The Next wave – Digital workforce, Software 2.0 and Infra 3.0 – Part 1

The Next wave is coming – “You either embrace it or get uprooted”

Digital transformation is now not talked about in the strategy meeting or inside the closed board rooms of the companies it has in fact become a necessity for firms to survive in this era of disruptive business models and rapidly changing markets.

Undoubtedly, Service Delivery Automation (#SDA) solutions such as Robotic Process Automation (#RPA) and #ArtificialIntelligence (AI) can play a significant role to enable this transformation and create value for enterprises.

Before we start talking about RPA/AI/Cognitive ML, enterprise need to think through some of these key questions

  • What are the key business problems in the traditional workforce model?
  • What are the key automation technologies that enable a digital workforce?
  • How can these automation technologies and solutions that can we used to give the best possible ROI for the enterprise? It is the most critical question “Think about ROI before choosing tools”
  • How can enterprises transform their front- and back-office operations through a smart digital workforce to become future-ready?
  • How can enterprises achieve strategic business impact by leveraging digital capabilities?


When it would be useful to bring in #RPA/AI into the enterprise and start thinking about the digital workforce as per the

Gartner report – “By 2020, robotic process automation will eliminate 20% of non-value-added tasks within the office”


The biggest challenge is bringing in the #Data into the systems, to create a framework the organization needs to think

  • What the different kind of data
  • How the data is generated in the organization or coming in the organization.
  • How to handle data via People
  • How to handle data via structured sources
  • Data from Social Media (Facebook, twitters, blogs etc.).
  • Data from Business Process as a Service ( #BPaaS)
  • Data from Electronic #data exchanges


There are 3 entities who are creating the data – Customers, Suppliers and the employees in the organisation.


Business processes in an organization can be classified as

  • Strategic
  • Knowledge-based
  • Transactional processes

And the Data can be classified on their

  • Type – (Referential, Transnational or Factual data)
  • Nature – (Slow changing or Rapidly changing data)
  • Complexity (Depends on amount processing required for consumption)

Bots that can handle most of the transnational processes and some knowledge-based processes can significantly free up the time of human agents to handle high-value work, the strategic work would be handled by the humans. As the system and the algorithms starts to learn more and move from the supervised learning toward more cognitive learning, both the human agents along with the cognitive agents starts capturing and processing information into a structure format, these structured data would be passed to the robots which would process most of the transnational processing and only complex queries or exceptions would be passed on to the humans agent.




Intelligence is not moving from one technology to another technology, it is about adapting to changes quickly, always use the same resources, easy to optimize for performance and portability from one technology to other based on the problem statement with minimal efforts.

Example – #Google translate v1.0 had over 1 million lines of code, and the Google Translate v.2.0 has less than 1000 lines of code it more about the data.

Data is the driver of any Software 2.0 and data management principals are going to be the core fundamentals for Software 2.0 and how organizations are going to breach the wall of complexity to keep themselves ahead of the completion, but this is not going to be that simple the current models have data dependencies, the feedback loops both direct or hidden still needs to identify the anti-patterns and ignore the dead experimental code.


Part 2 – Infra 3.0 and a deep dive in a use case 

Leave your feedback and Comments

Abhinav Gupta

Product Manager





How to get the end dates in an #Agile project – Practical approach to story point estimation!

Traditionally the estimates are given in days, months or person-hours with a probable end date to the project and these estimates don’t include time in meetings, email, and other non-project related activities all of this considered to be as a “PROJECT BUFFER-TIME.”

Traditionally how it happens

Estimates for our project

  • One month for design and architecture
  • Four months for development
  • One month for testing
  • 15 days of buffer time

Scenario 1 – your estimation of design is off by 2 weeks, what do you do?

You have already given the date of final deliverable. Usually, dates have an emotional attachment to them, and relative estimation removes the emotional attachment of the end date.

Scenario 2 – During the start of the project you don’t know much of the requirements to start, possibility of wrong estimations are higher.


The cone of uncertainty defines – during the start of the project the probability of estimates going wrong are very high, due to high degree of uncertainty.

