PODCAST: Interview with Kevin Khelawan on Nurturing the Caribbean Software Development Ecosystem

“Knowing how to code, or at the very least knowing something about coding, is an increasingly desired skill in today’s workplace – regardless of the field. However, for software development firms in the Caribbean region, it can a challenge to find, and keep, suitable talent, which can limit the chances of such businesses growing, or just even surviving.”

Excerpt from ICT Pulse Article: ICTP 027

Recently our COO Kevin Khelewan (@kevinkhelewan) sat down with Michele Marius at ICT Pulse (@ICTPulse) to discuss software development in the Caribbean, creating and sustaining the software ecosystem in the region and lessons learnt through Teleios’ own 21-year journey. 

Take a listen to this ICT Pulse podcast to hear the interview with Kevin.

Teleios Systems COO, Kevin Khelawan

Teleios Systems COO, Kevin Khelawan

A Moment to Reflect… and Celebrate

Sometimes it’s good to take a moment and reflect on your accomplishments to help bolster you for the journey ahead. Our latest award was the Latin America and The Caribbean Partner of the Year Award for Application Development for Teleios QuikWorx, and we look forward to all the opportunities that lay ahead of us. Here’s a look back at our Microsoft awards over the years.

We, at Teleios remain focused on delivering life to all those we interact with – our customers, our partners, and most definitely our very own employee community. We develop new innovations with a view to create real impact on the world. That remains our focus. Receiving awards as a recognition of our work is a welcomed bonus. And for this, we celebrate.

“It’s fantastic that we can be honored by Microsoft like this over the years. Teleios is committed to the pursuit of excellence in all that we do and to operate at the highest level of ethical standards. As an organization we believe that part of our purpose is to develop and empower our people to be effective leaders, thinkers and innovators. It’s my honor to celebrate the Teleios people through these Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards.”

--Kevin Khelewan, COO Teleios Systems

Well done Team Teleios!

Teleios Systems Wins Microsoft Award For Application Development

From left to right Kevin Khelawan Chief Operating Officer and Ruselle Seeboo Manager

From left to right Kevin Khelawan Chief Operating Officer and Ruselle Seeboo Manager

Port of Spain, Trinidad, July 13, 2016– — Kevin Khelawan, Chief Operating Officer for Teleios Systems, has announced that the company has won the Microsoft Partner of the Year Application Development Award for Latin America and the Caribbean Region. This award is for the development of their product, Teleios QuikWorx.  

Teleios QuikWorx is a no code platform that enables Microsoft Partners to build and sell solutions as a service for SharePoint Online. Partners could rapidly build automated solutions and deliver them to their customers in a matter of hours. QuikWorx was built by Teleios Systems, a locally based software development company which has earned Teleios an ISV (Independent Software Vendor) certification from Microsoft.  

This award marks the third Partner of the Year award that Teleios has won having previously captured the Country Partner of the Year Award (2010) with their MessageCentral Platform, and the Global YouthSpark Citizenship Award (2014) for the Teleios Code Jam programme. This is Teleios’ first regional award.

The company was honored among a global field of top Microsoft Corp. partners for demonstrating excellence in innovation and implementation of customer solutions based on Microsoft technology.  

Teleios Systems Limited ™ was founded in Trinidad and Tobago in 1997, and delivers technology platforms that help its customers to quickly and effectively deploy business solutions. Since 1997, Teleios has developed expertise in the areas of scalable, distributed systems and today is an expert at developing and deploying Cloud based solutions. Teleios serves customers throughout Latin America across a variety of sectors including government, energy, retail, finance and telecommunications.  

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact us at info@teleios-systems.com. 

Breaking Out of the IT Box

Written by Heidi Alert
Corporate Manager Sales & Marketing Strategies, Teleios Systems Limited

You don’t have to live long in the Technology Provider space before you hear the mantra “Add value!”  The Cloud has brought about a revolution in the way consumers buy and use technology.  No longer are decisions made solely through infrastructure and major platform purchases – business users with intimate knowledge of their needs are able to purchase solutions based on their business line budgets. 

A recent report that Microsoft commissioned through IDC reveals the stunning statistic that over 60% of technology projects will be sponsored through business funds.  Even more than that, 81% of technology project investments will involve business users. 

In many ways, these statistics represent a world of opportunity that should excite the sales teams and owners of technology firms both large and small. 

The challenge?  If you ask the average sales person at technology firm, over 90%, if not all, of their contacts are in the IT Group.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I have great respect for IT (I work in a firm of brilliant engineers), and I also believe that IT can be a great partner in helping business users to maximize technology to accomplish their work.  But when over 80% of technology project investments will involve business users, one simply cannot live in the box of IT.

