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Value Global Managing Principals Talk Company History and Passion

Value Global is known for enterprise services and custom, client-centric IT solutions. Founded on a consulting background, experts continue to offer innovative approaches to client services. Those at Value Global balance clients large and small on a variety of projects. Their solutions encompass managed and support services to keep users operating efficiently and business leaders seeing greater returns on their investments.

An interview with two Value Global Managing Principals, Kumar Nadar and Shree Sannabhadti, pulled back the curtain on the company’s history and the industry as a whole in the last decade.

Shree Sannabhadti founded Value Global in mid-2006 with the goal of solving issues he perceived in enterprise resource planning (ERP).

“What bothered me was that ERP was the same for over 20 years with no progress,” Sannabhadti said, “but we could see the world move from phones to smartphones and laptops.”

A customer-centric history then, now, and moving forward

Kumar Nadar

Kumar Nadar, Managing Principal

“We were very focused on providing solutions to customers from a consulting background,” said Nadar, who joined the company in early 2007.

As Value Global and the services its people provide continue to grow, adapting to a decade-plus of change, Sannabhadti and Nadar remain committed to working on the customer side. Today, they’re working to optimize client solutions that offer coverage to all aspects of business — not just tech. They note the cloud revolution’s impact on those not only within Value Global but also across the entire industry. The cloud allows for more optimized solutions and services; thus, using the cloud can shrink project time to completion in a timely manner.

“What we’re seeing are changes across the board,” Sannabhadti said of cloud-based services. “We can do a lot of things very quickly that were impossible before.”

Shreedhar Sannabhadti

Shreedhar Sannabhadti, Managing Principal

“The biggest change has been how business functions as a service,” Nadar added. “Most IT functions used to be all in-house, but now companies are able utilize additional resources from outside providers as-needed … eventually what will happen is you’ll see IT — and everything else — become a service. We differentiate ourselves in that we can leverage [services] and enable you to access the service as required.”

To date, cloud integration and resulting cloud solutions are perhaps the biggest changes Sannabhadti and Nadar have seen in terms of service expansion and offerings. However, the principals plan to incorporate other tools like machine learning, artificial intelligence, data analytics, and more technology surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT). Although — Sannabhadti admitted — there’s still work to be done, they’re proud of the innovative, highly focused ways they map out solutions for their customers.

“Other companies rarely try to understand their customers — and their customers’ customers,” he said. “With data analytics, we are able to support our customers with actionable insights into their customers’ patterns and preferences as well as other valuable market information.”

Driven by innovation and passion

The Value Global name is built on its employees’ commitments to reliable and customer-centric solutions, and the managing principals ensure their passion for their work shines through. Nadar enjoys being client-focused, learning about challenges with customers, and working together to find solutions. His drive, he said, is based on getting to know different groups of people and areas of business, then creating customized solutions to meet their current and long-term needs.

“I like supporting customers by helping them scale their businesses from start-up modes to successful companies,” Nadar said.

“To me, the key thing is to ‘wow’ customers,” Sannabhadti said. “Not just happy, but to say ‘wow, these guys have done something out of the ordinary.’ The end goal is to give them what they want … and to take them to the next level.”

He attributes much of Value Global’s success to employees’ client-centered focus and relationship-building efforts. Most customers have worked with Value Global experts for nearly a decade, which he says helps them leverage their business as a team.

“There are different aspects of the work that I love, so to pick a favorite project is like asking which kid you love the most,” Sannabhadti said.

When reflecting on a particular client he said, “They had to build an application to handle near-misses; we took some data and by the second week had a solution. Their eyes lit up … some of these solutions feel like giving eyes to the blind and, to me, that is very satisfying.”

In the end, Nadar and Sannabhadti agree that Value Global is first and foremost about building and nurturing good relationships while staying innovative. It’s clear these two, along with others at Value Global, are not only dedicated but also passionate about helping their clients and providing innovative solutions. From their early days of consulting to providing their own highly innovative range of tech and business solutions, those at Value Global look forward to continuing their growth for years to come.

