Archive for Kwiecień, 2012

Mac users still at risk from Flashback Trojan

By admin, 23 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

Norton Offers Free Tool to Remove Largest Mac Threat on Record
Apple’s Mac platform has a reputation for being safe from security threats over the years; however, last week’s news of the Flashback Trojan has put Mac users on high-alert. This malicious software (“malware”) poses as a common plug-in for Internet browsers, and is capable of stealing passwords and personal information.

Reports stated that the scope of the threat was more than 600,000 machines. Norton can confirm that the number is trending downward but as of yesterday, there were approximately 270,000 machines still infected. The vast majority of these infections are in the US. Mac users should protect themselves with a scan & removal tool from a name they trust. And while Apple has released its own update, online security company Norton has also made a free tool available on www.norton.com/flashback.

“The Flashback Trojan is a wake-up call for everyone who’s online – no matter what platform or device they use,” said Norton Internet Safety Advocate Marian Merritt. “No operating system is immune to malware attack and whether you’re using a PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone, you should have security precautions in place. For example, anyone running a current version of Norton security software was already protected against this Trojan.”

General consumers can keep safe wherever they connect to the Internet, including:
• Whether you use a Mac or a PC, use a trusted security suite to keep your computer and, more importantly, your personal information safe
• Follow all security updates and install all issued software security patches, especially the most recent update from Apple
• Download software only from trusted companies or vendors

Kenya Benchmarked as Outsourcing Destination of Choice at East Africa Outsourcing Summit

By admin, 23 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

The East Africa Outsourcing Summit will be held in Nairobi from 5 to 6 June 2012. The event is hosted by international business-to-business conferencing company, Kinetic Events in proud partnership with the Kenyan ICT Board.

East Africa and in particular, Kenya, is now a recognised outsourcing hub since the introduction of the first undersea cable in 2009. The innovative initiative has allowed for a 90% reduction in bandwidth cost. Coupled with its English language profiency, multilingual skills, similar time zones and regional proximity, the region has successfully positioned itself as a potentially viable near shoring opportunity for Europe, North America and Australia.

Kenya is confident of its position within the IT industry and has revealed its intention to become the information and communication technology, and business process outsourcing hub of choice for Africa by 2030. In the past decade, key developments in infrastructure and regulations have been implemented by the Kenyan government to create a lucrative environment for the development of a thriving technology industry.

The Kenyan technology sector has realised the economic opportunities and has chosen to focus on technology that the majority of users could access.

The summit will act as a platform for both existing and potential players in the out¬sourcing space in East Africa to network and gain insight from the major outsourcing regions. With a focus on global trends to underpin what it takes to achieve the market penetration and recognition, Kenya needs to develop as an outsourcing hub, which will support the development of a strong information technology industry.

Shannon Mackrill, Joint Managing Director at Kinetic Events says, “Given the size of the market and the addressable demand, there is an opportunity for emerging economies to provide BPO services to the developed world. Kenya has recognised and taken advantage of this opportunity and will put the country on parity with IT service competitors on the continent as one of the fastest growing developing outsourcing destinations.”

The event will boost the Kenya Vision 2030 to maintain a sustained economic growth rate of 10 per cent per annum from 2012, with a focus on macroeconomic stability, infrastructural development; science, technology and innovation (STI), land reforms, human resource development, and security and public sector reforms.

The summit provides a unique platform for existing and potential players in outsourcing industries worldwide, aimed at senior decision makers looking to reduce costs and efficiency pressures by outsourcing business processes to East Africa.

The strategic invitation-only summit will explore the alignment of people, process and technology; offering insight into the solutions available to contact centres today, assisting companies in the negotiations and selecting the tools best suited to their needs. Attendees will be able to engage in interactive conference sessions and educational workshops designed for quality time and interaction with peers.

For more information, comment or photographs, visit www.eaosummit.com or contact Shaunei Meintjes on +27 21 555 0866 or shaunei@kineticevents.net. Follow @ITLeadersAfrica and @KineticEventsSA on Twitter for daily updates and news feeds.

Moving towards a virtualised desktop environment. Is SA ready?

