Over the last week, I have spent my time traveling across India with my team visiting MongoDB partners . It is amazing to see how much SI industry has changed , and also how much has not changed . More on that in another blog post at another time .
The one thing that consistently was a pain in the neck for me was the security process at companies , hotels and airports . It is the most cumbersome , inefficient and ineffective process one could design .
Let’s start with hotels . Hotels in India take security seriously from the looks of it – and after the terrorist attack on Taj in Mumbai , it is understandable that they stepped up the effort . However the mechanics of the exercise is where it is borderline stupid . When a car carrying a passenger arrives at the gate , they search in the trunk of the car and under the car – but not inside the car . What happens if a bad guy is holding a weapon in his hand while sitting inside the car ? Nothing – he will make his way to the hotel .
In some hotels they have sniffer dogs checking for explosives . It is clear to me at least that these dogs are over worked and most probably have no drive to find anything half way through a long shift . I do appreciate the opportunity to pet those dogs on my way in whenever I can .
Then there is a metal detector when you get into the hotel lobby itself . I watched multiple people walk through it with their wallets and phones in their pockets and the thing never beeped once . What exactly is the point here ?
Moving on to large enterprises – many of them huge multinational companies . They have armies of security personnel and access to technology . Yet the process to admit a visitor is nearly 100% manual and ineffective . They write visitor info in thick ledgers – often multiple ones which clearly can’t be fully reconciled easily or at real time if there is a breach . These companies one way or other are at the forefront of “digital transformation” , “big data” and “internet of things” movement today – and hence they should have no problems fixing it . I suspect there are legal issues that are beyond their control that is stopping them . I really hope that this issue is taken care of swiftly – it will not only improve security , it will also tangibly improve customer satisfaction . What is more – if they can design an elegant solution, they might even be able to sell it to others for a profit .
And finally there are airports . Honestly Indian airports seem to have the best security of all places I have been to . The only sore sight here is the sheer number of people needed for a single task . Just to board a small regional jet in Bangalore , I counted more than twenty young people at the gate with walkie talkies and multiple printed documents . That is roughly the job of three people elsewhere . It is not an IT problem – it’s a management problem . Fix it please
That apart , everything else has been fine and dandy in India so far .