Friday, December 31, 2010

Wishing you and loved ones a wonderful new year filled with abundance, joy, and treasured moments...

From all of us @ WOLF Frameworks Platform-as-a-Service, a very Happy New Year - 2011...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cloud based Education Systems

A non-traditional school creates an application using WOLF Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) to manage their day-to-day student data online, for administrative purposes, better visibility, better class management and analysis of school functioning. This school which is an independent educational institute, decided to use WOLF Platform-as-a-Service to automate certain key features of their day to day administration, information gathering and data management processes for all facets of an established pre-primary program and a dynamic primary program to match their growth plans.

WOLF designed a dedicated browser based Administration and Data Management SaaS Application that helped them integrate technology into their day-to-day processes. The web based application enabled consolidation, structuring and automated processing of the large volume of student and administrative data. A phase wise execution plan enabled cost effective implementation, customization and scalability of the application with the institutes’ growth plans with categorization of the data into student, teacher and class-wise information. In addition, WOLF created a complex student lookup that provided a single point of reference for all details related to a student such as contact information, teacher information and classes’ information. We implemented a complex set of relationships on the data using Business Rules to inter-relate the data and allow instant searching of past and present data based on different parameters.

Cloud based SaaS Applications today are a boon for educational institutes which cannot spend money regularly on IT, software, hardware, database etc. The education systems today prefer moving to the cloud, which provides a scale-on-demand infrastructure and pay-as-you-go subscription model thereby eradicating the complete capital expenditure. Software licenses are less of an issue with many cloud based apps provided free or custom built at very low cost and can be easily accessed over a web browser. Moreover, the data which was earlier prone to manual errors and vulnerable to theft, damage & unauthorized access is now secure with much enhanced role based user access. There is no more worry about huge paper work and managing spreadsheets. The entire data is available at a single click which is easily accessible and used for any level of analysis which would have been more cumbersome earlier and involved dedicated man hours for entering and updating the dynamic data.

With more education systems coming forward we are cultivating a new generation of SaaS and Cloud Computing users for the future. The success of these initiatives will not only help to improve the quality of our education system, but also cement the movement of the software and technology industry to SaaS and Cloud Computing alternatives.

Best Regards,
Santanu Das
Marketing Evangelist
WOLF Frameworks

NOTE: The views expressed above are purely personal and for informational purposes only. WOLF FRAMEWORKS INDIA PVT. LTD MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Time to nominate and support our Ecosystem Evangelisers, go OCC BLR -- Go ...

According to Silicon India "There are over 800 startups only in Bangalore and several others across India". India's promise as the software hub and IT capital of the World is largely due to these multitude of startups that exist here and those coming up everyday. Built around these startups is a vast ecosystem that assists and nurtures these startups in their various phases. A prime example of this is the Open Coffee Club (OCC) Bangalore with whom we co-hosted the business meet centered around Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) on 8th May, 2010.

A brief history of OCC Bangalore and the driving force behind it

Essentially Open Coffee Club is a global cult for people who love startups to hang out and meet. OCC Bangalore is a strong grassroots community of aspiring and early stage entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship enthusiasts.

OCC B’lore is an inclusive community platform for everyone: aspiring / wannabe entrepreneurs; budding / early stage entrepreneurs; early stage companies; established / mature entrepreneurs; funds & investors; professionals & technologists; freelancers & consultants; designers, media folks, students and service providers to the ecosystem.

OCC B'lore is a place to meet & share with your peers; mutually solve problems & share joy; learn from those you look up-to (and with others in the ecosystem); especially with whom you are not able to reach & connect for whatever reasons such as lack of access, time, awareness, etc. OCC B'lore is also the right forum when successful entrepreneurs and such others want to give back to society and nurture the aspiring entrepreneurs of immediate tomorrow.

Vaibhav, the founder of OCC Bangalore, later joined by Amarinder, Chief Involvement Officer has created and nurtured a grass root community for entrepreneurship enthusiasts to meet and share ideas. At OCC they have created an environment for early stage entrepreneurs to validate ideas, seek co-founders, meet right service providers, build their initial teams and solve business problems along with many other opportunities.Besides creating a community of over 2000 entrepreneurship enthusiasts, Vaibhav and Amarinder has helped other cities like Kolkata, Vellore, BITS Goa and some others to start their OCC.

In an attempt to contribute to this ecosystem, WOLF has nominated OCC Bangalore for the
NASSCOM EMERGE Eco-System Evangeliser Awards 2010 - an award focussed towards identifying these type of evangelisers, who are creating a significant impact on the eco-system and award them for their contribution and innovation.

We invite you join us in supporting and cheering for Vaibhav Pandey and Amarinder Singh of OCC Bangalore for this prestigious award and for driving what is turning out to be the best decade for entrepreneurs in our country...

Best Regards,
Santanu Das
Marketing Evangelist
WOLF Frameworks

NOTE: The views expressed above are purely personal and for informational purposes only. WOLF FRAMEWORKS INDIA PVT. LTD MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners

Monday, October 4, 2010

SEDS wins the Information Weeks Prestigious Silver EDGE Award 2010 for developing India's first Private UID project on WOLF Cloud Computing Platform

Reading the live tweets of the Interop Mumbai keynote I couldn’t help but think how aptly it had summarized “IT to be converging and networks going borderless”.

The second edition of the EDGE awards were hosted at Interop Mumbai from September 28th to 30th, 2010. In InformationWeek's own words Enterprises Driving Growth and Excellence (using IT) is an initiative by InformationWeek to identify, recognize and honor end-user companies in India that have demonstrated the best use of technology to solve a business problem, improve business competitiveness, and deliver quantifiable ROI to stakeholders.”

