Blockchain solutions are coming

Blockchain is a hot topic according to research firms and also many software vendors have plans to improve customers to ability to improve quality, traceability or other important parts in their business with solutions. For example some food companies can track ingredients from fields to table, tele operators may comply with regulations and banking for a reason is using technologies for transactions or not so little concern to answer the rising challenge of cryptocurrencies. According to article in Telecoms Tech News there are also implementation concerns. Main challenge is how new and legacy systems are interoperable. Most companies can’t just change to new systems (sink costs, process changes, employee trainings/others).  Another concern is when these technologies are mature enough to apply as general solutions. No company wants to test and try, they want proofed solutions.


Telefonica, a Spanish teleoperator, is improving tracking of their international calls by blockchain. They will use IBM’s platform to have better knowledge for example of origin, destination and duration of calls. This kind of solutions is not only for improving quality, but by the help of blockchain if customer has any issue, blockchain may proof the calls was actually made by the subscriber and also how it was made and what it cost. Later after these solutions are adopted, it can as well improve the quality by analyzing big data of calls and then go to exact call characteristics for making changes, checking handset, subscriber location and so on.


For me blockchain is interesting for keeping record of content usage. There are some startup companies gathering information or developing solutions for artists for example musicians to track how many times their songs were played and collect income per usage. Until now the share of radio plays for example is usually based on statistics, popularity and so on, not real facts. When you can track exact use of digital assets, it will be a game changer.

Do you need consulting? How about consultants?

To my mind it's important to recognize two questions:

1. Do you need consulting and

2. Do you need to hire a consultant.

First one is relatively easy to answers: for sure all of us, in all levels need another opinion time to time. We may also need more than an opinion, maybe some task can't be done by ourselves or inside our organizations. But second one is more questionable: should I hire another company to provide me talented person to give an opinion or do a task. All companies are able to hire short-term employments as well. That would solve a problem if own organization doesn't have yet someone to do a new task.

It's interesting that about half of the consulting business is sold to US. This can be read from an article in Channel News Asia. Actually most consulting firms have most of their business in developed countries. There's still some differences, for example Italy and Japan have relatively small markets for consulting.

Developing countries companies may use external services to grow, but not always. It's also a question about a problem. Sometimes you may not know exactly the problem in new business and it's difficult to hire a consultant to solve it. Developed countries companies much more often face problems that are already solved by others. That's why it may be faster to use a consultant, consulting firm temporary.

Job markets are also different. Developing countries it's not so typical to have contractors. This is however more typical in Europe and if you need a contractor it can be easier to get him on-board via existing consulting contract.


Machine learning, is it for any business?

I’ve been recently studying about digitalization, data monetization and machine learning. It seems same time when companies start to digitize all of their processes; they will start to move their existing business systems in cloud platforms as well. It used to more often centralized, on-premises when it came to business data, but this development was expected. Our Digi natives, younger generations, are used to applications and easy access, they want to do it at work as well. They are keen to get things done faster, see improved process and data integration.

One example is AirAsia, budget airline with huge expansion during its history. It started with small; Tony Fernandes basically paid a buck for existing airline and turned it into money maker. Now he wants to change his company even bigger impact, use its existing data to make all processes integrated, data put to work, digitalize and use machine learning techniques. While they do have regular travelers, they can have even higher impact since many nations and people all over the world are using their services. If you think about people’s behavior, you’ll be able to recognize patterns and life status connections, put into big data or machine learning and see what it can reveal to you. If you later use these patterns in better marketing, even in another platform, it can turn out to be valuable asset for company like AirAsia.

Another part of using your existing assets, data, making your internal processes work more smoothly gives yet another solution for enhancing your company performance. While we combine something unexpected, never revealed in for example airplane maintenance, the value can turn out to be more than you thought. Together with behavior patterns, machine learning can save a lot of cost when making the planes maintenance plans consistent with your traveler pattern. This case you’re able to plan the maintenance cycles during lower seasons or you can put your planes to work in most valuable routes when needed. Airlines do always have a problem with higher fuel prices, keeping their flights fully booked and making the most for additional services as well.

There are much more examples available which are simpler than the one as AirAsia puts its target. I somehow interested how Domino’s pizza is placing their marketing, is it only based on the weekday or do they really use my pattern to buy pizza during the weekend. They do have had some experimenting before which I found another article. Service industry is easy example for AI, machine learning, marketing and APPs. The lower cost products can win much than more advanced ones.

Since more traditional industries already have ERP systems in practice, machine learning can be valuable technic for later improvement. When our telecoms are moving towards to 5G, new generation are more connection, there will by many applications for improvements. Sensors, alerts, real-time reporting are just a few ones. If human-machine interaction can be improved with advanced data sets or deeper insights before any action, it can open up a new era. This article is focused on these solutions and especially in the area of maintenance and supply chain there are possibilities. It will add requirements also for analytics, since quite many data warehouse based systems in previous generations relied on background processing, usually once a day. This kind of ad hoc  reporting, predictive analytics has more demands for time delays.

Cloud has changed the game?

I remember several years back when I still worked with military discussions about going into cloud, setting up private cloud, offering self-services to employees via internet or not, building simple forms connecting to internal systems and many other use cases. That time I was also part of task force security in SAP’s defense customer group. We were able to discuss in 2013 – 2014 with SAP chief security officer about concerns in cloud or other issues before they created their internal strategy release for security. Our multi-national group also contacted local national security agencies for feedback how to meet several data security levels in the system approvals.


It was interesting to read latest news from SAP where they now in 2018 claim to be number one cloud company in the world. All those previous discussion in my area and dozens of others I didn’t know where part of their long-term change from on premise architecture to cloud. SAP is number one in business solutions, that’s why for them it’s easy to put almost any claims. Their growth in the area has been huge, much bigger than on premise recent which is obvious when you consider their market share was pretty saturated, mature last years. How they claimed to be number one in cloud? In the article they count it by user base.


As a project manager I consider how cloud deliveries are different to traditional on premise architecture. I would take a view points:

1. Security is important: how to keep your company data and customer data secured through whole process

2. Flexibility: cloud system is scalable, fast, no need to make strict calculations of needed processing capacity, you can expand easily once you’ve decided your cloud vendor

3. Interoperability: how you build up interfaces between, in all cloud infrastructure there’s no issue but several on premise, partly cloud architecture it may need consideration of hops between security levels, firewalls, others

4. Delivery time: is it faster to deliver in cloud, maybe some cases it’s faster but as mentioned some tasks will take longer time

5. Maintenance: this should be more flexible and since system is already in cloud it will be easy to support also remotely (not consider private cloud).


Since the world’s biggest business solution provider is going in cloud. Are you anymore able to take another strategy?