Archive for Czerwiec, 2011

Use HR and Payroll to detect “Phantom Employee” Fraud

By admin, 14 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

The software also enables companies to correctly and accurately deal with disciplinary procedures, employee records and contracts, supply of IRP5 tax certificates and other legal documentation.

“Theft and fraud by existing employees creating phantom employees is more common than many companies think,” says Grant Lloyd, managing director of Softline Pastel Payroll, part of the Softline Group and Sage Group plc.

“There have to be checks and balances in place, including month-on-month salary analysis and salary variance checks. Companies that don’t use payroll and HR software to conduct such checks could easily find that they have been diminishing their profit by paying phantom employees that simply don’t exist.”

One way to prevent fraud through phantom employees is to conduct regular detailed checks and without payroll and HR software the phantom fraud method is much more difficult to detect and control.

Lloyd recommends that SME companies, whose existence can be severely threatened by theft and salary fraud, need to establish checks and balances as a first step. A month-on-month analysis of the payroll must be conducted, including a check of all employee names of the current month against the previous month, confirming that new employees do actually exist and picking up discrepancies in amounts paid.

“It is also essential to check the banking details of all employees because if two employees have the same bank and account numbers it is highly likely it’s because one of them is a phantom employee.”

Another check point is to ensure that the employment contracts and new employee forms actually correlate. Often one person is responsible for the capture of personnel details, the electronic funds transfer (EFT) file and the release process for the salary payment. Even with reviews and the approval of senior management, this is an area that can be exploited. Payroll and HR software can make the checks and balances process quicker, easier, more accurate and more effective.

“Beware if there is one employee who has total control of the process and particularly so if that person never takes leave, is never ill and is invariably the first to arrive at work and the last to leave. It is quite likely that this person is trying to ensure that no other employee or manager has an opportunity to enter his or her space and discover that all is not what it is supposed to be,” says Lloyd.

With automated payroll and HR software systems in place management will find it easier to implement appropriate checks and balances. Lloyd points out that with a manual system such checks and balances are not only tedious but costly in so far as they tie up employees who could be spending their time on more profitable tasks.

The software ensures that there is rapid access to the payroll masterfile and variance reporting functionality will immediately flag discrepancies in employee names, number of employees, banking details, salaries and payments which are indications that a full audit should be undertaken.

Lloyd says payroll and HR software also ensures that talented, honest, dedicated and hardworking employees are motivated and well managed. “In today’s frenetic, high technology working environment, payroll and HR software are an essential and no longer a nice to have.”

Gartner Highlights Key Elements of Effective IT Governance

By admin, 14 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

“Good governance is about control while great governance is about guidance and competitive advantage,” said Tina Nunno, vice president distinguished analyst at Gartner. “One of the most important functions of governance is to provide controls that prevent chaotic or reckless behaviour on the part of the organisation and its people. Organisations with good IT governance enjoy benefits such as increased business value of IT-related assets. Strongly governed organisations receive 20 per cent higher return on assets.”

However, controls alone do not guarantee competitive advantage, particularly if they stifle the ability to innovate. Leading CIOs incorporate innovation and competitive advantage into their governance systems. “CIOs with great governance create competitive advantage by embracing emerging technologies, innovation and, most important, the concept of calculated risk,” said Ms Nunno.

Ms Nunno added: “As governance becomes more mature, it becomes less bureaucratic.” Leading organisations that do governance well, have fewer governance mechanisms and lighter processes because they have learned to work together well and have a shared understanding of the business priorities. Less mature organisations need more controls to create focus and deliver business results.

Gartner analysts said that to deliver successful governance CIOs need to manage two dimensions of governance. First, governance is a decision-making framework that reflects the organisation’s goals and priorities, and how the organisation intends to achieve them. Second, governance processes, covers the structures and methods the organisation uses to execute and institutionalise the governance framework. In essence, the framework is what the organization has decided, while the process is how the organisation will institutionalise those decisions.

“If an effective governance framework is implemented effectively it reduces conflict between stakeholders, finance can easily track organisation spending against framework priority categories, business performance significantly improves and the organisation reacts better to competitive threats,” said Ms Nunno.

