Business Analyst in Insurance Domain

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The right balance of information and technical know how is needed for a Business Analyst to successfully complete his job in any sector. This dictum applies to the Insurance sector as well. A Business Analyst should be well versed with the information that is needed for any Insurance professional to work in the Insurance domain. Since he has to analyze the processes and then help in the development of essential software for the projects in the Insurance sector, he needs to have both - the information required of an Insurance professional and the technical knowledge required for the establishment of software designed for this sector.

Insurance as is known is generally divided into three major divisions: Life Insurance (dealing with safeguarding life and the risk of mortality and critical illnesses), General Insurance (dealing with the risk of damage to immovable property, motor, cargo, marine, household, and fire insurance), health insurance (dealing with risk of illness and disease, and thus covers reimbursements, medical claims, operation of panel doctors, cashless hospitalization, co payment etc.) The level of knowledge and range required is different in each stream and hence a Business Analyst has to have a certain demonstrable understanding of the workings of the particular streams in the sector and also desirably, adequate level of experience in the sector.

Functional Knowledge of Insurance applications is also essential, like new business, channel management, policy servicing, claims management, underwriting, reinsurance and finance. Along with knowledge of the business processes of the particular client company, a brief and thorough understanding of the requirements given by the regulatory authority of the Insurance industry is also mandatory. The terminology is varied for the Insurance sector, with changes even within the sector, for the different streams of the sector. Knowledge of these unique terminologies will help the Business Analyst to understand the client who is the end user's expectations and he will be able to draft them better into requirements efficiently.

Once functional requirements are known, the technical knowhow is also essential for any good Business Analyst to communicate to his software developer's team about the client user's expectations from the project. The Business Analyst should be aware of the basic MS- Office tools like Microsoft Word, Ms PowerPoint, MS Excel, MS Visio, MS Access, and MS Project). These help in collating data and presenting it in proper format. Then knowledge of relational databases is also important for understanding the technicalities of Querying and Support. Basic programming languages that are used by software developers should also be known to the Business Analyst so that he can understand the developer's problems or point of view. These programming languages could be ASP, Dot Net, JAVA, J2EE, XNL, HTML etc. In addition to these, knowledge and experience in insurance business applications, content management systems, portals, data warehousing tools can give any Business Analyst that extra edge over others standing next to him.

Thus, it's quite clear that a Business Analyst in the Insurance domain needs to know both sides of the coin - the knowledge of insurance business processes and the relevant Insurance software packages.

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Facebook for farmers: Technology empowers China's rural workers

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Straining to control a deafening, bucking, fuel-powered plough, Qing Zhongxing prepares a strip of land ahead of sowing next season's harvest of rapeseed.

Throttling down at the next turn, he pauses to check his mobile phone: it is the latest news on pork prices.

On the other side of the village, in Chongqing's Dazu County, beekeeper Long Ximing is too engrossed in his honeycombs - and avoiding being stung - to check on his phone's shrill alert.

Nonetheless, like Mr Qing and 20 million others in rural China, he is a big fan of mobile farming.

China Mobile's Nongxintong - or farming information service - launched four years ago. The company is currently focusing on expanding its delivery in China's west and south-west regions.

"Building the mobile network and covering most of the country's administrative villages, we realised that there was only a network signal. In rural areas, this is not enough," explains Liu Jing, a local manager for the service at China Mobile.

"It's like having a highway and no cars!"

Indeed, while most farming households in China now have mobile phones, very few have internet. So their main source for information was via television - that is, if they could be bothered to watch serious programming after a day out in the fields.

So, China Mobile created Nongxintong to deliver information and news directly to the farmer via their mobiles.

And for those who can't yet afford a basic $30 (£19.20; 22.66 euros) phone, they can have one for free so long as their total monthly bill exceeds $2.

Nongxintong runs on a web and mobile-based platform. Subscribers receive text or even audio messages - advice, warnings, job opportunities, buyers, sellers, market prices - all tailored to their needs.

There's a mobile phone hotline and it is available online, mainly aimed at those with rural businesses.

The basic service costs about $6 per year. The goal is to narrow the huge urban-rural information gap, a prerequisite to closing the huge income gap between cities and the countryside.

Networking, socially

Meanwhile, in two other Chinese counties, a social networking site is linking donors as far afield as London and California with farmers who seek micro-finance to develop small rural businesses.

