It was a quick year of 2021 due to COVID pandemic. There are so many strains of COVID that we are getting used to it. Notable mention are Delta and Omicron strain. As we say goodbye to 2021, I looked forward to a year of 2022 with less restrictions. It is also a year that we will expect with more “digital transformation”.
2021 is a year of COVID roller coaster because of the impact of COVID variant and vaccines. It is a cat and mouse effects because vaccines are not a fail safe approach. The mindset to endemic is still far because of uncertainty. On the digital front, work from home remains default and IT is being spiked by the need of digitalisation. You can say that 2021 is a crossroads for digital transformation and transforming to Cloud. It will take a year or more for IT to fully aligned with business and be transformed.
Year 2022 will see many gaps created by digital transformation. As expected, many organisations started digital transformation without a holistic view from business. Like the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) era, digital transformation is viewed as IT implementation. It is Deja vu for many as we grapple with the disconnect of business and IT. Thus, I will expect to see increased hiring for “digital transformers” to help bridge the gaps.
As I see the last of 2021, the pace of digital transformation is liken to that of COVID. Uncertainty and risks are high because of many unknowns. However, it is a great year because this paves the way for 2022. I can see more exciting digitalisation ahead. It is up to organisations to grab the required resources with the mindset to bridge these gaps.
Chatbot AI (Artificial Intelligence) is still many years behind to what we see in movies. Anyone who have encounter Chatbot will find that the AI are only good to handle happy path. The true AI will be exceptions handling and problem solving. It may take a couple more years for AI to be mature in Chatbot. So, is it worth to invest in Chatbot now?
Chatbot will define Tomorrow
Although Chatbot of today does not give what we envision, it holds a lot of potential for tomorrow. Existing organisation are not structured for Chatbot or AI. By investing in a new channel like Chatbot, you will be compel to transform towards a future AI or Chatbot teams. Logic remains key driver for existing applications, not AI. With Chatbot, you can easily bridge the gap to AI.
Better Late than Never
If your organisation is conservative, they may feel that Chatbot is redundant. Other resistance could be fear of losing jobs or the need to restrict information. Soon, you will find many Chatbot equipped with AI and many other capabilities. Organisations who have been utilising Chatbot can easily gain access to AI. Thus, it is hard to find a reason not to introduce Chatbot channel into your product offerings.
There are many debates to why Chatbot is worth investing. It is correct to say current Chatbot is lacking in AI. However, you should see Chatbot as a door into AI. You should implement Chatbot to gain access to AI for the future. If it is not now, when will it be tomorrow?
The great divide is here again. This comes in the form of COVID-19 pandemic. We are divided between vaccinated vs unvaccinated. Traveling becomes a hassle unless you are in VTL (Vaccinated Travel Lane). We also have frontliners jobs which bear the risk from pandemic. How will this great divide impact IT?
IT model closely to the reality. This is usually translated to data model. There is already emerging data to understand and mitigate the impact of the pandemic to economic data. This comes in the form of prolonged lockdown and the need to normalise with the pandemic. Thus, our existing data model will start to include differentiating factors with regards to the pandemic variables.
IT resource retention becomes challenging because work boundaries are fluid. Hybrid model will allows ease of acquiring skills across boundaries. Off site becomes easier because of the pandemic. Collaboration tools becomes sophisticated enough to manage off short resources. Subsequently, this allows IT resources to move around with ease.
The great divide from COVID-19 pandemic created opportunities and challenges for IT. There are distinct differences for industries impacted by COVID-19. Data must be readily be available to help normalise living with the pandemic. On the other hand, it is a challenge to retain IT resource due to demand and ease of hybrid working model. Regardless of the impact, the pandemic has accelerated IT opportunities beyond the physical world.
The good part of Cloud is high availability (HA). It should be hard to find downtime if you are using PaaS or SaaS. This is because HA is often considered in the architecture design. Thus, this is a great push factor for you to move to Cloud. Traditionally, on premise architecture must cater the required licences for HA. Will you move to Cloud for the sake of HA?
HA will be Norm
You may notice that Cloud applications are all HA as a norm. It is not surprising that you should either upgrade your on premise to HA or move to Cloud. The cost of HA is definitely much higher and not affordable in the past. It is usually done for large global enterprise. Most of the time, only production environment is HA because of the high cost of maintenance.
Time to HA on Cloud
If one of your objectives is HA, it is worth consider the cost savings for moving to Cloud. Many Cloud cost do not explicitly state how much HA will be in their cost. Thus, you need to compute the HA costs into your existing total cost of ownership before comparing to cloud cost. You will see that HA will one of the key justification on why you want to move to Cloud.
Building HA into your architecture used to be a costly ordeal. Now, many applications have been included HA as part of their product offerings. It is a ripe time for you to move to Cloud if HA is a critical component. The cost savings can be substantial because you can have HA across different types of development environment beside your production.
I always find it interesting to read how our information system (IS) textbook describe the success of IT implementation. These books are also compressed theoretical example of how other factors will affect IT deployment like system adoption and change management. In reality, there are other components that determine the real success of system deployment.
Culture and Relationship
Many of textbooks have been entrenched from the fundamentals of academic research. This is why the studies are less focused on the Asian context. You will find that culture and relationships are playing an important role in the deployment of new system initiatives in Asia. You will be surprise to know that the usage of system can be encouraged via relationships. In other cultures, these could be determined with hierarchy influences.
Resistance is Norm
As times passed, I come to realise that resistance to new system implementation is a norm. It is common to hear good feedback of the systems with the contradictions of data. Age do play a factor because it is really hard to accept change with it. A good cultural environment which embrace change and innovation will play a crucial antidote to resistance. Just as we accept resistance as norm, shouldn’t we create an acceptance environment?