The Cloud-based Census Information Management System (CIMS) jointly developed by Social Education and Development Society (SEDS) and WOLF Frameworks was nominated by the EDGE jury as the winner of the ‘Silver EDGE’ award.

Some highlights of CIMS as noted by the EDGE jury:

- It took SEDS and WOLF Frameworks just 120 hours to design, develop and deploy India's first CIMS serving bottom-of-the-pyramid customers.

- The application stores and manages data of 250 villages, 980 self-help groups and auto-generates Unique Identification Numbers (UIDs) for more than 40,000 individuals.

Some snapshots from Interop 2010, Mumbai:

Manil Jayasena, CEO, SEDS speaks at the awards:

Manil Jayasena accepting the award:

In addition to demonstrating the innovate use of IT to serve bottom-of-the pyramid customers by one of the largest NGOs in India, the EDGE award reinforces our belief that the WOLF Platform and Cloud Computing model will play a crucial role in enhancing peoples life ......

Friday, October 1, 2010

Common Terminologies used in Cloud Computing

With so much buzz around Cloud Computing and SaaS you must be wondering about the common terms revolving around this new paradigm shift of technology. There are multiple definitions and explanations provided over the internet at your disposal. Here are some of the most common terminologies with a simple explanation of each of them for your easy understanding.

API - Application Programming Interface allows software applications to interact with other software. Requested data from another application is returned back in a predefined format and according to specific rules.

ASP - Application Service Provider; typically associated with a hosted single tenant software solution wherein a business provides computer based services to customers over a network.

Cloud Computing - Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand, like the electricity grid. It describes a new consumption and delivery model for IT services based on the Internet, and it typically involves the provision of dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources as a service over the Internet. Customers do not own and maintain the physical infrastructure, instead avoid capital expenditure by renting usage from a third-party provider. They consume resources as a service and pay only for resources that they use.

Cloud operating system - A computer operating system that is specially designed to run in a provider’s datacenter and can be delivered to the user over the Internet or another network. Windows Azure is an example of a cloud operating system or “cloud layer” that runs on Windows Server 2008. The term is also sometimes used to refer to cloud-based client operating systems such as Google’s Chrome OS.

Freemium – A business model, in which a SaaS provider offers basic features of its software to users free of cost and charges a premium for supplemental or advanced features.

Hosted application - An Internet-based or Web-based application software program, that runs on a remote server and can be accessed via an Internet-connected PC or thin client.

Hybrid cloud - A networking environment that includes multiple integrated internal and/or external Cloud providers.

IaaS - Infrastructure-as-a-Service refers to a combination of hosting, hardware, provisioning and basic services needed to run a SaaS or Cloud Application that is delivered on a pay-as-you-go basis. It is a virtualized environment delivered as a service over the Internet by the provider. The infrastructure can include servers, network equipment and software.

Mashup - Mashup is a web application that combines data or functionality from two or more external sources to create a new service.

Multi-tenancy - Multi-tenancy refers to software architecture where a single instance of software runs on a server, serving multiple client organizations (tenants).

PaaS - Platform-as-a-Service solutions are development platforms for which the development tool itself is hosted in the Cloud and is accessed through a browser. With PaaS, developers can build web applications without installing any tools and then they can deploy their application and services without any systems administration skills.

Pay as you go - A cost model for Cloud services that includes both subscription-based and consumption-based models, in contrast to traditional IT cost model that requires up-front capital expenditure for hardware and software.

Private Cloud - A private cloud is a proprietary network or a data center that supplies hosted services to a limited number of people.

Public Cloud - A public cloud sells services to anyone on the Internet. It is a cloud computing environment that is open for use to the general public. Currently, Amazon Web Services is the largest public cloud provider.

SaaS - Software-as-a-Service refers to multi-tenant software delivered over the internet and customers consume the product as a subscriptions service that is delivered on a pay-as-you-go basis. Applications don’t have to be purchased, installed or run on the customer’s computers.

Subscription-based pricing - A pricing model that lets customers pay a fee to use the service for a particular time period.

Vendor lock-in - Dependency on the particular cloud vendor and difficulty moving from one cloud vendor to another due to lack of standardized protocols, APIs, data structures (schema), and service models.

Virtualization - Virtualization means to create a virtual version of a device or resource, such as a server, storage device, network or even an operating system where the framework divides the resource into one or more execution environments.

Vertical Cloud - A cloud computing environment optimized for use in a particular vertical i.e., industry or application use case.

Service Orientated Architecture (SOA) - A service-oriented architecture is essentially a collection of services. These services communicate with each other. The communication can involve either simple data passing or it could involve two or more services coordinating an activity.

The next time you talk to your cloud service provider, you will be able to understand the jargon they use and decide the best solution for yourself.

NOTE: The views expressed above are purely personal and for informational purposes only. WOLF FRAMEWORKS INDIA PVT. LTD MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners

Friday, September 17, 2010

How Cloud Computing can help in Business Process Improvement?

Business Process Improvement (BPI) is a systematic approach to help an organization optimize its underlying processes to achieve more efficient results. And you would be surprised to know that top priority of cloud computing technology is also the same; efficient utilization of available resources.

Cloud Computing enables organizations to dramatically increase the speed of change and apply business process management (BPM) better and faster. The unique combination of BPM and Cloud technology complements existing enterprise software and adds agility to business operations.

