Archive for Styczeń, 2011

The importance of nurturing entrepreneurial skills in the youth

By admin, 28 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Entrepreneurship is prolific. It is the ability to make something out of nothing; it fuels imagination and provides millions of jobs across the globe. It is usually associated with the young, and vibrant, the fearless few that are willing to take the first step. “If you have a dream, an idea and a burning desire, but are not willing to try, you have failed already,” says Ivan Epstein, entrepreneur founder and CEO of Softline which is part of Sage Group plc.

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, at least half of all working men and women will have engaged in a period of self-employment for one or more years by the time they reach their retirement age. “Every single company out there started with an idea and has grown from there, whether it is Bill Gates or the innovative sculptor making garden birds out of scrap metal,” says Epstein.

The youth is the future of our country and the ideas and concepts that come from their minds will pave the way. “South Africa is fast progressing and if you factor in our developing economy it is definitely an exciting time to be young, living here and have your entire career ahead of you. It is however up to the youth to embrace the positive aspects of South Africa and to build on it. We have embedded a strong ‘can do’ culture and there are many examples of entrepreneurial successes that the youth can learn and benefit from,” says Epstein.

Entrepreneurship is defined as the process of identifying, evaluating and seizing an opportunity. Venturing out can however be very daunting for some. “You have to believe in yourself and be relentlessly passionate about your idea. If you have done your homework and you believe it will work, especially if the product or service is needed or of use to some: Go for it!” urges Epstein.

Skills are key to building the future economy and these skills must be nurtured through education and training. “The more skills we have at our disposal, the more entrepreneurial successes will unfold. New, fresh and expanding business endeavours are vital ingredients to building our economy and our nation at large, empowering South Africans to earn a living. For that reason, entrepreneurship needs to be nurtured and instilled in the minds of the youth,” says Epstein, it needs to pervade throughout the country.

A formal tertiary education creates a better foundation for entrepreneurial success. It’s not essential, as there are countless examples of incredibly successful entrepreneurial successes without any formal education whatsoever. “It’s beneficial to have a qualification to fall back onto, an insurance policy of sort. On the other hand, knowing you have nothing to fall back on can create an even greater necessity and burning desire to succeed as we have seen throughout the world.”

“The beauty of entrepreneurship is that it can take any shape or form. Sometimes a complete lack of skills can grant a person the freedom to think outside the normal frame of reference, to find something truly unique, a sense of naïve freedom. An idea can be born from simply getting to know a market, a product or a business skill or spotting an opportunity within what you do, or just a great instinct and foresight. Whatever the circumstance, we need to nurture it and encourage it, to allow entrepreneurship to flourish.”

The formal sector has a role to play in fostering young minds and one such tool is internships. “It makes a profound difference to discover whether you have a passion for a particular career by being exposed to the processes and the daily routine. In many instances, interns take up permanent positions as they will possess the necessary skills to perform the job with confidence in addition to being acclimated to the company culture,” says Epstein.

Entrepreneurialism has been part of the South African landscape throughout our rich and colourful history. “We have proven ourselves in the global environment to be progressive, innovative, idealistic and original. The road to success is not easy and will be fraught with many challenges, but I would like to urge you to follow your passion, even when you feel like you want to give up. Make the absolute best of it, and never give up” urges Epstein.

Software AG reports record results for fiscal year 2010

By admin, 28 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Software AG recorded a significant increase in revenues in the fourth quarter of 2010. At €326.7 million, total revenues were twelve percent higher than the same quarter of the previous year (€292.1 million). The product business picked up sharply in the fourth quarter in particular, totaling €222.0 million and exceeding the figure for the same period of the previous year (€181.1 million) by 23 percent. Significant revenue increases, largely owing to an increased number of big deals and initial cross-selling successes, followed the successful integration of IDS Scheer AG and its software product portfolio. Revenue and earnings also benefited from currency translation effects, especially in the Americas.

EBIT climbed at the Group level by 19 percent to €94.1 million due to a larger share of high-margin products in total sales, the accelerated implementation of cost synergies from the merger with IDS Scheer AG and continued positive currency translation effects in the fourth quarter. These factors also contributed to a net income and earnings per share increase of 36 percent, again reaching historic peaks. The full year 2010 showed earnings growth of 25 percent, surpassing the final forecast of 19-20 percent, which had been raised several times over the course of 2010.

The fiscal year under review confirmed Software AG’s growth strategy. The new business — which consists of innovative software products for integrating business applications and processes under the name Business Process Excellence (BPE) — expanded further in the fourth quarter (product revenues for webMethods/ARIS +14 percent over the previous year), delivering an increased contribution to income. The acquisition of IDS Scheer AG in August 2009 targeted revenue and cost synergies which showed a positive impact on earnings in the latest quarter.

“Our significantly improved market position and the positive reaction from customers have already made this a successful merger,” said Karl-Heinz Streibich, CEO of Software AG. “With the complete integration of our ARIS and webMethods product suites we will offer a unique product portfolio. I am therefore convinced that Software AG’s success story will continue.”