By admin, 23 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

By Andre Schwan – End User Computing Specialist at T-Systems in South Africa

  •  Usability and improved management features
  •  Significant costs savings
  •  SA a slow adopter

Client virtualisation is high on the agenda of many enterprises. According to a survey by consultants Centracon, nearly half of all 309 organisations polled believe that virtualisation is more efficient and economical than traditional desktop structures.

Furthermore, they are even more interested in virtual desktops’ promise of greater flexibility and lower management and administrative overheads. These systems can be managed or expanded with little effort.

From a the total cost of ownership (TCO) perspective, the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology’s “PC vs. Thin Client” study says that, in some environments, virtual desktops can even lower the TCO by more than 40 percent compared to a managed desktop.

Another important benefit – and a key one – is virtual desktops’ user-friendly and usability features. Everything is preconfigured – no more tampering with individual laptops or desktops – so it allows for easy access to e-mails, contacts, appointments, installed applications and company data.

When considering the above, where does South Africa stand and are local organisations as eager to move to a virtualised desktop environment?

The main and obvious benefits

In order to contextualise both our local scenario and argue a case for virtual desktops, we need to drill down to some of the most pertinent benefits.

Virtualised desktop environments could offer substantial support cost savings. However, this will depend on where it is deployed. For example, benefits are greater in a branch/distributed type scenario as opposed to a campus environment.

Quite obviously, as support is provided virtually in addition to the ability to make changes from a central location, i.e. the data centre, it can be implemented easily, mitigating unnecessary travel and onsite support expenditure. This is where geographically dispersed scenarios stand more to gain.

A second important benefit is security. The IT department becomes more agile and can make changes immediately without waiting for propagation to occur, thereby safeguarding the organisation’s important information assets. Changes can be implemented in the data centre and deployed to the devices connected to the virtual desktop environment. This approach creates opportunities to increase logical security in terms of data protection and privacy protection which will become an important consideration for companies adhering to King III.

In environments where device theft is high, users often experience the frustration of loss of critical data, which in turn impacts the organisations that they work for with loss of productivity and increased risk through the loss of intellectual property. Virtualised environments can limit these consequences significantly.

Moreover, with the proliferation of mobility and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), it is important that the IT department protects the company against external threats while also integrating the devices in a safe and controlled manner. ‘Thin’ technologies, including Virtual Desktops and Web-based solutions provide mechanisms that can facilitate the introduction of these devices into the company landscape and workflow while addressing some of the biggest concerns that arise from it.

Virtual desktops also improve infrastructure availability as one desktop or thin client device can simply be swapped out by someone at the office and replaced with a new one. It is really as simple as plugging in a new one and gaining access to your virtual profile. This also means that shared or loaned devices are a viable possibility.

Lastly, it gives way to a standardised environment that can be centrally managed and administered.

The SA Scenario

The above are only few of the important benefits of virtual desktops and demonstrate benefits from support, deployment, reliability and management perspectives.

From an adoption perspective, however, there is definitely a significant difference between the local Southern African scenario and those of our European and US counterparts. Whilst SA companies are starting to consider desktop virtualisation on a high level, there are quite a lot of barriers to entry to consider from a local perspective.

For example, our telecommunication/data network costs remain prohibitively high, particularly when virtual desktops run in distributed environments. That said, there is no reason why companies cannot start in a campus environment and deploy virtual desktops to branch offices in a staged, slightly more conservative approach.

In some cases applications also have to go through re-development in order to be deployed in a virtual environment. This obviously has cost implications – but if companies are already going through an application modernisation exercise, the logical step would be to move over to virtual desktops where these applications are ready to run.

Bespoke applications are difficult to integrate whereas newer applications virtualise with relative ease.

Balancing costs of the infrastructure, application changes and network infrastructure is a delicate process. It is our belief that cost savings will in time be less of a consideration and issues such as security, data privacy and a changing social environment will start to apply increasing pressure on business.

Another barrier is end user maturity. In South Africa users are generally reluctant to have all their applications and data managed, controlled and upgraded by the IT department. Organisational Change Management therefore plays a critical role in order to obtain buy-in from users when moving over to a virtual desktop environment.