Enter the web platform, Wokai, which means "I start".

It has profiles of borrowers from Sichuan and Inner Mongolia, and profiles of contributors from 47 countries who select online which projects they want to support. In many ways, it is a Facebook for farmers.

"You have the second largest micro-credit demand in the world and almost no supply of micro-credit," says Casey Wilson, CEO and co-founder of Wokai.

"And the reason for that is that the practitioners that are doing micro-finance on the ground don't have access to capital. And so given that context, the internet is one of the only ways that you can mobilise a global community to reverse that cycle and to get micro-finance in China on the map."

In two years, Wokai has raised over $370,000 and financed 500 projects - from small pig farms to roadside noodle stands.

Registered micro-finance partners administer the loans locally - and earn from the interest. Wokai doesn't take a penny from the money pledged, relying instead on donations and sponsorship to cover its running costs.

As for China Mobile's Nongxintong, this is a long-term investment that has yet to return profits.

The company regards the service as its corporate social responsibility.


To go it alone and go on to develop a service for a rural population of some 700 million could be prohibitively costly. This is where tech relies on old-fashioned connections.

China Mobile is a listed company, but its main shareholder is the state. And so, it can draw on the huge network of rural cadres.

In this village, Ci Hong, officials like Chen Ou administer the service locally.

She formulates text messages based on the website's postings, while the database tells her what interests each subscriber. Plus, the platform is also used as a conduit for government news.

"The county government sends us meeting and policy announcements over the internet," says Ms Chen. "We use the platform, edit the information and relay this to the farmers by text message."

But what about the advice that the likes of Mr Qing needs as he struggles with his clattering plough - who helps supply that?

In the know

China Mobile knows very little about farming. It does take advice from government agricultural departments. But it also teams up with people in the industry who provide content and advice.

These include orange growers, vegetable farmers - and Mr Long, the beekeeper.

In Dazu County, Mr Long is an authority on bees and generating higher amounts of honey. So his local advice is valued. But he also sells produce from his network of local "honey collaborators".

In the past, dealings were mainly done face-to-face - and up-to-date information on market demand was scarce. Now, since partnering with Nongxington, he's more informed and more efficient, and does much of his business online and over his mobile.

As a business subscriber - paying $200 per year - Mr Long now uses the Nongxintong platform to support his honey sales enterprise and provide premium information services of his own.

"It saves time, saves energy, I have less worries," ponders Mr Long. "It helps us reduce costs, it's more profitable for us.

"Through the platform we get more information and more opportunities."

Skype apologises for losing half of daily call traffic

Millions of people around the globe have been hit by an outage at the popular internet phone service Skype.

Users as far afield as Japan, Europe and the US have all reported problems.

The company which prides itself on providing relatively reliable service last suffered a major outage in 2007.

"We take outages like this really seriously and apologise for the inconvenience users are having," Tony Bates, Skype chief executive officer told BBC News.

"Right now it looks like clients are coming on and offline and sometimes they are crashing in the middle of calls. We are deep in the middle of investigating the cause of the problem and have teams working hard to remedy the situation," Mr Bates said.

On Skype's Twitter account, the company said their "engineers and site operations team are working non-stop to get things back to normal".

The news blog ReadWriteWeb said they have monitored complaints from users who reported that they are unable to log into the service and that the programme is crashing across all platforms, whether on their mobile device or PC.

Mr Bates did not rule in or rule out the possibility of a malicious attack and said "all avenues" were being explored.

He estimated that as a result of the outage, Skype has lost around 10 million calls.

Mr Bates told the BBC that normal call volume for the time of day would be 20m.

Om Malik, an industry commentator and editor of the website, is not impressed.

"Skype is one of the key applications of the modern web," he said.

"It is already a hit with consumers, and over the past few years it has become part of the economic fabric for startups and small businesses around the world. I am not sure we can comprehend the productivity cost of this outage.

"The outage comes at a time when Skype is starting to ask larger corporations for their business. If I am a big business, I would be extremely cautious about adopting Skype for business, especially in light of this current outage," added Mr Malik.


Apple removes iPhone Wikileaks app from iTunes

Apple has confirmed that it removed a Wikileaks iPhone app from its iTunes store.

Wikileaks App was an unofficial, paid-for download that gave people access to the free Wikileaks Twitter feed and documents held on its website.

