Why AMS is obsolete?

If you want to know the details, you can go through the code.

AMS

Recently, I got a surprising comment from an AMS (Application Managed Support) vendor above. This really confirm my view that AMS will be obsolete in the emergence of DevOps. Luckily, our team have been less reliance on AMS and transitioning to DevOps model over the past few years. Therefore, there is totally no issue for our team to read the codes. However, such mindset is the reason why AMS will be replaced in the next few years.

Paradigm Shift
  • There is little value add for organisations to support AMS with focus on clearing tickets and reduce SLA.
  • AMS objectives are outdated due to paradigm shift to Cloud and Agile.
  • There is no knowledge increase in AMS resources to achieve better Customer Experience (CX).
  • The values of AMS contradicts that of newer paradigms.
The Replacements
  • AMS is gradually being replaced by either DevOps or Self Service Technologies (SST).
  • New experiential indicators are gaining popularity to measure user satisfaction.
  • It is more cost effective and efficient to replace than to retrain existing AMS.

These reasons serve as constant reminders that new paradigm will always replace in favor of old. It helps to push us to seek long term skillset in preparation of this shift. Thus, we should not be contended in our comfort zone.

Cloud Consideration

The Cloud phenomenon is here to stay. Yet, many organisations remained entrenched in traditional department and structures that split into Infrastructure, Security and Application teams. You can easily spot the great divide from the job title and job description (JD) in the job posting. Here is why more change needs to be effected for Cloud.

Organising for Cloud
  • The split between Infrastructure, Security and Application teams must be eliminated and teams will need to structured for Cloud architecture.
  • Cross functional teams needs to be encouraged because Cloud have automated many of traditional infrastructures and security roles.
  • Teams needs to be focused on metering and cost visibility to leverage monitoring of supply and demand with Cloud.
  • Your team must be designed to maximise Cloud functionality using Templates and Enterprise Architecture approach.

Digitalisation and Digital Transformation with Cloud comes with digital mindset and the spirit to change. However, we will continue to see a steep battle for Cloud resources to entangle with traditional Infrastructure, Security and Application. Find your change agent and effect your organizational change! Cloud is a total change, it is not just hiring Cloud!

Oracle ODA Chatbot Development Intro

My latest “hobby” is playing with Oracle Digital Assistant (ODA) Chatbot. However, this is taking me longer than usual to get used to it. I will think that ODA is a simple configuration of ask and response. Sadly, it is still very code driven. Today is my nearly 3/4 of immersion day struggling and dedicated to master ODA.

Source: Oracle ODA
More Templates Please

I will love to have more templates to quick start my Chatbot beside ordering PizzaBot. By now, I am getting sick of looking at Pizza. Templates alway speed up development as we just need to change certain variables and tweak the flow. Oracle Help is not really very helpful too.

YAML flow error

Anyone playing with JS, NodeJs or PHP will be always expert in syntax troubleshooting? Seriously, I enjoy this loose coding too. For one moment, I and baffled by YAML flow error. YAML is suppose to be a human readable language. However, the error flagged is magician level. Guess what, the error is due to a missing close quote “. Level up!

Takeaway from Intro

In a way, it is a new paradigm way in trying code for a natural language. Somehow, I feel that the ODA environment is still seated in the old development model. I will prefer more drag and drop instead of mastering the syntax. It is definitely not for business or layman to configure. There is a sense of achievement to create the chat. I will get used with more days of development.

IoT 101

Internet of Things (IoT) is coming strong to the typical consumers. Those in manufacturing will know that this is not a new technology. The explosion of IoT adoption comes from two key factors, the ease of deployment with Cloud and the falling prices of sensors.

What is IoT?

Historically, manufacturing environment needs to be controlled to ensure the product is consistent e.g. temperature, humidity or lighting lumens. Sensors are placed through the manufacturing plant to know the product production, and size and control with full or semi automated processes. Data are fed to the main control room to track all the things in the production floor. What if this concept can be applied for consumer to keep track of devices, things or even temperature like a home?

IoT is SMART

Learning from manufacturing, data can be obtained from the devices as long the main control or console can interpret the information. For a while, this is achieved in decentralized manner using a variety of existing technology like WiFi or Bluetooth. With Cloud Technologies, providers are able to provide IoT consoles to connect various devices with API connectors. Now, layman can easily setup Smart Home with simple setup. Logistics providers can use GPS to track vehicles with SIM cards.

If you think that the internet has changed your life, think again. The Internet of Things is about to change it all over again!

Brendan O’Brien

For more readings, you can check out these books on IoT.

Data for Sale

Data is becoming a commodity as storage become cheaper and cheaper. Many information are now digitised and uploaded to Cloud. Many social media are encouraging content creation with various monetisation incentives. If you own the data, how do you sell it?