The upswing in demand noted in the Americas in the first half of 2010 carried on in the second half of the year as well. Buoyed by the large markets of the United States and Brazil, Software AG experienced double-digit growth rates in this region in the fourth quarter. Business in Germany, Australia, and the Middle East also developed at a rate that was significantly above the Group average.

Growth in product business

The Business Process Excellence (BPE) business line, which encompasses revenue from licenses, maintenance and services for all integration and process software products (webMethods and ARIS), achieved growth of 10 percent in Q4 2010, with total revenues of €148.2 million. BPE product revenue climbed 14 percent to €100.2 million. A range of large-scale projects and an increase in new customers confirmed Software AG’s strategy — reinforced by the acquisition of IDS Scheer AG — of positioning itself as an innovative market leader in the IT growth market of process software.

During the course of the fiscal year, the Enterprise Transaction Systems (Adabas, Natural) business line showed a substantial increase in sales. In the product business, revenue for licenses and maintenance in the fourth quarter exceeded that of the same quarter of the previous year by 32 percent. At €66.0 million, license revenues demonstrated particularly strong growth (59 percent) over Q4 2009 (€41.5 million). Also in the fourth quarter, the business line’s total revenues amounted to €133.2 million—a jump of 26 percent over the previous year (105.3 million). This more than counter balanced the lower revenues of the first half of the year, resulting in growth of six percent for the full year 2010.

Operating results confirm successful acquisition strategy

The increased volume of business (particularly in licenses), the realization of synergies and economies of scale resulting from the merger with IDS Scheer AG as well as favorable development of exchange rates led to higher operating results (EBIT) in the fourth quarter; an increase of 19 percent to €94.1 million (2009: 79.4 million). Net income grew even faster and jumped by 35 percent. Thanks to reduced interest expenses and a lower tax rate, net income increased to €64.7 million (2009: 48.10 million). Earnings per share climbed to €2.28 (2009: €1.65).

In the fourth quarter, the company generated free cash flow of €79.1 million (2009: €68.6 million). Operating net debt was reduced in the quarter under review by €82 million to €137 million; a year ago this figure still stood at €272 million.

“The first quarterly results after the complete merger with IDS Scheer AG clearly show the revenue and earnings momentum of the new corporate structure. Economies of scale, cross-selling successes, and increased sales efficiency contribute increasingly to earnings,” said Arnd Zinnhardt, Software AG’s CFO. “The EBIT margin continued to improve over the course of the fiscal year and we are clearly progressing quickly towards our medium-term target of 30 percent.”

2010 signifies a huge step forward in the company’s development

Software AG’s Group revenues in fiscal year 2010 hit a record high of €1.12 billion (2009: €847.4 million), exceeding the target set in 2007 and a year earlier than originally planned. The reported revenue increase of 32 percent (26 percent at constant currency) also benefitted from the weakness of the euro; as a whole, currency translation effects increased revenues by €51 million. Product revenues in the fiscal year under review increased year on year by 20 percent to €696.8 million (2009: €580.5 million). Licensing revenue climbed 21 percent, from €269.9 million to €327.4 million. Maintenance revenue increased by 19 percent, from €310.6 million in 2009 to €369.4 million in 2010.

The BPE business line achieved revenue growth of 34 percent, up to €499.2 million from €372.3 million in fiscal year 2009. At €420.0 million, revenues for the ETS business line were six percent higher than in the same quarter of the previous year (€396.0 million). This is the first time that the new growth area of BPE has been the main source of revenue for Software AG. The company’s further growth will be determined by the BPE products’ success on the market. BPE has become a leading technology in the rapidly growing market segment of process software. The industry expertise of the consultants acquired with IDS Scheer AG will play a major role in further market penetration.

Grouped as the IDS Scheer Consulting business line; the SAP consulting business contributed €200.3 million per year / 18 percent of total sales in the past fiscal year.

Precipitated by the company’s significant growth due to the merger with IDS Scheer AG, company earnings reached a new high: EBIT growth of 23 percent to €268.6 (2009: 218.2 million) and net income growth of 25 percent, up to €176.5 million (2009: €140.8 million). During the 12-month period, free cash flow rose to €217.8 million (2009: 188.4 million), an increase of 16 percent over the same period in the previous year. The Group’s equity rose from €647.2 million to €769.3 million and reached a ratio of 48 percent on the reporting date, 31.12.2010, down from 39 percent in 2009.

As of December 31, 2010, the Group had a total of 5,644 employees (converted to full-time equivalents), with 2,051 of them in Germany. The values for the previous year (6,013/2,149) were collected prior to the operational integration of IDS Scheer AG.

Revenue and earnings growth expected in 2011

In fiscal year 2011, Software AG is expecting continued high interest in its new products that integrate different IT systems and business processes. Accordingly, revenue growth of 10 to 15 percent is expected for the BPE business line. The full integration of ARIS and webMethods, to be presented at CeBIT 2011, enables unprecedented efficiency in the development and implementation of process solutions. This innovation should contribute to sales momentum over the course of the year. Product revenue at the previous year’s level is expected for the traditional business (ETS) and moderate growth is forecast for IDS Scheer Consulting business line. Overall, Software AG expects total revenue growth of five to seven percent, at constant currency. Because of our consultants’ improved utilization, declining cost ratios, and the implementation of revenue synergies through the merger with IDS Scheer AG, Software AG expects a considerable increase of 10 to 15 percent over the previous year in net income.