It is prudent to ensure that a proper programme is developed and implemented. This should include training for end users, the IT department and outsourced partners that might be involved with infrastructure support. In addition the programme should be integrated with other modernisation programmes running in an environment that ensures ease of realisation and sharing costs.

At T-Systems we are currently running a number of development programs and Proof of Concepts in order to demonstrate the benefits of virtual desktops. Our view is that adoption is imminent, particularly in light of mobility that will result in escalating support costs as more devices are added to the IT infrastructure.

With virtual desktops companies can significantly reduce costs allowing for an agile environment that is easier to manage, support and secure.

Kaspersky Tablet Security: Advanced Protection for Your Android Tablet

By admin, 21 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

Kaspersky Lab’s new tablet security solution provides effective protection from malware, secures the user online experience and keeps your personal data safe, even if lost or stolen

Kaspersky Lab introduces the all new Kaspersky Tablet Security, a tailored solution for protecting Android-based tablets. In developing the program Kaspersky Lab’s specialists factored in all the specific characteristics of tablets, with the result being a specialised security solution that ensures both protection against malicious and fraudulent software, and the inviolability of personal data in case of loss or theft of a device. Kaspersky Tablet Security provides the ultimate protection against all kinds of cybercriminal activity, specifically designed for Android-based tablets.

Its anti-virus engine, working together with cloud-based protection technology, efficiently blocks all malicious programs, even new and previously unknown ones. Kaspersky Tablet Security also introduces the Web Protection feature, which helps block malicious or fraudulent websites when using the Android browser. With Kaspersky Tablet Security you can be sure that the data on your Android tablet stays secure. It also keeps you away from harmful websites that aim to steal your social networking or online banking account details.

Kaspersky Tablet Security can also remotely block a lost or stolen device or wipe all its personal data. The program can determine the location of a lost or stolen tablet, not only via GPS, but also via mobile network data (GSM) or the coordinates of the nearest Wi-Fi access point. And the ‘Mugshot’ function can secretly take photos of a person using a lost or stolen tablet with its built-in camera, and then transfer the photos to the owner of the device. The interface of the product is crafted specifically to suit Android-based tablets, recognising their similarities to, as well as differences from, smartphones and PCs.

Victor Dronov, Senior Product Manager of Kaspersky Lab, commented: “The number of devices you use in your everyday life is increasing. The Internet and your favourite apps are always available at your fingertips even on the go – which is great. However, at the same time, should a mobile device be lost, all our personal data can be put at risk: email messages, social network access, passwords, mobile banking data, photos, videos and more. Furthermore, malicious and fraudulent programs can also cause much inconvenience, or worse – financial losses. With Kaspersky Tablet Security users can forget about these risks and enjoy the mobility of their digital life.”

Main Features
Anti-Virus: Protection from malicious and fraudulent software in real time
Cloud Protection: Provides immediate reaction against new and emerging threats
Web Protection: Detects and blocks dangerous URLs and web-pages, including phishing websites
Web Management: a web interface for remote control of a device
Anti-Theft: sophisticated data protection in all circumstances
o Find: The ability to search for a lost or stolen device using GPS, GSM or Wi-Fi
o Block and Data Wipe: The ability to block a device and wipe personal data
o Mugshot: the ability to secretly take photos from the device and send them to the owner

Tablets: the Best of Both the PC and Smartphone Worlds
In terms of both design and ease of use tablets are similar to smartphones, while with regard to functionality they more closely resemble laptops. Viewing the Web, emailing, instant messaging, and even viewing and editing documents are all handled effortlessly on a tablet – with none of the attendant bulk of a laptop. However, tablets have also inherited the limitations of both smartphones and laptops: Like smartphones, tablets can easily be lost or stolen; like on laptops, the information stored on a tablet can be detailed, sizable, important and confidential. The risk of loss of this information exists not only if a device is lost or stolen, but also as a result of a malware attack.

