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Mobile, Cloud and Big data are bright trends for open source

The wheels of open source are strongly moving forward, just as suggested it would be in my post ‘ Storm over Open Source looks Unabated’. When glancing inside the sphere of open source technology, you will find many good reasons for it to be the choice for next generation IT architecture. As per the current trend, the rate of adoption of open source by enterprises is around 40%. There are great innovations happening in cloud; the mobile market and big data markets are flourishing. Each of these developments passes through the gate of open source.

With the use of these technologies, it makes it no surprise that the top factors that still influence enterprises for adopting open source are:

  • Lower ownership
  • More affordable maintenance cost
  • Abundance of code/components from which to select
  • Flexibility
  • Freedom from Vendor lock-in

Last month at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco the results of the "2012 Future of Open Source Survey Results" brought interesting news for the Open Source community. The survey report of 2012 (the sixth annual report) is produced by North Bridge Venture Partners and Black Duck Software.  It stated:

"The results of the survey, now in its fifth year, reveal that open source is now fully embraced by both the public and private sectors, and is being implemented across a wide variety of markets and applications such as social publishing and big data. Additionally, user confidence in open source continues to grow dramatically, represented by the fact that users are much less concerned with historical impediments to adoption such as licensing or conforming to an organization’s internal policies."

Other findings from the survey are listed below.

Factors influencing the choice of OSS Projects are strong, especially in the availability of commercial support.

OSS Projects

The 2012 survey shows that Freedom from Vendor Lock-in, Lower Costs, and Quality make OSS the right choice.

What makes OSS Attractive

The group of Open Source Collaborators is strong.

Open Source Collaborators

The platforms of Hadoop, R, and NoSQL are now growing vigorously. They will be key development areas for many enterprises’ big data strategies.

James Kobielus, (he was then an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. before joining IBM Corp. as a senior program director for product marketing of big data analytics solutions), wrote in an e-mail message that "open-source approaches have the momentum of the most widespread adoption and the most feverish innovation." This was originally posted by Brain Boom in an article The open-source answer to big data.

Kobielus further added, platforms like Hadoop, R and NoSQL have enjoyed an advantage over proprietary software because they were able to evolve faster. They're also being continuously developed and refined by many different parties. Pretty soon, he predicts, open-source will begin to dominate the big data world.

Open source software platform has already exploded in popularity and Big Data talent is in high demand. In fact, many open source apps are now considered superior to their proprietary counterparts. The quality of open source, capability to continuously improve and scale, and innovation are the key drivers of its adoption. And we, OSSCube, the Open Source people, are quite optimistic about it!!!


Storm over Open Source looks Unabated, US Government goes Open Source to build Open Source Version of “data.gov”

“The Future is Open Source”, as predicted many times on the Internet, now looks promising as the US government’s affair with Open Source continues to grow. In most recent developments, the US government has begun to open source pieces of data.gov. This is an important milestone not only for the Obama Administration to advance open and transparent government, but also for the open source community.

The open source version [of Data.gov] is being collaboratively developed by the US and Indian governments and its planned to launch the complete open-source code — called Open Government Platform — as early as 2012. As detailed in the report, this will enable governments across the world to create their own open government data sites.

Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel and Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra wrote the following in their jointly penned blog:

The plan specifically called for an effort under the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue to produce “Data.gov-in-a-Box” -- an open source version of the United States’ Data.gov data portal and India’s India.gov.in document portal. The U.S. and India are working together to produce an open source version available for implementation by countries globally, encouraging governments around the word to stand up open data sites that promote transparency, improve citizen engagement, and engage application developers in continuously improving these efforts.  Technical teams from the U.S. and Indian governments have been working together since August of this year, with a planned launch of the open source product (which is now called the Open Government Platform (OGPL) to reflect its broad scope) in early 2012.

It also brings good news to Drupal lovers, as Drupal has made inroads into government IT. This open source CMS has been The future is Open Source chosen to build the Open Government platform which is a good choice to further strengthen the open source content management system.
 
Without a doubt, Open Source has already exploded on the enterprise level. The US government and national governments across Europe are also developing a public sector love affair with open source. But what does this initiative really mean for the world of open source?  
 
This also represents a positive challenge for the community as the products/solutions maturity, scalability and security are likely to come under scrutiny like never before. Auditing eyes of analysts and information security experts will also find more face-time now with Open Source solutions.
 
Hopefully, we can expect to further validate open source in open government and continue to brighten the future for Open Source Innovators and the community.

