Archive for Listopad, 2010

Information Explosion Poses Major Challenge

By admin, 17 listopada, 2010, No Comment

As government regulations and legislation become more stringent and data is required to be retained for longer periods of time, organisations are struggling to manage the explosion of information emanating from their various business divisions.That’s the opinion of Kevin Dees, Professional Services Manager of EMC Southern Africa, who says there is a marked tendency for companies to store all their data on one tier.

“Although storing data on a single tier is a natural evolution from legacy technologies and IT practices, it is no longer practical or cost effective,” Dees points out. “For example, any large corporation needs to store copies of invoices which are sent to its customers. After three or four years, these invoices have less value than more current documentation, and therefore should no longer be kept on the first tier of storage, which is also the most expensive.”

The information explosion has been further exacerbated by the advent of richer data such as video and photographs, all of which consume more power and space. This in turn requires bigger data centres and increases costs.

EMC’s Consulting Services team helps organisations to appreciate the value of their information and to structure their storage infrastructures accordingly. This includes transitioning data to lower-cost storage facilities.“This approach enables organisations to optimise their storage infrastructure and avoid buying expensive storage unnecessarily. By creating awareness and articulating information lifecycle management (ILM), companies can align their storage arrays for optimal use,” Dees says.

The Consulting Services team also helps companies to understand regulatory issues, thereby minimising compliance risks while simultaneously optimising their expenditure on storage, space and power consumption. According to Dees, optimising the storage infrastructure is a critical step in the virtualisation of data centre assets (the initial steps in the journey to the private cloud). “The way we consume computing today is set to change completely,” he says. “Over time, it will become another utility in that we will consume services and be billed for those services. When the consumption is halted, the billing will stop.

“As customers begin to consolidate and optimise their storage infrastructures and begin virtualisation discussions, they are preparing for the future – cloud computing.”

The EMC Consulting Services team also offers application consulting to its customers, which entails developing software applications in partnership with the client to fulfil a need which is specific to their business. Examples include software which assists with understanding procurement practices and how to better manage expenditure as well as optimising the potential of Java-based technologies. In addition, the team assists customers with major migration initiatives such as moving from Microsoft Exchange 2003 to Microsoft Exchange 2010.

Du Pont Telecom to distribute Audio Codes’ VoIP range

By admin, 17 listopada, 2010, No Comment

Du Pont Telecom is expanding its range of product offerings in Southern Africa with the addition of advanced VoIP and converged Voice over IP (VoIP) products from AudioCodes Ltd.  This follows the success Du Pont has achieved in delivering the TELES AG’s Class 4 and Class 5 next generation network solutions, as well as its VoIP and mobile gateways to the region.

TELES AG is a leading distributor of AudioCodes products in Europe and now Du Pont will be supplying AudioCodes products to network operators and medium and large enterprises in Southern Africa.  According to Du Pont CEO Graeme Victor, demand for VoIP products in Southern Africa is growing exponentially as bandwidth costs decrease.

“AudioCodes is an acknowledged market leader in this space with over 17 years of product development experience on VoIP network products and technology.  They provide a diverse range of innovative, cost-effective products Media Gateways, Multi-Service Business Gateways, Enterprise Session Border Controllers, Residential Gateways, IP Phones, Media Servers and Value Added Applications.

“We are delighted that we can now deliver their innovative, cost-effective products to the local market,” he says.

SAP launches iPhone app

By admin, 17 listopada, 2010, No Comment

SMEs across the globe are increasingly taking advantage of the burgeoning smartphone market to run their businesses from a multitude of locations at any time of day. To tap into the growing demand for business insights on the move, SAP has developed an iPhone application for its BusinessOne software that provides constant access to data and analytics.

The application, called BusinessObjects Explorer for iPhone – which also works on the iPad – is available for free as part of the maintenance contract with SAP to those with a professional user license for SAP Business One 8.8 patch level 12 or higher. Easily downloadable from the Apple iTunes store, the app allows small and medium sized businesses easy and visual access to relevant information no matter where in the world they may be.

