Archive for February, 2010

My take on Budget 2010

February 27, 2010

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee presented the Union Budget for 2010-2011 (April to March) on February 26, 2010

Things I liked most

1 Symbol for Indian Rupee, I always wondered as to why UK Pound , US Dollar, European Euro, Japanese Yen had a symbol but not Indian Rupee; finally, before the end of 2010 there will be a symbol for INR! To me it is the biggest contribution of Budget 2010

2 PSU undertakings are doing great; it is time that they get listed; in the process there will be more accountability and people (retail investors) will benefit. Being on the Board of Bank of India, NMDC, BEL, NLC I particularly feel happy that Finance Minister is talking proudly about the recent NTPC, REC and the planned NMDC divestment

3 Capital infusion into PSU banks Rs 16,500 Crores to enable all Banks to get Tier I capital

4 Increase in outlay for School Education by another Rs 5,000 crores beyond Rs 26,000 Crores provided last year; higher education did not find any mention though!

5 Skill Development Mission of touching 500 million Indians by 2022 is a noble goal (In fact I am the Chair of one Sub-committees of the five Committees set up by the Planning Commission); the budget allotted some more money though not much!

6  Technology Advisory Group for UID Project gets created and the project gets additional budgetary support

7 R & D investment get 200% tax concession (up from 150%) and University funding gets 175% tax concession from 125%; good for scientific establishment (specially biotech industry R & D);

8 Mobile phone assembly units get duty exemption / reduction; low cost mobile handsets will cost less! Good for aam admi

Microsoft Phone Software has some traction

February 18, 2010

Launched in Mobile World Congress 2010 in Barcelona, Spain on Feb 15, 2010 Microsoft Windows 7 Phone Series seems to get traction even from people who have given up hopes of Microsoft ever getting its Mobile strategy right!

The code base and interface are complete re-write from bottoms up. A “Nike” veteran is in charge of design. Microsoft has moved away from “catch up” mode to “set the benchmark” mode

The partner strategy appears brilliant

Will they deliver? Wait till Holiday Season (Oct end 2010)

Samsung launches Wave phone with “Bada” operating system

February 17, 2010

In the Mobile World Congress 2010 Samsung launched its Wave phone GT S8500.

Powered by “bada” operating system it is an amazing phone. Its 3.3″ AMOLED display is stunning

Will the mobile handset industry accommodate one more operating system – Symbian, Apple Mac OS, Palm Web OS, Android, Windows Phone 7..?

Only time will tell

Mobile World Congress 2010 @ Barcelona, Spain Day 1 highlights

February 16, 2010

Day 1 (February 15, 2010)

1 Microsoft Windows Phone 7 (seems very interesting departure from PC centric Windows Mobile)

2 Samsung Beam phone with built-in projector

3. 40 leading telcos (including Airtel & China Telecom) talking of global appstore architecture

4. Voice over LTE (delivered using IMS) getting traction

5. Intel & Nokia agreeing to merge their Mobile OS platforms (MobiLin & MeMo) into MeeGo platform

Interesting days ahead

Theater @ Campus in IIIT-B on Feb 13, 2010

February 14, 2010

It was truly amazing to see YoursTrulyTheater Group an interesting form of Theater that involves the audience!

Their ability to “in situ” create scenes out of just a few words from the audience that too relating to the particular campus was touching

We were proud to have our own alumnus (Sumit Acharya of the Class of 2004 who works for Oracle) as part of TAC Group

I do hope one day we can teach Software Engineering through such form of Theater!

NEN E-Week Finale on February 13, 2010

February 14, 2010

NEN (National Entrepreneurship Network) of Wadhwani Foundation had arranged a week-long “E-week” (Entrepreneurship week) throughout the country.

The finale was at Jyoti Nivas College in Koramangala today.

It is the 5th year of NEN. There were 2,500 students from Delhi, Jaipur, Indore, Calcutta, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Coimbatore, Mysore and Bangalore. Their energy levels were so high that one could not resist to comment that “it was sufficient to run the City of Bangalore!”

Laura Parkin the ED of NEN was at her elements; landing from Boston just 24 hours back she was not just awake but full of energy too.

Madan Padaki, Founder & CEO, MeritTrack narrated his experiences very candidly; his interaction with family, VCs, friends, clients and the amazing growth story must have been the right inputs to the budding entrepreneurs.

I spoke about the changed India, the changed world particularly when it came to perceptions on India, entrepreneurship providing an opportunity to change comparable to what Mahatma Gandhi could do to India, the need to get 300 million Indians above poverty line, making a difference to them, the “tough times” of not only Madan Padaki but even giants like Infosys Founders and Google Founders in their early days, the spirit of “do not give up easily”; and, finally, set the goal of one million participants in 2012 compared to 400,000 in 2010!

