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Mitra Group

Does Low-code Pose a Challenge to Traditional Software Development or Can They Coexist?

By Blogs

If you have heard of low-code, then the above question will come as no surprise to you, but if you haven’t, let’s explain what low-code technology is and why it’s so important in todays’ IT landscape. 

Traditional software development is known to be slow and expensive, as well as complex. This complexity is what demands the need for highly skilled and knowledgeable software developers. According to a joint study by Mckinsey and Oxford, most large-scale IT projects fail to deliver on time, to budget, but most importantly, on value. 

What is a low-code development platform?

Low-code is a development framework that is visually augmented with a drag & drop canvas. Developers are able to drag and drop specific, reusable components and connect them with one another, on a virtual canvas to build software faster. These components are pre-programmed with a set of configurations allowing the developer to use them to suit their business application logic.   

These low-code development platforms are primarily intended for citizen developers to build applications to solve the challenges and problems they encounter in their businesses and organisations. These developers do not need to be highly skilled, technical resources but rather more business savvy, functional consultants, who are experts of their own business domains. They are expected to only possess high level knowledge of software engineering concepts, which can be easily acquired through self-learning. 

Platforms that enable software development by non-technical business users, making the building of software applications cheaper and faster, are identified as Low-Code Development Platforms (LCDP).

How does it work?

LCDP enables citizen developers to build applications using pre-programmed components and templates. More often than not, people at the business end have little to no experience in coding while software development teams have little in depth knowledge of the business requirements, or the core business unit. LCDPs present an attractive, yet reliable solution to solve this problem by providing a programming interface with visual building blocks for easy use by anyone at the business end of the organisation. 

A low code development platform (LCDP) consists mainly of 3 parts:

  • Graphical User Interface (GUI) : A simple drag and drop canvas that enables non-technical, business users to program an application by configuring inputs, outputs and operations as necessary. 
  • Integrations for I/O: Low code platforms offer interfaces to databases for data input and provide the ability to configure application outputs. 
  • Application manager: Similar to mainstream Integrated Development Environments (IDE), LCDPs too have tools to compile, debug and deploy low code applications.

Why is it important now?

In 2020, the global low-code market was estimated at USD13.2 billion and according to Gartner research, the worldwide low-code market will grow by 23% in 2021. Recognised as one of the trending technologies, low-code is expected to grow beyond USD45.5 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.1% within the forecasted period. 

Businesses have realised that by using low-code platforms, they are able to quickly develop and deploy apps to solve modern day business challenges, reducing the pressure on their IT teams. In a relatively short time, LCDPs have proven to be highly effective in facilitating the development of valuable business use cases and end-user solutions in critical industries such as banking, telco, insurance and healthcare. They’re also the best suited technology framework for automating manual, time consuming business processes in any business domain. 

Low code platforms facilitate producing apps 10 times faster than coding from scratch. Where the go-to-market time, agility and user friendliness of a solution are key drivers for any businesses looking for a competitive edge, low-code development platforms deliver on all three, while adding integrating innovation & entrepreneurship to their employee’s skill set.

What are some of the use cases of low-code development?

  • Customer Engagement Apps
  • Operational Efficiency Apps
  • Legacy Migration Apps
  • Contact Center Applications
  • E-Government Applications

What are some limitations of low-code development?

Although the purpose of LCDPs is to ease the burden on software development, it cannot be considered a one size fits all solution for every development task, due to the following limitations.

  • Limited customisation: Customisation is important in building unique, superior software solutions. Limited customisation in LCDPs often forces businesses to adjust their internal processes to meet the capabilities of the low-code platform. 
  • Limited integration capability: This is what mainly differentiates standard software development from low-code development. LCDPs can face integration issues especially with complex legacy systems, requiring skilled software developers to resolve. 
  • Limited flexibility: It’s no surprise that low-code apps, with limited components, are more simple to use for non-technical users. But when a customer wants to add a specific feature, there is a possibility that the set building blocks may not meet the business requirement. In such cases, custom code is required to implement the new feature. Introduction of custom coding within LCDPs can pose a challenge for future maintenance.
  • Security: Low-code apps are cloud-based, developed by non-technical users with limited background in information security. Hence, security breaches could be a risk in low code applications, therefore proper audits should be conducted before exposing them for external use.  

