Archive for Maj, 2011

Alexander Forbes to Implement Microsoft’s Latest Enterprise Project Management Solution

By admin, 30 maja, 2011, No Comment

Alexander Forbes to Implement Microsoft’s Latest Enterprise Project Management Solution

Financial organisations are relying on software tools to make fast decisions as market conditions change rapidly. Looking for ways to optimise management of its project and programme portfolios, Alexander Forbes Group IT has decided to deploy Microsoft EPM 2010, an end-to-end Project, Programme and Portfolio Management platform.

  • PPPM helps organisations:
  • improve visibility and control across varied portfolios
  • align spending with strategic prioritiesan
  • drive team collaboration to deliver projects on time and within budget

Head of the Alexander Forbes Group IT EPM Office, Steven Skolnic, says advancements in EPM software allows them to embrace programme and project management in a more aggressive manner than ever before. “Having an integrated and workflow enhanced system for Project and Portfolio Management is a huge advantage, especially on executive level.”

Skolnic says Alexander Forbes looked at Microsoft’s Enterprise Project Management (EPM) 2010 as the ideal solution. “EPM helps us collect and make sense of data to assess the status of programmes and projects in the business and it also helps us to stay on track with their overarching business objectives by associating projects with the corporate themes they support – like increasing market share, optimising profitability or operational effectiveness.”

Working with local project management specialists UMT Consulting SA, Alexander Forbes implemented EPM 2010 as a proof of concept to align and integrate its project management system with its programme and project delivery framework, processes and templates.

“While many organisations get work done by way of programmes and projects, we are always looking for new ways to optimise management of our project and programme portfolios. Although there are many EPM solutions available today, there are only a few on the market that contain all the functionality to support the full arena of project management, resource management, portfolio management and are capable to provide full insight in project and portfolio data,” he explains.

UMT Consulting managing director Dries van der Colff says many organisations have complex projects, happening in diverse locations, with varying demands on available resources. “And this demand for more integrated planning has resulted in the arrival of a new breed of enterprise solutions.”

“They are not only able to collaborate with distributed project teams and track resource utilisation, but they are seeing improved project communication and the ability to manage risks, issues and knowledge about projects in a centralised location. The demand by senior managers to have a holistic view of operations increases all the time,” says Van der Colff.

The architectural improvements implemented in Microsoft Office Project 2007 provided a foundation for further improvements in EPM 2010, specifically in the following investment areas: Unified Project and Portfolio Management; simple and intuitive user experience; enhanced collaboration and reporting and scalable and connected platform.

“Step-by-step implementation of functional areas such as resource capacity management, schedule management or Time and task management – once the envisioning of the near future is established in advance – can be done more easily than with previous versions,” adds Skolnic.

Project Server 2010 integrates more functionality of the Project Portfolio management processes within Project Server and SharePoint. In EPM 2007, strategic portfolio management and project management functionality were handled by separate applications. In EPM 2010 the following capabilities are included in a single, integrated platform:

  • Project Portfolio Management
  • Project Initiation & Business case development including workflows
  • Business strategy prioritisation
  • Portfolio selection, prioritisation and optimisation
  • Capacity planning
  • Single entry mode timesheet reporting
  • Easy to implement Business Intelligence based using the underlying SQL Server and SharePoint Server BI capabilities

Skolnic says Project Server 2010 provides a demand management capability to capture all proposed projects, varying from simple collections of tasks to complex projects and programmes which can be managed by governance workflows throughout their lifecycle.

Van der Colff points to Unified Project and Portfolio Management as undoubtedly one of the key improvements that is realised by Microsoft. “The portfolio management functionality of Microsoft Office Project Portfolio Server 2007 is now integrated into Project Server 2010, providing a single-server platform with end-to-end PPPM capabilities to support strategic planning and project execution.”

“We believe that the portfolio management process incorporated in EPM 2010 is really a best-in-class solution because it provides all of the following essential capabilities: centralised proposal capture and project initiation; support for business unit specific business drivers and for consensus on priorities; objective prioritisation of competing projects from multiple dimensions; portfolio optimisation and what if analysis under varying budgetary constraints; and portfolio optimisation based on resource availability and headcount scenarios.”

