Reflections GX28

“We have a world of opportunities ahead; the digital transformation is here, and we need to embrace this new network of solutions and productivity”

Later September we had the chance to meet with about 4000 members of Genexus community from different parts of the world. The GX28 was a great event to listen the directions GeneXus is taking and how the technology can be used to increase productivity and bring important results to businesses. It was an opportunity to learn from members of the community how GeneXus is creating new solutions daily and impacting the digital transformation globally.

But it wasn’t also to learn about the technology transition we can offer, but to understand how we are helping companies increasing productivity.

Well, lets start with the world productivity. Productivity hasn’t changed much, but demand has grown hugely in terms of number of users, devices, and problems that today’s hardware can cost-effectively solve – if only we have the software.
Software is all around us and it is increasingly making up the critical infrastructure that supports hospitals, transportation, finance, government, and more.

Systems that were once controlled by humans or machines are now depending on code. That comes with the challenges companies and individuals are facing – how to effectively participate on this revolution software is bringing to increase productivity and at the same time to create a new world – the digital world.

Is clear that IT departments from any given organization is looking for better ways to keep up to date with the demand that sales, marketing, logistics are demanding new solutions, new applications. And typically, the way companies were (or still are) addressing this challenge was (is) thru addition of more programmers to minimize the backlog of requests.

However, this has a major impact on costs and timing. The market is eager for new solutions but increasing costs and taking longer to accomplish these tasks many times work against the business.

The reality is, the market is forcing IT departments from any given companies to think about business strategy and not in coding. Yet, when we think about software we are always thinking about coding to get what the business needs. This is the foundation of the digital transformation – effectively thinking on the business strategy of the digital world, not coding the solutions.

And this is going to happen sooner than we imagine, and those who, nowadays, are betting on coding to continue advancing theirs career will be in a bad position with the risk of losing their job and their relevancy in the job market.

Specialists such as JAVA developers are the most represented IT professional profile in today’s IT organization, representing about 42% of the entire IT workforce in 2017. However, bimodal and digital business initiatives depend on wholesale skill transformation, as profound a change as moving from mainframe to distributed computing was.

In a digital world, the creation phase must be tied to the business requirements, providing faster answers when implementing software solutions. Companies that are still searching for programmers using traditional tools are losing competitiveness, missing opportunities due to lack of velocity and agility.

At the GX28 we heard great stories presenting this digital revolution. Stories that wouldn’t be possible if these organizations were still working following the traditional IT models.

An example, how would be possible for the authorities of the National Administration of Ports in Uruguay to develop the concept of Smart Ports – to bring innovation and agility to expedite services in the logistics and management of the ports using traditional tools to create solutions for? It would take long months of development at a very cost. The effectiveness and productivity came with using of GeneXus which offered a fast way and cost reduction to implement the solution and nowadays is a showcase for other ports in the world.

Or the operations of the Panama Canal – how that administration would achieve the excellence after its expansion using traditional tools for software development? It wouldn’t. The expansion of the Panama Canal represented the largest expansion since the inauguration of this interoceanic highway in 1914. After an intensive construction program (2009-2016), the new locks added a third lane to the operation of the Panama Canal. Hand in hand with this monumental work also worked to achieve, with firm steps, the digital transformation and modernization of core systems. It is at this point that GeneXus provides a differentiating factor and becomes an effective tool to face the challenges of an expanded canal and its complex operation. The Tugboat system, the Reservation of quotas for transit and the Arqueo and Inspection of ships, among others, have been designed and implemented with GeneXus. The Panama Canal bet on mobility and it has achieved this by integrating different sources of data and technologies into apps, empowering decisions at the managerial level – all based on GeneXus.

GeneXus can integrate information and integration technologies providing powerful solutions for many complex challenges facing IT environments. The development of tailor-made prototypes using the stakeholders’ own data provides a quick and meaningful starting point for the implementation of broader solutions. Using an implementation of GeneXus in a real-world solution, presents all the steps form the initial problem to the solution, including the integration patterns used. This is not something that could be achieve using traditional ways to program coding.

