Archive for Maj, 2011

Software AG to Aqquire Metsimo

By admin, 31 maja, 2011, No Comment

Metismo provides an extremely flexible and multi-functional platform for the development of device independent mobile apps. It enables the design and development of applications and automatic transformation into different mobile device formats. In addition, data from mobile devices such as GPS, audio and video can be integrated within in-house business applications.

On the one hand, established business processes can react to external mobile information in real-time and on the other, they can be managed and controlled from anywhere. This integration will lead to the total “mobile office”, independent of place and time. The availability of process-driven mobile applications is a major step towards real-time “digital enterprise”.

Metismo was founded in July 2007 and has its headquarters in Hampshire in the UK. The company’s write once – run anywhere software platform for the development of mobile applications converts Java source code to native source code for different mobile devices. Business applications are generated easily that run on all common mobile operating systems. Metismo’s technology is used in units sold via Apple AppStore, Google Marketplace, Nokia Ovi, BlackBerry App World & operator portals.

“This is a key technology in enabling the fully Digital Enterprise”, said Software CTO, Wolfram Jost. “This transformation to the Digital Enterprise will be the major business challenge of the next decade. It is through real-time business information, management and control, from anywhere that they will be able to react fast enough to gain real competitive advantage.”

A perfect example of the structural changes through mobile applications is emerging “mobile payments”, forecast to reach over a trillion dollars in the next three years. The accompanying revolution in payment systems will require new business models from banks, mobile operators and retailers.

“The combination of Software AG and Metismo will provide value to customers of both companies through a unique process driven approach to mobile application and a unique rapid development approach across multiple devices”, said John Chasey, CEO at Metismo.

The acquisition of Metismo will further extend Software AG’s market leadership in Business Process Excellence and enhances the company recently announced acquisition of US software vendor Terracotta. The latter forms, with its in-memory technology, the basis of Software AG’s  cloud offerings. The portfolio enhancement, in combination with the CEP-technology for complex event processing offers a high benefit to Software AG customers.

They can re-use their existing IT applications with limits, everywhere and at the same time profit from a unique level of system performance: with this most advanced technology solution available for analyzing vast amounts of data more efficiently and cost-effectively, anywhere and from any device. This new Software AG offering provides critical information in real-time, higher transparency and better control of their business processes and operations.

“The emergence of new mobile internet technologies and devices is rapidly transforming enterprise computing,” said Matt Green, Vice President of Product Management at Software AG, responsible for group mobile strategy. “The Metismo technology solves the complex issue of cross-platform mobile access to the enterprise, providing our customers and partners with a state-of-the-art solution and launch-pad for unparalleled mobile productivity.”

Tellfree put forward alternative Communications service

By admin, 31 maja, 2011, No Comment

On 1st February 2005, South Africa’s telecommunications arena was de-regulated with the legalization of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). South Africans, like people in many other countries before, expected to see lower rates for their local and international calls, immediately. This did not happen.

The regulator licensed several new entrants for the market under the much touted ‘VANS’ license. Anyone with any interest in telecommunications, no matter how remote, wanted a slice of the telecommunication pie and so it seemed that a huge market shake up that would bring more affordable communication to South Africa was on the horizon. This did not happen.

Industry veterans and experienced people, more cautiously, expected change to happen within three years. This seemed entirely reasonable for a country as progressive as South Africa and which was, at that stage, leading the continent in the advancement of communication and access. It was hoped that liberalization would be relatively simple for a country that understood the crucial impact of communications on a growing and pressured economy? This did not happen.

It took six years, a change of telecommunication ministers, ICASA chairmen and Telkom CEOs plus the threat by parliament to regulate the retail call rates in the market before we saw any meaningful change.

Light at the end of the telecoms tunnel

The situation whereby the wholesale rate charged to terminate calls onto the networks of the incumbent operators was higher than the retail rate the very same incumbent operators provided in their shops, has now changed and prices have finally come down making true the meaning of the word ‘wholesale’. The government and regulating bodies have created an environment where market forces may prevail by enabling new entrants to play on a level playing field and begin to eat away from the incumbent networks’ market share.

