Tuesday, July 4, 2017

How product development and R&D has changed in the last 10-15 years (in telecoms)

I have been working with product and service development in the telecom and IT industry for over 15 years and here are some thoughts about the change we have vitnessed in it.

Firstly, the product development my teams have worked with is taking existing software, hardware, devices and combining them into a service that is easy to use by business or private customers. This means integrating hardware, software, IT systems and devices. Building sometimes customer portals and making the overall experience seamless. On top of that we add customer service, help, support and sales. As you can see this is not R&D in the classical sense, but it is a lot of technical work, software development and also team building and process development. We literally take components from AliExpress and other vendors, system software from open-source communities and software vendors, and integrate it all together to make it one service that is easy to use.

In the last 10 years the situation in this area has changed quite radically. The main change is that today there is so much more technology - both hardware and software - that can be integrated to services that the need for such service creation has increased significantly. There are a few reasons for that:
- The startup and VC ecosystem is working globally and producing much more than ten years ago.
- The production and logistics systems of hardware from Shenzen factories to Cleveron automatic postal machines and Starship delivery robots have decreased the price of hardware.
- Open-source communities thrive.

At the same time:
- The rate how fast people and organizations can adopt new technologies has increased only a little bit.
- There has been no radical change in how easily tech components integrate, meaning that by default they don't.

So from a Nordic-Baltic ICT development view it seems so that the main bottleneck of moving society forward is not in creating new technology, but rather turning the existing technology into services and implementing them. Let's focus on that.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Belbini meeskonnarollidest

Mats Soomre on Belbini metoodika maaletooja Eestis. Rääkisime temaga videointervjuus Belbini meeskonnarollidest.
 Minu jaoks on tegemist väga huvitava teemaga ja vähemalt isiklikult sain oma tööks siit vajaliku tõdemuse: Edukaks tiimitööks peavad tiimis olema kaetud erinevad rollid. Seda tuleb jälgida ja märgata. Seejuures on oluline täheldada, et inimese sobitumine või kasvamine tema persooniga mitte sobivasse rolli on üsna pikk, vaevaline ja tihti ka mõttetu ettevõtmine. Palju mõistlikum on leida tiimi sellised tegijad kes sobivad omavahel ja katavad ära kogu edukaks tööks vajaliku isiksuste spektri. Head vaatamist! Need 5+5 minutit aega on kasulik investeering. :-)

Esimeses intervjuus räägib Mats sellest, mis on Belbini meeskonnarollid:

Teises intervjuus rääkisime näidete varal veidi täpsemalt mõnest konkreetsest Belbini meeskonnarollist:

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Desktop, Android, IoS usage on Recommy.com

Here are some statistics from Recommy.com about usage of different platforms.

Recommy.com is a service for companies for asking feedback from their customers and analyzing it. Recommy works so that feedback requests are sent to the customers with an E-mail. The customers click on a link in the E-mail and go to the Recommy webpage where they fill in the questionnaire and give feedback to the company. So here are some general statistics about the platforms that people use to land and access the Recommy page where they give feedback:

- On average we get about 50 000 visits a month on the Recommy page. So about 50 000 people click on the link they receive in the E-mail and give feedback on the Recommy page.

Desktop vs Mobile:
81% Desktop
16,5% Mobile phone
2,5% Tablet

Most popular operating systems:
79% Windows
12,7% Android
5,4% iOS
2,1% Macintosh
0,5% Linux

Most popular browsers:
44,3% Internet Explorer
34,8% Chrome
10% Firefox
6,4% Safari
2,7% Edge
0,6% Android Browser

Most popular mobile operating systems:
67% Android
28,7% iOS
2,8% Windows
1,1% Windows Phone

Most popular mobile devices:
24% iPhone
4,5% iPad
2% Samsung Galaxy S6
1,9% Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
...a long list of Android phones dominated by Samsung and Sony, with Huawey and LG also mentioned.

Want to develop the services and products of your company also? Register at www.recommy.com and start gathering feedback or request more information at info@recommy.com.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Protsessijuhtimine - selguse loomise distsipliin

 Kuldar Hansen teeb Recommy koolituse protsessijuhtimise teemal. Tegime lühikese videointervjuu sellest, mis on protsessijuhtimine ja millest tuleb koolitusel juttu. Vaata siit:

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Money is a fairytale

 I recently read a book by Yuval Noah Harari called "Sapiens a Brief History of Humankind". It is one of the best books I have ever read and a real eye-opener. Here is also a link to mr. Hararis TED talk where he explains the rise of the human race.
 The main reason why humans managed to be more successful than any other animal races is our capability to imagine things, believe in fantasies and to tell each other about them. It is our capability to understand the abstract concepts without the need to see or touch them. In most they even don't have a physical form. You might think that what is so important in believing in Snow White and Red Riding Hood, but these are not the game changing fairytales. The really important ones that we firmly believe are fairytales like religion, nationality, human rights, capitalism, ownership, socialism etc. By far the most important of all fairytales is Money. All our systems and agreements are based on the belief of the common story of money. Only humans are happy to give away real useful things like apples, tools, cars, computers, houses for money - a fairytale.

