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Showing results for tags 'requirements'.
One of the first things you do in business, and certainly in types of work including, say, process improvement, is to identify the customer. Failing to do so correctly happens more often than one may suspect and can lead to all sorts of problems, including doing work that is not required, and other very costly missteps that can spell the difference between success and failure. As someone with a modest stake in XRP (and no other crypto currently), I am as concerned as anyone as to price movements and 'trends' in fractions of a decimal, especially when looking at it from the point of view of opportunity cost. I cannot puzzle out or do anything about the 'adoption rate', real or imagined, and, as I have mentioned before, attempting to predict a price trajectory for XRP in a near vacuum of information is, in my opinion, a fool's errand. I am, however, concerned about other, related, things that I view as more fundamental or conceptual in framing the evolution of this crypto. One of the questions at the back of my mind is Ripple's focus on FIs. FIs are intermediaries in general, something apparent in the area of remittances, international or otherwise. With faster speeds and lower costs, it would be sensible to expect that the savings accruing from the improved settlement of remittances along inefficient corridors would trickle down to the people actually requesting a funds transfer. While this does not seem to me to be guaranteed, it is not my focus here. My thoughts go to who the end customer is. Generally speaking, everyone is a customer (of their upstream supplier) and a supplier (of their downstream customer), in what is known as a 'supply chain' in the corporate world. I am talking here about the true end customer. Who are they? I think viewing FIs as the 'end customer' can lead to all sorts of distortions and self-imposed limitations, possibly wrongfooting solution providers and causing them to miss out on opportunities. Recall this is a society that increasingly values and proclaims its desire to empower people and circumvent unfair oligopolies, and where crowdsourcing of funds and ideas is becoming the norm. Regardless of whether banks persist in their current form, morph into something else, or go away altogether, money transfers as we know them are initiated by people like you and me, are they not? It could well be that the amounts transferred by the institutions initiating them dwarf those in retail, but perhaps the sheer number of retail transactions is comparable or greater. I lack information here. Regardless, I am not entirely sure that the distinction between institutional and retail sectors as currently articulated is valid, except for the specific situations where a transaction is solely between institutions, with each actually an 'end customer.' In that case, the transaction is truly institutional in nature. Anything else is a retail transaction, with people, not institutions, as end customers. Why do I mention this? I mention it because many ideas about improving IT infrastructure have their (unsound) roots in corporate needs that, however, are not driven by anything that remotely originates in the customer space or takes true customer requirements into account. And, as useful as many of these structural IT improvements appear to be on the surface, many have failed, with fatal consequences for the institutions that at one time or another alleged they represented the interests of their 'customer constituencies' by proxy, but truly did not. While the main use case here seems to make sense, I wonder to what degree end customers and their priorities were represented in the requirements analysis leading to the eventual solution designed. Historically, many optimizations that did not take care in defining proper boundaries where things start and end, failed to address requirements, or forgot to include all moving parts in their design did not meet a happy ending. Such a design would be akin to narrowly focusing on making a car engine much more powerful without giving the need for increased braking capability or improved suspension a thought or, for that matter and at a more fundamental level, who will be driving where and on what roads. Change philosophies such as Lean really drive home the point that all activities adding value should originate in a customer need, a need that includes the 'pace' at which these answers, solutions, or outcomes have to be supplied to the customer. Lean also tries to do away with layers of non-value-adding steps, something that is a threat to intermediaries as well as layers of under-performing middle management. Just for reference, it is broadly accepted that, for processes that are not yet optimized, wasteful steps are on the order of 90-95% of the total, regardless of industry. So, grounding your solution in the true end customer becomes ever more important, presuming you want to waste neither time nor money going down a bunch of rabbit holes -- and have to rework everything at a later date. If this is the case, where are the true end customer requirements in this strategy? I wonder if viewing things from a different angle and redefining the landscape in this manner might lead to a more inclusive/coherent approach and be a true platform for a 'tsunami' of progressive, more predictable XRP use/adoption, rather than simply adding more FIs as partners. In my view, these share the same characteristic weakness of not being true end customers for many use cases and thus of potentially having a number of other, possibly conflicting, priorities and loyalties in addition to XRP adoption. Note: I posted recently about a 2-day conference in Italy, attended as a panelist by Marcus Treacher of Ripple. I pointed out the conference was hosted by the ECB and concerned retail payments and the perceived urgency involved in addressing them, and I posted a couple of relevant links. It failed to elicit comments here. Just my $.02.