Throughout the company’s entire history, those at Value Global have been committed to innovation, collaboration, and customization. Today, they help businesses by applying industry expertise to develop client-centric solutions across a range of technologies. Visit Value Global online to learn more.
Double exposure of women Engineer in hipster shirt working with tablet in control room of oil and gas platform or plant industrial for monitor process, business and industry concept
Information Technology, Technology

Automated, Accelerated, Applied: How Machine Learning Can Improve Your Managed Services

For any company that relies on managed service providers (MSPs) to automate IT services and streamline operations, there are no two words perhaps more important to their future than machine learning. Machine Learning is the intelligent interpretation of high volumes of data by machines to make improvements without being explicitly programmed.

Although machine learning is not a new concept to data scientists, the term has taken the business world by storm in the last several years, thanks to its increasingly wide range of applications. In fact, a Forrester brief states that machine learning investments should increase by more than 300% this year compared to 2016. As machine learning becomes more common for MSPs and used within more applications, it will become more fundamental to the success of any emerging business.

Traditionally, managed services collect large volumes of data from their monitoring services. The data is collected, reviewed, and acted upon by the service provider. As the volume of data scales up, it becomes increasingly challenging, if not impossible, to have eyes reviewing all the data being generated. This is where automated workflows can be highly effective in improving existing managed service solutions. Those quick to adapt are already seeing that machine learning serves to accelerate these improvements — but how?

Machine learning 101

Brain with printed circuit board (PCB) design and businessman representing artificial intelligence (AI), data mining, machine learning and another modern computer technologies concepts.

Like other innovations, such as the computer and the steam engine, machine learning is known as a foundational technology — that is, one whose applications grow both horizontally and vertically beyond its initial intended use. As the Entrepreneur article points out, those applications include self-driving cars, music recommendations, and personalized ads.

Some of these processes may seem like the work of pure magic; however, in reality, they’re  highly advanced and complex. This technology operates via a facet called deep learning. In short, a computer uses unstructured data — such as pictures, sounds, and behaviors — and draws conclusions based on rules of its own design. This differs from the logic found in traditional programs in that a machine learning program operates autonomously and intuitively.

virtual human Machine learning helps to quickly analyze the data and then recommends a set of actions. For example, existing data collected from monitoring is analyzed for trends, patterns, or issues previously faced to identify actions that can be implemented. The ability to use existing customer data to generate a prediction model and identify an optimal algorithm can, in turn, improve a MSP user’s ability to locate and attract new customers. Where users once had to sift through millions of rows the algorithm goes through based on patterns and shortlist data elements, they can now look at a very rapid pace and drive actions.

Currently, most MSPs use automated workflows that they create themselves and program into the systems, but machine learning would eliminate the need for a person to do that. Thus, this high-performing interpretation helps to automate IT operations on a greater scale than ever before.

Smarter data integrity

Server racks in server room data center. 3d render

Forward-thinking and the adaptation of such technologies is important to both MSPs and their clients. Incorporating a more advanced level of predictive analysis and automation can enhance proactive monitoring and reduce the level of effort required of consultants. While MSPs help to streamline a business through managing IT complexities, machine learning optimizes the functions of these complex systems, creating a win-win.

For Value Global clients, machine learning means improved data analytics, which translate to better levels of service and a more efficient organization. The intricate data sets these systems build ultimately allow users to gain new insights and improve existing services. And the ability to fast-track the evolution of managed services can save both time and money, while also giving users a competitive advantage.

As machine learning becomes more common in technology and, more importantly, in business, clients will continue to demand more intensive and intelligent IT services. Thankfully, the organic, foundational nature of machine learning offers an optimistic image for the future of managed services. All it takes is the desire to innovate — and a little clever programming.

When it comes to managed services and intelligent IT solutions, Value Global is committed to innovation. Contact us for more information about machine learning, or visit us online to learn more about our great services.
Uncategorized

Data in Translation

When you travel to a different country, how do you prepare? Making sure your passport is up-to-date is clearly crucial, as is packing the appropriate clothing. Maybe you change your phone plan to an international one so that you can communicate to your friends and family back home.

But what about tools for translation – how do you make sure your devices still work? How do you make sure you can understand the local language? Sure, these concerns aren’t quite as pressing or as obvious as, say, buying a plane ticket, but they will certainly affect your trip if you neglect to address them. Without them, your ability to function drops significantly.