Among the critical standing governance success factors is ensuring that participants occupy optimal roles. The governance role most appropriate for individuals derives from their position in the organisation and specific skill set. This approach helps CIOs match stakeholders to their optimal organisation roles. “Governance is a team sport. Just as an athletic team cannot function unless players master their positions, governance falters when individuals do not fit their roles,” said Ms Nunno.

CIOs also need to bear in mind that the ability to fill a recommended role varies with an individual’s skills, interests and the enterprise environment, with some people performing adequately and others doing much better. If current roles do not match the tool’s recommendations but governance still delivers expected benefits, CIOs should not make any adjustments – because outcomes always come first.

In addition, integrated communication is important to governance decision input and decision execution. However, failing to communicate is a common governance pitfall. Governance bodies struggle with decision making when they lack appropriate information. Stakeholders, in turn, struggle to comply with poorly communicated decisions. To facilitate and communicate decisions more effectively, governance communications should use the same business outcome metrics, prioritisation scoring systems and milestone metrics throughout a project’s life cycle. CIOs also need to inventory their communication tools when they notice lack of compliance with governance decisions or excessive revisiting of established decisions.

“The highest levels of governance maturity produce the most value,” said Ms Nunno. “While most organisations limit governance to gaining control and eliminating bad risks, the highest-performing organisations also use it to take good risks and gain competitive advantage.”

The Emergence of Clustered NAS Systems and the Future of Data Storage

By admin, 14 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

The ongoing proliferation of information and the need to digitally catalogue all of it has resulted in a massive glut of data. The challenge for users is to figure out how they can best store and managethis huge amount of data.

Statistics from Gartner show that in 2008, for the first time, the amount of file-based storage system capacity shipped surpassed block-based storage system capacity shipped. Based on this trend, it is estimated that file-based storage system capacity will account for 70 percent of total storage capacity by 2012. Additionally, IDC predicted that in view of the rapid growth of file-based unstructured data, 80 percent of the global storage market’s total shipments will be covered by file-level data by 2012.

Traditional NAS systems
Traditional network attached storage (NAS) systems are now encountering a bottleneck in the face of the creation of these massive amounts of data. This bottleneck can be attributed to three main disadvantages that hinder traditional NAS systems.

First is low controller utilisation and space utilisation. In traditional NAS equipment, each NAS controller has its own separate storagespace which results in the low utilisation rate of the controller since data cannot be shared between controllers.

The performance of a single NAS controller is limited in scope and there exists a hot application access bottleneck. For instance, in scenarios such as high-performance computing, a computing task can only be undertaken by one NAS controller. Other controllers cannot share the workload, leading to wasted resources and computing inefficiencies.

The second disadvantage is low scalability. Traditional NAS systems are single/dual controller architectures, which, by design, have limited scalability. Performance of traditional NAS systems can only be enhanced byactually increasing sets of equipment. However, rather ironically, storage resources cannot be shared between different sets of equipment, so this method actually increases the management complexity of data since it creates disparate data islands.

The third disadvantage is management complexity and high maintenance cost. An increasing amount of users and enterprises own dozens or even hundreds of file servers or NAS devices. With each device independent from one other, this situation creates a scattered array of devices which results in increased management complexity and higher maintenance costs.

The emergence of clustered NAS systems
With an increasing amount of user data, IT systems have become more complex. Given this situation, clustered NAS systems have gained popularity among users over the use of traditional NAS devices. Huawei Symantec, for instance, offers the N8500, a high-end clustered NAS product that was recently recognised as having achieved the industry’s highest results on the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation’s (SPEC) SPECsfs2008 test.

Clustered NAS systems offer users an array of advantages over traditional NAS systems. The first advantage is that clustered NAS systems allow for higher controller utilisation and space utilisation. All NAS controllers of a clustered NAS system have back-end storage space where data can be fully shared. With all storage space integrated into a larger resource pool whereresources can be allocated based on actual needs, space utilisation is thereby enhanced. In addition, all NAS controllers can work on the same task, dramatically increasing the utilisation of each controller.

