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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

Start_up_blog_2

How to turn a great idea into a successful business – Part 2

By Ashok Suppiah, Blogs

There is no science or formula for a start-up to become successful. However, experience shows that 10% of the entrepreneurs and start-ups that succeed master three very important characteristics:

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

Last week I posted an article about ‘Commitment and Team Strength’. This second article in the series is about ‘A Passion to Innovate’.

A Passion to innovate
Entrepreneurs have a passion for change and create products that are innovative and ‘right’ for the market, which also simplify or enrich people’s lives
At Mitra, we see various types of products and services innovation, however, not everyone gets it right first time. With reference to the technology world in particular we see three types of technology innovation amongst entrepreneurs:

1. Entrepreneurs with ideas which provide consumers with new ways of doing things.

For example:

  • We bank nowadays via mobile apps, rather than visiting the branches.
  • We watch entire series on Netflix in one sitting, rather than waiting for the TV to air new episodes each week.
  • We don’t call cab companies anymore, instead, we hail an Uber taxi on 4G.
  • When did you last read a printed dictionary? There’s no need when Google provides the answers.

Banking, watching TV, understanding the meaning of/how to spell words, and finding a taxi are not new activities, but tech entrepreneurs have made them seem new by making it possible for us to do things differently, more efficiently, perhaps safer even and without taking much time from our busy calendar.

2. Entrepreneurs disrupting old ideas, with better, new improved versions

Some entrepreneurs may not have the initial ideas, but their innovation, their drive, and their passion enables them to take old ideas (phones, shopping, holiday accommodation) and improve them to such an extent that they are now seen as innovative.
For example:

  • Apple did not invent Smartphones, but they’ve been innovative in the types of Smartphones they’ve launched and the way they have launched them.
  • Online shopping also existed long before Amazon did, but Amazon have managed to perfect it, especially with their offerings such as Amazon Prime next day delivery, or even Amazon Now delivery within an hour? (Who would ever have thought you could order something online and have it delivered to your door with 60 minutes on Boxing day?)
  • Holiday accommodation websites have been around for years too, but AirBnB have managed to launch a new version where everyday people can easily make some money by renting their homes out for mini breaks or holidays. This is an innovative approach which has certainly disrupted the traditional idea of booking cottages, holiday homes, or hotels on traditional travel sites.

3. Aggregators entrepreneurs who bundle individual services into much bigger offerings.

Some entrepreneurs may not have the initial ideas, but their innovation, their drive, and their passion enables them to take old ideas (phones, shopping, holiday accommodation) and improve them to such an extent that they are now seen as innovative.
For example:

  • Apple did not invent Smartphones, but they’ve been innovative in the types of Smartphones they’ve launched and the way they have launched them.
  • Online shopping also existed long before Amazon did, but Amazon have managed to perfect it, especially with their offerings such as Amazon Prime next day delivery, or even Amazon Now delivery within an hour? (Who would ever have thought you could order something online and have it delivered to your door with 60 minutes on Boxing day?)
  • Holiday accommodation websites have been around for years too, but AirBnB have managed to launch a new version where everyday people can easily make some money by renting their homes out for mini breaks or holidays. This is an innovative approach which has certainly disrupted the traditional idea of booking cottages, holiday homes, or hotels on traditional travel sites.

Aggregator entrepreneurs have a vision because they see the potential in a number of products or services and what can be achieved by bringing it all together. They focus on simplifying our purchasing process within a specific area.

Examples include:

  • Travel sites such as Booking.com and TripAdvisor have empowered consumers to make the right choices for travelling. Every hotel provides their own reservation system, but Booking.com has made it easier to book many hotels via one single app. It’s very elegant.
  • There are websites available where we can find childcare services or dog walking services in any location, with many recommendations, all from one place.
  • When shopping across the web, instead of simply looking at individual luxury clothing websites, we can now visit sites such as Net-a-porter.com where many products from luxury brands have been aggregated into one place and are available to buy.
  • For fans of Nando’s and Gourmet Burger, there’s no need to simply stick to an Indian or Chinese if you want your food delivered, as Deliveroo – a London start-up founded in 2013 – aims to deliver Nando’s and Gourmet Burger to your door within 40 minutes. (They also now support numerous other restaurants in the UK and few other countries.)

