and 2800lakhs monthly active users. The service provides analytical tools and applications for deriving information from that unorganized, unstructured data and has trained 4,000 consultants to help businesses convert plans into action to profit from them.

The arrival of Apple’s Watch – the device that will bring consumer wearables into the workplace – will doubtlessly bring with it a plethora of new BDaaS apps. They will immerse up the data from the assumed millions of people who will soon be using it for functions ranging from monitoring their heart rate to arranging their social calendar to remote controlling their home entertainment. Apple and IBM have just announced their collaboration on a big data health platform too.

In the area of sales and marketing, BDaaS is increasingly playing its role, too. Large number of software outsourcing companies now offer customer profiling services, including Acxiom – the biggest seller of direct marketing data. By applying analytics to the huge amount of personal data they collect, they can more effectively profile people as consumers and hand their own customers potential leads.

Amazon’s AWS and Google’s AdSense &AdWords are some of the known services that would also fall under thiscategory. They are all used by thousands of SMB to host data infrastructure, and target their marketing at relevant places where potential customers could be lurking.

Conclusion

The term ‘Big Data as a Service’ may be rather clumsy and inelegant but the concept is not the same. As more and more software outsourcing companies realise the value of implementing Big Data strategies, more services will emerge to support them. Data analysis brings positive change to any firm that takes it earnestly, and this includes smaller scale operations which neither have the expertise nor the budget to develop that expertise to do it themselves.

Integrating analytics into working in a virtualized environment is the next step. Big Data projects are viable now for many businesses that previously would have considered them out of reach.

Bibliography

Twitter. (2016, March 31). Twitter usage. Retrieved from Twitter: https://about.twitter.com/company

Monday, 30 May 2016

Is SaaS killing traditional IT?

software development companies

Before two decades, IT was the only department that handled IT services for an entire organization like a software development company — one department to rule them all, if you will. From mail to softwares to hardware problems like problems in printers, they were trusted upon for a variety of issues.

But now as technology continues to grow, more companies are moving towards to Software as a Service (SaaS) for their business needs. Of course there are lot of benefits that are associated with this new IT and employee dynamics, but also unplanned consequences i.e. a rift in the way IT works.

(Gartner Symposium Executive Summary Report, 2014) says enterprise apps will have sales of $40 billion for developers by 2016. A grip for consumer-friendly image applications, games, and renegade business applications, the app stores of today are now going through a major makeover as the enterprise-class comes into its own.

It’s apparent to see that enterprise mobility is rapidly acquiring ground, but it’s still a challenging experience for most developers due to the technical complications and extravagant delivery models for most enterprise mobile platforms. Adding to that the swiftly evolving nature of mobile technologies, and you can see, why most approach the world of enterprise applications (developing and implementing) with anxiety. But this is shifting, and affordable opportunities to build, test, and monetize are now more voluntarily available in the enterprise space.

What’s important in today’s world, is that ‘Application is not the only concern’; it’s also about how the application works within a system. The procedure of bringing data or a function from one application program together with that of another can turn out to be nightmarish for an IT company such as a software development company if it isn’t dealt with correctly. Companies are going to drift down towards the technologies that are simple and effective for their specific needs, meaning integration will be a part of the development process.

In recent years, SaaS has been merged into the strategy of all leading enterprise software development companies. The USP is this: Reduction in IT support costs by outsourcing hardware maintenance and support to the SaaS vendor.

However, the wide array of available applications requested by each department has made managing user access and approval an increasing challenge. The task of letting the users have access to dozens of different applications is time-consuming, and determining which department is using which apps and who has user access and permissions to what, is leading to a fragmented IT department. As the sales team requests different applications than that of engineers, IT is becoming more particular — an IT member for sales and a different IT member for the engineering department — and also more diversified.This diversification is happening across all businesses as departments start adopting new technologies. The question now is ‘Can this model be continued as technologies continue to grow?’ There will always be arguments to keep the traditional integrated IT department model. It’s a model that has worked well for years; however, it’s important for businesses to introspect and see which model will generate profits for them, the most.

(Forrester research on IT departments) predicts that IT departments could disappear as soon as 2020. However, we are not sure that it would go so far. Without a doubt, IT is always going to develop as it races to keep up with new technologies. It’s about how rapidly departments can familiarize.