However, it must be understood that not all business problems are suited for low code development. Standard software development will still dominate the industry when it comes to solving complex business problems. But for those simple, business challenges that don’t require a team of software developers, LCDPs present an amazing opportunity to develop customer oriented apps much faster and with a hugely reduced development cost. 

Rajitha Peiris 
Associate Business Analyst Lead

Role of Adaptive Authentication in Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM)

By Tech guides

Adaptive authentication (AA), also known as risk-based authentication, is a subset of multifactor authentication and seeks to match the requirement for certain user credentials, with the perceived risk posed by the authentication requested. 

The factors below will be taken into consideration when developing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to prove that someone or something has the right identity: 

  • Things you know (knowledge), such as a password or PIN
  • Things you have (possession), such as an OTP, tokens or certificates
  • Things you are (inherence), such as a biometric like fingerprints or voice recognition

AA is an authentication model that seeks to reduce the burden of authentication on users, providing a better experience, while on the other hand ensuring the right levels of security where and when necessary.

Issues with Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)

  • More cumbersome for the user but without awareness of the situation ie swapped SIMs, stolen phones etc
  • Adds unnecessary cost for the authentication steps, such as SMS cost or push notification cost when the situation doesn’t necessary it
  • Having more steps in the authentication flow always impacts the performance of the CIAM solution.

For example, if you are accessing an application from a public network,MFA is a great way to ensure appropriate security and authentication of the user, however, using the same MFA when the user is accessing from home or their corporate network will add unnecessary overheads to the system as well as requiring an unnecessarily cumbersome customer experience.  

What are the deciding factors for Adaptive Authentication?

  • More cumbersome for the user but without awareness of the situation ie swapped SIMs, stolen phones etc
  • Adds unnecessary cost for the authentication steps, such as SMS cost or push notification cost when the situation doesn’t necessary it
  • Having more steps in the authentication flow always impacts the performance of the CIAM solution.

For example, if you are accessing an application from a public network,MFA is a great way to ensure appropriate security and authentication of the user, however, using the same MFA when the user is accessing from home or their corporate network will add unnecessary overheads to the system as well as requiring an unnecessarily cumbersome customer experience.  

Location & Network: Where is the user when trying to access information, home, office, abroad? Is the connection via private or public network? Is the network and location known and secure?

Device: Whether the device is corporate-managed, and whether the device has had previous access.

Time: Is access being requested at unusual times, for example from the office at 3 am or during the weekend, public holidays. Mostly time will be used in conjunction with other factors such as IP information to find the appropriate authentication option. 

User’s Claims/Attributes:  Authentication is based on the permissions of the user. Here, before the authentication is done, the role of the relevant attribute from the user must be retrieved. This information can be scraped from a landing screen or as a parameter in the authentication request itself.

Analytics related decision: Collects previous events and real-time request information, detects complex event patterns and uses machine learning models to decide on the MFA method.

How Adaptive Authentication Works

The diagram below explains how AA works. It can be implemented as a single option or as a mixture of the 3 options available depending on the authentication needs based on the AA deciding factors discussed above.

Image 1 : MFA Decision – Adaptive Authentication

Use Cases

1. Location – If a user accesses the system through their known corporate network, that will prompt basic authentication, while the same user accessing the system through an external network will trigger MFA authentication eg: One Time Password (OTP)

2. Role – Users login to a system which has different types of roles such as Admin, Supervisor and Operator. The Admin and Supervisor authentication will use OTP, simply because their access and permissions present a greater risk than that of the Operator, who will have basic authentication.

3. Group Authentication – Users have a single login that authenticates them across ABC group of companies, so they can have access to multiple applications. Each company has a different Identity Provider (IDP) and the username and password they use for their own company within the group.

4. Mitra, X and Y are the companies under LMN Group recently bought Application Z. The IT department of LMN group is currently working on enabling authentication for all users of the Group to access the application Z. Propose a solution for this integration. 

  • Please note that all 3 companies have different email domains for their users and their email address is used as their username.
  • Build an integrated authentication solution to support the above scenario. 

How to Build Adaptive Authentication from WSO2 IAM

There are many popular CIAM solutions that support the AA concept in the industry. WSO2 IAM is one of the best open-source solutions, supporting AA.

The AA script in WSO2 IAM from JavaScript, the core API reference has functions and fields, refer here for more information.

