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PERIODICAL REVIEW OF SLA DOCUMENT

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Periodical review of SLA Document: –
Before going into the details “why we should review one of the most important documents in service delivery-“SLA”(Service Level Agreement), we must first try & understand what is it all about?
SLA is a document that carries all specifications (preferably quantifiable) of all service(s) which would be provided to the customer. It defines relationships, responsibilities of service provision organization & its customer.
Crafting of a relevant, efficient & unambiguous SLA document requires hard work, domain knowledge, expertise & a huge amount of patience.

 

A typical SLA document widely addresses below: 

 

  1. What kinds of service(s) are available along with agreed service time for each service?
  2. How service(s) would be delivered to the customer?
  3. What would be the cost of the service which is being offered?
  4. What would be the quality of service or level of service which is being delivered as per customer expectation referring to Service level Requirement document?
  5. Monitoring of defined level of service(s) & reporting on each defined criteria for performance of service(s).
  6. When a review would be conducted of initially defined SLA’s that also should be defined along with stakeholders from both parties.

There are so many details about service(s) should be elaborated with clarity in SLA document for understanding to both parties & it should be agreed by them by considering this document as formal agreement.
Here we are focusing only on why we should really review SLA document periodically?
So as we all are aware that today’s environment is so dynamic, a lot of changes are happening every day. Technologies are getting upgraded frequently for delivering better, faster, cheaper & accurate information as & when required to the businesses; IT departments are keep on trying for IT-Business alignment & in this alignment Internal IT organization (dept.) is equally important along with partners/vendors responsible for provisioning of required service(s).
So it’s much recommended to align & realign the need of service(s) to satisfy businesses expectations from IT & these need of the service(s) should be documented in SLA at the time of revision.

Below are some points which should be leading to review & align/revised SLA expectations periodically.

  1. A service or a group of services may have impacted due to any major incident or any change in infrastructure.
  2. There may have a significant change in structure of an organization &/or strategy of the organization.
  3. There may have major changes in support window/ availability of service(s) & components of IT.
  4. A new technology has evolved in market & customer organization may have an expectation of adopting the same immediately or a service provider may have to implement it due to pressure of competitive market.
  5. Significant changes in business processes & so in IT services which need immediate attention for converting & describing the requirement in SLA’s.

One must agree upon the timelines for formal reviews of SLA’s & the defined timeline also should be a part of SLA document. Informal review of SLA may happen during Monthly, Quarterly meetings. New requirements may come across with suitable justifications during daily operations of the service(s), a proper analysis of service(s) performance also a very good input to revise an SLA but these are very informal way of demanding change in SLA.

We may take several steps like below for periodical review of SLA’s & this would be a formal way of demanding the change.

  1. Identify the need for SLA Review.
  2. Plan for Review (identifying & communicating the stakeholders on SLA review)
  3. Preparation for Review (collecting the pointers on which a discussion should happen between stakeholders for SLA revival.)
  4. Conducting the review (based on the requirement from all stake holders, revised requirements to be gathered & documented)
  5. Justify & finalize the requirement in SLA’s.

 

We must apply PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) Cycle for planning the improvements in SLA’s based on identifying requirement from stakeholders & revising the SLA’s for supplier, vendor to align with the business requirement/expectations periodically to improve the service(s) performance.

How To Reach Out

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Connecting with someone on Facebook or Twitter is easy now-a-days, but difficult in our day to day lives. Why? The reason behind it, is that we, generally, have an ability to talk or have a conversation, however, we lack in quality to connect with people emotionally or mentally. In today’s world, having positive connections-popularly known as ‘Contacts’ is necessary for growth and development. Please note, here I refer connections not on your LinkedIn page, but in your real life.

In order to connect, you need to first reach-out to people. But, How?

We always have a combination of people around us. Some are introverts while some are extroverts. Approaching extroverts are easy, but not introverts. Even in the case of extroverts, you can talk to them, but connecting, it all depends on your interpersonal skills. For developing strong interpersonal skills you need to focus on 4 key aspects.

1.    Understanding the personality of the people you wish to connect with.

The personality of an individual is a combination of different behavioral patterns. Behavioral patterns are shaped due to beliefs and values. Therefore, every person is different because of his/her beliefs and values. Hence, what Mr. A will perceive is different from Mr. B always. Thus, while interacting you need to have an ability to see from the perspective of the other person. This ability helps you strike an emotional cord easily, making connecting with the opposite person possible.

