Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Cloud complexity management is the next big thing

Where have you heard that enterprises using cloud are moving to more complexity as well? That’s right, from this guy.

The growing cloud computing complexity was recently documented by the Wall Street Journal that cites a survey of 46 CIOs by KeyBanc Capital Markets. It found that 32 percent said they plan to use multiple vendors to create internal private cloud systems, while 27 percent planned hybrid cloud arrangements.[ IDG Research: The state of the cloud: How enterprise adoption is taking shape. | Keep up with the latest developments in cloud computing with InfoWorld’s Cloud Computing newsletter. ]

Companies “increasingly are going to employ multiple clouds, a hybrid of public and private, which is driving increased complexity in IT environments, full stop,” said Alex Kurtz, a senior analyst with KeyBanc.

No, I’m not writing this post to gloat (I’ll do that on social media). I’m trying to raise awareness that cloud complexity is something that’s inevitable. However, it’s also something that can be managed—that is, if you’re proactive enough and willing to put some resources on it.

Traditional thinking is that cloud computing will replace hardware and software systems, so things will be simpler. You’ll just have to spend a few days moving workloads and data using processes so easy that the applications and data almost migrate themselves.

But it turns out to be a complex migration process with many new choices to make and new technology to use. Where you once had five security systems, you now have 20. Where you had three directories, you now have seven.

Why? It turns out you cannot just shut down the old stuff, so the hardware, software, and supporting systems remain. At the same time, you are standing up cloud-based systems that used a whole new set of skills and technology. Thus the complexity.

There are a few choices that you can make to manage this process:
You can choose to not go to cloud, but that’s a death sentence for IT.
You can hire three times the people and toss money at the problem.
You can learn to effectively manage the complexity, and even make things less complex with the addition of cloud computing.

For those of you who want to see what’s behind door No. 3, it involves a bunch of upfront planning. The upfront plan must deal with security, governance, data, applications, ops, etc., and place them within manageable domains. You use abstractions to simplify the management, which includes combining traditional systems and cloud systems’ patterns in domains.

This discipline is called cloud complexity management, or CCM. You’ll be hearing more about it later this year and in 2019. Best get the religion now, before it’s too late.


The Robot Takeover Is Coming: Machines Will Do Half Our Work by 2025

Machines and automated software will be handling fully half of all workplace tasks within seven years, a new report from the World Economic Forum forecasts. But the group said technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and precision medicine, could create more jobs than they threaten.

In a study of executives and specialists across 12 industries, published Monday, the WEF concluded that this so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution” could create 133 million jobs globally, while 75 million workers may be displaced.

Saadia Zahidi, head of the WEF’s Center for the New Economy and Society, said companies had “a moral and economic imperative” to invest in retraining and continuing education for their employees. “Without proactive approaches, businesses and workers may lose out,” she said.

The report is the latest in a series of efforts by academics, consultancies and governments to assess the impact of new technologies on employment. Previous studies, including an earlier one by the WEF, have generally forecast automation will destroy more jobs than it creates.

The scale of projected displacement varies enormously between research groups, however. A Bank of England study in 2015 produced some of the bleakest figures, forecasting that as many as 80 million jobs in the U.S. and 15 million in the U.K. could be lost by 2035. A McKinsey report in December produced one of the rosier assessments, forecasting jobs lost and created by new technology might be about equal by 2030.

In its latest analysis, the WEF said the effects of automation may vary substantially across industries, and predicted job losses to be heaviest in mining, consumer, and information technology companies, and less within professional services firms.

Many new jobs may be less secure than in the past, as businesses are increasingly turning to contractors and freelancers, the Swiss foundation said. It warned there’s a significant gap between the skills workers currently have and those that may be required for future new roles.

It estimates more than half of employees at large companies would need significant retraining in order to take advantage of new opportunities created by digital technology. But it said half of all companies plan retraining only for “key roles,” and only one-third say they plan any retraining for at-risk workers.

Best known for throwing an annual summit of business and government leaders in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, the WEF said it based its forecast on a survey of senior executives, strategy officers and human resource specialists at 300 global companies, spanning 20 different countries. It said these companies represented more than 15 million employees and their economies represented 70% of global GDP.


Kochi-based company develops India's first underwater robotic drone

KOCHI: India’s first underwater robotic drone developed at Maker Village here, which can send real-time video of ships and other underwater structures to help with their repair and maintenance, was launched on Friday.

