As if death and taxes weren’t bad enough, now we can add data breaches to life’s certainties. Following up on the Target breach of 2013, which affected 40 million credit card holders, 2014 brought new highs in the Home Depot (56 million affected) and JP Morgan Chase (76 million affected) breaches. In 2015 we have already had a major incident at the health insurer Anthem, which saw the names, social security numbers, dates of birth and several other pieces of personally identifiable information of its 78.8 million customers being stolen. And just last week hackers even managed to hit the White House’s unclassified network and read President Barack Obama’s emails. If the President of the United States’ emails can be breached, just how sure are you that your data is safe?
Leveraging data for an enhanced and personalized customer experience is one of the core strategies of digital transformation. So companies are gathering more and more data about their customers, their transactions and behaviour, to mine it for insights and improve the customer experience. This goldmine of data is also the target of highly professional, focused hackers who employ extremely stealthy and long-running attacks to get into corporate networks and exfiltrate this data. These types of attacks are classified as Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) and typically can go undetected for months.
Imagine your son entering a shoe store, seeing his favorite pair he’d like to buy but unfortunately does not have you around to pay for it! Guess what, with ‘BuddyPay’ on his mobile, he can actually request you to complete the payment transaction on his behalf.
‘BuddyPay’ is an innovative concept, which is essentially a mechanism to transfer control to a second person (Payer) to complete a transaction (can be either a Payment, Booking or Ordering) initiated by first person (Buyer).
‘BuddyPay’ redefines the buying experience and benefits E-Commerce/ Online sites, Insurance Case Management, Stores, Booking sites and Sellers like Wallets & Banks.
Today we bring you a special guest post by our Chief Technology Officer Dr. Sid Chatterjee and Chief Information Officer Mohit Bhishikar. Their joint post originally appeared on Sid’s LinkedIn site.
The saying “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” loosely means you can’t have the best of both worlds. At Persistent Systems, though, we’re all about Pi – the Persistent Intranet – which is providing us ongoing nourishment and satisfaction! We’ve always believed in using a proposed solution ourselves before trying to convince a client or partner to use it. In other words, we eat our cooking and test our recipes before serving them up to clients, and fortunately for us we have some great chefs (such as our CIO Mohit Bhishikar, my co-author for today’s post)!
In 2014, Mohit and the Persistent IT team took on the challenge of totally re-inventing our intranet, moving it from a decade-old basic website (the typical “laundry-list of links”) to a modern intranet capable of offering information securely to any eligible employee anytime, anywhere, and on any device. The employee demographics and the BYOD policy at Persistent suggested a mobile-first design for Pi: not “one-size-fits-all”, or slapping a mobile UI on the existing assets, or designing for the desktop and adapting the portal for mobile, but focusing squarely on the needs of mobile users and aiming to deliver an outstanding user experience for them (focused and shorter work flows, efficient navigation, etc.). At the same time, we were clearly not going to update our legacy ERP systems at the same speed, so the new business applications had to continue to work with them. The IT team built several innovative components as part of this re-invention:
- Lighthouse, a consolidated and searchable repository of all business development assets company-wide.
- Fishbowl, a search application to allow the HR Talent Acquisition team easily search for external candidates.
- Gemstone, a searchable repository of resumes of all Persistent employees, to allow matching of skilled personnel with project staffing needs.
- OrgConnect, an email analytics-based solution to leverage the collective contacts of employees.
Recently, DataQuest India interviewed Mohit about Pi. You can read about further details of the intranet here. As Mohit says in the interview, the overarching goal is to transform the company’s existing fragmented and rigid user experience into a cohesive, flexible, and personalized experience. And, most importantly, increase efficiency and effectiveness by using digital capabilities innovatively.
In the spirit of digital transformation being a journey, Pi remains a work in progress. The Agile/DevOps methodology used allows functionality to be delivered iteratively and incrementally. Last month, I experienced an apparent failure of an approval work flow within a business process. The IT team determined the root cause and added the fix to the deliverables of the next monthly sprint, while I was temporarily directed to a fallback solution (manual and desktop-centric, but it allowed me to get the job done while the permanent fix was put in place). I am back to using the automated work flow as I speak.
The well-factored and componentized design of the system has additional benefits. My team needed to establish a somewhat specialized skills database than what Gemstone provides for the whole organization. We were able to accomplish our goal while re-using most of the functionality of Gemstone, needing only to create a separate repository and a custom template. It is entirely plausible that our delivery teams will be able to take these assets and re-use them (with a certain degree of customization) in client engagements.