Actually, the success will be achieved when the IT departments figure out these changes before others. This will unavoidably change the role of the CIO in software development companies as their IT team fragments and transfers into various departments. As this happens, their role will be defined by the central technology and business strategy of the day, in the same manner as by their own drive and talent and CIOs will be networking with the world in a whole new way. The question now is ‘Are they ready?’


Bibliography

Forrester. (n.d.). Forrester research on IT departments. Forrester.
Gartner. (2014). Gartner Symposium Executive Summary Report. Orlando: Gartner.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Impact of wearables on BYOD policy of software development company

software development companies

It’s a known fact that many IT departments struggled with the growth in BYOD policies adopted by software development companies all over the globe. In an effort of protecting critical business data and making sure that all devices worked properly as employees used their own devices for work, IT had to handle more complex challenges. But that complex problem has now moved on to the next level, as employees have started bringing wearable devices for work.

With the latest announcement of the Apple Watch, alongside other wearable gadgets like Samsung’s Galaxy Gear and Google Glass, the wearable device market is on the verge of exploding. (Burrus, 2014) estimated sale of 10 lakhs wearable devices in 2014, and the same number is predicted to increase to 3000 lakhs by 2018. IT workers need to get prepared now, because wearable devices are making their place in the office premises sooner rather than later.

Wearable devices have the benefit of creating unique opportunities for a software development company though these devices also bring along the threats in a globally connected world.

Assimilating wearable devices into the work environment can arise a situation where company information is even more suitably accessed and utilized. For example, software installation can be done using smart glasses by following step by step instructions in case the installation procedure is complex.

The advantages might tempt business leaders to use wearable devices, but the same technology also brings with it, some drawbacks, the most concerning being increased security risks. IT workers have spent lot of their efforts in testing and approving apps using MDM software. As wearable devices become more prevalent, new apps will be developed, forcing IT department to go through that whole process once again.
IT departments will also have to build security controls for these new devices. Most organizations have controls in place that include a remote lock or wipe feature, where devices that are misplaced or stolen can be locked or wiped to ensure the data which resides inside the device is protected from unauthorized visitors. These controls will have to be created for wearable technology too.

There are also concerns over how wearable devices might be used to steal information by employees within the company (like an employee secretly recording a confidential meeting using smart glasses). So as this new technology comes alive, the search to answer these questions begins.

Even if the security concern is properly addressed, other significant obstacles will keep the businesses away from using wearable devices widely in the immediate future. Currently, most of these devices are expensive with prices out of the range of the average customer. Strategic level employees such as CXOs may use them, but making them available for operational level employees will be difficult until prices decline.

The other concern is the cost of data that comes with using more mobile devices in the work environment. As more innovative gadgets make their way to the workplace, increasing the amount of consumption of data, which can reduce the bandwidth of a business’s network. Pair that with the security risks mentioned above, and prevalent adoption of wearable devices under a BYOD policy might take a year or more to happen.
It took years for software development companies in India to finally get a handle on BYOD when it came to mobile devices and tablets. That epoch of BYOD created a radical shift in the business world which increased efficiency but introduced new security risks.

Conclusion: 

Wearable devices will likely outgrowth the next revolution in the workplace. If businesses don’t want to be caught unprepared, now is the time to create the policies and procedures to deal with the influx of new technology. With the right strategies in place, every software development company adapting WYOD will be able to gain maximally from the benefits while minimizing the drawbacks.


Bibliography

Burrus, D. (2014). How Wearables will Transform Business. Burrus Research.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Strategic Models in Outsourcing done by Software outsourcing companies

software outsourcing companies in India

Outsourcing is considered as a way to acquire skilled labor at a lower rate than it is available in developed economies. The transfer of manufacturing functions from developed nations like the United States to developing nations started way back in 1950. Technological advances have accelerated the ability of firms to procure and source products across the globe.

The concept of outsourcing began when large companies decided to eliminate routine work that could be performed by third parties like software outsourcing companies in India at a lower cost. Initially, many businesses started outsourcing everything except core business activities to other companies within the same national boundaries. But as the global economy started to evolve, businesses in developing countries began offering services to perform functions that companies had been outsourcing domestically. Transferring an organization's internal functions to a foreign country is known as Global Outsourcing, while the entities that are set up to perform these functions are part of what's called offshoring.