Samsung Electronics Announces Fourth Quarter & FY 2010 Results

By admin, 28 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today announced revenues of 41.87 trillion Korean won (R 265.44 billion) on a consolidated basis for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2010, a 7% increase year-on-year. For the quarter, the company posted consolidated net income of 3.42 trillion won (R 21.68 billion), a 13% increase year-on-year. Consolidated operating profit for the quarter was 3.01 trillion won (R19.08 billion).

In its earnings guidance disclosed on January 7, Samsung estimated fourth-quarter consolidated revenues would reach approximately 41 trillion won (R 259.92 billion) with an operating profit of 3 trillion won (R 19.01 billion).

The fourth quarter results brought Samsung’s full year 2010 revenue to an all-time high of 154.63 trillion won (R 980.28 billion), up 13-percent from last year. Net income reached a record high of 16.15 trillion won (R 102.38 billion), up 65% compared with the previous year, while operating profit was 17.30 trillion won (R 109.67 billion), also a record.

Samsung’s performance in the fourth quarter continued to be driven by memory semiconductors and strong sales of its smartphones. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, however, profit margins decreased primarily due to weakening pricing for memory semiconductors and LCD panels, as well as price competition in the TV market.

“Despite the difficult business environment including reduced IT demand caused by the economic slowdown, we achieved record-high results both in terms of sales and operating profit in 2010,” said Robert Yi, Vice President and Head of Samsung Electronics’ Investor Relations Team. “However, considering overall business conditions, unlike 2010, we expect the traditional earnings pattern of a weak first half, with a strong second half to return in 2011.”

Samsung expected price competition to intensify in the consumer electronics, IT and mobile device markets in 2011, while major components prices are also forecast to decline. To offset pressures stemming from adverse market conditions, Samsung will focus on the cost competitiveness of its memory semiconductor portfolio, reducing marketing expenses and increasing shipments of high-end smartphones and tablet devices.

Samsung said the forecast continued appreciation of the Korean won during 2011 could have a negative impact on earnings, but the company’s diversified foreign exchange mix would limit the effect of movements in particular currencies.

Capex to Reach 23 Trillion Won (R 145.81 billion) in 2011

Capital expenditure on a consolidated basis reached 21.6 trillion won (R 136.93 billion) for the entire year of 2010, including 12.7 trillion won (R 80.51 billion) for the Semiconductor Business and 4.6 trillion won (R 29.16 billion) for the LCD Business.

In 2011, Capex is expected to reach 23 trillion won (R 145.81 billion). As was announced in early January, 10.3 trillion won (R 65.30 billion) will be invested in the Semiconductor Business, including 5.8 trillion (R 36.80 billion) in memory and 4.2 (R 26.63 billion) in system LSI. A further 4.1 trillion won (R 25.99 billion) is allocated for the LCD Business, as well as 5.4 trillion won (R 34.23 billion) for subsidiary Samsung Mobile Display.

Premium Memory Makes a Difference

Samsung’s Semiconductor Business recorded a consolidated basis operating profit of 1.80 trillion won (R 11.41 billion) in the fourth quarter. Revenue reached 9.25 trillion won (R 58.64 billion), a 16% increase year-on-year. For the full year 2010, the Semiconductor Business registered 10.11 trillion won (R 64.09 billion) in operating profit on revenue of 37.64 trillion won (R 238.62 billion), a record-high.

Despite a weakening market trend, Samsung secured profitability by increasing the portion of high-margin products such as server and mobile DRAM, as well as by strengthening its market position with increased production of 40nm-class processes and below.

While the global DRAM market suffered from falling prices and weakening PC DRAM demand, NAND chips did well with help from surging demand for smartphones and tablet PCs. Samsung’s market differentiation strategy in the NAND sector was to expand production of 30nm-class processes and below.

The DRAM market is forecast to improve in the second half of the year driven by growth in PC replacement demand from businesses. Samsung will continue to focus on energy-efficient green memory solutions for servers and enhancing technology leadership to maintain the profit margin of the Semiconductor Business.

LCD Looks to Second Half for Rebound

The LCD Business recorded an operating profit of 0.10 trillion won (R 633.95 million) on revenue of 7.20 trillion won (R 45.64 billion) in the fourth-quarter, down 1% from a year ago as increasing shipments could not offset price falls. For fiscal year 2010, Samsung’s LCD Business posted 1.99 trillion won (R12.62 billion) in operating profit with 29.92 trillion won (R 189.68 billion) in revenue.

Overall unit sales for the period increased more than 10% quarter-on-quarter. While shipments for IT panels climbed supported by demand for tablet PCs, the fall in demand for TV panels was compounded by a buildup of inventory in the TV set market.