“Story point represents the amount of effort required to implement a user story in a product backlog”

So while defining a story point to a particular user story in the product backlog one would consider the following factors

  1. Risk
  2. Complexity ( which governs the effort)
  3. Uncertainty of the requirement ( which involves dependencies and doubts


So, if story points should estimate of how long it will take to develop a user story all the factors such as the risk and complexity should be factored into effort involved in implementing it. Story points represent time. This has to be so because time is what our bosses, clients and customers care about. They only care about complexity to the extent it influences the amount of time something will take.

What agile manifesto advocates is “Estimates may not be accurate, but they need to be consistent, the sprint velocity would correct the inaccuracy of the estimates”   The idea to compare your last given estimates with the next estimates time and again in order to reach consistency in your estimates.

Assumptions to be made

  • One of the most important considerations that need to be made while defining the story point is assuming the ideal day, where everything works as per the plan, no sick day, no one interrupts etc.
  • No individual task should be more than 16 hours ( you can decide a number to define based on your project
  • Assuming that your team size is constant and team understands their roles

Identification of the base/reference story

Breaking of the user stories until you reach to a small story which cannot be further broken. Making this is a base story or the reference story based on which you would relatively estimate the product backlog. This is important to create the initial product backlog.

Tuning the base/reference story

After the team has created the initial product backlog, pick one of those stories that are a good representation of an “average” story from that list few user stories and do a relative mapping to the story against the average story and assigning a story point to this reference story and realign the product backlog with the new number. The product backlog grooming is a continuous process which happens throughout the entire project.

Techniques of estimating

There are various techniques for assigning user story points to a user story.  Common estimating methods include t-shirt sizes (S, M, L, and too big), powers of 2 (1, 2, 4, 8), the Fibonacci sequence (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, etc.)


Agile emphasises that the story point estimation should happen at the story level not at the task level


The estimation should not happen at task level but at the user story level as some of the tasks might not be required as we come closer to the final delivery of the user story or even the user story may get dropped during the sprint planning meeting. One of the key things to remember during the estimation is working with the product owner and identifying the user story which is the most granular part of the product backlog which means it is simply small or needs to be split. As a part of the sprint meeting the team needs to define two key points would the team able to take this user story in the current sprint or this need to be broken into smaller deliverable user stories.

Learn from past estimates

Retrospectives are a time for the team to incorporate insights from past iterations–including the accuracy of their estimates. Many agile tools tracks story points, which makes reflecting on and re-calibrating estimates a lot easier. For example, pulling up the last 5 user stories the team delivered with the story point value 8. Discuss whether each of those work items had a similar level of effort. Use that insight in future estimation discussions.

Like everything else in agile, estimation is a practice. You’ll get better and better with time.

Alternative medicine and Anti- Cancer Diet

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I was researching for someone who suffers from Multiple Myeloma ( Blood Cancer) III (a) he has been undergoing Chemotherapy some of the below treatments have really helped him to withstand the side effects of chemo and steroids

Some of the Anti-Cancer Diets which was helpful

Budwig diet is rich in vegetables, fibre and fruits. You also need to avoid meat, sugar and fats like margarine, salad oil and butter.

The Budwig protocol in healing patients with cancer has an 80 to 93% success rate, this is based on Dr. Budwig’s report and other organisations that support his method in treating cancer.

Normally, flax seed is taken orally, but for severe cases it is used in enema form. The other part of the Budwig Protocol is a Specialised Diet. The results are usually noticed within 90 days, and in some cases after a week. Patients with cancer should continue with the protocol for a minimum of 6 months, regardless of whether the symptoms disappear or not.

A bowl, add 1 tsp of honey and 2 tbsps of freshly ground flax seeds. It is important that you only use freshly ground flax seeds.

Add fresh organic fruits mixture (fruits like peaches, apples, berries, grapes and others). Do not use bananas because, according to Dr. Budwig, this can quickly increase the blood sugar levels in cancer patients.

Mix 3 tbsps of flax seed oil with 100g of quark/ cottage cheese. Add 3 tbsps of unhomogenized milk to produce a smooth mixture. Blend it to get it mixed thoroughly.