Outsourcing Strategies

Generally, there are two basic models used in outsource strategies: The outsource model and the captive model.


The Outsource Model

Within the outsource model, functions are transferred overseas and performed mostly by third-party providers such as software outsourcing companies. There are two subgroups within the outsource model: Information technology outsourcing and business process outsourcing.

• Information technology outsourcing, or ITO, is the transfer of the development and processing of information technology systems such as help desk functions, systems administration, network management and web development.
Business process outsourcing, or BPO, is the transfer of the management and processes of certain business operations like accounting, human resource functions (in particular payroll processing and health benefits management), and customer service call centers.

ITO transfers do not require an organization to establish a presence in a foreign country since third-party providers normally perform these functions. BPO transfers, however, sometimes require a company to establish an overseas subsidiary in order to control the functions being transferred. In addition to establishing a foreign subsidiary, some companies may opt to invest in an overseas company to which functions are being transferred. An investment of 10% or more in a foreign enterprise is considered direct foreign investment.


The Captive Model

BPO and direct foreign investments form the basis for yet another method — the captive model. Under this model, the software outsourcing company in India establishes a foreign subsidiary, bypassing reliance on a third party. Under this model, a company maintains control of the operations being transferred, as well as the hiring process and management of the workers performing the work. Because there is less risk for a company to establish a foreign subsidiary, a larger percentage of global outsourcing occurs following this method.

Global outsourcing has also caused a ripple effect on labor markets throughout the world. As jobs shift overseas, permanent jobs disappear, giving way to an increase in part-time, temporary and freelance workers.

When a business decides to enter the global outsourcing market, there are a number of factors that contribute to that decision. These include, but are not limited to: Risk, cost, and market opportunity.

Risk

Some of the risks involved in outsourcing are geopolitical and economic. In certain "hot spot" areas where there is a great deal of conflict and political turmoil, transferring functions to these regions can pose a threat to the health and safety of the employees as well as the economic well-being of the organization . The terrorist attacks on certain subsidiaries of oil companies and service providers in Saudi Arabia is evidence of the geopolitical risks just as the nationalization of the oil industry in Venezuela is evidence of economic risk. Other risk factors that a business must consider are quality of service, loss of operations control and security of data and stored information.

Cost

In addition to understanding the risks associated with a particular outsource market, organizations must also consider the cost of outsourcing and must be familiar with foreign wage structures before outsourcing the work to software outsourcing companies. To be sure, there are skilled workers in many areas of the world who are willing to work for lower wages than workers in the U.S., but as companies tap into these markets, competition eventually results in turnover as workers in those markets seek higher wages. Other costs include infrastructure costs, taxes and regulatory fees. Finally, a company needs to determine market opportunity and identify those countries that provide workers in their particular industry. A skilled workforce and established infrastructure will allow a company to expediently bring products and services to a market without sacrificing quality. Conversely, a company needs to also be ready to cease the operation in the event that the demand for the outsourced product or service declines.


Market Opportunity

Before entering a global outsourcing market, a business needs to determine what types of products and services are best suited for outsourcing. When global outsourcing first came into play, the production of labor-intensive products and manufactured goods was transferred abroad. At the time, labor-intensive products and manufactured goods were some of the only products that could be produced more efficiently by outsourcing companies in those countries. However, as time went on, advancements in the overseas economies and technologies made it possible to outsource products and services that required more advanced technology and know-how. This constant shifting and advancement allows for the creation and emergence of other outsource markets that specialize in different types of production. For example, consumer goods and textile manufacturing were some of the first products to be outsourced to China. However, as that market matured and economic development expanded, China as well as other Asian markets became outsource locations for products and services that required more advanced technology. In particular, electronic components, telecommunications equipment, microchips, and computer boards were produced in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. This left the textile and other labor-heavy markets for other countries where such products could be produced in a similarly efficient manner.

Hence, outsourcing has become a billion dollar industry and many software outsourcing companies opt for different strategies while outsourcing. Here we will discuss the major strategies adopted by the companies over the world.

