Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The MovieBeam

This is a $200 box which has a hard -disk which stores upto 100 DVD quality movies. Each week 8 new titles can be downloaded through a wireless antenna. Some HD moveies are also available. Old moveies are erased as new ones are added. You have to pay $4 for a new movie and $2 for a old movie. Easy to use and conveniently attached to the TV. Indian homes still don't own DVD players although its available for Rs.4000 only. So what do you think ? Is there a digital divide between Indians and Americans, with new products and new models announced every day. If you have the moolah, you can have a lot of fun.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Perils of Outsourcing

Apple and Dell did it. So can you. Outsource non-strategic business processes. They outsourced batteries to Sony Corp. They faced the concequences. About 10 million defective batteries were shipped in the laptops. And it could have been detrimental to consumers life and property. In worst case a laptop caught fire in amidst a business presentation. Now to the more juicy part of who is to the blame, the OEM or the agency. Who is responsible for the final quality check to be done, the part manufacturer or the product assembler. How could the defective products pass two layers of quality check. What should be done to avoid such goof-ups by high profile world class MNC's? Obviously responsibility can be outsourced, not accountability. Ultimately Apple and DELL are accountable for the mess. They can sue Sony, but nothing can restore the damage to their brand equity.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Storage Area Network

SAN is a solution that integrates all storage devices; be it on LAN, WAN or the Intranet. Every time a new storage device is added to the network, it is automatically detected and is accessable through all servers on the network. Though the technology is not very new but it has recently taken off because of BPO and ITES industry where new Information gets added fairly rapidly, hense memory management becomes important. Also in Data warehouses and BI applications.

Monday, October 23, 2006

ERP Market

Its worth $100 million in India. The fastest growing sector of software applications. SAP leads the market in India, followed by Oracle, Global SSA and other local players. SME sector is a big customer of ERP in India and they are good at adopting change according to the Global Players. The sector is likely to grow to $250 million by 2010. ERP initially was meant to cater to only the manufacturing sector but now cater to newer noble fields like education and e-governance. There are associated modules like CRM, SCM, BI . Adoption of ERP could be at one go, "Big Bang Implementation", or phase by phase Modulewise Adoption. The benefit of ERP system is bringing efficiency into the operation of the organisation and get information at the fingertips of the management for better informed internal decisions and react or proact to the external changes.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Too Little Too Late

IE 7.0 was unvieled today. Most of the features are lifted from other smaller more innovative , first mover companies. IE has 86% marketshare, followed by 11.5 % by Mozilla Firefox and 2% each of Apple's Safari and Opera browser. Time Microsoft inducts some fresh blood into its organisation.
"Did I hear some one curse".

Monday, October 16, 2006

E-Books Bleak Future

Sony recently introduced a e-Book Reader at $350. It can be used to store large number of downloadable e-books and can be scanned page by page. The advantage is that its light weight , occupies very less space, any number of book marks can be added, you can search the book in seconds, and no trees are detroyed in making them , for now don't pay attention to e-Waste, that is not in the marketing plan. One charge i senough for 7500 page turns. It uses electricity only when pages are turned. They can store Photos ( of four grey shades ) and play AAC mucic files also MP3. Some 10,000 e-books are available at the sony store and if you buy the Gizmo before year end you get a gift coupon of $50. So does the Gadget has any future in India. I guess the price is upward for most Indians. May be a Demonstration object at the most.

"If you can afford it, go for it".

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Motherboard Unleashed

A motherboard houses the CPU and the RAM. It has the RAM sockets to expand the RAM memory by just adding the memory modules into the slots. It should contain a PCI express slot into which a graphics card can be installed so that you can get better performance than an integrated card with the chip which degrades the performance. It contains the SATA connection to connect the hard disks and the optical drives. Make sure there are enough PCI slots to expand the functionality of the computer. Also make sure there is support for USB 2.0 along ith firewire ( IEEE 1394) and Gigabit Etherener for a futureproof Motherboard.

Friday, October 13, 2006

PC Spec's

The main thing to keep in mind while buying a PC is its use. Predict the current use and the future use in next one year to extend the usability. If money is not a constraint then I would suggest a system with dual core processor. At least 512 MB of RAM, 1-2 GB preferable. At least 80 GB of Hard Disk Space. A good graphics card with 128 MB of RAM will support games and Video. Choose a dual layer DVD writer for your machine. If you need a PC just for basic office functionality and internet browsing then go for any good branded entry level PC. A branded entry level computer would offset your budget by just 18-20,000 Rs in India. Dual Core by about 25-28,000 Rs.
"Buy Once Buy The Best".

