Archive for Listopad, 2011

Sanlam Health chooses GlobeTOM convergent billing platform

By admin, 25 listopada, 2011, No Comment

SOA developer GlobeTOM to supply ‘next generation’ convergent billing gateway for Sanlam’s mHealth venture into Africa.

In a market driven by unrelenting demand for bandwidth, data and consumer applications, Network Service Providers (NSPs) are at the helm of technological development – often pioneering new and innovative products and services.

To retain existing clients, attract new subscribers and boost revenue streams, NSP’s today also find themselves courting relationships with third party service providers driven by the scent of a rapidly growing market for mobile solutions.

This, says Philip Stander, managing director of telecommunications solutions provider GlobeTOM, is where agile convergent billing platforms play a pivotal role. 

“Without a secure pre- and post-paid convergent billing gateway, third party service providers will find the revenue assurance aspect of the mobile market quite complex and challenging,” explains Stander.

The solution is a transparent billing system designed to track multiple billing transactions from various third party providers.

“Convergent billing and revenue assurance in this sense, is as important to third party service providers and NSP’s as a watertight tax collection process is to a government,” he says.

This was the challenge facing Sanlam Health when it joined one of Africa’s largest Network Service Providers to offer mobile health services to large, undeveloped areas in Africa. 

To make the project viable, Sanlam Health needed a fair and transparent convergent billing platform to process detailed accounts. Its solution, after evaluating international offerings, was a pre- and post-paid convergent billing gateway called GP3, developed and rolled out locally by GlobeTOM. 

“Although we initially evaluated many different and international convergent billing gateways, we opted for GlobeTOM because it has a strong and proven local presence,” says Charl Marais, Sanlam Health General Manager: Business Development.

“Apart from sharing our ethics and values, GlobeTOM shares our belief that mobile applications will shape the ICT industry over the next growth phase in the mobile environment,” he adds.  “The company is also big enough to deploy a solution that is world class, but small enough to look after us; they care about our vision and concerns.”

The implementation of the Sanlam mHealth billing gateway proceeds from an agreement signed with GlobeTOM earlier this year to expand Sanlam’s mHealth services into under-developed areas in Africa characterised by high mobile network penetration.

“Through ‘close partnering’ we were able to offer Sanlam Health a subscriber management and revenue assurance solution that met all their specifications and requirements – convergence, next generation integration, a tight deadline and a local presence,” says Stander. 

“We are, in that sense, future proofing their convergent mHealth solution with a NSP billing technology abstraction service. It is the ideal solution for a variety of emerging green field services,” he adds. 

Further billing gateway applications include services such as insurance and prepaid distribution.

“What they get is a single interface for their business service delivery billing irrespective of the network needed to integrate and deliver the service. The GP3 platform is network agnostic; an ideal platform for service delivery across coexistent but competing networks. It really is a win-win solution for all concerned,” concludes Stander.

HP to Transform Server Market with Single Platform for Mission-critical Computing

By admin, 25 listopada, 2011, No Comment

Expanded HP Converged Infrastructure delivers industry-leading choice, investment protection

HP recently announced “Odyssey,” a project to redefine the future of mission-critical computing with a development roadmap that will unify UNIX® and x86 server architectures to bring industry-leading availability, increased performance and uncompromising client choice to a single platform.

Organisations are challenged with increasingly stringent service-level agreements for their most demanding workloads, along with the pressure to be more efficient with their IT budgets and resources. They need the availability and resilience of UNIX-based platforms along with the familiarity and cost-efficiency of industry-standard platforms.

Using advanced technology across a common, modular HP BladeSystem architecture, HP is developing platforms to enable clients to choose the best environment aligned to their organisations’ needs without compromise, helping ensure investment protection for the long term.

HP’s new development roadmap includes ongoing innovations to HP Integrity servers, HP NonStop systems and the HP-UX and OpenVMS operating systems. The roadmap also includes delivering blades with Intel® Xeon® processors for the HP Superdome 2 enclosure (code name “DragonHawk”) and the scalable c-Class blade enclosures (code named “HydraLynx”), while fortifying Windows® and Linux environments with innovations from HP-UX within the next two years. With the availability of “DragonHawk,” clients will be able to run mission-critical workloads on HP-UX on Intel Itanium®-based blades while simultaneously running workloads on Microsoft Windows or Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Intel Xeon-based blades in the same Superdome 2 enclosure.