When we talk about intersection of cloud computing and constant process improvement, we find that both are meeting at the crossroads and are helping organizations to achieve their goals in a more cost effective manner using best of both the worlds. The cloud frees the organization to focus on mission-critical tasks instead of purchasing, configuring, and maintaining redundant infrastructure.

In the BPM world, there are some priorities of the business leaders, which are being addressed by cloud computing:

1. Business Process Improvement by utilizing cloud stake
2. Reducing cost of organization on IT
3. Providing more analytics and information
4. Improving workforce management
5. Attracting new customers and retaining them
6. Ease to maintain change management
7. Consolidating business operations

A BPI project is the same as any other project - you create a project plan to help keep you on track to guarantee a successful implementation of a new or improved business process. Companies have to spend an ample of budget for the purchase of business management solutions and the integration with the existing IT infrastructure or create their own BPI project to maintain the same. With the advent of Software as a Service (SaaS) on-demand web-based/client model applications, business organizations have become autonomous in executing various tasks smoothly with less man power or heavy IT investments. SaaS applications save time, effort, cost and also offer benefits to business due to their multi-tenant efficiency, flexibility and scalability features.

Some organizations have implemented BPI on a smaller scale and reported success, by implementing the following:

• Start with a small process that can be completed using cloud computing.
• Focus on process enhancement before implementing new ones.
• Management and primary stakeholders must be involved while deciding on cloud computing technology.
• Align the implementation to the business goals.
• Use Benchmarking to get measurable results.
• BPI should focus on “doing things right” then “doing the right thing”.

BPI enables organizations to be more efficient, more effective and more capable of change than a functionally focused, traditional hierarchical management approach. Cloud computing makes it easy to implement BPI within an organization by providing a quick proof of concept for each step of BPI plan and implementing the top priorities of business processes faster, better and cheaper.

NOTE: The views expressed above are purely personal and for informational purposes only. WOLF FRAMEWORKS INDIA PVT. LTD MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Roar of the Cloud, unleash your ideas...

Entrepreneurship, power of ideas and similar efforts to bring about change has traditionally being met with stiff opposition in India. Be it in the area of primary education, social development, health care, services or just new media online business models – for generations we have been crippled due to the lack of capital, motivation, access to sophisticated technology/knowledge network and early customer markets. In short, producers in India struggle with ideation/creation, application and of course diffusion, not to mention – never gets to meet a possible user.

Thanks to Victor Menezes, Rajat Gupta, Vinod Khosla and a few hundred more business leaders in that league and recently recognized young talents like the 17 year old Indian origin Arjun Rajyagor who recently won the first BBC’s junior Apprentice title with £ 25,000 – Indians have never faced the challenge of talent. On the contrary, it is opportunity and lack of a well oiled system which haunt us as a nation.

While many organized and not so organized efforts have surfaced in various industries within the Indian business ecosystem, the success we have been able to drive in the world of Information Technology Services in recent years is a worldwide success phenomenon, taught in Business Schools today. Thanks to the enormous and kind support of global Indian entrepreneurs and exceptional leadership as demonstrated by companies such as Infosys, Wipro, etc – it is time for us as individuals & institutions to transform Indian IT industry from back office to the front office with innovation and entrepreneurship – the modern tools of economic development and welfare. Let us seize the opportunity and create a truly Indian Bloom Box or Foursquare or maybe a Microsoft – who knows!

Ideas which never saw light of the day, ideas which never received capital, ideas that were not worth exploring and ideas which got dissuaded by our own fear for existence or lack of exposure and inferiority complex needs a hearing. The global recession has put us at par and so have modern software development & delivery technologies like Social and Cloud Computing and open innovation methods like Crowd sourcing. In the words of Guy Kawasaki, “Don’t Let The Bozos Grind You Down” – who says we can’t be leaders?

A first of its kind – global opportunity knocks us in form of cloud computing or in other words Internet-based computing wave, whereby shared resources, software, hardware and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand, like electricity from a grid. Global software giants are embracing the new and open culture; giving way to the new terms of business and shrugging off the legacy & old. From individuals to experts, from institutions to unorganized social networks, from students to professionals – Cloud Computing is igniting ideas and transforming human talent into user driven innovations / dollar ways never thought possible.

To seize this opportunity, One Billion Minds – Asia’s No 1 Open Innovation Network, JamCracker, leader in Cloud based Application Delivery & Management and WOLF Frameworks, an emerging player in the On Demand Application Development Platform business have developed the unique “The Roar of the Cloud” program to discover and support the best next generation online software application idea in India. The Winners of the challenge will access best in class application and venture development support as well as receive cash rewards, mentoring from the brightest leaders in the Cloud Computing innovation ecosystem to shape their vision.

This journey will only take you 30% closer to business success, but we assure you a 100% support from our hearts. Take the plunge and enjoy your journey, that’s all that matters…


Sunny Ghosh
Director & CEO, WOLF Frameworks

NOTE: The views expressed above are purely personal and for informational purposes only. WOLF FRAMEWORKS INDIA PVT. LTD MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Is Cloud Computing changing Project Management?

In today’s competition, survival requires increasing customer relations & business receptiveness along with the effective use of smart technologies. Every businessman’s prime goal is to accomplish the targets of high financial gains at lower operational costs. However, this objective requires the optimal utilization of available resources, both human and material.

With the IT industry going through a new avatar, it is important to recognize and acknowledge that at the core of it all, businesses remain focused on processes and projects. The discipline of Project Management ensures the delivery of expected outcomes. Project Management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to activities that meet project requirements and is accomplished through the use of the time tested processes.