Ownership of Data

The ownership of data is something of a dispute as there is no clear legal stand as it differs from country to country. If data is really yours and transferable, you shall be able move it from place to place like physical thing. Unfortunately, data is intangible and the true owner often belongs to the platform you created. Common platforms are social media who harvest your data for their commercial usage. This is with the fact that most platforms provided free services for “acquiring” your data with very fine print of consent.

Data Broker and Data Banking

Since it is established that data mainly do not belong to you, how do you secure your data privacy and rights? Data Broker and Data Banking will emerge in future. Like currency, data is a value of trade and can be transferred and stored. These entities will act as intermediary to help you secure data. Imagine a futuristic version of your Cloud Drive that can seamlessly extract and secured your social media data and transfer anywhere.

Data Marketplace

A current version of Data Marketplace is the stock market. When there are Data Broker and Data Banking, suppliers and consumers will come together in a Data Marketplace. This is place where Data can be bought and sold. This is not new as many informal channels existed for such transactions. We will be looking forward to such future where data owners are can sell and be compensated with their data.

Debunking Full Stack Role

Over the years, IT roles have evolved accordingly to technological trends playing catch up at many junctions. As times passed, I have tried different types of roles in various forms of organisations. However, we have kindly seek to divide domain into project manager, business analyst, developer and tester. With emergence of Cloud technologies and Agile, these roles are gradually merging again into a role called Full Stack.

What is Full Stack role?

Full Stack role is nothing new but a rebranding of an old role I used to call Software Engineer! In fact, I would say that Software Engineer can do much more. That will be a debate in another article. To understand Full Stack, we need to delve into a bit of history. Back in Open Source days, a Stack is refers as a set of systems that is required to run the application. The most famous stack will be LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) in the Dot Com age. Basically, full stack role will involve a mastery of the solution stack e.g. LAMP stack.

3 Myths to Full Stack Role

For those who are in the Dot Com era, we will be de facto Full Stack! This also applies to techies who have worked in Startup. After all, you are expected to setup everything from end to end from Servers to Applications.

Myth 1: Full Stack is a specialised role.

As opposed, Full Stack role involves knowledge to set up end to end solution. This is actually a generalist role to configure the system architecture which is getting common in Cloud Technologies. Only then, the deployed application can be transferred to the Subject Matter Expert (SME) for engagement with users.

Myth 2: Full Stack role is difficult to find.

Once you understand the fundamental of Full Stack Role, you will realise Full Stack has existed in many parts of existing IT roles. This role can be easily found in Agile team or Startups as they are expected to handle a variety of solutions stacks. In many cases, SME or Solution Architect can often act as Full Stack developer.

Myth 3: Full Stack is a competitive advantage.

Sadly, coming from the world of Open Source, it is quite depressing to see the misunderstanding of Full Stack role. One may feel that having Full Stack is a competitive advantage. In fact, this is the opposite. Full Stack knowledge will become a commodity because most of Cloud Technologies offer templates with quick deployment methods that can be setup within hours. We shall see a decrease in this role as Cloud technologies mature. On the contrary, there will be a continued focus on SME and specialisation of domain knowledge. Let us not be sidetrack and go back to being a generalist just because it has a nice ring in “Full Stack”.

Jack of all trades, master of none

Quote

Transport Management System (TMS) 101

Transport Management System (TMS) is a system that is part of logistics with a focus on transportation. It is exciting that TMS will be going through a new phase of evolution. Like many legacy systems, the impact comes from the changes in consumer behavior and cloud technologies. For those new to TMS, this will help you provide a crash course to TMS.

What is TMS?

TMS is the system that automate the process to manage the transportation operations. This can come from the goods handover from warehouse to port port to port, or port to customers. TMS will handle the orders from customers, delivery shipments by truckers or carriers, transport tracking and payment process for the transportation move. In simple layman terms, it is the view to move goods from point A to Point B.

Benefits of TMS

The key competitor for TMS is Excel. It is surprising to see many organisations relying on Excel, phone calls and even chat applications to handle transportation needs. Often, there is no dedicated TMS team handling this domain. Everything will be recorded ultimately in Excel. Moving to the current technology landscape, you can see a major benefit of TMS will be data visibility. Customer can now see their goods moving from warehouse to delivery. Truckers can also pick and accept jobs timely leading to better truck or equipment utilisation.

Future of TMS

Soon, more organizations will be embracing TMS with Cloud technologies. Data visibility is a major push factor as customers want to know the value they are getting from transportation. The lower cost of iOT and GPS tracking has provided TMS with near real time tracking of goods movement. Green Logistics and Sustainability is another factor to get information using TMS regarding costs vs carbon footprint.