2.    Improvising your communication skills.

While communicating you need to know following essentials;

i.    Not to agitate the mind of the other person.

In the professional world, you need to maintain the composure of your mind, because more poise and calm you will be, more pleasant your words will be. While you speak always make sure not to use provoking words, either with your manager or with your subordinates. Through communication do not agitate fear or anger in the mind of the opposite person, this damages your connection and further conversation becomes difficult.

ii.    Be yourself and speak the truth.

Truth is tangible and a lie is intangible. Therefore, let your words have substance and full of facts when you utter them. If you are a manager, then your subordinates look upon you as a mentor and if you lie, you automatically lose their trust and respect. On the other hand, if you are a subordinate, then win trust by – only speaking the truth.

iii.    Bring out topics that will interest your companion.

In order to connect with people, engage them by talking about things, they are interested in. This helps you create a bond.

People, generally, have an attitude of responding where their interest lies. When you talk with your subordinates motivate them and enhance their skills and knowledge, in short learn to mentor them. On the contrary, when you talk with your seniors bring out topics on which they can talk to you and you can get enlightened.  No wonder this is an art. An art of engaging people in conversation. Once acquired reaching out to people becomes easy.

iv.    Let your dialogues be pleasant.

“Why to use unpleasant or harsh words, when kinds words are there. It is like picking a bitter  unripe fruit when a sweet, ripe fruit is easily available.”

Harsh words annoy and hurt the listeners. When you continuously use them, you get into a prolonged habit of talking unpleasantly, which gets attached to your image. If you use your words wisely communication can become your greatest armor in the corporate world that will help you establish excellent interpersonal relationships.

Apart from the above key elements, it is necessary that you avoid the following while communicating;

a)  Gossiping

b)  Judging

c)  Spreading depression and negativity

d)  Cribbing

3.    Voice modulation

The tone adds a depth and meaning to your communication. When you talk to your subordinates, speak from the base of your throat. The voice that emits from the base of your throat showcases power. That’s the reason politicians use this technique to get associated with people. In case, if you’re talking with your equivalents or seniors use politeness in your tone. We generally prefer softer, smoother, rich and warm voices as companions. Use pace when needed and slow down to emphasize. Even take a pause / long silence in between the conversation. After all silence has a power more than words.

4.    Body Language

Head movements, expressions or hand gestures make a communication more impactful. Even a simple smile is contagious. When you smile, you surely get a smile back. This is how, body moments reinforce or emphasize your saying which helps you get register easily.

Communication is the only key to reach out and make connections. Human beings are social-animals and to survive, we need fellow beings around. It’s not only about survival, but also about growing and progressing. Therefore, learn to communicate and reach out people effectively. Enhance your interpersonal skills and make solid connections that will bring out prosperity to you.

How to Achieve Excellence in Your Performance

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How to Achieve Excellence in Your Performance

Actions can be controlled, but results cannot. Therefore, concentrating on improving your actions or performance is more important rather than focusing on the results. If you achieve excellence in your performance success comes naturally. However, the challenge is – How to achieve excellence.

Here are some rules that will help you achieve excellence in your performance:

Rule 1: Break Convenience to Achieve Excellence.   

While hiring employees, many organizations tend to have an Average Approach. To elaborate this further, we’ll take an example of a call center project. Here, an XYZ company plans to hire staff to start up a call center unit. For this the board comes together for a discussion and they conclude that they will expect 10,000 calls a day. The board takes an average and decides that each person can handle 60 calls a day and they require total 167 employees to set-up a division.

Yes, no wonder this is a right way of calculating which further helps you to keep your odds. However, if an employee, who has a capacity to handle 200 calls a day joins, then his / her performance comes down to average.

Therefore, if you plan to be excellent in your performance try to challenge yourself by stepping out of the convenience because convenience always gives birth to an average performance and mediocrity.  

-Dr. Subhash Chandra Goel, chairman of Essel Group, an Indian conglomerate.

Companies when mapping employee performance, usually, pin-point average / below average performers and take efforts to give them training in order to help them excel. Yes, it is right, organizations must look forward to help people improve their performances. But, on the same time they need to conduct advanced training for employees who are excellent. This will create a generation of excellent performers.