Project Management is taking a paradigm shift with the evolution of Cloud based applications. With the advent of Cloud Computing, there is an added need and urgency for a formalized project management methodology across organizations. The successful delivery of Cloud projects depend on the Project Managers, empowered with project management frameworks and proven methodologies combined with experience. Project Management acts as catalyst in building the robust service delivery engine to deliver faster and cheaper services in the areas of Public and Private Cloud Computing services to global customers. It is important to identify the portfolio of different services in Cloud Computing space and build the necessary project management assets.

What does cloud mean to a project manager?

- Web based meetings

- Optimum utilization of IT infrastructure

- Web-based project management software

- Remote management

- Green IT

- New web-based testing process

- Collaborative tool for resource management

- Lowering project costs

- Used for projects with unpredictable scalability

- Quick time and money estimation

Project managers are equipped with the general skills to manage a project, most of them would not have thought about Cloud Computing in sufficient detail. There is a need and an opportunity in the Cloud Computing world for project managers who at least have a conceptual understanding of the issues. The instant availability of computing resources solves some problems, such as the dependencies on procurement and provisioning of resources. Still there are areas where Project Managers can use their experience to delivery Cloud project with some innovative insight dealing with better ways to cater to clients. Cloud Computing introduces more than just technical changes as it forces changes to IT processes and alters the way that the business interacts with its customers to improve the process in a easy and manageable way.

The key to successful project management in the cloud is to create and manage a project management framework that embeds best practices of standard project management and cloud computing methodology into how one manages projects, inside and outside the cloud. The impact of cloud on project management will include a higher emphasis on security, parallel processing, scalability, and the ability to utilize infinite resources.
NOTE: The views expressed above are purely personal and for informational purposes only. WOLF FRAMEWORKS INDIA PVT. LTD MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Business decisions before moving to the Cloud

With the buzz of Cloud Computing gaining momentum, the question of moving or not has become more important for the business leaders of any organization. Migrating to the Cloud is supposed to be a technology decision because everybody looks at Cloud Computing more as pure technology advancement, but it is important to note that this decision is linked more to business needs such as ROI, performance, cost & time benefits and suitability to tasks.

Business leaders should perform a cost-benefits-risk analysis comparing the Cloud to traditional development before making this decision. These are certain decisions that only business leaders can take or approve for an organization before selecting any technology for their use or for their customers’ use:

1. Perform a Cost-benefits-risk analysis
2. Audit the impact on business processes
3. Audit of Cloud service providers
4. Auditing internal processes and their performance improvement using the Cloud.
5. Evaluating the services and value adds
6. Evaluating the SLA based on data security, continuity and cost
7. Evaluating the level of services and support provided by the Cloud service provider
8. Involvement in the service strategy, design, transition, operation and continual service improvements
9. Decisions related to concerns surrounding the Cloud adoption within organization
10. Decisions related to privacy, rules, regulations and guidance

As already mentioned, moving to the Cloud holds significant benefits to the corporate IT departments. The relationship and communication between the business units and IT department will change. Greater power will shift to business units from IT. Working in the Cloud means functions performed by corporate IT departments will shift from those who do to those who define and manage. Remember that Cloud Computing is a change in business models, and not JUST a new technology. Explore the business decisions, as this enables IT and business leaders to decide on which applications should move to the cloud.

NOTE: The views expressed above are purely personal and for informational purposes only. WOLF FRAMEWORKS INDIA PVT. LTD MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

12 Questions to ask yourself before choosing a Cloud Service Provider

Traditionally, launching new business services through an IT implementation lead to significant upfront costs. And when you are unclear about the usage volume, your business needs a new technology model that is suited to the need of quick development, delivery & launch and a primary focus on usage based spending. With a pay as you grow pricing model, costs are only incurred based on actual usage such as CPU cycles, memory, users, etc.

Thus Cloud Computing strategy provides these instant benefits:

1. Rapid road to market.

2. Lower upfront costs.

3. Predictable pricing.

Once you decide on using Cloud Computing because of the monetary benefits, it’s time to choose the best service provider which can help you implement you business requirements. 

You should have the following points in your checklist to decide on a service provider:

1. How do they handle data security and privacy?

2. Do they maintain a SLA for every customer?

3. Do they have options of interoperability or data migration?

4. Where is their data center located?

5. What kind of SUPPORT services do they provide?

6. Do they have a disaster recovery plan in place?

7. Do they have options of giving an iterative prototype for your application at each stage?

8. Is there an Agile Architecture in place for the application development cycle?

9. How often do they monitor and manage applications?

10. Do they address scalability?

11. What kind of User Experience are they providing and do they have an option for custom Branding?

12. Who owns the IP of the application?

Answers to these questions will help you find the right Cloud Computing service provider and architecture solutions that address your goals and challenges, in addition to your functional requirements, system integration needs, and technology stack preferences.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Disaster Recovery Management (DRM) in the Cloud

Although the occurrence of a disaster is unexpected over a certain time span of a system, the possibility of it occurring cannot be ignored. Automatic Disaster recovery in the Cloud becomes a largely indistinguishable operation if your entire Cloud infrastructure falls apart. You should have the capabilities in place to restore it on internal servers, at a managed hosting services provider, or at another Cloud provider within minutes or hours.

Through disaster recovery planning, you identify an acceptable recovery state and develop processes & procedures to achieve the recovery state in the event of a disaster.