When it comes to product innovation, passionate and innovative entrepreneurs have a head start if they are constantly thinking of these five paramount questions:

  • Am I simplifying someone’s life?
  • Why would customers buy my product? Am I adding value?
  • Will they really ‘love’ my product?
  • Is the market ready or am I too early?
  • Can I raise the funds and assemble the right team?

They will be successful if their ideas are strong, powerful, innovative and focused on simplicity, solving peoples’ problems and improving lives.

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.

The third and final article in this series ‘How to turn a great idea into a successful business: The important characteristics of an entrepreneur or start-up’ will be about a ‘Early Market Validation’.

If you would like to read all three characteristics please 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

How to turn a great idea into a successful business – Part 1

By Ashok Suppiah, Blogs

Since the 2008 recession, we have seen a surge in the number of start-ups and entrepreneurs with great ideas. However, ideas are plenty, but success is seldom, and according to Fortune magazine nine out 10 start-ups fail.

Why is this?
At Mitra Innovation, we know there is no science or formula for a start-up to become successful. However, our experience shows that 10% of the entrepreneurs and start-ups that succeed master three very important characteristics:

  1. Commitment and team strength
  2. Passion to innovate
  3. Early market validation.

Over the course of the next few weeks Mitra will post three articles about the three important characteristics for a successful start-up. This first article in the series is about ‘Commitment and Team Strength’.

Commitment and team strength:
Entrepreneurs need to be committed and have a strong team

Start-ups are not for the feint-hearted, especially tech startups. Markets move quickly and founders have to dedicate their passion and effort on their ideas, as well as understand what is going on around them and how other market activities affect their offering.

They need support to get their ideas off the ground and this has to come from a strong team who can help with business planning, idea creation, execution, marketing and operations. While an entrepreneur perfects what the product should offer, the team must look at other areas:

  • Who are the customers?
  • What is the business plan and revenue model?
  • How will we deploy and market the product?
  • How can we look after customers and partners?
  • How should we drive different sales channels and acquire the right channel partners?
  • How will we run operations and support end-customers?

Launching an idea involves many activities, with strong dependencies that need to be executed in harmony. Hence why entrepreneurs need a dream team that can be depended on.

The team can be made up of a mixture of direct employees, outside consultants, or a team of people from the investment side. And as long as the team has commitment, drive, passion and stamina, the project is off to a good start.

At Mitra we believe in the importance of a good team for any start-up and we’ve shown this by recently launching a food and health safety startup in New Zealand, called FoodAssured.com. This online platform provides an integrated solution for Café, Deli and Restaurants to plan, operationalise and manage everyday activities for safety, quality and compliance to food standards. Mitra has become an integral part of the core team, playing the CTO role and running the entire engineering team.

If you’re a budding entrepreneur, we hope you’ve found this short article useful.
Do you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?
Strive to be the one out of 10 startups that succeeds.

The next article in the series ‘How to turn a great idea into a successful business: The important characteristics of an entrepreneur or start-up’, will be about a ‘Passion to Innovate’.
If you would like to read all three characteristics in advance, please contact Mitra for a copy of our complete publication.

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

Mitra-leadership

Mitra Innovation 2020 leadership program – engineering a culture of ‘Inspired Performance’

By Blogs

Bonus: five insights we’ve learnt from Dananjaya Hettiarachchi about telling a story that is compelling and convincing

Mastering the art and science of persuasion is the gold standard of progressive leadership. A skill that is often understood but seldom demonstrated with the consistency and accuracy that is called for by today’s dynamic business environment.

As Mitra Innovation (a technology innovation and digital transformation company based in the UK, Sri Lanka and Australia) takes on an increasing global portfolio of clients, the ability to communicate, connect and influence with ease and confidence becomes a core skill for the organisation’s future leaders.