Do you have a similar story about digital transformation? We’d love for you to share your recipes!
But if it’s not, our newest blog entry in our experts series is well worth your read! The teaser is below but you can read the entire article here.
President Obama’s email got breached – are you sure your data is safe?
Dubbed #Mobilegeddon by the press, Google has again created a tectonic shift that impacts the world; namely page ranking. This means that organizations need disproportionate focus to be have their sites responsive / mobile first / app only. Market forces have been indicating this for some time, but this is the “shake-up” call for you to take action, else your potential customers aren’t going to see you.
Transforming businesses in a way that all “urgent now” decisions are enabled on mobile devices is critical. Even today, during strategy meetings with clients, you’ll hear many of them say “we’re not ready for mobile yet.” Mobile strategy regularly gets pushed to the proverbial ‘Phase 2’. Here’s some free advice: Get ready because Google’s not waiting for you. But starting yesterday! No business has an option of not being mobile friendly.
Here at Persistent we have experts in an array of fields and technologies. You can find out more about who the people behind the Persistent brand are on our Meet the Experts page on our website.
As we kick-off our new fiscal year I want to say thank you for making us what we are today! We wouldn’t be where we are without all of you.
I think if you were to sum up in two words the past year in the industry, it would be Digital Transformation. You see that phrase all over and when that happens, seemingly overnight, there’s usually some confusion and FUD out there. So allow me to share with you our take.
First, without technology there is no digital. And we believe that is where you’ll see our differentiation.
With software product DNA at our core, our focus is on the “how” of digital. We are building the technology that drives our customers in the business of software, or ISVs. And as more and more enterprises turn to be software-driven, we are in a great position to build the software that will take them on their journey of digital transformation.
We see the market breaking roughly into three segments; companies with pre-internet, internet era, and born-in-the-cloud business models. Now this has nothing to do with industry, and even age, but more about how they approach workloads, their business and their business models.
For example, using financial services.
- You can think of large traditional banks as a pre-internet.
- Then there are those like Ally who are clearly internet – in fact they never had brick and mortar locations to begin with.
- And finally think of the new types of P2P companies we are seeing around the world in finance, such as the Lending Club in the US or Faircent in India, whose entire model is predicated and driven by software as they was born in the cloud.
But it’s not quite as clear cut as that because as always boundaries aren’t always sharply defined.
That large traditional bank is most likely in fact, a bit of all of these. It may have OLTP workloads, which would be pre-Internet. Its online capabilities and website presence is Internet. And now its mobile check deposit – for example – is born in the cloud.
So this heterogeneous environment, both at the enterprise level and at the macro market level is, despite confusion about what digital transformation might be, where we see great opportunity and specifically for us as technology leaders to build software driven business models.
And to reiterate, it’s not about how old you are or your size or your industry.
One example recently caught our eye and they’re not even a customer of ours. They’re in an old school industry, with lots of physical assets and locations around the world including across the street from our corporate headquarters in Pune. It’s Domino’s, a fifty-five year old pizza company! Their CEO Patrick Doyle was recently quoted in a Wall Street Journal feature saying “In a lot of ways, we’re really a technology company and we’ve adapted the art of pizza making to the digital age.” Yes a pizza company has become a software-driven business.
And software-driven is where we are seeing some of the greatest disruptive and innovative advances in business and technology today. From transportation, to banking, to travel, to agriculture, to healthcare – there is no area of our lives where software isn’t fundamentally changing how we experience it.
This is an incredibly exciting time for our industry. Established companies are transforming and new companies are reshaping how we see the future. And we’re a part of that. We built Persistent working with start-ups and in fact we’ve given birth to dozens of start-ups ourselves. We hold on to that spirit as we grow and evolve. Just this past quarter, we held our 5th annual hackathon, Semicolons, where our brightest developers around the globe competed in a 24 hour competition to build working prototypes of what being software-driven can be like.
There was so much energy and creativity, it leads me to close with a bit of a reflection. This year we’re celebrating our 25th anniversary. Some of you know, I got my start at HP in the very heart of Silicon Valley back in the 1980s. It was a very exciting time and place, getting to be there when Dave and Bill were both still deeply involved. As I look at the industry today, I still see that sense of “anything is possible,” both in Silicon Valley and here in India.
As we celebrate our 25th Anniversary this year, it’s this energy and creativity that has us so excited. Thanks to you it’s been a great journey for us and we feel the best is yet to come.