Archive for Lipiec, 2011

New CRM functionality for HansaWorld

By admin, 11 lipca, 2011, No Comment

In addition to performing the expected tasks of such a software module, HansaWorld Enterprise CRM also integrates with communication systems to provide the complete view of customers required by competitive organisations.

That’s according to Andre Wiid, HansaWorld Sales & Channel Manager, who says the CRM system functions either as an integrated module within Enterprise, or integrates with other ERPs.

“The Integrated Business Platform goes beyond ERP in that it is built with the converged world in mind,” says Wiid. “It is explicitly built on the premise that communications, including telephones, faxes, email, SMS, should be included in enterprise information in order to make more informed decisions and to provide a fuller picture of what is happening within any given company.”

“Since CRM is the module of the Integrated Business Platform which is expressly concerned with gathering customer interactions, it becomes even more important that every aspect of contact is recorded. This is particularly important in terms of marketing communication, to ensure consistency of messaging and a clear view of where that messaging is targeted,” Wiid says.

When this is achieved, it becomes possible to provide the complete view of the customer which is necessary to deliver an exceptional customer experience – and that, Wiid notes, can be a competitive differentiator.

“By integrating business processes into the CRM system, greater efficiencies are also achieved, especially in terms of managing customer engagements from initial, presales work, through to placement of orders and on to billing and collections,” says Wiid.

As an example, he says quotations are entered in the same manner as sales orders; all details that can be stored for a sales order can also be stored for a quotation. Once created, new sales orders are created from quotations, singly or in bulk. If required, a proforma invoice can be printed directly from a quotation. Original quotations are retained even after conversion to a sales order for analysis and lookup.

“This is just one demonstration of how business processes are intimately tied into the CRM system to provide the smooth flow between ‘customer relationship’ activities and transactions,” says Wiid. “Furthermore, human resources management activities are also integrated – records of tasks performed and time spent are collected, supporting more efficient billing.”

Noting that mobility is emerging as a key tool to enhance personal and professional productivity, Wiid says HansaWorld offers almost all CRM functionality natively on popular mobile platforms. “Notebook users can access the software from anywhere in the world, with no additional hardware or software required. They also have real-time access from Windows Mobile and Nokia smartphones, while the latest release sees three iOS roles released through Apple’s AppStore,” he says. These are barcode-based point-of-sales and stocktaking applications, and a re-release of the reporting engine. The applications run on iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad.

As a completely integrated solution within the HansaWorld Enterprise Integrated Business Platform, he says the true power of CRM is released. “It is our position that CRM has to be integrated with sales, accounting, human resource management and e-business if it is to deliver full value. That’s what is achieved when this module operates within Enterprise, although it is equally useful when it integrates with third party software,” Wiid concludes.

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New CRM functionality for HansaWorld

 

HansaWorld has announced new functionality within its customer relationship management module, demonstrating its concept of the Integrated Business Platform, which it says supersedes that of Enterprise Resource Planning.

 

In addition to performing the expected tasks of such a software module, HansaWorld Enterprise CRM also integrates with communication systems to provide the complete view of customers required by competitive organisations.

 

That’s according to Andre Wiid, HansaWorld Sales & Channel Manager, who says the CRM system functions either as an integrated module within Enterprise, or integrates with other ERPs.

 

“The Integrated Business Platform goes beyond ERP in that it is built with the converged world in mind,” says Wiid. “It is explicitly built on the premise that communications, including telephones, faxes, email, SMS, should be included in enterprise information in order to make more informed decisions and to provide a fuller picture of what is happening within any given company.”

 

“Since CRM is the module of the Integrated Business Platform which is expressly concerned with gathering customer interactions, it becomes even more important that every aspect of contact is recorded. This is particularly important in terms of marketing communication, to ensure consistency of messaging and a clear view of where that messaging is targeted,” Wiid says.

 

When this is achieved, it becomes possible to provide the complete view of the customer which is necessary to deliver an exceptional customer experience – and that, Wiid notes, can be a competitive differentiator.

 

“By integrating business processes into the CRM system, greater efficiencies are also achieved, especially in terms of managing customer engagements from initial, presales work, through to placement of orders and on to billing and collections,” says Wiid.

