Building Reliable Digital operations

After we have seen the three biggest industrial revolutions the fourth revolution is in place. This bring us the promise of the most exciting and innovative technologies. We are already on a brink of the tremendous technical revolution which will reform the ways we work, interact and live with one another. This revolution will be something like the mankind has ever experienced before.

The most revolutionary technologies, IoT (Internet of things), Flexible maker technologies, Big Data etc. hold the potential to metamorphose an organisation’s way to compete and create value in the market place. Now the urge is to make this a cornerstone for the enterprises whose effect will cause a disruption and the market will follow this inevitably.

Business Insights

In an organisation being a business leader, one may this think that thinking and implementing this kind of cutting edge technology. Embracing the feasibility and tractability of new technologies is important but the most important exercise is that the benefits of the technology is delivered to the customers and must be worth the efforts put in. Here where the operational capabilities come into play, where the excellence ca only deliver the best results and the close to the perfect implementation.

There are certain notes which need to be considered for this.

  • The operations must be planned and well adapted and researched as per the customer requirements.

  • The reliability factor should be high as well as there must be adaptability as required which is the most challenging part here to be achieved.

  • The technology must be reconciled in the ways that it satisfies the business requirements.

  • The conflicting demands should be filtered out and must be planned on the fulfillment.

Infrastructure as a Code

Here we are talking about the new business era with significantly evolving digital advancements. Here the three things matter the most which are

  • Speed

  • Adaptability

  • Reliability

The operational infrastructure in this digital era will be based on the cloud where the delivery of the results should happen within the fraction of the seconds. The cloud base infrastructure of any mode of operations requires its own infrastructure, such as databases, servers, networking software, digital libraries etc. These things may seen small but are the backbone of the whole infrastructure and any differences may prove to be catastrophic.

Investment requirement and reliability factor.

The automaton is the next stage after deployment of the cloud based operations and setting up the infrastructure for optimised performance and speed. But, this requires a significant amount of money, time and resources to be invested. But the getting investments, take just more than an infrastructure but the capabilities of the setup. Even the biggest organisations face the gap between the operations and the software development teams. As the development often take time but the ops is needed to be completed in the minimum time frame. Hence the efficiency and coordination of the system must be at par to gain a capital investment and utilise it without any hitches.

A solid foundation is required.

The infrastructure’s code foundation ( Cloud) and the operation collaboration is the most critical aspect for establishment. This foundation which requires – speed, adaptability and reliability for any forthcoming scenarios and progress. Everyone must play their part in making the foundation rock strong.



Adapting A Digital Platform Strategy

Any established company in this digital world know, the challenges of remaining technologically advanced and modernise with the averaging technology. It’s crucial to lay out a plan to update the technology and upgrade without causing any to the day to day operations. A schematic approach is required with a rock-solid foundation rock solid to make the changes and upgrade the technology. Here where are going to discuss the strategies and approach towards the digital platform.

An Approach

Building a competitive digital platform acts as one of an option which promotes, the integration of digital platforms customer platform with the pre-existing system. Here it must also be noted that containment and management are better than the replacement and management of the system. This approach starts with focusing on the customer and their demands which implies as

  • Charting a course: Identify platform customer service goals and implementing them in the digital platform.
  • Establish your ground: After the initial integration is done, these services need to be guarded against any threats which me organisational or schematic.
  • Forging and embedding new frontier: post the establishment of a new digital platform, new services could be added and integrated making it a building block of an organisation.

Even for the mature companies who have experience and have invested for years in new businesses, strategic re-platforming will play a substantial role in making the migration from their own established IT core to a digital platform. After this transition, every organisation must go looking for any further scope of improvements, any adverse effects etc which will prove to strengthen, build and optimise the digital capabilities.

Re-platform Strategically

Developed or experience organisation who have already been investing in the side technologies know the importance of technological advancement in the ever-ageing era of technology. Most of those organisations have already adapted to the change but may still work on the core IT platform. To make them digitalised instead of replacement of the whole structure a strategic re platforming can be considered that it doesn’t affect the business operation and also goes on well with the business associated innovative disruption. The digitalisation of the platforms will further provide the opportunities for the advancement buy cloud-based operations, which serve as an integral part for the advanced operations management and is faster and reliable than the core IT technology.

The takeaway

The digital transformation has a promising future but the success of this transformation solely depends upon the management of the operations aspects. Managing the digital platform is as integral as managing any core IT technology. Unlike which is more easy and centralised. The design if the platform must be optimised in such a manner that none of the operations is affected and the diversification of the multi-sided businesses can also be managed.

Speed, performance and integrity are the most important aspects which must be handled in a proactive manner. The delivery of the services must be speedy and efficient to ensure the benefits of the platform, else leading to the failure of the system.