The same IDC report discusses the emerging opportunities created by digital transformation.  “There has been a big shift in attitudes toward technology. We expect great user experiences and powerful capabilities from technology in both our personal and work lives. … We can see this in the emergence of disruptive business models from companies like Uber, Netflix, and AirBnB. The success of these services is a consequence of our social desires and huge leaps in technology.  Digital transformation is not just a trend, nor is it a localized phenomenon contained by the media industry. It is at the core of business strategies spanning all industry segments and markets. This trend is unsettling for many stable, static businesses, and it is a very big opportunity for others.”

If given the choice, I’m sure everyone would prefer to be riding the opportunity wave, versus fighting to hold on to a declining business.  Opportunity is certainly the lens I choose to look through.  To capture this opportunity, we must all embrace a different way of doing things.  

I’m reminded of the quote found in many cubicles and pasted on business walls the world over, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”  Sight of the opportunity is the start.  The next step is to try something new, starting talking to some different people, and bring value to the business users.

Heidi Alert heads the Sales & Marketing Strategy for Teleios Systems.  Teleios QuikWorx is a platform to help technology providers to easily create solutions for Office 365 and offer to customers “as-a-Service”.  More information can be found at www.quikworxcloud.com 

Teleios Systems wins The NCB Digital Innovation Challenge with digital service “NCB Concierge”

Team Teleios: From left to right Grayson Alert, Lorenzo Hodges & Sean Hinds

Team Teleios: From left to right Grayson Alert, Lorenzo Hodges & Sean Hinds

On Saturday 2nd April 2016, Teleios Systems participated in and won the inaugural NCB Digital Innovation Challenge hosted by NCB (National Commercial Bank) Jamaica Limited. This challenge was designed to aid the NCB to develop technological solutions that enable one or more entities within the NCB Group of Companies to improve the customers’ experience or derive a new source of revenue (www.jncb.com/innovation/). With over one hundred (100) entries being submitted, twenty percent (20%) of which came from the Caribbean, fourteen (14) teams were given the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of six judges.

Teleios Systems emerged as the winners of the challenge with their solution called “NCB Concierge- a Customer Engagement Platform”. Representing Teleios were Lorenzo Hodges who took on the role of the business developer, Sean Hinds who took charge of development and design of the application, and Grayson Alert who dealt with the user experience (UX) design and presented the solution to the attendees.

NCB Concierge transforms the customer’s waiting experience at banks by engaging the customer ahead of time and empowering bank staff with insights to manage the flows of customers. Customers would be able to indicate ahead of time what transactions they want to get done at the bank and receive guidance on what pre-requisites they need so as to have a smooth transaction. At the bank a customer would be able to check-in and receive updated info on what their expected wait times would be. The real power of the solution is in the bank’s ability to allocate staff to areas of need based on expected transaction flows.

Effective service delivers delightful experiences.

With some research, the team was able to identify some of the problems facing both the bank and their customers, with a particular focus on non-teller transactions. For instance, arriving at a bank not knowing what to expect regarding long wait-times, procedures and required documents for transactions produces significant anxiety among customers. From the perspective of the bank, they are generally unaware of what customers have queued up to do and so are unable to minimize customer waiting times. NCB Concierge aims to address this two-sided problem.

When asked about the experience, Lorenzo had this to say:

“I commend NCB for taking such a bold step, considering that banks are not traditionally known for innovation. As innovators ourselves, we were happy to continue playing our part in the eco-system, and to support the bank in designing fresh ways to impact customers. We're humbled and honored to have won the challenge.”

Keep watching this space, or follow us on Twitter (@teleiossystems) to find out what happens next with NCB Concierge, and keep abreast of what’s happening at Teleios Systems.

Mapping Corporate DNA

Written by Irwin Williams
Cloud and Mobility Group Lead and Developer Evangelist

In Biology, the DNA of an organism is the series of instructions that determine what the organism will be, how it behaves and engages with the environment.

In companies, their DNA refers to the ways and practices that they implement to fulfill their goals. How they create their products, how employees interact with each other, how they request services of the firm and even how they document their own work. 

Sometimes, these practices are codified in company manuals.  Other times, they are passed down through the oral history of the firm. There are mavens of company practice that have learnt and "just know" the ‘company way’.  All of those approaches have their strengths: manuals are tomes through which the savvy will learn and grow. Oral histories personalize and make employees walking reference points for how the business runs. Mavens are pillars of practice.  

However, over time, the constraints associated with each of these approaches can cripple organizations in their onward march, from causing isolationism to an inability to quickly adjust the way things are done. To avoid them, organizations have found themselves implementing programmes and systems with various degrees of success.  

For those with manuals, computerization might be the order of the day. Computerization tends to not go far enough in that, simply copying the data written down in instruction manuals to documents or websites help make the information accessible, but not easily transformed.  

Oral histories become captured but then have to be put through the process of transference, translation and perhaps transformation. It can also be difficult to obtain all the information about how a thing is actually done. One may know how to do it, but there may be bits of knowledge that has become automatic, tactile and invisible.  