Featuring simple and fast search and intuitive data exploration and visualization, BusinessObjects Explorer allows users to check on inventory and customers, access reports, receive alerts and process approvals. With the mobile application, users have real-time access to data and can easily navigate, respond and trigger remote processes.

Pankaj Pema, Head of Business One in Africa, says: “With today’s technological advances, there is a growing need for connectivity and information accessibility. Our customers expect constant access to up-to-date information at their fingertips, which is exactly what this mobile application provides. They can now literally run their business from any location in the world, at any time of day, using only their smartphone.”

Online and brick and mortar stores increasingly merging

By admin, 17 listopada, 2010, No Comment

A lot of people have a negative impression of the Internet but if certain principles are observed – like observing the key essentials of the brick and mortar business – it can be a big boon. Increasingly retailers around the globe are becoming a mixture of brick and mortar and online.

So said Stephen Mallaby, MD of UltiSales Retail Software, a subsidiary of SA’s largest supplier of retail software solutions in SA, the listed UCS Group Ltd.

“The Internet is looked upon by some as a strange and difficult world in which to transact and the dotcom bust at the turn of the century fueled these perceptions as well.  While the Internet does bring with it some challenges, the key to success online is to remember the essentials of brick and mortar business.”

Many aspects and features in online business have counterparts in the brick and mortar world. By understanding and recognizing these similarities – and being able to mesh them  together – a company will find it much easier to offer their customers the best of both worlds.

Mallaby said the retail industry is one industry that is embracing the concept of integrating the brick and mortar and online world’s, offering their customers far more choice – and an easier way of shopping.

Online retail sales are certainly growing. In the USA on-line retail in both the USA and Western Europe is set for a strong period of double-digit growth over the next five years, according to forecasts from Forrester Research.

US on-line retail sales will grow at a 10% compound annual growth rate over the next five years to reach a total of nearly $249 by 2014.

According to Ezine Articles there are a number of useful tips to consider when integrating the worlds of on-line and brick and mortar:

1. Your web site is your store. In a traditional retail store you want a clean well lit location, with an ample selection of merchandise attractively displayed in an inviting fashion. Your web site should do the same. Consider your design – is the site visually appealing, easy to navigate, and stocked with a good selection of reasonably priced merchandise?
2. Your domain name is your address. Commercial Realtors will tell you that retail success depends on three things – “location, location, and location.” Pick a domain name that is both easy to remember, type, and spell! Don’t use unusual or nonstandard spelling. Despite the low cost, avoid using unpopular domain suffixes as your primary address. While you can have up to 63 characters in a domain name, research shows eleven or less is best and.com is still king.
3. Your checkout button is your cash register. In a retail store the cash registers are in a prominent location making it easy for consumers to check out. Do the same in your online store. Cross selling is potentially valuable be careful not to overdo it. A consumer who has to decline offer after offer to proceed through the payment process may grow frustrated and leave. How would you react if you had to refuse a dozen products offered by a retail cashier?
4. You need to bring customers into the store. Too many people think that they can rely on search engines. Very few online businesses can be built on search engine traffic alone. You need to use a mix of advertising and promotion to put the word out and bring the customers in. In a brick and mortar business you wouldn’t rely on people searching for you, and you shouldn’t do it online either.
5. Once you bring someone into your store you want to keep them there. In a retail business you want people who come into your store to actually shop there. It would be foolish to direct them elsewhere as soon as they walk in the door. People surf the web, often ending up far from where they started. That banner ad on your home page may be more interesting than your site, causing you to lose the visitor before they purchase anything.

Softline Pastel wins Management Software Vendor award at Channelwise

By admin, 17 listopada, 2010, No Comment

Softline Pastel scoops ChannelWise Financial and Management sofware awards

Softline Pastel, comprising Pastel Accounting and Pastel Payroll, scored major success in the software category of the inaugural ChannelWise Awards, winning the management software vendor section and the financial software vendor section by a substantial margin from the rest of the competitors. Softline Pastel also took second places in the productivity software vendor and virtualisation/cloud computing vendor sections.