Dananjaya Hettiarachchi, a Human Resources Development (HRD) Specialist – and the World Champion of Public Speaking, 2014 – is partnering with Mitra Innovation through its Future Leader Program to develop Mitra Innovation’s second level of leadership. The Future Leader Program will transform middle management in becoming better communicators, influencers and speakers, through the art of storytelling and persuasive communication.

Dammika Ganegama – Managing Director of Mitra Innovation explained – “We are on a journey to become one of the fastest technology innovators in the market.

The Future Leader Program is aimed at enabling all of us at Mitra Innovation to tell our story better, inspire our clients and be consistent in the way we communicate, connect and influence our teams.

This will ensure that we work as a unified, guided, relentless engineering unit that keeps pushing the boundaries of today’s technology.”

Inspired communications gel teams together and result in shared experiences across the organisation. Improving communications internally and externally is a part of Mitra Innovation’s drive to build leaders that can inspire, work across cultures, and break down silos, while driving a philosophy of continuous learning.

Asela Mendis – Product Manager and facilitator for the Future Leader Program at Mitra Innovation further explained – “Since we started the Future Leader Program at Mitra Innovation in 2017, we have witnessed tremendous improvements in our workforce, such as engineers picking up leadership roles, more enjoyable team working cultures and increases in result oriented individual performances.”

Dananjaya Hettiarachchi uses a blended learning approach that adapts rapid competency development principles to tailor-make the learning interventions for Mitra Innovation leaders. The program is designed to enable participants to become global brand ambassadors equipped with the communication and influencing skills needed to handle both internal and external client demands with ease and confidence

Ganegama continues: “We invited Dananjaya Hettiarachchi to help us on this journey because he is a proven international keynote speaker and performance coach. His insights as a communications and peak performance specialist is exactly what we require to mould our next generation of leaders.”

Here are the five key communication principles we learned from Dananjaya Hettiarachchi about public speaking

1. What’s your message seed?

Today your clients need to know your value proposition as fast as you can say your company’s name. How do you do it without making it look like you are reading out your organisation’s annual report? You need to be able to wrap your core message (value proposition) in a compelling story that helps the listener understand the context. The ability to seed your value proposition (message) in a story that highlights your organisation’s capabilities in an engaging manner, will keep your client engaged and interested

2. The seven second Window

You may be talking to your team or to a client. Whoever is in front of you has an attention window of seven seconds. They listen to you in continuous attention blocks of seven seconds. So, every now and then involve the person into your conversation or talk. The best way to do this is by lining your presentation with rhetorical questions, humour and active audience participation.

3. Read your audience

A good communicator can read the audience as easily as he/she will read a book. The way the audience is seated, how they place their legs, their arms, how they respond to what you say, all tell a story of how engaged they are. Body language is the subconscious expression of how the audience is feeling. If you are an engaging speaker or a communicator you will most often find the audience leaning forward, a typical sign that you have the audience in the palm of your hand. Depending on the body language displayed you will need to adjust your sales pitch, presentation or keynote accordingly.

4. Before selling the product sell the story

We all love a great product but what do we love more? A great product with a great story. Apple, Microsoft and every great brand we have in the world today has a backstory and most clients will pay the premium to be a part of that story. In any sales encounter the ability to weave the backstory into the product helps the clients understand the inherent values, culture and morals of an organisation. Telling a compelling genesis or origin story allows you to create an implicit connection with the client

5. Nothing builds trust like vulnerability

A good communicator, whether it be at a client sales pitch, keynote or presentation shows the right amount of vulnerability to build trust. Trust is a cornerstone of persuasion and influence. It makes you look relatable, it makes your organisation look more human and it shows a level of transparency that builds bridges. Framing your failures and mistakes in the correct way can create a powerful connection between you and your audience. This will allow you to have more transparent conversations as well as create the right expectation levels.