Defining a disaster recovery plan involves two key metrics:

1. Recovery Point
2. Recovery Time

Recovery Point determines how much data are you ready to lose in number of hours or days of data. At the same time, Recovery Time determines how much downtime is acceptable and is specified as number of hours/days to get things fully operational once again.

DRM plan in the Cloud should consider these four major factors before going in effect;

1. Backup and data recovery (fast, secure, easy)
2. Geographical presence of data center (redundancy of data center according to geographical presence)
3. Recovery Time and Point ( should be ~0 hours if possible )
4. Monitoring tools residing in third cloud service provider’s infrastructure (as monitoring systems cannot live in either your primary or secondary cloud provider’s infrastructure)

WOLF has a DRM plan which expects zero downtime and data loss by having multiple data centers in different geographic locations that are synchronized. In other words, we are operating with multiple data centers from different infrastructure providers with dedicated, high-bandwidth connections serving different geographical customers. 

Though the cold reality is that the cost of losing 24 hours of data is less than the cost of maintaining a zero downtime/zero loss of data infrastructure, we still try to emphasize this level of redundancy in our DRM plan, which gives our customers 99.96% service availability and zero loss of data. 

We have implemented a strict backup recovery management plan for all the applications- design and encrypted data - with a daily on-site backup on different data center. WOLF application designers can also take a backup of the design & data at anytime with the click of a button! Thus we guarantee zero data loss with maximum downtime of approx. 2 hours as per our DRM plan.

With the acceptability of the Cloud and related services increasing daily, the DRM plan could become a point of competitive difference between vendors in the Cloud.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Two faces of the SaaS simplicity coin

While there is a common consensus that "less is more" with SaaS, application developers/SaaS designers need to consider a couple of factors when contemplating application features for an end customer on the web:

1. Tech-aversion of the target user/segment
2. The real world analogy of a feature

For a non-technical end user, the application developer should necessarily incorporate "props" that would increase usability. This includes pictures, icons or even larger text that would draw the attention of the user or prioritize a certain process.

For example, a customer in the logistics domain emphasized the importance of setting up driver details and vehicle routes before any data was recorded in the system. The developers used icons and pictures of different sizes & colors to indicate priority.

In addition to this, a feature which can be cut down to a single step for a tech-savvy user may need to be stretched out for the target segment/user. In doing so the system emulates the real world scenario as closely as possible and reduces erroneous data/user training thereby increasing adaptability.

To illustrate this, lets consider the tyre life estimation process which, in addition to maintenance, is one of the major costs for logistics companies. The SaaS designer deciphered the process as shown below:

After consulting the maintenance staff, it was uncovered that there was a need to track the history of all tyre checks at every point in the process - Number of initial checks, Checks for retreading, etc. - as well as the staff involved in checks. Hence a process that can be simplified may need to be scrutinized and elaborated for the sake of usability.

Do you have any similar experiences to share? Please share your stories in the comments.

Monday, June 14, 2010

How effective is your vendors mental and organizational lab for you?

This post is not about Xerox Palo Alto or IBM Research Center, but deals with your regular OnDemand business partners who provide you with Software or Platform or Infrastructure on a pay-per-use model.

We all know that the role of ideas, insights, exploratory learning – unlearning and more importantly innovation and incubation is big in every company today. So is the role of loosely held labs which auto-correct and co-create for you. Not necessarily only for growth, but for survival as well.

When RaviShankar, Founder & CEO of Learn2turn consulting mentioned that doctors use more than 33% intuition while analyzing their patients – it triggered a huge discussion within our team. This essentially lead to the development of an online tool which could offload the mental churning for doctors and the need to identify similar challenged scenarios in non-medical practices and how they manage it today.

This insight not only resulted in the development of a record and knowledge management SaaS application for OB/GYN practitioners called “e-Dok”, but has also helped us to understand several rules intensive practice sectors and take innumerable lessons.

To create an out-of-box strategy and make your business succeed, you need first hand insights. Insights are simple, cannot be outsourced and require being involved in the field and not board room. "Fail quickly and cheap – but last for long" is an old principle which we believe and our fundamentals of innovation stems down from worldwide leaders such as Porsche, Gillette, Lockheed Martin and many others who constantly listened to their customers needs.

These companies effectively listened, invested in forgetting their past, created agile organization structures and tested their own food on daily basis. Did exactly what their customers asked them like a service company would do, but invested on the product so that it helps many others and churned quickly.

As a customer, you must watch out for companies that are willing to listen to you, instead of you listening to them. This is one key factor which will continue to be a crucial differentiation in choosing your On Demand vendor. As customers demand more, the smarter vendors will learn and churn... and most importantly produce success for customers first...

On a more personal NOTE: Though my undertone in this post is directed towards choosing a adaptive Platform, success of your business is never a result of a single insight or one development effort or your online partner – but requires a combination of constant change, level 2 thinking and many factors that work together. However you do need to check for your business partners/vendor’s adaptability to your business needs.

For example: Do they have a lab to accommodate your "insights" without being charged?

Sunny Ghosh
Director & CEO
WOLF Platform-as-a-Service

NOTE: The views expressed above are purely personal and for informational purposes only. WOLF FRAMEWORKS INDIA PVT. LTD MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bangalore gets "Cloudy": WOLF hosts OCC Bangalore focused meet on PaaS and SaaS

Dear Friends,

After the April Showers, it was the turn of OCC Bangalore and WOLF to bring a different kind of "Cloud-showers" in Bangalore.

