Right Stuff


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Buying Time

It's 3:00 AM IST of Friday morning and I am about to wrap up after finishing a lengthy conversation with USA team. My 4 years old daughter woke up and seeing dim light in the living room, came and sat beside me. Her first question was "Papa, are you going to office now?". Before I said anything, she looked the darkness outside the window and said "But still its night". I nodded my head and asked her to go to bed as I had to clear my pending emails. While walking to her bedroom, she stopped for a moment near to fish tank and bounced another question "Papa, fish is also awake. When do they sleep?". She was waiting for answer. I did not have easy answer for her, so said "Could you please check if they (fish) are thirsty and need your help?". She left for her room...

I was going through my emails under "Read Later" folder and saw the below email forwarded by one of my old friend. It really touched my heart...
Buying Time:
A man came home from work late again, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year-old son waiting for him at the door.
"Daddy, may I ask you a question??"

"Yeah, sure, what is it?" replied the man.

"Daddy, how much money do you make an hour?"
"That's none of your business! What makes you ask such a thing?" the man said angrily.

"I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?" pleaded the little boy.

"If you must know, I make $20.00 an hour."

"Oh," the little boy replied, head bowed. Looking up, he said, "Daddy, may I borrow $10.00 please?"

The father was furious. "If the only reason you wanted to know how much money I make is just so you can borrow some to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. I work long, hard hours everyday and don't have time for such childish games."

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even madder about the little boy's questioning. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money.

After an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think he may have been a little hard on his son. Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $10.00, and he really didn't ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy's room and opened the door.

"Are you asleep son?" he asked.

"No daddy, I'm awake," replied the boy.

"I've been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier," said the man. "It's been a long day and I took my aggravation out on you. Here's that $10.00 you asked for."

The little boy sat straight up, beaming. "Oh, thank you daddy!" he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some more crumpled up bills.

The man, seeing that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked up at the man.

"Why did you want more money if you already had some?" the father grumbled.

"Because I didn't have enough, but now I do," the little boy replied.

"Daddy, I have $20.00 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?"

Cloud computing: Microsoft Windows Azure

Cloud computing is a technology that uses the internet and central remote servers to maintain data and applications. Cloud computing allows consumers and businesses to use applications without installation and access their personal files at any computer with internet access. This technology allows for much more efficient computing by centralizing storage, memory, processing and bandwidth.

A simple example of cloud computing is Yahoo email or Gmail etc. You dont need a software or a server to use them. All a consumer would need is just an internet connection and you can start sending emails. The server and email management software is all on the cloud ( internet) and is totally managed by the cloud service provider Yahoo , Google etc.

Windowz Azure:
Microsoft is heading towards technology for cloud computing and has come up with Windows Azure as an operating system, SQL Azure (a database) & .Net Services.
Windows Azure™ is a cloud services operating system that serves as the development, service hosting and service management environment for the Windows Azure platform. Windows Azure provides developers with on-demand compute and storage to host, scale, and manage web applications on the internet through Microsoft® datacenters.

Windows Azure is a flexible platform that supports multiple languages and integrates with your existing on-premises environment. To build applications and services on Windows Azure, developers can use their existing Microsoft Visual Studio® expertise. In addition, Windows Azure supports popular standards, protocols and languages including SOAP, REST, XML, Java, PHP and Ruby. Windows Azure is now commercially available in 40 countries.

for complete information about Windows Azure, Please read blow Microsoft link.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Portal Usability Guidelines


is IT Still Valid?

One of the questions developers asked in Portal is  "Are the old usability guidelines still valid?" The simple answer is "yes". A more detailed answer would be "yes, in principle".

Basic Usability

Now let's come to some basic usability issues, such as the
o    distribution of attention
o    flow of control
o    and dependencies between parts of a page, for example, between different MiniApps.


Caring for the user's attention is more important in portals. Portal or Web pages often look like newspaper pages with many different types of information competing for the user's attention. Often we want something to stand out of the surrounding elements because it is an important key word or an urgent message. On Web pages, bold font may be used for emphasizing text elements; this helps readers to scan the page faster (see, for example, the bold word "attention" in this paragraph). Italic font, for comparison, does not stand out and is hard to read on computer screens.

For simple portals, the basic distribution of attention found in the SAP R/3 Style Guide still applies, that is, the upper left corner gets most of the attention, and the lower right least. See also that two thirds of the attention go to left left half of a page or screen.

40 %

20 %

25 %

15 %

Figure: Basic distribution of attention

Many portals, especially those designed for larger screens, have a layout, where the work area is accompanied by narrow areas for indices, navigation links, news, or the like; Figure below shows some of the possible layout variants: ( 2 Column LayOut)



Figure : Portal layout variants: Index (I) to the left of the work area (W) (left)

For these more complex layouts, the work area still gets most of the attention, but the areas to the left and/or right also get some, probably the one to the left more than the one to the right.

15 %

75 %

10 %

Figure: 3 –Column LayOut - Distribution of attention for portals with "triptych" layout; within the work area we find the basic distribution with the most attention falling into the upper left corner

The border areas might even get less attention on large screens, where users focus the center of the screen, while the areas to the left and right are already in the peripheral vision.