  • 1. Script Function Creation 
    • Go to WSO2 IAM admin console –> Manage –>  Function Libraries –> Write the Function

Sample Script File 

utilFunction = require('utilFunction.js'); // Reference other adaptive script 
from the script 
successResponseMessage = { // define object
‘status’: 90001
‘statusMsg’: ‘External API call Success’,
};

var onLoginRequestProcess = function(requestIp) {
var networkData = utilFunction.getCorporateNetworkData(requestIp);
// API call to get some other data
httpPost(utilFunction.externalEndpoint, networkData,{
onSuccess: function(context, jsonResponse) {
Log.info(“External API call success.”);

// Instruct to execute steps defined in Authentication step configuration of SP
// Based on the response, each condition can be implemented like below
executeStep(1, {
authenticationOptions: [{
idp: ‘IDPNameAssignInTheStep’
}]
}, {
onSuccess: function (context) {
Log.info(“Success” + successResponseMessage.status );

}
});
},
onFail: function(context, jsonResponse) {
Log.info(“External API call failed!”);
},
onTimeout: function (context, jsonResponse) {
Log.info(“External API request timeout.”)
}
});
};

// How to make the method public to call from another script file or Adaptive Authentication script under the Authentication //steps of Service provider application

module.exports.onLoginRequestProcess = onLoginRequestProcess;
  • Apply the Script to the Authentication Flow
    • The Adaptive script should be applied to the Service Provider (SP) application in the WS02 IAM
    • The service provider is the entity that configures how to authenticate someone/something to the Identity Server, and the authentication steps are defined there. Adaptive Script applies under the ‘Script Based Adaptive Authentication’ of Authentication Step Configuration in the Local & Outbound Authentication configuration section.

a. Open the Service Provider → Local & outbound Authentication configuration → Authentication Step Configuration → Script Based Adaptive Authentication. Read more  :  >>

Image 2 : Sample Advanced Authentication Configuration of SP in WSO2 IAM

  • Apart from defining the dynamic authentication sequence configuration, the below functions can be achieved using adaptive script in WSO2 IAM.
    • Execute extra functions after authentication, eg authorisation, this can be an external endpoint to authorise the user, or internal validation against the role and permissions based on the user claims
    • Ability to process the user attributes after authentication eg: combining or splitting before sending them back to the application. eg: If the user’s Firstname is Kamali and the Lastname is Perera, and the calling application requires Fullname, then simply combine the Firstname and Lastname, Fullname is then sent as Kamali Perera.
    • Adding extra analytics

b. Add the script based Adaptive Authentication function as below

var authenctaionHandler = require('authenctaionHandler.js');// Script File name
var onLoginRequest = function(context) {
authenctaionHandler.onLoginRequestProcess(context); // method to execute 
for the discovery process
};

Configure other steps with the relevant local Authenticators and Federated Authenticators, see script below eg: ‘Step 1’ as 1 (Refer Image 2)

For Example: With only the stepId

executeStep(1); // This will execute the first step 
configured under Authentication step configuration

With only the stepId and eventCallbacks

executeStep(1, {

    onSuccess: function(context) {

        //Implement the flow after successfully completing the step 1

    }

});

With the stepId, options, and an empty eventCallbacks array

executeStep(1,{

    authenticationOptions:[{

        authenticator: ‘authenctaorname’ //  Execute the initialized authenticator as a
        first step

    }]},

});

Anusha Ruwanpathirana
Associate Software Architect

Quantum Computing

How Quantum Computing Can Impact the Healthcare Industry

By Blogs

Technology, from the invention of the transistor, all the way through to the first computer processor, has significantly impacted our way of life, with healthcare being no exception.

As we move towards a more focused, personalised health service, using the power of the genome, healthcare system providers must focus on developing systems with the ability to process huge amounts of data, empowering healthcare professionals to make accurate diagnoses and informed, health related decisions. 

“Just as the 19th century was called the Machine Age and the 20th century the Information Age, the 21st century promises to go down in history as the Quantum Age.”

What is Quantum Computing?