Approximately 50 people gathered on last Saturday, 8th May 2010 for the OCC Bangalore business meet hosted by WOLF Cloud Computing Platform. Focused primarily on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), the meet attracted PaaS providers, several SaaS companies, a myriad of professional service companies looking at Cloud Computing as the way ahead; as well as technology consultants, aspiring entrepreneurs and a few enterprise folks.

The Registration Desk:

The meet saw several presentations showcasing current offerings & highlighting the potential of Cloud Computing, open discussions about the growth expectations of Cloud services and methods to address pain areas.

Presentations Galore:


Sunny Ghosh & Ankit Jain of WOLF Frameworks shared the elegance of Platform-as-a-service approach to SaaS and cloud computing.

Lux Rao of Jamcracker shared that Jamcracker has emerged as a leading Cloud Service Broker and its Cloud broker platform enables all aspects of Cloud Services delivery and lifecycle management within the enterprise

Prakash Bhaskaran of Pawaa software highlighted the threat of data leakage and prevention through the use of Pawaaweb and pawaafile providing control and freedom simultaneously.

We then had Navin from eLagaan and Girish from sharing their product/service and seeking help from the gathering on how to address specific SaaS related business and technical issues.

According to Gaurav Lochan of VMWare Force is an enterprise cloud java developers. With VMForce, Java developers can build apps that are instantly social and available on mobile devices in real time.

Finally Suresh Sambandham shared about the Orangescape Platform-as-a-Service offering for developing web applications.

Conversations and Coffee:

Freebies & Goodies for SaaS Entrepreneurs:

Create & access 25 users WOLF account for 90 days – FREE (SaaS startup's can build-test and even pilot for customers without incurring any cost)

Invitation to register and attend WOLF Developer Orientation program. This program gets participants hands-on familiarity in developing web applications rapidly using WOLF.

Access the “Help a Customer” event. This intensive event invites customers to throw their requirements and potential WOLF competent developers to work side by side to address the challenge on a one day session. The event is open to all OCC members who are open to learn and complete the WOLF Application Developer exercise successfully.

Bid for customers projects and work independently as a partner.

Special Thanks:

We would like to thank all the participants for their active involvement & insightful discussions and a special thanks to Amarinder and Vaibhav of OCC for making the event a success.

Sunny Ghosh (WOLF Frameworks) with Amarinder and Vaibhav of the OCC Bangalore Team.

WOLF presentation:

Friday, May 7, 2010

WOLF Frameworks is hosting and supporting OCC Bangalore First Business Meet (SaaS & PaaS)

Dear Friends

WOLF Frameworks welcomes you to join OCC Bangalore First Business Meet focused on / for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) & Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) Enthusiasts.

This meet is open to:

SasS, PaaS Start-Ups: Entrepreneurs & Employees
SaaS, PaaS SME Companies: Entrepreneurs & Key Employees
Aspiring Entrepreneurs in this Space
Business & Technology Consultants in this Space
Professional Service(s) Companies wanting to build On-line tools / SaaS
Companies / individuals who want to either work / partner with SaaS, PaaS Companies or want to pitch in their services to SaaS, PaaS Companies

The agenda:

SaaS, PaaS - Past, Present & Future - Business & Technology Aspects
Killer innovations - Possible or Not
Pain Areas - Attendees / audience to voice out
Formal Sales Pitches
Closed Room Discussions (if attendees want)
Followed by Snacks, Beverages and Conversations

To Register, click on the link below:

WOLF is excited to support Enthusiastic OCC SaaS, PaaS Meet Participants & OCC Bangalore Members.

Monday, April 26, 2010

SaaS: Seven simple rules

The success of software at your service business is tied down to customer wins.

Cloud computing seems to be catching up everywhere. Thanks to the early success of hosted email, CRM, web conference meetings, project management, etc, we now see many entrepreneurs with fabulous ideas in technology, business change and social services, who plan to leverage the cloud or service their customers or make that extra competitive difference to change our lives.

Thankfully, there is no dearth of inspirational and useful information too. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, you can easily find fascinating thoughts, dos and don'ts, reviews, hands-on guides, free logins, blog reviews, reports and analysis available on the web about how companies should use the cloud in general and others on the areas of how best to use or launch online services.

The SaaS Venture
My experience from evangelizing for entrepreneurs/customers across the world is filled with many such exciting learnings. Truth is simple and here are my simple seven ways to make that big difference ON how you offer and breed early success with your SaaS venture.

While this new on-demand world seems quite unfamiliar to most of you, it is in fact a lot simpler than expected. Think about driving into a large shopping mall, parking your car, getting a movie ticket and paying for what you use by the quantity or on usage basissimple! This is a new method of delivering automation fit for your taste and paid as per use.

Customers love it, they get the best without being discriminated, infrastructure companies make more from their one-time investments month after month and entrepreneurs get to innovate all the time for every buck they earn more. Superior standards of service drive profitability and not just availability. This brings me to the first and most important point, I would like to address to everyone heading this way:

Small is big, business is simple: Focus on customer needs and not segments or pricing. The segmentation holds true when it comes to certain types of businesses as you evolve, but it does no good to your on-demand value driven SaaS when you are booting up. Every customer is a king and you must build relationships and not just contracts to become successful. Without them, none of us will exist. Its all about service when it comes to your SaaS business and your tiniest account will generate nothing less than $1,000 in less than two years time.

Focus on farming, stickiness is the key to success: There is an old saying in golf, your drive shot only counts for 37% and the rest 63% is left for your other strokes to par the hole. Getting a customer who has a need might be the most important task of your sales team, but in the on-demand software as a service world it is not so much about sales. Customers demand greater service, quicker response time, they want you to listen and factor their needs. If you want to succeed as a service provider, your business must be equipped to learn, adapt, release and get ready once again to reiterate as a continuous exercise.