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Buying Camcorder : Check these features

1. Look at the optical zoom. At least 10 x upto 25 x. Digital zoom is of no real value. The same can be achieved through software.
2. A large screen, but that drains battery, but good for reviewing the footage immediately.
3. Check out th esupported format, mini DV , HD are some popular formats. For home movies mini DV is the best , for professional work HD ( High - Def.) would be more suited.
4. The controls should be simple and intuitive. Try them before buying.
5. 1 CCD Camcorder is cheaper, but 3 CCD gives professional touch.
6. Look for optical and electronic image stabilizer. Optical stabilizer is better.
7. Though still photographs are supported but they may not be as good quality of a dedicated digital camera.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Spyware is not a virus as commonly misunderstood. It doesnt self replicate. It is a malicious program which

1. delivers unsolicited pop-up advertisements
2. carries out theft of personal information
3. monitors your browsing and spending pattern to tailormake spams
4. re-routing you to advertising sites

What precautions can be taken?

1. Dont use ActiveX. Set the internet setting security option to appropriate value.
2. Install spyware - blocking software.
3. Take a backup of all important data on a medium like CD.

What are the Symptoms of Spyware Infestation?

1. loss of System Performance
2. System hangs and crashes
3. threat to private info stored in the computer

PC Market in India Update

There are ten vendors in the branded space. HP, Acer, AMD, Dell, Zenith, LG, HCL and so on are some of the well known players. Xenitis in Kolkata and Sogo in Bangalore are strong regional players. The market share of branded PC's has increased from 50 percent to 70 percent over the last couple of years whereas the market share of assembled PC's have come down to about 30 percent. This market share is likely to stabilise over the coming years. Rationalisation of duties has narrowed the price gap from 37 to 40 percent that assemblers enjoyed in 2000-01 to under 14 percent in 2005. Today an average branded PC in India is priced in the range of 22K to 25K.An advantage working on the side of assemblers is that they are innovative and flexible in their offerings. Studies show that upto 75% of the cost of the PC has to be spent on the PC after purchase. For branded PC's this figure can be brought down to 40%.

A brand will always remain a brand.

Evolution of E-Commerce

The minimum you could do is have at least an informative web site which is a marketing tool active 365 days of year x 7 days a week x 24 hours a day basis. You can inform people about your product, processses, Organisational processses, culture, mission, vision, values etc. You could provide important contact information on the web site.

In the next evolutionary stage you could provide for some sort of central complaint lodging system directly to the company to account for the improper treatment of customers ( incompatible with company values ) by the call centres or regional centers. This will also act as a control for the organisational values. Innovative companies also use some sort of Live Chat or Help Desk to sort out the queries and problems of customers.You can have a online transaction facility i.e. selling online.

Next you could go all the way to integrate the entire supply chain i.i. you could seamlessly connect to your Suppliers and Ditributers or the End Users. You can use the internet to add interactivity to your advertisements and customise your communication to the customers. For certain industries like software, digital music internet gives the market Global Reach.

You could add internet as an additional channel to your existing brick and mortar business or have a buiness which is built from scratch as a pure internet dot com company and after succeeding with the internet version you could go in for the brick and mortar version.You could also use collaboration tools to Co-ordinate projects done by different teams which may be located in different geographical locations working on different aspects of a project or taking advantage of the time zones. Also there are the applications of telecommuting and mobile work force.

3G Mobile Services to Hit India Soon

Characteristics would include faster web browsing speeds comparable to that of broadband. Sharper pictures enabling better gaming and mobile tv experience to the mobile users. Also streaming video and audio would be a real possibility.But cost of handsets which is expected to be on the upperside would prove to be a major hurdle. Also 3G policy regarding spectrum allocation would have to be framed. Further telecom companies would have to spruce up their network infrastructure to be able to roll out these new services.In India where a mobile model from Motorola in the range of Rs. 700 is expected soon and the inequality of income distribution as a result of improperly executed libralisation steps ,with people having disparate incomes and purchasing power is going to make growth for the telecom companies in 3G segment not an easy thing. Also competition from VOIP is going to intensify with computer penetration and home broadband connections going up.

Some ERP Related Facts

1. Business processes have to be mapped to ERP and customization has to be done.
2. The aim is to have all the processes of the business mapped in the Package.
3. An ERP system helps in reacting faster to marketplace changes i.e. in being proactive rather than being reactive to market.
4. Standardization of business processes across units can be achieved.
5. Best business practices can be adapted.
6. Real time information is available to the Decision maker.
7. Legacy systems are generally fragmented and not properly integrated across functions.
8. An ERP system enables IT to be used as a strategic business tool rather than for a limited purpose of data processing.
9. ERP systems support E-Commerce.
10. Awareness training sessions should be held for managers and key end users should be involved at various stages of implementation to ensure success.
11. Most people consider ERP system as a hygiene factor for effectiveness.
12. ERP Systems avoids duplication of efforts across functions and business units.
13. Using ERP system one can integrate their partners systems and information can flow seamlessly.
14. Performance can be reviewed more frequently, for example weekly instead of monthly.
15. It facilitates business innovation through new business processes.
16. It increases revenue through its built in collaboration abilities.
17. It improves operational efficiency by streamlining processes.
18. It increases ROI through Reliable Operation with a stable and proven infrastructure.
19. Change management is the biggest challenge of ERP implementation.
20. While choosing a package flexibility, Scalability should be kept in mind.