These are but a few of the many tips, tricks and techniques Dananjaya Hettiarachchi is imparting to the leadership team at Mitra Innovation.

Dananjaya Hettiarachchi explained: “We live in a world where we are selling or influencing someone every minute of every day. No matter how technically proficient you are, the ability to communicate in a compelling and convincing manner will take you further and open doors that were previously closed to you. Companies should focus on building a charismatic leadership team that can inspire teams and negotiate through the most complex interpersonal situations with ease and confidence. An inspired workplace has inspired leaders that inspire performance.”

Be part of an inspired organisation! Visit www.mitrai.com now for more information.

ROI in Data Science

ROI in Data Science

By Blogs

The Splurge

About five years ago, Big Data was at the height of the hype cycle, and enterprises, not wanting to be left behind, jumped in on the movement, with many investing in expensive data teams, infrastructure, and tools that they hoped would improve and increase the speed and output of their team.

Experts claimed that these investments would take years to pay off. And here we are, years later, still with billions of dollars in big data-related expenses (from employees to tools), still investing and putting faith in data teams. Yet, many enterprises still report not being able to see a return on their investment, and are left unable to prove that any of it is really worth their time and money.

Exactly a year ago a Gartner press release said, “Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.7 trillion in 2018…” It also went on to say:

“Looking at some of the key areas driving spending over the next few years, Gartner forecasts $2.9 trillion in new business value opportunities attributable to AI by 2021, as well as the ability to recover 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity.”

However, without hard numbers pointing to success, it’s difficult for decision-makers to continue to invest hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars on their latest data endeavours. Certainly, any enterprise that has a data team, is re-evaluating their productivity and return on investment (ROI). And anyone looking to spin up a new data division is obviously doing their homework first – closely analysing costs and their potential ROI before diving in.

The Challenges to Calculating ROI in Data Science

A study conducted by Forbes and McKinsey (sponsored by Teradata) states, large enterprises reported that data efforts improved company growth by just 1% to 3% on average. However, this study shows, only 37% of respondents could quantify the business case for big data analytics, while 47% couldn’t, and 9% reported having ‘no clear vision’. And yet another study by BCG estimated 20 to 30% EBITDA gains for data-driven companies. So clearly, this is something most companies struggle with today and is something that analysts themselves struggle to quantify as a whole.

The bottom line is that while most companies struggle to calculate their big data ROI, including what they should exactly be measuring to get there, larger data still proposes that the investment is worthwhile and that investing in big data and data science is worthwhile.

A Real World Example: Netflix’s Content Recommendation Engine

In February 2018, Forbes reported that Netflix credits its ‘Content Recommendation Engine’ for reducing customer churn to the tune of $1 billion annually.

Deploying a data science model into production can be an expensive and lengthy process. This project took years to develop, but the company credits it for reducing customer churn to the tune of $1 billion annually.

So Netflix is obviously seeing the ROI it wants from data science. However, it wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows for them either. In 2012, the company spent $1 million on ‘content recommendation engine improvements’ that it never even used. This was, for the most part, due to the magnitude of the engineering efforts needed to complete the project.

However, the reason why Netflix has ultimately succeeded in building this highly profitable content recommendation system was in part because they opted out of implementing this $1 million worth of code. The decision makers had a goal, which was to reduce the number of customers who unsubscribed, and knowledge of the cost vs. the potential benefits in that particular context, a 10% improvement in recommendation accuracy was, at that time, simply not worth the estimated engineering investment.

Evidence of Absence

Companies invest in data teams, infrastructures and data tools for all kinds of reasons and are pushing different projects at various stages of maturity, so it’s not exactly a cookie-cutter calculation. So where to begin?

The reality of measuring the ROI in projects and data teams, especially for data gathering tools and technologies can be exceptionally challenging due to these reasons:

It’s at many times difficult to single out the contribution of data alone to improvements, especially larger business outcomes (like lower costs, higher profit margins etc.).
The calculation is complicated because the value isn’t all in one number; it can be spread across multiple departments and teams.
Due to these reasons, measuring ROI for a data project can end up being a data project in itself, which is often difficult to justify.

