Selling a mortgage or selling the ability to buy a house?! – Have you got the right business message?

Buying a house usually is a daunting, stressful experience, and a big part of it is the ability to get a mortgage to be able to buy the houses.

You are buying a house, but the bank is selling you a mortgage, is the bank selling the right thing to you?

From the consumer perspective, the aim is not to buy a mortgage but to buy the house, and the mortgage is meant to achieve the aim. If the consumer can avoid buying a mortgage to buy the house, then they will do. The consumer is looking for anything that would make buying a house experience smoother and faster.

From the bank perspective, they are looking to sell their products. The mortgage is one of their key products because of the controlled risk and long-term annuity revenue. However, is the bank selling what the consumer wants?!

This is a dilemma for most of the businesses. How to position your services/products to your clients? The bank should sell to the consumer the ability to buy a house and show its benefits.

Relevant benefits

  • Quick decision
  • Stress-free
  • visibility and automated process with minimum paperwork
  • Competitive rates
  • Covers legal and insurance requirements…etc.

Irrelevant benefits

  • The best bank in the town
  • The best mortgage consultants
  • The biggest bank
  • The fast bank

I would love to hear your views. do you agree/disagree?

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Books I read in 2018

It is time for my annual post to share my reading list for 2018. I set a target to read 24 books in 2018, but I couldn’t achieve this target! I managed to read (listen) to 15 books only. My main companion for 2018 was Audible because I was driving a lot and walking a lot and this was the only useful thing could do.

The books I read, not in any particular order

The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness by Ichiro Kishimi

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up for the mind, The Courage to Be Disliked is the Japanese phenomenon that shows you how to free yourself from the shackles of past experiences and others’ expectations to achieve real happiness.The Courage to Be Disliked, already an enormous bestseller in Asia with more than 3.5 million copies sold, demonstrates how to unlock the power within yourself to be the person you truly want to be.Using the theories of Alfred Adler, one of the three giants of twentieth century psychology, this book follows an illuminating conversation between a philosopher and a young man. The philosopher explains to his pupil how each of us is able to determine our own life, free from the shackles of past experiences, doubts, and the expectations of others. It’s a way of thinking that is deeply liberating, allowing us to develop the courage to change, and to ignore the limitations that we and those around us have placed on ourselves. The result is a book that is both highly accessible and profound in its importance. Millions have already read and benefited from its wisdom.This is a truly special book in the vein of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up but for the mind. Those ready to embrace the insights and liberation promised by The Courage to Be Disliked will come to a deeper understanding of themselves and others, and find the inspiration to take the reins of their own life.

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41641923-the-courage-to-be-disliked

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

In Sapiens, he explored our past. In Homo Deus, he looked to our future. Now, one of the most innovative thinkers on the planet turns to the present to make sense of today’s most pressing issues. How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human? How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news? Are nations and religions still relevant? What should we teach our children? Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today’s most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive. In twenty-one accessible chapters that are both provocative and profound, Harari builds on the ideas explored in his previous books, untangling political, technological, social, and existential issues and offering advice on how to prepare for a very different future from the world we now live in: How can we retain freedom of choice when Big Data is watching us? What will the future workforce look like, and how should we ready ourselves for it? How should we deal with the threat of terrorism? Why is liberal democracy in crisis? Harari’s unique ability to make sense of where we have come from and where we are going has captured the imaginations of millions of readers. Here he invites us to consider values, meaning, and personal engagement in a world full of noise and uncertainty. When we are deluged with irrelevant information, clarity is power. Presenting complex contemporary challenges clearly and accessibly, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is essential reading.

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38820046-21-lessons-for-the-21st-century

Mindful Compassion: How the Science of Compassion Can Help You Understand Your Emotions, Live in the Present, and Connect Deeply with Others by Paul A. Gilbert

Mindfulness is a powerful practice that can change lives but mindfulness alone isn t enough to completely change the way a brain works. In order to thrive, people need to practice both mindfulness and compassion. Written by the founder of compassion-focused therapy (CFT), Paul Gilbert and former Buddhist monk, Choden, Mindful Compassion is a unique blending of evolutionary and Buddhist psychology designed to help readers develop compassion toward themselves and others in order to end toxic self-criticism, heal trauma and shame, feel worthy and loveable, and live happier, healthier lives.”