The step beyond IT implementation is often missed out in reality. Cultures and relationships do play a key role in many of IT implementation on the field. Likewise, resistance to new system is norm. It is best that we create a favorable environment to accept resistance before we go for new system implementation.
Multi languages design can be tricky at times. This is because of the way how natural languages are structured. In some cases, you may have to design to group the languages or separate the design. This are some considerations and impact you may face while developing for multi language support.
Careful of your Layout
A common but annoying issue from multi languages support is the length of text. This can totally screw up your layout design. There will come a stage you may have to css for a specific language due to the long text. Another common occurrence is the font size and type. The type of languages used will impact the selection of font size and types. As a rule of thumb, go for simple layout and standard font type and size.
Defaultor User Specific Language Locale
Another consideration is to determine if you are going to allow default or user specific languages setting. Majority of application captured user language preference to individual users. However, this may be applicable to secured applications. For public settings, you may consider to use browser language locale or allow a one time setup. These preferences are usually the options you can configure or develop. So, you should select the options that suits best.
Multi languages development will incur additional efforts and considerations to layout and user preferences. It is best to setup multi languages from start. This way, you could determine if your support for multi languages are sufficient.
2022 will see a year of COVID normalisation. Similarly, the “clouded” space will see emergence of key players. Every organisations are expected to deploy application in at least 3 major cloud platforms aka multicloud. By then, teams are expected to be equipped with cloud skills that are generic across different cloud platforms. The clouded space will continue to increase during 2022 as major software shifted to cloud.
You will soon see that digital transformation will be changed to cloud transformation. The stabilisation of COVID pandemic will give rise to future cloud transformation that will work well across geographical locations. The increased usage of cloud creates demand for skills that can adapt and transform applications to cloud based platform.
Applications time to market will continue to be DevOps and Agile. The redesign of AMS (Application Managed Support) towards DevOps will continue throughout 2022. Organisations will continue to invest for in-house capabilities and obtain the optimum Agile application and team. We will expect to see continuous struggle to eliminate traditional project managment approach in favor for Agile methods.
In 2022, it is near impossible to escape from the “clouded” space. Cloud transformation is expected to dominate with increasing usage of in-house generic cloud architect. We will continue the battle for full Agile approach to align with cloud capabilities.
Multi languages development can be a quite challenging for a lot of system products. So far, I have not seen any applications with full languages support. If you are designing for Asia, this can be quite a catch for the diversity. For product evaluation, users should not be charged if they request for local languages support. Instead, it is how your product can easily configure for different languages. This is how my dream multi languages configuration will look like.
Set and Get Language Locale
Language locale is a required parameter in today global application. The system product must have options to get and set language locale. There is also instance where your application have been configured for a preset language locale. The locale property must be enabled for all product objects used in the UI. It is common to see LOV (List Of Values) dropdown neglected for this parameter.
Languages Resource Bundle and Translation Service
Two other important factors in your software evaluation is the capability to configure resource bundle and translation service. We should not be held ransom to product vendor to pay for translated local languages. Thus, the software product must allow you to add and maintain any resource bundles for multi languages support. You should also be allowed to add translation API to support if the text is not found for the particular locale.
The applications of today must provide multi languages development or configuration. You must evaluate software product for multi languages capabilities. These common factors includes ability to set and get user locale, maintenance of your own language resource bundle and addition of translation api. Thus, do look out for these features if you are looking for a software to cover offices globally.
2021 Covid-19 is ending with Omicron variant in the limelight. Omicron is expected the grace the opening of 2022. Unlike the gate crashing Delta in 2021, we have been getting used to these variants. Economies will be opening despite the risks. After all, lockdown are counter productive to trade. Physically and psychological, we are immune to Covid-19. Many changes have been accelerated and adopted to suit the a world of Covid.
Covid is a reality check to Maslow Needs theory. The lockdown have jolted us to realise that simple things like eggs or rice are dependent on trade in Singapore. The acute mad rush to stock up even for toilet rolls are a reminder that needs will alway comes first. The prolonged Covid-19 situation have changed on how we managed our needs against this pandemic. Once we cross these needs, it is time to follow our wants.
Press on for Omicron
Omicron impact will not be severe as the rest of Covid-19. This is because we are now adept to handle the different kinds of variants. Variants are expected to keep coming as we develop resistance to Covid-19. We may still look forward to our days of “not wearing masks” and “no ART”. A hybrid model will become normal as organisations adopt a standard COVID org chart. Trade and crowds will resume in the tolerance for COVID risks.
As we are welcoming 2022, the fear of omicron will be lesser and normalise. Many have accepted on how our needs are achieved in the post pandemic world. However, we know that these will not sustain for long because wants will push our acceptance towards COVID. It will be a busy 2022!
Many of software projects are technically driven in nature. That includes the users mindset where the software will solve daily issues. That is half correct because software is usually built with best practices from known industry SOP (standard operating procedures). Thus, we tend to ignore the existing process that will be impacted by the new system. Customisation and change management are common reactions when you bring your own process into the software projects.
Customisation is the most common approach taken when evaluating the current business process. Change is resistance and the demand to customise will echo in major projects. It is known that you should limit customisation to less than 20%. If you are facing more than that, it means that the software product you have is not a good fit and you are better off doing turnkey development.
Change Your Process
The fear of change is major factor towards project failures. If getting top notch software products is the key reason, it is worth considering change management for existing SOP. It also makes no economical sense to customise process by each office. The driver to change management is usually triggered by cost reduction and operational efficiency.
The strategy for new software implemented must be done with the understanding of existing processes. Often, this is neglected during the pre project phase. The approaches in your project will be either a mix of customisation and change management to leverage on the features and conforming to local business processes.