According to Kaspersky Lab data, in December 2011 the number of instances of malware targeting mobile devices exceeded 6400. Malicious applications created specifically for the Android platform are on the rise (making up 65% of mobile malware applications), and can be distributed even via the official Android Market online shop. What’s more, the malware targeting this platform is the most complex and sophisticated of all.

The tablet market is developing fast. As a forecast published by analysts Gartner shows, in 2015 almost 300 million tablets will be sold, with Android’s market share steadily increasing. Judging by the rise in the popularity of tablets, it is clear that the number of attacks on these devices will also rise, with the main target for the cybercriminals being users’ personal data.

Main Features of Kaspersky Tablet Security
• Desktop-class anti-malware protection
Kaspersky Tablet Security provides excellent protection from malware for Android-based tablets. The virus database is regularly updated with small, frequent updates that won’t affect performance. An anti-virus scan can either be scheduled or run on-demand at any time. To better fight new and emerging threats, Kaspersky Tablet Security introduces support for the cloud-based security network. Last, but not least, Kaspersky Lab’s product for Android-based tablets seamlessly integrates with the default Android browser to effectively detect and block malicious web pages and URLs.

• Block and Data Wipe functions
In case of loss or theft of a tablet the user can remotely block it via Web Management. This function allows the user to enter a message that will appear on the screen of the lost device, for example to show the contact details of the owner to help enable its return. Also, if the tablet contains important personal or corporate data, the user can also completely delete them using Data Wipe.

• Locating a tablet with Find
Using this function the owner of a device can increase the chances of its being returned by getting information on its location: its coordinates can be obtained remotely from the device’s GPS module – if it has one. However, should this be impossible – either due to a lack of installed GPS module or there being no signal – information on the nearest GSM cellular base station or Wi-Fi access point can be obtained from the device. In the latter cases only approximate coordinates of the device’s whereabouts can be obtained, but they can still help in locating it.

• Mugshot function: remotely taking photos and sending them to the owner’s personal account on the Web Central portal
This function can secretly take photos of a person who may have found or stolen a tablet using the camera on the front of the device. The tablet discretely takes a series of photos should someone perform certain actions on it like mouse clicks, slides or taps. The photos are then sent to Web Central to be viewed by the owner, who could then, for example, pass them to the police.

• Remote control via Web Management
The Web Management feature provides all the necessary tools to control your tablet via a user-friendly web interface. It allows to activate anti-theft functions and control their state as well as receive device location data and view photos taken by the Mugshot feature. The tablet automatically connects itself to the Web Central server at designated intervals and, should it receive commands from the owner, implements them.

Prices and Availability
Kaspersky Tablet Security is available for purchase online on both the Kaspersky Lab global site and Android Market, from today, supporting Android-based tablets with Android OS 2.x-4.x. Kaspersky Tablet Security is currently available between R169.99 and R199.99 in the South African market.

It’s not magic, just smart design – the new ultra-slim, ultra-light Dell XPS13 Ultrabook from DCC

By admin, 21 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

Ultimate portability meets Dell’s legendary reliability and service in the new Dell XPS13 Ultrabook from distributor Drive Control Corporation (DCC). Featuring a rugged machined aluminium frame, Solid State Drive (SSD), carbon fibre base and 13” high definition Gorilla Glass screen all packed into an ultra-compact form factor, this is one machine built to withstand the knocks of life on the go. Combined with superior specifications, the latest generation of Intel processors and Dell’s legendary next business day warranty, the XPS13 is the ultimate business tool for the mobile workforce.

“Crafted out of light, durable materials, measuring only 6 millimetres at its thinnest point and weighing in at just 1.36 kilogram, the XPS13 is stylishly designed to go from the office to the road to the boardroom with ease. But this Ultrabook is not just a pretty face. It incorporates powerful features cunningly concealed in its deceptively small 13” form factor,” says Nitesh Devanand, Dell Consumer Product Specialist at DCC.

“Intel Rapid Start offers practically instantaneous start-up, while Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and Windows 7 operating system deliver all of the processing power you need for multi-tasking on the go. Intel high definition (HD) 3000 graphics and a high definition widescreen deliver crystal clear viewing, complemented by high definition audio, perfect for delivering powerful presentations on the go. It works like magic, but it’s not magic – just smart design,” he adds.