There have been some quarrels with respect to, whether it is better to place the index to the left or to the right on a "diptych", that is, on a page with two main areas. Some people claim that an index to the left would disturb their reading. On the other hand, we are used to columnar reading from, newspapers and magazines. Also, on large screens this problem should be less severe because people cannot pay attention to the whole screen, anyway. To sum up, only a few Websites place the index to the right of the work area.

Finally, let me mention that reading is easier, if the text lines are not to wide. It is better to have two columns 40 character wide each than one wide column with 80 character. Carried over to MiniApps this means that narrow MiniApps are easier to read and understand than wide ones. Especially, MiniApps containing much text should not be too wide. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, such as MiniApps which have to display wide tables or diagrams.

Scrolling - Availability: The "What You See is What You Get" User Myth

Scrolling was a matter of hot debates for a couple of years, after Jakob Nielsen claimed that users do not scroll. Finally, even he realized that there are some users that do scroll. Of course, he was right in drawing our attention to the potential problem of information that can only be made visible through scrolling. Again and again, users do not find information because they do not scroll or do not consider to scroll. Cognitive psychology offers the "availability" heuristic as an explanation: People regard only that information, which is directly available to them - that is, which is on the current screen, or at the focus of their attention. So, we have to acknowledge that much information is not attended to by the users, even though it is on the screen; this is especially true for text information. So, many users seem to have a different interpretation of the WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) principle: they believe that they get only what they see.

Flow of Control

Flow of control is important in two respects: (1) for the efficiency in performing a task, (2) for the transparency and understandability of a screen or page. Flow of control means that the focus of activity moves across a screen or page while the user performs a certain task.
There are natural ways how control should flow - if the flow is reversed, people are puzzled and may even have problems with performing a task at all. What people regard as a natural flow of control, depends on their cultural background. For most time the  "natural" flow is from left to right and from top to bottom - just like reading.


*         From left to right (in reading direction)
*         From top to bottom

                                                           See the  arrows for recommended flow between two areas


  From right   to left (opposite to the reading direction)
  From bottom to top
   Zigzag: to and fro, up and down                                                                                                                    
See the red and blue paths for not recommended flows from start to goal
Figure : Basic rules for flow of control


Dependencies between screen areas are closely related to the flow of control. Here are essentially the same basic rules in effect: We expect, that dependencies are from left to right and from top to bottom. With dependencies, I refer to cause-effect relations, not to movements of the focus of activity. For example, you select an item in an overview list and expect that its details will be displayed below the list, not above it.


*       From left to right (in reading direction)
*       From top to bottom
See the arrows for recommended dependencies between two areas


*       From right to left (opposite to the reading direction)
*       From bottom to top
*       Changing columns: from upper right to lower left, from lower right to upper left, across several columns (for more than two columns)
See the arrows for not recommended dependencies between areas
Figure : Basic rules for dependencies


It is important to take care of the layout issues, too. These are closely related to the attention and flow of control/dependencies issues already mentioned. In essence, the layout should take care of:
  • Where users put most of their attention
  • How the page elements, such as MiniApps, are arranged on a page so that they obey the rules for flow of control and dependencies
  • The page size and scrolling problems

 Signing off now..more later


Friday, October 29, 2010

Microsoft Demonstrates Next-Generation CRM Release

Microsoft Corp. showcased new capabilities that are coming in its next-generation customer relationship management (CRM) solution. The highly anticipated Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 — formerly code-named “CRM5” — will be publicly available as a beta release in September 2010, beginning with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.
Microsoft also announced that Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online will be available in 40 markets and 41 languages by the end of 2010. In addition to 32 market announced in April, the following eight markets are slated to be covered by Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online: Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Cyprus, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 will deliver “The Power of Productivity” through familiar, intelligent and connected experiences for people inside and outside an organization. This release will also enable partners, including independent software vendors, global system integrators and value-added resellers, to quickly create, package and distribute Microsoft Dynamics CRM extensions and custom solutions.
To streamline solution discovery and distribution, Microsoft will be launching Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace in 2010. This new online catalog will provide an easy way for partners to market and distribute solutions to Microsoft Dynamics customers. The marketplace will allow customers to quickly search, discover and apply industry-specific applications and solution extensions from Microsoft and its partners to help them accelerate and extend their CRM and ERP implementations. Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace will be integrated within Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, allowing customers to search for applications directly from within their CRM solution.

Octaware is excited to get the new release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The new features will give us even more power and flexibility to create and easily customize CRM solutions to meet the unique business needs of our customers and help them be more productive. We are also looking forward to the introduction of Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace, as it opens up new opportunities that will enable us to expand our reach and get our CRM solutions out to a broader, global audience.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

OCTAWARE TECHNOLOGIES is a Finalist for the 2010 Red Herring 100 Asia Award

OCTAWARE TECHNOLOGIES is a Finalist for the 2010 Red Herring 100 Asia Award

Dear Friends,

You would be glad to know that Octaware Technologies has been selected as a Finalist for Red Herring's top 100 Asia award, a prestigious list honoring the year’s most promising private technology ventures from the Asia business region.