“The timesheet architecture changed from EPM version 2003 to 2007, allowing different processes and data collection for Timesheeting and Task Status updates. In Project Server 2010, time reporting capabilities have been further enhanced by a new Single Entry Mode to unify time and task status updates”

“Project Server 2010 provides a new approval centre for managing approvals for timesheets, project updates, and administrative approvals. The information captured in the timesheet and task management process can be shared with LOB applications that use time and progress information for processing. We believe the single entry timesheet mode and the improved user interface are great enhancements that will certainly contribute to better user acceptance in comparison with previous EPM versions.”

“Using easy to use BI tools such as Excel Services to create attractive and sophisticated Web based dashboards, offers a familiar interface for most users and creation of custom reports and dashboards can easily be realised by PMO personnel with limited technical background,” says Skolnic.

Praxis – Pentaho Fast Track BI Seminar Series Debuts in South Africa

By admin, 30 maja, 2011, No Comment

US-based Pentaho Corporation, a leader in open source business intelligence and local systems integrator Praxis Computing, are holding  the Pentaho live seminar series, Fast Track BI in Johannesburg and Cape Town,on June 1 and 3, 2011. This half-day free  seminar has helped companies around the world implement BI projects that are better, faster and more cost effective.

Open source software and technologies are strongly backed by the South African government and have been steadily growing in acceptance in both the public and private sectors  due to their efficiency and cost effectiveness. Gartner recently predicted, “Open-source business intelligence tools production deployments will grow five-fold through to 2012.” This is evident in the growth of open source BI vendors; the National Treasury being a recent example of an  organisation replacing one of their key systems with Pentaho.

Presentations at the seminar will focus on the capabilities of the Pentaho Business Intelligence Suite,  which includes data integration, dashboards, reporting and analytics. Speakers will also present some case studies of the implementation of Pentaho in large international customers, illustrating its reputation as the hottest BI platform in the open source arena.

In addition to covering the benefits of Business Intelligence and Pentaho technology, the seminar will cover :

How does the open source model work?
How does open source BI technology compare with other established proprietary software?
What are the cost differences between Pentaho and other BI products?

“We have seen an increased interest in Pentaho BI technologies, especially from data intensive organisations such as financial institutions as they see a higher return on investment from its implementation,” said Yugasen Naidoo, CEO, Praxis. “This seminar represents an opportunity for local BI technical and management staff to interact with experienced professionals around the international trends and usage of open source technology, and of course to understand the capabilities of Pentaho from the parent company.”

“We want to ensure  that companies leave the seminar with in-depth knowledge of the tools and services available to help them make better decisions,“ said Richard Baldwin, VP of Worldwide Channels. “I look forward to attending and speaking along with Sharmila Wijeyakumar at both seminars hosted by Pentaho SI Partner, Praixis.”

Betterbond now makes use of Mimecast

By admin, 30 maja, 2011, No Comment

BetterBond meets its match in email when it comes to saving time and sparing frustration

Mimecast, a supplier of cloud-based email archiving, continuity and security, today announced that BetterBond will be using the cloud-based Mimecast Unified Email Management solution to manage, archive, secure and ensure the availability of its email system to any web-enabled computer.

Email forms the core of BetterBond’s entire organization as documentation is sent and received via Fax to Email solutions. There is no room for error. “Simply put, Mimecast fitted this brief,” says Warren Perry, BetterBond IT Manager.

“We needed to ensure company email is robust and dependable. Therefore, we explored how to improve archiving, compliance, ediscovery and email security, elements we think are core to the optimum functioning of an email service,” articulates Perry.

Regulatory compliance increasingly involves email communication with industry regulators and government bodies encouraging and mandating rules concerning record management and retention. To easily manage email compliance, BetterBond needed a simple and cost-efficient email archiving & ediscovery solution.

“BetterBond needed an email archiving solution that was more cohesive and holistic in its approach towards regulatory compliance and email archiving.  Not more hardware or resources to manage and monitor the different aspects of the email chain, this is where Mimecast fits in,” says Grant Hodgkinson, Business Development Director for Mimecast South Africa.