The artificially high ‘wholesale’ rate also had a secondary effect on the South African market and presented an arbitrage opportunity for market players to make use of SIM farms or least-cost routers. While, for many years, this offered cheaper pricing options, it was to the severe detriment of voice quality, consumer choice and development of an efficient and competitive telecoms market in South Africa.

Again, while it is expected that the effects of the most recent changes will not be evident immediately, at least clients now hasve the means to request transparency for their communications requirements, have the choice of who to trust and have the right get out of a contract within days if not satisfied with the provider’s service.

The Sad Facts of the ‘Gold Rush’

The telecoms industry is used to taking advantage of their clients’ ignorance. How can consumers really check what a particular phone call costs and how many minutes they have actually used when the statement arrives over 30 days later once it is long forgotten? What are setup costs or kick back rates – and what is breakage? Why are you getting money from people who call you back? Has anybody told them about the premium rates they are being charged by just calling back a number allocated to a so-called ‘low-rate’ service?

The Big Networks

The big networks don’t need to reduce their rates, as long as there is no steep competition created by the action of the new operators entering the market forcing them to do so. The lower rates will only be for active and very informed users. That’s why the incumbent operators have already announced that they are not considering reductions in call rates for their average clients – and especially not for those who need it most, the prepaid customer.

There is another way

TelFree`s service is based on efficiency, convenience and transparency and aims to give clients best quality for the lowest rate.  In 2005, TelFree established a carrier grade operator platform with full SS7 connections to all the incumbent network operators in South Africa and internationally in partnership with Telekom Austria.

Matching the capability of other incumbent operator in South Africa that can carry quality voice and SMS traffic, Telfree does so over its carrier-grade network and also delivers mobile, desktop applications and unified communications solutions – bundling voice, SMS, instant messaging/chat and email, among others, for most major platforms, including desktop computers, iPhone, Nokia, Windows Mobile and soon Android.

Telecommunications make up one of the most expensive line items on a company’s balance sheet but Telfree is able to redress this with its business packages which specifically provide significant cost savings through free inter-branch calls for business branches located locally and internationally; very competitive call rates to any destination worldwide with savings of up to 50%; enhanced corporate productivity thanks to a range of communication mediums, including call, chat, SMS and email; and, ultimately, communication freedom, by being able to select the most effective way to communicate in any given situation.

Telfree´s contracts are crucially only for a 30 day period.  We believe that if our service offering is not the best for our clients at any time, then they should have the opportunity to leave us without hindrance or penalty.

by Walter Betschel, CEO of Telfree.

Coega shows support for NYSP

By admin, 31 maja, 2011, No Comment

The Coega Development Corporation’s partnership with the Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Public Works will see 409 candidates in the province provided with skills and construction training opportunities this year.

The department identified the candidates in support of the National Youth Services Programme, from the NYS database. In consultation with the CDC, the department elected to pursue skills programmes, as these are likely to produce the earliest and most visible results for youth in the Eastern Cape.

Senzeni Ndebele, CDC Marketing and Communications manager, says the question of youth unemployment and skills development – particularly in the small town and rural areas of the Eastern Cape – remains a key challenge; one that translates into unemployed and unskilled young people encountering huge stumbling blocks in finding jobs.

“In recognition of the pivotal and central role the Coega Human Capital Solutions division unit continues to play in the sphere of Human Capital Development in the Eastern Cape – and as an implementing agent that facilitates training and development – the unit was identified as a favourable choice for delivery for the project,” says Ndebele.

The Department of Roads and Public Works expressed the need for an accredited skills training programme, encompassing an average of 30 credits, to be offered to 409 candidates in the Eastern Cape in the following skills areas:

  • plumbing
  • carpentry
  • painting
  • bricklaying
  • electrical
  • pipe-laying

Youth unemployment statistics reveal that this group is being excluded from the labour force owing either to lack of job experience, or to the perception that they are less productive than experienced workers.

The Coega HCS’s mission of ensuring labour market relevance, practical and appropriate training for its project beneficiaries, has led to the unrelenting pursuit of quality in training provision.