Defining Success

The question shouldn’t be ‘what does ROI mean?’, but rather ‘what can it mean?’ The initial step in calculating ROI is to define what ‘success’ means to your organisation, and considering all the paths, directly and indirectly, to which data (or your data department) contributes.

Value presents itself in many different forms. So, considering all the possible paths through which data could bring success, is a part of the work involved – it’s not a uniform approach and will differ for every organisation.

More Revenue

So how is data contributing to the company’s revenue? Clearly, if the company’s product is a data product, this is obvious. Take the examples of music recognition apps like SoundHound or Musixmatch, in the absence of the data product, their earnings would be zero because the app simply wouldn’t exist. However, for products where this is not the case, there are still likely to be some less self-evident ways through which data might impact revenue, so much so that it should be strongly considered in ROI calculations.

One instance is increasing the number of customers, possibly through better-targeted marketing and sales activities thanks to predictive analytics or a machine learning model.
And it’s not just for new customers. Data science could be at the root of revenue-impacting projects that make existing customers buy more (whether it’s because of a recommendation engine or up-selling and cross-selling).
Businesses that use data effectively are poised to take some US$1.2 trillion away from their peers by 2020. So we will likely see more of them making such large-scale investments in what they hope to be cost-effective solutions that will keep them ahead of the competition.

If you want to be among the data science successes, the team here at Mitra, can help you get a bird’s-eye view of your data science strategy. Armed with the right people, the proper processes and best technology, you will be able to improve your data insight, to enable ROI-boosting decision making.

If you like to find out more about the solutions that are available and how we can help you email us at innovate@mitrai.com, or call us on 0203 908 1977. We look forward to hearing from you!

Understanding DevOps

By Blogs

– Part of our Discover DevOps series, with Anuradha Prasanna

DevOps evolved from a rising demand for digital solutions, starting around 2010 and becoming mainstream in 2015.

DORA DevOps Maturity Quadrant

I remember as a junior engineer how we initially ran the software development and operations cycle in a waterfall fashion, with lengthy lead times to delivery, shifting to agile after a few years as the need for a faster software delivery cycle grew. DevOps arrived as a ‘big bang’ in 2015, allowing software features to be written and released faster.

But that’s enough of the history!

 

To most people DevOps means Continuous Implementation and Continuous Development (CI/CD), and that is indeed what drives DevOps in an organisation when established properly. But there are other elements required for the DevOps journey to become sustainable and cohesive within an IT organisation in the longer run. We can categorise these into three key areas:

  1. Processes
  2. People
  3. Culture

These three key elements must maintain a healthy environment for the CI/CD to run effectively and deliver business value to our software application customers.

Processes must be simple, supportive, effective and geared around agile planning and delivery to dynamically prioritise and manoeuvre software development towards fulfilling customer demands.

In addition, people must be agile and customer focused, with complementary skillsets to deliver real value to the customer while achieving rapid delivery.

The organisation, business units and team culture should support this by maintaining a healthy environment with boundary-free communications and the freedom and empowerment to innovate. Building teams, recognising their excellence and providing strong, supportive leadership is crucial.

DevOps teams act as one to achieve common goals, and that is to deliver fully functional software and features to the customer, faster!

With organisational processes designed with this objective in mind and teams built and led to succeed, this concept and the IT culture behind it becomes an enabler for all, making CI/CD effective in:

  1. Planning and prioritising the business requirements to be implemented
  2. Implementing business features in an agile manner
  3. Automatically testing the new features and resolving any issues
  4. Automatic deployment based on quality gates being passed
  5. Monitoring and gathering live health statistics
  6. Fewer issues in the live environment
  7. Bottlenecks and bugs found are prioritised and reported back to the requirements and planning process

Below shows a high-level list of items that must be leveraged by the CI/CD process:

  • Automated application deployment and promotion to next environments
  • Integrated automated testing in all deployment environments
  • Utilisation of test virtualisation (mock services and mock data) to shift-left testing
  • Orchestration of complex deployments for applications that span platforms (data, mobile, backend, middleware)
  • Manage slow-paced and fast-paced deployment dependencies (2 Speed IT)
  • Write the CI/CD pipelines as code (PaC)
  • Automated infrastructure management and provisioning with infrastructure as code (IaC)

In summary, this means development of high-quality software that works in production can be delivered to the customer faster than before. The effectiveness of the delivered software can be validated quickly, with a rapid turnaround for any course corrections.

Anuradha Prasanna
Enterprise architect | Mitra Innovation

DORA Quadrant for DevOps

DORA Quadrant for DevOps

By Blogs

Anuradha Prasanna, Enterprise architect | Mitra Innovation
– Part of our Discover DevOps series

DevOps Research and Assessment or DORA is a research program that investigates the capabilities that drive software delivery performance and stability in organisations across the globe. One of the useful analytical tools DORA provides is the DORA Quadrant. This tool determines the DevOps maturity of an organisation.

DORA DevOps Maturity Quadrant

The DORA Quadrant uses four key measurements:

1. Deployment Frequency

For the primary application or service that you work on, how often does your organisation deploy code to production or release it to end-users?

 

2. Lead Time for Changes

For the primary application or service that you work on, what is the lead time for changes i.e., how long does it take to go from code being committed to code successfully running in production?

 

3. Time to Restore Service

For the primary application or service that you work on, how long does it generally take to restore service when an incident that impacts users occurs i.e., an unplanned outage or service impairment?

 

4. Change Failure Rate

For the primary application or service that you work on, what percentage of changes to production or releases to users, result in a service impairment or outage, subsequently requiring remediation, e.g., a hotfix, rollback, fix forward or patch?

 

DevOps Performance
| by Deployment frequency and Lead time for changes

 

Application Stability
| by Time to restore service and Change failure rate

 

So, based on the deployment frequency and the lead time for changes, we can determine how effectively DevOps is performing, and by looking at the time to restore and the change failure rate, we can understand the stability of the application. 

Using DORA you can also compare your application or organisation with their annual, global studies. 

You can see here a summary of the study DORA has done in 2019:

source: DORA Accelerate State of DevOps 2019 report

Source: DORA Accelerate State of DevOps 2019 report

By comparing your application/team/organisation’s rating to these industry benchmarks, you can get a clear understanding of how you are performing.

If you have multiple applications to assess, you can measure these individually deriving an average for the final quadrant.

In summary, the key measurements above allow you to apply industry recognised metrics to your application development and deployment, assessing the quality of your application code and the maturity of your DevOps process.

This is a great tool for any organisation to assess current development and deployment processes and track performance against set internal targets and those of the industry.

 

Get in touch with us

To learn how Mitra Innovation Experts can help you, call us for a free consult at
0203 908 1977 or email us at innovate@mitrai.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

Mitra partner with Creatio

By Blogs, CreatioNo Comments

Mitra Innovation is a Digital Advancement company. We help our customers stay ahead by harnessing the power of digital and cloud technologies. We guide them through the rapidly evolving technology landscape and exploit the latest tech to deliver an outstanding customer experience. We unlock the potential in their data and help securely manage, control and exploit it . We enable our customers to innovate, scale and grow their business. We’d love to explore the challenges and opportunities your business faces and how Mitra could assist.

Sharing common values of excellence, expertise and innovation; Mitra Innovation and Creatio are committed to empowering clients with intelligent platforms such as CRMs and business process management. These help businesses manage the complete customer journey and accelerate sales, marketing, services and operations.  With the SaaS market to surpass $278 billion by 2021, intelligent business process management and CRM solutions will accelerate the digital transformation of companies. This provides them with the needed level of agility and flexibility to constantly reinvent their organisations in order to meet the needs of the ever-demanding digitally native customers.

