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How Big Data Helps Companies Find New Business Opportunities?

For businesses, the real value of data lies not in the ‘data’ itself but how that data can be used to improve the way they operate, make decisions and interact with customers. Those that succeed in deriving value from their data, and use it as a strategic asset to drive business change, are clearly going to be at a competitive advantage.

At the World Class Customer Experience and Digital Transformation Conference, Mark Lister, Ness Chief Digital Officer, described how organizations can use data to create new business opportunities.  View the video of Mark Lister’s presentation here.

Mark noted that we are amid a business era marked by fast changing customer expectations and financial uncertainties. To survive, it is becoming imperative for companies to think of new ways to swiftly enter untapped markets, expand market share and acquire more customers. Successful utilization of data is a critical factor in making this possible.

The presentation detailed the many ways businesses can leverage the value of Big Data. Often organizations multiply the value of their own data by integrating it with external data – corporate synergies might be a trigger.

Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn is a strong example. When Microsoft decided to purchase the social networking giant for a cool $26B, the world knew that the deal was all about getting access to a unique data set of information on business professionals and their networks. For Microsoft, it brought new opportunities that would be hard to envision without the acquisition of LinkedIn’s data.

The same applies to companies across industries – identify which data would be relevant and then intelligently leverage it.

Mark shared the example of PayPal, a payment services provider in the U.S. Initially the company only had two main data points that it tracked – the number of customers and how much each customer spent.

PayPal realized that in a very competitive and mature US market the opportunities for continued spectacular growth would be limited. So, the company started looking overseas. It modelled the data for how much and how long it would take for PayPal to expand its footprint overseas. The company eventually decided to acquire Zoom in 2015. It helped them go faster than doing it alone, and PayPal is now available with Zoom in over 200 countries.

PayPal now has the ability to collect data on spending patterns — for example they can see the model of a person arriving in a country and taking a low paying job – or obtaining three jobs – and then remitting money back to their country of origin. They use this sort of information to provide new services that transforms the way people make financial decisions. Now they are making it easy to help pay grandma’s utility bill directly in a distant land, so that money doesn’t disappear into the hands of inefficient or even corrupt intermediaries. PayPal has used data intelligently to create a new channel for growth.

This is one of the many examples of how data is enabling organizations to disrupt markets and accelerate change. Ness works closely with its clients to provide them with an expert opinion on how they can leverage their data and create a plan to maximize results.

Serverless Computing: Ready For Prime Time

In a new article for Cloud Computing Journal, Moshe Kranc, CTO of Ness Digital Engineering, explains how despite certain limitations, including high latency, resource limits, and development and testing challenges, serverless computing is both the next true stage in the evolution of the cloud, and ready for prime time in the right use cases. “The next stage in the evolution of the cloud is serverless computing. In the serverless computing paradigm, you supply the set of events and the code to run when each event occurs. The cloud takes care of all the rest,” Moshe notes.

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How Can Education Technology Companies Master the Art of Learning Innovation? – Education Sector Series: Part 1

The education industry is getting disrupted at a rapid pace as there is a revolutionary change in the way people learn. And for education technology companies, this represents a world of fresh opportunities and challenges. An increased preference for flexible learning options- virtual classrooms, on-demand videos, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) etc., intensifying competition between traditional players and new education technology start-ups, and the emergence of digital technologies like 3D printing, Machine Learning and Virtual Reality are changing the game for these companies.

Ness works with some of the largest education technology companies and helps them create a roadmap for accelerating innovation with platforms focused on delivering improved learning experiences and successful outcomes. Here are some of the examples of our recent work in the education sector:

Personalized Communication & Learning: Using data and behavioral analysis, Ness helped a client develop a content personalization system that identifies unique learning styles and automatically curates personalized content. For another client, Ness built an adaptive e-reader which provides a space for students and professors to engage and interact in a uniquely personalized environment.

Platform Modernization: Ness worked closely with a leading provider of K-12 Learning Management Systems to build its next generation product suite. This platform modernization included consolidating capabilities from multiple legacy systems onto a single, fully-integrated platform, and then migrating the platform to the cloud. Ness also helped the client establish an Agile software development process, which increased team productivity by nearly 1.5x.

Product Expansion with Partners: A global leader in higher education technology solutions partnered with Ness to enhance revenue opportunities and customer satisfaction by expanding its platform with partners. Ness created a knowledge service catalogue to make content more accessible to the client’s platform users and partner applications. To support student success, Ness also developed a data aggregation, analysis and reporting service to improve information transparency and accuracy across an integrated ecosystem of partner applications.

