Archive for November, 2013

Sikhism and Corporate Agenda – How are they connected?

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded in the 15th Century, and is the fifth largest organized religion in the world. It is a spiritual, social and political system of beliefs that considers spiritual and secular lives to be intertwined. They believe that Anger, Arrogance, and Greed – Aag (Fire) in short – leads to deceit in life.

Sikhs believe in 10 principles for having a life filled with joy – Forgiveness, Simplicity, Contentment, Integrity, Humility, Knowledge Sharing, Contribution to Others and Non-Attachment that lead to Perseverance and Truth.

Sikhism is in a way connected to the Corporate Agenda. Here’s how:

The identity of Sikhism is nothing but Brand in Corporate world. Sikhs believe in cleaning together (Humility), cooking together (team work), dancing together (expressing), eating together (equality), and having fun together (closeness). The basic formula that is applicable here is given below:

Alignment = Brand + Clean together + Cook together + Dance together + Eat together + Fun together

Any corporate organization believes in gaining success in whatever project it takes up. Similarly, Sikhs believe in achieving victory in everything they do, and as a motivational factor, they include the various synonyms of victory in their names. For instance, the name Singh means Lion, thus influencing the behavior of a Lion. Most of them carry Jeet to reinforce the winning attitude. Sikhs also believe in Sunday socialization just like Polaris delivers solutions on time and also believes in the ‘Fun’ factor.  Also, both Polaris and Sikhs worship knowledge.

Thus, even though Sikhism and Corporate Agenda belong to two different domains – religion and work culture, they are related to each other.

Solution Architecture and South Indian Food

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

The basic requirements while preparing any meal are simple – it must be nutritious, have variety, and must be easy to digest. A right proportion of all the ingredients that are mixed appropriately and heated at the right temperature for the right span of time satisfy all the requirements mentioned above.

Let us consider South Indian food. For instance, let us take an example of Sambar rice. Comprising of 1/3rd dal and 2/3rd rice, and some vegetables, this meal is without doubt a nutritious and healthy meal. However, the complexities in preparing this dish arises in the form of mixing the right proportion of all ingredients and boiling it for the appropriate amount of time, preservation of unused material, and fresh presentation every time.

A smart South Indian housewife cooks white rice only once and converts it into tamarind rice by using tamarind spices, or into coconut rice by using coconut gratings, or into lemon rice by adding lemon spices, thus providing variety.

Consider another example of Dosa. Using the dosa batter, different varieties of Dosa can be prepared. In fact, various recipes from the same dosa mix (different fermentation levels lead to preparation of different recipes) lead to zero waste.

While preparing any recipe, be it dosa or rice, the main focus must be on Planning and Usage of expertise at the right time i.e. preparation of the right dosa mix twice a week and preparation of the right masala mix for rice recipes.

More than 5 recipes can be derived from the same dosa mix and more than 18 recipes can be derived from the same white rice. This ‘expertise driven’ cooking model ensures ‘rich variety’ in ‘less time’ and ‘re-usability’ to present a ‘customized’ recipe each time.

Similarly, a Solution Architect has to Define Clear and referencible objectives (recipe), identify core ingredients (ingredients used to prepare the dish on the recipe), reduce complexities (eliminate unnecessary ingredients that would affect the quality of the dish), spot adversaries or constraints (failure points), and create efficient solutions within the defined constraints (cook at the right temperature for the right duration of time).

Invention of Credit Cards – A Small Story

Friday, November 8th, 2013

We all know about the Kirana Stores – a small grocery store where products can be bought at low rate, and sometimes on loans – the customer will buy the product, but pay later. However, the store owner would provide such loans only to the customers that he recognizes. If the Kirana Stores owner decides to expand his shop so that he can provide service to 1000 customers, recognition of customers to provide loans becomes a difficult task. Thus, as a tracking mechanism, all the customers should be provided with an identity card.

Kirana Stores was taken as an inspiration during the innovation of credit cards. A credit card is an identity card provided by the bank to the customer. When a credit card is used by a customer to make a purchase, the bank will pay the amount on their behalf, and the customer would have to pay the same to the bank at a later period.

Basically, a Credit Card Business is an outsourcing business, wherein the bank collects the money from some of its customers, who have made earlier purchases using their respective credit cards, and uses the same to pay the merchant. For this outsourcing, the bank charges a nominal collection fee from their customers.

The business of the Bank paying the merchant for a purchase made by their customer is called merchant acquisition business, and when the bank issues an identity to the customer in the form of a credit card, it becomes customer acquisition business.