PSD2 for insurance

Recently a friend of mine, who works in insurance, told me that he just heard of the PSD2 Directive, and asked me if I knew what would it mean to them in the insurance business. I could not answer straight away, as I currently work in the bank sector and thus on the receiving end of the directive. Seeded by his interest I decided to sum up my ideas on the topic.
For those unfamiliar with the PSD2 abbreviation it is the second payment services directive released by the EU. As the name gives away it is about payment services and as such it doesn’t directly affect the insurance business. However it cannot be brushed off at that, as there will be deeper and more difficult challenges for them to face.

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Predictions for 2017

​It’s already February and I dug through so many articles and posts on predictions for the rise of the cloud, IoT, devops, Linux desktops, whatnot that I lost count myself. Looking at the article 10 IT leaders weigh in on their biggest talent gaps for 2017 I thought it is a good time to make a prediction for the year with a little less optimism.
Due to the increase in IT talent demands inexperienced programmers will be forced to design cloud enabled software, which can quickly lead to security issues.
According to the quoted article, the industry figures they interviewed emphasized that cloud, security, devops and leadership skills are all in high demand. When business models are about “going digital” and “moving to the cloud” and “aiming for agility” it’s not a surprise to see the talent in these areas is scarce. Looking at the rise of the developer’s wages shows that there is a cut-throat race there to hunt down talents or anyone really with a little knowledge of the field.
Considering how the educational system is still mass producing specialists with narrow and usually quite obsolete skill set whom the market is mostly turning into specialists in a narrow field I think the experts mentioned in the article as ones with “well-rounded CVs”, are not likely to evolve.
I see no reason for the knowledge gap to close, so even if wages no longer rise, the empty seats will not be filled with experienced individuals. The most experienced will float to  lead developer, architect, team leader positions leaving another hole with their rise. They will rarely know what software design, security or performance aspects to consider in their designs and it is unlikely for them to have people management experience either.
Looking at the past, before the era of the explosion of the internet bubble, it always worked this way, so it’s not a big change you could say. System administrators became CIOs in one go, and got around pretty well. The main difference I see, is that most IT departments were dealing with in-house applications in that era, that ticked away on a forgotten server tucked away in a banged-up cupboard of a basement storage room. Unfortunately these people will design applications in the cloud for the cloud instead. Their applications are exposed on publicly available servers along with the data. The provider can only go as far as providing a framework that can be used to develop secure software.

My prediction for the year?

There will be serious breakdowns and security incidents all over the applications moved to cloud infrastructure. I’m using the term security in the broadest term, including the entire spectrum of the sacred security CIA triad. Data is exposed by hackers, who don’t even break a sweat stealing customer data.(Confidentiality) Your orders are getting mixed up or lost on webshops(Integrity).  Nice,  shiny gadgets you bought from a high flyer startup will cease to work without their backing services when poisoned releases roll out(Availability).

As for the root cause, I still don’t see how to get more talents in the field. So I advise to think about doing the next best thing.
To avoid these problems companies, that can identify with the scenario above, can and should start investing in their processes and their existing talent pool. Develop internal carrier roadmaps with security and quality focus. Provide comprehensive education plans, and provide time compensation to meet these plans. Make sure that your solution designs are always peer-validated and properly documented.  If you can afford find experts for hire to develop quality standards, and regularly go over your business continuity plans to see if they still fit your business.
Otherwise you can expect to be looking at the wrong kind of cloud business model.

State of affairs 

It’s been a while since I last posted anything significant on this blog. Just to show I’m alive I try to summarize what’s going on around me. 

First of all I started coauthoring the articles of the Atoll Group, which meant most of the ideas I was going to share here went there. 

I also got the heat turned up in my day job. I’m currently assigned to a large scale business transformation program.  I first lead the integration stream, than got the technical management role for the data transformation team in the migration stream. This has quite a few stories to go with, but none I could share publicly. One of the main reasons that prevented me from writing is the 65km commute  twice a day, that sucks the joy of life from me. (don’t tell anyone, but I type and drive now) 

To make matters worse I also started to attend an MBA course, which has been a long time dream of mine. Since I am always pressed for time, I chose to do it in an expedited way, that only takes a year of my weekends. I’m now attending 8 classes at the university every Saturday, writing papers for submission and working on my thesis in my spare time. 