Clustered NAS systems have absolute advantages, especially for high-bandwidth applications such as video on demand. Access to videos that are in high demand can be achieved through multiple controllers, taking advantage of the system’s ability to engage in enhanced parallel processing andeliminating bottlenecks created through the ongoing access of high-demand data.

The second advantage is that clustered NAS systems can achieve higher degrees of scalability. For instance, clustered NAS systems can be extended from two online dimensions by extending the NAS controller to meet the growing demand for performance or by extending the storage capacity to meet the data storage space requirement. In a situation that requires large-capacity backup, expansion of the back-end storage unit would allow a user to meet the growing demand for capacity.

Additionally, in high-performance scenarios, the expansion of NAS controller node would enhance the processing capacity necessary to allow for concurrent user access. A two-dimensional expansion enables the whole system to be more flexible and more adaptable.

Finally, clustered NAS systems lay the groundwork for simplified system management as well as for reduced operating costs. In light of the high performance and scalability of clustered NAS systems, a single system can easily provide a GB/s of bandwidth and a PB or more of storage capacity. Given these high storage and transfer rates, a single easily managed and maintained set of equipment is sufficient to meet any user’s data storage needs, no matter how extensive.

Huawei Symantec’s N8500 combines the aforementioned advantages with additional benefits such as a faster rate of response, easy storage expandability to cater to surges in business growth, and a simplified IT structure due to the ability of the N8500 to meet the storage needs of an entire IT system.

In developing the N8500, Huawei Symantec worked with certain universal parameters in mind that would be ideal in any clustered NAS system. Several important features were included in the development process including file-based automated tiered storage, snapshots, data replication, and file data. Understanding that users will be drawn from a wide range of industries including telecommunications, digital media, high-performance computing, government, and education, the N8500 was developed with a comprehensive feature set, high performance, scalability and efficient data management.

By Shabir Satar, product manager, Huawei Symantec

Acceleration chosen as Adobe Omniture’s services partner for EMEA

By admin, 14 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

The Adobe Omniture Partner Summit was held in London in the UK recently. The prize was awarded in recognition of Acceleration’s success in helping  clients to maximise their investments in Adobe Omniture’s Web analytics software.

Acceleration provides support and services for Adobe Omniture solutions in multiple regions across Middle East, Africa and Europe. From its original  base in South Africa, Acceleration has expanded services into North and South America, the UK, Europe and the Middle East. Many of its services are provided from  its Cape Town office, meaning that the award is a strong endorsement of South African skills.

Says Richard Mullions, director at Acceleration: “We are proud to receive this recognition from Adobe. We’d also like to thank all the customers who trusted us in handling their web analytics needs. Acceleration hopes to keep working closely with Adobe for many years to come as we jointly help customers to optimise their online marketing spending and ensure an innovative edge in the industry.”

Taking an integrated business management solution approach to meeting midsized business needs

By admin, 14 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

Today’s medium-sized businesses are faced with a conundrum of sorts; retaining the very characteristics that led to their success – speed, flexibility and strong and personal customer relations – while continuing to grow.

The reality is while a business’ initial ICT infrastructure was more than adequate to set it on the path of success it is now unable to cope with more complex daily tasks demanded by more users and customers.

Furthermore, these systems are often haphazardly integrated with new solutions, with ICT managers hoping to plug some holes while the infrastructure tethers on the brink of a meltdown.

An ineffective technology infrastructure can become a nightmare of sorts and realistically a serious impediment to remaining competitive and agile.
Responsiveness and timely decision making can be hindered by systems that cannot scale to handle the increasing number of transactions generated by a growing customer base.

Moreover, disjointed and non-integrated systems can hamper visibility, impacting business operations, forecasting and planning.

Indeed, it becomes a real challenge to achieve a unified company mission when each operation or branch office is using an independent legacy system that provides little consolidated visibility into the sharing of business processes – transcending individual operations.

The solution

The good news is the above are not unique but pretty much issues most growing companies have to deal with today.  The solution clearly lies in the ability to establish a single, integrated business management solution – an all-in-one solution – that will enable you to gain the most from your growing business while knowing your system is consolidating and meeting the needs of sales, finance, accounting, HR and logistics.

