E-Communication Mania

It’s approximately 2pm on a Sunday and I have probably sent 50 e-messages today. This includes social media messages, text messaging and email. In comparison to other people, that is more than likely a very low number. Yet, it made me think about the high percentage of communication that is conducted electronically.

Instant Response Gratification

If I need to connect with a friend my preferred method of contact is always text. Calling is such a bother and once you get into a conversation the entire process is prolonged. Who has time for that? Plus, I usually get an instant response. Perfect. Sounds cold but this is true for most people. We talk when we meet – hopefully. None of us want to be one of those people constantly consulting their phone when meeting with friends or worse clients!

For business, my first choice is always email. Less of an instant response but the percentage is high that a response will be provided quickly. This is a bit more stressful because instant response gratification has become somewhat of a norm.

Social media is another good resource for “instant response gratification”. A post from a personal account almost always gets an instant like from someone. A post from a business account is hit or miss but it is more of a supplementary communication tool so it’s forgivable.

Still Writing Letters, but Watch your Etiquette!

Okay so now that we have established that e-communication is hot, how do we apply that favorably in order to streamline our work but avoid becoming robotic and impersonal? Everyone likes to get immediate feedback. Customers and candidates do not want to wait for an answer. That is the plus to communicating electronically. Everyone always seems to be available. The drawback is that it can lead to some confusion and lack of clarity. The positive is that it can lead to less confusion and more clarity. Huh?

Let’s break this apart. With the steady stream of messages, especially emails, many messages are missed just because everyone is dealing with high volume or they read between the lines of what is sent. The other caveat is that you always have to be careful of what you put in writing.

Everyone is not especially talented in the written word and how you communicate is always an indication of your professionalism or lack of. Grammar, spelling, and content should always be checked for correctness. In this hurried world, which is why we are communicating in this way to begin with, some of the basic rules of written communication are often violated.

It’s interesting because in days of old everyone wrote letters. Today we are back to writing letters it is simply that the delivery is much quicker. That being said, written communication is nothing new. The rules have not changed.

Have you ever sent an email to someone that should not have been on the recipient list because you mis-keyed and accidentally included them? This has happened to most of us and it’s not something that we are proud of. Apologies are usually in order but once the “send” button is pressed there is not much that can be done.

It is the same story with attachments. How many times has this happened? You boast a litany of reasons why the recipients need to check out the document as soon as possible only to have someone send you that dreaded message, “No attachment”. Ughh. Painful every time! Always attach before writing your message to help avoid this issue.

The problem with all electronic communication is that you cannot take it back, just like that letter or card you popped into the mailbox. That is why it is very important that you do some planning with every message that you write. Yes, every message. Even your personal Facebook® posts can have an impact on your business life.

Rules for Social Posts

What are some simple rules for social posts? Never post something that you would not be okay with “everyone” seeing. That includes your mom, your boss, your work colleagues, customers, etc. Everything is open game today. You may even be connected with some of your customers on your personal social media platforms. Pretty much it never goes away and there is opportunity for anyone to view. BCWYP – Be Careful What You Post!

Also be careful of what you share on social media. Some people share posts without even reading them. Read what you are sharing before you post to make sure it represents you and your company well. You would not want to share something that is not part of your belief and passion, therefore reading everything first is essential.

Although every company should have a written document on social media posting and make it clear to employees what is okay to post, some companies are lacking in this area. If you are unaware of what the posting policy is for your company, do not post on behalf of your company. It is very important that you are informed on what your company allows you to post when you are representing your company on social media or otherwise.

Keep it Beneficial and Interesting!

It is very plausible and even necessary to text and email with customers and candidates regularly. If you are not doing this you are missing out on a huge relationship-building medium. Keeping in touch electronically to make customers and candidates aware of opportunities and information that could benefit them is crucial. It is important to allow them to “opt out” and if they do, you should not message them again without first receiving permission.

With e-communication, keep people informed about your company and your products, but don’t overkill with a bunch of boring messages that are saying the same thing. Also, remember your social media and email etiquette. Don’t hound people that connect with you with constant and intrusive sales messages unless you want to be disconnected.

The Pros and Cons of DBaaS-Database As a Service

DBaaS enables you to test drive multiple solutions and only buy the licenses and hardware you need to be successful.

Almost every business these days is data-centered. Whether the data is for internal applications and systems, or for other services that are offered, let’s face it…

Managing data is a key to success.

Before listing the pros and cons of DBaaS, we need to explore a few decisions businesses have to make.

These include numerous quick decisions about data handling that can set them on a path that, if incorrect, are difficult and costly to correct. Those decisions are:

· What database type to use, SQL or NoSQL?

· What are the data storage and query needs? Transactional? Big Data?

· What database system to use? A few SQL choices might be Oracle, MySQL, MSSQL, and Sybase. A few No-SQL choices might be MongoDB or Cassandra.

· Do we have DBA (database administrator) talent or do we have to hire?

· What kind of server or resources are needed? What are my power, server, disk, processing, network, and IO requirements?

· How do I maintain, backup, administer and otherwise own the database framework?

· What is my cost of ownership?

First let’s explore which database type to use, SQL or NoSQL.

Traditional database types classified as SQL have a significant place in businesses and are a mainstay for business choices. However, as companies start to create applications that drive decisions based on significant database analysis of large, almost unfathomable amounts of data, they migrate to NoSQL solutions like MongoDB or Cassandra.

The architecture of NoSQL makes it a good choice for big data solutions while the built in protections of a transactional based system like Oracle make it a better choice for banking or similar solutions.

When it comes to picking a specific system, businesses tend to stick with what they know. In other words, if they already have Oracle, and Oracle talent, then when management asks those individuals which database system they should use on Project X, it should be no surprise that they pick Oracle.