In IT, data travelling between different applications or servers is like people travelling between different countries. Integrators and adapters are the conversion and translation tools that allow data to function and interact with the data that resides in “foreign” territory. We won’t get too technical here, but the following provides a fuller explanation of what integrators and adaptors actually are:

Integrators

Integrators are software or middleware applications that integrate data between 2 or more business applications. Every company has multiple business applications that provide various functionality or tools for different users or departments. Despite the fact they are designated to perform different tasks or provide different functionality, these business applications must be able to “talk” to each other in order to streamline operations and provide a holistic snapshot of the business. Integrators “translate” the programming language of one application to another, which allows them to understand the data in their own context. Integrators also help to increase data security and scalability.

A common and simple example of an integrator would be software that allows an Accounting application to pull and apply data initially plugged into a Revenue application; the departments perform different functions, but pull from the same pool of information.

Adaptors

Adaptors perform a function similar to integrators – technically speaking, they are extended code snippets built right into integration software – but they work between 2 or more servers. Adapters help determine how to read, write, and move data between applications on different servers. Like power converters, adaptors provide the tools to transform data from a source and make it accessible for another user.

Some examples of adapters are:

  • File Adapters: read/write files to or from one server to another
  • FTP Adapters: move files to or from one server to another
  • DB (Database) Adapters: read/write files to or from a particular database
  • Queues: determine how to prioritize and process data that is received from multiple locations. Queues help to handle data and keep it organized even if the business application is down by maintaining the data in place until the application is running and ready for integration.

So what does this process actually look like?

Let’s say a business user in Austin wants to upload/move some data into another application that is running on Houston server. As step one, business users generally are asked to keep files in a shared location on their server. Once the file is saved in the appropriate place on the Austin server, the integrator software (application) grabs the file using one of the adapters mentioned above (in this case, the FTP adapter) and moves the file to Houston Server. After that the integrator application uses another adapter (in this case File Adapter) to read the contents of the file and write it into the database (using DB Adapter) of the application that is on Houston server. Any errors or exceptions during this process can be sent as email notifications to the business user indicating whether or not the file has been successfully uploaded.

Building your IT infrastructure without adaptors and/or integrators is like traveling to a foreign country without translation tools.  

It’s certainly possible, but it creates unnecessary hurdles and workarounds for your users, resulting in lost productivity and an increased risk of human error. In one case, a Filenet-Oracle integration project saved a mid-size Oil and Gas company $3.2 million dollars per year in operational costs and lasted only 3-4 months! Interested in how integrators and adaptors can improve your infrastructure? Contact us to learn more!

Uncategorized

Why IT Should Be an M&A Power Player

Scenario: After decades of operating under one model, a company’s strategy changes; the board, the executives and the market forces in a grand alliance decide to shift the operations in a new direction. Will they become, smaller, nimbler, more focused? Or will they expand their reach, conquering new markets or business verticals? Once the decision is made, the strategy is laid out and a roadmap starts to evolve. Throw a buyer or a seller into the mix and we are witnessing the birth of a brand new enterprise!

Merger and acquisition (M&A) or divestiture periods are undoubtedly disruptive and chaotic. Almost all organizations will struggle with the sequence of priorities because people, processes and technology are inextricably intertwined; splitting them apart or rearranging them inevitably causes a breakdown in some part of the value chain. Core operations do not work without people; people do not work without information systems; information systems do not work without technology; and technology does not work without core operations. This cycle is difficult to break, and it makes organizations incredibly hesitant to tweak any part of the process.

However, within this chaos and disruption comes a tremendous opportunity for transformation and bringing IT into the strategy at the beginning will help anchor the strategy in the most relevant data and processes. IT lies at the intersection of the Venn diagram that represents both the old organization and the new; the data remains the same, but systems and processes – once identified – can be refined, updated and streamlined. Business strategy and processes as a whole impact the efficacy of IT, so it makes sense that IT should have a voice and representation at the discussion table. A clear understanding of how information flows through an organization will mitigate problems – ranging from a small glitch to a full blown breakdown – from plaguing this incredibly formative time for the new enterprise.