Rule 2: Set Achievable Targets

The targets make achieving excellence easy, but they have to be specific, attainable, measurable, realistic and timely. Abstract targets are just fairytales and unachievable.

Thinking about your goals in this fashion helps you perform extraordinarily.

Rule 3: Take risk which can be easily paid-off. 

Risk is an important factor while you are aiming towards being excellent in your performance. However, while you take a risk make sure it’s not blind. Always calculate the consequences and analysis, whether you are ready for it. If it backfires, you must have resources and potential to pay the risk off easily.

This applies while taking a loan. The first thing you need to check is your financial backup and look for ways how you can pay the loan off, if your business fails.  Do not take a risk without proper analysis of the consequence.

 Think for the best, prepare for the worst while you take a risk. 

Rule 4: To be excellent you require certain skills like – Mapping the talent, relating to it and excelling in it. 

1.Mapping the talent: 

To be excellent, know your talent. It is important that you know your strengths and inner qualities. This helps you jotting down your interest and which further exceeds you towards excellence.

If your organization aims to excel then choose a right talent as per the position.

2.Relating to the talent: 

Once you know when your interest lies and what is your talent then get attach to it.

For an organization – it has to get attach with the talent, in this case employees. An HR has to connect employees with each other and build a family.

3.Excelling in it: 

Increase your knowledge about your talent. For instance, if you have a good voice and you are a good singer, take up training to excel. Because learning something you love makes your path towards excellence smooth as butter.

For an organization, given training to your employee to strengthening their talents.

Striving to be excellent is good, but make sure you even learn to accept Failures. Success can make a person arrogant, but the failures keep the person humble, therefore, to be excellent failures are also needed. Remember, this fact that failures are inevitable. However, it’s not the end of everything. So, do not get disturbed or depressed.  Mild depression is normal, but if it exceeds then its toxic. Failures give you an opportunity to learn from the experiences. So welcome them with open arms.

Big Data – A Buzzword Today

Today markets are widely open for Big Data and therefore, almost everyone today are interested in knowing – What is Big Data?big data

According to the IDC forecast, the Big Data market is predicted to be worth $46.34 billion by 2018 and is expected to have a sturdy growth across Big Data related infrastructure, software and services over the next five years. As per  IDG Enterprise Big Data Research, in the next 1 to 1.5 years, organizations plan to invest in skill sets necessary for Big Data deployments, including Data Scientists, Data Architects, Data Analysts, Data Visualizers, Research Analysts, and Business Analysts.

Therefore, right from the technical professionals up to the chiefs of big organizations, all are wondering what this buzzword is  about. In short, professionals from all sectors and industry type are curious to understand the concept of Big Data.

What is Big Data? 

Big Data means the collection of large data sets in terms of Terabytes, PB, ZB, etc. According to information published, Facebook stores, accesses, and analyzes more than 30 Petabytes of user generated data. Wal-Mart handles more than 1 million customer transactions every hour. In 2008, Google was processing 20,000 terabytes of data (20 petabytes) a day. More than 5 billion people are calling, texting, tweeting and browsing on mobile phones worldwide. YouTube users upload 48 hours of new video every minute of the day. According to Twitter’s own research in early 2012, it sees roughly 175 million tweets every day, and has more than 465 million accounts. 100 terabytes of data uploaded daily to Facebook.

If you look at above statistics, the amount of data generated is huge (volume) at a very high rate (velocity) and the kind of data being generated is in the form of structured data (relational data), semi-structured (xml) and most of data generated is real-time and unstructured like documents, text, pdf, media logs, web logs.  Hence one can easily understand that our traditional data management system– RDBMS, totally fails to store manage, process such different variety of data at high speed.

Hence, ultimately the questions were raised and the answer to manage large data sets – “Hadoop”, came into the picture.

Big Data technology – Hadoop 

Hadoop is open source big data project of Apache Software Foundation. It is used to store and process big data in a distributed environment across clusters of computers using a simple programming model called MapReduce. It can scale up from single servers to thousands of machines, each offering local computation and storage. Hadoop runs applications using the MapReduce algorithm, where the data is processed in parallel on different CPU nodes.

Hadoop framework is written in java language.It gives solutions not only to process data but also to capture, transfer, store and distribute data over the thousands of machines of commodity servers as a part of Hadoop clusters.