This is the case of Gerdau – a multinational organization with shares traded in NY, Sao Paulo and Madrid. Every year Gerdau transform millions of tons of scrap into quality steel products. And one of its challenge was the implementation of digital transformation to its central process with emphasis on the steel industry. And here it comes GeneXus with its powerful AI based tools that help this large organization to effectively integrating to SAP Leonardo delivering the solutions the company was searching for. Gerdau is a large steel organization with annual revenue over $40Bi.

None of these samples could be possible without the utilization of tools that helps organizations to effectively reduce development time. Gerdau, Panama Canal, National Administration of Ports (Uruguay) among other GeneXus users are exceeding goals and making themselves a truly digital transformation success due to the use of right tools.

For those companies that are still investing in traditional programmers, adding more resources than right tools, the future could be a major challenge to survive. We can see an increase in demand for solutions which is increasing backlogs in these companies, as consequence, the decline in quality which is real, and inevitable (with current mainstream languages and tools). The interesting question is whether the software juggernaut can still turn. If it can’t, or stubbornly refuses to, its risks being overtaken by its own customers, producing their own software or by the competitors taking big portion of the business.

At GX28 we learned that we can be ahead using GeneXus solutions, being competitive and effect driving the digital transformation.

Ah Software! Yes, Software is Eating the World…But You Need Security

Software is all around us – it is in our smart phones, our cars, our TVs, our fitness trackers, and it is increasingly making up the critical infrastructure that supports hospitals, transportation, finance, government, and more.

Systems that were once controlled by humans or machines are now depending on code.

When functionality of these systems has life or death implications or has implications on companies’ data and customer protection or controlling critical activities such as air traffic or public safety, security is paramount.

Now imagine that your credit card data, your social security number, your entire identity could be sized in a data breach and transferred to the dark web, where it could be auctioned off for few bucks. And now, an identity thief could be sitting on your information waiting for the perfect time to strike.
And, software is the one that could enable someone to take your data information as well as the solution to prevent.

So, it’s extremely important protecting your software by developing and maintaining them with high standards. This way you can protect company’s information, customer information, your information.

You may remember the 2013 Target Stores data breach that put the credit-card numbers and personal information of millions of people into the hands of cybercriminals. Or you may have been asked to change your Yahoo password in 2016. Both were the results of huge data breaches – yet neither breach was the worst in history.

In a truly remarkable turn of events, Yahoo in 2016 not only claimed the crown of Biggest Data Breach Ever with the September disclosure of a 2014 breach that affected 500 million users. It came back in December to disclose a breach from 2013 that compromised a whopping 1 billion user accounts. That’s one for every seven or eight people on Earth.

The unidentified 2013 hackers, said to be unconnected to those behind the 2014 break-in, got the whole shebang: names, dates of birth, email addresses, security questions and answers and weakly protected passwords. (The passwords in the 2014 breach had better protection.)
You may be wondering why Yahoo took two or three years to discover these breaches.

The massive Yahoo breach revealed in late September 2016 not only capped a summer of huge data-breach disclosures, but was the biggest data breach on record until another Yahoo breach doubled it. Yahoo, in the middle of selling itself to Verizon, said “a state-sponsored actor” instead of a regular cybercriminal was likely behind the theft, said to have occurred in late 2014.

Compromised information included real names, email addresses, dates of birth and telephone numbers, helpful to spammers and identity thieves. The good news is that the “vast majority” of the passwords were hashed (run through an irreversible mathematical algorithm) using the so-far-uncrackable Bcrypt method.

Another massive invasion of personal/business information happened to LinkedIn. The world’s top business-networking website disclosed its 2012 data breach soon after it happened, but password-reset notifications at the time indicated that only 6.5 million user accounts had been affected. LinkedIn never confirmed the actual number, and in 2016, we learned why: A whopping 165 million user accounts had been compromised, including 117 million passwords that had been hashed but not “salted” with random data to make them harder to reverse.

That revelation prompted other services to comb the LinkedIn data and force their own users to change any passwords that matched. (Kudos to Netflix for taking the lead on this one.) Left unanswered is why LinkedIn did not further investigate the original breach, or to inform more than 100 million affected users, in the intervening four years.

When hackers gain access to a treasure trove of names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, street addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. With those sets of information, miscreants can pose as you to set up credit cards, mortgages, loans and other important agreements.
So, the responsibility to ensure this never happen depends on how companies’ set their policies protecting their business and data information from customers, clients, partners, vendors, etc.