Matching a specific database system to a set of business requirements is an arduous task that should always be looked at with a fresh perspective. It should not just be based on what talent is already employed or what systems a business is comfortable with.

Let’s face it, if a business picks correctly, all is good. If they pick incorrectly, they have wasted a lot of resources which equates to dollars. Enter DBaaS.

Where DBaaS excels is that it gives businesses the ability to test the waters a bit, to try before they invest heavily.

DBaaS acts as a stepping stone to total ownership, a cost effective solution to help you figure out your needs prior to investing heavily.

DBaaS has both pros and cons.

First, it is necessary to distinguish between “hosting database systems” and DBaaS.

There are many cloud based solutions that “host” a database system but provide no significant help in configuration, tuning, consulting, and providing the talent needed to actually use those systems.

True DBaaS provides both the system and the talent to help you utilize the database and determine how to store, query, and analyze your data. The value of DBaaS goes way beyond the hosting.

The pros of DBaaS include:

· No equipment or software licenses.

· Flexibility. Multiple choices are available to test drive your applications and pick the right platform for your business requirements.

· Significantly less staffing requirements. The DBaaS provider handles installation, configuration, and in many cases development.

· Offsite hosting, providing protection from local power failures or disasters. Many businesses design their system with power redundancy in mind, but, in reality, rarely meet those goals.

· SLA agreements that have redundancy, uptime, and backup protections. A DBaaS provider has intent focus on protecting your data.

Meantime the cons of DBaaS include:

· Limited access to underlying servers. This can present itself as a feeling of no control.

· Very little knowledge of how your data is protected from cyber security threats. This can be dangerous for sensitive data.

So how do you decide? Is there a transition from one to the other? Yes, almost always, but by following a few guidelines to start with, DBaaS can be used properly.

Those who wish to use DBaaS should adhere to the following guidelines:

1. Do all development using DBaaS. This is your chance to test drive different architectures and features.

2. Unless you have full disclosure of how your data is protected, managed, and secured by DBaaS providers, it is suggested to consult with database architects to host sensitive data internally. Note, this is typically not big data. When we use the terms sensitive data, we mean just that. Data like SSNs, account details, financials, personal data, etc. Does this mean that you cannot use DBaaS for this? No, it means that you first have to find a DBaaS provider that will show you everything from how your encrypted data gets in their system to storage, access, etc.

3. When you are not sure of what your database needs really are, use DBaaS first. This lets you try SQL or NoSQL. This lets you explore the encryption capabilities of Oracle versus MySQL. Think of DBaaS like buying a car. You test drive sedans, trucks, and SUVs, and try different manufacturers and features. You may decide to lease or buy.

4. Always monitor and evaluate the cost of ownership. As your system grows, the operating costs might make sense to drop DBaaS and build an in-house system. By then, however, you have already decided on what you really need.

The goal with DBaaS is to test drive multiple solutions and only buy the licenses and hardware you need to be successful. You can then hire the correct talent to manage your system.

David Moye is a Principal with Forensic IT in St. Louis, MO, a firm providing big data solutions to companies nationwide. David helped found Forensic IT in 2003 and has some 25 plus years of experience as a software engineer and solution architect. Along with at least a half a dozen core programming languages, he is a certified DBA in Oracle and Sybase and has spent years working with MS-SQL and MySql.

How FinTech Is Seeing A Major Growth in India

With a population of more than a billion, India is definitely a promising sector for the FinTech. Before we move ahead, let us first explain what FinTech is. In simple terms, FinTech is the industry that comprises of the companies that use the technology to offer financial services. These companies work in different areas of finance management, insurance, electronic payments etc.

In the past decade, FinTech has taken over globally and is expected to rise in the future as well. India isn’t behind in this global trend. With over half a billion invested in the Indian FinTech over the last three years, the segment only shoes promising future of growth.

In 2015, around 12,000 FinTech came up globally making up the total investment of $19 billion. It is expected that by 2020, the global investment by FinTech will be $45 billion, which is a steep rise of 7.1%. According to the NASSCOM reports, India has around 400 FinTech companies with the investment of around $420 million. Reports also suggest that by year 2020, the investment of the FinTech companies in India will increase to $2.4 billion.

With the help of government regulations, banks and other financial companies, India has formed a favorable ecosystem for the growth of FinTech. FinTech is helping bring about the change in the personal financial management through e-payments and e-wallets, in the country that is predominantly cash- driven.

Number of reason contributes towards the growth of Financial Technology in India. The number of internet users in India reached to 465 million in June 2017. With more and more number of people depending on the internet for varied reasons, the digitalisation has taken a new turn. Government’s effort in bringing the digital revolution through ‘Digital India’ campaign is opening many opportunities for the existing FinTechs and start-ups.

Government Regulations:
Government has realised the potential of Financial Technology in India and is constantly making efforts to make the regulations friendlier. In 2014, government relaxed the rule of KYC process for customers making online transactions and payments up to Rs 20,000 per month. It is expected that the government will lay out new set of norms to revamp the P2P lending market.

To promote cashless transactions, government is now offering tax rebates to the merchants for accepting at least 50% of electronic payment.

‘Jan Dhan Yojana’ aims at providing a bank account to every citizen of India. Since the launch of the scheme in 2014, 240 million bank accounts have been opened. FinTech start-ups can use the opportunities to provide easy and seamless transaction service.

Incubator and Accelerators:
The role of incubators and accelerators are not limited to funding but also strengthening the financial industry. The incubators provide the obligation free environment for the start-ups. India is among the top five countries that show promising results for the start-ups. The initiatives ‘smart city’ and ‘digital India’ are set to strengthen the technological infrastructure of the country. To show the support to FinTech start-ups, banks and financial institutes have partnered with incubators and accelerators.