The computers we use today process information sequentially, with a single ‘bit’ of information being a 0 or 1. This is the positive or zero electrical charge held by one of millions of tiny transistors within the atomic structure of a silicon chip. The computer makes calculations and remembers things by changing these transistors from 1s to 0s and vice versa.  However, in the quantum world this same information processing is done very differently. To try and explain, let’s think of this in terms of probability, using a household dimmer switch to visualise the probabilities involved.  If you imagine a classic light switch, it can either be on or off, well that is how each silicon transistor works, there are only 2 options.  If you then think of a ‘qubit’ (the quantum equivalent of a bit), as a permanently revolving dimmer switch with a range of probable states that the qubit can be in at any given time, it can be on, and off, and everything in between.  One of the quirks of Quantum Theory is that the state of a qubit or a spinning electron, or indeed our dimmer switch, is not determined until we look at it, and looking at it will always change its state. What all this means is that the quantum transistor can hold a huge range of probability values, which in turn means it can carry out many more tasks and store many more pieces of information, making it far more powerful than a conventional processor. The qubits ability to be both a ‘1’ and a ‘0’ at the same time, is called a superposition. Computer scientists build algorithms that can take advantage of this state to effectively harness the power of the superposition. If all of this seems difficult to grasp, you are not alone. Top scientific minds struggle with these concepts too, especially as much of Quantum Theory is still just that, theoretical.

How is the Superposition used in Quantum Computing?

Taking this a step further, if we think of an electron as a wave, the superposition of this electron wave is its ability to exist in two possible states simultaneously. Electrons have a natural ability to spin up or down. Imagine pushing the spin of an electron into a superposition so it is spinning both up and down, by the rules of observation in the quantum world, it will collapse its superposition into either spin up or spin down when we measure it. This natural phenomenon allows qubits to be coded with quantum information in both states simultaneously. This ability to compute and select a solution out of many potential alternative solutions, means the qubit can be all of those options, all at the same time using the superposition, and in exponentially less time than a classical computer.

Quantum Computing Applications in the Healthcare Industry

Radiotherapy
Radiotherapy is one of the principal techniques used in cancer treatment today. Targeted radiation is used to destroy cancer cells and stop them from re-growing. It requires a highly accurate application of radiation to minimize the damage to the surrounding cells. The development of a ‘radiation plan’ is a complicated process that involves the processing of many thousands of variables to arrive at an optimal therapy plan. A classical computer does the job today using a limited set of data points to generate the plan in a clinically feasible timeframe. However, quantum‐inspired algorithms will allow medical systems to run all possible permutations simultaneously, using many more data points and develop an optimal plan, faster. 

Accelerating drug development and material science
With the development of pharmaceuticals requiring lengthy and costly clinical trials, scientists and pharma companies are experimenting with using alternative methods to speed up the process and make it more cost effective whilst ensuring safety and efficacy.  Artificial intelligence, human Organ-On-Chip and ‘in-silico clinical trials’ have all been tested. Quantum computing may prove a game changer here. 

Today’s most powerful supercomputers only have the processing power to simulate the simplest of molecules, limiting their calculations to a small number of compounds present. For more complex molecules, researchers currently predict behaviour and then must test behaviour in trials. This is costly and inefficient, with most drugs failing the trial at this stage. 

In future we could be running algorithms and searches on quantum computers with the ability to review drugs at a molecular level with unimaginable speed and run drug trials with every possible permutation of compounds tested against cell models, all in a rapid timeframe. This would revolutionise drug discovery, making radical new treatments for Cancer and Alzheimer’s, amongst others, a real possibility.

Diagnostics

Artificial Intelligence
There is a growing trend to apply machine learning to patient diagnostics. Much of machine learning is about “pattern recognition”, with algorithms crunching large datasets of patient information to find patterns in the noise, the goal being to leverage comparisons leading to a diagnosis. Quantum computing promises a processing order of magnitude we have only been able to dream of thus far, for our healthcare systems, with doctors able to compare vast amounts of complex data, in parallel, with endless permutations. 

Genomic Medicine
Using quantum computers, we can more rapidly sequence DNA and solve other Big Data issues in healthcare. This opens up the possibility of personalised medicine based on an individuals’ unique genetic makeup.

Protein Folding
Proteins are the basic building blocks of life. Malfunction of a given protein is frequently due to its being wrongly folded. While the chemical composition of proteins is quite well known, their physical structure is much less understood. Obtaining more detailed knowledge of the way proteins are folded can lead to the development of new therapies and medicines.  

A quantum computer will, in theory, be able to simultaneously test a huge number of possible protein fold structures and identify the most promising ones.

Making Patients the Focus of Care
Soon we will see the application of health sensors, wearables and tiny medical gadgets that will collect vast amounts of data about patients that will be stored in cloud-based data lakes. Just for comparison: in 2020 the amount of digital data collected was roughly 10 times higher than it was in 2013. Given the amount of data requiring processing and the number of variables required to make sense of these datasets, quantum computers will play the pivotal role in patient surveillance through connected sensory systems.  This revolutionary technology will move us from a responsive to a predictive healthcare system. 