Average industry sales prices retreated across all segments in the fourth quarter. The average price for TV panels dropped 12%, with prices for monitor panels dipping 5% and notebook PC panels falling 3%.

Samsung forecasted LCD panel prices will remain low in the first quarter of 2011 due to supply outpacing demand. However, the company anticipated incremental demand increases in the second half led by the economic recovery and inventory restocking by set makers. Samsung aims to drive market growth with a new line-up of entry-level LED panels and explore the high-potential market for tablet PC panels.

Strong Smartphone Growth Powers Mobile Business

Samsung’s telecommunications businesses – Mobile Communications and Telecommunications Systems – registered a record quarterly operating profit of 1.44 trillion won (R 9.13 billion) for the period, up 38% year-on-year. Fourth quarter revenue reached 12.11 trillion won (R 76.77 billion), compared with 10.17 trillion won (R 64.47 billion) for same period of 2009. By finishing the year strongly, Samsung achieved full year 2010 operating profit of 4.30 trillion won (R 27.26 billion) on sales of 41.20 trillion won (R 261.19 billion) for its telecommunications businesses.

Driven by strong year-end demand for the company’s flagship smartphones, Samsung’s mobile device sales reached 80.7 million units for the quarter, up 17% year-on-year. This brought total sales for the year to 280 million units, registering growth of 23% and outperforming the overall market.

Following its introduction in June, Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S smartphone has achieved worldwide sales of 10 million units, while the Galaxy Tab – an Android-powered tablet device – attracted strong year-end demand. In emerging markets, Samsung’s diverse product mix of mass-market smartphones and touch-screen feature phones also registered solid sales growth.

While mobile device sales are expected to contract slightly in the first quarter of 2011 due to weak seasonal demand, Samsung forecast high single-digit sales growth for the year overall, driven by the fast-expanding smartphone and tablet segments. Samsung announced it will introduce the successor to its Galaxy S smartphone during the first half of 2011, featuring a dual-core processor and Super AMOLED Plus display to further enrich user experience. With its growing lineup, the company is targeting smartphone sales of 60 million units for the year, double that of 2010. In the tablet market, Samsung will complement its Galaxy Tab with a range of devices to optimally meet various user needs.

The Telecommunication Systems Business continues to strengthen its leadership in Mobile WiMAX and explore new business opportunities in Long-Term Evolution networks, cementing Samsung’s position as a total solution provider offering both infrastructure and devices.

Demand for LED TV to Get Stronger

Samsung’s Digital Media businesses, which encompass Visual Display, Digital Appliances, IT Solutions, and Digital Imaging, posted quarterly revenues of 15.97 trillion won (R 101.24 billion) for the October to December period, up 3% year-on-year. The businesses registered a loss of 0.17 trillion won (R 1.08 billion) despite improved performance in TV and IT products. For the full year 2010, the Digital Media businesses’ combined revenue totaled 57.26 trillion (R 363 billion), up 12% from 2009, with an operating profit of 0.49 trillion won (R 3.11 billion).

Samsung shipped 12.72 million flat panel TVs in the fourth quarter, a 40% jump compared with the previous quarter and a 17% on-year increase. LED TVs sales grew strongly during the fourth quarter as consumers in developed markets continued to adopt this new technology. Market demand for LED TVs is forecast to rise further, with the portion of LED models in the overall LCD segment expected to reach 51% this year.

In 2011, market demand for flat panel TVs is forecast to increase 11%, helped by strong emerging market sales. To enhance profitability, Samsung aims to increase sales of premium products such as LED, 3D and Smart TVs. It will also market region-specific models along with low-cost models in emerging markets.

In order to allow more consumers to enjoy 3D TV, Samsung will expand its 3D TV line-up beyond the premium segment, while offering improved picture quality and 3D glasses technology. Samsung’s Smart TVs will get smarter this year by adding various new video and search features, and expanding its portfolio of TV apps from the current 400 to 1,000 by the end of 2011.

Sales revenue of the Digital Appliances Business climbed 16% year-on-year due to robust sales in developed markets and some emerging markets, such as Russia. Sales are expected to continue to expand in 2011 with the launch of differentiated products, while the business will expand and improve its overseas operations.

Verbatim announces new memory cards, solid-state drives and petite flash drives

By admin, 28 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Verbatim helps consumers make all the right “connections” with its new line-up of petite flash drives, high-speed memory cards and performance-driven solid-state disc drives. The company recently launched its first “leave-in” Netbook USB Drive, 64GB Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC) memory card, ultra-slim and speedy USB 3.0 external SSD, high-capacity Store ‘n’ Go 3.0 Flash Drive and performance-enhancing 2.5” Sata II SSD.