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March onwards, ye Soldier!

Dear Team,

The journey of life does not always afford us a moment to stop and celebrate a milestone as it passes us by. Something almost similar seems to have happened to a very important milestone in OSSCube’s journey to become a global enterprise. As another week draws to a close, I find myself compelled to write about our recent accomplishment; to give us all a moment of celebration, a moment of pride and a moment of anticipation of great things to follow.

In the past September, we have been fortunate to having achieved quite a few crucial milestones in our journey. Perhaps, the most visible one was of the immense success of the OSI Days 2010 conference.Not only has the conference been a strategic success, It has also put our company right in the centre of action amongst the OSS community in India!

Team Zend with Team OSSCube - Siddhartha, Lavanya and Pranab at the OSSCube Booth

Hidden amongst this fanfare, just before the conference, was also the all-important signing of a GLOBAL SI relationship between Enterprise DB and OSSCube. This special milestone once again makes available to us the position of a market leader/make in the OSS databases space after some “grey” shades were brought by Oracle’s take over of MySQL. The most exciting part is that the relationship is global, enabling us to cover all the geographies we serve!

Talking about Global, just 2 days before OSI Days 2010, we also accomplished a very special milestone. OSSCube signed a definitive joint-venture agreement with One Point Consulting, UK to start the operations of OSSCube UK! With the signing of this agreement OSSCube has entered the UK market with a bang by partnering with a highly reputed consulting company with a great leadership team. The JV had been in the works for over a year and was finally consummated in mid-September, 2010.

One Point Consulting + OSSCube

OSSCube UK has the potential to be a game changer for us in many ways, to summarize a few:

  • It allows us to enter not only UK market, but also create a gateway for us in the entire EU/EMEA region, rich open source markets.
  • It, also, gives OSSCube access to top-notch OSS consulting capabilities (brought in by the terrific and highly experienced UK Team) that puts us right at the Top of the Value Chain! Not something that many SME’s can boast of.
  • The JV also adds many new product lines for us that will be now pursued globally including Zimbra, ProcessMaker, and Alfresco.

With this JV consummated, OSSCube has now graduated to being a truly Global company, with delivery capability and headcount spread across India, USA and the UK (spread across 3 continents).

Vineet and I, last week, flew to London to formally start the JV operations and inaugurate our office. It was a moment to cherish when all the founding members of OSSCube UK came together in the same room for the first time. I have a couple of pictures for you:

Shashin, Lavanya
Shashin Shah (MD, One Point Consulting) and Myself with the JV Agreement. Shashin will also take over as the MD of OSSCube UK

The Launch Team of OSSCube UK
The Launch Team of OSSCube UK: (From Left to right) Rafiq (Head of Sales), Stephen Entwisle (Head of PMO), Shashin Shah (MD, OSSCube UK) and David Lindsay (Head of Consulting Services), Lavanya & Vineet

Do notice the date of the meeting - 10/10/10 - a rare occasion indeed!

So team, time for a quick celebration by patting our backs and congratulating each other, not only for the milestones achieved but also for the journey that has just begun! As OSSCube continues to tread on the path to being a global OSS brand.

Just before we wrap this up, I just wanted to give you a teaser - another good news is currently under the brew, and may be out before the end of the year. Stay tuned in!

Wishing each one of you the very best!

Lavanya


I am Airborne!