It was removed three days after it was launched on 17 December.

Apple said that the app, which had more than 4,000 downloads before its was pulled, "violated" developer guidelines.

"Apps must comply will all local laws and may not put an individual or targeted group in harms way," said a spokesperson for the firm.

Alien interest

The app's Russian developer, Igor Barinov, said that Apple had told him it specifically violated two of its guidelines.

The first on personal attacks states: "Any app that is defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual or group in harms way will be rejected."

The second says "apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users".

"[Apple] said there is no way back for this application," Mr Barinov told BBC News.

The removal comes at a time when a series of firms - including Amazon, Visa, Mastercard and PayPal - have removed services - including web hosting and processing of donations - to Wikileaks.

These have prompted a series of attacks on the firms' websites and services by a group of activists, who call themselves Anonymous.

Although the Wikileaks app was unofficial, Mr Barinov said that $1 from every $1.99 (£1.19) sale was channelled to the organisation.

Mr Barinov said he created the app to support Wikileaks because he was interested in "information about UFOs" that may be contained in documents leaked to the organisation.

Wikileaks apps are still available for other phones, such as those running Google Android.

All of the material offered by the Wikileaks iPhone app can be accessed for free via the phone's browser and other non-Wikileaks apps.


Google unveils Chrome OS notebook for test scheme

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Google has delayed the launch of its much anticipated laptop, powered by its Chrome operating system, until 2011.

Instead, Google announced a pilot programme aimed at people who "live on the web".

Chrome OS is Google's boldest bid yet to challenge Microsoft's market dominance with Windows software.

Google has already gone after Microsoft's Office software with its Google Docs product.

Chrome marks a departure from traditional operating systems, such as Mac OSX and Windows, by targeting users who spend most of their time on the web.

"We think cloud computing will define computing as we know it," said Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive officer.

"Finally there is a viable third choice for an operating system."

Google's Sundar Pichai said the pilot scheme is aimed at early adopters, developers and users who are used to using beta software.

They will be given an unbranded black notebook, called the Cr-48.

Mr Pichai said there would be no devices on sale until next year simply because the software was not ready for prime time, due to a number of bugs and unfinished features.

"This is a profound shift," said Mr Pichai, claiming that the operating system is Google's attempt to "re-think the personal experience for the modern web".

"Chrome is nothing but the web," he added.

Machines for the pilot scheme will start shipping soon.

Consumer devices from Acer and Samsung are due on the market in 2011. No pricing details were given.

Computer share

At the press event in San Francisco, Google also outlined a number of features in Chrome OS.

Security was at its heart, with automatic updates for users taking away the need to constantly ensure that the latest version has been activated.

The company said that it hoped to be the first to ship a tool called "verified boot" on Chrome OS devices, which makes sure nothing on the machine has been modified or compromised.

"We are confident that when we ship Chrome notebooks, it will be the most secure OS ever shipped to users," said Mr Pichai.

He also said that because data will be accessed through the cloud, users could loan their machines to other people.

"By delivering nothing but the web, it makes it very easy to share your computer," said Mr Pichai.

Google said it has also partnered with US telecom titan Verizon to offer connectivity with Chrome notebooks when they go on sale.

The plans range from 100 MB of free data, to $9.99 a day for unlimited data, with no extra fees.

Two paths

A number of analysts have questioned whether or not Google is making a smart play with the Chrome OS, given that the computing world has changed dramatically since it announced plans for the low-cost operating system over 18 months ago.

In the last year, Apple's iPad has reinvigorated the tablet market, and Google's own Android OS - which powers smartphones - has taken off.

Android is also being used in tablet devices and netbooks, prompting a number of industry watchers to question Google's twin approach in the OS market.

"Google hasn't done a good job on why these two things need to exist," Michael Gartenberg, director with research firm Gartner, told the BBC last week.

"Android is designed for the here and now, an app centred world. The hottest devices don't have keyboards. Google has to come up with a better story of how Chrome fits in," he added.

Many fear two Google operating systems will cause confusion for consumers.

Google's Mr Schmidt does not believe it will, and recently stated that Chrome was for keyboards and Android was for touch-based devices.

The Chrome OS will be given free to hardware manufacturers.

Microsoft, in comparison, charges a fee for its Windows software.