In the modern technology-age the fairytale of Money has risen to a new level. Now it is not even a paper, but a number on a screen that you see when you log into your bank account or it is a number with a minus sign on your credit card account. A negative number in itself is a philosophical concept that only humans are capable of handling. More and more money nowadays is something in the bits and bites on a disk in a database in a server somewhere in a cloud. Miraculously humans have true trust that if they log into the bank account tomorrow then the number will be there. Even more wonderful is the fact that if you go and buy groceries at a self-service grocery store then you just take the shop owners things and the numbers on your account are changed. The shop owner is even happy than he traded his real milk, bread, meat and eggs to a virtual number in a database. :-)

The financial sector, central banks, Bitcoin miners and stock markets have done even more interesting things - they have built multiple fairytale layers on the fairytale of Money. Think how far from the real physical world is a fond of currency futures. :-)

I am not advocating against it. I think it is all very interesting and wonderful. :-)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How much does creating an ICT service cost?

I have now been working with ICT service creation and development for over 10 years. I have been doing this in different telecom operators, in startups and IT companies. Here is my advice to investors and teams on how much money and time you should reserve for starting a new service creation project. I have seen too many times that you get into a new development with big enthusiasm and too little resources and the whole thing dies halfway through the MVP creation.

A service is usually a technology provided by a vendor or open-source community that you then develop into a form suitable for your customers. It consists of:
- "Backend technology" provided by a vendor or open-source community. (In many cases the vendors claim that their technology needs just "a little design and translations" for launching to the customers....well, it never is so.)
- A user interface, web-page, mobile-app that your customers will use and that you usually need to develop yourself.
- All the processes and systems around it. Like buying, billing and service support.

It usually makes sense to first test the market traction of a new service by creating a MVP (Minimal Viable Product). To see if your potential customers are really interested in such a service or you and your colleagues just think it would be a cool and useful thing. There is actually a nice rule of thumb for how "Minimal" your MVP should be - "If you are later not embarassed with your first MVP, then you launched it too late". So how does this embarassingly minimal service cost? Is it possible to make it in a weekend hackathlon. Well....unfortunately not. :-(

If you have a clear definition of what do you want to launch as your MVP (and yes there are methods on how to reach that definition) then it takes:
- at least 3-5 persons fulltime for a year
- at least 0,5 MEUR investment
to launch a proper working MVP.

Yes, that is quite a risk and a huge investment, but if you are an investor or looking for an investment then it makes sense to calculate with these sums...and that is for the MVP. Then you need at least twice as much to make it into a proper product.

There are ways to minimize that risk and move in smaller steps:
- Make a fake prototype and interview and pilot with friendly customers with that.
- Have less people and smaller investments, but do it slower.
- Co-creation with customers - where you work very closely with some (business) customers and create the service with them. This method has its downsides like longer creation time and a big influence by one customer who might not represent the whole market segment, but it is a viable option.

Monday, May 9, 2016

How to make a country prosper

Many nations in Europe are struggling with the economic growth and are wondering how to get the economy growing again. A tough challenge? I don´t think so.
I have lived, worked and done business in different countries and I think it actually is just doing the obvious right things that will get you there:
- It is getting all the small things to work and be as effective as possible. This means the public sector, eg. tax department, but also the private. For example in Estonia a bank account costs something like 2 eur/month for a company whereas in Finland it costs 50 eur/month. It seems a small issue, but it is one among many. In Estonia it takes 5min to register a company, in Finland you have to print and send an application on paper.
- It is looking at the big picture and not only optimizing the current budget. The government should not just look at the current budget (like in Estonia), but take care also of the term development, like education or solving the declining demographics, HIV, drug or alcohol problems.
- Eliminate the known real bad phenomena like corruption, arguing with your neighbours, oligarchy, giant firms and economic sectors living off the general population - banks charging ridiculous transaction fees, monopoly-utilities, pension funds charging too high management fees etc.
- Eliminate the obvious waste. People living in suburbs and driving 1+ hours to work and back instead of living close to their work and biking or teleworking.....or companies producing something that is only profitable due to government subsidies (agriculture in EU) or usage of free resources (producing oil from oilshale in Estonia)

So making an economy and a country prosper is not rocket science and it does not demand top of the noch innovation. Just do the right and obvious things properly and prosperity comes to you....because startups will start and intelligent people will come and start working.