The Dell Ultrabook XPS13 incorporates a 4 gigabyte (GB) DDR3 on-board memory, a 128GB or 256GB SSD, Bluetooth and Wireless N connectivity with Intel Smart Connect Technology and USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports. A low profile, spill resistant, backlit chiclet keyboard and glass touchpad with multi-gestural support provide easy, intuitive input, and a built-in 1.3 mexapixel HD webcam with dual array digital microphones allows for instant video and voice chat capability.

“The XPS13 not only packs a host of features, but comes standard with productivity enhancing software including WebCam Central, Skype, Adobe Reader 10, Microsoft Office Starter, Dell DataSafe and McAfee SecurityCenter trial version. It is a powerful, ultra-portable notebook that is ideal for both the small to medium and corporate market, with the good looks and style that fit in at any business occasion,” Devanand concludes.

The Dell Ultrabook XPS13 is available immediately at a recommended retail price of R15 999.00 including V.A.T. for the Intel Core i5 and R19 999.00 including V.A.T. for the Core i7 model.

Metrofile recognises the importance of Education for children with special educational needs

By admin, 20 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

In an effort to raise awareness of the importance of providing sound education to children with Down Syndrome and other special educational needs in South Africa, Metrofile Holdings Limited – the JSE-listed information and records management business – has decided to contribute towards the education of one girl with special educational needs, who cannot attend a conventional mainstream school but requires a play based kinaesthetic approach to learning.

This is according to Vera Massyn, Human Resources General Manager at Metrofile, who says Metrofile has chosen to focus some of its Corporate Social Responsibility efforts in the education sector, as providing a quality education is one of the crucial components in the creation of a sustainable future for South African youth.

“Education in our country is a real priority, but the question of how to contribute to this in a positive way can prove difficult. For many children with disabilities, access to facilities which cater specifically for their needs is simply not an option, and many mainstream schools cannot cope with the requirements of special needs children.”

Massyn says Metrofile will be assisting the parents by sponsoring a portion of the school fees as well as aftercare costs for a five year old girl who attends Sowle Centre in Benoni. “In addition to this, costs for her special occupational and speech therapies will also be sponsored once her family’s medical aid funds are depleted. The sponsorship will continue until she has completed Grade 12 and we will be monitoring her progress on a quarterly basis, together with her teacher and her parents.”

Belinda van Heerden, a director at Sowle Centre, says the centre is a Christian based non-profit organisation aimed at educating higher functioning children with Down Syndrome and other special educational needs to the maximum possible level attainable by each pupil. “We recognise each child’s strengths and provide individual support and attention to nurture them and help them grow so that they are able to function effectively in society. Children from four years of age can attend the school where we integrate therapies into learning times.”

“Metrofile would like to ensure this little girl receives the education and support she deserves, so that she will be equipped to decide what she would like to do with her life,” concludes Massyn.

First person in Africa earns HP’s highest certification

By admin, 20 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

HP recently announced that Harvey Leibowitz of Aptronics has qualified as an HP Master Accredited Systems Engineer (ASE) Converged Infrastructure Architect.

Aptronics is also the first Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE) partner in South Africa which reflects their continued commitment to improving their skills and solutions to their customers. Aptronics believes that training and certification is an investment rather than a cost.

A Master ASE Converged Infrastructure Architect is an HP ExpertONE certified professional who has earned the highest level of credential issued by HP worldwide.

Leibowitz is the only person on the African continent and in the entire MEMA (Middle East Mediterranean Africa) region who is qualified at this level and one of only nine people across the EMEA region.

“I am proud to be the first person in Africa to receive this certification. The opportunity presented itself and a lot of hard work and effort went into it,” says Harvey Leibowitz, Solution Centre Manager, Aptronics. “After my application was successful, I was invited by HP to go overseas to attend two days of classroom training where they also presented a customer scenario on which I based my design. After taking the entrance exam, I then had to present my Converged Infrastructure business solution to the board consisting of C-level executives.”

A Master ASE Converged Infrastructure Architect fully understands the HP Converged Infrastructure architecture and related products as well as a broad range of vendor-neutral concepts and technologies.