Mr Mittal from DST narrated the story of an entrepreneur using “deaf & dumb” employees to increase his “home security” business in a residential locality in Delhi. It was just amazing.

With several dances thrown in it was party time too!

An enjoyable evening indeed

quality to Quality

February 9, 2010

It is time leading companies like Infosys look at quality more as strategic weapon than mere conformance to benchmarks. That is the transition I refer to as “quality to Quality”

I drove home my point by taking examples from other industries, notably manufacturing in 80s and 90’s in India

I also impressed on Infosys SEPG team the need to play “leaders’ game” than “followers’ game”; followers meet others benchmark, while leaders create new benchmark

I suggested to the quality team at Infosys that it is time they look at some “out of box” thinking; possibly looking at “proving programs correct” as an alternative to “software testing”

(Talk given to Infosys SEPG Group on Tuesday February 9, 2010)

Udaipur is indeed a city of lakes

February 8, 2010

One hears about Udaipur, particularly senior friends from USA and Western Europe, who manage to visit Udaipur more than many of us in India.

So when I visited Udaipur during Feb 4-7, 2010 I was almost “shocked” in a positive way – how the different elements of tourism – hotels, places of interest, historic monuments, shopping places and the city – can come together to offer a “wholesome pleasant experience”.

The hotels are fantastic (of course quite expensive), the service is outstanding. In fact Oberoi Udaivilas was rated No 1 in the world by “Travel + Leisure” Magazine in 2007. Many of the “palaces” have been re-positioned (in fact re-created) and managed not by “Government Tourism Departments” but by first rate tourist operators. Even the shops seem to have learnt that “pestering” puts off people and by giving a wide choice to the customers, you win in the long run. The City Administration must be complimented for maintaining the city and the lakes clean and most of the roads without gaping potholes.

In all Udaipur seems to have got it right. One hopes that they manage the water supply to the lakes in  sustainable manner; if the lakes dry up Udaipur tourism will dry up too!

Converged Infrastructure – HP is ahead with BladeSystem Matrix

February 5, 2010

The two mantras that I used in this talk are

  1. SSN is one (SSN stands for Servers, Storage & Networks)
  2. You need to optimize globally

Over the years server consolidation, virtualization (Storage, desktop, applications…), layered network architecture, storage using SAN.. have dominated the CIO’s toolbox of facing increasing applications demand and decreasing budget. In the process the optimization has often been local – servers, storage or network. What is needed today is to “globally” optimize across servers, storage and networks – the essence of my “SSN is one” mantra.

Servers need storage; networks needs heavy computing and storage; and, storage needs both networking and computing; the three are intrinsically intertwined.

To optimize across the system you need tools – the real strength of HP today

With its BladeMatrix System HP offers a “3-in-1 box” that consists of servers, storage and networks – all configurable with software tools that automate the whole process; the pre-defined templates captures the essence of best scenarios that are “perfected” in the Lab.

In that sense compared to every other vendor HP seems to have a well-orchestrated strategy (announced in October 2009), products (November 2009), consulting practices (January 2010) and marketing communications (Feb 2010)

If well executed this can be a game changer

(Invited talk given the very select CIO’s in Udaipur on Feb 5, 2010)

Oberoi Udaivilas Hotel is amazing

February 4, 2010

I had gone to Udaipur to give a lecture to select CIO’s on “Converged Infrastructure”. The organizers – HP in this case –  had hosted me in Oberoi Udaivilas Hotel.

The property is amazing – sprawling green campus on the Pichola Lake (in fact you reach it thru a very nice ferry ride, an option that is indeed enjoyable), large extremely comfortable rooms with private “sit out” balcony, comfort conditioners (that do not over cool the rooms with a controller that has single point adjustment), Internet that is good enough to work and not too good that you get hooked, video screen that is “well placed”..; I can go on describing the “quality” of the hardware. But the “software” – the service is the one that “leverages” the hardware; a combination of “old” and “new” tools; a person greets you with a ful smile and a full “Namaskar” with folded hands and orally greeting you with your name (assisted by “walkie Talkie and mobile phones) so that you feel “secure” and “wanted”; in fact, at every step you are “taken good care of” including the many restaurants, spa, business center, meeting rooms, lounges..;  in fact, every inch of the Hotel.

No wonder Oberoi Udaivilas was rated No 1 in the world in 2007 by “Travel+Leisure” and consistently gets voted as one of the “Top 10 luxury hotels” every year. Every industry would have a lesson to learn from Oberoi Udaivilas.