The two heads of channel at Pastel Accounting and Pastel Payroll, Jacqui Bekker and Laurica Kok, said the achievement was all the more rewarding because the awards adjudication was objectively measured and based solely upon feedback from channel partners and resellers.

“It has been a long, hard road for us and our channel partners but we believe the transparency of our relationships, open communication, fair rewards, incentives and continuous support and training have provided the foundation to take us to this level.”

“One of the oldest business philosophies is to lead by example, therefore we have always endeavoured to go the extra mile for our respective channel partners and they in turn have gone the extra mile for our customers and delivered for us.”

The online survey completed by resellers was managed by an independent company without any input from the host publication, ChannelWise, a Futurewave Media publication.

Bekker and Kok referred to the old saying — if you want to know what your customers and resellers think of your services and software … ask them.

“In this case they have been asked by an independent organisation and the outcome has shown that hard work, good communication and passion for the business achieves the desired results. We have always kept our channel in the loop and up to speed with the latest industry changes, new legislation, new software releases and features, to name but a few. Our attitude has been that our time is their time and that our success is all about relationships.”

Accurate sales budgets: Achieving the impossible

By admin, 16 listopada, 2010, No Comment

By Kevin Phillips, MD of idu Software

Over the past few years, accountants and financial managers have increasingly bought into the concept that there is value to be gained by involving cost or profit centre managers in the budget process. It’s only these managers who have the detailed knowledge of what is happening, and likely to happen, in their areas of responsibility — and without that detailed knowledge, an expenses budget is never really going to be much more than a sophisticated thumb-suck.

So far, so good: The more managers are brought on board, the more accurate the budget gets. But there is a glaring, and baffling, gap: What about the revenue budget? If your profit centre managers have unique and valuable knowledge to contribute about their own micro-environments, surely the same goes for your sales teams? And if that’s true, why is almost everyone wasting this knowledge resource?

The standard response is to argue that it’s counter-productive to ask salespeople to create their own budgets, because they’d deliberately under-budget to ensure bigger bonuses. This just doesn’t hold water: A budget is not a target.

A revenue budget is an informed forecast of the revenue that is likely to come in — without it, you can’t possibly plan a decent expenditure budget. A target is something else entirely, a performance incentive for your sales team. The organisation can set this target wherever it likes – it could be budget plus 50%, or budget plus 100%, or whatever seems reasonable. The sales team knows the difference: the budget figure is what is expected to keep the organisation ticking over and themselves employed; achieving the target is what makes them smile.

What’s the alternative to involving your sales team? Typically, people apply a rough rule of thumb like “last year plus 10%”, a system that is deeply flawed. Let’s say you had a particularly good year last year, for entirely external reasons – maybe you happened to be responsible for gas sales in the year Eskom imploded. This performance is not repeatable — but the typical Head Office target setting process will impose it, plus the usual 10%, as this year’s target. Everybody on the sales team with any sense knows the target is unattainable and leaves as soon as possible.

That’s what you get when you fail to consult the people who actually have the knowledge of the environment they will be working in. The alternative is to involve them in the budget process, get an accurate idea of what you will be dealing with, and plan your activities for the year accordingly.

From a practical point of view, this is relatively easy to achieve. Instead of budgeting for expenditure per profit centre account, you’d budget for products sold per customer.  Link your products to an account code, and your customers to a profit centre code, and an aggregated sales budget is within your grasp.

There’s room for considerable flexibility within this schema: you could budget per sales person rather than per customer if that suits your organisation better. If you have a large product line with thousands of SKUs, you can budget per product line or range rather than per SKU — whatever is going to create the most manageable, meaningful, accurate budget.

If, for example, you’re selling life insurance, you can break your cost of sales down into components such as commissions, stamp duties, lapse ratios, underwriting costs and even claims percentages. Each will be either a fixed cost, or a percentage per policy sold. Estimate the number of policies you are going to sell, and you have the ability to forecast your budget all the way from sales to gross profit.

