Archive for Lipiec, 2011

Opinion: Five telecoms cost management facts for executives and ICT managers

By admin, 30 lipca, 2011, No Comment

By Brett Thomas, Managing Director of Unison.

  1. The cost of mobility will surpass that of fixed line:

Wireless costs are quickly surpassing fixed costs as spending on wireless communications continues to grow at a rate of 30% or more per year. (Gartner)

Most companies have a strategy to manage fixed line costs because up until now this is where the greater proportion of their costs have been. Wireless communications are seen as a tool that influenced productivity, and due to the lesser cost the strategy in most cases is capitulation – the organisation gives the employee an allowance and perceives that as a control mechanism.

The truth is that most of those allowances are primarily used for private usage; the tendency is that the user manages his personal exposure by utilising fixed communications infrastructure when back in the office. This negates all the intended benefits of mobility for companies. Gartner recommends that the two main areas focused on should be policy management and telecom expense management.

  1. Business will continue to deal with billing errors:

If proactive auditing practices are not in place, enterprises could be forfeiting at least a million rand for every R 10 million spent. (Gartner)

Due to telecom service providers having some of the most intricate invoices any business could face, billing errors are a challenge that will continue to surface. It is standard practice that the billing of telecom services includes hardware spread over an array of locations. The ability to track and manage these services are compounded by services of which no physical presence are provided.

Although seen as a benefit and playing an important role when a service provider is considered, elements such as volume based discounts and time based utilisation costs further compound the complexity of billing services. Furthermore, the moves and changes surrounding employee status, whether it is an inter-departmental change or an employee leaving the company, are often not tracked and result in superfluous or unallocated billing.

  1. It is a fallacy that telecom expenses are not an executive problem:

By virtue of the fact that this expense is potentially one of the top expenses incurred in the running of a company, it should get the attention of company executives and be reviewed regularly at management meetings. This expense is often one of the worst managed within companies. By automating and creating concise reports that show the company’s position at a glance would enable executives to strategically tackle these costs at high level management meetings and create tangible results.

  1. Despite an even more competitive telco and service provider environment, the cost of telecom spend continues to escalate:

 

Despite an increasingly competitive environment in the telco and communication service provider environment, telecom costs are on the rise.  Part of the problem is a continuously moving target with regards to applying new technology and related services – companies tend to respond to past and present needs when deciding on

new infrastructure and supporting services, as opposed to applying strategic decisions which anticipate the future of the company’s telecom consumption.

  1. Company telecom strategy should mirror needs and not technology:

Most companies tend to make their strategy fit around vendor specific technology or service provider technology as opposed to developing a strategy and then choosing vendors or service providers and technologies that dove-tails the company’s strategic requirements.

This also becomes a question of “Who guards the guards?” As soon as a particular technology vendor or service provider is chosen to deliver on infrastructure demands and is asked to assist with strategy as a consequence, the opportunity for impartial decision making is lost.

Choosing a company that manages a multitude of vendors and technologies is ideal; this agnostic profile will ensure that any input into company strategy is needs driven and not around the desire of vendors or service providers.

TTI wins best European growth award

By admin, 30 lipca, 2011, No Comment

TTI, Inc., the global distributor of Passive, Interconnect, Relay & Switch and Discrete components, has been honoured with FCI’s award for ‘Best Growth’ in Europe in 2010. The world-leading connector manufacturer presented TTI, Inc. with the trophy at a ceremony held at the distributor’s European headquarters in Maisach-Gernlinden near Munich last month.

Explained John Sandy, Director of Supplier Marketing Europe, TTI, Inc. – Europe: “We have made a commitment to FCI that whenever they make a significant product introduction we will create a specific promotion designed to introduce those new components to the market. We always stock in depth, but unlike other companies, we stock new parts in depth too, not just established lines with a proven market acceptance. We also feature FCI’s new connectors in newsletters, flyers and on banner advertising, and as a result we have seen sales of product such as new members of FCI’s Minitek™ 2mm modular connector family or latest-generation terminal blocks increase take off very well. This has significantly helped our sales of FCI products pass the historic highs of 2008, growing at a rate of over 35% despite challenging market conditions. FCI is very good at what they do and they make it very easy to do business with them, and we thank them for this award.”