“Clients have been asking us to expand the mission-critical experience that is delivered today with HP-UX on Integrity to an x86-based infrastructure,” said Veshen Maharaj, Business Critical Systems Sales and Business Unit Manager, HP South Africa. “HP plans to transform the server landscape for mission-critical computing by using the flexibility of HP BladeSystem and bringing key HP technology innovations from Integrity and HP-UX to the x86 ecosystem. Unlike the competition, HP offers an open, integrated, single platform approach.”

For more than 25 years, HP has powered the most demanding workloads by building a robust and proven franchise of technology and service innovations for mission-critical computing.

By expanding mission-critical HP Converged Infrastructure and bringing select proven innovations to x86 systems, HP will enable clients running Linux or Windows to:

— Increase scalability with 32-socket “DragonHawk” symmetrical multiprocessing x86 systems that will scale to hundreds of cores and support large, complex workloads. The systems will enable clients to deploy the smallest to the largest workloads in a dynamic, highly scalable pool of IT resources.
 
— Increase reliability and flexibility with two-, four- and eight-socket “HydraLynx” scalable x86 server blades with mission-critical virtualisation and availability, all packaged in the robust c-Class enclosures of HP BladeSystem.

— Increase availability of critical Linux applications with the HP Serviceguard solution, which automatically moves application workloads between servers in the event of a failure or an on-demand request.

— Boost flexibility and availability of x86 systems with HP nPartitions technology (nPars), which provides precise partitioning of system resources across multiple or variable workloads. HP nPars is electrically isolated to eliminate failure points, which allows clients to “scale out” within a single, robust system.

— Enhance business continuity with HP Analysis Engine for x86 embedded into the system firmware. HP Analysis Engine goes beyond error logging to ensure efficient diagnoses and automatic repair of complex system errors while restoring system stability in seconds.
 
— Boost reliability and resiliency of x86 systems with fault-tolerant HP Crossbar Fabric that intelligently routes data within the system for redundancy and high availability.

— Achieve higher levels of availability with HP Mission Critical Services, which identify and resolve possible sources of downtime.

What partners are saying about Project Odyssey

“Intel’s continued innovation with a multigeneration Itanium processor roadmap, combined with existing and future mission-critical capabilities of Intel Xeon processors, allow HP and Intel to provide customers with greater flexibility and choice,” said Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager, Datacentre and Connected Systems Group, Intel. ”Together with HP we will be able to give customers the ability to do mission-critical computing on their terms, with a broad range of operating systems and applications.”

“Amdocs’ experience in implementing HP-UX/Integrity as a mission-critical platform for our market-leading BSS/OSS solutions at top global service providers has proven extremely positive,” said Rebecca Prudhomme, vice president, Product and Solutions Marketing, Amdocs. “Extending HP Converged Infrastructure features to Linux on x86 will allow customers using the Superdome 2 architecture to benefit from the cost-effectiveness of x86, while leveraging the platform’s strength, scalability and availability.”
 
“Customers trust Microsoft and HP with their enterprise computing needs,” said Eduardo Rosini, corporate vice president, SQL Server Marketing, Microsoft. “By furthering our partnership, Microsoft and HP will bring together the world’s leading server and software solutions to let customers harness the flexibility and scalability of Microsoft Windows Server and SQL Server on HP Converged Infrastructure for their broad mission-critical computing needs of tomorrow.”

“Red Hat and HP have worked together for more than a decade to continuously support innovation in server and Linux technologies,” said Paul Cormier, executive vice president, and president of Products and Technologies, Red Hat. “Further extending the mission-critical experience to x86 environments will enable clients to leverage the application performance, scalability and security provided by Red Hat Enterprise Linux on HP for their most demanding workloads.”

More information is available at www.hp.com/go/Odyssey.