HDFS (Hadoop Distributed File System),  core part of Hadoop, stores large data sets of any size (PB, ZB) in terms of data blocks over the clusters. It is rather a data service, thereby makes data always available. Though any machine as a part of the cluster is failed, you can dynamically remove the machine from cluster and add new machine to the cluster. Replication mechanism is the key of HDFS.

MapReduce Framework is another core part of Apache Hadoop which is used to process the data locally on each machine over the cluster. MapReduce has two tasks, first is Map tasks and Reduce task. Map tasks run parallel on all the machine where data is stored and reduce tasks is used for aggregating the data from all map tasks. Hence, reduce tasks always run after the map tasks.

Today, due to the growing importance of Big Data across all sectors, Many major IT giant like Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Oracle, IBM, Adobe, Cisco, and Accenture are using Hadoop and looking for Big Data – Hadoop professionals.

Below are Different job profiles; 

1.      Hadoop Developer

2.      Data Scientist

3.      Big Data Engineer

4.      Data Visualization Developer

5.      Business Intelligence (BI) Engineer

6.      BI Solutions Architect

7.      Analytics Manager

In order to know more, write your queries in the feedback section below. 

Tips To Build An Effective Team

 

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Building An Effective Team

Building effective teams is a major challenge every organization faces today around the globe. In the book – Team Renaissance: The Art, Science and Politics of Great Teams, Mr Richard E. Spoon mentions that, today companies are in a super rush to complete their projects. Due to this, they just hire some people, push them in a group together and build pressure without first finalizing their goals and responsibilities.  This group then works without proper direction and that causes conflicts and stress within the team.

Tip 1:       Proper direction and guidance is necessary to build stronger teams.

You won’t always get the right mix of people as your team, but in fact, as a leader, you need to blend your team together so that they collectively deliver excellent performance. However, to do this you need to weave feeling of empathy within your team. This increases the trust factor and simultaneous enhances their performance.  Therefore, to build an effective team there has to be a good synergy between the members.

However, building a trust within the team is a big challenge. For this you need continuously follow following steps in a prolonged process.

1.      Reward and appreciate team success.
2.      Distribute responsibilities evenly. This gives direction and helps you resolve conflicts.

3.      As a leader, one has to avoid pointing mistakes, but rather help your employees improve.

Tip 3:       Conduct fun and memorable team building activities that will create bonding and team collaboration.

Conducting team building activities at least once in a month is must. They help your team members learn – how every member of a team is important, how problems are solved together efficiently and why working in isolation is not a good idea.

Below are some examples of exciting and popular team building activities that will help you build a strong team;

1.      Game of Possibilities

Rules: It is an awesome 5-minute game that increases collaboration among the team members. Give any random, but meaningful object to one person in a team (Any one can volunteer for this role). This person has to act and demonstrate the use of the object so his team can guess – what it is. The demonstrator is not allowed to speak. One has to act and share cues with the team members.

Duration:  5 minutes
Number of members:  One or multiple small groups
Equipments Required:  Any meaningful object

This activity triggers creativity and inspires individuals to think innovatively.

2.      Photo Scavenger Hunt
Rules: Divide your team into small groups. As a lead, make a list of fun tasks in the form of quizzes and share it with the groups. The tasks listed can be same for all the groups, but the sequence given to each team has to be different. As a team, each group has to first solve the quizzes and then click pictures in an appropriate sequence. Task Example – I have four legs. I’m very smart and I like to play. I like to smell things. I can wag my tail. – Click a group picture with me.
Duration:  1 hour
Number of members:  Divide your team into small groups

Equipments Required: Pen / Pencil and Paper

This is a great team building exercise that motivates team members to gel up with each other. The quizzes help members to think out of the box and work collectively.

3.      The Mine Field
Rules: It’s an outdoor activity and ideal place for this is an open parking lot or a park. To initiate this game you need to pair up the participants. In the pair, blindfold one participant. Create a specific route with the help of stones or cones. The blindfolded participant has to walk through this route and the other guy has to guide him. To make it more difficult, you can make the path more zig zag.
Duration:  30 minutes
Number of members: Divide your team in the pairs
Equipments required: Stones or cones – to create the path and a cloth for blindfolding the participants.

These activities help you build trust, develops communication and imparts the quality of effective listening.

Team building activities and initiatives are necessary because they help enhance performance and relationships within the team. However, building effective teams requires strong commitment from the manager and as well as the team members.