A model for security and security practices

Every other day we are hearing about new attacks, not with the guns and bullets but the brains and computers. Yes, if we see the statistics from 2001 – 2017, cyber-crimes have caused much more damage than any insurgents. Every organisation today has their most precious data stored digitally which makes it more vulnerable to the attackers. Unlike the traditional security measures, we use fences to keep the intruders out of the lawn, digital security requires much more than just a fence (digitally).

Rethinking security

With the ever-rising development in the technologies and the ever-increasing data, the data security is an endless game. The most immediate threat now to the cyber-security is ransomware, where the attackers encrypt the company’s data making it inaccessible to them and then demanding for ransoms for the data or sell in the black market. Data has now become the most expensive asset, it even precedes gold by a number of billions. The most recent cyber-attacks of 2017-2018 in the US have caused a damage of more than 100 Billion USD and it was just the data.
Cyber-attacks started from Trojans, Manipulators and many other and this is for sure that ransomware won’t be the last, there are always more pernicious and innovative threats developing and we don’t know when they could hit us. We must be prepared.

Security models

We require models for enhancing and keeping on our security measures. These models allow to check, the response, detection and prevention of the threats and all work in a constant loop. We need to put in efforts in order to develop proper models as per the organisation’s requirements and keep them updated. A simple model can be made just by self-analysing the questions below.

  • Are the things being done in the right way?
  • Are things done right?
  • Are the things getting done well?
  • Are there benefits?

Analysis of all these points helps to track and keep a check on the performance over time which also helps which aspect require the most security and where we are lacking. It determines the most vicious and integral part of the work structure. This way over time we can evolve and adapt new methodologies for work which would be more efficient as secure.

This method of developing models leads towards what is known as “defence in depth”. Here further various mechanisms are used such as threat modelling, secure coding and penetration testing. This will also implement the criteria and structure that everyone at each level in the organisation is responsible for the security. Further, this will also help in setting up the security cycle which is

  • Prevention
  • Detection
  • Response
  • Recovery

These are the four basic principles regarded as a cycle and can be used to determining, reviewing and monitoring the changes in the structure and working strategies.

No silver bullets
Concluding this, we have to understand that re-framing the whole structure and implanting the measured may sound like a great idea, but in an established organisation this is no easy feat. We need to study the working structure on depth, trace out the most vulnerable zones and then implement strategies. There are no silver bullets and patches that could wipe out or stop the intruding vampires from entering.

Multi-sided Business

Multi-sided businesses and the platform paradox

The term platform has always been hyped and overwhelmed hopelessly. A plan can be describing as a perspective to which we would be looking at for an opinion – product suits amalgamated together creating a “platform” for moving onto next stage of business. We can take example of a product like Smartphone, which has provided a platform for applications, which may or may not interact with the physical environment, which can further make that as a platform. One of the most innovative services is the cloud which also serves as a plat form, enabling for fast and secure data transmission anywhere.

The establishment of these various platforms has also made business to go into multiple sides such as Apple which develops both hardware and software but also provides support for the issues as per the norms.

The eco-system of multi-sided businesses

We all know about Nokia and how it dominated more than 50% of global cell-phone market in 2007, It had a strong hold of customers as well the suppliers. But a when the apple was launched, it provided a new segment am open platform into the world of technology for innovation. They developed hardware but later too used the help from outside for building the apps and various other technological features. This led to the downfall of the Nokia and by 2013 Nokia dropped down to 3% in market accusation.
Multi-sided business is basically the era of the on-demand business range which provided diverse services on one or multiple platforms and utilizing either in-house or outsourced resources.

Platforms – The network disruption era.

All business models would be ineffectual without unfolding the enabling technologies. Earlier before this era of much competitive technologies, your presence on the web was good enough. But now the technology can be seen creating new business technologies. Here we can take example of Amazon where, AWS is considered as a enriched service sets which allows a developer to scale the offerings which is built using the same technology which, the whole industry book was disrupted.

Similarly Apple provides a platform IOS on which various developers and other business can gather and mutually work upon and interact, this creates them as an exceptionally valued asset.

The Paradox

The “one” mistake that a business organization can make is treating the economy opportunities provided by network as another channel. Here the paradox arises when we say that a business only needs to understand the customer’s requirements but, this is a chestnut. If a product finds a multiple platform to grow then some real tedious opportunities come in place for a business to grow. A multi-sided platform will provide a single interconnection between the business and the customers where each business can be made in a single transaction.

Here the paradox arises that, one may be visionary enough insightful enough to know a market niche and have a executable technology strategy which have the potential to create an ecosystem. For doing this one either have to own an entire space, so that the clients may directly interact or trade, or one must be heavily associated with the creation. There always remains a change even after investing in marketing, branding etc. that all the business might not get through or up to the mark as expected.