It would be remiss of me not to point out that these applications are still in their infancy and largely theoretical. However, there is in existence an ophthalmology app that demonstrates how a patient’s vision would change with a cataract over 5 years if they maintained their current lifestyle. Extrapolating this idea and by applying the principles of quantum computing, given huge amounts of health parameters, genetic information, sensory data, and other personal health information, an accurate prediction about a given person’s future health could be easily generated, providing insights and advice for future wellbeing. 

Nirosh Liyanawaduge
Chief Technology Officer

creatio 2

How Digital Transformation Will Revolutionize the Business Landscape in a Post-Pandemic World

By Events

About

Many industries have accelerated digital transformation during the pandemic, forever changing the way business is conducted.

According to KPMG’s “Enterprise Reboot” report, despite the challenges of emerging technology adoption and deployment, there is no turning back. Navigating through today’s unprecedented times and seizing tomorrow’s opportunities, implies that company leaders revise their vision, strategy, and operating models to benefit from the evolving technology landscape.

We’ve invited industry-leading experts to discuss how current digitization will affect business after the pandemic, and how to take advantage by adjusting operations to the new reality.

Join us on February 23rd to hear front-rank thoughts on the future of business 

Join the fireside chat to learn

– How emerging trends will reshape the business landscape in 2021 and beyond.
– How to adopt new organizational models to the post-pandemic conditions.
– How to build business resilience and agility in the long run.

Most valuable for

  • Business owners 
  • Business executives 
  • Digital and it leaders

Speakers

DAVID LASHAR, PARTNER, KEEN 360

David Lashar is a solution architect, delivery executive, and thought leader for IT-enabled business transformation, specializing in the CRM domain.  David’s experience spans the IT industry’s  progression from Y2K remediation through the “dotcom” bubble to Cloud-based everything.  He regards low-code strategies and platforms as quite possibly the next “big thing” in IT, with what he calls Third-Wave CRM seemingly breaking upon us.  His perspective comes from Partner, CIO, and SVP roles in tier-one system integrators, private-equity portfolio companies, and large-scale public agencies.

CHINTHI WEERASINGHE, CEO DIGITAL SERVICES, MITRA INNOVATION

Career technologist focused on accelerating business outcomes for client organization. Deep expertise in developing and leading global business consulting organizations by creating flexible, resilient IT and business solutions that bring value to both the organization and its clients.
Dynamic industry and consulting practice leader with in-depth hands-on experience directing teams of talented practitioners and consultants engaged in both IT and business consulting projects within the insurance, healthcare, investment, wealth management, and software product development industries.

RUBA DARWISH, OPERATIONS MANAGER, BMB GROUP

Having held the positions of Regional Manager for HP Egypt and Levant and GM of PC Dealnet Value add distribution company, Ruba is currently the Country Manager of BMB Jordan. Her broad experience in the Levant, Egypt and part of the Gulf region gives her a strong understanding of these markets and business cultures and unique insights into the challenges the region is facing when it comes to digitization, cybersecurity and big data management and analytics. 

ERIK HALE DIRECTOR OF SALES ENABLEMENT, CREATIO

Erik brings more than 20 years of experience in the software industry with a deep focus in worldwide business development and customer success. Being responsible for global sales enablement at Creatio, he ensures strategic alignment across business and customer functions

Why a low-code CRM is a game-changing technology for businesses in 2021 – APAC

By Webinars
APAC
5PM AEDT |  2PM SGT
22nd of February, 2021

Description

To remain competitive in 2021, companies need a comprehensive CRM solution that can help them swiftly identify the high-priority improvement areas and instantly react to changing customer demands and market conditions.    

Join this webinar to get insights on how low-code CRM solution can help you align core business units, improve customer experience and be more agile. 

Why you should attend: 

  • Digital transformation best practices:
    Discover how to build an end-to-end automation strategy for 2021 
  • CRM market trends and innovative tools:
    Get to know the latest market trends and tools to you orchestrate multichannel customer engagements and grow revenues 
  • Low-code technology:
    Explore how low-code technology can help your organization to elevate productivity across marketing, sales and service teams by empowering anyone to build their apps and processes 
Dr Ashok Suppiah – Founder and CEO Mitra Innovation
Richard Ainley – Regional Sales Director Creatio

Why a low-code CRM is a game-changing technology for businesses in 2021-Americas

By Ashok's Webinars, Webinars
AMER + EMEA
11AM EST |  5PM CET
18th of February, 2021

Description

To remain competitive in 2021, companies need a comprehensive CRM solution that can help them swiftly identify the high-priority improvement areas and instantly react to changing customer demands and market conditions.    