Verbatim’s new array of flash drives and memory storage gear includes:

  1. Verbatim Netbook USB Drive – This new flash drive is only about the size of a quarter – is inserted into a netbook or other electronic device with a USB port and left in place for always-ready removable storage. The drive can be unplugged to easily exchange files, as needed. Once inserted into the USB port, the Verbatim Netbook USB Drive protrudes only 5mm, allowing it to remain in the device on an ongoing basis for convenient, long-term use. The design makes it the ideal stay-in storage solution for netbooks and notebooks as well digital picture frames and desktop PCs, where a sleek profile is desired. The new drive works with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems and is available in storage capacities of 4GB, 8GB and 16GB. A special Car Audio USB edition, specifically targeted at automotive applications is also available in a capacity of 8GB.
  2. Verbatim 64GB SDXC Memory Card – The newest format in the Secure Digital (SD) arena, the Verbatim 64GB Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC) memory card, is compatible with SDXC devices supporting both the High Speed Bus Interface (Class 10 speed rated) and the latest UHS-1 (Ultra High Speed) Bus interface, which allows transfer rates of up to 104MB/sec. Its capacity and speed support real-time high-definition video recording as well as photography. The card requires an SDXC host device or SDXC compatible reader with PC-supporting exFAT file system and is backed by Verbatim’s signature Limited Lifetime warranty.
  3. Verbatim USB 3.0 External SSD – This ultra-slim, easy-carrying 32GB to 128GB capacity external SSD with USB 3.0 interface, supports transfer rates of up to 190MB/sec when used with the USB 3.0 host system. Utilizing 8-channel I/O, the Verbatim USB 3.0 External SSD is designed for fast transfers, making it an ideal choice for data-intensive operations such as HD movie editing, photography and performance gaming, on the go. The drive also is compatible with USB 2.0/1.1 ports. The Verbatim USB 3.0 SSD includes a drawstring carry pouch for storing the device and its included USB 3.0 cable and is backed with Verbatim’s Limited Lifetime Warranty.
  4. Verbatim Store ‘n’ Go 3.0 Flash Drive – Tapping into the high performance potential of the USB 3.0 interface with the convenient form factor of a standard flash drive, the Verbatim Store ‘n’ Go 3.0 Flash Drive offers extreme speed, large capacity and plug-and-play operation. Compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, the drive also works with USB 2.0/1.1 ports. The unit supports transfer rates of up to 100MB/sec on USB 3.0 host systems. With a retracting design that protects the connector, Verbatim Store ‘n’ Go 3.0 Flash Drive is available in capacities of 8, 16, 32, and 64GB and is backed by the company’s Lifetime Warranty.
  5. Verbatim 2.5” SATA II SSD – Intended as HDD replacements for laptop PC’s, Verbatim’s 2.5” SSD provide data transfer rates up to 250MB/sec READ and 220MB/sec WRITE transforming the performance, reliability and battery life of your PC. Offered in capacities ranging from 64GB to 256GB, Verbatim 2.5” SSD provide faster system boot up, improved system responsiveness, improved battery life, and increased shock resistance over HDD equipped systems. Includes 3.5” bay adapter and power cable for optional desktop installations. Backed with a 5 year warranty, Verbatim’s 2.5” SSD offers advanced wear leveling, and error correction for reliable, long term performance. The 2.5” SSD’s will also be offered in a DIY upgrade kits, complete with ghosting software, data transfer cable, and detailed instructions to facilitate end user installation, later this year.

Citrix appoints Smart Axess Solutions as First Platinum Partner in Africa

By admin, 27 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Citrix has appointed IT solutions company Smart Axess Solutions as its first Platinum Solution Advisor in Africa. The move to upscale the partnership reflects the growing need in the South African market for dedicated service providers in the virtualisation and desktop virtualisation field.

Alex Russell, managing director, Smart Axess says: “Windows 7 migration is creating an ideal inflection point for CIOs to rethink their desktop strategies companywide. Coupled with the pressure of greater regulatory compliance whilst providing disparate IT services to a mobile workforce and virtualisation becomes a solution to manage IT more effectively and cost-efficiently.”

“As an organisation, Smart Axess has built our offering on being a niche specialist. Over the past five years we’ve grown into an experienced, knowledgeable and focused organisation with the expertise needed to deploy holistic Citrix solutions. This means helping clients select and implement their chosen strategy by effectively positioning, designing, actualising and maintaining the technologies within a dynamic work environment,” adds Russell.

“A combination of market forces has created the perfect opportunity for desktop virtualisation. Over the next 18 months desktop virtualisation is geared to become one of the few breakthrough technologies that holds as much promise for end users as it does for IT,” says Sean Wainer, country manager for Citrix Systems in South Africa.

Wainer continues: “Building a business on virtual computing solutions in this environment makes sense. Smart Axess has a highly skilled, highly focussed business proposition in terms of providing end-to-end virtualisation solutions to multiple organisations. Their appointment to Platinum partner status reflects an excellent level of Citrix expertise as well as a dedicated focus on designing, implementing and supporting Citrix desktop virtualisation, cloud and data centre solutions.”

Smart Axess will work with Citrix to educate customers and deploy Citrix virtualisation solutions in South Africa, offering services from offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The partnership will also extend to opportunities across Africa specifically in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, Madagascar and Lesotho. Support will be provided to clients in a combination of on-site and virtual services. Plans are in place to extend coverage to Nigeria and Kenya in the next two years.