When the issue happens – the cost to fix could be very high. Not only the technical solutions necessary to improve, to detect and to stop an attack but also the cleanup costs – which included fighting class-action lawsuits brought against the company and the PR cost to improve company’s image.

In April 2011, unknown attackers targeted the PlayStation Network that links Sony’s home gaming consoles, as well as Sony Online Entertainment, which hosts massively multiplayer online PC games, and the Qriocity video- and music-streaming service.

Initially, Sony said that only the personal information of 78 million PlayStation Network users – login credentials, names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses – had been exposed. But the tally of compromised accounts rose by 24.6 million when investigators discovered the attackers had also penetrated SOE and Qriocity. The credit-card data of approximately 23,400 SOE users in Europe was also stolen.

Following the initial breach disclosure, the PlayStation Network went dark worldwide for more than three weeks. In May 2011, Sony estimated its cleanup costs – which included fighting 65 class-action lawsuits brought against the company – at $171 million.

The question here is, is your organization ready to spend millions of dollars in cleanup costs? This kind of expense can take companies out of the business.
Companies should take the assumption that every organization should secure its information assets -from the initial stages of development- by applying best security practices to their applications. This is the only way you can prevent major damage to your data, infrastructure and customers.

GeneXus is the platform for creating apps for mobile, Web, Windows and legacy platforms that automatically generates and connects every required functionality, service and database, from the client-side to the server-side, in the appropriate language, with the optimal data structure.

And to ensure a process for creating apps provides high standards we implement security solutions most adequate for those using GeneXus.

For those using GeneXus we provide security diagnosis for applications developed with GeneXus (Web and Mobile Devices). This includes the analysis of the GeneXus KB and the system in runtime enables the detection of existing vulnerabilities. This is a major step to set high standards in security during app development.

On top of that, working with GX Consultant we offer to GeneXus users solutions such as consultancy for implementing secure development cycle with GeneXus. In this case, we offer security services applicable to each stage in the development cycle of an application: requirements, architecture and design, development, testing, and applications in runtime.

And to make the GeneXus environment even more secure, another offer is the security training with GeneXus. This is a theory course that provides to the attendants the use of practical tools necessary for developing applications capable of mitigating security risks. The working method is referred to the OWASP Top 10 and how to mitigate such risks in GeneXus applications.

By the way, the next security training is scheduled for September 10, 2018. At this training we do create awareness among those involved in the development of software solutions with GeneXus about the importance of security and techniques for the detection, validation, and mitigation of potential risks in applications.

Please visit the website for more information.

GeneXus and GX Consulting, can help you identify and mitigate significant risks by including the security concept throughout your application’s development cycle, from the planning stage to production rollout.

The Digital Journey: How to Implement and Survive a Digital Strategy

We talk about the Digital Transformation every day. And every day, we touch on the same points:

  • If we don’t invest in developing a digital strategy the business will be at risk;
  • The need for the right tools deliver the efficiencies and opportunities for true digital transformation;
  • The challenges CIO’s and IT departments are facing are increasing exponentially as they are asked to do more, with less.

The Explosion of Artificial Intelligence

Last week I had the privilege of attending Genexus 27 – our global event meeting with customers from all over the world. There were more than 4,000 people attending the event from USA, Japan, China, South Africa, and from other 20 countries.

We kicked off with our CEO’s vision (Nicolás Jodal) and where we’re headed next. He shared that there are 3 technologies that are dictating the business directions and, consequently, Genexus’ efforts in development.

Change or Die – What Do You Want for Your Business?

More and more we are seeing this in our daily business activities – market volatility means companies must make fact-based decisions faster—possibly even in real-time—to compete effectively. Real-time and predictive analytics provide a tool set to enable responses that are both faster and consider future scenarios, and deliver the added benefit of reducing risk in decision-making by ensuring that they are taken with the most up-to-date information available.

How Citizen Developers Will Change the Role of DevOps — and Why It Will Be Better for Everyone

New AI-powered technologies being embraced by the enterprise provides all staff levels with capabilities previously restricted to IT. Among these new capabilities is the new role of citizen developers, where most anyone in an organization can develop  applications using self-coding programs. This is a good thing on the whole, but as with any other revolution, it comes with challenges and potential drawbacks, which CIOs and their teams will need to address.