October 03 After the hectic packing...rushing to airport....last minute discussion's with Vineet, I am finally airborne! Just finished watching the movie "The Hangover” Got curious about how many more miles to London. I checked the map. Low and behold! I am 10,000 feet above somewhere between Tehran (Iran) and Baghdad (Iraq). Wow! I wouldn't want to jump out of the window here ! The map also shows me that I would have flown over Pakistan, Afghanistan and will fly over the Black sea, Turkey and Continental Europe before I get to London. It’s funny how a simple thing as height can change perspectives. With the regular route I don't think I would fancy my chances going through Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq on same day. I guess the wise men have it right...security is finally a state of mind. Anyhow, I am looking forward to meet the rest of the delegation from NASSCOM drawn equally from SME sector and large IT companies. It would be nice to know, how the last few quarters has been for everybody and may benefit from any insights these companies may have received. Europe market for IT Services has always been different and in some ways – still nascent and somewhat unexplored by Indian companies. Unlike US, which till recently gave us most of IT exports from India with almost all large Indian IT companies having setup local deliver center, Europe has been mostly local company play. The IT landscape here is mostly dotted with small to medium indigenous or local IT companies that have expanded pan EU in last decade or so. There is a fair degree of protectionism that one sees in local laws and even European customers want a near shore delivery. Not to mention the fact that language still is a major issue. The itinerary is power-packed with meeting with trade bodies, partner companies, regulators, law makers and lots of other stuff that promises to be exciting. Will try to steam moments to share with you what is happening here. October 06 We landed in London in the pleasantly cool weather. My first thoughts, “There are SO MANY INDIANS here! It isn't how I remembered London last” Anyway, I took the EUROSTAR – a real technology marvel. It's a train that connects London and Paris, covering the distance in a little over two hours...and travels below the sea! Awesome experience of how distances can be bridged. Paris never seems to get tired of its romantic appeal. Being an ardent admirer of Da Vinci and other renaissance masters, I am partially qualified to give a guided tour of the Parisian architecture. But I am really excited this time to see how the business environment of Paris functions. There is a perception that the European labor laws are very protectionists in nature and hence comes in the way of a competitive services economy. My impression of what I have seen in Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Invest in Paris HQ is that, protection or no protection, France is becoming increasingly aware of the potential of Inward investment and going out of its way to facilitate it! We just finished listening to Fancoise Benaud, the GLOBAL Chairman of Steria and Mukesh Aghi, the CEO of Streia India (Streia took over Xansa and have facilities now in NCR, Pune and Bangalore).

The bonhomie is evident between Som, Franchoise and Mukesh Aghi. We are all clapping in the background! It was a really inspiring speech from a Visionary ! No wonder Steria has outlasted its competition. They’ve just celebrated their 40th Birthday!
We got a taste of international diplomacy and protocol in the meeting with HE Sri Rajan Mathai, Indian Ambassador to France. He shared his deep insight and vision about the multifaceted Indo-French relationship, and also hosted a Indian LUNCH for us (great food...specially after three days of Pasta and smelly cheese) HE Ranjan Mathai - standing between Som and Me.

Presentation form "Invest in Paris", I am convinced.....Vineet, where is our check book! How can Paris be completed without the Eiffel Tower? Since it’s my third trip to Paris, I did not climb it anymore. We also walked down the Champs De Elyse, the Palace and the Louvre! Taking a walk through Central park just next to the Lovers Paris Leg is over! Everyone is excited to going shopping soon. I am looking forward to the lunch! To each one his own! October 7th Took the EUROSTAR once more and arrived back in London…..getting used to the SMALL (Pigeon hole) sized rooms in Central London hotel. My reaction again was, “Why so many Indians?” The itinerary of London leg has also been jam packed.  We have had meetings with Intellect, the counterpart of NASSCOM in India, it was great to exchange notes with companies of similar stage of growth from UK and got a view of how the domestic Indian IT services market looks from the far.  I was impressed with the quality of mentoring available to SME and Entrepreneurs from the Ecosystem and how far the government really goes to support any business which has the potential of eventually becoming a successful enterprise and employment generator. I seem to have a penchant for attracting work.  Mr. Som Mittal, President NASSCOM had to rush home and I got nominated as the Delegation Leader…so I’ll now have to fulfill all his speaking engagement! Here I am delivering an invited talk on “Opportunities for ICT Innovation in India” at Kingston Smith offices in London. Believe it or not, I had only five minutes notice for delivering this 20 minutes talk. Here I am talking again on how SME’s can prepare themselves as investor (at the offices of ALMT Legal), friendly companies and access new markets. This was followed by expert comments on “Indian Innovation Ecosystem”. In three days I have delivered five talks…phew!!! After a week of cold food even “Haldiram Moong Dal” is very tasty! Just outside the office of Think London. We just finished a seminar by UK Trade and Investment Commission about the Tax Laws and Incubation system in the UK. Believe it or not, as an Indian-IT professional, it’s possible to live and work in London, drawing an UK salary and paying NO TAXES!! May be we should move there soon! Also, the new incubation scheme of SME’s has convinced me that we need to setup in London ASAP. Just got off the phone with Vineet, checking if he can make it to the UK around the time of my return journey. UK has the potential to be an access or gateway to the rest of Europe as you become a part of the EU Economic Zone!

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Lavanya awarded by Academy for Global Business Advancement

It is said that Life is the best school and Experience is the best teacher. I realized this all over again when recently AGBA (Academy for Global Business Advancement, a highly respected association of some of the best Universities in USA and Europe) invited me to deliver a KEY NOTE address on their 2008 World Congress held in Bahrain. While pleasantly surprised to receive the invitation I was tickled by the Topic I was suggested. The wanted me to speak on " Indian IT Miracle - What can the world learn fromit !" wow…doesn’t the topic sound loaded.