The implementation can get very detailed, in short, but the principle is the same: You have people in your organisation who know what is going on, and wasting that knowledge is short-sighted.

If something is happening in your market that is going to affect your revenue at the end of the year, wouldn’t you rather know about that at the beginning of the year? Your marketing team may have dreamed up a fancy new product and sold the board on it, but will your customers actually buy it? The sales team can answer that question, based on their knowledge of what’s really going in their micro-environments.

You don’t have to take everything your users tell you as gospel, of course; but more information is better than less. If the revenue forecasts coming from your sales team are very different to those coming from your Head Office, you’ll at least know there are some questions to answer.

Alvarion’s wireless equipment scores tops in video surveillance

By admin, 15 listopada, 2010, No Comment

IMS Research Ranked Alvarion® the #1 Supplier in European Market for Wireless Infrastructure Equipment used in Video Surveillance

Alvarion Ltd., the world’s leading provider of 4G networks in the Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) market, today announced it was ranked the number one supplier of wireless infrastructure equipment used in video surveillance in Europe by IMS Research in its latest report “The EMEA Market for Wireless Infrastructure Used in Video Surveillance” (published August 2010).

“The main advantage of wireless infrastructure over wired systems is the cost savings associated with not trenching and laying cable. This means wireless infrastructure is well suited to video surveillance systems where cameras are required across a large area that has no existing network,” comments Niall Jenkins, Senior Analyst at IMS Research. “The video surveillance market, and in particular IP video surveillance, is fast growing and as wireless networking increases its penetration into this market, the opportunity for wireless infrastructure equipment vendors will continue to grow.”

Alvarion’s video surveillance portfolio offers a carrier-class, robust, secure and reliable solution which is field proven in municipalities, enterprises and industrial markets around the world. Alvarion’s complete portfolio includes the market leading 4G WiMAX™ 802.16e solution, BreezeMAX® Extreme for the 4.9 GHz and 5 GHz frequency range, BreezeACCESS® VL and BreezeNET® B which are optimised for wireless video surveillance applications.

“IMS Research’s latest video surveillance ranking proves our innovation in bringing cost-effective wireless broadband solutions for security applications,” said Ofer Karp, president of the Wireless Business Division at Alvarion. “Video surveillance is a routine issue in security planning and there is a constant search for innovative and intelligent technologies to improve security, particularly over several remote sites. Our fixed and mobile solutions support a wide range of frequency bands and provide a very attractive business case for video surveillance deployments.”

Alvarion has established partnerships with leading suppliers of security and video surveillance solutions around the world. Through the wide network of partners, Alvarion can offer its customers end-to-end solutions providing a range of benefits, including quick and easy integration and interoperability with many cameras and applications.

Shopping online a hit for Christmas

By admin, 13 listopada, 2010, No Comment

A survey on Facebook by online retailer kalahari.net, confirms that sales on the Web are set to boom this December. 87% of connected South Africans plan on doing some of their festive season shopping online this year. The tough economic climate is partly to thank as surfers turn to the Internet to find the best bargains.

Gary Novitzkas, the General Manager of Customer Experience at kalahari.net says, “The figures are in line with a research report recently released by Verdict Research which forecasts that Christmas 2010 in the UK will be best for retailers since 2007, and that online will take the lion’s share. Online sales on kalahari.net have increased incrementally throughout the year and we anticipate a 20- 25% increase in sales on the site this year from 2009.”

More than half of the respondents to the kalahari.net Festive Season Shopping Survey  plan on spending up to 10% of their monthly earnings on gifts, while a third of the respondents plan on spending up to a quarter of their monthly wage. It looks like that might have to be the case with 48% of the respondents also hoping to receive an electronic device including cameras, eReaders, cell phones or computers as gifts this year.