Review of Map Engine

Geospatial data is gaining popularity with cloud technologies and iOT (Internet of Things). With mobile devices, this data have become ubiquitous and must have. However, getting this data to traditional desktop is still progressing slowly as you usually require a map engine to be integrated. I did a quick review with some popular map engine to see if I can setup a simple map page within a day.

Review Steps and Criterion
  1. Google search of popular Maps with the key words – online maps, maps API, maps engine.
  2. Maps reviews on setup and costs.
  3. Maps that can be used in China, because majority of popular maps are blocked in China.
  4. Build a simple web page and access the map API to query address by Lat/Lon, also known as Reverse Geocoding API.
Shortlisted Maps
  1. Google Map
  2. Baidu (In mandarin)
  3. Amap (In mandarin)
  4. HERE
Google Map

Plus point of Google Map is the common information found for its API. However, Login and credit card information is now compulsory to use Google API. There is also no secure way to access China maps and you may need Google.cn.

Baidu

The login keep asking for a local China phone number, assuming it is for WeChat. You will need strong mastery of Chinese as it seems geared only for China market. No pricing is stated.

Amap

Like Baidu, the entire experience is similar. Login with China mobile is being asked and integrated with WeChat. No English support is provided and pricing is also not stated.

HERE

HERE map is an upcoming map engine by a consortium of cars manufacturers. The documents are straightforward and easy to implement. There are news that they are covering China. So, it will be a map engine to look out.

Summary and Mixed Map

Overall, China coverage are limited to China map engines. Google and HERE are pretty well supported for the rest of world. There will need to be detailed testing on the accuracy as these are high level evaluations. From organisation view, it will be cost effective to support a single map engine. However, due to country constraints, there may be a need for multiple map engine support,

Architectural Thinking 101

I recently took an Enterprise Architecture (EA) course and find Architectural Thinking very refreshing. It is worth to provide my two cents worths and an introductory view because many of us are caught up in the details of system development.

What is Architectural Thinking?

The first thing that Architectural Thinking that comes into my mind is the Building Architecture. Like a building, architect plans and design the construction and utilisation of the space within a site. There are also considerations of human elements, environment and aesthetics. Similarly, Architectural Thinking is the mindset to consider the design of business and IT domains. It also align the business goals and strategic drivers so that IT landscapes can adapt and respond to changes.

Challenges

Theoretically, Architectural Thinking is a perfect approach to transform your organisation into a architectural centric fit between business and technology. In reality, the transformation is complex due to disparate data, stakeholders, system and environments. The course outlines a systematic blueprint to addresses these challenges and implement Architecture Thinking with Architecture Development Method (ADM). Another way is to adopt Cloud technologies to manage your architectural framework (see Helping Enterprise Architecture (EA) be Agile with Cloud).

Checklist

Overall, a simple checklist is sufficient to check if your organisation is ready for Architectural Thinking.

  1. Do you have an Enterprise Centric strategy?
  2. Do you have blueprint Architectural Diagram for business and IT?
  3. Do you have stakeholder maps?
  4. Is there guidelines in developing your Architecture?

For many cases, your organisation could be in stage of discovery in this digital transformation era. It may be worth to be systematic and consider investing your resources with Architectural Thinking. You could also check the reference source – Combining Design Thinking with Architectural Thinking.

Customer Experience 101

Customer Experience (CX) is an emerging trend in many organisations. Sales, customer service and customer support are being renamed into Customer Experience teams. However, are we ready for CX?

What is Customer Experience?

Customer Experience is a holistic management of customer touchpoints from infancy to “forever”. It is an integrated view to provide a positive and lifelong effect on overall consumer satisfaction. The experience combine the cognitive and affective state of mind to increase expectations beyond the customers needs. In layman terms, it is to make customers so happy and satisfied that they engage in a lifelong relationship with the organization. One such company that comes to mind would be Apple.

Why Customer Experience (CX)?

CX sounds like an idealist view and one wonders how this differs from a combination of presale, sales, customer support and customer service. As mentioned in my previous study of overall consumer satisfaction, there are different aspects of satisfaction components in consumer. All these satisfaction parts may lie in different parts of the organisation and beyond like third party vendors and logistics providers. CX aims to unite network together from these disparate systems, service providers and organisations into a single integrated experience.

Reality Bites

In reality, how many of us have really experience CX? It is common for loyal customers to be let down by services that are beyond the organisation such as third party logistics and vendors because these information are not shared. For many years, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) have been touted as the game changer for capturing customer relationships to achieve similar objectives. CX may suffer from the same verdict as CRM if many of these customer data remains in silo. Data analytics, machine learning and many other cloud technologies looks promising to change and make CX a success. By then, what will CX be rename to?