Management of Environments Using Pipelines

One of the best ways to determine the server based infrastructure for implementing software is by using tools like Terraform, Heat and Cloud Formation. Modification, provision configuration and restructuring of an environment should be confined in a way that is transparent, repetitive and testable. By using it in an appropriate manner the above tools will give us the confidence to make changes, make adjustments and to restructure our infrastructure in simple, easy and comfortable way.

After using the above tools most of us will experience some drawbacks. Automation tool that easily fixes sprawling infrastructure can also roll out the crock-up easily. Have you come across a corrupted file on a server like /etc/hosts during your non-production process? Making it impossible to handle the error or to fix it or even to run the tool again? I have come across it.

A Better way is necessary to test and to make an alteration safely before using them in environments that you care so much about. Software delivery 101 is always used to test a new feature in an environment before deploying it into the real environment to live. In order to structure your infrastructure code in a best possible way it is not necessary to follow the above method.

There are various methods to achieve this. One such method is usage of separate stack, which helps explain and define each individual environment. Another strategy is to put everything about the environment in one stack. People use different methods – to do it which I am mentioning it over here. Finally, you may create and promote a single stack, with the use of pipeline.

If you look at the methods stated above, the first method is not at all good, the second method performs well only for simple setups like for two or three environments. This method is rarely used by the people, and the last method works well for large and complex processes.


Before moving ahead, let us see the definition that I use:

Stack – Set of infrastructure that are defined and managed as a unit is referred as Stack. The stack will map directly to AWS CloudFormation stack and also sets our infrastructure to Terraform state file. Stack Definition is referred as a file or a set of file that is used to create a stack. The stack definition can be a folder consisting a group of files of Terraform files with the extension *.tf or may include a folder with template files for CloudFormation

There are more environments that are used by teams like development, UAT, Performance, QA, dynamic infrastructure platform, but for the sake of simplicity, I will be using only two environments namely Staging and Production the concept remains the same in all environments.

All Environments into a single stack

This approach is one of the simplest and easy to implement approach used by most of the people to get started. Yet,it is also a problematic one. All the environments starting from development phase to production phase are defined in a single stack definition. The environment phases are created and managed as a single stack instance


There are different methods that are used by people, but pipelines infrastructure is the best method to use for the environment. The approach guarantees that changes are applied to each and every environment and they have passed the test automatically. The pipeline method is more flexible. The developers can develop their own sandbox instances which will help them to easily deploy and test the cloud based applications. The pipeline approach allows teams to make changes to their environment definition without disturbing other team members. Environments can be created easily and whenever needed by testers, reviewers and other people.

Effy Elden

How does technology affect diversity and inclusivity?

Role of technology in inclusivity

In today’s work environment, technology has shown to play a critical role in creating more inclusive workplaces while acting as a source of information and unifier about efforts for inclusion. Technology has also provided the much need transparency across the workforce. A lot of new technologies such as web conferencing, webinars, instant messaging, AI software, and Cloud PBX solutions has entered the world of business. They are making significant contributions to eliminate all the barriers of inclusivity that are still persistent in many jobs.

The last few years have seen a significant rise in reliable and secure cloud solutions which has led many enterprises to enter the global platform which has enabled more inclusive and flexible communication in the workplace. Inclusion is the new hot news and there are a lot of advantages of building diverse teams and they are being well documented. Inclusion is more than just hiring people from diverse backgrounds. Companies need to think about how they are going to approach inclusion in their own unique way. It is about creating a thoughtful, safe and an accommodating workspace. They should reflect the culture and values and that will also help people do their best work.

An organization that adopted this technology

Thought Works is an organization committed to the inclusion of diverse communities. They still have a long way to go even though they have made remarkable progress till now. As previously stated, inclusion is not just about diversity. It is about other significant factors such as flexibility, communication and a sense of belongingness.

Open communication, trust, and collaboration are the key values that need to be adopted by every organization. This generation’s action like establishing gender neutral toilets, flexible furniture solutions and an induction loop for the hearing impaired have been a few steps adopted by this company. Conversation with a diverse workforce will make the situation transparent about their requirements and needs. People need to communicate in a workplace setting so wheelchairs were part of the plan to ensure that employees can talk to each while working and do not actually have to get up and move around.

How does this all connect?

Coming back to technology, it’s hard to ignore cloud computing when it comes to diversity and inclusivity. Cloud computing as a service rather than just a product used for storing and utilizing data has continued to transform a workplace and needs to be adopted by more organizations. More an more employees prefer setting up their own virtual offices at libraries, homes and coffee shops. They gain access to data through the internet and that is how cloud computing comes it as making things inclusive. It is a technology that can transform traditional workplaces into modern ones.