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18210569-mindful-compassion

Economics by Timothy Taylor

Economic issues are active in our lives every day. However, when the subject of economics comes up in conversation or on the news, we can find ourselves longing for a more sophisticated understanding of the fundamentals of economics. These 36 lectures will help you think about and discuss economic issues that affect you and the nation every day-interest rates, unemployment, personal investing, budget deficits, globalization, and many more-with a greater level of knowledge and sophistication.

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24857228-economics

Strategic Thinking Skills by Stanley K. Ridgley

Start making savvier decisions and outsmart your competitors with greater confidence and ease with this simple and comprehensive guide to the skills, tactics, techniques, tools, case studies, and lessons behind strategic thinking. Professor Ridgley has crafted these 24 lectures as an accessible way to engage with thinking that will help you think-and act-more strategically in business and in your own life, whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or you’re preparing to embark on a new career path. These lectures are loosely organized around several key topics central to effective strategic thinking, including: principles of conflict (in which you’ll follow the development of strategic theory from its roots in great military campaigns to its modern applications in business); competitive intelligence (which plays an increasingly important role in strategic thinking); and tools of strategy and analysis (which can aid your understanding of the forces that shape our future and can help you make sense of a rapidly changing world). Central to these lectures are the tools and tricks that strategic thinkers have used to better approach problems and seek lasting solutions. Among those you’ll learn how to use are the indirect approach (which offers you a much greater utility in achieving your objectives without approaching your opponent head-on); the value chain (a method that divides your team or organization into its value – producing activities so you can better inform yourself on its internal strengths and weaknesses; and the four actions framework (in which you ask yourself four questions to challenge your established logic in an effort to gain a stronger competitive advantage).

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31654261-strategic-thinking-skills

The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life by Bernard Roth

The co-founder of the Stanford d.School introduces the power of design thinking to help you achieve goals you never thought possible. Achievement can be learned. It’s a muscle, and once you learn how to flex it, you’ll be able to meet life’s challenges and fulfill your goals, Bernard Roth, Academic Director at the Stanford d.school contends. In The Achievement Habit, Roth applies the remarkable insights that stem from design thinking—previously used to solve large scale projects—to help us realize the power for positive change we all have within us. Roth leads us through a series of discussions, stories, recommendations, and exercises designed to help us create a different experience in our lives. He shares invaluable insights we can use to gain confidence to do what we’ve always wanted and overcome obstacles that hamper us from reaching our potential, including: Don’t try—DO; Excuses are self-defeating; Believe you are a doer and achiever and you’ll become one; Build resiliency by reinforcing what you do rather than what you accomplish; Learn to ignore distractions that prevent you from achieving your goals; Become open to learning from your own experience and from those around you; And more. The brain is complex and is always working with our egos to sabotage our best intentions. But we can be mindful; we can create habits that make our lives better. Thoughtful and powerful The Achievement Habit shows you how.

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23462640-the-achievement-habit

Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long by David Rock

Meet Emily and Paul: The parents of two young children, Emily is the newly promoted VP of marketing at a large corporation while Paul works from home or from clients’ offices as an independent IT consultant. Their lives, like all of ours, are filled with a bewildering blizzard of emails, phone calls, yet more emails, meetings, projects, proposals, and plans. Just staying ahead of the storm has become a seemingly insurmountable task. In this book, we travel inside Emily and Paul’s brains as they attempt to sort the vast quantities of information they’re presented with, figure out how to prioritize it, organize it and act on it. Fortunately for Emily and Paul, they’re in good hands: David Rock knows how the brain works-and more specifically, how it works in a work setting. Rock shows how it’s possible for Emily and Paul, and thus the reader, not only to survive in today’s overwhelming work environment but succeed in it-and still feel energized and accomplished at the end of the day. YOUR BRAIN AT WORK explores issues such as: – why our brains feel so taxed, and how to maximize our mental resources – why it’s so hard to focus, and how to better manage distractions – how to maximize your chance of finding insights that can solve seemingly insurmountable problems – how to keep your cool in any situation, so that you can make the best decisions possible – how to collaborate more effectively with others – why providing feedback is so difficult, and how to make it easier – how to be more effective at changing other people’s behavior.