HP Converged Infrastructure is a key component of the Instant-On Enterprise. The Instant-On Enterprise embeds technology in everything it does to serve customers, employees, partners and citizens with whatever they need, instantly.

HP’s premier client event, HP DISCOVER, takes place Nov. 29 – Dec. 1 in Vienna, Austria. The event showcases how organisations can get started on their Instant-On Enterprise journeys.

Xerox assists Rhodes University to deliver printing volumes

By admin, 25 listopada, 2011, No Comment

Bytes Document Solutions, authorised Xerox distributor in 26 sub-Saharan countries and a division of Bytes Technology Group, a wholly owned division of JSE-listed Altron together with their Xerox Authorised Partner in Port Elizabeth, Digi Copiers, has supplied Rhodes University’s Print Services Unit with two high-volume Xerox 4112 multifunction production machines.

Lee-Ann Knowles, manager of the Printing Services Unit, says, “We’re a department of the university which behaves like a copy shop for the university’s internal needs. We also facilitate any external printing that may be required.”

The unit takes responsibility for between 12 and 14 million monochrome impressions and about 360 000 colour impressions annually. Printing isn’t confined to materials for teaching purposes, but includes all printing from PR and marketing materials to administrative forms and banners.

“Our biggest challenge in the long term is the quality of after-sales service, because we are in an outlying area,” says Knowles. “If you can’t get here to service a problem, it doesn’t matter how wonderful the machine is. Lack of service from previous suppliers has meant that machines were offline for six weeks while we made the other machines on our print floor limp through the volumes. The service aspect was the most important factor in our decision to work with Xerox in Port Elizabeth. Also, during the RFQ process we realised that Xerox was the only company that made a machine in the size we wanted that had the functionality we required. We also became aware of Digi Copiers’ link with Bytes Document Solutions, which was already our paper supplier due to its exceptional service. It was a natural fit and a fairly easy decision for the procurement committee to make.”

Brent Farndon, manager at Digi Copiers, says being able to show Rhodes University the existing high-volume printing sites at both the Nelson Mandela Metro Municipality and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University helped to illustrate what the Xerox 4112s can deliver.

The Xerox 4112 is a monochrome digital production machine that offers print speeds of 110 pages per minute and can handle volumes of up to 700 000 clicks per month.

Paul Haglich, product manager of the Production Systems Group in the Xerox division of Bytes Document Solutions, says: “The Xerox 4112 offers a plethora of finishing options, from booklet making to finishing, folding, hole punching, square fold trimming and stacking. It also prints on a variety of media, such as carbonless, DocuCards, document folders, synthetics, tabs, labels, specialty media and coated stocks.”

APC launches Galaxy 300 UPS system

By admin, 25 listopada, 2011, No Comment

APC by Schneider Electric, a global leader in integrated critical power and cooling services, has announced the launch of the Galaxy 300 uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system.

The Galaxy 300 provides a simplified and reliable solution for protecting small and medium businesses, commercial buildings and technical facilities. It offers reliable power protection and a robust and easy to install system at the best price to performance ratio.

Galaxy 300 is a three-phase UPS product that is fully RoHS (Restriction of the use of Hazardous Substances) compliant. The power efficiency rates up to 93 percent, some five percent higher than other UPS systems with similar features. This efficiency provides lower operational and cooling costs over the medium and long-term.

The UPS system uses a double conversion online topology, which provides a regulated and reliable power supply.  The Galaxy 300 offers up to 30 minutes of integrated battery back-up, internal mechanical bypass to provide higher levels of power availability. These features, combined with the compact design and easy installation, meet all the key requirements of customers looking for a three-phase UPS in the 10-40kVA power range.

“Feedback from our channel partners and core customers shows that power availability, reliability, manageability and convenience are the key issues that UPS systems need to address for low and medium level power users,” explains Eben Owen, enterprise and solutions manager: South Africa at APC by Schneider Electric.

“The new Galaxy 300 system has been designed with these requirements firmly in mind to deliver a UPS that is straightforward to install and operate, at an affordable price point. It is ideal for end users who are purchasing a three-phase UPS for the first time.”