Moreover, this integrated business solution must have the ability to readily adapt to market changes as well as the flexibility to expand to business-driven changes such as growth, reorganisation and general operational evolution.

Fortunately, as the ICT marketplace continues to evolve and mature so does its service offerings.  And today we have integrated business management solutions or all-in-ones that do meet the integrated, business end-to-end needs of midsized companies.

Integrated business management solutions literally manage everything – from financials, HR, procurement, inventory, development, customer services to marketing.

The pillars

Today’s midsized all-in-one solutions offer an integrated software solution that contains the following pillars:

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) that manages financials, accounting, human resources, operations and corporate services • Customer Relationship Management  (CRM) which efficiently conducts all aspects of customer relationships – from marketing to sales to service • Business Intelligence (BI) that enables the organisation to gain insight and improve decision-making with tools for financial and operational reporting and analysis.
Best practices – industry-specific configuration, methodologies and business processes based vendors and their partners’ decades of experience in countries and resultant market verticals across the globe.

A technology platform that enables the business to lay a solid foundation, quickly and cost-effectively from which to grow and adapt to change in business needs.

Service-Orientated Architecture into the mix An integrated business management solution also enables organisations to adopt a flexible Service-Orientated Architecture (SOA)  strategy easily as the platform is already unified and integrated.

Indeed, SOA and all-in-one solutions go hand-in-hand as the first is effectively an open architecture that allows organisations to group functionality around business processes and package it as interoperable services.

These interoperable services act as interchangeable process building blocks to deliver specific services to applications. This allows you to extend business processes, for example, from ordering to inventory to accounting – without having to change underlying applications.

Real-world benefits
So what are the real and tangible benefits you will gain from going the integrated business management solution or all-in-one route?  What lies at the very heart of this industry movement that is providing a quick and relatively pain-free solution to budding business across the globe including South Africa?

  1. Simplicity – The pretested, preconfigured software is configured to select hardware, which simplifies the buying process.
  2. Time savings – With preinstalled it takes less time to get up and running, delivering rapid time-to-value.
  3. Affordability – Your organisation benefits from lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)based on complete, pretested software.
  4. Best practices – you benefit from a best practices package for your industry, which includes templates and methodologies for rapid implementation, as well as documentation and preconfigured support for business process scenarios.

By André Harrington, Manager Global Delivery Unit SAP, at T-Systems in South Africa.

Vodafone foundation launches EU smart accessibility awards

By admin, 14 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

In the week of the first EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, Vodafone Foundation is launching the Smart Accessibility Awards. This is a new competition to promote the development of IT applications designed to improve the lives of people with disabilities and older people to help them become more actively involved in society.

The programme is supported and co-organized by AGE Platform Europe, the European network of around 160 organisations of and for people aged 50+, and the European Disability Forum, the NGO that represents the interests of 80 million Europeans with disabilities.

Launched in Brussels, the competition will award the best smartphone application across four different categories as follows:

  • Social participation: This refers to applications which help users to participate actively in today’s society and benefit from the facilities that the new technologies can offer, whatever their age, disability and/or capacity (E.g. use the web and social media through mobile devices, contact people using mobile devices to the same extent as everyone, etc).
  • Independent living: This refers to applications which help users to be more autonomous and perform daily tasks independently (E.g. using domestic appliances such as washing machines or refrigerators, opening doors safely, etc).
  • Mobility: This refers to applications which enable users to move around more freely and safely using the whole range of transport modes. It can also refer to the use of mobile devices to be guided in unknown environments (e.g. using GPS option, etc).Wellbeing: This refers to applications which improve the users’ health and  as well as overall feeling of wellbeing.

The total prize fund of the €200k will be split equally between the four winners.  The competition is open from 14 June 2011 to 15 October 2011.  All entries should be submitted to http://developer.vodafone.com/smartaccess2011/

All qualifying entries will be evaluated in November by a jury, consisting of representatives from AGE Platform Europe, European Disability Forum and Vodafone Foundation. Twelve finalists will be selected and requested to present their application before the final jury in Brussels in early December at a live final, where the four overall winners will be chosen.