Added Ronald Velda, Director European Distribution Account Management, FCI Electronics, “TTI has shown great focus, enthusiasm and expertise in developing our business. We are delighted to award them for their outstanding performance.”

Nelson Mandela Foundation gets R1m donation from SAP

By admin, 30 lipca, 2011, No Comment

Business software giant SAP has continued its support of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, donating R1-million in support of the 9th  Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture this year, which was held on Saturday, 23 July, at the Linder Auditorium at the Johannesburg College of Education.

Following in the footsteps of luminaries such as Prof. Wangari Maathai, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, and retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu, this year’s Lecture was delivered by, Ismail Serageldin, Director of Library of Alexandria (BA) in Egypt, who addressed issues about diversity, cohesion and social justice. This year’s Lecture was attended by several Cabinet Ministers,captains of industry, leaders from multilateral organisations and the Non-profit sector.

SAP Africa’s Managing Director Pfungwa Serima, said: “We are extremely proud of our partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, which we have been involved with for the past eight years. The Foundation embodies the spirit of one of the greatest moral and political leaders of our time and it is both a pleasure and an honour to play an integral part in the ninth Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture and beyond.”

This lecture forms the basis of the Foundation’s Dialogue and Annual Lecture Programme, which was initiated to highlight the crucial role of dialogue in promoting understanding and generating solutions to the challenges of social development. The event, which coincides with Mr Mandela’s birthday celebrations, offers leading international figures the opportunity to present their views on major issues in social development.

According to Nelson Mandela Foundation’s CEO, Achmat Dangor, “This partnership with SAP Africa has been an enduring one. Not only have they funded the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture since its inception, but they have also become highly active in supporting the programme leading up to the Annual Lecture, through their employee volunteers and overall commitment.”

Mauritian BPO Market on Course to Cross Billion-dollar Mark by 2017

By admin, 30 lipca, 2011, No Comment

Mauritian BPO Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $199 million in 2009 and estimates this to reach $966,313 million in 2015. The following sectors are covered in the research: contact centre or customer relationship management (CRM) outsourcing, financial and accounting outsourcing (FTO), information technology outsourcing (ITO), human resources outsourcing (HRO) and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO).

A strong financial services sector, a good track record with tourism and hospitality and a drive to improve ICT capabilities have provided the backbone for high-value BPO services. The BPO market is projected to generate $1.12 billion in 2017.

Mauritius supports relative ease of doing business. The country offers a friendly business environment, government support and tax incentives.

“Starting a business takes approximately six days and the acquisition of an occupation permit takes three working days,” elaborates Frost & Sullivan’s ICT Business Unit Leader Africa Birgitta Cederstrom. “Furthermore, the board of investment, with the guidance of the Minister of Finance, provides advice for investors and facilitates the process of setting up a business in Mauritius. Investors receive help on permits and licenses, site and location assistance and investment advice.”

At present, voice and back office services are mature and well established, but the recent trend has been towards lucrative, high-end knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) services requiring judgment and analytical ability as well as domain expertise.

Mauritius has strong competencies in financial, legal, IT and customer services because of the high proportion of these skills in the market.

Moreover, the establishment of data centres and the construction of a green data centre allowing substantial cost and energy savings, position Mauritius as a competitive data centre hub.

The limited labour pool, however, inhibits the growth of BPO service providers, resulting in low-scale BPO centres. In addition, the rapid influx of providers operating in Mauritius has put a strain on available resources.

“Mauritius has inherent skills difficulties because of its small population,” explains Cederstrom. “Outputs from schools and tertiary institutes remain too small to allow a large influx of new BPO service providers, even as existing providers compete over the limited available talent. This has put a strain on resources which will affect the growth of the BPO market in Mauritius.”

Efforts should be made to identify alternative sources that will supply the core competencies and skills sets needed for BPOs in Mauritius. Furthermore, there needs to be better absorption of existing graduates and school leavers.

“The promotion of a 24/7 work culture through marketing and campaigns is a means to ensure greater absorption of school leavers and graduates into the BPO sector,” advises Cederstrom. “The streamlining of curriculums and training programmes focused on the core competencies with regard to BPO services in Mauritius will help aid the absorption of school leavers and graduates into the BPO sector as this process can be more easily and effective managed with a smaller scope.”

Opinion: Cheap security imports can cost you dearly

By admin, 30 lipca, 2011, No Comment

By Multivid, a specialist electronic security systems integrator who is part of the Jasco Group.