Upon completion, all candidate results will be uploaded on the National Learner Record database, and each candidate will receive a formal statement of credit and a nationally recognised certificate of competence.

What to look for in a technology partner

By admin, 31 maja, 2011, No Comment

With new online, mobile and social innovations emerging almost every day, digital marketing initiatives must draw on best-of-breed partners for every aspect of the project. No single developer or agency can deliver all outcomes.

There have been enough project failures to prove that online, social and mobile platforms are very different animals, each requiring a different strategic outlook and skill set. Just as an aeroplane mechanic will not presume to service a military tank, a creative agency does not have technology skills. The former does creative design while the latter does development, integration and SEO.

Important, risky and tough

Finding and assembling the right partners for your digital project is the first and most important step in the entire undertaking. Its success hinges completely on getting it right.

For clients that are new to digital ventures, and thus have no knowledge of mapping their business requirements to a set of technology solutions.

The following guidelines offer help in finding the ideal partner.

  • Flexibility – Industry mergers (between digital agencies, ad agencies, development firms, SEO specialists and marketing consultancies) have sought to gather all the right skills to handle digital projects, but this restricts clients to a pre-defined range of partners. Choose one best-of-breed partner to handle each competency.
  • Strong project management – large, complex projects draw on the skills of multiple suppliers. On its own, the client does not have the specialist project understanding to undertake effective vendor management. Pick a partner with proven programme management credentials.
  • Partners versus suppliers – while a supplier merely fulfils a request, a partner takes an active interest in understanding the client’s business and strategic objectives and gives guidance in the formulation of solutions. Partners invest regular ‘face time’ to nurture the relationship while providers sell only. Partners give value while suppliers offer a commodity. And partners have an intimate understanding of the market, and the clients business, while a supplier takes instruction. Find a partner that will invest resources into understanding your business.
  • Shared risk, shared reward – True partnerships involve reciprocated investments to sustain a preferential arrangement. Dependencies and risks are thus created, but to off-set this, rewards are shared. Find a partner that shares your ethos and in which you care to invest.
  • Applicability – every man and his dog can claim to be able to build a database solution with an integrated Web frontend, but a portfolio of case studies can be quite revealing. Determine if the developer has enough of the right experience.
  • Scale – one example of the right kind of experience is scale. A website with a catalogue of 50 products is not the same as one with a million. Specify scale.
  • Innovation – successful creative campaigns may be technologically solid but still lack creative spark. Team up with market movers rather than suppliers who copy others’ successes.
  • Entrenchment – some developers are good with solving problems, others think ahead to what problems and opportunities may arise down the line. Find a provider that gets repeat business.
  • Humility – It’s a bad sign if the provider won’t look beyond itself for solutions that better serve the client’s requirements, or fosters a God complex about what’s good for the client’s business. Find a partner who will take time to get to know your business.
  • Resources – What capabilities and capacity does the provider bring to the party? Enquire about the skills and size of the development team.

Don’t gamble

Finding the right partner for your digital venture need not be a gamble. Look beyond skills and solutions and also ask about scale, repeat business, industry expertise and knowledge about the specific digital platform and campaign type you are after. There’s a lot you can learn from asking the right questions.

By Simon Bestbier, e-business manager for Realmdigital

Eugene Kaspersky Named Business Person of the Year

By admin, 31 maja, 2011, No Comment

Eugene Kaspersky named business person of the year by the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia

Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer of secure content and threat management solutions, is pleased to announce that Eugene Kaspersky, the company’s CEO and co-founder, was named Business Person of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia.

“It is a great honour for me to receive such an important award,” commented Eugene Kaspersky. “We greatly appreciate our partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia. We became members in 2009 and since that time have been working together very successfully. I have every confidence that Kaspersky Lab will go on to even greater success in the future as we at the company know that it is essential to continue working hard to provide our customers with the very latest and most innovative IT security technologies.”

The official 17th awards ceremony took place earlier in May in Moscow and brought together more than 200 business executives, politicians and entrepreneurs. Among the guests were John Beyrle, Vladimir Molchanov, Boris Titov, Alexey German and many other celebrities.