IT also has a broader understanding of:

  • Relevant elements of the M&A or divestiture, and how they map to technology systems
  • Expectations for the department during the transformation period, including:
    • Cutting costs and minimizing the stranded cost burden. Once processes and goals are defined, IT system integration can aid in streamlining effort by reducing redundant or convoluted processes within the infrastructure
    • Estimation for staff utilization before, during, and after transition
    • Understanding the regulatory and tax requirements, both to determine the time allotted for transition and to determine the data that can be shared and the data that needs to be protected. In the case of a divestiture, the separation may spring one publicly traded company from another and it is likely to have severe data protection clauses for the parent company with which IT will have to comply
  • Qualitative elements of the buyer-seller relationship, such as the differences between buying or selling assets with an equity firm and a strategic buyer or spinoff that may be a competitor or collaborator

Regardless of the industry or model the buyer and seller agree to trade in, careful and deliberate planning will expose opportunities for the CIO and allow him/her to capitalize on these to provide an enhanced value to the business. Among them:

  • Use IT to streamline and corroborate the deal
  • Simplify the IT landscape and aim to reduce fixed costs
  • Seize the current disruption to redefine or add to the IT framework with newer, more agile technology (i.e., Cloud, IoT, AI, Data Analytics, Big Data, or open frameworks)

M&A or divestitures are a stressful, uncertain time for anyone involved. However, careful planning and stakeholder engagement can result in a transformed enterprise that runs faster and moves quicker. The input of the IT department is invaluable to this goal. The disruption and blurring of sector lines is forcing companies to anticipate challenges to their business models. IT can no longer be considered as a support activity, but must stake its claim at the discussion table as a stakeholder in the decision-making process.

Value Global will be attending P2 Energy’s ASCEND Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Managing Principal Shree Sannabhadti will be giving a presentation entitled “Anchor with Land”, detailing our proven methodology for IT to aid Oil and Gas entities during mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. We hope to see you there! 

 

 

Uncategorized

Catalyzing Change Through IT Investments

As 2015 comes to a close, it’s natural to reflect on the triumphs and tribulations of the past year; however, it’s much more important to look ahead and prepare for the challenges to come. We must, as Hem and Haw learned long ago in the old fable, “Who Moved My Cheese?”, constantly anticipate and adapt to change, lest we wake up one day and realize that our complacency has created dire circumstances for our business.

However, while nearly every organizational guru and change management pundit tells us never to let fear or entrenched viewpoints keep leaders from taking risks and embracing innovation, how many of us really follow that advice? Uncertain economies and a rapidly evolving technological landscape can do much to undermine the bravery and foresight necessary to keep a business successful. Huge titans of industry – Blockbuster, Kodak, Borders and Motorola, just to name a few – have all but disappeared as a result of their inability to innovate and evolve.

For the IT industry, paralyzing pitfalls not only come in the form of outdated technologies, but also in outdated beliefs. For example, some perceptions that come to mind are: IT is an unnecessary cost; IT does not help us when we need it the most; IT will adjust on its own as the business evolves; and IT is just another term for automating “accounting”.

As a result of these beliefs, companies fail to include IT as a tool to execute change, much to their detriment. While the product or service that a company offers in the market may not have much to do with computers or software in and of itself, the role of IT in supporting or even producing that product or service is invaluable. Without data, metrics, analytics, processes and technology to back up a product or service (even if it is non-IT!), the business is going to feel the pinch and start to unravel rapidly.

Now, don’t get us wrong – we are completely sympathetic to concerns with cost, especially for risky change initiatives when the cheese supply (so to speak) is limited. But, as with any other business decision, “cost”, must be considered in terms of overall return on investment; a fixation on upfront spending is both paralyzing and impractical. IT Business investments should be measured in the impacts on the business, both tangible and intangible. An inclusive approach to quantifying the business value of IT initiatives will differ from industry to industry, but diagramming an enterprise “value chain” is a starting point that will help define and connect seemingly disparate processes and functions. This investigation is best done with the full buy-in and active participation of the enterprise as a whole. In our experience, Value Chain Analysis can be best achieved through the following process:

  • Graphing out activities from input (raw materials) to output to illustrate how the product or service gets to market
  • Categorize these activities as primary or support activities
  • Identify whether the company goals for all activities are aligned to compete based on the lowest cost or differentiation. Use these numbers to establish metrics and benchmarks
  • For each primary and support activity, list out:
    • Business Application used for transactional need
    • Applications/Tools for reporting needs
    • Applications/Tools used for workflow automation and event response
    • Manual processes
    • Dependency on other activities in the value chain
    • User Satisfaction
    • Total cost of ownership
    • Critical areas for improvement

In many cases, such an exercise will lead to a transparent and collaborative discussion of both corporate and departmental goals, potentially uncovering previously untapped partnerships and resources to achieve them. Most importantly, comprehensive analysis of the complete value chain fosters an understanding and respect for how systems, processes and people work together to create a successful enterprise. These collaborative summits can motivate corporate leaders to explore new areas of the technological landscape to stay relevant and ahead of challenges, inspiring a new-found respect for the power of IT to support the overall strategy and vision for a company.

So, shall we call this the beginning of a new “Find My Cheese” era? Let the cheese hunt begin – together!

Oil and Gas

Supercharge your IT Systems with Extensions

The bad news is that the Oil and Gas industry has been having a rough year so far, and the downward pressure on pricing is likely to sustain for the near future. But there’s some good news, too: time and time again, industry professionals have proven that they possess near-superhuman abilities when it comes to being flexible and adaptive, despite the challenges they regularly face in the fields, the regulatory landscape and the back office.

Unfortunately, the ability of standard IT Systems to be flexible and adaptive is…well…less than super. This creates an extremely inefficient and complex environment for decision-makers upgrading, implementing and integrating specialized operational solutions for their companies. In our experience, we’ve seen the following challenges affecting productivity and success:

  • Insufficient reconciliation of key metrics due to varying departmental focuses
  • Inability to enable production allocation networks to handle complex events such as gas lift and buy back
  • Difficulty in monitoring field equipment (like meters) 24*7 to ensure accurate volumetric readings and calibration
  • Inaccurate storage of title changes and the corresponding tax components
  • Incomplete, sometimes non-existent, availability of ownership data or life events involving ownership changes
  • Data fragmentation or inaccuracies due to frequent merger, acquisition and divestiture activity

So how can Oil and Gas professionals avoid being paralyzed in the present or trapped in the past by their IT environments? And can they solve these issues without breaking their budgets?

One option, is, of course, to implement an updated enterprise system that addresses more current needs. However, while it’s crucial that you build your IT infrastructure on best of breed software, implementations are extremely high capital and effort intensive. They also carry the risk of becoming “scope challenged” by the time it’s ready for company-wide use, due to the long implementation cycle. Conversely, if the implementation is fast tracked, compromises may have to be made on scope and functionality, causing additional fragmentation of business processes, data and any underlying IT infrastructure.

To maximize your budget and minimize project delivery time, we suggest option two: supercharge your current system with extensions. These small, operations-oriented solutions are quick to implement and allow companies to provide measurable ROI and benefits to stakeholders in a very short period of time. By focusing on extensions that target specific workflow or process gaps within the business, an IT system can be enhanced to meet larger strategic goals, maximize value, and eliminate waste without straining your budget.

We’ve found that consultative Application Development and Reporting Solutions are particularly successful in improving process issues. For example, a mid-size Oil and Gas company wanted to improve overall Enterprise Asset Management, but didn’t have the time or budget to implement a new, comprehensive EAM system. Consultants designed a custom application that targeted AFE uploads, aiming to streamline this process and drastically reduce capital effort. The short, 3 month implementation of this simple application has saved the company over $3 million in operational costs between the Land, Revenue and Accounting departments, better enabling overall EAM without a full-scale implementation.

Extensions are the radioactive spider bite, the gamma rays or the Super Serum that gives your ordinary IT infrastructure sudden super-powers. They help your systems run better and stronger; they give the ultimate boost without breaking your budget, increasing productivity and workability across an entire enterprise, thereby letting your workforce of superheroes shine.

 

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