“Our first mover advantage in this market is key to our growth, but our goal to be a Platinum Citrix partner was set almost two years ago, when we deepened our focus on Citrix solutions. Now the opportunity is there for Smart Axess Solutions to become the benchmark for desktop virtualisation in Africa,” concludes Russell.

Smart Axess clients include ABSA, Barclays, Discovery Health, Barloworld Logistics, Sappi Saiccor, Transnet, American Express, Orange Botswana and Dynatech Madagascar. Smart Axess also works with systems integrators in designing and deploying Citrix desktop virtualisation, cloud and data centre solutions.

Yad Vashem and Google partner for Holocaust archives

By admin, 27 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yad Vashem and Google announced a partnership that will facilitate preservation of and access to and the world’s largest historical collection on the Holocaust.

The Jerusalem-based archive is devoted to the documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust. Its photo collection will be made more widely accessible for people around the world to search and discover the photographs on its website and share their own personal stories and thoughts. This resource will be valuable to those interested in researching the Holocaust, whether to find out more about family members whose stories are collected in the centre or out of general interest.

This initiative will not only bring this information to a much wider audience worldwide, but it will allow people around the world to contribute, by identifying the stories behind photos and documents, adding their own stories and knowledge to the site.

130,000 photos from Yad Vashem’s archive are now viewable in full resolution online. This is a first step towards bringing the vast Yad Vashem archive online over time.

Google has implemented experimental optical character recognition (OCR) technology to carry out this project, making previously difficult to locate documents searchable and discoverable online.

“We’re focused on finding new and innovative ways to make the enormous amount of data in our archives, accessible and searchable to a global audience,” said  Avner Shalev, Chairman of Yad Vashem. “Google is an integral partner in our mission, as they help us to reach new audiences, including young people around the world, enabling them to be active in the discussion about the Holocaust.”

“For some time, Google has been working to bring the world’s historical and cultural heritage online. The Internet offers a great opportunity to preserve and share important materials stored in archives,” said Yossi Matias, Director of Google’s R&D centre in Israel. “We’re pleased to be able to work with the world’s foremost Holocaust archive on this project.”

Overlooked but Easily Detectable Business Process Defects Will Topple 10 Global 2000 Companies Between Now and Year-End 2014, says Gartner

By admin, 27 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Between now and year-end 2014 an intensifying focus on process-related skills, competencies and competitive differentiators will increasingly separate process excellence leaders from the laggards among the Global 2000, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner has identified some of its key predictions for business process management (BPM) in 2011 and beyond.

“A key theme in our BPM predictions for 2011 is the rising focus on making business process improvement (BPI) a core competency of the organisation — and on the capabilities and tools required to gain that competency,” said John Dixon, research director at Gartner. “Increasing process skills in the Global 2000 will further separate the companies with enlightened process experts from those that are simply competent in the basics — and will intensify the negative repercussions and devastating consequences from public exposure of process weakness.”

Mr Dixon added that the practices, tools and resources that organisations will increasingly harness to boost their process excellence include business process competency centres (BPCCs), which Gartner expects to be adopted within the majority of organisations by 2012.

“Those who embrace BPM can do things that others cannot,” said Mr Dixon. “While this is true in 2010, by 2014, BPM will clearly deliver benefits to those who have the competencies, and deny a peaceful sleep to those who do not.” Other key BPM predictions for 2011 include:

Between now and year-end 2014, overlooked but easily detectable business process defects will top 10 Global 2000 companies.

Broken business processes underpin major business debacles, snafus and embarrassments. Many detectable process defects remain undiagnosed throughout the Global 2000, even though today’s state-of-the-art BPM practices and technologies could spot many of these issues before the damage is done.

Companies should build organisational competencies for business process excellence. Invest in the skills and roles (such as business process analysts), tools and techniques (for example, business process simulation), and organisation (that is, the BPCC) that are needed to analyse and improve processes.

By 2015, context-aware computing will be used to rejuvenate at least 25 per cent of “commodity” enterprise processes that are currently perceived as “low value.”

Gartner said organisations that really understand business processes will explicitly or implicitly tier those processes in a hierarchy of value. Through the use of context-aware computing principles such as presence, historical pattern analysis and emotion detection, up to a quarter of these commodity processes can be rejuvenated, made more customer-centric and contribute even more to the organisation bottom line.

Organisations that re-examine and revise commodity processes will find opportunities where none existed before. For example, call centre emotion detection can transform stoic automated call routing into a more sophisticated customer experience while context-enriched, rote transactions (such as address changes, billing inquiries, simple information requests and check-out) can be transformed into cross-selling opportunities as new insight is gained into the “state” of the customer (for example, just married, recently divorced, moving, or joined military).

By 2014, process templates from “nontraditional application vendors” will be included in the shortlisted options for 70 per cent of application purchases.

Process templates are prebuilt business process design, execution and management artifacts that serve as solution accelerators for development, integration and BPI projects. Many factors are driving organisations to consider process templates over traditional applications including: the lack of flexibility in monolithic applications, the need for more visibility into cross-boundary processes, the desire to automate knowledge-based and unstructured processes (which haven’t been part of traditional applications), and the increasing role played by “consumerised IT,” particularly for unstructured knowledge work.