You can add more flax seed oil depending on your personal taste, but in case the quark is not able to absorb the oil fully, add more as needed. Add the mixture to the bowl. You can add cinnamon or vanilla to improve the flavor, but this is optional.

The cinnamon will help in regulating blood sugar. You can add organic nuts on top.

Vitamin C injections and oxygen therapies should not be combined with the protocol.

All viruses , parasites and pathogens are, by nature, anaerobic, meaning that they thrive in the absence of oxygen, but cannot survive in an oxygen rich environment.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Same thing goes for cancer cells. They cannot exist in an oxygen-rich environment. HBOT, or Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, involves the breathing of pure oxygen whilst in a closed chamber that has been pressurized at 1–1/ 2 to three times normal atmospheric pressure.

The Scientific Evidence Showing HBOT is Effective Scientific evidence shows HBOT is very effective in providing remedy in a number of diseases. The Committee on HBOT of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine suggests it for the treatment of: ·

Abscess in the brain or head

Anemia due to severe blood loss ·

Arterial gas embolism

Blockage of the retinal artery

Carbon monoxide poisoning

Certain wounds that are not healing with standard treatment ·

Crushing injuries in which there is not enough oxygen to the tissues

Decompression sickness

Fighting Cancer with Vitamins and Supplements

There are many vitamins and minerals that people claim are very effective in treating cancer, however, only a few were actually proven to be very effective. Turmeric and Curcumin happened to be one of them.

Turmeric is One of the most powerful and under-recognized of these is curcumin. Curcumin has 240 published studies that are available in the global scientific literature and is known as the most powerful cancer-preventing agent. Curcumin is extracted from the Indian spice turmeric
its chemopreventive and anti-inflammatory power.

Actually, curcumin targets 10 causative factors involved in the development of cancer. Interrupting any of these factors will protect you from developing cancer. Disrupting more than one factor will provide you better protection, including the prevention of DNA damage.

By blocking NF-kB , an inflammatory master molecule, curcumin reduces cancer-causing inflammation, lowering the levels of inflammatory cytokines all over the body. It also interferes with the formation of dangerous advanced glycation end products that promotes inflammation, which may cause cancerous mutation.

Curcumin has the ability to alter cellular signaling to have healthy control over cellular replication, which controls the cellular reproductive cycle, and helps in stopping uncontrolled propagation of new tissue in tumors. It stimulates apoptosis in reproducing cancer cells without affecting the healthy tissue and makes a tumor more susceptible to cell-killing cures.

Vitamin D is said to be cancer’s worst enemy.

Vitamin D can help you prevent more than 16 various types of cancer, which include breast, lung, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic and skin cancers.

Actually, if you have a good amount of vitamin D in your body, your risk of having cancer is reduced by 77%. Vitamin D has shown preventative benefits for many diseases, which include diabetes, cancer and heart disease, and can even reduce chronic pain.

Theories associating vitamin D deficiency to cancer have been confirmed and tested in over 200 epidemiological studies, and understanding of its physiological basis stems from over 2,500 laboratory studies.
The most important factor is keeping your vitamin D serum levels at around 50 and 70 /ml. Vitamin D from sun exposure or a safe tanning bed is the BEST way to optimize your vitamin D levels. If you take oral vitamin D and have cancer, you should monitor your vit. D serum levels regularly and also supplement your vitamin K2, since K2 deficiency is actually what produces the symptoms of vit. D toxicity.

Gerson Therapy

How Gerson Therapy is Administered The Gerson Therapy treatment plan should be followed properly.Some of the important parts of the regimen include the following:

Take 13 glasses of juice a day. The juice must be made from freshly squeezed organic veggies and fruits and should be taken once every hour.

Consuming vegetarian meals of organically grown veggies and fruits.

Taking supplements, such as Potassium, co-enzyme 10 injected with vitamin B12 Vitamins B3, C, and A, Pancreatic enzymes, pepsin and flax seed oil.