Education is getting more and more technology driven and companies that are early in responding to the signs and adopting new age technologies such as IoT, Virtual reality/Augmented Reality, mobility, social and the like should be in a stronger position to create innovative platforms, products, and services to cater to the unique demands of a highly personalized industry. Learn how Ness enables its clients in education technology to leverage new opportunities in their space.

Read more about Ness’s solutions in the education sector

Important Lessons and Considerations in DevOps Adoption

Breaking the traditional barriers between IT and operations, a DevOps style of software delivery holds great promise for organizations looking at gaining business agility and speeding up digital transformation, and that explains why organizations large and small are moving towards it. There is enough evidence around us on how organizations are using DevOps adoption to deploy and release products faster and with better reliability.

The idea of adopting DevOps to accelerate the IT process would be appealing to most companies, but it requires cultural and organizational changes to successfully implement DevOps and extract its real value. Consequently, it’s important for organizations to understand the cultural aspect of DevOps and be prepared with some groundwork before taking the plunge.  DevOps can’t happen in silos; to be truly agile an organization must understand automated testing, cloud and so on.  An understanding of Microservices is also helpful as it forms an important piece in the digital transformation.

In a Q&A with ZDNet, Moshe Kranc discusses the current state of DevOps and important considerations for organizations to attain success with its adoption. “You must do a lot of groundwork in your organization to implement DevOps. It’s a process that involves cultural and organizational change and we can help people through that,” notes Moshe.

Read more.

How Data Analytics Can Solve the Airline Overbooking Problem?

It is interesting to see how data analytics helps solve real business problems, and its benefits extends to a wide range of industries. Consider the airlines industry, which has been facing flak because of frequent instances of overbooked flights and is consequently looking for better ways to intelligently handle such scenarios without affecting an airline’s brand image.

Currently airlines are known to use factors like price paid for a ticket and passengers’ frequent flier status into account to decide which passengers to eject from an overbooked flight. An analysis of passengers’ past travel data can enable airlines make intelligent decisions in the event of overbooked flights, in ways that reduce the overall impact or eliminate the need for involuntary passenger bumping.

Data transparency can also help airlines eliminate passenger bumping and create scenarios where passengers voluntarily decide to get bumped and ultimately end up being happy to be a part of the decision-making process, hence positively impacting the brand.

Moshe Kranc’s article with VentureBeat shares light on how “Involuntary passenger bumping is actually a data problem that can be solved quite easily via improvements in data analytics and data transparency.”

Read more to find out.

Top 10 Tech Trends – Do We Have An Exciting Future or Not?

Ness Digital Engineering recently sponsored a very interesting event in Santa Clara, California called “Top 10 Tech Trends” hosted by Churchill Club. The venue, in its 19th year, featured tech savvy executives who were eager to understand the futuristic technologies that will shape our world. Top Venture Capitalists (VC) from the Silicon Valley made their predictions, while the audience participated by voting on each topic.

This year we had VC stalwarts from firms such as DFJ, KPCB, Canvas, Benchmark and GGV Capital discuss their predictions and how 10 specific tech trends are disrupting several Industries.

The Education industry has been disrupted by Coursera, Udacity and Khan Academy in terms of the distribution of content. In the future, IQ driven educational content will have mass production and digital netizens will not need to be in the classroom to understand the concepts (be it Physics or Math etc.). However- Emotional Quotient (EQ) is still complex and it will require human to human interaction. I agree and think we will see further disruption in this area. Technologies like Augmented Reality (AR)/ Virtual Reality (VR) will accelerate changes.

Three of the VC panelists brought up interesting discussions on solving the depletion of microbiomes in our body and how DNA sequencing can help humans fight any kind of epidemic. We as software professionals never give thought to some of these issues. For example: there is an effort across technologists to understand how can we make growing of food more affordable in all-weather seasons and significantly increase the outreach to every human on the planet so that no one goes hungry at any point of time! While we have scientists trying to solve these issues, it has seen significant acceleration because compute is now less cost prohibitive and scientists are able to crunch numbers at a much more affordable cost to carry our deeper research in these areas.