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6899290-your-brain-at-work

Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth by John Doerr

‘Measure What Matters shows how any organization or team can aim high, move fast, and excel’ Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and founder of Leanln.org and OptionB.org In 1999, legendary venture capitalist John Doerr invested $11.8 million in a startup that had amazing technology, entrepreneurial energy and sky-high ambitions, but no real business plan. Doerr introduced the founders to OKRs, Objectives and Key Results, a revolutionary approach to goal-setting, and with OKRs at the foundation of their management, the startup grew from forty employees to more than 70,000 with a market cap exceeding $600 billion. The startup was Google. Since then Doerr has introduced OKRs to more than fifty companies, helping tech giants and charities exceed all expectations. In the OKR model objectives define what we seek to achieve and key results are how those top­priority goals will be attained. OKRs focus effort, foster coordination and enhance workplace satisfaction. They surface an organization’s most important work as everyone’s goals from entry-level to CEO are transparent to the entire institution. In Measure What Matters, Doerr shares a broad range of first-person, behind-the-scenes case studies, with narrators including Bono and Bill Gates, to demonstrate the focus, agility, and explosive growth that OKRs have spurred at so many great organizations.

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36388445-measure-what-matters

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian

A fascinating exploration of how insights from computer algorithms can be applied to our everyday lives, helping to solve common decision-making problems and illuminate the workings of the human mind All our lives are constrained by limited space and time, limits that give rise to a particular set of problems. What should we do, or leave undone, in a day or a lifetime? How much messiness should we accept? What balance of new activities and familiar favorites is the most fulfilling? These may seem like uniquely human quandaries, but they are not: computers, too, face the same constraints, so computer scientists have been grappling with their version of such issues for decades. And the solutions they’ve found have much to teach us. In a dazzlingly interdisciplinary work, acclaimed author Brian Christian and cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths show how the algorithms used by computers can also untangle very human questions. They explain how to have better hunches and when to leave things to chance, how to deal with overwhelming choices and how best to connect with others. From finding a spouse to finding a parking spot, from organizing one’s inbox to understanding the workings of memory, Algorithms to Live By transforms the wisdom of computer science into strategies for human living.

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25666050-algorithms-to-live-by

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31138556-homo-deus

The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict by The Arbinger Institute

Like Leadership and Self-Deception, The Arbinger Institute’s first book, The Anatomy of Peace has become a worldwide phenomenon—not because of a media blitz, movie tie-in, or celebrity endorsement, but because readers have enthusiastically recommended it to colleagues, relatives, and friends. The Anatomy of Peace asks, What if conflicts at home, conflicts at work, and conflicts in the world stem from the same root cause? What if we systematically misunderstand that cause? And what if, as a result, we unwittingly perpetuate the very problems we think we are trying to solve?  Through an intriguing story we learn how and why we contribute to the divisions and problems we blame on others and the surprising way that these problems can be solved. Yusuf al-Falah, an Arab, and Avi Rozen, a Jew, each lost his father at the hands of the other’s ethnic cousins. The Anatomy of Peace is the story of how they came together, how they help warring parents and children come together, and how we too can find our way out of the struggles that weigh us down. This second edition includes new sections enabling readers to go deeper into the book’s key concepts; access to free digital study and discussion guides; and information about The Reconciliation Project, a highly successful global peace initiative based on concepts in The Anatomy of Peace.

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25480369-the-anatomy-of-peace

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

A young woman walks into a laboratory. Over the past two years, she has transformed almost every aspect of her life. She has quit smoking, run a marathon, and been promoted at work. The patterns inside her brain, neurologists discover, have fundamentally changed. Marketers at Procter & Gamble study videos of people making their beds. They are desperately trying to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, on track to be one of the biggest flops in company history. Suddenly, one of them detects a nearly imperceptible pattern—and with a slight shift in advertising, Febreze goes on to earn a billion dollars a year. An untested CEO takes over one of the largest companies in America. His first order of business is attacking a single pattern among his employees—how they approach worker safety—and soon the firm, Alcoa, becomes the top performer in the Dow Jones.What do all these people have in common? They achieved success by focusing on the patterns that shape every aspect of our lives.  They succeeded by transforming habits.