Users are able to monitor and manage power requirements locally and remotely through a simple web/SNMP interface and a user-friendly display available in 18 languages.

For convenient power distribution, both three to three and three to single phase power configurations are available. Servicing of the Galaxy 300 is greatly enhanced by allowing front panel access for ease of maintenance in confined spaces.

Available from the electrical distribution network, the Galaxy 300 provides electricians with an easy-to-install UPS available from the same distributor as their usual electrical products, with similar delivery times.
 
Like every UPS from APC by Schneider-Electric, the Galaxy 300 benefits from the association of a strong brand and the support of a world-class international services organisation.

 
For more information about APC’s suite of UPS solutions, please visit www.apc.com/za or call +27 11 557-6600.

Asco deploys RFID to manage its assets within a complex industrial environment

By admin, 24 listopada, 2011, No Comment

 
•       Fast tracking of the Asco machining supports at all times in the company’s different buildings
•       Reduction in the number of assets lost
•       Real-time updating of the tool databases, making it possible to respond to audit requests in under 24 
        hours
 
Zetes (Euronext Brussels: ZTS) has rolled out an RFID solution on behalf of Asco within a complex production environment, allowing it to significantly improve the management of its machining supports. The solution was developed and installed by RFIDea, today Zetes-RFIDea, a company specialising in RFID and acquired by the Zetes Group in May 2011.

Asco is a leading company in the development, production and processing of high-precision steel and titanium components for the aircraft industry. Faced with the loss of several machining supports and anxious to quickly respond to audit requests, Asco decided to implement an RFID solution. However, the metal used for the parts to be identified and their permanent exposure to cutting oil and the spattering of glowing metal filings were major obstacles that had to be overcome as part of this project. That is why Asco called in Zetes-RFIDea.

Zetes-RFIDea undertook a detailed analysis of the environment and processes in order to make sure that RFID was indeed the most appropriate technology. It also performed tests on different tags to determine which was the most resistant.
 
Hervé Le Grand, Fixture shop support at Asco: “Zetes-RFIDea had a number of important assets. First of all, it offered the potential to integrate several types of hardware, which didn’t tie us to one particular supplier. Secondly, their offer included analysis as well as project implementation, support and maintenance services. Finally, after comparing proposals from several providers, it was apparent that its analysis was also the most relevant.”

In terms of software, Zetes RFIDea developed 3 modules: one for creating objects, one for maintenance and one for audits, all three accessible via portable RFID terminals.

Fixed RFID readers fitted with proximity sensors were also positioned at the entrances and exits of buildings in order to be able to easily locate the supports at all times.

Audits: lists available in less than 24 hours

Asco now has real time updates of the machining support database. This means that it has to contend with fewer losses. Furthermore, the identity card of each tool is located in a single database, accessible to everyone. When it comes to audits, it is possible to easily extract lists in no time at all. These are available in less than 24 hours, which has a major impact on Asco’s relationships with its customers.
 
Alain Wirtz, the Zetes CEO, comments: “This project illustrates how organisations stand to gain from the deployment of RFID. This technology has real potential, but it is important to have advanced knowledge in this field for a correct implementation. As such, the acquisition of RIFDea is a real advantage for Zetes. This additional know-how today mainly benefits the Belgian and French markets. However, our 3iRFID competence centre is working to share the knowledge within the Group so that each entity can benefit from this kind of experience.”

Zetes (formerly ProScan) represents the Zetes group in South Africa. The ProScan Group was acquired recently by Zetes Industries in July 2011.

Business continuity achieves operational relevance

By admin, 23 listopada, 2011, No Comment

Cloud computing is changing the way that companies, and even individuals, procure IT and IT-enabled services. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that it is also set to change business continuity dramatically. One obvious change is in how business continuity is structured and delivered, with considerable benefits.

“An even more profound change is the fact that this new way of structuring business continuity will make it possible for capacity earmarked for business continuity to provide, in the ordinary course of events, subsidiary processing capacity,” says Justin Lord, general manager, Hosting Services, ContinuitySA. “This change radically repositions business continuity as part of the company’s IT environment, and not as a standalone or dedicated facility.”