Taking chamomile enemas or coffee regularly to eliminate toxins from the body.

Preparing food without spices, oils, or salt and without using aluminium utensils or cookware.

Hope that it helps

Abhinav Gupta

The Business Analyst Career Roadmap

BA career is a journey, with many entry and exit points. The current position of BA has many role families; BA can expertise more than one role .For example, a functional analyst can also have process analysis experience. Therefore your options for career growth have multiple entry and exit points.

Role Families 

1. Business Focused Role Families 

  • Business Requirements Analyst: The business requirements analyst is tasked with helping the business to meet its objectives and goals. He/she will understand how work is being conducted, and through analysis, determine solutions to the issues. He/she will have in-depth business knowledge typically related to a department (e.g. customer service, manufacturing). This role may conduct a feasibility study or justify the investment in change through a business case.
  • Business Process Analyst: A business process analyst specializes in bringing change to organizations through the analysis, design, and implementation of the business processes that keep teams running and the management of changes to those processes. Business process analysts have broad competencies in identifying the current state of processes, eliciting useful and harmful attributes of them, documenting models of the processes and facilitating stakeholder groups to a consensus regarding new business process designs.
  • Decision Analyst – In Demand: The Decision Analyst (often referred to as a business intelligence analyst). The decision analyst utilizes technologies, methods and practices for continuous iterative exploration and investigation of past business performance to gain insight and drive business planning.  The decision analyst will help the business to develop new ideas and understand business performance based on data and statistical methods.


2. IT Analyst Role Families 

  • Business Systems Analyst: The business systems analyst will utilize broad IT and in-depth industry knowledge to implement IT solutions which address business needs. He or she will identify, develop and implement effective technology solutions that address business needs.


  • Systems Analyst:  A systems analyst performs business analysis tasks through specialization in understanding the business usage of information technology (IT) and helping technology add value to the business. He or she knows and is comfortable with a variety of technical architectures and platforms, and understands IT capabilities and which applications in an organization deliver various capabilities.


  • Functional Analyst: The functional business analyst performs business analysis tasks through specializing in a particular technology product and its features and functions capabilities. The functional business analyst has deep knowledge of the technology product and has to experience in a variety of implementation contexts in varying organizations, and sometimes industries. He or she helps organizations and stakeholders define the usage and integration with other systems and implements the features and functions of the technology product to meet business requirements.


  • Service Request Analyst: A service request Analyst performs business analysis tasks by specializing in supporting stakeholders of a particular system application, maintaining the system, and handling user inquiries, user issues, and enhancements to the system. This Analyst has a deep understanding of a specific application or set of applications he or she supports, how users use the application, and what other systems integrate with the application.


  • Agile Analyst: In the agile world, software requirements are developed through continual exploration of the business need. Requirements are elicited and refined through an iterative process of planning, defining acceptance criteria, prioritizing, developing, and reviewing the results. Throughout the iterative planning and analysis of requirements, business analysis practitioners must constantly ensure that the features requested by the users align with the product’s business goals, especially as the business goals evolve and change over time. The agile analysis is a specialty often held by Business Systems and IT Analysts.

BA Leadership 

The following are a list of roles within this family:

  • BA Project Lead
  • BA Program Lead
  • BA Practice Lead
  • Relationship Manager
  • BA Manager

Enterprise Level Roles 

  • Enterprise Architect:  The enterprise architect aligns IT infrastructure with IT and business strategy supporting the goals and objectives, and the successful implementation of change. He/she develops formal standards, manages the enterprise architecture processes and guides the architectural team, CIO, CEO, and Business Architect.
  • Business Architect: This role works to create and maintain the business architecture. He or she leverages enterprise capabilities and efficient usage of process, technology, data and people, and aligns these capabilities to the business strategy.

Blockchain 1.0 – How Bitcoin works

Blockchain revolution is broken down into three categories: Blockchain 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0.