Courtesy: Bhavesh Bulchandani


Sunday, 24 April 2016

Managing Cyber Security Risks for Software Outsourcing Companies in Third Party Contracts

software outsourcing companies in India

Currently the corporate world focuses on curbing data breaches but the element that many companies overlook from the point of cyber security is the relationship with the third party vendors and contractors such as software outsourcing companies in India. The current trends of outsourcing in today’s rapidly evolving global economy has raised a whole new set of risk management concerns for companies in various industries. It has been a very evident fact that most of these data breaches are a result of involvement of third party relationship. Cybercriminals exploits vulnerabilities in third party’s network thus gaining access to the company’s confidential information. The current examples of such exploitation can be traced to incidents at Goodwill, Bank of America, AT&T, AutoNation and Lowe where cyber-attacks took place. The loss does not limit financially but also causes loss in confidence of a customer mind thereby creating a prolonged reputational damage.

A number of reports show that the breaches linked to outside contractors is very alarming. As per a 2013 PwC report, 63% of global data breaches were traced to a third party element in the company’s administration. The report further states that only 32% of the organizations emphasized that the third party vendors comply with the company’s cyber security policies. Some other alarming facts were 69% of the companies were unable to produce an accurate record of the places at which their data was stored and 74% did not have a complete inventory of the third party suppliers that handle employee and customer data. These statistics are enough to prove that the loopholes left behind are too much for a cyber-attacker to exploit it.

A company might have a very well designed cyber security policy internally but when it comes to dealing with the third party providers like outsourcing companies there is a clear tendency of them letting this strict guidelines loosen a little. A company should not afford to take matters of such intensity lightly. Thus, it is of utmost importance of holding the third party entities to comply with the same set of cyber security standards and protocols that are a part of the company’s internal security framework.

The Importance of Third-Party Management Agreements:

This forms an important aspect as part of third party risk management process as it forms the right contractual and governance protections in place required when engaging with any supplier. This agreement is known as Service Level Agreement (SLA) and is considered as one of those essential tools that help in mitigating a company’s risk. When under a contract with third-party vendors one must clearly define the security procedures and policies to be complied during the tenure of contract. Also the liability and indemnification provisions that correspond to the value of data must be included. A company must not consider only how third parties manage cyber security but also how the relationship with these service providers such as software outsourcing companies will expose data and increase risk for itself.

There are certain ways to increase the effectiveness of SLAs:
An organization must include detailed security assessments and internal cyber security experts which help them gain an understanding of supplier’s processes and the security tools. This also helps in identifying any gaps or any vulnerabilities existing in the process. To know how efficient a supplier is one must analyze how the supplier handled any past cyber security incidents and what steps they undertook to improve their operations. To have a glitch free process an effective SLA must focus on key elements such as:
 Information security
 Information privacy
 Definition and analysis of specific threats and risks
 Compliance requirements range
 Enforcement mechanisms
 Foreign corrupt practices management
 Internal audit and monitoring terms

Any SLA requires the contractor to comply with relevant regulations and it also needs to be specific regarding the timeframe for reporting of a data breach to the company.  The terms and conditions must be mentioned explicitly so that no misunderstanding take place regarding the company’s expectations and requirements. There should also be a provision in contract to accommodate the new laws and regulations that may take effect during the tenure of agreement.

Taking Responsibility for Third-Party Risk

Many companies do not have in-house staff with necessary expertise to properly assess the vulnerabilities for networks, systems and databases or negotiate SLAs with third party contractors. The responsibility for ensuring safety of cyber security assets lies with the company that hires the third party and not the software outsourcing company. There are some regulations that hold the service provider liable but the principal company should not have a perceived conception from start and must plan accordingly.

When dealing with such risks one must have a system that allows the company to address security with suppliers on both an individual and a case-by-case basis. Response to security incidents should be dealt with utmost priority and strategic decisions should be made keeping the impact on overall cyber security risk management program.

Summarizing this, outsourcing has become a billion dollar industry but many companies neglect the cyber security risks associated with it. This article discusses the management of such risks that a company should take into consideration before getting into a contract with a software outsourcing company in India.
Being aware and proactive will help in ensuring that the risk associated with your software outsourced to software outsourcing companies is kept to a minimum.