Join this webinar to get insights on how low-code CRM solution can help you align core business units, improve customer experience and be more agile. 

Why you should attend: 

  • Digital transformation best practices:
    Discover how to build an end-to-end automation strategy for 2021 
  • CRM market trends and innovative tools:
    Get to know the latest market trends and tools to you orchestrate multichannel customer engagements and grow revenues 
  • Low-code technology:
    Explore how low-code technology can help your organization to elevate productivity across marketing, sales and service teams by empowering anyone to build their apps and processes 
Dr Ashok Suppiah – Founder and CEO Mitra Innovation
Richard Ainley – Regional Sales Director Creatio

Conversational AI is the Voice of the Future

By Ashok Suppiah, Blogs

When a child learns to speak, they do so through interaction with parents and siblings. They mimic the sounds they hear; they find associations with those sounds, they learn what responses they get, they pick up accents and slang, short cuts and alternatives; in short, they acquire the language they hear spoken around them. When technology learns language, it has always started from a different place. In the past chatbots have translated all sounds to text, stumbling over unexpected language or accents, making the whole experience frustrating and often futile. But this is changing, the technology is evolving, the bots are growing up. 

Contextual understanding and Natural Language Processing (NLP) are just two of the components we at Mitra have brought together to develop our Conversational AI platform. We have elevated the conversational experience, through technological innovation, providing an engaging, more ‘human’ communication experience. We have also unlocked many digital services for those who struggle with accessibility, for example the elderly or visually impaired. Our Conversational AI understands what the customer is requesting without sending them into cycles of doom, drawing information from APIs to enhance the customer experience. By learning as it goes along, following the conversation history, or ‘remembering’ what has gone before, it also avoids tedious repetition, making the whole experience not only effective but also effortless for the customer. 

Applications for this technology abound, and the benefits are far reaching. Virtual Agents increase voice enabled productivity by providing information efficiently or by speeding up issue resolution, thus increasing customer satisfaction and retention. Virtual Agents are always available, share learning and can be replicated as needed, thus ensuring much reduced waiting times for customers, especially at peak times. Conversational AI also liberates highly trained, valuable staff from repetitive work, making them available to perform more interesting, demanding and complex tasks, increasing employee satisfaction and reducing churn. 

As an entrepreneur I can see the far-ranging benefits to both business and customers. You don’t need to imagine a world where you can have a digitised conversation and be understood, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Echo Dot are examples of the technology working effectively today.  But as the bots grow up, these conversations evolve and become more complex, the responses more appropriate, the outcomes more fruitful, no matter how you choose to articulate your needs. Mitra is currently negotiating with a large healthcare provider in the United States and is partnering with several companies, pooling our innovative and entrepreneurial drive and our technical expertise, and sharing product platforms to create the Conversational AI solutions required for this major project. 

Of particular interest to me are the many applications in Healthcare, meaning the benefits of this technology can be enjoyed by many. In Healthcare scenarios, patients or clients are often stressed and dealing with situations and procedures outside of their comfort zone. It is therefore vital that the virtual agent has the maturity to take an initial call from a patient, pass them through security to authenticate their identity, and check their level of cover. It can then offer a choice of Hospitals and Consultants, make appointments, order tests and send out supporting documentation. This must all be achieved with ease, instilling confidence and calm in the patient. Conversational AI can also seamlessly integrate with Dynamedics, Mitra’s innovative, lowcode platform which helps organisations deliver remote, high quality, digital health and wellbeing services. 

Few technologies alone increase job satisfaction, reduce wait times and costs, speed up issue resolution, have algorithms that ‘learn on the job’ getting more efficient over time, and transform the user experience for the better. It is not a leap to say Conversational AI is a technological revolution and the voice of the future.

Stay safe.