Mimecast’s solution requires no investment in hardware, software or other capital expense – it is a single service that integrates with existing IT systems, which can be controlled by the user and can be deployed in a matter of hours. Mimecast is immediately affordable and the cost per user per year is predictable so budgets for email compliance can be accurately allocated.

Cloud Computing a top priority for SMEs across Africa – MTN Business

By admin, 30 maja, 2011, No Comment

Cloud computing offers a technology outsourcing option, via the use of the Internet that saves massive costs whilst providing the technological tools and services SMEs need to sufficiently and competitively operate. Says Johnny Aucamp, General Manager of Strategic Relations in Africa for MTN Business; “With an estimated 90% of SMEs operating across the African continent and making up large proportions of its GDP, they have traditionally been faced with technology options that are expensive and risky. Therefore there has never been a better time than right now for the uptake of cloud computing by the SME who has been searching for a much needed ‘technology break’ at affordable rates for over a decade.”

With this in mind, coupled with and taking into account the fact that cloud computing has made headways across industries globally, positively impacting organisations’ IT infrastructure – improving business performance and effectiveness – MTN Business encourages all SME owners to investigate the cloud computing option thoroughly. It is secure with short term costs and long term viability and moreso, it’s a technology that is perfectly suited to a developing continent.

It is important then for the SME to be aware of and examine the following aspects:

  • Could computing will increase business efficiencies, productivity and lower IT costs
  • Cloud Computing came in at 2nd place on Gartner’s list of top ten technology priorities for 2010 – in 2009 it was ranked in 16th place – a huge climb in just 12 months
  • A computer and some form of connectivity is required to effectively use cloud computing and geographically no infrastructure overhaul is needed
  • The Return of Investment of cloud computing can be seen quicker than through implementing new infrastructure for various IT needs in a business

According to their experience of the African market, MTN Business believe it is clear that businesses need technology for continued growth of not only the business itself, but certainly the broader economy as well. “Cloud computing offers this growth opportunity which should be taken seriously and the key to successfully implementing cloud for the SME sector in Africa, is to partner with a technology expert who understands the African market,” concludes Aucamp.

LOOPHOLD Security Distribution announces updates for Trustwave’s ModSecurity

By admin, 30 maja, 2011, No Comment

ModSecurity is a free, open source web application firewall engine for Apache that is continuously developed and managed by SpiderLabs, Trustwave’s advanced security team. This open source technology enforces security policies to web transactions, reducing the risk of a web-based attack. As an open source technology, users and developers alike contribute to the community to help maintain a sustainable solution that defends web applications.

“The proliferation of web applications used daily by organisations has made it imperative that they properly defend themselves against web-based attacks. ModSecurity allows organisations to do just this, and is continually updated to ward off the latest threats, by both SpiderLabs and the open source community,” says Martin Tassev, MD at LOOPHOLD Security Distribution.

To facilitate further development and technological enhancements, ModSecurity has moved to Apache Software License v2. This non-viral open source license will now make it easier to implement ModSecurity with existing Apache programs and custom solutions, as well as community users to contribute code updates. This new licensing affects ModSecurity v2.6 (available in SVN trunk repository) and all subsequent code bases.

Additional new capabilities currently available in v2.6 include:

• Google Safe-Browsing API Integration
• Data Modification: Ability to change data on-the-fly

IBM Unveils Software Capabilities to Exploit Big Data

By admin, 28 maja, 2011, No Comment

As companies seek to gain real-time insight from diverse types of data, IBM South Africa today unveiled its software and services capabilities offering to help clients more effectively gain competitive insight, optimise infrastructure and better manage resources to address Internet-scale data.

Ravi Bhat, Executive for Software for IBM South Africa says that according to recent IT industry analyst reports, enterprise data growth over the next five years is estimated to increase by more than 650 percent. Eighty percent of this data is expected to be unstructured.

The new analytics capabilities pioneered by IBM Research will enable chief information officers (CIOs) to construct specific, fact-based financial and business models for their IT operations. Traditionally, CIOs have had to make decisions about their IT operations without the benefit of tools that can help interpret and model data.