  • Blockchain 1.0 is currency, the deployment of cryptocurrencies in applications related to cash, such as money transfer, remittance, and digital payment systems.
  • Blockchain 2.0 Contracted, the entire slate of economic, market, and financial applications using the blockchain that are more extensive than simple cash transactions: stocks, bonds, futures, loans, mortgages, titles, smart property, and smart contracts.
  • Blockchain 3.0 is blockchain applications beyond currency, finance, and markets—particularly in the areas of government, health, science, literacy, culture, and art.



  • Bitcoin is digital cash. It is a digital currency and online payment system in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank.
  • Bitcoin is pseudonymous (not anonymous) in the sense that public key addresses (27–32 alphanumeric character strings; similar in function to an email address) are used to send and receive Bitcoins and record transactions, as opposed to personally identifying information.
  • Bitcoins are created as a reward for computational processing work, known as mining, in which users offer their computing power to verify and record payments into the public ledger. Individuals or companies engage in mining in exchange for transaction fees and newly created Bitcoins. Besides mining, Bitcoins can, like any currency, be obtained in exchange for fiat money, products, and services. Users can send and receive Bitcoins electronically for an optional transaction fee using wallet software on a personal computer, mobile device, or web application
  • Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System

Bitcoin Landscape


How Bitcoin Works

Suppose Alice wants to buy a coffee in Bob’s café, and her friend Bob wants to send money to bob’s café who accepts money into Bitcoin

The payment requests QR code

encodes the following URL, defined in BIP0021:

  • bitcoin:1GdK9UzpHBzqzX2A9JFP3Di4weBwqgmoQA?
  • amount=0.015&
  • label=Bob%27s%20Cafe&
  • message=Purchase%20at%20Bob%27s%20Cafe
  • The bitcoin network can transact in fractional values, e.g., from millibitcoins (1/1000th of a bitcoin) down to 1/100,000,000th of a bitcoin, which is known as a Satoshi,
  • In simple terms, a transaction tells the network that the owner of some bitcoins has authorized the transfer of some of those bitcoins to another owner. The new owner can now spend these bitcoins by creating another transaction that allows to transfer to another owner, and so on, in a chain of ownership.

Bitcoin Transactions

Transactions move value from transaction inputs to transaction outputs.An input is where the coin value is coming from, usually a previous transaction’s output. A transaction output assigns a new owner to the value by associating it with a key. The  destination key is called an encumbrance.

Constructing a Bitcoin Transaction 

  • Step 1 – Alice’s wallet application contains all the logic for selecting appropriate inputs and outputs to build a transaction to Alice’s specification, Alice only needs to specify a destination and an amount and the rest happens in the wallet application without her seeing the details
  • Step 2 –If the wallet application does not maintain a copy of unspent transaction outputs, it can query the bitcoin network to retrieve this information, using a variety of APIs available by different providers or by asking a full-index node using the bitcoin JSON RPC APIPictur2e1.png 
  • Getting the Bitcoin Wallet balance in sync with the network.
    • Step 3 – With this information, Alice’s wallet application can construct a transaction to transfer that value to new owner addresses.


  • Creating the output
    • Step 4 – In simpler terms, Alice’s transaction output will contain a script that says something like, “This output is payable to whoever can present a signature from the key corresponding to Bob’s public address.”


  • Getting the balances back in Alice wallet
    • Step 5 – This transaction will also include a second output, because Alice’s funds are in the form of a 0.10 BTC output, too much money for the 0.015 BTC cup of coffee. Alice will need 0.085 BTC in change. Alice’s change payment is created by Alice’s wallet in the very same transaction as the payment to Bob


  • Adding the transaction fees
    • Step 6 for the transaction to be processed by the network in a timely fashion, Alice’s wallet application will add a small fee. Alice creates only 0.0845 as the second output, there will be 0.0005 BTC left over. The resulting difference is the transaction fee that is collected by the miner as a fee for including the transaction in a block and putting it on the blockchain ledger


Adding the Transaction to the Ledger

  • The transaction created by Alice’s wallet application is 258 bytes long and contains everything necessary to confirm ownership of the funds and assign new owners. Now, the transaction must be transmitted to the bitcoin network where it will become part of the distributed ledger (the blockchain).
  • If Bob’s bitcoin wallet application is directly connected to Alice’s wallet application, Bob’s wallet application might be the first node to receive the transaction. However, even if Alice’s wallet sends the transaction through other nodes, it will reach Bob’s wallet within a few seconds. Bob’s wallet will immediately identify Alice’s transaction as an incoming payment because it contains outputs redeemable by Bob’s keys. Bob’s wallet application can also independently verify that the transaction is well formed, uses previously unspent inputs, and contains sufficient transaction fees to be included in the next block.