Benefits of ERP Implementation

1. Reduction of lead time
2. On-time shipment
3. Reduction in Cycle time
4. Better Customer Satisfaction
5. Improved Supplier Performance
6. Increased Flexibility
7. Reduction in quality Costs
8. Improved resource utility
9. Improved information accuracy and decision making capability

Internet Marketing

1. Most of the companies have a web presence basically to disseminate product or service information and distribute brochures.

2. The glitches include lack of inexpensive payment models. People are not comfortable with divulging their private information like credit card numbers online because of lack of adequate security protocols Another glitch is the sheer limit of number of people who have access to payment methods like credit cards.

3. Many banks in India are already using Mobile phone for banking purposes.

4. One big obstacle in the way of using internet in a big way of conducting business is the abysmally low internet penetration and the digital divide in India.

5. One delicate issue in this context would be that of Ethical Marketing. There is a very thin line between consumer delight and intrusion of privacy of the customer.

6. Those who already have an established brand are more likely to successfully sell their products online compared to those following purely internet model as the customers know about the quality antecedents of the company.

Microsoft Vista OS Preview

This new Operating System (OS) is going to boast of a number of features. Prime among them being, better and less expensive security of computer networks; employees can remotely log on to the office system without the use of VPN which people find difficult to use. More secure browsing with internet explorer version 7.0 .

Easier installation of software fixes or patches. Improved user account management, for example a clerk or a junior could install printer or scanner without having access to Administrators password.The operating system is being tested through 5 lakh selected customers initially.Other popular operating system in the market include Unix, Linux, Mac OS et at. Microsoft increasingly faces competition from OS such as Linux which is an open source software.

An open source software is a software which doesn't cost having been developed by volunteers from IT software developers profession. In India especially in the government sector i.e. state government and center government offices are increasingly adopting Linux operating system too keep their IT spend down. Also with introduction of low cost computers ( sub 10,000 Rs. Category ) , these systems are preloaded with Linux OS . Linux is itself a powerful operating system being used in industry as web server and Application Server. Both are mission critical applications.Microsoft sighting the widespread use of pirated software ( 90%) in India has come out with a stripped down cheap version for the Indian market to boost sales.

Microsoft claims the TCO ( Total Cost of Ownership including cost of maintenance, training and support )Of windows operating system is less than TCO of Linux. Other vendors claim that Microsoft uses various coercive strategies to induce desktop vendors to ship their OS.

I say, "May the open source prevail".

Categories of OS : Class Room

An OS is the interface between the user and hardware , it controls the execution of software instructions and controls the operation of other computer components.

1.Stand Alone OS : These files are stored on the hard disk and loaded into the computers RAM when the system boots. These control the interface and working of a single computer. Ex : Windows OS, MAC OS.

2.Network Operating System (NOS): These are used to co-ordinate and control a group of computers connected together in a LAN. Ex: Windows xp, windows 2000, Unix, Linux.

3. Embedded Operating System : These are used in handheld devices like a PDA. These are called embedded because they are completely stored inside the ROM.( Read Only Memory.) Ex: Windows CE, Palm OS.

"Which is your category ".

Did You Know?

a) How worms spread?
Worms spread mainly through unsecured networks,p2p applications and shared folders.

b) What is the motivation of the hackers?
For kicks, for fame and most commonly for financial gain.

c) What is adware?
It is a program which pops up advertisements when you try to link to a site.

d) What is spam?
It is a unsolicited e-mail.

e) What are common categories of spam?

1.Education Related
2.Finance Related
3.Health Related
4.Gambling Related
5.Adult Related

User of Internet Technology Beware

You may have heard about the pros of banking but not cons. Here is a a caveat. It does offer you convenience of transferring your funds at any time you need but you stand the threat of losing vital information through trozan horses if you use internet cafes or your own little secure handheld device for accessing your bank accounts.There are keylogging programs ( a kind of trozan horse ) that once enters into your system by being hidden in other software programs start monitoring your keyboard entries as you visit a bank and then sends this information to the theives through the net. They can also be planted in your device or desktop through e-mail messages. So be careful whenever you download and install free software on your system or read emails.

Don't blindly download or don't open suspicious looking( rather harmless looking) e-mails. There may be a malicious code in it.Cases were reported in Brazil where 55 people stole $4.7 million and in France $1.1 million from bank accounts( internet ofcourse). According to some reports in the period between '00 and '05 the number of such cases have increased exponentially.

These problems of fraud have also been occuring in India but under reported or not reported by the banks because of the threat of loss of reputation and a profitable medium of business channel.

Murphy's Trivia," Why robbers are always ahead of police----------------------because the police is behind and the robbers are ahead of police, Hi Hi Hi".

RDBMS Technology Unleashed

It stands for Relational Data Base Management System. It is data stored in a set of related tables. There are other objects like queries, views, indexes, clusters, etc in a RDBMS. It is used to store millions of transactions or records in transaction intensive industries like the BFSI, BPO etc. Popular RDBMS providers are Oracle, SQL Server from Microsoft, Sybase, Ingres et al. SQL Server 2005 edition has built in data warehousing, mining and Business Intelligence and Analysis functions and tools built into it.