Vodafone Foundation Director, Andrew Dunnett said “The Vodafone Foundation is keen to help as many people as possible benefit from new technologies. The Smart Accessibility Awards will help developers create apps that can really make a difference to people’s lives – we are thrilled to be able to support such an important initiative.”

Anne-Sophie Parent, AGE Platform Europe Secretary General, said “We are pleased to be involved in a project that supports our efforts towards building a more inclusive society.  Digital inclusion is key to ensuring as many people as possible remain actively involved in their communities and we should make sure every citizen is empowered to do so, whatever their age or capacities. We hope this competition will help reach that goal and also contribute to the ‘European Year 2012 for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations’ where the objective is to increase older people’s active participation in society and promote independent living in old age. ”

HP ProBook 6360b and 6460b now available from DCC

By admin, 14 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

The HP ProBook 6360b and Probook 6460b are described as a Lightweight, compact and portable with a rugged design that is built to last and the specifications you need to get the job done  that is replacing the ProBook 6450b, available now from distributors Drive Control Corporation.

The ProBook 6360b represents a new form factor in the ProBook range, a business oriented machine that features a 13.3″ HD anti-glare LED screen and a compact build that makes it the ideal machine for the mobile professional looking for top of the line specifications in a highly portable package.

“Built with performance in mind, the 6360b features the latest second generation Core i architecture,” says Deon Botha, HP PSG Business Unit Manager at DCC. “This new technology delivers up to 17% faster performance and the integrated graphics doubles the performance of its predecessor, this allows business enhanced productivity without incurring more cost. An Energy Star rating certifies the machine as environmentally friendly which lends to social responsibility while an integrated 720p HD Webcam allows for crystal clear video conference quality which goes a long way to reducing travel costs.”

The HP ProBook 6360b comes standard with 4GB DDR3 RAM with a 320GB or 500GB hard drive depending on model. The preinstalled operating system is Windows 64-bit, however with in box software it is possible to downgrade to a 32-bit system should this be required to meet business needs. The machine ships standard with Office 2010 Starter Edition for productivity out of the box and Wireless, Bluetooth and 3G Mobility are available as connectivity options on select models.

“Optional accessories on the HP ProBook 6360b include complete docking solutions for enhanced in-office and home-office use, as well as connectors to attach external monitors for easier deskbound working. This machine is ideally suited to mobile workers in corporate and government as well as medium to large businesses, offering mobility and ruggedness with specs and options to suit the office environment,” Botha adds.

The ProBook 6460b offers the same build quality and design along with a 14″ anti-glare LED screen and a magnesium-reinforced chassis as well as a spill resistant keyboard. This larger model offers a full sized keyboard for easier typing along with all of the docking and accessories of the 6360b. It also incorporates second generation Intel Core I processor architecture, 2GB and 4GB RAM, 320GB and 500GB hard drives, standard Windows 7 64-bit downgradeable to 32-bit and an Energy Star certification. The HP ProBook 64650b platform is only available to HP Preferred and Gold Partners on special bid directly from DCC.

“Both the 13″ and 14″ models offer the perfect combination of specs, features, build quality and price that make them ideal for both corporate and governments. These ProBooks are built to last and can withstand the heavy usage required by these sectors,” Botha concludes.

The HP ProBook 6360b and 6460b are available from Drive Control Corporation.

Payments Southern African Conference & Exhibition

By admin, 13 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

Technology in payments has altered the way financial institutions are dealing with money. From payments innovation and the emerging markets to off-line transacting and biometrics, these are just some of the topics that will be discussed at the upcoming Payments Southern African Conference & Exhibition to take place at Emperors Palace on the 2, 3 and 4 of August 2011.

This payment event will among others, explore the payment landscape from the technology used to aid the financial industry to how it is used. Sessions will cover more than 25 topics dealing with payment instruments such as cash, cheques, cards and mobile, payment integration and regulation, compliance and risk, focusing on how technology advances have transformed modern money.