Courtesy: Bhavesh Bulchandani

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Case Study : Success in Outsourcing done by Software outsourcing companies

software outsourcing companies

Case Overview:

Unilever Europe and IBM shook hands in 2005 to create a centralized ”One Unilever” finance organization using intelligent technology, instrument asset based process solutions and global delivery capabilities that it possessed. The motive behind optimizing the finance process was to simplify, standardize, unify and ultimately transform the global operations of organizations like software outsourcing companies. This solution enhanced the quality and control and access to information for Unilever Europe which contributed to an amount of EUR 700 million annual savings.

About Unilever:

Unilever with operations in about 100 countries spanning five continents is considered to one of the world’s most respected and recognized brands generating an annual revenue of more than EUR 44 billion. Unilever manages 500 individual brands across 14 categories employing more than 167,000 people. Unilever Europe has 32% of Unilever’s global business employing 32,000 staff. The company’s motive has always been to help people feel good, look good adding vitality to their lives.

Why Outsourcing?

Unilever Europe needed to make operational changes as it was facing soft top-line revenues and an elevated cost structure. Unilever Europe had become a loose federation of business groups operating across 24 countries as all of them were using multiple ERP systems. This impeded their growth as there were many different finance and accounting processes.
In 2005, the leadership team made a decision to integrate these different business units into a single, unified Pan –European organization. To achieve this, it needed to implement the systems and framework.

Aspects considered while Outsourcing:

The diversity of cultures, policies and languages across Europe was a challenge which could make the process complex and even the varying levels of technologies that existed in the business units ranging from advanced to outmoded paper-based systems for these outsourcing companies. The company went ahead with a bold move implementing a total business transformational initiative called “One Unilever” and set an aggressive timeline of two years. As the company needed to implement all components at the same time and not sequentially, a road map was developed for each activity that would be carried out over this period.

How did they implement?

With the initiative in place, the company began looking for a right service provider. As the company wanted to complete the work on a strict timeline, it decided to go for an outsourcing model than taking a “stepping-stone” approach. Their leadership team believed that this would present less risk than in-sourcing and they started to look out for partners like software outsourcing companies in India that had track record of helping large companies transforming business as this would help them achieve the expected results quicker. Most importantly, they were looking for a partner which had a like-minded culture as this would make the transformation process smoother. 
Unilever Europe believed that IBM could provide the required expertise, experience and technology which the project required. IBM came up with a rigorous methodology towards project management and a “one team “transition strategy which played a factor in achieving the company’s trust and this helped them in getting a 7-year contract.

Result:

Both companies collaborated to establish standardized financial processes and systems and integrating these processes into company’s single ERP which would allow them gaining more control and transparency in its operations.
The benefits from this partnership were as follows:
• Improved efficiency in finance processes
• Business processes got standardized with a common ERP across Europe
• Significant cost and operating savings
• Pan- European service management gave access to high quality information for decision making and continuous improvement
• More focus on its core competencies helping them make brand and growth initiative
• Faster and more direct access to benefits related to economies of scale

Success Factors:

IBM developed an intelligent finance strategy which was broad in scope, scale and speed. It developed business cases country by country which called for rigorous management of individual situations and the costs associated with it. IBM rolled out business process services on a three-tier delivery model from its facilities from different locations in Poland, Portugal, Bangalore and Manila in Philippines.
The company started implementing this in small number of countries and with the successful implementation transferred it to a larger number. Both parties made adjustments with the progress of the processes by ensuring buy-in by various business groups which included the mid-level and upper level IT managers and the management. Key stakeholders were asked to visit the Poland and Bangalore centers where a video would help them understand the advantages of the project. This helped Unilever Europe understand that transformation of its financial processes and outsourcing this to a software outsourcing company was critical to the success of the larger initiative.

Collaborating with Unilever Europe, IBM implemented innovative and intelligent technology to enable a more globally integrated enterprise. This outsourcing agreement between these and the outsourcing company empowered Unilever Europe to meet its goals for the “One Unilever” initiative on an aggressive timeline. The company transformed itself into a more responsive, globally integrated enterprise with enhanced channels designed for better and faster decision making as well as continuous performance and cost improvements.
Thus, IT plays a strategic role in the business performance of an organization such as a software outsourcing company. However deployment of strategic IT systems involves a high degree of risk and outsourcing such services further increases the risk. Using a case study approach, the success factors that are involved in outsourcing will be identified.