In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation. Along the way we learn why some people and companies struggle to change, despite years of trying, while others seem to remake themselves overnight. We visit laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and where, exactly, they reside in our brains. We discover how the right habits were crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and civil-rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. We go inside Procter & Gamble, Target superstores, Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, NFL locker rooms, and the nation’s largest hospitals and see how implementing so-called keystone habits can earn billions and mean the difference between failure and success, life and death. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. Habits aren’t destiny. As Charles Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12609433-the-power-of-habit

Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life by Eric Greitens

You cannot bounce back from hardship. You can only move through it. There is a path through pain to wisdom, through suffering to strength, and through fear to courage if we have the virtue of resilience.

In 2012, Eric Greitens unexpectedly heard from a former SEAL comrade, a brother-in-arms he hadn’t seen in a decade. Zach Walker had been one of the toughest of the tough. But ever since he returned home from war to his young family in a small logging town, he d been struggling. Without a sense of purpose, plagued by PTSD, and masking his pain with heavy drinking, he needed help. Zach and Eric started writing and talking nearly every day, as Eric set down his thoughts on what it takes to build resilience in our lives.

Eric’s letters drawing on both his own experience and wisdom from ancient and modern thinkers are now gathered and edited into this timeless guidebook. Resilience explains how we can build purpose, confront pain, practice compassion, develop a vocation, find a mentor, create happiness, and much more. Eric s lessons are deep yet practical, and his advice leads to clear solutions.

We all face pain, difficulty, and doubt. But we also have the tools to take control of our lives. Resilience is an inspiring meditation for the warrior in each of us.

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22609866-resilience

Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy by Mo Gawdat

Mo Gawdat is a remarkable thinker and the Chief Business Officer at Google’s [X], an elite team of engineers that comprise Google’s futuristic “dream factory.” Applying his superior skills of logic and problem solving to the issue of happiness, he proposes an algorithm based on an understanding of how the brain takes in and processes joy and sadness. Then he solves for happy.

In 2001 Mo Gawdat realized that despite his incredible success, he was desperately unhappy. A lifelong learner, he attacked the problem as an engineer would: examining all the provable facts and scrupulously applying logic. Eventually, his countless hours of research and science proved successful, and he discovered the equation for permanent happiness.

Thirteen years later, Mo’s algorithm would be put to the ultimate test. After the sudden death of his son, Ali, Mo and his family turned to his equation—and it saved them from despair. In dealing with the horrible loss, Mo found his mission: he would pull off the type of “moonshot” goal that he and his colleagues were always aiming for—he would share his equation with the world and help as many people as possible become happier.

In Solve for Happy Mo questions some of the most fundamental aspects of our existence, shares the underlying reasons for suffering, and plots out a step-by-step process for achieving lifelong happiness and enduring contentment. He shows us how to view life through a clear lens, teaching us how to dispel the illusions that cloud our thinking; overcome the brain’s blind spots; and embrace five ultimate truths.

No matter what obstacles we face, what burdens we bear, what trials we’ve experienced, we can all be content with our present situation and optimistic about the future.

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30354426-solve-for-happy

Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons

For twenty-five years Dan Lyons was a magazine writer at the top of his profession–until one Friday morning when he received a phone call: Poof. His job no longer existed. “I think they just want to hire younger people,” his boss at Newsweektold him. Fifty years old and with a wife and two young kids, Dan was, in a word, screwed. Then an idea hit. Dan had long reported on Silicon Valley and the tech explosion. Why not join it? HubSpot, a Boston start-up, was flush with $100 million in venture capital. They offered Dan a pile of stock options for the vague role of “marketing fellow.” What could go wrong?