Both the program in  my day job and my MBA are due to complete at the end of the year, so I will be back with posts once I’m done there. 

SAMU case study at Telekom featured on the monthly AEA event

In accordance with the long existing friendship between the Association of Enterprise Architects and the Atoll Group, Atoll was invited to present on the monthly gathering of the Hungarian chapter of the AEA.

Atoll was the first ever presenter on these monthly occasions of the Association and is following the life of the chapter ever since. This time Atoll has asked one of their major local client to share their experience with the SAMU enterprise architecture repository.

wp-1469188383843.jpegThe presentation took place at the Telekom, who kindly offered their location for the event. Appearing on the stage was no other than Tamás Nacsák, the Chief Enterprise Architect at Telekom Hungary, and Gábor Vincellér, the development manager of the SAMU product. Continue reading “SAMU case study at Telekom featured on the monthly AEA event”

Perils of transformation programs

Dunning-Kruger effect is based on the study of a sociological phenomenon, that has won the Ignobel prize in 2009. The theory, in layman’s terms states, that the less a person knows about a subject, the more he is convinced, that he’s an expert about it.  We joked about it at that time with friends, and didn’t take it seriously at all.

Interestingly enough I started noticing the effect, but not on personal, but on enterprise level. More specifically on transformation programs.


The companies starting transformation programs are usually showing the Dunning-Kruger effect in motion, as they progress.

They start with ignorant goal setting, and as the understanding increases, fear sets in. Too bad it’s always too late to do anything about it then. By the time the company overcomes the effects of the program it’s ignorance raises high enough to start a new program.

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Blogging with WordPress for Android

My blog is running on a self-hosted WordPress instance, and I have an Android phone. I also do some long commutes, so it would be quite sensible, to use the WordPress for Android for blogging. Better yet, why use my laptop at all just to write an article, when I can simply hook my bluetooth keyboard, that only gathers dust anyways, and use that for blogging.

The application has a number of features, that are quite well designed and convenient, but there are some glitches and inconviniences, that prevent me from doing so.

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1776 Challenge Cup – Budapest

My friend from Baconsült has been given the honors to be the judge in the Hungarian chapter of the 1776 Challenge Cup. I went to see, how such a challenge looks like.

The occasion was organized by the Kairos society with the 1776 organization, and was hosted in the Logmein headquarters.

The competing teams each had 5 minutes to pitch, and 3 more to answer questions by the judges.

The teams were of many fields, organized in 2 parts , 7 teams each. Multiple sectors were represented, bio research, electronic finance, e-learning and knowledge management,  just to name a few. The diversity of the teams made the event more interesting, however it also made the choice even more difficult.

It transpired, that the teams, that been around for longer, have an advantage. Their pitches were sharper, more to the point, and usually better presented. Also given the size of the startup scene in Hungary, these teams had the higher ground. Most of the jury knew them already, and they knew what to expect from the investors. Based on their pitches, and knowing nothing of them I’m sure that the results would have been completely different.

I’m not sure that this was a wise decision in any case. The teams will face new unknowns in the next round. The benefit of familiarity will not be on their side in the Tel – Aviv round, and if they make it all the way to Washington DC, they will be up against native speakers.

That said, I must say the teams were really great. Most of the ideas seemed marketable, even though some seemed to copy solutions that are already on the market. Some of the presentations still need more work to make the ideas more approachable and bring the overly complicated ideas, such as biotechnology or complex IT developments understandable to non-professionals.

I’m really looking forward to see these startups on the market, and I’ll definietly try to monitor their progress, just to see, how they turn out.

Archetypes of IT recruiters

This is the eight post in my attempt to start a blogging habit.

B7DsaihCYAAlN2PRecruiters and headhunters have always had to find inventive ways to poach talent. As demand for experts in the IT sector increases, it is getting more and more difficult to get the open positions filled.

Since the demand for engineers is increases, it also increases the demand for recruiters to try to fill these positions. Recruitment is a profession unlike another, it takes years of experience, deep knowledge of the human psychology, and requires the understanding of the field as well.  Unfortunately it’s not only the best qualified professionals, who fill up the recruiter positions…

I’ll try to collect a few of the archetypes, I’ve recognized in the past years, and classified, since I’ve started looking for opportunities.

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