In South Africa, security is an everyday fact of life – no business and few homeowners can afford to be without some form of defence. While security remains a top priority for businesses, times are tight, and organisations need to do more with less. This is impacting security purchase decisions. As more and cheaper security products with seemingly high-end features arrive on South Africa’s doorstep from the East, the temptation is to go the ‘cheap and nasty’ route. It’s a short sighted approach, suggests Multivid, a specialist electronic security systems integrator.

Says Marius Maré, CEO of Multivid, a Jasco Group company: “Economic pressures today are forcing companies to look for the best possible prices.

While there are some good high end solutions coming from China, there are a number of risks associated with the products. These need to be factored in as they could ultimately cost the organisation more a few years down the line, increasing total cost of ownership significantly.”

If they want to establish the long-term impact of their security purchase decisions, organisations need to think further than ‘this year’s budget’, he notes. “Maintaining a solution can, over time, be far costlier than the initial purchase price of the solution. Having a reliable, stable solution – usually the key characteristics of a proven local solution or well establish international brand that is backed by local support and expertise — will extend a company’s security investment, ultimately delivering greater cost efficiencies and peace of mind than cheaper products.”

From the viewpoint of the professionals in the security industry, imports have a number of glaring drawbacks. “While there are many security components and solutions coming out of China that are brilliant, the problem is identifying which of the dizzying number of products from that region are good and which are not,” Maré notes. “There’s also the matter of consistency–if I buy one product today, will I be able to get the same one in a year’s time? Would the company even exist? From a security solution provider’s point of view, I have to assess whether I can make use of such a product as part of a tailored solution developed for a client. I would certainly not put in the development time if I thought the product would disappear when, in a year’s time, the next great thing hits the market.”

When a product fails, it’s also expensive for the supplier. “A security firm, as the supplier of the product, often ends up carrying the warranty,”

Maré notes. “We are thus very careful in our selection of ‘stock’ products and technology partners. Quite simply, beyond loss of reputation and potential failure of the solution, which may compromise my client’s security status, if the product is weak, my operating costs are higher as I need to keep more service stock on my shelf. And, of course, sending equipment back to China is expensive, especially since most of these products are commodity items. Which points to another potential problem – if suppliers are operating at a loss or earning low margins, they may not be around to service the product.”

Local skills and expertise are important to support any product but security solutions have a special urgency. “Find a supplier or solution provider that can offer local support,” notes Maré. “You don’t want to wait a week for a reply from the manufacturer when the security of your business, your personnel and customers are at risk.”

Superior products might cost more initially but the long-term returns are exponentially greater. “With established products, consistency in terms of quality and reliability are known factors, and when you are dealing with enterprise security, knowing you can depend on a product is paramount. This is especially important as security systems become more complex and integrated, or when you build security systems around unique product features.”

Security firms are becoming increasingly aware of the cost and quality challenges organisations are facing and some are offering attractive financial solutions. “Security spend can become an Opex rather than a Capex item, depending on the business and financial model organisations wish to employ,” says Maré. “An example of such model is a managed and ‘leased’

security solution where functionality and performance is SLA-based. This means the service provider is responsible for (variously) management, support and upgrading of the solution. There’s a double benefit here – the expense is put to opex and an unnecessary burden is removed from the organisation which may not have the necessary in-house security expertise.”

“Whatever your security needs, be sure to consult with an expert before you commit,” he concludes. “The prices of commodity goods will keep coming down and in the race to remain competitive, manufacturers do take ill-considered shortcuts. Ultimately, when your security depends on it, you don’t want to have to rely on decisions motivated by cost alone.”

Mirifice gains media monitoring patent

By admin, 30 lipca, 2011, No Comment

Mirifice Ltd has been granted a UK patent for the key technology used in its MiriMON quality of experience monitoring solution. MiriMON measures TV service delivery parameters on the set-top box (STB) in each consumer’s home and provides information to the TV service provider to improve service quality, reliability and support. MiriMON provides dedicated screens to inform the Network Management, Customer Contact Centre (Support) and Business Management functions.