HubSpotters were true believers: They were making the world a better place … by selling email spam. The office vibe was frat house meets cult compound: The party began at four thirty on Friday and lasted well into the night; “shower pods” became hook-up dens; a push-up club met at noon in the lobby, while nearby, in the “content factory,” Nerf gun fights raged. Groups went on “walking meetings,” and Dan’s absentee boss sent cryptic emails about employees who had “graduated” (read: been fired). In the middle of all this was Dan, exactly twice the age of the average HubSpot employee, and literally old enough to be the father of most of his co-workers, sitting at his desk on his bouncy-ball “chair.”

Mixed in with Lyons’s uproarious tale of his rise and fall at Hubspot is a trenchant analysis of the start-up world, a de facto conspiracy between those who start companies and those who fund them, a world where bad ideas are rewarded with hefty investments, where companies blow money lavishing perks on their post-collegiate workforces, and where everybody is trying to hang on just long enough to reach an IPO and cash out.

With a cast of characters that includes devilish angel investors, fad-chasing venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and “wantrapreneurs,” bloggers and brogrammers, social climbers and sociopaths, Disrupted is a gripping and definitive account of life in the (second) tech bubble.

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26030703-disrupted

Personal Reflections

I enjoyed last year read. I had a range of books covering different topics, I have learnt a lot and explored new topics. You can notice I am a fan of Non-Fiction books!

My best reads for 2018 are

  • Disrupted: amazing insights for a startup and funny book. I knew Hubspot before reading the book.
  • Solve for Happy: I listened to the audiobook. It is read by the author Mo Gawdat, and you can feel how genuine he is in his voice when he was telling the stories of his son. Brilliant work Mo
  • The Power of Habit: an eye opener book on one of the biggest myths in our life. How do we develop new habits or break old ones. a must for everyone.
  • Homo Deus: as usual Yuval shares provoking thoughts that stretch your mind and opens new “sometimes scary” horizons.

I would love to hear your thoughts if you read any of these books.

Happy New Year!

Predictions for Cloud platforms 2019

2018 has been a busy year with a furious competition between the major cloud providers (Top cloud providers 2018: How AWS, Microsoft, Google, IBM, Oracle, Alibaba stack up | ZDNet) to provide new features, lower the entry barriers and figure out what is the next innovation?!

With a huge focus on Machine Learning, Cognitive Services and IOT, The cloud providers are looking to differentiate themselves to avoid (delay) the price war, increase penetration and accelerate adoption.

In my opinion, next year(s) will see a slight shift in the market demands and the rise of new cloud models. I started to signs of this change and weak signals of the future trajectory of the cloud market.

Multi-Cloud – Many enterprise organisations are looking to adopt more than one cloud platform.

There are several reasons for this

  1. Diversification: Enterprises are trying to avoid vendor lock-in and sometimes it is pushed by procurement policies so that the IT Infrastructure is not dependent on one vendor
  2. Leverage Individual Strengths: Each Cloud provider is trying to differentiate by highlighting particular strengths from the other vendors. Microsoft are pushing Hybrid Cloud, Intelligent Cloud, Edge for IOT and PaaS. Google are playing on the big data and AI workloads. AWS are relying on the strength within the start-ups market, IaaS and Machine learning. Enterprise are looking to pick the right cloud for the workload. Although most of the cloud providers can do all workload with strengths, approaches. It is furious race!
  3. Disaster Recovery: Especially for mention critical workloads, Enterprises look to have an element of disaster recovery in case of the main cloud provider has serious issues, they can use another infrastructure.

Cross-Cloud migration/Integration – Enterprises are looking to be able to move between cloud providers and integrate workloads across clouds

Following from the multi-cloud strategy, Enterprises will look to build integrations and networks between workloads across cloud providers. This will require a lot of design work and security planning, and I wonder if the cloud providers would facilitate or slow down this from happening.

As the competition gets stronger, Enterprise will request to move workloads across cloud providers to benefit from additional features, better prices…etc. This like any other IT products when client wants to change CRM platform or database…etc.

On the back of this, I see many Third-party tools will appear in the market to facilitate the migration between cloud providers, and as these tools get more robust, the move between cloud providers will be easier and this would add more pressure on the cloud providers to ensure their clients don’t leave them!