Precipitate or perish: When you are running a small margin, horizontal SaaS applicationsuch as tax, audit, CRM or even a campaign management toola direct marketing and sales process is more preferable than a margin split channels play. But that does not mean you dont precipitate and build it all by yourself. From IP rich business solutions to generic applications, one must precipitatemix thoughts/share web services, opportunities and learn to cook half baked partial solutions into multiple offerings to drive higher solid numbers. Committing to building a shared ecosystem for higher sales, better services and towards creating newer offerings along with partners are a key recipe for success. Remember you are in this business of committed monthly recurring revenue (CMRR) and not license sales and it will take ages to hit a higher scale without multiple channels play.

Sell first to build later: One of the prerequisites of building a successful SaaS business is lowered costs with zero capital availability and the target to achieve rapid customer scale. You must have a lean-mean and loosely held passionate entrepreneurial team equipped with all the modern tools of innovation such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and customers to shape your imagination into a working solution as you sell. Whats so different about this approach? Instead of burning your cash, waiting for a lengthy period to raise capital, design, build and then sell, you dont build until you have a customer sale in place. In other words, you first sell, and then you prototype, design and buildthe other way around.

Stick & a carrot, get your trump cards right: Success of an online service is determined by customers and softer challenges such as culture play a key role in adoption. Getting the idea, functionality, usability, processes and delivery right only assures you of a good chance of a fair evaluation and not adoption. That my friend is a combination of a stick and a carrot, and bells and whistles if all goes well. You have to learn to turn and apply them both to drive sales at customer locations. It will be hard to sustain a hard sell and too painful to live with only a soft one.

Design to destroy or should we say innovate: Start with a single form and one process rather than ten. If the first one doesnt work for your customer, none will. Most often you will find genuine roadblocks in the adoption of your SaaS solution, and you should learn new things which will demand you to change your course and destroy to design another one. Keep your focus on your customer and say to yourself all izz well.

Harvesting your wins: Cross sell or up sell, partner sales or direct salesas a SaaS provider you must learn to harvest your success. That is the best way to justify your efforts and investments from your customer engagement and get to the next one sooner. How you do this is left to your budgets, but if I have to play your role, I would rather use my customers strength and worries to secure another sale!

But above all, launching and running your software at your service business is a game which can only be played and your success is tied down to your customers win. Keep your costs low, increase penetration and get ready to iterate and leverage the cloud in every possible way.

Sunny Ghosh
Director & CEO
Wolf Platform-as-a-Service

NOTE: The views expressed above are purely personal and for informational purposes only. WOLF FRAMEWORKS INDIA PVT. LTD MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Want to Go Green? Move to the Cloud...

To mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, we would like to share a few insights on why Cloud Computing presents a strong green idea as technology and business grow.

Lets start with a few reasons why organizations have begun to adopt Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CER) driven processes: 

Next generation businesses have realized the inevitability of reducing their carbon footprint, as they evaluate their impact on the environment. Being an inherently energy efficient technology, the Cloud has emerged as a prime option for this purpose. Running, maintaining and servicing huge, power eating data centers are creating massive carbon footprints and business no longer see this as a viable option. Going green not only boosts the organization’s image in the market since customers are looking for environment friendly corporations, but also reduces direct financial overheads.

Studies show that if only work places were to adopt best practices and go green, billions of dollars can be saved. Many of the servers in organizations are not doing any complex computing but are used for routine tasks such as handling DNS lookups, processing email, filtering traffic and storing data. Most organizations maintain a separate server for each function! While Cloud Computing companies often lease space in data-centers, they pay a premium for the power, cooling, and rack-space. These data centers, to remain competitive try hard to be efficient with their computing power: virtualization, efficient software and what we consider as smart power management.

Cloud Computing also overcomes the geographical limitations related to computing power offering it on demand, with significantly lower cost and high scalability options. This brings a drastic reduction in carbon overheads associated with idle, power eating servers. Computing power lying idle at one geographic location can be harnessed over the Cloud at some other location in a different time zone.

Most of the public Cloud vendors also utilize “green” ways to maintain their data centers. They purchase wind power and carbon offsets in order to compensate for the environmental impact caused by  electricity. In 2005, web hosting companies used the same amount of energy as 150,000 megawatt power plants would put out. The technology today is more advanced than it was in 2005 and there are more websites out there as well, so these numbers would have definitely gone higher since then. Each megawatt of power puts out 2000 pounds of carbon dioxide per hour, which is an incredible amount of pollution to put into the atmosphere. Cloud data centers are using virtualization to reduce this carbon emission.

Understanding the complete life cycle of going Cloud can also help us understand where and how can we apply green strategies to reduce the customer’s carbon footprint. Like, which IaaS provider to choose, based on the IT equipment used at their data centers and are these equipment being disposed responsibly after use? Physical hardware at Data centers can contain chemicals too, which can harm the environment if not properly disposed, thus one must always research an IaaS provider - if they have government approved guidelines for maintaining and disposing their hardware.

By leveraging the diverse and scalable services available through Cloud vendors, many companies are experiencing significant reductions in utility service consumption at their commercial locations.  According to Forrester, over 40% of people in IT departments believe energy efficiency and equipment recycling are important factors to consider and about 65% believe that reduction of energy-related operating costs is the driving factor for implementing green IT. 