Gartner predicts that, as the application market shifts from monolithic packaged applications to next-generation composite applications, the definition of what constitutes an “application” will become more blurred, enabling many nontraditional application vendors to play in the enterprise application market.

General BPM certification will grow in value but will not be materially relevant to BPM hiring decisions before 2015.

The need for skilled and experienced personnel to lead and participate in BPM activities is clear. What is also clear is the eclectic nature of that skill set and, by definition, the individuals who possess it.

Gartner said that as BPM maturity progresses and the roles within it become more stable, it is natural for the industry to try to create a certification scheme to validate BPM skills and experience to provide recruiters with a degree of confidence that applicants have the core skills required of the job. However, until BPM certification reaches a critical mass and its value is recognised by hiring companies, organisations will have little to act on in terms of selection criteria. For individuals seeking certification, or for employers seeking to “upskill” their BPM employees, the best approach to take today is to consider general BPM certification as an individual development or continuing-education opportunity and to reassess the industry uptake for certification on a year-by-year basis.

EOH acquires Microsoft specialist company Belay

By admin, 27 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Belay, a specialist IT services and solutions provider has been acquired by EOH. The company has 200 employees and is based in Midrand.

Belay is a leading Microsoft Partner with competencies in custom application development, application lifecycle management, server platform, data management and business intelligence solutions.

Belay also provides enterprise content management solutions using world-class information management products. Belay’s enterprise content management solution extends from creating and capturing to processing and managing as well as delivery and archiving.

EOH CEO, Asher Bohbot says that “Belay is an excellent fit for EOH. It will add significant weight to our Microsoft and Enterprise Content Management offerings, adding to our existing products and services and enabling us to continue to provide end to end solutions to our customers.” Bohbot adds that “The culture and value set of Belay is a great fit to those of EOH and this is the vital ingredient to any successful venture”.

Belay CEO George Grimes says “The acquisition will provide his team with access to a much broader customer and skills base and will strengthen the company’s empowerment credentials and image in the market place. The full Belay team are very excited and proud to be part of the EOH family.”

There are excellent synergies between the two organisations, which will result in many new opportunities. Complimentary clients and industry solutions will add and increase the value of service provision for both EOH and Belay.

Belay was awarded the 2010 Microsoft Custom Development Solutions Partner of the Year and was also a 2010 finalist as Microsoft’s Data Management Solutions Partner of the Year. The acquisition is subject to Competition Board approval.

EOH is in the top three listed Business and IT solution provider in Africa and has over 2300 employees and a turnover in excess of R2bn. EOH has shown annual compound growth of around 40% and compounded annual earnings per share growth of 28% since listing on the JSE in 1998.

EOH is a Large Enterprise Level 3 BEE contributor, which ranks in the top 5% of JSE listed companies.

Enjoy a greener viewing experience courtesy of Samsung

By admin, 27 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Global warming is on the increase presenting more alarming statistics each year, placing pressure on organisations to be more environmentally conscious and eco-friendly – and rightly so!

Says Corrie Labuschagne, Product and Marketing Manager for TVs at Samsung South Africa; “As a socially responsible corporate citizen it is our duty to do business in a way that enriches and contributes to saving our planet. It is with this in mind that Samsung global have worked hard to develop world class eco-friendly technologies, ensuring that our customers enjoy our products at a minimal impact to the environment.”

“Furthermore, It is our belief that Samsung is at the forefront of eco-technology, in fact Samsung are so serious about eco-awareness technology innovation that we are committed to increasing our energy efficiency by 45% each year – and we intend to do so through the enhancement and greening of our TV design and consequent manufacturing processes,” continues Labuschagne.

Through a design that keeps the environment top of mind, Samsung’s LED TVs are manufactured in a way that makes it possible to use harmless materials in production. The new Samsung LED TVs do not require Cold Cathode Fluorescent Light (CCLF) for backlighting and as a result are completely mercury-free. Additionally, these TVs do not use lead to attach any of the necessary components making the disposal and recycling of these products safe to manage and more importantly eco compliant.

Incorporating the lasted in LED technology, Samsung TVs having incredibly low power consumption levels, “Our TVs use up to 40% less energy and almost zero stand–by power, assisting us in ensuring that our products are meeting eco-friendly requirements;” continues Labuschagne. The unique Eco Sensors measure the intensity of the room’s light and automatically calibrates the brightness of the image on the screen. In a brightly lit environment, the picture brightness grows even brighter, and in dim surroundings, brightness is reduced. Energy is therefore not wasted on a bright screen when it is not required.

The innovative Crystal Design bezel, made up of a combination of multiple colours, does not use harmful volatile organic compounds such as spray paint, reducing the amount of CO² emissions released into the atmosphere during manufacturing. Additionally, a dual injection molding process is used to create the Liquid Crystal effect, emitting no harmful chemicals. Such processes and design also ensure that our TVs are fully recyclable at the end of its life span.