Back in October, the software leader said Windows sales increased by 66% on a year earlier, to $4.8bn, helping to boost first quarter profits.


IBM supercomputer set for Jeopardy quiz show showdown

An IBM supercomputer will take on two human contestants in a TV showdown of artificial intelligence.

IBM's supercomputer Watson will compete in an edition of the popular US quiz show Jeopardy on 14 February for a prize of $1m (£634,000).

It is reminiscent of a 1997 contest between an IBM computer and chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov.

The TV show is an important test for Big Blue's work in the field of artificial intelligence.

"The big challenge we see here is helping people really appreciate the power and limits of the technology we are developing with Watson," Dr David Ferrucci, IBM's chief scientist of Watson computing told BBC News.

The aim is to have Watson, which was named after IBM's founder Thomas J Watson, to mimic human intelligence by deciphering and answering questions without being connected to the internet.

Watson is a new question-answering system based on natural language.

"What I see is the potential for computers to help us with our tremendous frustration in dealing with the huge glut of information that is doubling every year," said Dr Ferrucci.

"Just imagine being able to converse with a computer in an intelligent dialogue to help you understand and leverage all that information out there, so that people can focus on solving their problem and not get overwhelmed by information. That is what Watson is about."

IBM said that the technology could be applied in a number of areas such as health care for accurately diagnosing patients, parsing legal documents, or to solve customer problems at technical support centres.

Ultimate test

Jeopardy is seen as the ultimate challenge in the artificial intelligence world because the game's clues involve analysing subtle meanings, irony, riddles and other complexities where humans excel and machines do not.

Dr Ferrucci said the tough part for Watson is that it has to "know what it knows with utmost confidence".

Otherwise if it buzzes in and gets the answer wrong that is bad on Jeopardy because you lose money and lose the game."

Watson has been preparing for its big moment in the spotlight by playing against previous Jeopardy winners. To date it has played 55 games but IBM is keeping mum about how well Watson performed.

The contestants willing to pit their wits against Watson are Ken Jennings who won 74 games in a row - the most consecutive victories ever - and Brad Rutter, who scored the most money with winnings of more than $3m.

IBM said it would donate its winnings to charity while Mr Jennings and Mr Rutter said they would give half of their prize money away.

"Whether we win or lose we are reasonably confident going forward in the competition and I think it is important to play competitively," said Dr Ferrucci.

The showdown will be spread over three days that will air on TV from 14-16 February.

It is not the first time that IBM has pitted man against machine. The most famous head to head battle was in 1997 when a computer called Deep Blue defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov.

To compete at chess, the company built an extremely fast computer that could calculate 200 million chess moves per second based on a fixed problem.


Mozilla Plotting To Update Their Browser

Mozilla Plotting To Update Their Browser

When questioned what Mozilla plans to make a website become more open? Mitchell Baker, Chairperson of Mozilla Foundation and former CEO of Mozilla Corporation, said if the browser can be open with updated technology in the browser itself.

Last week on Q & A session at the conference LeWeb in Paris, Mitchell Baker asserted that the web quick enough on their changes, and be the new competition world for the Firefox browser.

Baker clearly states that Mozilla always focused on the latest innovations, particularly regarding the Firefox browser 4. “On the innovative side, the region will probably see is the existence of some differences in Mozilla when compared with the other. The difference is the focus integrated innovation across the web, “said Baker.

“We’re not trying to integrate our browser with a business or service. We try to develop innovative ways for users to organize their experience manifold website traffic,” she clarified.

Baker also states that ‘the browser‘ is the incorrect word for windows that we use to access the site. “The way we reckon about the browser is too concrete,”

Chairperson Mozilla is believed that the key of the browser is how users customize their experience on the website. Even according to her, personalization will be a huge trend for web browsers in the future.

Baker also mentions some things about Facebook. She said that Facebook should make the risk at his own with ‘lock themselves in an identity‘. Baker believes that despite the social networking site focused on privacy issues but it will never be enough. Because identity should never be tied to one platform.


Home Depot Black Friday 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Home Depot Black Friday 2010

Home Depot Black Friday 2010 - U.S. market analysts expect an optimistic twist of the entire market with the special Black Friday sales flurry later this week. Apart from last two years, retailers, market analysts and investors are hoping a new brightness in economic stability by the Black Friday shopping season.