A consumer shopping trends survey by PriceCheck, the newly re-launched shopping comparison website, released at the end of October this year mirrors this sentiment by stating that 82% of its respondents turned to the Internet for information first when considering a purchase. 77% on the other hand plan on doing some of their shopping online this year or at least, plan using the Internet to research best buys.

All I want for Christmas is…

More than anything, 34% of connected South Africans really want an iPhone4. 21% of the kalahari.net Festive Season Shopping Survey  respondents are hoping for an eReader while 18% would love to find an iPad under the tree this year. Roughly the same number (16%) are hoping to receive the new iPod and the latest DVD of their choice.

Although the repsondents feel the media items such as books, CD, DVDs and games are certain to be biggest sellers online this year, almost 15% feel that eReaders will be second in line. “This statistic is encouraging,” says Novitzkas, “kalahari.net is making every effort to make eContent widely accessible to as many South Africans as possible. It is for this reason that we have launched South Africa’s first eReader for under R1 000. the Elonex EB500 that is bundled with a R160 eBook voucher.”

A timely respite it would appear, as 46% of respondents are willing to gift any electronic device as long as it’s under R1,000.

Books: Jamie Oliver  and Madiba battle it out

It would appear that South Africans are hungry for quick convenient meals as the demand for Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals by the famously naked British chef challenges Nelson Mandela’s latest literary masterpiece, Conversations with Myself, as the top seller. Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen Recipes from the Heart,  comes in as the third favourite by respondents. Interestingly, the biggest selling book on kalahari.net in 2009 was Captain in the Cauldron  – The John Smit Story about the world’s most capped Test captain and an icon of South African rugby.

“The survey was done prior to the release of Hershell Gibb’s highly publicised book, To the Point. It will be interesting to note how the release of this book will impact on sales this year,” continues Novitzkas.

Other Interesting Findings

The survey respondents also conveyed that they really wanted the following category gifts this year:
•    In kalahari.net eBooks, it’s Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol that is the current hot holiday read
•    DVDs: kalahari.net tips Twlight Saga’s Eclipse as the festive favourite, but Mac Dreamy and  Katherine Heigl seemed to have worked their magic on the on the online masses as 25% say they’re gagging for the  Grey’s Anatomy Box Set  as a festive season gift. Inception follows with 18%. Top seller in this category in 2009 on kalahari.net was Ice Age 3 Dawn of the Dinosaurs.
•    Games: Call of Duty Black Ops (19%) and Wii Sports Resort (20%) came in neck and neck, but the new Gran Turismo 5 is set to accelerate to first position as gamers clamour for gifts. Top seller in this catergory in 2009 on kalahari.net was  Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
•    CDs: American rock band Kings of Leon once again prove their saleability with 21% of kalahari.net respondents hankering for their Come Around Sundown album. as a gift over the Now 56 album (17%).  But Susan Boyle is tipped to be the best seller for the second year running, her debut album I dreamed a Dream was top stocking filler in 2009 in this category.

kalahari.net will be introducing daily and weekly deals in time for bargain shoppers this year. It also offers free delivery on orders over R385. Kalahari also offers  24-hour delivery service on selected products and free gift wrappin.

HP makes a cleans sweep at Channelwise Awards

By admin, 13 listopada, 2010, No Comment

HP has walked away with the lion’s share of the prizes at the inaugural Channelwise Awards held last night in Kyalami.

The Channelwise Awards are an opportunity for resellers to have their say by voting for the vendors and distributors that have best met their needs over the last year.

According to the organisers, well over 1000 individuals registered for the online voting process, a number that was cut down to 709 by the time incomplete, duplicate or ineligible votes were removed.

Importantly, each reseller could only vote once. The system was set up to reject a second log-in from the same IP address so as to ensure as fair a process as possible.

The judging was in eight different market areas: Servers and Storage; Notebook Computers; Personal Computers; Networking/Infrastructure; Printers and Consumables; Components; Peripherals and Software.