Dr Ashok Suppiah
Founder & CEO Mitra Group

Dynamedics partners with The Suwodaya Program to help Communities across Sri Lanka

By Ashok Suppiah, Blogs

If the Covid-19 global pandemic has taught us anything it is how much we need our fellow humans. We are social creatures, at work and at play. We seek the company of others for comfort, for support, for fun, for achievement; to spark ideas and to share the load. 2020 has seen unprecedented isolation of individuals, families and workforces, and it is universally recognised that many have suffered as a result.

 I have long nurtured an interest in the health and wellbeing of my global team, from an academic as well as an empathetic viewpoint, so developing a platform that could enable remote consultations and assessments, and deliver digital wellbeing services for employees, was a project close to my heart.

With Dynamedics, Mitra used low-code technology allowing for rapid development of the required applications and workflows. Easy integration with existing systems also simplified the capture of comprehensive real time data. But it’s the analysis of that data, our alignment with clinical standards, and the ability to connect with third party systems and workflows that is at the heart of the system. Indeed, Mitra used Dynamedics to deliver a Covid-19 pre-screening tool for US based Plumb House, where daily data collection and analysis ensures employees or contractors are symptom free before entering a workplace, significantly reducing the risk of infections, and providing feedback for government and regulatory third parties.

In its simplest form, Dynamedics is a digital platform to measure the physical and mental wellbeing of employees. At Mitra, employees use an interface on their mobile phone to the Dynamedics platform, to answer daily and weekly questions, which are designed to flag health and wellbeing issues at an early stage. With many employees struggling with mental health due to isolation and fears around job security, the benefits of the daily survey are twofold. Employees assess their own mental health, receiving daily tips and expert reminders to help them self-manage their wellbeing, while managers can oversee their teams, providing support to employees if needed. Integrating with HR platforms and external specialists, we can refer employees beyond their team manager for health assessments with specialist consultants or refer them to testing centres or counsellors, and offer practical support with childcare providers, debt management services or specialist trainers; the possibilities are boundless.

 As an entrepreneur there is a profound sense of fulfilment when technology you have developed can be used to help people in your own community. The Suwodaya Program is a collaboration between Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, a social regeneration and empowerment charity and the largest NGO in Sri Lanka, a team of senior medical professionals and of course Mitra Innovation. We are using Dynamedics to build a web-based questionnaire that is being rolled-out, initially to 10 districts, questioning between 2,000 and 5,000 people. The survey will seek to assess the health and wellbeing of those questioned and measure the impact that Covid-19 has had on their lives, including employment, social circumstances and mental health. A full analysis of the captured data will be undertaken by a team of medical professionals led by Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, General Secretary of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, with all resulting findings and recommendations published in a White Paper. The objective is to use this information to highlight particular needs within these communities and apply for funding to run programs addressing those needs.

 I feel a keen responsibility for the wellbeing of my team, people are what make Mitra special and our business successful. By investing the time and technical resources to listen to each and every person, and help them address concerns and issues, we will emerge from the challenges of the global pandemic a stronger and more connected workforce. And with The Suwodaya Program giving the communities across Sri Lanka a voice, we can gain real insight and craft better outcomes for our citizens.

 

Dr Ashok Suppiah
Founder & CEO Mitra Group

foodie-mitra

Foodie – Delivering your favourite food and groceries to your doorstep, safely.

By Ashok Suppiah, Blogs

By definition, entrepreneurs build businesses, hire staff, develop corporate and financial structures and chase profitable growth. But in the best of us there is often a desire to share the rewards of our ideas, research, innovation and exploration, with our communities first and then further afield. We seek opportunities to make a difference, to empower and to enrich, particularly in times of strife. With Covid-19 seeing communities and businesses struggle through lockdowns and enforced closures, there has never been a better time for business leaders to come together to help support communities and reach out to small businesses and help them recover.

The simple act of shopping for food essentials has been disrupted forever by the pandemic. Enforced global lockdowns are headline news but the need to feed your family is personal. In many countries supermarkets and restaurants delivering food has been part of the retail landscape for years, but not in South East Asian countries, including Sri Lanka, where daily grocery shopping from independent stores and markets is commonplace, as is eating in local restaurants or collecting take out. Covid-19 has had a detrimental effect on many food vendors’ livelihoods, especially those in more remote cities and rural communities, where establishing a distribution network is not cost effective.

