Current Affairs sections updated with February 2015 events

The Current Affairs sections:

Notes on Current Affairs
Current GK
Appointments Etc
Sports News

have been updated with February 2015 news.

These sections are useful for those preparing for Civil Services Exam, UPSC Exams, SSC Exams, Assistant Grade Exam, LIC and other Insurance Recruitment exams, Defence Services exams like NDA & CDS, Bank PO, RBI, Clerks’ Recruitment Exams, MBA, Hotel Management, CLAT, CSAT etc

Your industry is evolving. Are you?

Amazon disrupted the retail industry with a new business model and Uber is doing it now to ground transportation. The Dodd Frank legislation for Banking, and ACA for the Healthcare industry altered the way these businesses are run. Tools for Web 2.0, Open source and mobile are replacing traditional IT technologies.

These changing business models, processes, and technologies are a given in our work environments.

As a professional, are you adapting to the changes in the business and your function and capitalizing on the new opportunities these changes create?

EVOLUTION OF IN-HOUSE IT ORGANIZATION
To illustrate the changes in a function and also the opportunities it created, let’s trace how in-house IT organizations of large US companies have evolved, and the impact it has had on the roles and skills required to be successful.

In the late 90’s, in house IT was (for the most part) was housed in a single location and co-located with its business users. In person interaction was high as was cultural homogeneity. Program specifications, change requests, and code acceptances were often discussed over the wall of a cubicle.

This changed first with the inflow of immigrant nationals into the IT teams. This diverse ethnic group did not share the nuances and implicit messages of a shared culture. Effectiveness at work now required more explicit communication of expectations and outcomes.

Following this was the re-location of large teams to lower cost locations, first within, and subsequently outside the country. Enhanced process rigor was needed to successfully deliver a program, with precision & detail in specifications, and the ability to articulate them clearly for multi-location teams.

Today, large chunks of work are outsourced to third parties. Derivatively, the role of the in – house IT organization has changed. It is now more concentrated on the end points – the up-front understanding of business requirements, and the tail end integration of output from its diverse teams.

NEW SKILLS, NEW OPPORTUNITIES
Through this evolution, the roles and skills required to be successful in the in-house IT organization have evolved as well. Professionals working here need to now be more aware of the business dynamics of their company, demonstrate higher process rigor, engage with global teams, and be able to ensure & integrate deliverables from multiple entities.

This evolution created new roles and opportunities. These are for roles which bring intimate knowledge of the business into IT, or integrate program output from diverse sources, or know how to allocate work to the diverse, multi-location entities for most effective output.

Summarized in the table below are some key changes which have occurred in the responsibilities and skills required from different roles.

Role Past Today Desired skills
IT leadership Program requirements and delivery Business engagement & requirements. Brand building for the IT organization Domain knowledge of the business, and its success factors
Architecture Project architecture & design Technology and process innovation to impact business results Knowledge of business processes, outcomes, and regulations
Program management Integrate deliverables from a co – located entity System integration of output from globally dispersed groups. Process rigor Awareness of multi- cultural nuances, communication, and customs
Project management Iterative design, coding and specs. Frequent informal reviews Detailed, documented specs & test plans. Formal checkpoints Agile scrums for speedier output
Production support Run day to day local operations Oversight of global operations and focus on escalation management

 

THE FINAL WORD
With the passage of time, businesses, their processes, ways of delivery, & the skills required will evolve and change. In every industry, there is another Amazon or Uber in the horizon, or new regulations which will alter the way of doing business, or technologies which will make the current ones obsolete.

Watch  As professionals, we need to be alert to these changes, how roles are going to evolve, and what new roles or opportunities the change will create.

Respond – Proactively acquire new skills and adapt to the changes and opportunities. This ongoing learning is crucial to professional success, and even to employability.

Succeed – Making a focused endeavor to upgrade your skills, capitalize on the new opportunities created by the changes in your organization and industry.

Written by: Sanjay Gupta
Courtesy: www.valencoinc.com

What is net neutrality and why it is important

Internet is built around the idea of openness. It allows people to connect and exchange information freely, if the information or service is not illegal. Much of this is because of the idea of net neutrality. If you like the current state of the internet, you should know about net neutrality. Many web users are aware of it.

Net neutrality is an idea derived from how telephone lines have worked since the beginning of the 20th century. Some countries have rules that enforce net neutrality but most don’t. Instead, the principle is followed because that is how it has always been. It is more of a norm than a law.