HP was a clear winner in the resellers’ eyes, not only for the Enterprise Business (EB) but also for the Personal Systems Group (PSG) and the Imaging and Printing Group (IPG). The company walked away with first place in thirteen out of eighteen categories that HP qualified for;

•    NAS/SAN vendor of the year
•    Volume Server vendor of the year
•    Blade Server vendor of the year
•    Enterprise server vendor of the year
•    Switch vendor of the year
•    Volume PC vendor of the year – Notebook (sub R6000)
•    Value Notebook vendor of the year – Notebook (above R6000)
•    Hi-End PC vendor of the year
•    Inkjet printer vendor of the year
•    MFP Inkjet printer vendor of the year
•    MFP Laser printer vendor of the year
•    Printing consumables vendor of the year
•    Laser printer vendor of the year

“This is a fantastic achievement for HP,” says Martin Meltz, Enterprise Channel Manager, ESS (Enterprise Servers and Storage) Manager, HP South Africa. “The recognition given to HP by the Channel last night will be a strong incentive for HP to innovate in the Channel to maintain this strong position. This recognition is greatly appreciated.

Meltz adds that the turnout on the evening was very impressive, with all of the key IT leaders and distribution partners in attendance. “HP looks forward to taking part again next year,” he concludes.

Great results for KZN Business Analysts

By admin, 13 listopada, 2010, No Comment

An inaugural class of KZN Business Analysts recently completed the Certificate Programme in Business Analysis with spectacular results.   All of the delegates who started the 4-month-long course completed it, with the entire class gaining at least an above-average merit pass, and nearly half getting the certificate with distinction.

The Certificate Programme in Business Analysis is offered by Faculty Training Institute.   FTI has operated in Gauteng and the Western Cape for nearly 20 years, and launched the qualification in Durban earlier this year because of growing interest from the KZN business community.

“The excellent results achieved by the inaugural group is a tribute to their dedication and work ethic, and fully justifies the investment we have made in establishing the course in KZN”, says Steve Erlank, Managing Director of FTI.  “Our courses are carefully designed to develop complex skills for working professionals, and although they are part-time, they require commitment and application, which this group displayed in abundance.  KZN can be proud of the calibre of its BA’s!”

The Certificate Programme in Business Analysis comprises the theoretical component of FTI’s signature Diploma in Business Analysis and is the first step in obtaining the Diploma.    Delegates who have completed the Certificate Programme in Business Analysis are able to upgrade to the full Diploma by attending a short 3 month part time upgrade programme, submitting their workplace assignments, and sitting for the final qualifying exam for the Diploma.

“The excellent results of this class prompted us to fast track them into the upgrade programme ahead of schedule” says Frank Biesman-Simons, Programme Manager for the KZN course.  Almost all of the delegates felt they were ready for the challenge and could well be graduating with the Diploma later this year“

Business Analysis is one of the fastest-growing careers in the world and offers rich reward for multi-skilled individuals who can combine business knowledge, technological literacy, and strong interpersonal communications skills to help organisations draft the requirements for modern business systems.    A Business Analysis qualification offers career opportunities in key emerging sectors critical to the Knowledge Economy.  In South Africa, as in the rest of the world, professional and senior business analysts are in short supply.  The next Certificate Programme will be available in KZN early in 2011

FTI’s Diploma and Certificate programmes are endorsed by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®). Delegates will earn points (CDU’s) towards the prestigious Certified Business Analysis Professional certification offered by the IIBA®.   FTI is also fully accredited with the ISETT SETA in South Africa.  .

Steve Erlank, who is also President of the South African chapter of the IIBA®, will be presenting a breakfast seminar entitled “The Strategic Value of the Business Analysis Profession in South Africa”. The event will be held at the Durban Country Club on the 24th of November, 2010 from 07:30 until 09:00. Attendees will learn more about the internal consultancy role of the Business Analyst which has the responsibility for investigating business systems, identifying options for improving business systems and bridging the needs of the business with the use of IT.

Contact Robyn Loy on 021 6834506 or robyn@fti.co.za to RSVP

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