“The certification provides the knowledge, experience and community to enable IT professionals to design, operate and manage converged IT infrastructures. It enables technical personnel to design and sell integrated solutions with high business impact and ROI to enterprise customers,” adds Leibowitz.

“This illustrates HP’s continued focus to strive to improve skills and qualifications within its partner base,” says Martin Meltz, Enterprise Channel Manager, HP South Africa.

Candidates for the Converged Infrastructure Architect programme typically have a minimum of 10 years’ experience in enterprise-level infrastructure design. They must also possess all the foundational knowledge in infrastructure frameworks as well as technologies such as servers, storage, networking, management and software, power and cooling, data centres, virtualisation and cloud computing.
“A Converged Infrastructure Architect can maximise your IT investments – the focus is on business outcomes,” adds Meltz. “Enterprises worldwide are shifting from separate IT silos to a unified IT infrastructure – one that integrates servers, storage, network, and management into a single IT fabric. Highly skilled personnel who can realise this vision are in great demand.

The enterprise computing platform is essential to the performance and overall success of a business. An HP Master Accredited Systems Engineer (ASE) Converged Infrastructure Architect can help you make your critical decisions about architecting the infrastructure that will meet your business needs – now and into the future

 

Prevent your outsourcing costs spiralling out of control with a fixed service fee approach

By admin, 20 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

By Gerrit-Jan Albers, Service Delivery Manager at RDB Consulting

Managed services are becoming increasingly popular in the South African market as many businesses look towards models that eliminate the need for investment in technology whilst outsourcing non-core functions to specialists. However, the typical per hour billing method for consultants means that these costs can spiral out of control if they are not tightly managed. This has resulted in a growing trend towards adopting a fixed service fee approach to managed services. Using this approach, outsourcing costs remain constant throughout the contract duration and service levels and hours are agreed up front, ensuring that the cost of managed services never outweighs the benefits.

Managed services have gained traction largely as a result of increasingly strained IT budgets, combined with the ongoing skills shortage in South Africa. Organisations looking to harness scarce skills for non-core functions that may not warrant full time employment often look towards outsourcing as a way to leverage these skills without paying the salary required to maintain these in-house. However, the traditional model for such a service is to pay per hour, and everything is charged. If the consultant is required after hours, the fee becomes even higher. Ultimately, outsourced services can end up costing a lot more than anticipated, and the cost can outweigh the benefits.

As a result of this, organisations are increasingly looking towards a fixed service fee for managed services, where services are bundled together in an all-inclusive contract. Using this model, all service fees are calculated up front and key performance indicators (KPIs) are laid out to ensure that needs, costs and levels of service are agreed upon from the start. This eliminates hidden costs. The fee structure can also be reviewed should the organisation’s needs increase or diminish, ensuring that outsourcers are still delivering optimal levels of service.

This model is particularly appealing to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of an organisation, since managed services can be more easily factored into the organisation’s budget. The result is that there are no surprises or price spikes at month end. It also enables easier, faster access to service, since purchase orders do not need to be signed and approved for after hours work. This then results in better service delivery and faster turnaround on problem resolution.

However, the very nature of bundling all-inclusive services at a fixed cost can prove problematic for both the customer and the service provider. If the customer does not select a reputable service provider with experience in the market, who can provide the correct balance of cost versus service, they may end up paying a far higher price for services they are not using. If the service provider does not accurately estimate the level of service required, the resources required to service the client may prove to be far more than anticipated. This requires sound industry knowledge and experience.

In order to provide the best levels of service for both parties involved, planning is vital. If the organisation does not plan upgrades, migrations and so on, it becomes difficult for the service provider to accurately gauge required service levels, which can lead to compromised service. Ultimately the onus is on both parties to do their homework, assess the situation and ensure value for money is being realised.

For the service provider, it is vital to conduct a thorough evaluation and audit of the environment and take into account that the client’s needs often change after the first few months. For example, initially the client may need a full team of resources five days a week for two months, however, once the environment is sustainable and maintainable the requirements may decrease to one resource once a week. This cost needs to be factored into the contract and spread over the duration in order to ensure the service provider is getting value out of the agreement as well.