Reference – Minimum Viable Blockchain


Abhinav Gupta

Next Topic – Bitcoin Mining for Dummies


Who Killed the kingfisher..

 Everybody, most of my learned friends want Vijay Mallya arrested. They say he had fun at the cost of Public Money, he should be punished. They say he is a fraud, he lives a rich  and Luxurious life, while not paying salaries to his staff and not paying his lenders and vendors.

Who killed King Fisher Airlines? Have you given a thought? As a citizen of India you should know. As an entrepreneur you should definitely know this. I am sharing below a sequence of media reports from the days of the fall of KingFisher Airlines began. I hope to construct the sequence right, so that you can understand how it was killed. and by whom.. A little, backdrop would be, if you recall, or perhaps can google to verify my statement, Most Airlines across the world were doing bad those days. Many were in the verge of collapse.

You may note Jet Airways stocks had plunged around the same time in Jan 2012..


You May notice, Kingfisher was doing better than Jet Airways.


Kingfisher  desperately had to infuse funds and this was the best thing Vijay Mallya and his team could have done.

It was very well placed,

But what went wrong?

It appeared to be a done deal,

what went wrong?

Not just me, everybody seem to think / say so.. then..

It was obviously not similar thoughts towards Jet Airways.. then.. what went wrong?

Same SBI had hopes on Kingfisher Airlines..


This is the beginning..

Government agency thinks contrary to Market and Banks… why?

Kingfisher Airlines team does, what any serious enterprise does..


Why is Kingfisher targeted, while all Indian Airlines were in similar situation then?


Why stop an Airlines from flying?

How will an enterprise pay salaries, when agency meant to support the player is keeping it away from raising funds..

Does this help you understand better, what happened?

Its important to understand the share holder details of Jet, particularly, foriegn and Indian Share holders.

Please note Naresh Goyal is not an Indian National.

Note the percentage of General Public & Foriegn promoters as share holders in Kingfisher

Note the general public in Jet Airways and also  foreign promoters

Etihad was still interested in Kingfisher and not Jet Airways..


Kingfisher tried things Legally, but what was at play??

Why every possible government machinery tried to scutle Kingfisher Airlines?

Is this the final nail..??

Etihad comes around and agrees to go with Jet Airways..

Anad Sharma was the Commerce Minister..

Then met Finance Minister..

Why, all this to help a company held by majority of  foreign promoters?

Why was Indian Government stretching to do this for Jet Airways, while Squeezing Kingfisher Airlines?

This was perhaps the last nail but we know, what else is happening with the (Once) King of Good times..

Who killed Kingfisher Airlines? Who got Vijay Malaya to this state? Who were the beneficiaries? Can an Indian Entrepreneur dare to do things in his own Country again? Will Indian government support her/him, or lead to what happened to Kingfisher Airlines and Vijay Mallya?

I have never had Kingfisher Airlines or any of Vijay Mallya’s company shares. I have neither been his Associate nor employee. I am writing this to share with my learned friends, this is the truth I saw. I feel bad for Kingfisher Airlines and Vijay Mallya as an entrepreneur. I don’t want such a thing to happen to any entrepreneur.

Product Management Myths and Reality

What has changed, over the years, in the technology industry; which required a role of a product manager?

I did not hear the designation of a product manager 10 years back, there were business analysts, project managers but not the product manager. There is an argument, that somehow end-user needs got detached from the technology-driven product. The product manager enables a company to rapidly deliver products to market since it skims and skips lengthy traditional market research, and consequently bases product design decisions on internal company expertise. Probably yes the business has been changing so rapidly which required this as a specialized role.