 

As an example, he says quotations are entered in the same manner as sales orders; all details that can be stored for a sales order can also be stored for a quotation. Once created, new sales orders are created from quotations, singly or in bulk. If required, a proforma invoice can be printed directly from a quotation. Original quotations are retained even after conversion to a sales order for analysis and lookup.

 

“This is just one demonstration of how business processes are intimately tied into the CRM system to provide the smooth flow between ‘customer relationship’ activities and transactions,” says Wiid. “Furthermore, human resources management activities are also integrated – records of tasks performed and time spent are collected, supporting more efficient billing.”

 

Noting that mobility is emerging as a key tool to enhance personal and professional productivity, Wiid says HansaWorld offers almost all CRM functionality natively on popular mobile platforms. “Notebook users can access the software from anywhere in the world, with no additional hardware or software required. They also have real-time access from Windows Mobile and Nokia smartphones, while the latest release sees three iOS roles released through Apple’s AppStore,” he says. These are barcode-based point-of-sales and stocktaking applications, and a re-release of the reporting engine. The applications run on iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad.

 

As a completely integrated solution within the HansaWorld Enterprise Integrated Business Platform, he says the true power of CRM is released. “It is our position that CRM has to be integrated with sales, accounting, human resource management and e-business if it is to deliver full value. That’s what is achieved when this module operates within Enterprise, although it is equally useful when it integrates with third party software,” Wiid concludes.

Unified Collaboration virtual conferencing a viable alternative?

By admin, 11 lipca, 2011, No Comment

That’s according to Ryan Miles, chief operating officer at Itec. He says that even though most people are still more comfortable with meeting in person than they are meeting virtually, that picture will soon change. The reason for this is that today’s collaboration technologies allow people on opposite ends of the globe to work together and interact as well as they could if they were in the same room.

Says Miles: “UC is an evolution from videoconferencing that delivers a natural communication and collaboration experience for people who are interacting with each other on opposite ends of a telephone line. Today’s UC technology has advanced beyond the laggy and shaky videoconferencing technologies of a few years ago to deliver a real alternative to face to face meetings.”

Miles says that UC isn’t just about communicating with people who may be hundreds or thousands of kilometres away, but also about sharing and collectively working on documents, presentations, files and more.

It is a powerful technology that brings people together over vast distances and allows them to work together seamlessly. UC can be used to enhance communication between employees, customers and business partners. Companies can harness the skills and expertise of people scattered around the country or the world, adds Miles.

By enabling more effective, real-time collaboration in their workforces, companies can enable faster decision-making and quicker resolution of business problems.  Employees can respond faster and more efficiently to clients, boosting their satisfaction.

“UC is also a real alternative to business travel, allowing companies to cut costs and reduce their carbon footprints,” says Miles. “The outlay on hardware and software is quickly paid for by considerable savings on national and international travel. Companies can reap a return on investment soon after deployment.”

Miles says that UC technology is improving all the time, although South Africa’s Internet infrastructure is still catching up. He notes that life-size interaction is made possible through 1080p x 1920 high definition video and immersive, spatial wide-band audio, provided there is enough bandwidth to cater for it.

What’s more, the bandwidth demands of UC are becoming increasingly manageable, says Miles. With network optimisation technologies improving all the time, video streams are delivered over considerably lower bandwidth than before, significantly reducing network load and costs.

“The technology is no longer just for conference rooms,” says Miles. “You can put UC tools on every desktop so that employees can join video-centric meetings with multiple colleagues, customer or business partners right from their desks.”

Concludes Miles: “Companies are looking to reduce costs, improve productivity, and strengthen relationships among employees, customers, partners, and suppliers. UC solutions enable them to meet these objectives by allowing for life-like interactions between people, no matter where they are located.”

Oh what a lovely (price) war

By admin, 11 lipca, 2011, No Comment

By Daniel Courtenay, Publisher Alliance Account Manager (Africa)

South Africans who have travelled abroad over the past decade have often returned with envy-provoking tales of cheap, high-speed uncapped internet access, for as little as R200 a month (around US$30). Customers in Europe and the US have had access to deals like this for the past eight or ten years. Back home, this kind of connectivity has been limited to a privileged few. Until recently.