Governance – new and enhanced operating models are needed to manage Clouds

Traditional data centre or virtualized environments management is different from Cloud. The operating model, governance, quality gates and cost management are different. I see with the rise of PaaS adoption where you cannot have a limit on the maximum usage (e.g. number of messages goes through a queue or read/writes on a database), the cost management for usage-based services will be a huge topic, and it requires different ways of planning, control and management.

These are my personal views and I would love to hear your opinions and views the cloud next year.

Happy New Year!

Disclaimer – all views are mine and doesn’t represent my employer or any cloud provider.

It is the perfect storm! (AI, Cloud, Bots, IoT…etc.)

perfect-stormI am sure everyone who is close enough to technology notices how fast the technology is changing the face of the world. There are a lot of buzz words flying around by most of the vendors who are trying lead the market, just to name few (the most famous)

Cloud

Internet of Things (IoT)

Artificial intelligence (AI)

Machine learning

Bots

Data science

Big Data

Blockchain

I get comments from people saying with always had Artificial Intelligence so what’s new? we always could connect to devices and get data from sensors so what’s new?!

Personally I developed an artificial intelligence based intrusion detection system to detect software attacks, and it was using neural networks. This is was part of a software project in the university years ago.

So What’s new?

In my opinion, it is the perfect storm. A lot of tools and capabilities are available now that was hard to get before and thanks to the “Consumerisation of IT”.

Currently, everyone of us hold a device in his hand all the time (mobile), this device generates and contains a huge amount of data, it has GPS capabilities and always connected. Internet connection is now a commodity and available everywhere. Thanks to the cloud computing power and storage are available at any time 24×7 and cost almost nothing.

When all of these factors gets together then you can connect to any device and analyse data in the cloud all the time using high computing power to build a machine learning algorithms.

Previously, all these components were fragmented and the barrier to entry was very high.

What we are seeing now is the perfect storm. All these components and much more are coming together, the biggest vendors in the world are investing billions of dollars in these different technologies. I don’t see this stopping here. Systems will get smarter, more connected and we will get close to data. Data required for decision making will be obsolete and we will have access directly to the “Decision” at our finger tip — no need to make a decision!

‘Partnership on AI’ formed by Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft | Technology | The Guardian

AI Is Not the Future, It’s the Present

Samsung acquires Viv, a next-gen AI assistant built by the creators of Apple’s Siri

Siri-creator shows off first public demo of Viv, ‘the intelligent interface for everything’

Speaking at Collab365 Global Conference – Application modernisation using Microsoft Azure

It is great to announce that I am selected to speak in the most famous online event for Office 365 and Azure – Collab365 – Register for the event it free.

Application modernisation using Microsoft Azure

Overview:
In this session, we are going to look at how the cloud technologies can help in applications modernisation. How Cloud can help and what the aspects you need to look at for a successful transformation.
You Will Learn:
  • Road to the cloud
  • Re-architect solutions to benefit from the cloud
  • Requirements for a successful transformation

 

What can Microsoft achieve with LinkedIn?

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On 13 June 2016, Microsoft announced that it would acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion! The deal is for $196 per share, a 50% premium to its share price.

The deal came as a surprise to everyone. Microsoft and LinkedIn are not sharing market segments, and their focus is different. This was not the only surprise, a lot of industry analysts tried to make sense of the deal, but the bigger surprise was the deal size — $26 BILLION!!!!!

This deal looks huge compared to other technology acquisitions like Skype $8.5bn, YouTube $1.65bn. LinkedIn has around 430 million users (this includes me), this makes the price is $60 per user, Not bad!

Having that said, let’s look what I think Microsoft could achieve through LinkedIn acquisition. This is not an attempt to justify the price though!

Azure case study

Moving Linked Infrastructure to Microsoft Azure would be a great study for Microsoft and a proof that Microsoft’s cloud platform can support large websites with huge demand.

In addition, LinkedIn technology stack is far from being based on Microsoft technology. This will be another success story for Microsoft, it will prove that its leading cloud platform is open to any technologies and not limited to Microsoft technologies.