The capabilities are geared to IBM is helping organisations of all sizes tackle their most important business needs including:

  • Turning information into insights
  • Drive business integration and optimisation
  • Connect and collaborate
  • Enable product and service innovation
  • Optimise the impact of business infrastructures and services
  • Manage risk, compliance and security

The 2011 IBM Global CIO Study reflects these capabilities are key to business and CIO’s. The study found that  83 percent of 3,000 CIOs surveyed  felt that applying analytics and business intelligence to their IT operations is the most important element of their strategic growth plans over the next three to five years.

Over the past five years, IBM has invested more than $14 billion in 24 analytics acquisitions. Today, more than 8,000 IBM business consultants are dedicated to analytics and over 200 mathematicians are developing breakthrough algorithms inside IBM Research. IBM holds more than 22,000 active U.S. patents related to data and information management.

CNN and Nokia Announce Plans for International Partnership

By admin, 27 maja, 2011, No Comment

CNN and Nokia today announced a multi-level international collaboration where Nokia becomes a key part of CNN’s roster of mapping providers, delivering its rich mapping services to the international news network. The collaboration harnesses the companies’ strengths in global newsgathering, user-generated content, mapping technologies, and location-based services. The collaboration debuted with the use of Nokia’s 3D Maps across CNN’s platforms in its recent coverage of the British royal wedding.

“This collaboration is a great fit for us as both companies share a similar philosophy on connecting people beyond borders through the combination of compelling news content and highly sophisticated technology,” said Tony Maddox, Managing Director, CNN International. “The international scale of each of our businesses makes the scope of the collaboration particularly exciting.”

“Nokia and CNN share the belief that news is now mobile, powerfully democratic, and can immediately be shared by people around the world,” said Jerri DeVard, Chief Marketing Officer, Nokia. “We are pleased that CNN wants to use Nokia’s innovative mapping services for its international news platforms, and we are excited to work with CNN to deliver a compelling news service to users of Nokia phones.”

The collaboration also includes the CNN App for Nokia which provides mobile access to CNN’s world, business, sport, entertainment and technology reporting, as well as live streaming video.  The app also allows users to share CNN’s news via their own social channels, and participate in the reporting process with direct access to CNN’s participatory news community, iReport. The CNN App for Nokia is available in Ovi Store.

UPS a continuous power supply

By admin, 27 maja, 2011, No Comment

“The electricity crisis has severely compromised key growth sectors” this statement regarding power cuts in South Africa, was reported by Bloomberg in August 2009.  Jacques Liebenberg, AxizWorkgroup Product Manager for Eaton Power Quality, says that although we are currently experiencing fewer power cuts companies should still ensure that they have a continuous power supply solution.

By establishing an infrastructure that allows business continuation despite power cuts, power surges and blackouts as a result of lightning storms or base station malfunction, customers are able to minimise the negative effects on their operations.

An uninterruptible power system (UPS) provides instantaneous protection from power interruptions.  Liebenberg explains, “A UPS is the first line of defence against surges and power outages and is a reliable solution for businesses, factories, offices and even home use.”  A UPS is an ideal power solution to electrical equipment that on failure may result in injuries, fatalities, significant business disruption or data loss.

Ranging in size and capabilities a UPS is frequently used to maintain power to computers, data centres and telecommunication equipment.  “A UPS can provide power to a computer, an entire building or even cities.  This variety of application means that when choosing a UPS solution customers should assess the requirements of the power supply unit inside their IT equipment as this will influence UPS selection, performance and reliability,” says Liebenberg.

Many companies in South Africa have installed or investigated installing generators to combat power loss, however this route can be very costly especially for smaller operations, installation of a UPS can provide a quality solution at an affordable price, explains Liebenberg.

“By providing a continuous supply of power to all devices connected to the UPS, customers are able to avoid malfunction, damage and downtime that can result from the inevitable power cuts and surges,” concludes Liebenberg.

A geo-connected society mapped for the future

By admin, 27 maja, 2011, No Comment

From 31 May to 2 June 2011, the Conference of Southern African Surveyors (CONSAS) will be hosting AfricaGEO at the Cape Town International Convention Center (CTICC). The event will facilitate interaction, discussion and collaboration amongst industry professionals, in addition to providing an important platform to share the latest developments in surveying and geo-information (including remote sensing and aerial imagery). Participants will also explore the issue of sustainable development and ways to promote and showcase the latest products and services the industry has to offer.