The opening salvo

A fortnight ago 8ta, Telkom’s new mobile operator, slashed mobile broadband prices, firing the opening salvo in a local price war which is likely to rock the entire industry.  The offer is as follows: 10Gb of data per month, for a period of 24 months, at R199 a month (US$30), and an additional 10Gb of data for late night usage over the same period for R100 (US$15). That’s a cut of nearly 90% per MB over average industry rates.

MTN was the first of the carriers to respond, by slashing the price of its ‘uncapped’ offers last week. Its ‘Uncapped Lite’ product has been reduced from R749 a month (US$110) to R299 (US$45) a month and its ‘Broadband Uncapped Pro’ package has been reduced from R1 999 (US$300) to R899 (US$135). The products aren’t truly uncapped as they are subject to a fair-use policy of 3GB and 10GB respectively, and they’re available only on a 24-month contract.

Implications

For starters, the lower cost of data will lead to an increase in internet traffic across the board, and bring entirely new users to the fold. New demographics, previously unable to afford internet access, will start to consume content and take up web services, while light internet users are likely to take up unlimited packages. Downloads, particularly of multimedia content, are likely to see dramatic increases. Out-of-bundle internet access rates will be adjusted more slowly (these are real cash cows for the operators), but they’ll inevitably succumb to this downward pricing pressure too.

This presents an opportunity for network advertisers, as increased supply of inventory is likely to cause an easing, at least temporarily, in the average bid rates required to achieve their targets. Publishers, meanwhile, will benefit from a larger audience, and wider reach. The ability to reach this ‘new’ consumer demographic also offers brands, ad agencies and anyone seeking to reach the mobile end user an opportunity to reach a completely new market and lower-income consumer. Advertisers that were once hesitant to use mobile could now very well be on the other side of the fence – insisting that this is the way forward.

The pressure is on for the remaining mobile carriers to respond to this challenge. They will have significant challenges to increase their data capacity, while matching the pricing levels set by 8ta, which will mean a significant drop in revenues. Failure to adjust their tariffs within coming weeks will lead to churn between networks, as consumers start to question their loyalty to existing providers.

Another dash of chaos, in a white box?

Although ‘white box’ manufacturers have until now achieved very limited distribution in the South African market, it can’t be long before the presence of cheap ($50 to $100) smartphones further stimulates demand for connectivity.  The combination of the falling cost of access, the advanced network infrastructure already in place locally, and this quantum shift in the cost of hardware, may well culminate in a perfect storm for exponential growth of the mobile marketing industry.

1MB uncapped promotion from Openweb

By admin, 11 lipca, 2011, No Comment

OpenWeb.co.za has reduced the price of their Standard Uncapped ADSL account to the lowest pricing point in South Africa.  For R229 per month, for life, a client will be able to get up to 1024k Uncapped, shaped bandwidth.

This promotion has released 100 of these priced accounts onto the market.

‘We Beat most in the market with our 1024k uncapped account promotion.’, says Keoma Wright, Founder or OpenWeb.co.za

This account was made for Light to Medium users.  For heavier users, and Business users, Openweb would suggest their 1024k Gold Uncapped account, as Gold has a lower contention ratio to Standard, allowing for improved performance all round.

Airtime Advance tops 1 million subscribers

By admin, 11 lipca, 2011, No Comment

After one month, Vodacom’s Airtime Advance has grown to over one million subscribers. The strong take up of the service, which shows no signs of slowing down, is underpinned by stories from subscribers. One person who had run out of airtime used the service to complete an online job application on the day applications were closing, while another used it to call a roadside assistance service during an emergency.

Launched at the end of May this year, Vodacom’s Airtime Advance was developed following research into how mobile communications products and services that could further assist consumers in  day to day lives. Portia Maurice, Vodacom’s Chief Officer of Corporate Affairs said, “We very much believe in developing practical products and services that solve everyday problems. The success story of Airtime Advance is amazing, it tells us that if you launch a product or service that addresses customer’s needs such as running out of airtime at a crucial moment– that you will add value to their experience. Vodacom’s evolution to red was all about giving customer a better network experience, better customer service and more value.  Airtime Advance fits in with this perfectly.”