So who is a product manager? A business analyst, UI/UX expert, Technology expert, Project manager, Sales associate, Network specialist?

I think the answer is none of them, the commonly used a vague definition of product management misleads and allows many people to place their own personal interpretation on the role of product management, and this is leading to a multitude of diverse definitions in the technology industry. As a product manager, you need to be the like the conductor of the orchestra. You may not know which API’s to call, which would be better to have a server hosted application or a cloud platform, does the customer care about all that?  The Product manager should be as a voice of the customer and should be ready to take tough calls, he should be creative and clear in his ideas and politically correct to get it implemented, should be listening to thought but at the same time should the person who would call the shots.

Does the definition of the role of a product manager in my company same everywhere?

Every company is different and handles product management differently – meaning that the product management discipline is not standardized as much as it could be across the high-tech industry. Further complicating the situation is that in each company there are individual stakeholders who often view and interpret product management very differently from each other. Based on my conversation with various product managers working in different companies, some say that they have been recurrently successful as product manager while others said that they have been just lucky till now, but now they are working on having a consistent understanding of the product management in the organization.

What do you understand by Product manager as the CEO, of the product?

This statement is been used quite often in various blogs, talk’s and books. The product management comprises of all the activities that are responsible for the product to be successful in the market. For example, providing incorrect market requirements, erroneous pricing, or an inaccurate profiling of the target market can all be detrimental and critical. If just one of these aspects of product management is a miss, then the product’s chances of success are greatly diminished and who shall hold responsibility for the failure of the product; The Product manager! And it’s his responsibility to fix it.

How important is the role of a product manager in making a product successful?

Some products are successful because of external factors, timing, or merely good fortune. Not all successful products have had great product management behind them, but it is clear that many product failures have had poor or no guidance from product management. Numerous cases where companies like Google, Apple, JP Morgan’s and Microsoft failed and the most decorated product managers were needed to step down whether it was Apple map or google phone.

 Is it necessary for the product manager to be an Agile/Lean/RAD/waterfall expert?

Well, there is no right or a wrong model for a project, there are instances where the agile model may lead to budget overruns due to continuous change in product requirement, despite having the most amazing product the time to market the product led to product failure. I think everything works, even tossing a coin before choosing the model of development might work for you, but you need to make it work for you.

To conclude, I think there is an increasing need for standardizing the product management as a discipline, and every dollar that a company earns through product development some portion of that dollar they should reinvest in improving the area of product management. Efficient product management practices within the organization increase product managers on job productivity and improve a product’s chances of commercial success.


Robo-Advisory vs. Human Advisors

A simple question

If you had a problem or a goal in mind, would you want a series of checkboxes, questions, telephone prompts or a real person to assist you?

The automated response system may include perhaps a dozen issues and solutions, based on algorithms, which are supposed to meet the needs of most people. A real person can give you real-time responses, specific to your questions when asked with accurate answers.

The financial advising industry has been buzzing about the emergence of Robo-advisors for the past few years as web-based advising companies, with the new technology stack most of these companies like the Vanguard’s, Wealth-front,, etc. have either acquired or developed Robo advisory platforms, spending millions of dollars. These online tools attempt to create and manage a client’s portfolio in a fast and inexpensive way.

Why and How Robo-advisors came into existence?

Historically the problem with trying to get an FIA was many have minimum asset requirements of $500,000 or larger and it is not uncommon for FIAs to charge 1-2% annually (or greater via the loaded investment tools like Mutual funds entry and exit loads). That is 1-2% you have to do better than the market just to keep up.

On the other hand, Robo-advisors manage portfolios automatically, with their decisions driven by the algorithm. Most Robo-advisors include portfolio rebalancing. One, Fidelity’s, would do the tax harvesting and reallocation for you for a 0.5 percent annual fee.

How Robo-advisors do it differently.

Let me try an explain using a simple example

When you do to buy a pair of denim, you essentially speak to the sales guy and just mention the waist size and the fit. They give you an option of 5 types of denim from different companies, but the ultimate decision is yours that which one you want to buy; this is similar to human FIA.