Graph Database

A graph database is a database that uses graph structures for semantic queries with nodes, edges and properties to represent and store data. The relationships allow data in the store to be linked together directly, and in most cases retrieved with a single operation. (Wikipedia)

What is a Graph Database? A Property Graph Model Intro

Microsoft has its own graph database in Office 365 and Azure. Microsoft provides a single endpoint to be able to retrieve the information from the graph database. Since all the objects are on the Microsoft Cloud (Azure and Office 365), all the information and links between users, files, emails, contacts, calendar…etc. can be easily retrieved and the graph database facilitates figuring out the connections between these objects.

Microsoft Graph — Home

Integration with Office 365

Also, LinkedIn has its graph database which I believe will become handy to integrate with the Microsoft Graph and allows developers to query the data from both platforms using a single endpoint or even enrich the both databases by connecting the dots.

Microsoft focus is the “Cloud”. Hence Office 365 comes to be an important element of the Microsoft story. Microsoft explained in a presentation its vision for the acquisition.

One of the key requirements I got in many of my SharePoint projects was to build a strong profile page within the intranet for the employees. Many organisations suffer from the inability to find the right expertise within the organisation. For example, a company may go to a translation service to translation a document from German to English and pay money and they don’t know that they have employees within the company with previous translation experience from German to English or Native German speaking employees.

Intranet projects usually included a requirement to build an engaging profile page “like Linked” which is supported by search related features to find people by expertise. Other features were driven from the same problem like using Gamification to encourage employees to complete their profile, components to show expertise and customised profile metadata…etc.

I see a huge opportunity for LinkedIn to fill in this gap by integrating LinkedIn profiles with Office 365 or Azure Active Directory profiles. This will allow the organisations to trust the information and employees don’t have to maintain two profiles.

Conclusion

Microsoft acquisition to LinkedIn is a big leap for Microsoft into a new direction with a lot of potential to realise the synergies. however, still the deal price tag is a question mark and will LinkedIn be valuable to Microsoft long term plans.

Related Resources

What is LinkedIn’s technology stack? — Quora

4 Reasons Microsoft Wasted $26.2 Billion to buy LinkedIn

Is the LinkedIn Acquisition Microsoft’s Attempt to Build Its Own Alphabet?

A Brief History of Scaling LinkedIn | LinkedIn Engineering

Say “Digital” one more time

Digital Digital Digital. All the companies are banging the drums with digital. It is one of most used words now in almost all the companies in the strategy and planning meetings.

“We must go Digital”

“What is our Digital Strategy”

“How can deliver our services/products digitally”

I am sure you have heard one of these statements and many more.

In my opinion, the word is misused and it is another marketing stunt to create demand. Isn’t Digital about building a website? automating the business processes and using a workflow engine?!! Come on this exists for ages now!

I have been developing portals, content management systems, and automating business processes since 2002 and all of this existed before then. The technology sector is evolving every day and it is now evolving at a faster pace than before. However, this still doesn’t change what digital means.

There are some people think that managing payroll information on excel sheets this mean it is digital! No this is not digital, this is going electronic, this is the expected and it is 30 years old technology.

My take on this, “Digital” is about thinking about everything we are doing (as consumers or business) and thinking how software can help to automate the process, take decisions, make the services available 24×7, make the service or product more accessible on different platforms at anytime from anywhere…etc.

Let’s take an example, whenever you pick the phone to complete a service or call a customer service desk to ask a question, this is an unnecessary human interaction that can be easily replaced by a software platform to help you complete the service or find the answer — It is going Digital. When you fill a paper form or a “digital” form on Word or excel and send it my email to complete a service, there is an unnecessary manual interaction and human interference. This can be replaced by a website with forms, workflow engine and tickets or case management system that automates the forms processing and ensure it is tracked and all necessary steps are completed.

Having that said, then Digital is a different way of thinking. It is all about thinking how software platforms can deliver a service or a piece of information on 24×7 basis, take the necessary decisions or filter out noise based on criteria so that the person at the end can focus on what is relevant?