The awards covered six categories: Company of the Year, Business Person of the Year, Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award, Friend of the Chamber, Committee Co-Chair of the Year and the AmCham Chairman’s Award. The winners were decided by the Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce, who named Eugene Kaspersky Business Person of the Year in recognition of his outstanding achievements.

EOH eyes Africa

By admin, 31 maja, 2011, No Comment

Asher Bohbot, CEO of IT service provider, EOH says that across the continent, the company is seeing African companies asking questions and making enquiries about IT and in particular, cloud technology.

“There have been many changes in the African IT landscape recently with the increase in fibre optic cable coming to Africa. We still face significant challenges regarding last mile connectivity to enable African businesses to have sufficient connectivity; however, we anticipate that within the next 18 months these challenges of connectivity in Africa will have been reduced dramatically”, explains Bohbot.

He says that in the African market, EOH has a two-pronged strategy. “Initially we are looking at configuring, developing and delivering on premises applications or private cloud applications that would reside in the African country itself. However, eventually we will deliver applications directly out of the cloud into African countries. For this to become a reality we would need Africa’s inland connectivity capacity to increase to more than ADSL speeds,” he says.

“This strategy to develop and deliver applications into Africa via the internet would dramatically reduce the need to send a large team of developers into Africa for long periods of time. It would reduce the travelling and time away from home for the IT consultant. Furthermore it will decrease the costs of flights and accommodation for the client company. We will need a small team deployed in the African country itself, and the rest of the development can be done remotely from South Africa,” says Bohbot.

EOH has approximately eight percent of the local managed service market.  Bohbot says EOH is well positioned with its broad service offering and is confident its foray into cloud computing will continue to grow:  “Cloud computing is an evolution and process of outsourcing and EOH has been operating in this space for more than a decade.  It extends and broadens our current service offering, which has been an important part of our success to date.”

Mobile workforce increases risk of loss of critical company data

By admin, 31 maja, 2011, No Comment

An increasingly mobile workforce presents a number of risks for organisations regarding the loss or theft of sensitive company information, highlighting the importance for businesses to incorporate effective data protection and storage solutions.

A study conducted by Dell and Ponemon Institute found that 53% of mobile professionals carry confidential company information on their laptops and, of those, 65% don’t take steps to protect the data.

According to Bob Eedes, General Manager of Information Solutions at Metrofile, the JSE listed information and records storage management business, businesses owners need to realise that their critical and often sensitive company information is no longer stored in a secure vault but is travelling with their employees where ever they go. “Technical advancements have made it even easier for unauthorised parties to access encrypted data from stolen or lost laptops and mobile devices.”

Eedes adds that negligence of employees forgetting to backup their data to the company server or revealing their passwords to unauthorised personnel is also an increasing problem. “In the event of a laptop being lost or stolen employees often forget what sensitive information was stored on the device, resulting in a lack of control of the location of confidential company information.”

Businesses face a number of consequences when mobile devices containing company information is lost or stolen, says Eedes. “Not only can the company suffer a loss of corporate reputation and intellectual property but there are the financial costs of replacing the device itself and operational expenses of getting the device functional as well as repopulating and recovering the data.”

Eedes advises that some of the most common manners in which critical company data is lost include, among others, the loss or theft of the physical device, power failures, faulty hardware, viruses and natural disasters. “If effective backup systems are not implemented, reconstituting the data can be time consuming and labour intensive, if possible at all.”

According to Eedes the best way to mitigate the risk of loss of sensitive company information is to enforce a strict corporate policy to govern access and rules regarding data use. “Enforce a backup strategy that is easy for employees to understand and use.”

Eedes says smaller businesses should implement a backup strategy that incorporates automated and intelligent backups that dictate what files to back up when. “Mobility backup systems backup employees’ desktop and laptop data to an online data centre which is secure at all times.”

“Larger organisations should look at enterprise solutions that backup data directly to the company’s server and mirror the data to a reputable data protection business,” says Eedes.