Virtualization allows you to partition physical hardware into multiple logical virtual machines, each running on its own operating system and network connectivity. With the rapid provisioning capabilities in the Cloud, one can host more applications with fewer servers.  Higher utilization of resources with lower cost and without leaving carbon footprints on earth, that’s the power of Cloud Computing.

WOLF runs on IaaS provider iWeb who as a part of their Corporate Environment Responsibility adopt Recycling, toxin-free materials, renewable energy and efficient power consumption of energy produced from hydro electric dams.

Product development processes followed at WOLF are eco-friendly with a focus on energy efficient work culture. Being a Cloud player, we believe in server virtualization for internal projects and processes. With our partners collaboration, we aim to nurture zero CO2 emitting SaaS businesses and provide an eco-friendly value chain in our services. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

WOLF Platform-as-a-Service brings Cloud Computing to Bottom Of Pyramid (BOP) Users

More than half the Cloud Computing vendors swear by the concept of democratizing computing for the larger world. Though this seems to be the root cause for Cloud Computing technologies, hardly any of us demonstrate how larger masses can participate and use computing to its potential to make a change in our larger society & daily lives.

A simple case from the villages of Ananthpur District in Andra Pradesh, India shows how thousands of rural women are being profiled, serviced and managed via a secured online Census Management SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) application and are being empowered with a Unique Identification Number (UID), a social ID for the first time in their lives.

This small and unique UID program demonstrates and acknowledges villagers who are a part of the Indian Government registered VOs and SHGs (Self Help Groups) to access basic government - social and financial amenities and improve their livelihood by participating in various self-sustainable social development programs developed by SEDS (Social Education and Development Society)- India’s second largest NGO.

SEDS envisioned and worked towards this program for six long years. They also created one of the most advanced online database applications within days using the WOLF Cloud Computing Platform.

Developed rapidly with the browser-based point & click, pay-per-use WOLF environment within 3 weeks time, the application currently generates UIDs for individuals, ID cards, allows network partners such as Banks, Donor organizations, Public work services, funding agencies to track profiles & program efficiencies and hold census level information.

This SaaS project reinforces our fundamental belief that Cloud based technology should work wonders for a larger cause to sustain growth over a longer period. Restricting access, knowledge to essential software and the ability to develop/deploy simple business software with only technical means will only cripple our collaborative ability to create value and give birth to the next set of killer applications for the world. It is our customers and their imaginations which should bring the winning recipe to our next business success.

Here are a few glimpses from the International Women's Day Program where Cloud based Census Information System was being shared and opened for more than 40,000 users to work on a daily basis. A completely new generation leveraging computing never thought possible earlier...

Sunny Ghosh
Director & CEO
Wolf Platform-as-a-Service

NOTE: The views expressed above are purely personal and for informational purposes only. WOLF FRAMEWORKS INDIA PVT. LTD MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Is Platform as a Service hard to sell in India?

Hema Narayanan interviews Wolf CEO and Director, Sunny Ghosh , to decipher the challenges of selling PaaS in India.


How is cloud computing and PaaS as such looked upon by people in India?

Sunny: Indian customers must explore and exploit Cloud Computing to achieve quantum performance at the earliest – this is not happening today. However, the projections for adoption and growth of SaaS, PaaS and Cloud Computing in India are very high. The revised report from Springboard Research puts India as one of the leading markets for OnDemand solutions, next to Australia. Like every other region, the low cost and easy-to-deal factor is a big appeal for majority of early stage customers buying into the cloud in India.

You can read the full post here. Thanks Hema and the team.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Work closer to your customers to deliver successful SaaS solutions

Entrepreneurs are passionate, self motivated, obsessed rebels who believe in their dreams & ambitions and are generally driven by their own experiences. If these could have been enough to drive a successful software product idea to the marketplace - we would have seen a thousand SalesForce already in the market - isn't it?

I believe that you need all these, but the secret sauce in delivering a successful SaaS venture lies in the ability to launch products that are designed corresponding to customers' needs.

Entrepreneurs are guilty of being biased while making crucial product decisions. They are victim of classifying themselves as the users and neglect the interests of their customers. They have to understand that their target audience consists of people who have different reactions and motivations and have to work closely with them.

Of course, it is easier said than done, but here is a simple four step process to serve as a guideline while piloting your product - Categorize, Engage, Adapt and Iterate (another alphabet soup for successful SaaS ventures to remember).

Learn to Categorize your users into different buckets. While a CEO would want completely different features in the product, a sales executive would have a different perspective. You need to understand how you are going to cater to every target users' needs with your current offering and what you
lack in...

This could simply mean in other words to put your users into different buckets and attempt to reach out and Engage with them. Ask them questions closer to their needs which you are trying to access. You don't need to ask them 'What features do you want?' What you rather need to understand is 'How do you perform this activity right now?' The key is to understand their pain points.

Once you have the feedback, it's time to Adapt & factor it within your product. Analyze customers' needs and map them into product features that would suit them the best and deliver them in the most simple manner is a key element of a successful SaaS solution. Keep in mind that you do not need to bring a revolution in the way they do things; you simply have to identify their pain points in their present system and simplify those processes.

All said and done, you can be rest assured that everything will not fall in place with the first pilot. The mantra of success lies in continuously Iterating :)

Here's a cool illustration of the same process using personas, something which you can't afford to overlook.

I will return with more learning's soon, till then - TaDa and remember to keep the target audience in your mind. Involve them in the process of product design and stay on course - Hungry and Foolish!

Ankit Jain
Account Executive
Wolf Frameworks