To this backdrop, Foodie was born. As an innovator, I strive to see the gap, the place where technology can be developed to fill a need. By ordering groceries online from local businesses and favourite meals from restaurants, in an easy, seamless way, some sense of normalcy and control can be returned to the individual, while also throwing small vendors a lifeline. Mitra used modern technologies like Flutter and Java Spring Boot to rapidly develop an app to bridge the gap between vendors and consumers. Vendors simply register their business and consumers download the app for seamless access to groceries stores and local restaurants. Goods are delivered to the door and payment made in the app or cash on delivery.

Initially we approached the banks to allow for seamless funding of purchases, but their inherent bureaucracy forced us to be more creative. So, we approached YouCAB, one of the largest taxi and vehicle hire services in Sri Lanka. Their passenger services had dried up during lockdown and they were looking for new revenue streams. We also approached Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara for investment capital. They have long invested in food-based enterprises and saw the project as an opportunity to help small vendors. They joined us as equity partners.

We worked with YouCAB to enhance their systems to integrate with, and support the new app, initially in Kandy and surrounds. Foodie is available free for consumers from the Appstore, and we took the decision not to make any charge to the small businesses and restaurants that register. This way we are helping to restore their link with existing customers and bring in new business, whilst delivering enhanced, and importantly safe, retail choices throughout Sri Lanka at zero cost. We chose to make Foodie a non-profit app in Sri Lanka from a strong sense of social responsibility, that desire to give something back that launched the project. Foodie has worked so well, we are keen to partner with innovators globally, starting with Indonesia, Bangladesh and South Africa.

Entrepreneurs gain so much by bringing their expertise to joint ventures, building strong working relationships and mutual respect with business leaders, whilst at the same time driving digital enablement. I believe collaborative empowerment and innovation are the keys to unlocking the challenges of a post Covid-19 world.
Thank you & stay safe.

Dr Ashok Suppiah
Founder & CEO Mitra Group

How to turn a great idea into a successful business – Part 3

By Ashok Suppiah, Blogs

Entrepreneurship would be easy if there was a science or formula for a start-up to become successful. Right? Unfortunately the formula doesn’t exist. However experience does tell me that many successful entrepreneurs and start-ups master three very important characteristics:

  • Commitment and team strength
  • Passion to innovate
  • Early market validation.

Last week I published two articles about ‘Commitment and Team Strength’ and ‘A Passion to Innovate’. This third article in the series is about ‘Early Market Validation.

Market first: Get market validation fast
All entrepreneurs believe they can sell their product or service. But the entrepreneurs who succeed are the ones who validate their offering amongst potential purchasers very early on. What they also validate is how they will sell their product or service.

At Mitra we cannot stress just how important this is and our advice to help achieve validation is as follows:

1.Take the Agile approach.

Agile helps to breakdown ideas into small manageable execution blocks, that lead to the creation of a planned roadmap, and a product which is built incrementally and fast.

Agile supports our belief that entrepreneurs should aim to take the prototype to market within 30-45 days. Especially in the tech world where people are innovating at breakneck speed.

Time to market is crucial for new ideas and Agile helps to keep the process moving incrementally whilst validating the concept early.

2.Find some early customers – even if it’s just for the pilot stage.

Finding a partner or potential customers can be very powerful to help validate an offering, not only in terms of obtaining reviews, improving the offering, and spreading the word, but also because it can help to raise funds.

3.Avoid running user feedback forums.

Instead, find some target users and observe how they use your prototype or product. Use the findings for further improvement.

4.The validation stage should never be about perfection.

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of not launching their product or service until it’s perfect, but we believe perfection takes too long and could end up costing entrepreneurs their whole idea. It’s important to get the boat in the water, rather than miss it entirely. 

It’s also worth bearing in mind that early adopters are usually happy to take risks using new products, especially if they feel they’ll have a part in forming the future make-up of the offering.

The timing of market entry is just as important as getting the project right.
If you’re a budding entrepreneur, we hope you’ve found this article useful.

Do you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?
Strive to be the one out of 10 startups that succeed.

This is the final article in the series. If you would like to read all three characteristics, contact Mitra for a copy of our complete publication titled ‘How to turn a great idea into a successful business: The important characteristics of an entrepreneur or start-up’.

Mitra for entrepreneurs

If you have a start-up that needs starting up, contact us today about the Mitra Start-Up Kit: an intensive three week programme that will help you transform your idea into everything you need to launch your business, and you’ll walk away with a fully-fledged business model, a product prototype, and a kick-ass investor pitch.

For further information please contact us at 0208 090 4121, or innovate@mitra.com.

Dr Ashok Suppiah
Founder & CEO Mitra Group