To really appreciate the magnitude of the change, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the status quo. The typical business continuity scenario includes the hiring or purchase of server capacity in a dedicated business continuity data centre. This capacity is used only when disaster strikes, when the company’s servers are rebuilt manually using backup tapes.

“This is a process that works well, and has been proved time and again,” says Lord. “What’s exciting is that the new approach of cloud computing provides a way for companies to refine the model further, and get even more benefit from their business continuity spend.”

The new approach advocated by Lord essentially builds on the well established concept of buying infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Iaas allows a company to buy processing power from the cloud provider, which has vast server farms located around the world. It’s a compelling value proposition because it delivers economies of scale instantly and does not require upfront investment.

Using this model at its simplest level, a company can purchase capacity in the business continuity provider’s storage system, and replicate its data (via a secure network) into that protected environment. This data is thus available to the client almost immediately in the event of a disaster in the production environment—there is no need to transfer the physical back-up tapes to the recovery location and rebuild the server manually.

Wait… there’s more

It’s now possible to take this simple data-replication model a step further by allowing a company to subscribe to a dedicated resource pool of virtual server space, again provided as a service by the business continuity provider. In the event of a disaster, this would allow the client’s server environment to be recreated remotely and largely automatically on this dedicated virtual server—in a matter of minutes rather than days.

When disaster does strike, this approach saves a great deal of time (and thus money). A basic prerequisite, of course, is the availability of sufficient bandwidth at a sufficiently low price.

“The potential saving of time and money during a disaster is clearly desirable, but what’s really compelling is that this capacity is available to the client all the time, not just in a recovery situation,” Lord explains. “In other words, this virtualised business continuity capacity can be used for daily processing in the normal course of events. Infrastructure capacity rented for business continuity thus becomes an asset to the IT department and can be used to reduce in-house capacity or extend it, whichever is most appropriate.”

The end result is that at least a portion of the disaster recovery budget can be incorporated into the general IT budget, something that hard-pressed CIOs and CFOs are likely to appreciate.

Lord says that any business continuity strategy must be approached cautiously and rationally. He advises working with approved business continuity consulting or advisory teams to establish how to apply this new way of thinking to existing, well-tested plans. “If a move over to a hosted service seems indicated, then it would likely be phased,” Lord says. “As Blackberry’s woes showed us once again, business continuity is vital and must be implemented strategically.”

Keep an eye on Mobile BI in 2012 says PBT

By admin, 23 listopada, 2011, No Comment

Mobile Business Intelligence (BI) will remain a key trend within the BI industry going into 2012 and as a result, businesses wanting to further leverage the benefits of BI within their organisation should keep an eye on this important technology, but should also take the time to understand it. This is the sentiment of PBT.

Industry experts providing their top 10 predictions for BI in 2012 have indicated that Mobile BI will go mainstream¹, due to the nature of businesses today, whereby decisions need to be made instantly and not hours later.

In 2009, according to statistics, worldwide smartphone sales reached 172.4 million² units. In 2011, the IDC has predicted this figure to reach 472 million³ units – a significant jump from figures a mere 2 years ago. Says Martin Rennhackkamp, COO of PBT; “These statistics alone not only show the relevance of the mobile device today, but also reinforces how such devices are beginning to change the mindsets of users and ultimately companies. And why you may ask – well it is due to the substantial benefits these devices are offering, particularly to the business market.”

Mobile devices are allowing businesses to have a more mobile and subsequently a more flexible workforce. This means that employees are no longer restricted to the office, but rather can now get their jobs done anywhere and whilst on the move. This can result in a more productive pool of staff and can have an end result of a more profitable organisation – one that is on top of trends and therefore remains competitive.

It is no wonder then why the term Mobile BI is fast attracting more attention. Continues Rennhackkamp; “As a business decision maker, who makes important decisions everyday, imagine being able to view the information BI forecasts, that you need to make these decisions, instantly, no matter your location. While this is the ultimate goal of Mobile BI, it can be considered quite a loaded statement, as the successful deployment of Mobile BI has a number of serious implications and challenges that need to be addressed for businesses to reap the full benefits.