On the final day of the conference, Etienne Louw, Managing Director of MapIT, will present his paper titled ‘How Accurate, Current, Enriched Data is Needed to Fuel the New Interest in LBS Applications Across Africa’ at the speaker session  ‘Mapping, cartography & visualisation’.

“The concept of navigation and convenience is changing,” explains Louw. “People now have access to Live incoming data. The innovations of how this technology will change the life of an individual are growing every day. We are seeing that people are relying more on maps to solve their needs.”

Given these trends, MapIT, Southern Africa’s leading enabler of technological mapping solutions, is concentrating on supplying accurate, current, enriched data by adding Points of Interest (POI) to the data. Louw says “One of the ways we add value to our POIs is through an initiative called “Put Your Business on the Map‟. Imagine the Global Positioning System allocating your business an accurate real world position on a digital map. Then anyone wanting to do business with you could – at the touch of a screen – navigate to your doorstep. Or, through new ‘connected device technology’, they could lure you into their business by sending you relevant ‘specials’ when they sense that you are close by.” POI needs are thus endless and Louw will discuss various examples during his presentation.

Louw joined MapIT in 2010 as Managing Director. With 30 years in the ICT industry and 25 years practical GIS experience, Louw is a professionally qualified geo-spatial application expert and has comprehensive knowledge in the use of spatial solutions. With his extensive background and experience in identifying new GIS applications and integrating these, especially to multimedia content that can be overlaid onto digital maps, Louw plans to take MapIT into a field where they can use the unique strengths of their two shareholders, TomTom, (navigational solutions provider) through Tele Atlas Africa (a world leading international mapmaker) and local media giant Avusa.

Mouser Electronics Races Ahead with Indy 500 Pole Winner Alex Tagliani

By admin, 27 maja, 2011, No Comment

Mouser Electronics, Inc., a design engineering resource and global distributor for semiconductors and electronic components, has announced it will sponsor Alex Tagliani in the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500. Tagliani is the first Canadian driver to win the Indy 500 pole. Tagliani qualified with a time of 227.472mph. “We’re trying to really bring it and to win the race,” said Tagliani. “Hopefully there’s many more results like this to come.”

“We are very pleased and excited to be sponsoring this talented driver,” says Mouser President and CEO Glenn Smith, whose personal hobby is auto racing. “At Mouser we work hard to deliver a speed-to-market advantage for our design engineers. Our partnership with Sam Schmidt Motorsports embodies that same commitment to performance.”

Mouser’s sponsorship of Alex Tagliani parallels the company’s global efforts in accelerating distribution of the world’s most technologically-advanced semiconductors and components for electronic design engineers. Mouser currently has 17 global customer service centers in North America, Europe and Asia.

The Indy 500 race will occur May 29. Indy marks the sixth pole in Tagliani’s career with the most recent in 2003 at Montreal. His last victory came in 2004 at Road America. Tagliani formed FAZZT Racing last year and completed the season as owner-driver.

Co-sponsoring Tagliani is Mouser Electronics’ parent company: TTI Inc and suppliers 3M, ebm-papst, Hammond Manufacturing, Littelfuse, Murata, and Omron Electronic Components.  Mouser was also sponsoring Dragon Racing’s Ho-Pin Tung in his attempt to become the first Chinese driver to qualify for the Indy 500 in its 100-year history. Unfortunately, Tung is out of the Indy 500 after sustaining a concussion during a crash on the third lap of his qualification run. Doctors said Tung would be okay but would not release him to make another attempt to qualify.

With its broad product line and unsurpassed customer service, Mouser caters to design engineers and buyers by delivering what’s next in advanced technologies. Mouser offers customers 17 global support locations and the latest, most technologically advanced components for their newest design projects. Mouser Electronics’ website is updated daily and searches more than 7.5 million products to locate over 1.9 million orderable part numbers available for easy online purchase. also houses an industry-first interactive catalog, data sheets, supplier-specific reference designs, application notes, technical design information, and engineering tools.

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