Courtesy: Bhavesh Bulchandani

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Safety Training – An Essential Investment for any Software outsourcing company - Part 2

software outsourcing companies


Case Study for an Efficient Safety Training Program:

Efficient safety training is a phrase that is unofficially developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA is the government labor organization of United States. OSHA has played a major role in bringing out many standards and regulations which have played a major role in affecting the lives of employees of organization such as software outsourcing companies. As per OSHA, an effective safety training program must include areas such as: 

• Preventing accidents and promoting safety within an organization
• Compliance with safety standards
• Response at time of emergency
• Protecting personal equipment
• Following safety practices
• Demonstrating use of equipment and machinery
• Workplace hazards
• Employee engagement

OSHA follows a safety model with certain guidelines:
• Examining the need to training
• Analysing Training Needs
• Identification of Goals and Objectives
• Developing learning activities
• Conducting the training
• Evaluating program effectiveness
• Improving the program
• Aligning training with job tasks.

Why is safety training so important?

Everybody agrees to the fact that attaining 100% safety is unachievable and there remains a certain amount of risk. To mitigate this, providing the employees of an outsourcing company with the right information on health and safety courses can significantly reduce the chances of an accident or incident.

Let alone the moral reasons for providing a safe place of work, one also needs to look at the legal and financial issues associated with health and safety. It is evident from the fact that virtually every country in the world has health and safety legislation in place which is designed to protect people at work. A software outsourcing company needs to understand this legislation and comply with it or else the company might run itself into risk of being fined. In event of a grieve situation, those in charge of the company could also face criminal charges for failing to comply with the legislation which could play a huge spoilsport making the customers loose trust with the company. Looking at this from a financial point of view, not only can the company be fined, but a worker who is injured at work may also sue for compensation. For such reasons the price of health and safety training can be just a fraction of this cost, making them a sound investment.

With frequent injuries occurring employees might report off work due to illness or injury which will cause a drop in output, impacting the firm's profitability. The employees meanwhile will receive sick pay when they are off work, but an organization might need to get temporary workers to provide cover, which would incur additional recruitment costs.

Benefits of safety training:

• Reduces accidents and protects employees from injuries and illness saving the company’s time lose and diminished productivity.
• Increases employee job satisfaction, motivation and morale.
• Less turnover

How to calculate ROI?

Calculating ROI of worker safety training is a complex task. It is important to know this part as you know various aspects such as:
• Whether or not your employee training is effective?
• Are employees well trained to act at time of emergency?
• If you don’t invest in the training, will one employee unknowingly put himself and potentially others at risk? 

There are an infinite number of ways to calculate how the money being invested in safety is being put to work. Whether you’re using an employee learning management system, investing in company-specific online course development, or investing in expensive off-site classroom training for important theory courses, the formulas that help you calculate your safety training return on investment remains the same. The formula for calculating ROI is:

ROI (per cent) = (Monetary Savings / Training Costs) x 100

Assume that as a result of a new safety training program, an organization's accident rate declines 10 percent, yielding a total annual savings of $200,000 in terms of lost workdays, material and equipment damage, and workers' compensation costs. If the training program costs $50,000 to implement, the ROI would be 300 percent.

ROI = ((200,000 – 50,000) ÷ 50,000) x 100 = 300%

So in this example, for every $1 spent on training, the organization gained a net benefit of $3.

To get the figures for ROI analysis, keep track of training costs, including the cost of design and development, promotion and administration, delivery (staff or technology), materials and training facilities, trainee wages, and training evaluation for an organization like an outsourcing company. And after training, keep track of monetary benefits, including labor savings, reduction in lost workdays and workers' compensation costs, productivity increases, and lower turnover costs.

Summarizing this, having your employees receive regular health and safety training will give them the knowledge and awareness to be safe in the workplace whilst they go about their duties. This article describes how safety training reaps benefits if invested in a right way for an organization such as a software outsourcing company in India.

Effective employee safety programs provide a means for businesses to comply with state and federal regulatory requirements, reducing the concern over exposure to fines and legal sanctions. The benefits can be listed as: increased profitability, productivity and savings, potential costs and intangible returns. A software outsourcing company in India should think of its business and must evaluate the need of safety and match the training to that business need by thorough process of discovery, design, development, implementation, and execution for results.

Courtesy: Bhavesh Bulchandani