“Environmental concerns will remain a top of mind priority when it comes to technology, and as consumers become ever more cognisant of this the competitive landscape will continue to increase. It is therefore crucial that electronic companies take real and measurable steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Meeting the necessary eco requirements will certainly boast well for consumer confidence and will set a precedent for other market players – which is exactly what we aim to achieve through our LED TV range, while still providing an entirely new experience for consumers – one that remains immersive, exciting and most importantly… green,” concludes Labuschagne.

Visa Introduces Enhanced Fraud Detection System in South Africa

By admin, 27 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Visa Inc. recently announced the launch of Visa Advanced Authorization and Visa Risk Manager, combined solutions for comprehensive fraud prevention, enabling card issuing financial institutions to better identify and stop fraud at the check-out before it occurs. Visa Advanced Authorization is the first-of-its-kind security technology that analyzes and scores every Visa transaction for its fraud potential based on a global view of fraud across the entire Visa network. Visa Risk Manager is a turn-key intelligent decisioning tool that enables issuers to turn that unique insight into action by creating custom strategies to decline or respond to suspicious transactions in real-time. The two solutions together provide issuers insight, control and responsiveness to dynamically address fraud.

“Systems that detect fraud in hours or even minutes can be too slow to take effective action,” said Mike Smith, Head of Risk for Visa International who is currently visiting South Africa. “In less than two seconds, Visa Advanced Authorization can analyze a transaction and provide the card-issuing financial institution a risk score with unprecedented accuracy. In turn, Visa Risk Manager allows issuers to streamline decision-making, so they can turn insight into action. This remarkable speed and clarity can allow issuers to prevent fraud from occurring in the first place, rather than just reacting to fraud after it occurs.”

Visa Advanced Authorization

Visa Advanced Authorization was first introduced in the United States in 2005 and has helped identify billions of dollars of fraud and keep fraud rates near historic low levels. Recent enhancements now available globally have dramatically improved the system’s ability to detect and prevent global electronic payments fraud.

These fraud identification capabilities are a result of ongoing enhancements to the underlying processing platform, VisaNet, that powers Visa’s Advanced Authorization. A new operating system implemented earlier this year allows more information to be analyzed at once and perform more complex processing functions in milliseconds. This provides Visa with a comprehensive view into the global payments system, leading to high levels of intelligence around spending patterns and improving the company’s ability to detect and prevent fraud in near real-time. Because VisaNet processes more than 100 billion authorization, clearing and settlement transactions globally each year, Visa has a unique capability to identify fraud on individual accounts and coordinated attacks on multiple accounts across the system.

The risk score is generated from a real-time review of multiple aspects of each transaction including the cardholder’s previous activity and similarity to other suspicious transactions across the entire Visa network. The issuer can use this valuable information to decide in real time whether or not to authorize the transaction.

As Visa continues to process more transactions, and more international issuers use Visa Advanced Authorization, the data helps further enhance the models over time and better identify potential fraud across the entire network. The system will be able to more finely target different types of fraud – even as they emerge – enabling issuers to more accurately isolate fraudulent transactions from legitimate ones.

Examples of how Visa Authorization can help identify fraud in-flight:
  1. Visa Advanced Authorization is able to detect “high speed fraud,” where criminals attempt multiple transactions within a very short time period – minutes or even seconds apart. Because Visa’s network is not only able to process thousands of transactions per second, but also instantly recall and analyze millions of pieces of information in its memory, Visa is able to identify emerging fraud trends as they happen, not hours or days later.
  2. A new cross-border model takes advantage of Visa’s unrivaled global transaction perspective to increase fraud detection for transactions occurring outside a cardholder’s home country. By being able to build “models-within-models,” Visa is able to better focus on specific transactions types, fraud types and Visa product types. The new modeling capabilities are so powerful that it allows Visa to detect more than three times the amount of fraudulent cross-border fraud than previously identified.

Visa Risk Manager

Visa Risk Manager helps financial institutions easily create, test and execute card authorization rules to help issuers decline fraudulent transactions while optimizing approval rates for legitimate transactions. New rules can be deployed within minutes, responding to fraud trends as they evolve. The ability to constantly fine-tune risk management strategies enables issuers to keep pace with dynamic fraud patterns.

The tool is flexible enough to be used as a stand-alone tool or integrated within an issuer’s existing fraud management systems, cost-efficiently providing advanced decisioning capabilities with minimal or no capital investment.

Visa Risk Manager provides a number of capabilities including:

  1. Visa Real Time Decisioning: This gives financial institutions the capability to allow Visa to act on their behalf to decline or forward to the issuer for action, high-fraud-risk transactions using predefined rules created by the issuer. This real-time service addresses potential fraud as it flows through Visa so it never needs to reach the issuer.
  2. Visa Case Manager: After transactions have gone through the issuer’s normal authorization process, the Visa Case Manager web application enables issuers to view, prioritize, and manage transactions that require further investigation.

South African financial institutions interested in obtaining more information about Visa Advanced Authorization or Visa Risk Manager for better protecting cardholders from fraud should contact their Visa representative.

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