Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Social Approach to Solving Business Problems

In today’s world of empowered individuals, world leaders and businesses must use potent new technologies and harness social media to organize themselves, to show authenticity, fairness, transparency and good faith.

Social can be categorized broadly into: socializing with your external subscribers and socializing with your own employees. In order to maintain a healthy relationship and get active feedback, a system that enables subscribers to provide an honest opinion that lets you address the issues and concerns in a timely manner is critical to business. Facebook, G+, Twitter, and Foursquare are established open platforms that can very well engage these external subscribers. Another way to engage and socialize with your subscribers is through a secured and controlled platform, your own corporate portal, which empowers your subscriber with information that they need, when they need it and how they need it.

Social engagement within an organization can be looked upon as socializing between the employees, departments, channels etc. The synergy that you can generate through a true social enterprise can show dramatic ROIs on your record books. IBM Connections is one such product that helps organizations create an internal platform that they can leverage to manage internal and external social networks. Connection's mobile capabilities ensure that employees are connected 24/7 across the globe providing the best possible value to subscribers. In conventional systems, information flows via emails; appreciations, issues and suggestions are shared in a closed loop. However, with Connections they are discussed openly, bringing in the necessary empowerment and transparency to work culture.

Discussing a business requirement with one of my customers, I realized how the Social aspects between External subscribers and Internal Employees could be bridged using an IBM Connections platform. The customer wanted to revolutionize information exchange between their subscribers and customer service representatives. As subscribers login to the Web Portal, they would receive a highly personalized set of alerts, links to blogs and content relevant to their preferences. The subscriber can ask questions, share their concerns or any other appropriate information including rich media with the customer service representative. As we worked with the customer through this requirement to identify relevant COTS Products, IBM Connections came in as the closest fit. Given the social value provided by IBM Connections, the decision was an easy one for the customer to make.

A social approach to solving common business problems can help businesses optimize their processes, bringing in necessary transparency to their subscribers and employees. It also adds a different dimension to the traditional delivery approach by promoting an active engagement between various stakeholders.

To learn more about Prolifics' social business solutions, click here or visit our website at

Prabhakar Goel is a Solution Architect with Prolifics and a key member of highly specialized team of IBM WebSphere experts involved in architecture and delivery of Business Integration solutions, High transaction commercial portals and Solutions based on Open source technologies. He is an expert providing End-to-End SOA implementations utilizing IBM suite of products like Portal, Connections, Content Management, Process Server. He holds Masters in Software Systems from BITS, Pilani and a Graduate Degree in Electrical Engineering from Kurukshetra.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why I think Lotusphere is a Great Event

It’s that time of the year again. As we enter the holiday season, I’m already looking forward to starting the New Year with an overview of the latest industry trends and learning about new technology opportunities.

I always felt that it would be nice if someone could give me a quick session and bring me up to speed with technological changes that happened over the past year; what others did with technology and how it helped them, some hands on labs where I could touch and feel all these new technologies in order to increase my confidence when recommending a solution. Lotusphere is just about that for me - it’s a dream come true; exactly what an IT Manager, Decision Maker, Architect, Developer would love to start the year with.

Lotusphere offers Jumpstart sessions to know and understand new products and get a personal touch and feel for them. You get to look out for new technologies offered, their business value, implications, and related opportunities.

In short, Lotusphere features:
  • Sessions that provide a comprehensive, step-by-step detail on specific technologies
  • Sessions that provide practical solutions that others have used for solving complex problems of new technologies
  • Sessions that cover a breadth of topics from core development skills to those needed to build social applications
  • Sessions that talk about the latest features and product capabilities, deployment techniques
  • Sessions on product architecture specifically helpful in planning future data center needs and possible opportunities in that area for being creative
If this dose of solid knowledge foundation wasn’t enough, you get to meet and discuss with IBMers from across the globe that are part of design and development teams across most of these technologies. In general, you wouldn’t get to meet this many IBMers under one roof even if you visited an IBM office. Lotusphere presents a great opportunity for every one to socialize and interact with like-minded people, visionaries and thought leaders of the industry.

Finally, the amount of business opportunities Lotusphere presents for everyone is unlike any other show. I have met many of my current customers at previous Lotusphere conferences and had opportunities to interact with them and share how the latest technologies can be leveraged to solve even their toughest business challenges. I make sure to bring many of my customers to Lotusphere so that they can gain knowledge on new trends and technologies. It makes it much easier for me to discuss these new technologies and apply them to their current business problems.

And for me the fun just doesn’t end there; it’s a welcome break from the snow and freezing temperatures of Colorado to spend a week in the warm setting of Orlando!

Prabhakar Goel is a Solution Architect with Prolifics and a key member of highly specialized team of IBM WebSphere experts involved in architecture and delivery of Business Integration solutions, High transaction commercial portals and Solutions based on Open source technologies. He is an expert providing End-to-End SOA implementations utilizing IBM suite of products like Portal, Connections, Content Management, Process Server. He holds Masters in Software Systems from BITS, Pilani and a Graduate Degree in Electrical Engineering from Kurukshetra.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What I Am Looking Forward to at Lotusphere 2012

The main theme of Lotusphere 2012 is ‘Social, Mobile and Cloud’. I would like to use the acronym MoSCo for the same. 2011 represented a key year in terms of a key shift from PC to Mobile world i.e. the year in which Smartphones and tablets will out ship PCs for the first ever time. Consumers no longer use Desktop as the sole channel to access to Web and this opens a window of opportunities in the Mobile and Cloud space.