The growing trend of a mobile workforce coupled with the increase in digital company data has made an effective data protection and backup system critical to organisational survival and should be a part of every businesses’ risk management strategy, concluded Eedes.

UC can benefit SMEs too, if solutions eliminate architectural complexity

By admin, 31 maja, 2011, No Comment

Unified communications  is expereiencing accelerating adoption in the enterprise, based on its inherent efficiencies, cost savings and business process improvements. Partly thanks to the rise of tablet PCs and smartphones, it is one of the great success stories of ICT, and many vendors have come to the party with excellent functionality.

Mostly passes SMEs by

But the benefits of UC have mostly been denied by small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The underlying architectural complexity of many platforms has driven the cost of solutions up and frustrated easy adoption and operation.

What few in the market seem to know, and not many vendors care to mention, is that UC can benefit organisations of all sizes, if architectural complexity is eliminated.

There are numerous documented cases of companies saving 15% to 30% by aggressively cutting complexity – Motorola’s ‘War on Complexity’, for example, has saved the company $2.6 billion in two years.

How UC can benefit SMEs

It’s evident, therefore, that complexity is a major destroyer of value, and SMEs in particular stand to gain from simply-architected UC solutions. Some vendors are ahead of the curve in that respect, and they offer the following take on SME-friendly UC.

What you want

Companies of all sizes want the following from UC, but the benefits take on particular significance with SMEs:

•    Reliability (SMEs are particularly dependent on fail-safe solutions);
•    Ease of use, training, deployment and management (to suit SMEs’ modest skills base);
•    Low TCO (to suit SME budgets);
•    Full-featured functionality as the standard (to let SMEs run with the big dogs); and
•    Scalability – upwards, outwards and downwards (to leave room for growth without being over-engineered).

Simplified architectures address all these issues.

•    Cutting-edge appliance-based, distributed UC solution architectures require fewer servers, presenting fewer possible points of failure.
•    A single-image deployment configuration and a hybrid on-premise / cloud delivery model provides further redundancy, assuring 99.999% uptime.
•    Low ongoing maintenance and support costs, coupled with an IP-based reduction in network and long-distance call charges, lower total cost of ownership.
•    Simplicity (legacy-free builds, all-in-one application functionality and an all-IP blueprint) cuts through the clutter of having to learn, manage and use multiple interfaces and platforms.

User-centric UC

The abovementioned full-featured UC encompasses voice, unified messaging, presence, video, conferencing, Web collaboration, mobility, office apps integration, and business process integration. All of this may seem too high to come by for an SME, but uptake of all these features is an increasing reality among midrange, and even smaller companies, thanks to the affordability of some solutions – in turn a function of their simplicity.

Another aspect of user-centric UC is its anywhere-access. Whether at home, on the go, at a hotel, airport or restaurant, SMEs can take the cost out of business and be more responsive to customers by being able to communicate and collaborate on their choice of device, with multiple case-based call handling options and presence management.

Or you could go back to struggling…

The alternative is a life with multiple, un-integrated communication and collaboration channels.

Consider how many outbound calls you make in a day, how few of these are answered, how long it takes for them to be answered and the time your people spend looking for other numbers or leaving voicemails.

Now consider the number of in-bound calls your staff field every day, including unsolicited calls, missed calls and call transfers. Multiply this by your number of employees, and you’ll understand that you are far better off with UC and its productivity, accessibility and control.

Architecture is central to UC

Architecture is vital to ensuring the benefits of UC are accessible to companies of all sizes. Its effects filter through to every feature and benefit, drawback and consequence of UC.

Customers must choose a vendor with demonstrable simplicity of architecture, low TCO, standard full-featured functionality and free choice between a full range of devices.

Aging technology potentially a risk to businesses

By admin, 30 maja, 2011, No Comment

New data suggests that organisations are extending the life of their assest despite the risk attached.

The total percentage of network devices which have passed last-day-of-support has dropped dramatically from 31% in 2009 to 9% in 2010. However, the total amount of technology late in the obsolescence phase remains high, with the percentage of devices in late stage end-of-life sitting at a substantial 47%.  This could be evidence that more organisations are choosing to prolong assets up to the the highest risk lifecycle stage.