Airtime Advance makes it possible for prepaid customers to access an additional R10 worth of airtime once their initial airtime balance has run out. This allows customers to remain in contact with family and friends when they have run out of airtime, and don’t have other airtime recharge options available .  Customers are then only required to pay for the airtime advance on their next recharge with a minimal R1 service fee.

In order for customers to qualify for Airtime Advance, they must have been active on the Vodacom Network for 12 months or more, they must have recharged with a minimum of R29 per month in the previous six months, and they must have completed the RICA process successfully.

To check whether they qualify for the service, customers can dial *111*082#. A service fee of R1 will be charged for every R10 airtime advance provided.

“What excites us the most about the success of Airtime Advance is to see that is being used by customers when they encounter emergencies. ‘Power to You’ isn’t just about technology and high speed connections, it’s also about making sure that we give customers simple and essential solutions to keep them connected,” Maurice concluded.

Gallium User Group sees keynotes from HP and Gallium

By admin, 11 lipca, 2011, No Comment

Gallium a recently awarded HP Services Integrator platinum partner as well as a certified HP official training partner, will be hosting this year’s second Gallium User Group on Wednesday, 13th July.

This, the sixth user group forum, will provide a platform for keynote speakers to share insights into two key topics: how not to automate and quality management and control in your development and testing environment.  Haydn Pinnell, Divisional Director, EOH Global Application Solutions says, “The success of the user group forum is as a result of attendees being able to gain insight into innovative business solutions which address the most important areas of their organisations, its applications, processes, technology, objectives and priorities.”

With a combined 24 years of industry experience, Ezanne Grobler, General Manager, EOH Global Testing Services and Mark Myburgh, Test Manager will share their experiences of automation while presenting attendees with the latest innovations and recommendations.  This will be followed by Jacques Vermeulen, Application Life Cycle Management Consultant at Gallium and Colin Blignault, EOH Global Application Solutions Business Service Management Specialist, leading a discussion on the importance of quality management and control in the development and testing environment.

The interactive platform of the user group discussions encourages attendees to participate by asking questions, raising concerns and sharing of practices. The  Gallium User Group is scheduled for Wednesday, 13th July 2011 and will be hosted by HP at Hewlett-Packard, Falcon A & B Room, 12 Autumn Street, Rivonia, Sandton, starting at 16h00.

Machine to Machine software suite from Nokia Siemens

By admin, 8 lipca, 2011, No Comment

GSM subscriptions supporting Machine to Machine applications are expected to reach 1 billion by 2015. This increase in the use of GSM networks to support automated communication between devices and applications will cause signaling capacity, traffic management and Quality of Service to become significant operator issues. Nokia Siemens Networks’ M2M software suite for GSM helps prevent the overloading of networks with traffic, avoiding network congestion and supporting M2M reliability and growth.

M2M refers to technologies that use a device to capture an event which is relayed by a network to an application that translates it into meaningful and useful information. For example, the device could be a smart energy meter transferring power consumption patterns and trends to an energy supplier. This would allow the supplier to provide automated billing while adjusting supply to meet demand. Other applications include monitoring transport fleets, tracking valuable inventory items and monitoring personal health.

“M2M applications create both additional information and signaling load on the network,” said Thorsten Robrecht, head of Network Systems product management at Nokia Siemens Networks. “In mass-M2M applications, such as smart metering, the additional monthly payload is low, typically less than 1 Megabyte per subscriber. However, there will always be additional signaling load for every data transaction. Since M2M data transactions are expected to grow by ten times in the next few years, signaling will be a very relevant issue for operators. Our M2M software suite reduces signaling by up to 70%.”

The M2M software suite for GSM is based on a precise paging feature – Nokia Siemens Networks’ own invention – that efficiently reduces the amount of signaling information between M2M mobile stations and base transceiver stations. As a result, GSM operators with M2M service businesses don’t require additional base station sites to accommodate more M2M users.

As part of its M2M suite, Nokia Siemens Networks also offers priority class based Quality of Service, prioritizing urgent M2M transactions such as health and security related information. Moreover, operators are able to better manage less critical loads during peak hours, which adds to the robustness of the network. The suite also boasts a Smart Resource Adaptation feature, which enables up to five times more M2M subscriptions.