Therefore, when looking into Mobile BI as an organisation, PBT suggest some key points that businesses should keep in mind to achieve this:

•  Suitability – mobile applications, BI included, are not always applicable to all organisations – it depends greatly on the nature of the industry, as well as the culture and the ‘information maturity’ of the organisation. For Mobile BI to be applicable, the organisation’s data integration, measure standardisation and reporting/dashboarding portal solutions must already be well bedded down.

•  Single view – to ensure that remote BI is manageable, the organisation must ensure a single point of origin for all reports and publishing of information should be used.

•  Display – a mobile BI solution should display only the relevant data, at the appropriate level of summarisation, with suitable navigation options, using the facilities appropriate to the mobile platform, to avoid display issued on the mobile device being used.

•  Platform compatibility – for mobile BI to be useful within an organisation, it must run on a wide range of technologies, including a wide variety of smartphones and tablets.

•  Security – must be considered and controlled on the device to ensure that crucial company information is not compromised.

•  Architecture choices – need to be carefully considered as the architecture of the Mobile BI application can have significant implications on the ease of use, breadth of adoption, deployment times, maintenance effort, and total cost of ownership.

•  Flexibility – as is true in any BI environment, there will be change. Business priorities, burning issues and market opportunities will most definitely change during the deployment timeframe of a Mobile BI solution, as well as in the course of on-going management. The architecture and deployment approach must therefore cater for these changes to allow for Mobile BI to remain a success.

Concludes Rennhackkamp; “There is not doubt that Mobile BI results in a more productive mobile workforce, where more relevant and valuable information is being put directly into the hands of company staff, allowing them to make quicker (and of course the correct) decisions instantly. Furthermore, considering the many types of mobile devices available on the market today, not to mention the new, more innovative ones various brands are making available, such a concept makes logical local business sense, however as leaders in the BI space, we stress importance of not only exploring this concept, but also understanding it, to make sure it works for your business going into the new year.”

Starship: New Enterprise

By admin, 23 listopada, 2011, No Comment

by Clive Brindley, Channel Manager, HP Software, South Africa

For those close to me (and the three people who read my monthly column), you all know my love for flying, movies and Star Wars.  Now for those of you who are familiar with Star Wars and its greater community, you know that Jedi and Starfleet personnel do not see eye to eye.  You are either a Trekkie or of the Force.  So why am I telling you something you already know?  Two reasons; one, my father dared me to write about my greatest enemy in my next article and two, because the Starship Enterprise is a great analogy for Enterprise IT Management.  Sad but true, as good as the Death Star is, it blows up twice and always seems to miss its true potential (beyond just destroying planets). 

The Starship Enterprise is an efficient and effective ambassador of peace.  It is a large yet agile and admittedly potent weapon against the Borg and other negative alien civilisations.  Captain James T Kirk sits on his throne of power, from a single console he can view all the important metrics/KPI’s to make informed decisions on his next move.  If the console fails, he starts screaming to all his officers for information, decisions take more time and stress levels increase.  Not the way Starfleet likes to run its operation. 

It is no different in IT.  The CIO of today has a significantly tough job of building this information bridge that we see in Star Trek.  I know of at least five customers that are building this intelligence platform for IT today using manual techniques that, once updated, will be out of date in 10 minutes.  Dare I use the word Business Intelligence? I mean how could IT be a Business?  Exactly! This is still a perplexing reality that the very professionals who build Business Intelligence platforms for CEOs have not built for their very own IT.  Cobbler’s children have no shoes? But things they are a changing…

In the last six months I have noticed a significant move in IT Management circles towards the vision of an IT Performance Management dashboard. IT Managers are now realising more than ever that we need to have a performance based culture and measurement system to truly evolve IT into the realm of business innovator.  How does an IT executive today make a decision on where to invest, what to fix and how to secure IT, making sure it delivers on its mandate to power the business forward?  Sure, you might have some of this information in pockets distributed across the IT landscape, but information should never be analysed in isolation.  It is like Captain Kirk getting ready to make a firing order without knowing that the photon torpedoes are unavailable because of a power outage. In IT, it would be like making an investment decision to upgrade the branch automation system without knowing that the network performance has been near unworkable for the past three months due to over utilisation of the branch links.  Sure, let’s just go ahead and load yet another application on top of the failing network.  