Mavens, because of pride, protectionism or politics may deliberately keep their ways close to their chests, thus making the process of understanding what the organization actually does a mystery, difficult to reveal. 

But all is not lost.  Automation is a powerful antidote for the challenges associated with manual, undefined or informal processes.  Automation will help companies capture their processes, key personnel and expected outcomes.  It tracks how the appropriate persons, information and activities work together to produce stable and predictable outcomes.  Automation will sequence the DNA of firms. In so doing, as the age of DNA unfolds and allows for diagnoses of threats and revelation of possible strengths, companies will similarly be able to benefit from that knowledge.  

 You can read more about mapping the corporate genome here.

For more information on a cloud-based platform that allows for easy automation (think hours), reference www.quikworxcloud.com.   

Innovating Beyond Office 365: How to own your space

Written by Lorenzo Hodges
usiness Development Manager

Office 365 is a brilliant platform that was built and provided by Microsoft. It remains one of Microsoft’s best innovations over the last decade and it’s their fastest growing product… Ever!

**Snaps for Microsoft!**

This is a big deal as Microsoft’s partners – those who have begun to capitalize on the cloud opportunity – have benefited tremendously.

The real growth opportunity is not in selling Office 365 subscriptions, but in creating new solutions that leverage Office 365.

But whilst we celebrate Microsoft’s innovation, the real question is “where and how does your business innovate to leverage this platform?” In other words, beyond selling Office 365 subscriptions, how do you add differentiated value in what would increasingly become an overcrowded space full of vanilla offerings? The real growth opportunity for Microsoft partners is not in selling Office 365 subscriptions, but in creating new solutions that leverage Office 365.

Differentiate or be forgotten

There are various ways in which you could innovate using Office 365, but it requires that you differentiate yourself from everyone else in the crowd. Up to this point, the Office 365 gala has largely been a black tie affair – everyone is wearing the same thing. Whilst dressing the same helps you to fit in, it would not help you to stand out. In this arena, you have to think through where you want to make your mark and become recognized so that your clients would continue to select you as their partner of choice.

Put another way, you have to find a space and own it. Differentiation is heavily dependent upon depth of insights about a customer group. Good insights allow you to generate your own intellectual property.

Differentiation is heavily dependent upon depth of insights about a customer group.

A triple-play approach for differentiation

Create new solutions

Offer unique products and solutions and not just services. At this point in time, most businesses who intend to make their Office 365 offering a profitable one have probably already decided to offer services on top of the subscriptions. That’s a great way to add value and earn more. But it still would not be a main point of differentiation. Partners have to find a way in which to add unique premium value to their customers. One way to do that is to create your own products that complement the core O365 offerings. Commission your creative team, brainstorm your ideas, select one and build it. Having a product extends your brand and gives you visibility in the marketplace.

Master a business function

The opportunities for specialization are vast so you have to find a meaningful space in which to play. There are certain business functions that are common across all businesses. HR, finance, accounting, information technology, customer support, marketing and others are common across companies. Building solutions for one particular business function is a good way to put your thumbprint in the Office 365 space. Within each function, there are sub-roles and sub-functions that are not served or underserved in the Office 365 marketplace. Identify one that is meaningful to you and your customers and build an appropriate solution. The good thing is that you can go on to build a suite of complementary solutions within that space.

Design for an industry

There are unique strategic concerns and pain points for companies in each industry - be it the energy sector, finance industry, real estate or any other. The commonality of concerns in a given industry creates a unique combination of circumstances worth considering. Firstly, the problem may be shared, thereby bringing with it a pool of customers to whom you may sell your solution. Secondly, you have the opportunity to engage many potential customers in order to understand the problem and solve it in a way that is meaningful to the wider group in that industry. The more meaningful your solution to the customer, the higher the chance of selling it. So take the necessary time to get to know the genuine customer concern. In the end, the payoff would be worth it as you would have an industry.

The more meaningful your solution to the customer, the higher the chance of selling it.

Looking forward

Microsoft has done its job of building a beautiful platform upon which you may build. Now it’s your turn to create something unique and differentiated that sets you apart. Build new solutions for your customers, empower different functional areas of their business or design something to transform an industry. Whatever you choose, find a space and own it.

For your willingness to step boldly forward, I say…

**Snaps for you!**

P.S. In a subsequent post we will explore how to design meaningful products for your newly found niches.

Lorenzo Hodges is Business Development Manager for Teleios Systems. Teleios offers a platform, Teleios QuikWorx, which enables Microsoft Partners to create unique solutions for Office 365 customers.

The Power of Offering Solutions-as-a-Service

The Power of Offering Solutions-as-a-Service

Living in a Cloud world, we should all be becoming more and more familiar with the term “as-a-service”. The technology space is buzzing (arguably saturated) with Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) references. Personally, I am happy to see businesses transforming and finding ways to become more efficient and cost effective in a Cloud world.