UK Patent GB2430828 “Monitoring Apparatus” is broad in its nature and covers a unique system to gather, process and present the vast amount of data available when monitoring a large population of multimedia devices on a network. Monitored devices can include STBs, IDTVs, and mobile phones that receive digital television. The patented technology supports the pre-processing of data on the device, according to configurable rules and thresholds, which is essential to efficiently manage large device populations.

MiriMON technology allows TV service providers to reduce their operational costs, by reducing customer support calls, average call handing time and the number of truck rolls, while providing more efficient customer support. The additional information provided by MiriMON on content consumption and consumer preferences can also inform improvements in the content mix and packaging provided.

Mirifice CTO Alex Dick said “This patent grant underlines the investment in innovation that Mirifice has made and the unique benefits our products provide for TV operators. In MiriMON our engineers have combined advanced embedded programming, expertise in TV devices and expertise in the operational systems used by TV service providers.”

New HP ProBook offering from DCC

By admin, 30 lipca, 2011, No Comment

The new HP ProBook 630 and 635 notebooks from distributors Drive Control Corporation (DCC) deliver a new build over their predecessors, the 620 series, with an updated design, enhanced specs and improved processing power. These notebooks are affordable, offering entry level pricing with higher performance.

Featuring a brand new chic exterior with a smooth matte surface in a pewter colour for a professional look and powered by Intel processors and Windows 7 operating systems, the ProBook 630 and 635 are built to HP’s quality standards, delivering robust and stylish notebooks that are ideal for everyday mobility.

“These notebooks are durable, sophisticated and affordable, giving users value pricing with professional innovations to help them be productive and stay connected on the go,” says Deon Botha, HP PSG Business Unit Manager at DCC. “They are ready to use right out of the box with Microsoft Office Starter 2010 and come standard with a free carry case for even greater value and affordability.”

The perfect combination of budget pricing and solid specs, the ProBook 630 and 635 provide tried and tested technology with stable processing capability, a 15.6″ display, 2GB RAM, and ample 320GB hard drives to store documents, music and photographs. Professional innovations include HP Fast Charge, which allows the battery to be charged to 90% capacity in just 90 minutes when the machine is switched off, as well as quick access keys that can be customised to the user’s individual needs.

The ProBook 630 offers wireless connectivity, and the 635 come standard with a webcam for video conferencing and web casting. Altec Lansing speakers deliver exceptional audio quality and an integrated HDMI output port make these notebooks perfect for giving presentations in the boardroom or the classroom.

“What makes these notebooks particularly suitable for students and scholars, apart from the price, is the robustness of the build and the high level of technology that is jammed into the package. The reality is, students can be ‘rough and tough’ with their equipment, and at this entry level price the notebooks are much cheaper to fix and maintain than higher end devices, while still delivering the performance and productivity required,” says Botha.

Mouser secures Honeywell distribution agreement

By admin, 30 lipca, 2011, No Comment

Mouser Electronics, Inc., a top design engineering resource and global distributor for semiconductors and electronic components, has announced it has signed a new global contract with Honeywell Sensing and Control. Honeywell Sensing and Control is an industry leader in electronic sensing and electromechanical switching products.

The new global agreement builds upon the two companies’ current distribution partnership, which has been in place since 2007. Across the globe, design engineers and buyers will continue to have a trusted source for the latest electronic sensing and control solutions. From airflow to torque, snap action to toggle, Honeywell stands steadfast in producing quality products engineered to tackle the toughest design challenges.

“Honeywell has brought numerous, innovative product lines to the electromechanical sector of the engineering design marketplace,” explains Keith Privett, Mouser Vice President of Electromechanical, Power & Test. “The company is very forward-thinking when it comes to innovation. We are pleased to further seal our distribution agreement well into the future, delivering Honeywell’s high quality products to today’s engineers worldwide.”

“Mouser is an important partner for us as they have years of experience in the distribution of electronic components in support of new design,” says Sean Conley, Honeywell Sensing and Control Director of Global Distribution Sales. “They actively increased Honeywell’s presence throughout the Americas in their catalog and on their website. That, in conjunction with their marketing programs, has led to a significant sales increase in Honeywell’s catalog channel. Through its market presence and focus on supplying a vast line card of design solutions, Mouser is a proven partner for us in our global target markets. We look forward to continued success with the design-fulfillment distributor.”

With a 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 8 million products to locate over 2 million orderable part numbers available for easy online purchase.  Mouser.com also houses an interactive catalog, data sheets, supplier-specific reference designs, application notes, technical design information, and engineering tools.