Lotusphere has over 300 sessions scheduled over one week’s time and it would be a truly overwhelming task trying to come up with a schedule. The complete list of sessions can be viewed at:

Each session is unique and a lot of homework needs to be done to come up with a schedule that caters to individual needs. Since I’m specifically interested in developments in the mobile space particularly enterprise adoption and multi channel delivery I’m looking forward to the following sessions:
  • SPN204 Harnessing the Power of Enterprise Mobility
  • BP210 From Desktop to Mobile and Smart Phones – Lessons Learned: Taking Web Applications Mobile
  • AD301 Developing Exceptional Mobile and Multi-Channel Applications using IBM Web Experience Factory
  • AD302 Deliver Rich Mobile Experiences with IBM WebSphere Portal Mobile Theme
  • ID228 What's New in IBM Connections Mobile
Considering the MoSCo theme of Lotusphere, I’m keeping an eye on the following sessions too, depending on my schedule:
  • SPN213 The Future of Social Business: A Faculty Panel Discussion
  • SPN207 Securing and Connecting the Cloud: Insider Tips on Successful Cloud Adoption Strategies
  • INV302 Strategy in Action: IBM Mobile for Social Business
  • BP105 tick.tick.tick.tick. #! It's time to Evangelize, Educate and Energize your users to Get Productive, Get Social and Do BUSINESS!
  • GEEK101 SpeedGeeking!
Another thing I’m really looking forward is the ‘Meet the Developers’ lab. I plan to meet up with folks who worked on ‘Web Experience Factory’ to understand how they tailored the product to suit various delivery channels. Customers are looking for solutions that address multi channel delivery and ‘Web Experience Factory’ addresses the concern in a seamless way. It would be fascinating to go behind the scenes and work with engineers who designed the product.

Finally, I can’t wait for the Wednesday Night Party, a must go for attendees and Blogger Open on Thursday afternoon. There is so much more at Lotusphere than all the wonderful sessions.

Laks Sundararajan is a Solution Architect with Prolifics and a key member of highly specialized team working on IBM WebSphere Portal, Content Management and Collaboration technologies. He has led the implementation of many global projects using IBM WebSphere Portal and has extensive background in design and development of enterprise portals. He specializes in providing Enterprise SOA solutions leveraging WebSphere Portal, Content Management, Tivoli and Mashup’s. He holds Masters in Information Technology from Carnegie Mellon University and a Graduate Degree in Engineering from BITS, Pilani.

The 3 levers of Business Agility in Action. Prolifics Weighs In!

In October, IBM hosted a Business Agility Executive Forum in New York City that was streamed live around the world. The event was focused on how organizations can transform their businesses for continued growth in today’s marketplace. During this information-rich forum, those of us in the audience and streaming the video live, were able to hear how successful companies are improving agility through interconnected business processes supported by a flexible infrastructure.

The Business Agility launch was focused on three key levers – decision management, process management and technologies. Another key theme of the event was how organizations should “Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast.” All of these themes resonated well with Prolifics and our customer, IDP, who was the keynote client speaker at the event in NYC. Prolifics also had the opportunity to participate, as our VP of BPM and Connectivity, Anant Gupta, was chosen to speak on the panel with IDP. We were pleased to be a part of such a highly informative and interactive panel discussion.

I’d like to discuss IDP’s solution in greater depth, which is a great example of the three levers in action.

Achieve better decisions driven by analytics and business rules - IDP incorporates a sophisticated business rules engine (via ILOG JRules) which is insurance carrier specific and involve algorithms that determine policy rates in real time. Not only does JRules provide the complex logic behind the ratings, but its ease of use allows business analysts, not programmers, to create the rules for each carrier. Another key feature is the governance around the rules. Each configuration can be versioned, and the auditability feature means that it is easy to show compliance with any regulatory needs.

Take a smarter approach to process and integration - IDP integrates data through its usage of IBM WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus across the platform and can deliver data via Web 2.0 on desktops and mobile devices. IBM WESB mediates between the Agent Portal and the third-party Web services carriers use, such as credit reports, payment processing, and claim history repositories. The beauty of the enterprise service bus is that it enables each carrier to link to Web services without affecting the core SaaS solution. No matter how customized the user experience is, the SaaS solution doesn’t have to know anything about the back-end systems it is calling.

Accelerate application, service and information delivery with SOA and extend reach to cloud and mobile – IDP’s solution is a SaaS-based insurance agent portal. Since SaaS is administered by the provider on a one-to-many basis, it’s easier for the provider while also freeing carriers and agents from software administration. Additionally, SaaS is future-proof by scaling and allowing for growth. IDP also offers 24/7 access from anywhere in the world thanks to its mobile component which requires zero architectural changes to the platform. That means that companies can immediately increase efficiency by having insurers, agents and customers all have access to the tools they need and be self-serving.

Another key theme at the launch, “Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast,” is a philosophy that Prolifics has always adopted helping customers move toward SOA and BPM. In previous years we won the Impact award for work that we did at customer, Equinox Fitness. I recall for that account we created a 3-year strategic plan and roadmap for them, yet we created quick wins to help them realize value immediately while moving them toward fulfilling their long term vision. This is definitely an approach that I would recommend, combining both strategic and tactical activities.

For a video replay of the Business Agility Executive Forum, please click here. I would also like to share some photos from the event. You can read about Prolifics' solution at IDP in this case study. To learn more about how Prolifics is helping companies with their SOA and BPM initiatives, visit our website:

Devi Gupta, Vice President, Marketing for Prolifics