CLICK HERE to  read further 

Via – Economic Times

 

What qualifies as CSR and what does not?

Trees in your company campus, jobs for people with disabilities and fuel-efficient office cars may be good for the society and the environment. Continue the good work, but none of that counts as corporate social responsibility (CSR) under the law. With the first full fiscal year in which companies must report CSR compliance drawing to a close, there is still widespread confusion about what exactly counts as CSR.

The 2013 companies law directs firms to spend at least 2% of their average three-year net profit on CSR activities every year. Noshir Dadrawala, chief executive officer (CEO) of CAP, which provides advisory services to companies on CSR compliance, points to the part of law that says, “CSR activities should exclude activities undertaken in normal course of business.”

According to Dadrawala, the statement means you cannot take up an activity that profits your business directly, and name it CSR. This does not mean that you cannot use CSR to garner goodwill. For instance, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, as part of its CSR, partners Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) to train skilled workers, some of whom it hires.

CLICK HERE to Read further

Via – Livemint.com

All you want to know about Solar Impulse 2

solar impulse

Solar Impulse 2, world’s first solar-powered aircraft is on its journey around the world. It made stopovers at Ahmedabad and Varanasi in India on its way to Mynamar’s Mandalay. Solar Impulse  is the first attempt to fly a plane round the world using only solar power. It’s not a non-stop flight, the plane stops in different countries. Here is all the important information you would want to know about it.

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Via – The Times of India

The 9 limits of our planet … and how we’ve raced past 4 of them

Johan Rockström says humanity has already raced past four of the nine boundaries keeping our planet hospitable to modern life.

We’ve been lucky, we humans: For many millennia, we’ve been on a pretty stable — and resilient — planet. As our civilizations developed, we’ve transformed the landscape by cutting down forests and growing crops. We’ve created pollution, and driven plants and animals extinct. Yet our planet has kept spinning along, supporting us, more or less stable and in balance. Going forward, scientists have recently proposed, all we need to do is stay within some limits, nine upper boundaries for bad behaviour.

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Human-dominated epoch started in 1610

Scientists at University College London have concluded that humans have become a geological power and suggest that human actions have produced a new geological epoch. The human-dominated geological epoch known as the Anthropocene probably began around the year 1610, with an unusual drop in atmospheric carbon dioxide, scientists say. (Anthropocene is a proposed geologic chronological term for an epoch that begins when human activities have had a significant global impact on the Earth’s ecosystems.)

Previous epochs began and ended due to factors including meteorite strikes, sustained volcanic eruptions and the shifting of the continents.

Defining an epoch requires two main criteria to be met. Long-lasting changes to the Earth must be documented. Scientists must also pinpoint and date a global environmental change that has been captured in natural material, such as rocks, ancient ice or sediment from the ocean floor.

Such a marker – like the chemical signature left by the meteorite strike that wiped out the dinosaurs – is called a golden spike.

The study authors systematically compared the major environmental impacts of human activity over the past 50,000 years against these two formal requirements.

Just two dates met the criteria: 1610, when the collision of the New and Old Worlds a century earlier was first felt globally; and 1964, associated with the fallout from nuclear weapons tests. The researchers concluded that 1610 is the stronger candidate.

The scientists said the 1492 arrival of Europeans in the Americas, and subsequent global trade, moved species to new continents and oceans, resulting in a global re-ordering of life on Earth. They argued that the joining of the two hemispheres is an unambiguous event after which the impacts of human activity became global and set Earth on a new trajectory.

The first fossil pollen of maize, a Latin American species, appears in marine sediment in Europe in 1600, becoming common over subsequent centuries. This irreversible exchange of species satisfies the first criteria for dating an epoch – long-term changes to Earth.

The researchers found a golden spike that can be dated to the same time: a pronounced dip in atmospheric carbon dioxide centred on 1610 and captured in Antarctic ice-core records. The drop occurred as a direct result of the arrival of Europeans in the Americas. Colonisation of the New World led to the deaths of about 50 million indigenous people, most within a few decades of the 16th century due to smallpox.

The abrupt near-cessation of farming across the continent and the subsequent re-growth of Latin American forests and other vegetation removed enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to produce a drop in CO2.

Thus, the second requirement of a golden spike marker is met, researchers said.