On the other hand you entered a showroom and based on your physical appearance and your choice the computer takes out the best denim suitable for you, now that is Robo advisory. The Robo-advisory work on a concept of “One Size that fits most of the people”

The computer is learning every time based on the historical data, assets performance, your choices and choices made by other individuals having similar risk appetite. The Robo-advisor changes the asset allocation automatically, where the investor does not have to make the asset allocation decision every time all that at very low fees compared to the human FIA.

Typically, these types of accounts can be compared with the Managed accounts that FIA manages wherein the FIA gets an amount from the investor, and the FIA takes the decision based on the market dynamics, the investment decision or asset allocation are completely based on the FIA experience. FIA may charge the end customers a standard fee 1-2% and a percentage of net profit of the portfolio.

Does Robo-advisor suit you and your dad both?

Firms like focus on the end-goal and is ideal for individuals who do not care or want to learn about the details of investing. For these people, the 35 basis points (or less) they pay is well worth the fee, and in many cases much better than hiring an FIA — both regarding cost and sound financial advice.

In my case, most of my assets are “Do it yourself” (DIY), but I’ve also been studying this for years and feel comfortable buying insurance, mutual funds and stocks myself. On the other hand, my dad may not log-in to his online account and would call up his FIA and get his insurance done.

Most of the Robo advisory platforms work on the Modern Portfolio Theory and the tools robot-advisors offer aren’t new, however. Traditional financial advisors had the same tools available to them for years and could roll up a personalized asset allocation plan unique to you.

How to choose a Robo-advisor for yourself or family, what things you need to consider?

Below are some of the parameters that you should consider while choosing a Robo-advisor and compare it with the Human FIA

  • Minimum Deposit – Some firms you can start out with nothing and others require sizable amounts to start with.
  • Annual Fees – Be aware of hidden costs, portfolio management fees, mutual fund entry/exit loads, ULIP management fees etc.
  • Asset Allocation – Does it offer all different products like Insurance, Mutual funds, Stocks etc.
  • Account Type Support – 100% automated vs human assisted advice
  • Tax Optimization – Does it give services like Tax-Loss Harvesting, Tax planning, Tax reclaims etc.
  • Retirement planning only or supports other short term goal based planning
  • Managed by you in which they give trading advice, or directly by the firm
  • Manage all your assets or just a portion

Although there are a few obvious perks/benefits of the Robo-advisor model, there are undeniable advantages that human, financial advisors bring to their clients. The Gen X may feel comfortable using an online tool to manage their money; however, when it comes to taking major decisions involving larger some of money and longer commitments they like to ripe for a face-to-face financial advisor.

I think, looking at the current capital markets and availability of Robo/RIA tools, and the individual investors the hybrid approach is would be appropriate where the Robo-advisors take over the day to day portfolio’s asset allocations, and the humans take up when building a new wealth management portfolio for an investor.


Abhinav Gupta

Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Original Article (PDF)


Driving competitive advantage through Margin System

Future trends of Margin System 

  • By adopting this Integrated Margin Management framework, companies can drive competitive advantage by unlocking significant margin opportunities that were previously hidden, the use of sensitivity analytics and “What if” analysis features for getting the holistic picture of each counterparty positions
  • An understanding of the true drivers of margin and access to richer, more granular information about performance is essential to enable margin-focused decisions. Which includes effective liquidity and collateral position management.
  • Harmonize a diverse set of global operating entities and unlock global capability, scale and synergies to converge and standardize global processes, data and systems.
  • Developing a standard infrastructure to support these segregation requirements globally will be critical given the growth and complexity of segregated accounts.
  • Companies need to embed margin management with effective IM analysis and drill down for speedy dispute resolution.
  • Investment and central/external capacity fully leveraged to execute on margin opportunities and management of margin buffers more effectively
  • Margin initiatives balance cost reduction and value creation to provide a holistic response.

Based on the E&Y, KPMG and PWC research report

Showcasing all the core functional attributes of a Global Agnostic Margin System…



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