Creatio envisions the world where any business idea can be automated in minutes. To embrace this concept, the company provides top-notch, low-code process management and CRM platforms for organisations to grow and scale. Unlike traditional CRM systems, Creatio allows businesses to accelerate key processes quickly and easily, equipping companies with the agility needed to constantly test different approaches and define the most efficient ways of communicating with clients.

We are delighted to partner with Creatio for providing the next generation of CRM with low code creative solutions to our global customers. We chose Creatio because they are market leaders in CRM with low-code and Business Process Management. The Creatio partner program complements Mitra’s offerings by providing rapid innovative service to our customers.

Dr.Ashok SuppiahChief Executive Officer - Mitra Group

About Creatio

Creatio (formerly bpm’online) is a leading low-code, process automation and CRM company. It has been highly recognized as a market leader by key industry analysts. Creatio’s intelligent platform accelerates sales, marketing, service and operations for thousands of customers and hundreds of partners worldwide. The mission of Creatio is to help companies ACCELERATE!

For more information, please visit www.creatio.com

Fishing in data lakes to derive valuable business insights

Fishing in data lakes for business insights

By Blogs

Following EMC’s research, it is anticipated that by the year 2020, the amount of data in our digital universe is expected to grow from 4.4 trillion GB in 2013 to 44 trillion GB. This could mean that the ever increasing pool of invaluable data will give rise to more opportunities for organisations to understand customer experience, derive actionable insights and generate higher value from vast quantities of accumulated data.

To cater to ever increasing needs for data storage, enterprise data storage facilities have undergone a technological shift – from data warehouses to data lakes – which proves attractive to organisations because of its increased computing power and data storage capacity.

With the explosion of the concept of data lakes during the past five years, it is important to carefully observe how enterprises are going to store data from disparate data sources, and also ensure the same data storage facilities will not end up as data dumping grounds that lead to siloing of data.

An interesting feature of data lakes is that it acts as a reservoir of valuable data for enterprises. This enables rapid ingestion of data in its native format even before data structures and the business requirements have been defined for its use.

The value that is generated for enterprises lies in – having access to this vast amount of data from disparate data sources, the ability to discover insights, visualisation of  large volumes of data and also, importantly – the ability to perform analytics on top of this data. All of this used to be more complicated both, to acquire such vast quantities of as well as to perform the above mentioned functions.

It should be noted that analytics cannot be derived from raw data alone. Data first needs to be integrated, cleansed, transformed, metadata managed and properly governed. This way data lakes can be harnessed for control of data from disparate sources, in diverse formats to correlate – thus resulting in business insights that increases value to market.

Praedictio Data Lake, engineered by Mitra Innovation provides a competitive advantage with its comprehensive data lake solution consisting of data cataloguing, visualizations of data in the data lake, ETL (extract, transform and load) and Data Governance. The solution is built on AWS technologies such as S3 as the data storage technology, AWS Glue for data cataloguing and ETL and AWS Quick sight for insight generation.

Praedictio leverages the inherent advantages of AWS Analytics capabilities such as the non-requirement of server management (because AWS takes care of heavy lifting work of server deployment and migration), pay as you use model where users do not have to pay upfront fees or annual fees, and scalability where usage can scale from few users to tens of thousands of users. The most attractive feature of Analytics is SPICE (Super-fast, Parallel, In-memory Calculation Engine) where users can run interactive queries of large data sets and extract rapid responses.

In addition to supporting analytics for previous data, Praedictio also delivers predictive analytics using machine learning technologies.

Machine learning enables the advantage of shorter times to receive faster insights. By way of leveraging AWS Machine Learning capabilities, Praedictio eliminates the barriers of using machine learning for developers and provides easy access to trained models.

Nevertheless, it is noteworthy to keep in mind – the importance of data management within a data lake. If not properly catalogued and governed, the opportunity for deriving business insights would be far less.

Follow us as we explore the newest frontiers in ICT innovation, and we apply such technologies to solving real world problems faced by enterprises, organisations and individuals!