LG kicks off Cinema 3D road Show

By admin, 30 lipca, 2011, No Comment

Over the next two months, the LG Home Entertainment roadshow will be visiting shopping malls in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town and giving consumers the opportunity to experience their next generation CINEMA 3D TV.

LG’s Cinema 3D is the next step in the evolution of 3D TV, providing the best 3D viewing experience yet. The TV combines the first ‘flicker free’ 3D picture in the industry, a brighter picture, more flexible viewing positions, a wider viewing angle, and most importantly with more comfortable glasses.

“Be sure not to miss out the exciting LG CINEMA 3D experience at a shopping mall close to you, for a first-hand view of the existing 3D TV world,” says LG.

The dates for the LG Home Entertainment Roadshow are as follows:

Date Region Mall Court
28-31 July Kwazulu-Natal Gateway Xbou Explore Court
4-7 August Kwazulu-Natal Pavillion Fountain Court
11-14 August Cape Town Canal Walk Game Court
18-21 August Cape Town Cape Gate Checkers/PnP Court
25-28 August Gauteng Cresta Banking Court
1-4 September Gauteng Greenstone Ster Kinekor Court
8-11 September Gauteng Menlyn Cavendish Court

 

Absa Business Bank Prepaid Cards to assist Census workers

By admin, 30 lipca, 2011, No Comment

The reloadable pre paid cards, called the Capital Money Card, will be used to disburse Census employees’ wages and salaries. Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has already indicated that Census will be held in October 2011.

The Census employees’ payments will be made onto the cards via ABB’s Business Integrator Card Online which is a web-based solution, enabling Absa’s business clients to issue and activate the Prepaid Cards.

The Card Online system enables funds to be transferred to a co-branded Prepaid Card to make simple payments for temporary wages, commissions, claims and incentives, thereby reducing the risk of paying by cash or cheque.  The recipient or end user of the card uses the card normally at a point-of-sale or an ATM.

Capital Software’s client, KTS Technology Solutions (Pty) Ltd, a black owned medium-sized company based in Midrand, was awarded the Census 2011 Payment Method tender by Stats SA earlier this year to provide an integrated IT solution for the salary payments of fieldworkers for Census 2011.

Capital Software, an Absa Business Bank client for more than 40 years, approached Absa at the end of June expressing the need for the bank to partner on the Stats SA card project.

“We agreed to use Capital Software as a pilot customer to test the co-branded reloadable Prepaid Card. The pilot programme from 1 March to 30 May was successful and the Capital Money Card with Stats SA will now run from 1 September to 15 October 2011,” says Bobby Malabie, Chief Executive of Absa Business Bank.

Malabie notes that customers are always seeking a seamless and efficient means of paying beneficiaries, claimants, employees or third parties.

“The alternative payment mechanisms will lessen the risk of cash handling and cheque fraud. They will also make payments to third parties who do not have traditional bank accounts via a card more easily.”

Capital Software managing director, Jacques de Wet, says that the company has a comprehensive card deployment and logistics plan in place to manage the physical roll-out of the Prepaid Card programme to the Statistics SA field workers.

Approximately 200 000 field workers employed in this Census year alone will make use of the Capital Money Card.

“Unlike a traditional payroll card project, this project involves mass distribution in multiple locations in a very short space of time.

“In order for KTS and Capital Software to deliver such a solution in the required timeframe, a skilled project management team has been sourced to manage the card ordering, card delivery, national HR recruitment of card issuers/trainers and the payment processing of the Stats SA treasury to the prepaid cardholders,” De Wet says.

Absa Business Bank, in partnership with Absa Card, is committed to providing innovative payment solutions to the market.  This solution broadens the range of payment offerings in the corporate sector such as making payment simpler, both in the lives of the consumer and the corporate.

The advantages for companies to have the co-branded reloadable Prepaid Cards are numerous and these include:

  • The card can be ordered and issued remotely, thus lessening the need to go into a branch.
  • There is no need to visit an Absa branch to open an account in order to receive ongoing payments.
  • It improves cash flow management.
  • The product is a new payment solution that will enable ABB customers to issue cards and process payments electronically.
  • Cardholders have access to their funds 24/7 via ATM’s and POS devises.
  • No late wage/salary payments.

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