The Payments Southern African Conference & Exhibition will feature 30 speakers, 10 panelists, 5 sessions, breakaway streams, case studies, live demonstrations and many more. This event will attract more than 200 attendees in the banking and payments profession from all over the SADC region.

The speaker panel includes technology payment experts from organistaions such as ABSA, the Payments Association of South Africa, Nedbank, the SA Reserve Bank, Bankserv, First National Bank, Altech Nupay, SABRIC, Wizzit, SABRIC, Standard Bank, iVeri, Visa, Paygate, Paym8, Swift, Acet Processing, Genisis Analytics, Net1 UEPS Technolgies and many more.

Professionals who would benefit from attending the Payments Southern African Conference & Exhibition are those dealing with payments and technology in the SADC region from the both the banking and non-bank industries such as micro lenders and retailers, as well as service providers dealing with cards, ATMs,credit etc.

This high powered event will be hosted by Trade Conferences International (TCI), the same organizers who brought about the ground breaking Mobile Banking Conference & Exhibition in March, which was attended by more than 200 delegates from the SADC region.

To register for this event visit the TCI website or call 011 803 0009 for more information

MTN’s TOPP program bears fruit

By admin, 11 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

Training Outside of Public Practice (TOPP), MTN’s alternative training programme for accounting trainees, has begun to bear fruit after one of its candidates passed a series of board exams to qualify as a CA (SA).

The TOPP programme was launched in 2007 and offers a three year rotational system of training that enables trainees to experience a good overview of the entire organization. The programme offers individuals the opportunity to fast-track their careers as CAs as they are able to train within the commercial environment in which they wish to specialize.

Hema Pranjivan has become the first candidates to complete all her academic requirements to be a fully qualified CA (SA) after passing Board 1 and 2.

Says Pranjivan: “The programme has provided me with the opportunity to follow my dream of qualifying in one of SA’s most prestigious fields. I have been engulfed in the can-do mentality of MTN and that has really motivated me to attain the required academic results in my board exams. It hasn’t just provided me with the necessary practical experience, but also with mentorship and individual development. I feel privileged to have been chosen to be part of the programme.”

Zunaid Bulbulia, Chief Financial Officer at MTN SA, adds: “The ‘war for talent’ is increasingly fierce and global. In order to remain an employer of choice, MTN South Africa needs to provide those individuals with scarce qualifications with an opportunity to grow – this is exactly what MTN’s CA (SA) programme provides B.Comm Accounting and B.Compt graduates.

“By completing your accounting qualification with MTN, candidates will not only receive valuable experience to all aspects of the MTN business, which results in a well balanced and practical view of commerce, but also exposure to various career paths and growth opportunities,” says Bulbulia.

As a multinational company, MTN’s CA (SA) programme exposes candidates to operations in different countries, tax regimes, currencies, and legal environments.

“The programme currently has six candidates and MTN continues to attract new talent every year. The hope is that one day the programme will provide MTN with executives that have an excellent holistic understanding of the business (financial, operationally and culturally) and that that will be able to lead the company forward to greater heights – perhaps even as CFO or CEO,” concludes Zunaid.

Vodacom fashionably red with converse

By admin, 11 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

Vodacom‘s corporate make over has been well publisized in the media. Their inception corporate colour which was blue has now been faded away and heavily replaced with the red colour.

Different colours suggest different things and the connotations for the colour red are: bold, rebellious, love, exciting, daring, passion, radical. Therefore it did not come as a surprise when the CEO of Vodacom, Pieter Uys used the change from blue to red to inspire passion and energy into the organization, stating that it was time that Vodacom “became a younger company.”

Vodacom invited Converse to join in on the celebrations and be part of all this excitement and new beginnings for their corporate make over.

On Friday 27th May 2011, Converse set up an exclusive pop up store at the Vodacom Head Quarters (Vodaworld) in Midrand and sold to Vodacom staff strictly red sneakers to complement their new corporate colour. It was a day of filled with stimulation and staff indulging in a fashionable shopping experience brought to them at the comfort of their own work place.

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