Imagine if the scenario worked like this.  The CIO is sitting at his/her desk, selects the strategy tab on the IT Performance Management dashboard.  Information on current IT investment portfolio, future investments, current projects and more is reviewed. She notices that a large investment item namely “Branch Automation System Upgrade” is scheduled for quarter three.  Whilst the investment is rather substantial, the value ratings will greatly enhance the organisation’s ability to service its customers, get orders out on time and ultimately improve revenues.  Panning through the remaining tabs on the dashboard, she clicks the operations button to review the primary Service Management KPIs and associated scorecard.  To her dismay, she notices there are lots of red and downward trending KPIs related to branch services and applications.  End user performance has been poor for the past month and Incident KPIs are down for the first time in two quarters.  It is clear that of all the IT infrastructure elements, the network is poorest performing.  She picks up the phone and calls the head of IT Operations and has an interesting conversation on the dynamics of an unreliable IP network.  The branch automation investment is put on hold, the network issues are a primary focus for IT Operations and everybody is now aligned. 

So how do you go about building an IT Performance Management system?  Firstly, make sure you have the commitment and buy-in from all your IT leaders.  A performance management culture is something that does not just happen, it needs to be built – people need mentoring and on-going guidance must be baked into the process.  Accountability for individual performance is paramount.  Win the hearts and minds. Secondly, I recommend making sure IT leaders know individually what their KPIs or goals are.  For example, in my new role as Channel Manager I documented the major KPIs I would need to track – the information that would help me manage my business.  I identified the important metrics that would, in a nutshell, tell me if I was going to stay in business or go out of business.  Please do not try and invent these KPIs yourself, IT Management has been around for some time and the industry has many of these documented in detail.  I suspect your biggest challenge will be to figure out which ones to leave out. 

Once you have defined the KPIs, you will need to enable the sensors and collectors to populate the acquired data into a data warehouse.  It is important that a consistent and well defined data model is used as part of the management system.  Once again I encourage you to speak to one of the leading IT management vendors rather than try and build the system yourself.  The reality is that you probably have much of the management data already.  The data providers range from project and portfolio, application quality, application performance, security and service desk to asset management systems to name but a few.  You will quickly notice the missing elements when you start building the analytical views.  For example, let’s say there is a goal of ‘Stewardship of IT investment’ and it is made up of the following KPIs:

• % of CIs under maintenance contract
• % of business compliance issues caused by improper configuration of assets
• % of assets used after lease end date
• % of assets not under contracts

Guess what? There is no IT Asset Management system and no performance measurement data to track these KPIs.  How can you determine if you have met this goal?  You can almost consider building an IT Performance Management system as reverse engineering, much like developing a reporting system should not be an afterthought.  The IT Performance landscape is made up of the major areas of PLAN, BUILD and RUN or as some see it as Strategy and Governance, Application and Service Lifecycle Management, and finally IT Operations Management.  Of course you could add Information Management, Security and Risk Management to this or consider it part of the three main tenets above.  However you slice and dice your IT Management ecosystem, you will be collecting data from numerous sources to make coherent management decisions. 

So there you have it, IT is now heading at warp speed into the future with a sophisticated IT Performance management system.  The CIO now sits on the bridge of the Starship New Enterprise and guides IT using the well-defined, calculated metrics that allow for fast, accurate and appropriate decision making.  Some of us are lucky enough to be strong in the Force, however, there are very few Jedi amongst us.  For the rest, we need to make the hard yards and systematically approach the building and execution of transforming IT into a true business partner.

Red Bull MOBILE Apps

By admin, 21 listopada, 2011, No Comment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Bull MOBILE is an innovative mobile offering that was launched in February this year.  Powered by Cell C’s new HSPA+ network Red Bull MOBILE gives uses access to premium Red Bull content.