Steve Jurvetson, businessman and venture capitalist, brought up two very interesting views on intelligence in the edges/nodes and the next generation speech User Interface (UI). Let me first summarize intelligence in the edge devices. In the next five years, we will have more than 20 billion devices contributing to the generation of data. But what if some of these edge devices not only generate data for further analysis but they actually become intelligent by themselves to better handle the data? Sounds ambitious, isn’t it? In my opinion, this will be a reality in the next few years. Companies like GE, Cisco, Juniper and other appliance manufacturers are already harnessing innovation in the software/hardware to solve this interesting problem. Think if the tiny chip embedded in the fridge could alert your phone on how you fare on food consumption and when to order your next set of inventory? Similarly speech UI will see significant explosion in the next few years. Alexa and Google Home have already seen 200-500% growth in sales in the last couple of years. Children roughly aged 5-10 years will be the next generation consumers of such technologies and they are already hooked on these technologies. Over a period of time, these devices will get more conversational and will completely change the way we interact with our devices. Introducing these technologies will work wonders for older generation. It is a difficult problem to solve but in the next 10 years I see explosive growth in this area.

Finally, Hans Tung, GGV capital, spoke about problems which retailers are facing in terms of solving the utilization of their real estate. An increasing number of them are shutting down their stores as product discovery is not providing the same experience as online shopping. Retail pundits are scratching to solve issues for the best utilization of their assets (real estate in this case). To ensure consumers spend more time at stores, product discovery needs to be made easy and in-store experiences need to be similar to online. Technologies like AR/VR may address some of these issues, yet there is a lot which needs to be accomplished. We should not forget that in the next 10 years we will have another generation consuming technologies who are digital ‘netizens’. Even different than the millennials.

There were a few other ambitious ideas floating around – blockchain like disruption in finance, and the way government will change their policies. I think these thoughts are truly worth a look but we will see how these areas unfold and impact each one of us in the near future.

In conclusion, I will say we are truly at an inflection point where technology is becoming a norm in our lives. Technology is shaping our psychology, our behavior and how we interact in a society. Areas like Artificial Intelligence, AR/VR, Internet-of-Things, Edge Computing etc. will become mainstream in the next 10 years. We will also see more innovation at the hardware level (we already are seeing the resurrection of FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) and GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) as the norm for intense computation). At some point each of these will see convergence of some sort.

It is a fascinating time. As a friend of mine summarizes, “25 years from now, humans will be pet to machines!” Do you agree?

At Ness, we are excited to help some of these technology companies through their radical evolution and our product engineering rigor helps some of these innovators market their products faster.

Below is the link to the YouTube video on the event hosted by Churchill Club:

Please do post your comments. I would love to hear different perspectives.

Spurring the DevOps Adoption Journey

In a new article for, Amit Gupta, leader of Ness Digital Engineering’s DevOps practice, describes the fundamental principles and four practical steps an organization should consider before beginning the DevOps adoption journey.  Amit notes, “The fundamental principles of DevOps are to reduce barriers between Development and Operations; increase Development autonomy; and to automate Development and Operations activities to reduce wait time (and waste from a customer’s perspective), thus enabling faster time to market—all while keeping the end customer at the center.”

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Changing Trends, Challenges and Opportunities for Marketers in a Digital Economy

With the increasing use of technology in marketing, marketers’ roles have seen tremendous shifts. The mandate for marketing organizations is quite clear – how to do more with less? At the same time, it is increasingly important yet very often challenging for marketing and IT teams to collaborate and align their efforts around the larger business goals. How do marketing organizations tide over the changing market demands and offer more value in terms of enabling improved customer experience and digital transformation, while still ‘keeping the lights on’.

Amber Blaha, chief marketing officer, Ness Digital Engineering shares useful perspectives on the changing trends, challenges and opportunities for marketing organizations in a digital economy. “CMOs need to work far more closely with technology leaders in their organizations, such as with the Chief Digital Officer, Chief Technology Officer, and Chief Information Officer. These colleagues must collaborate to generate greater transparency into the customer journey,” notes Amber.

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DevOps: Why Getting the Culture Right is the Key to Success

In a new Q&A with ZDNet, Moshe Kranc, chief technology officer of Ness Digital Engineering, explains the current state of DevOps, and why breaking down the barriers between technology and business is the key to making DevOps work for organizations. “You have to do a lot of groundwork in your organisation to implement DevOps. It’s a process that involves cultural and organisation change and we can help people through that,” notes Moshe.

read more »