The first commercial remotedly operated vehicle (ROV)/ underwater drone, Eyerovtuna, was developed by EyeROV Technologies, a company incubating at Maker Village which is the largest hardware incubator in the country. NPOL, a laboratory of Delhi-headquartered defence research and development organisation (DRDO), made the first order of the product.

The robotic drone,can be navigated up to a depth of 50 meters to take real-time HD video images to examine ship hulls or undersea cables or bridge moorings, eliminating the need for costlier and riskier manual inspection by divers.

EyeROV, which was tested on India’s first solar ferry in Kerala’s Vaikom, offers high manoeuvring capability at low cost and can be put to uses ranging from inspections of ship hulls, ports, dams and nuclear power plants, to search and rescue, naval mine detection and ocean studies.

The development of the product of EyeROV was largely supported by Kerala Start up Mission (KSUM) through various schemes.

C Balagopal, Founder, Terumo Panpol launched the product. NPOL Director S Kedarnath Shenoy received the ROV from Dr Saji Gopinath, CEO Kerala Startup Mission. The drone will be used by NPOL for research and development activities which in turn would result in commercial product for defence purposes.


Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Cognizant offers 'skills premium pay' to employees, here's what it means

In a first for the IT industry in recent times, Cognizant has rolled out a skills premium allowance. This year, it has been given to 40,000 digitally-savvy employees. The move, designed to encourage employees to build and improve their skills in newer digital areas like machine learning and artificial intelligence, is applicable to levels up to that of manager.

James Lennox, global chief people officer in Cognizant, told TOI the world's technology dependence is increasing exponentially and definition of digital is broadening to encompass new technologies and skill sets. "Global demand for the skills we specialise in is increasing even as the tech talent shortage is growing. Skills premium allowance is one of the means towards that end and has come to include a wide range of digital skills and growing number of employees. It has helped us make compensation more competitive for associates with niche skills," he said.

The Nasdaq-listed firm said its average hikes this year are among the best in the past five years. The average increment is around 7%-8% for offshore employees. The second cycle for senior managers and above will be announced in October.
One reason for the attractive rewards is Cognizant's relatively high attrition levels in recent quarters. In the first quarter of 2018, its annualized attrition rate of 20.3% was higher than what it has traditionally seen in that quarter. Most IT companies, however, are beginning to sharply differentiate salaries, with top talent being rewarded handsomely.

Unmesh Pawar, partner and head of people (performance and culture) at KPMG India, said companies are making strategic choices to reward hard-to-hire talent. "A few years ago, developers specialising in SAP were given a hot skill bonus. Today, companies are placing a premium on those trained on S/4 HANA implementation or Success-Factors and these digital skills are shaping reward strategies," he said. Pawar said with digital being the new normal, an organisation's agility is key to business success and companies are building a practice to grow its digital talent pool.

Rupee fall may boost IT companies' margins: Analysts

Indian IT services companies could see improvement in margins by as much as 100 basis points in their second quarter results due to the depreciating rupee against the US dollar, based on factors such as level of offshoring and hedging policy, say analysts.

Companies such as InfosysTata Consultancy ServicesHCL TechnologiesWipro and Tech Mahindra and Mindtree each have different hedging policies and that is one of the key factors to determine gain from a fall in the Indian currency.
A higher exposure to offshoring also results in immediate gains due to the depreciating India currency.

On Monday, the Indian currency closed at a record Rs 72.46 after touching an all time low in intra-day trading at Rs 72.67 against the dollar. “There are multiple aspects and not just the hedging policy; one for example is the level of offshoring you have, more offshoring means lower natural hedge and that means higher benefit to currency depreciation. Second is margin profile, let’s say TCS has rupee depreciation benefits of 25 basis points. Now their margin is also 25%. This means 1% benefit to absolute EBIT. Whereas if I look at Tech Mahindra, they have 35 basis point sensitivity on 13% margin, so the delta is 2.5 to 3 times, unlike TCS, where the delta is one time,” said Kuldeep Kaul, an analyst at ICICI Securities.

While a weaker rupee helps in short-term gains for companies, the business fundamentals is the key for determining a company’s value, he added.

Infosys, TCS, Wipro, Tech Mahindra and HCL Technologies declined to comment for this story.

Analysts at the Kotak Institutional Equities (KIE) said: “Infosys, TCS and Mindtree do not have meaningful cash flow hedges and will benefit immediately from INR depreciation.”

“LTI, Tech Mahindra and Mphasis are aggressively hedged and will not derive meaningful near-term upside,” they added.