Black Friday shopping season will kick off on the very next day after Thanksgiving. All retailers in the U.S. have prepared themselves to receive massive turnout of shoppers on the day, namely Black Friday and its following days.

Why should Dad have all the fun of working with a excellent set of power tools? In this entertaining and impressively comprehensive set of gear from Home Depot, kids can get in on some of the hardware action. It features over 70 different pieces including circular saw, metal grinder, power drill, air wrench, screwdriver, pliers, wrenches, and a hammer.

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Creating Domain Names

The best way to get traffic you can do firstly is to have excellent and right for your domain name, it should have one or two most vital keywords. You can find lot of difficulty of choosing the right one, because of lot of excellent names are taken. For this you can use the synonyms of the words you target or buy the ancient one as another options.

For your best domain name, keep it small at last as small possible related your keywords. If you have long name for your domain it can cause misspelling then it will lead the traffic to your competitors. It should have a sense and be simple to memorize, just like a name that is related to your business can be the excellent effort. Don’t forget to look up your competitors, you can use the related or synonym name for your domain. Place keywords in domain names by all means, even if you have to add a less significant word just to find an available name for your domain.

The best thing you should avoid for your domain name are :

  • Using certain and indefinite articles (a, the) while selecting the domain of your choice
  • Using plural form of a noun

So work hard and do some research for your best domain name, remember your domain name is the way you get the traffic.


Virtual Server Hosting - What Does It Mean For You?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

As the World Wide Web continues to grow, more and more people are using the internet to shop, search for information, and socialize. With such a high demand for products and services, people are creating web pages to help promote their products and provide a certain convenience for their customers. If you have not yet started a web site for your business, you may want to start thinking about doing it now. There are three main servers that web hosts sites offer. Dedicated server hosting is one server for one website. Shared server hosting is one server catering to multiple websites.

The third and newest type of web hosting is virtual server hosting. A virtual server is also called a virtual private server or VPS. Like the shared server, the VPS is one server catering to multiple websites. By now you may be wondering why switch to a VPS? What does the change mean for me? The virtual server is like the shared server but it is also different. The main server is divided up into multiple different servers. Like the multiple apartments in an apartment building. Each "apartment" is your own place. You have more freedom, flexibility, and control to do what you want within certain limits.

With a virtual server, each space is allotted a certain amount of disk space and memory capacity. The web site owners can choose what software they want to install and have a little more control over different aspects of their page. This is great for those that are on a shared server but need a little more. Virtual server hosting will give web site owners many of the benefits that they can get by using a dedicated server but keep the cost at an affordable price. It is an alternative solution for those not quite ready for complete control.

Another great thing about virtual server hosting is if your page starts generating more traffic there is something offered called Burstable RAM. What this means for you is that emergency random access memory is set aside and if an instance arises in which the traffic suddenly increases on a temporary basis, there is extra memory for use. Each hosting site is different so you will need to check individually to see which ones offer this service. If you are not ready for dedicated hosting but need a little more than shared web hosting, virtual server hosting is a great alternative. provides cost-effective Virtual Server Hosting designed to help enhance productivity and maximize resources. With over 12 years of experience, provides a full suite of services from shared web hosting, to Hosted Exchange Email and VPS Hosting services for SMBs and businesses of any size.

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Sky Cap - Its Caddy in your Hat

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Let’s face it, to some of us golf is more than just a game. Okay, to some of us, it’s a lot more. Some of us are completely addicted to it. In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat around on a Sunday and wondered just how long it was going to take that golf loving husband of mine to come home. Geez.

Maybe the SkyKap Advisor, is just the thing to get him home faster. A hands free, voice activated microcomputer GPS system contained in the brim of a regular golf hat. With some pretty amazing technology, The Advisor provides personal audio responses activated by the golfer’s commands. The Advisor gives the distance to greens, bunkers, water, boundaries and a whole lot more.

First, your completely devoted and unselfish spouse (who just happens to play golf every single weekend) searches and downloads course information by hooking their hat to the PC using the supplied USB cable. Incidentally, if your beloved’s course is not mapped, the hat will actually record green distances to be shared with other um, lovely golfers.

I for one refuse to buy anything that encourages any more golfing, but maybe this thing would make the game a little quicker. Then again if he played better, he would just play more. I cant win can I? Available from for around $300.00.

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