“We have been a pioneer in driving the adoption of M2M, providing advanced solutions for low cost operation as well as efficient delivery of multi-industry M2M services. In addition, our M2M application development follows an agile research and development approach – like that of a start-up company – so that we can meet market needs in a flexible way,” added Peter Zimmermann, head of Global Services M2M solution management at Nokia Siemens Networks. “Today, we are on the threshold of wide scale adoption of M2M across utilities; smart grid; transportation and automotive; logistics; security and surveillance as well as retail and vending. We have taken a defining step by addressing the impact of traffic on underlying networks to facilitate a smooth experience for users.”

BlackBerry WebWorks SDK now available

By admin, 8 lipca, 2011, No Comment

This update comes shortly after the introduction of the BlackBerry WebWorks SDK v 2.1 for Tablet OS and brings similar functionality and APIs to the BlackBerry smartphone OS.

The new capabilities that WebWorks developers can now leverage include:

  • NTML & BASIC Authentication support
  • Camera API
  • Top Banner Indicator API
  • Enhanced Push APIs and
  • improved rendering speeds for some applications.

The APIs enable web developers to deeply integrate with the BlackBerry smartphone OS and thereby build apps that offer more immersive and interactive end user experiences. Other benefits developers can derive from the new application functionality and APIs are better app monetization, diversified development approaches, support for standardized security and better integration with the widely popular BlackBerry Messenger Social Platform.

Invensys Operations Management to represented by EOH in SA

By admin, 8 lipca, 2011, No Comment

EOH, a leading IT service provider will exclusively represent the Sub-Saharan African operation of Invensys Operations Management.  The strategic appointment makes EOH the sole representative of Invensys Operations Management in Sub-Saharan Africa and is largely attributable to EOH’s extensive knowledge in the mining and manufacturing sectors as well as its reach in the local market with 3100 employees and 2500 customers.  EOH’s impeccable track record of success as a Level 3 BBBEE rated business solidified the decision.

“The Invensys Operations Management and EOH collaboration will not only broaden the scope and product offering to the local and surrounding markets, but will also benefit existing Invensys business units to execute projects more cost effectively, with the new office serving as the primary point of contact for Invensys in the region,” says Asher Bohbot, Chief Executive Officer of EOH.

Invensys Operations Management is a global provider of technology systems, software solutions and consulting services to the manufacturing and infrastructure operations industries.  Headquartered in Plano, Texas, its solutions are utilised by more than 40,000 clients around the world in more than 200,000 plants and facilities.

“Invensys has had a presence in South Africa for more than 20 years that has been supported by our strong ecosystem of regional partners, but now we will be represented by EOH as Invensys Operations Management,” said Sudipta Bhattacharya, president and chief executive officer, Invensys Operations Management.

EOH’s solid track record in the mining and manufacturing sector creates a solid foundation for Invensys Operations Management to work from, says Bhattacharya.  “South Africa has an aggressive energy expansion goal as the leading economic power in Africa and is a key player in the continent’s energy and oil industries.”

Besides project engineering, the new Invensys facility at EOH will include a training and customer support service centre, as well as a sales and marketing point of contact. The company anticipates employing more than 50 engineering and other professionals to provide local and global project support.  The Invensys offering includes process control engineering that is utilised by large energy and oil industries in the form of distributed control systems to control their processes, boilers and electrical power grids.

Vodafone Global Supplier awards winners announced

By admin, 8 lipca, 2011, No Comment

Vodafone’s Supply Chain Management team recognised the suppliers for meeting the group’s exacting business requirements over the last year.

Information technology supplier, EMC, was recognised as Vodafone’s Supplier of the Year for 2011. The company was praised for demonstrating “trust, transparency and reliability as well as offering a best-in-class product”.

The Outstanding Performance Award went to Teradata, in recognition of its commitment, performance and focus on Vodafone’s business.

The Sustainability Engagement Award went to Ericsson, one of Vodafone’s strategic network suppliers, in recognition of its commitment to reduce CO2 emissions and follow Vodafone’s code of ethical purchasing.

Vodafone also recognised HP with the Vodafone Supplier Award for Innovation for its delivery of products tailored specifically for Vodafone.

Vodafone Group Supply Chain Management Director Detlef Schultz said: “These awards recognise outstanding performance by our partners in supporting Vodafone’s continuous drive for greater operating efficiency and delivering greater benefits to our customers.”

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