The selection process is quite stringent and the Red Herring editorial team selects the most innovative companies from a pool of hundreds from across Asia. The nominees are evaluated on both quantitative and qualitative criteria, such as financial performance, technology innovation, quality of management, execution of strategy, and integration into their respective industries.

This unique assessment of potential is complemented by a review of the actual track record and standing of a company, which allows Red Herring to see past the “buzz” and make the list an invaluable instrument for discovering and advocating the greatest business opportunities in the industry.

"This year was especially difficult," said Alex Vieux, publisher and CEO of Red Herring. "Despite the global economic situation, there were many great companies producing really innovative and amazing products that we had a difficult time narrowing the pool and selecting the finalists. Octaware Technologies shows great promise therefore deserves to be among the Finalists. Now we’re faced with the difficult task of selecting the Winners of the Top 100 Asia Award.”

Finalists for the award are selected based upon their technological innovation, management strength, market size, investor record, customer acquisition, and financial health. During the several months leading up to the announcement, hundreds of companies in the mobile, security, Web 2.0, software, hardware, biotech, and clean tech industries sent in their submissions to qualify for the award.

The Finalists are invited to present their winning strategies at the Red Herring Asia forum in Shanghai, November 15-16, 2010. The Top 100 winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony on November 16 at the event.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Brand Image - Part I

For any organization, brand identity is communicated by word of mouth, through employees and customers, and via print materials and websites. In addition to these conventional techniques, a company’s fleet of vehicles, assets, infrastructure and ambience can be an effective platform for presenting the business’ brand image.

Brand management is a basic business practice that has been employed historically in consumer and packaged goods industries. This practice is now being adopted by companies in many other industries. But what is brand­ing?

Essentially, it is a consistent and broad-based focus on the image, value, and positioning of your products and services. The goal of effective brand management is to arrange these variables to maximize long-term sales, profitability, and firm value.

In today’s marketing-driven society, all aspects of the firm intersect to establish and maintain the image of your business. Your company’s brand identity is communicated visually, in a variety of diverse ways, including your webpage, print material, word of mouth, and storefront. A uniform ‘global touch on brand’ can strengthen the firm’s image.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Success Formula of Sales Relay Race

During visit to Nigeria in September 2010, got a chance to spend time with Kingshuk Dhar, General Manager of Simba Technology (nig) Ltd. The following article was written by him for young sales professional...

The entire sales cycle (mainly in an IT project selling) is similar to a relay race where you kick off the race (lead generation) and pass the baton to your fellow colleagues (requirement gathering-presentation-prototype demo-proposal-negotiation) till it reaches the finishing point (sales closure).

In this relay race lead generation is the first and the most important activity. Qualifying leads or understanding your prospect is an easy exercise if you follow certain rules and discipline. A bad lead can spoil the fun of this game and would end up wasting your time and marketing dollars. It is a process which you need to practice religiously till it comes naturally to you.

You qualify a suspect based on certain facts and information. Suspect background information gathering can start at your desk itself. Sources could be internet, call a friend or your favorite newspaper/journal. But the process must include an industry-specific questionnaire which should be well structured and relevant to your suspect.

You would get some information from these sources and for the rest you have to visit your suspect. IT managers could help you secure some base information like present IT set up, current set of service providers, bidders in race, etc. They are the technical buyers. While they may play a major role to eliminate you, they definitely do not have the authority to approve the buying decision.

You tend to discover amazing facts when you engage with the process owner viz. Accounts Manager, Materials Manager, Purchase Manager or Sales Manager. They represent the user community. Hence it is super critical that you show them how your products and/or services can add value to their role function and can make them Hero in the organization.

While you engage with the technical buyer and user buyer, you are likely to get the best result when you set up connect with the economic buyer i.e. the person who approves the buying decision. If you could get the economic buyer by your side you are likely to get the decision in your favor in majority of the engagements.

However while you engage at these three different levels i.e. economic buyer, user buyer and technical buyer, you must use different engagement frameworks to make the discussion relevant to the buyer profile.

If you follow these Golden rules, you would be an experienced lead qualifier after 100 calls and an expert after 250. By the time you hit 500 calls you transition as an authority in this subject and your colleagues start demanding your time to guide them through. Till then happy selling and have loads of fun!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 delivers the power of cloud productivity to businesses of all sizes, helping to save time, money and free up valued resources. Office 365 combines the familiar Office desktop suite with cloud-based versions of our next-generation communications and collaboration services: Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online.

Office 365 is simple to use and easy to administer – all backed by the robust security and financially-backed, guaranteed reliability you expect from a world-class service provider.

Read more about Microsoft Office 365

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Purpose

The purpose of this blog is to allow others to have a glimpse into the Octaware world. Let people know the values we stand for, the way we grow and proceed ahead and what it is to be a part of the Octaware family.

Welcome To The World of Octaware!!!