Digital is a change in the business mind-set, it is not an IT issue. IT departments exist in all the organisations since years and years but it is about the business to think in a different way. The business needs to think of how to leverage technology to access new customers, open new channels, deliver better service, gain insights on the business operations to be able to take faster decisions.

For example, a shipments or logistics service company can integrate devices in their fleets to track the location, the journey path then they can use this data to optimise the journey and reduce the journeys’ time and fuel consumption or give the client real-time view on where is their package now. There are a lot of opportunities to use this data.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Note: When I refer to a software platform, I mean all or any of the artefacts involved in the software industry like websites, mobile apps, database, internet, cloud! …etc.

Update:

A Tool to Map Your Next Digital Initiative https://hbr.org/2016/06/a-tool-to-map-your-next-digital-initiative

Say IoT one more time!!

IoT or Internet of Things now is one of the most used terms in the technology world. All the big technology vendors are establishing an IoT related business or developing a related product. Also most of the companies are researching on how to benefit from IoT to increase their bottom line.

It is expected that over $6 trillion dollars will be spent on IoT solutions over the next 4–5 years. The total revenue across all app stores is estimated to reach $100 billion dollars.

The IoT value chain is long and it ranges from devices, devices connectivity, communication technologies, security, solutions development, data science, analytics, and visualisations…etc the list goes on and on. There is a room for many players to participate in the game.

However, my view is that everyone is talking about it but they don’t know exactly what do with it. Most of the presentations and conversation I have seen are sharing the same blueprint architecture and concepts. My take on that IoT solutions yes are complex solutions but they are being commoditized. All technology firms are providing the technology required at low cost and “As a Service”. For example, Microsoft provides the IoT Suite which includes all the essential components to implement an IoT Solution like device connectivity, complex events processing, big data storage, stream analytics…etc.

The value in the IoT solutions is not from the platform itself (of course it is useful) but what you are going to do with the data collected! IoT solutions result in a huge amount of faced paced data.

I think the term “IoT” is not suitable for what it is trying to achieve because just connecting to devices is not useful.

Find the value in the platform before trying to connect devices!

I would love to hear your thoughts.

iot

I am speaking at the Collab365 Summit May 2016

I am excited to be selected as a speaker in the largest Office 365 and Azure virtual conference Collab365 Summit – May 10th-12th 2016

speaker_badge_[SUMMIT]

It is a free event for all the attendees, Register NOW to attend three days of awesomeness. The event will include live session from Microsoft HQ in Seattle, and you can access the session from any device.

Session Title: Stories from the field on how to build an engaging intranet
Overview:
In this session, We will share real world experience for successful and failed Intranet implementation. We are going to discuss how SharePoint helped in the success of the implementation or the failure of it. Most of the businesses blame SharePoint (the technology element) that it is the cause of poor adoption, project failures. However, organisations miss elements like people, processes, training…etc. We will see how to plan for effective SharePoint implementation for intranets, things to avoid. we will discuss Start-Stop-Continue strategy.
You Will Learn:

  • SharePoint implementation common pitfalls
  • Factors for successful and failed Intranet implementation
  • Start-Stop-Continue strategy for intranets
  • What is a business use case
Level:
100
Suitable For:
Business Analyst Power User
Time: 12 May 2016 7Pm – 8PM GMT

Enjoy!

Cloud IT Architecture Resources

I was going through the backlog of posts in the Office 365 Yammer network and I stumbled upon a great post on Cloud Adoption Advisory Board (CAAB) group which includes a group of amazing resources to help cloud architects.

Following all the resources shared in the post

Microsoft Enterprise Cloud Roadmap: Resources for IT decision makers
http://aka.ms/cloudarchitecture
Microsoft Cloud Services and Platform Options
http://aka.ms/cloudarchoptions
Microsoft Cloud Identity for Enterprise Architects
http://aka.ms/cloudarchidentity
Microsoft Cloud Security for Enterprise Architects
http://aka.ms/cloudarchsecurity
Microsoft Cloud Storage for Enterprise Architects
http://aka.ms/cloudarchstorage
Microsoft Cloud Networking for Enterprise Architects
http://aka.ms/cloudarchnetworking
TechNet page that contains all of these resources
http://aka.ms/cloudarch