That’s according to data in the Network Barometer Report 2011 published today by Dimension Data. The Report covers aggregate data compiled from 270 Technology Lifecycle Management Assessments conducted worldwide in 2010 by the Group for organisations of all sizes across all industry sectors.   It reviews the networks’ readiness to support business by evaluating the configuration variance from best practices, potential security vulnerabilities, and end-of-life status of those network devices.

Raoul Tecala, Dimension Data’s global Business Development Director, Network Integration says, “While some organisations appear to be wising up to the financial benefits of intelligently ‘sweating’ network assets, if the cost savings aren’t weighed against the risks, they could also be exposing themselves to serious business continuity issues.

“Sweating assets is a term applied to extending or maximising the useful life of an existing technology asset, and thereby avoiding the need to replace or update it until absolutely necessary,” explains Tecala.

While there’s no definitive way of telling whether the drop in the percentage of devices beyond LDoS means that organisations are choosing to push certain assets further into their lifecycle, the results suggests that clients are more aware of their network assets and are refreshing devices where the risk is highest.  Tecala says the assertion that older devices are at higher risk of security breaches is acknowledged by standards and compliance bodies.

Didata chart

Neil Campbell, Dimension Data’s global General Manager, Security says, “If organisations detect a critical asset past end-of-software maintenance, they’re not likely to have access to the latest vendor-supplied security patches. And failing to apply patches would be a direct violation of many compliance standards, including the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.”

“The critical question is whether organisations know about their aging assets. Previous research not related to the Network Barometer Report that was conducted by Dimension Data found that clients were unaware of as much as 25% of their networking devices,” adds Tecala.

“Organisations need to know where it is, what it does, and what the implications are when it breaks and becomes unsupportable.  In order to achieve this, visibility into the lifecycle status of their assets so that their age and viability can be properly assessed is critical.

“Not only do IT departments leave themselves exposed to crisis management spend in the event of a failure on the network but, from a strategic perspective, they may well find that older devices don’t support new applications and solution investments.”

Other findings in the Report include:

  • Over 73% of corporate network devices analysed by Dimension Data during 2010 were carrying at least one known security vulnerability. This is almost double the 38% recorded in 2009
  • a single high-risk vulnerability – PSIRT 109444 – which was identified by Cisco in September 2009, was found in a 66% of all devices
  • TLM Assessment results showed that if PSIRT 109444 was taken out of the equation, organisations had patched fairly well: the next four vulnerabilities were found in less than 20% of all devices


Housing: the building blocks of a community

By admin, 30 maja, 2011, No Comment

According to Habitat for Humanity South Africa, a decent home is not merely bricks and mortar. A home is instrumental in breaking the cycle of poverty from one generation to the next by providing families with a safe, healthy environment in which to live and study, as well as providing a viable investment for the future.

But more than that, in the same way that individual bricks form the basis of houses, houses form the foundation of a community. Habitat for Humanity SA’s approach to contributing to housing in South Africa also aims to build communities around the homes they help construct.

“The unique feature of HFHSA is that we are invited to partner with community groups to help them meet a housing need that they have identified,” said Adrienne Burke, Habitat for Humanity SA’s National Marketing and Communications Officer. “Beneficiaries are selected based on their financial need and their willingness to partner with the community and HFHSA.  In addition, a lengthy education and training process begins which is crucial to the development of the homeowners.”

HFHSA takes beneficiaries through a series of workshops covering areas such as budgeting, home maintenance and financial planning for the future which includes health and succession planning.
It is also a requirement that all beneficiaries contribute 60 hours of “sweat equity” – physically working on other homeowner’s houses – before qualifying for their own house. “Their sweat is in the walls of the homes whether they live there or not,” said Burke.

Further, when it comes to building the houses, HFHSA employs the artisans from the local community on site wherever possible. If the required skills don’t exist, the organisation provides on-site training for members of the community to equip them with the skills to find future employment or possibly start their own business.

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