Sumedh Meshram

A Personal Blog

5 Evergreen goals To guide technology organization

These 5 evergreen goals are a useful way to help technology organizations of all sizes make decisions, categorize work, allocate resources, and spur innovation and productivity without interfering with team-specific, time-boxed goals. Whether you’re leading through change or focusing your team, these evergreen goals (or your variations of them) might just be what you need to bring foundational consistency to your technology organization without slowing them down. Here’s our set of evergreen goals.

1. Reduce  Complexity

Some systems might be complex because the problems they address are complicated. Perhaps the complexity is justified. That said, it’s startling how much complexity is created unintentionally. This evergreen goal is focused on reducing accidental or unintentional complexity. Sometimes it’s created because of expediency, but often it’s the result of architecture that does not evolve properly. The end result is the same, however. You probably see this in some of your own systems as they become increasingly difficult to fix or improve in a timely manner without causing problems in other areas. Unintentionally complex systems are also difficult to secure, scale, move, and recover. I’ve seen this at startups as well as at long standing companies like Morningstar with lengthy histories of product development, acquisitions, and integration. This goal is not only about technology but is also about reducing complexity in the processes that drive how we we plan, work together, communicate, and hire.

2. Improve Product Completeness

Technology teams often cut corners in order to deliver promised functionality on schedule. Regardless of why or how that happens, it does. The purpose of this evergreen goal is to encourage teams to always think intentionally about product completeness. We challenge our teams to continually find ways to improve security, scalability, and resilience, for example, and not just ways to deliver new functionality. Completeness work is often very underappreciated until something terrible happens. Don’t wait until you experience a data breach, extended downtime, or an inability to scale before you think about product completeness. Be pragmatic, but don’t be foolish.

3. Increase  Uptime

Delivering a product (internal or otherwise) is one thing, but keeping it up and running is an operational challenge that is often an afterthought in many organizations. The purpose of this evergreen goal is to encourage teams to think about monitoring, alerting, logging, incident response, recoverability, and automation. This isn’t just about technology. It’s also about ensuring that operations processes are efficient, modern, updated, and focused on the customer. Identify and correct problems before your customers report them. They expect that from you.

4. Own Less Infrastructure

In this modern age of high quality public cloud infrastructure, it makes little sense for most companies to run their own data centers for most of their workloads. It’s rarely a business differentiator anymore. Obviously, this evergreen goal might only apply to you if you’re still running your own data centers, but also consider other infrastructure you might own. Do you have your own call center equipment, for example? It might be worth rethinking that. At Morningstar, we are in the middle of a multi-year cloud transformation and this goal is particularly important to us. The purpose of this goal is to encourage teams to find ways to reduce current infrastructure footprints so that we can continue to draw down our dependence on the infrastructure that we own and maintain.

5. Maximize Talent

The technology landscape is changing so quickly and access to rich web services is abundant. A quick look at any major cloud service provider reveals that they’ve moved well beyond infrastructure services into services that spur innovation and increase productivity. Look at all the services related to machine learning, for example. Hopefully, you’ve hired people not just for what they already know but also for their aptitude and desire for continuing education. The tendency for many companies is to hire from the outside without first considering modernizing the skill sets of people they already have in-house. The modern workforce expects companies to invest in professional development, so this evergreen goal to maximize talent is a constant reminder to do that. It benefits individuals, teams, and the overall business to re-skill in-house talent.

Takeaways

Remember though, that you cannot immediately change culture. You have to nurture and evolve it. Installing and promoting these evergreen goals is often like creating a new habit or lifestyle change. It requires commitment, persistence, repetition, and encouragement. Use the terminology and concepts in meetings, conversations, and presentations, and encourage others to do the same. Make the effort inclusive, sustained, and intentional. The overall purpose for these evergreen goals is to remove friction from your technology organization in order to spur innovation and increase productivity. Sometimes simple measures like these yield the most impressive results.

5 Trends In Fintech You Will See In 2019

5 Trends In Fintech You Will See In 2019

 
 

This year, the word “fintech” was mentioned in a Union Budget speech for the first time ever. It was an ambiguous 20th-century portmanteau. Today, fintech has pervaded our daily lives, impacting everyday money decisions. Fintech is the way to go for the financial empowerment of hundreds of millions of Indians.

Here’s how I feel 2019 would progress for the industry.

Consumer Traction Will Continue To Grow

More and more Indians will continue to turn to the internet to solve their money management problems. For millennials born in the age of the internet, their Internet-connected smartphones will be the gateway to the financial services industry.

Not just that, the number of internet users in India will continue to grow at a rapid pace: 500 Mn in 2018 as per IAMAI projections, and 700 Mn by 2020, as per other projections. Fintech will continue to churn out solutions for the internet-connected Indian.

Short-Term Lending To Gain Pace

Payday loans – short-term, unsecured loans – have been around for long in the west. But they’ve only recently started becoming popular in India. You’ll see not just the proliferation of lending startups but also see mainstream banks evolving short-term lending products.

 

Paperless Is Accelerating

The only way forward for fintech is paperless. A consumer should be able to buy her financial service from her smartphone, paperlessly, presence-lessly, without having to submit a sheet of paper or meeting a bank salesperson.

The Aadhaar verdict this year has shaped how eKYC for new account openings is done. New techniques of eKYC have also evolved, and we’re expecting to see some of them in action soon. For example, you may be able to complete your verification through video KYC.

Work is also going on towards making offline Aadhaar a possibility, wherein a user would be able to control the Aadhaar information she wishes to share with a service provider via XML. Offline Aadhaar will allow authentication without biometrics or the sharing of the Aadhaar number.

PMLA Amendments To Enable Paperless Banking

The Modi government has made amendments to the Telegraph Act as well as the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, following the Supreme Court’s Aadhaar verdict. This will pave way for the voluntary use of Aadhaar for new phone connections and bank accounts.

Therefore, not only will customers be able to instantly open accounts, there are now steeper penalties on entities who misuse Aadhaar data or business who withhold services for not sharing Aadhaar.

India is rapidly moving to paperless, presence-less delivery of financial products. With more first-time internet users entering the market, expect more developments and innovation in the customer onboarding space.

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