I have lived IT for as long as I can remember but to distill the learnings from it that I can prescribe to the world took some time…consuming a lot of research and thinking hours and ofcourse to spin it as a story of a miracle unfolding was really special.

When I arrived for the conference the Program Chair Prof. Wiedmann from Germany threw another googly at me…suggesting that its not only INDIAN IT the miracle they would like to learn about but even India as a phenomenon. I guess I could understand his motivation as the brand India has really intrigued a lots of western academics as they yet don’t have a theory which can explain how we can have a Chandrayan launch but get delayed arriving to watch it due to potholes in the road!

The presentation and the engagement after that was a delightful experience. Especially the part about the humongous statistics about India….let me give you an example:

  • India is the 3rd largest economy (PPP adjusted) and the 2nd fastest growing one as well!
  • 36% of US Technology Professional and almost 50% doctors are Indians
  • Of the 10 richest people 4 are Indian and out these 3 have earned their Fortune doing business within India
  • Indian middle class today stands at 325MN which is almost the same as total Population of USA.
  • Every year we pull out 50Mn people from poverty. This is twice the population of Australia!
  • By 2020 about 59% of the world active knowledge workforce will be from India

IT model was of course easy to explain…in one line. Building worldclass software at $15/hr….this is the India IT miracle!! The real surprise for me was in the awards ceremony where in I learnt that the AGBA Global Honors search committee had nominated me for the Distinguished Young Entrepreneur Award. I was thrilled to receive this award from the academic stalwarts in attendance. This is the first time this has been awarded to and Indian or and IT company! (Last year's recipient I am told was the promoter of the 24*7*365 chain in Vietnam)
Ofcourse I was receiving it on behalf of the entire team back home... So Congratulations !!

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The Other Side of the Fence

Decisions in history can change millions of destinies. Seems like a quote that would describe what happened in the wee hours of the night before dawn of independence from the British raj. In one stroke of pen million of lives got re-written leaving a legacy not many of us are proud of.

Being an Indian the idea or concept of Pakistan has never been exciting. The continued insurgency in J&K or the bomb blasts all over India haven’t helped matters either. Lost in this din of politicking and diplomacy is a realization that on either side of the border it’s a case of few hundreds speaking and acting on behalf of the millions…who probably couldn’t agree less.

On one hand I had heard of tales of terrorists living across the border and on the other, from those who were lucky to visit, the stories of warmth and welcome of common people. I didn’t know what to believe when I was invited to participate in SAICON 2008 in Islamabad, as an International Key Note on Leadership.

Ever since I started considering going to Pakistan almost all my well wishers tried to convince me against it, one of the travel agencies even refused to book my ticket! Anyway once I decided I need to do this really once to put the ghosts in my mind to rest, I was clear I would go no matter what. And then came the Marriott Blast…the conference was supposed to be there…and even my mother began to suggest may be… Once I convinced my near and dear ones I had a tough time convincing the Visa Counsulate in Pak embassy, who insisted I needed a Ministry of Home, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of External Affairs and Federal Police clearance from Pakistan for a visa to be given….phew!! Thankfully my host arranged everything and I was granted the visa for a couple of days before I flew.

Once I landed, I was quite excited but also apprehensive….after all if you believe the media I was in a Hostile Territory! As if on a cue, the immigration was smooth. I was advised to register at the nearest police station with in 24 hrs which I did.

What really surprised me was that of all the other nationalities waiting in the queue including Americans and Britishers, the officer not only Prioritized me but was exceedingly courteous and helpful! In 2 minutes flat I was at the baggage desk. My host was there to receive me and as I sat quietly at the back of the car and saw the landscape I didn’t notice anything that would make me believe I was away from home. Same small houses, roads, dusty foot paths, traffic jams, same markets, cars and even music! So much for hostile territory !!

The conference was on a hill station called Murree which is known as Shimla of Pakistan…..what a serene and beautiful setting. I could see the Indian side of Kashmir mountains clearly…I was told that if I fly for 20 minutes form there I would be in India…..So much for distance !!

Conference was exceptionally good and I developed a lot of respect for the quality of intellectual engagement the presenters provided. I have since then developed a new respect for the scholarship of Pakistani academics, they had impeccable credentials with most having foreign degrees/experience. Frankly I found them far better than the average once meeting in India, I guess this profession in Pakistan still attracts the best and the brightest.