Red Bull MOBILE gives users free and exclusive access, via the specific Red Bull MOBILE mobisite portal, to some of the world’s most compelling content. Here are some of the great Red Bull  Apps:

Hot Spot Viewer

Find the coolest restaurants, latest events, bars that stock Red Bull, Cell C stores that sell Red Bull MOBILE packages and more. All Hot Spot views come with Wiki or Qype info, detailed pics and even videos.

 

Red Bull Community

One app, all networks: Use Red Bull MOBILE Community Client to upload pics, text and videos to your Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube accounts.

 

 

RBMA Radio

Get Red Bull Music Academy content on your phone. There are thousands of performances, interviews, mixes and music-shows to watch. You can read background info, browse archives by artist, music genre, bookmark your favourites and even share content with friends.

 

Red Bull Flugtag

Play the hugely popular Red Bull Flugtag on your phone. Inspired by the real event, you must steer your flight apparatus from a ramp, aiming to crash into the water. Flying machines are steered using the touch-screen. If you come first you will unlock new flying machines and will progress to new venues.

 

Red Bull Apps

The Red Bull Apps always make sure you get the right Red Bull Apps for your country. That way you can be sure to always navigate through the World of Red Bull in your native language.

 

 

Red Bull MOBILE Coach

With Red Bull MOBILE Coach you’ve got your very own personal trainer. Keep track of your exercise via GPRS, keep a log book of records, time, distance, calories burned, speed and elevation, follow your circuit on a real-time map and choose to publish it to the online portal later.

 

Red Bull X-Fighters
 
Pull off crazy stunts in Red Bull X-Fighters. Using the advanced touch-screen you can manoeuvre and accelerate, change outfits and customise your bike. This hugely popular game features 3D-graphics, lifelike characters and movie clips. As you progress more levels are unlocked.

 

Mobile Portal

All Red Bull MOBILE phones come  with access to the Red Bull MOBILE portal via an icon on the Home Screen. Alternately, customers can access the portal at m.redbullmobile,co.za Access exclusive content such as Red Bull sports news, choose mind-blowing action clips to download and watch Red Bull TV. You’re also able to download music, apps, sports updates, games and messages.

Red Bull TV

Your Red Bull MOBILE portal has a real-time TV channel that runs off your cellphone. Red Bull TV has been created to showcase the best Red Bull content – sports games, surfing, concerts, in-depth interviews with athletes, and more – and has been designed especially for large-format mobile phone screen displays.

Your Ticket to the World of Red Bull

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Social media strategies are the way to go in the hospitality industry says HTI

By admin, 21 listopada, 2011, No Comment

Next year has all the makings of an exciting year for the global travel industry, despite the lingering woes – and hangover affect of the recession – with hospitality companies looking poised to latch onto new technologies, including making moves to develop social media strategies and to embrace this unavoidable trend.

So said Rory Montgomery, marketing executive at Hospitality Technology International (HTI), Africa’s leading developer of hospitality software used by more than 2 500 hotels and lodges.

Montgomery said that social media was “pivotal and part of the limelight” in the hospitality industry during this year, with this trend “undoubtedly set to continue”.

He said the travel industry – and the hospitality industry at large – will increasingly find ways to leverage off social media and marketing to engage with on-line audiences.  “Digital and viral strategies are excellent ways to evoke an emotional or positive response from a target audience and within the hospitality industry this is no different.  Hotels can sell an experience, coupled with a ‘tangible’ product – such as a luscious bed overlooking white beaches with a cold glass of champagne to boot.  The objective is to evoke an emotional buying response through visible media on social networking sites, as well as on their own website”.

“It is a fact that life is becoming more of an on-line, or cyber world – and that social media sites are becoming part of the fabric of life, whether you like it or not. Companies need to acknowledge this and ensure that it becomes part of their marketing strategies.”

The ultimate aim, he said, is for operators to capitalise on the power of social interaction on the World Wide Web and to leverage the influence of friends/followers to influence bookings and build loyalty.

“One of the problems, however,” warned Montgomery, “is that while social media has been acknowledged as a platform companies need to utilise, figuring out the return on investment (ROI) is perhaps going to be a tough one. On the other hand, ignoring this communications medium could be even more detrimental.”

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