I also had the opportunity to meet many high ranking Govt officials including the minister for Science and Technology and minister of education. One characteristic feature of both the meeting was that both the ministers were clearly disillusioned and some what resigned to the current state of Pakistan. Seeing the leaders depressed about the future was a disconcerting experience.

I also visited a lot of local landmarks including the Parliament, Supreme Court, Qaid-e-Azam monument, Dar-e-koh and Pir Sohawa mountains. The sights were breath taking, surprisingly to me Islamabad seemed cleaner and more organized than Delhi !

As if to cap the experience, when I returned from the shopping trip I met the owner of the hotel I was staying in for 1 night before leaving for Doha, he was a retired Brigadier of Pak army, a veteran of 1971 war…finally I had met someone who could tell me what one can never hear here, and for sure he talked a lot…always believing I was US citizen with Indian lineage….what I heard I can not repeat but let me sum up saying, We did not create this situation we have just inherited it…but still its upto us to remedy it!

Packing with me memories of great food, warm people and a country of contrast when I was on the flight back….i was both relieved and enriched. But sure enough Pakistan did leave impressions on my mind that I will never forget…even if it is about what I would never want India to become !

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Lavanya delivers lecture at World Trade Center at SAO Polo, Brazil

While looking for partners and customers most Indian IT companies tend to look for US and Europe as lucrative markets to explore, rightly so as 82% of the outsourcing business originates from there. However for smaller companies especially product of niche services focused who cannot adopt the Carpet Bombing marketing strategy it makes sense to challenge this conventional wisdom and explore opportunities in markets which are still in many ways Virgin Territories. Of course as you venture into the lesser developed markets the traditional strategies of HIT and RUN marketing of HANG A SHINGLE marketing don’t necessarily work, specially since there are lots of local sensitivities ranging from the language to the culture and business peculiarities. Hence I have often argued that we need to look beyond the traditional model of looking for a "Sale" to that of looking for partners….building relationship with peers where both can grow.

I had a unique opportunity recently when I was invited by the World Trade Center in Brazil to Deliver a Lecture on India and Brazil opportunities for Strategic Partnerships. I accepted the offer with anticipation. Firstly as I was keen to understand and explore Brazil as a prospective market, not an easy job given that there really is so little information about it available here as it is not an important IT outsourcing country. Second the topic requested by them forced me to broaden my horizon beyond IT thereby affording an opportunity to deepen my understanding of the world economic order.

What I thence learnt is very interesting indeed. Even though I had read a lot about the so called emerging BRIC platform but never really cared much for it as China to my mind is way ahead of the pack and not really looking to compete with anyone else except US. Russia in some ways has become irrelevant in the global economic scenario due to its internal issues and sustained recession. That left me with BRAZIL as an enigma. Anyway given the images of famous Brazil Carnival with the beautiful dancing women! And the Salsa craze in India who could resist?

What helped matters further was the fact that while I was packing my bags for Sao Polo, President Lulla from Brazil was visiting India! I don’t believe it was a coincidence…seems more like a peek of the providence…lets see what unfolds from it in future.

The lecture at WTC helped me network and interact with many CEOs of both MNC in Brazil and also home grown companies.

The similarities were startling. Brazil economy is where India was in 2001-02….growing at 3% with a rising middle class. The country is very rich both in natural resources and well as infrastructure. Just like India it has a large human capital even though many millions are still in poverty. Given its language and geographical locations Brazil is a natural ally for India to access the South American market. In that sense my experience of Brazil was same as South Africa.

In many ways Brazil is to South America…what India is to South Asia. It seems like if we add to this South Africa, there seems to by new world order emerging called IBSA (UN now formally recognizes that)….a vertiable South-South-South alliance of India (South Asia)-Brazil (South America)-South Africa. So, may be soon BRIC models will be replaced by new IBSA models. So much for predictions…lets wait and watch. While I was in Brazil I was invited by a TOP private OIL company (like Reliance in India) call FIC Petroleum to a consulting engagement with their Top Management team on Integrating Business Strategy and Technology strategy. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience…the whole workshop lasting 2 days I was translated into Portuguese by my friend Luiza Grandchamp! Best part of this consulting was the LUNCH….they actually eat FLOWERS ! Yes that’s right FLOWERS from the garden instead of SALAD !!! Eating Roses? I could live with that.

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