For the customer, it is vital to choose a service provider with extensive industry experience and expertise to deliver the services required at an acceptable cost, and one with a solid reputation for excellence. This requires investigation, reference checking and all of the usual procedures that should be involved whenever engaging with a new service provider. When it comes to negotiating the contract a clause should also be incorporated to cater for services that can be scaled up or down should the scope of the work and hours fall outside of certain accepted parameters. If market conditions are not monitored organisations can end up paying more for outsourced services than they would have maintaining them in-house.

While a fixed service fee approach has many benefits and can help to prevent outsourcing costs from spiralling out of control, it is important to make sure that the right service provider is engaged to deliver. It is also crucial to ensure that the outsourced service provider is a good ‘fit’ for your organisation without compromising on quality and service. Always check accreditations, partnerships and certifications and verify their authenticity to avoid being caught by a ‘fly-by-night’ service provider. The implications of getting it wrong can be catastrophic for any organisation, so as the old saying goes, better safe than sorry.

Soarsoft extends offering with Metalogix’s inclusion of Syntergy’s SharePoint solutions

By admin, 20 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

Soarsoft Africa, a specialist in archive, migration, collaboration and messaging services, has extended its offering with Metalogix Software’s recent announcement of its purchase of Syntergy’s SharePoint solutions. Metalogix will integrate Syntergy’s SharePoint products into its portfolio of SharePoint Content Lifecycle Management solutions.

Syntergy features the market leading SharePoint replication solution, Replicator for SharePoint, which is a web-based solution used to synchronise and manage business intelligence in real-time across multiple SharePoint environments.

Says Chris Hathaway, Director at Soarsoft Africa: “The incorporation of Syntergy’s SharePoint solutions into the Metalogix stable is a very neat fit with the existing tools and will provide local businesses with the enhanced functionality that Syntergy’s solutions deliver, bolstering their SharePoint mobility and providing them with more choice in how they manage, move, store, archive and protect their SharePoint Content across networks.”

“By adding the leading SharePoint Replication solution to our Migration and Storage product lines, we are able to extend our range, reach and leadership in the SharePoint content mobility market segment. This investment in SharePoint technology and talent achieves another milestone in our strategy to provide our customers a better way to enhance the use and performance of their Microsoft SharePoint platform investment,” says Steven Murphy, CEO, Metalogix.

By utilising SharePoint replication, organisations with multiple SharePoint servers have uninterrupted access to content that enhances employee productivity and efficiency and improves company performance globally. Replicator for SharePoint provides for two-way data synchronisation by replicating content and settings back and forth between server farms, even if they are not identical.

“We believe that Metalogix will bring Syntergy’s breakthrough SharePoint technology to more clients,” says David Seaman, COO, Syntergy. “Replicator for SharePoint has become the leader in the SharePoint replication market and its ability to allow end users from around the world to work seamlessly on the same content will boost productivity for any organisation.”

Replicator for SharePoint is easy to install, transparent to end users and maintained through the SharePoint central administrator. The solution optimises SharePoint performance for growing SharePoint environments by preventing version control conflicts. Replicator for SharePoint allows administrators to create a highly available environment that is well-prepared for disaster recovery scenarios. Syntergy SharePoint solutions include Syntergy Connect for SharePoint, which provides the ability to visualise, monitor and manage the replicator-enabled SharePoint wide area farm environment.

PPO to become backbone of national health department’s infrastructure development

By admin, 20 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

South Africa’s national Department of Health (DoH) will deploy Post Vision Technology’s online project portfolio management software, Project Portfolio Office (PPO), within its health infrastructure unit to strengthen the ability of officials to manage their infrastructure programmes and projects more effectively.

The software will provide the unit with a uniform system – at both the provincial and national levels – to capture relevant information on a project-by-project basis. Internally, it is referred to as the Project Management Information System (PMIS).

“At present, there is no common system for the management of project information at the DoH and a variety of spreadsheets are currently used, with no link between them,” says Christie Engelbrecht, director of Project Management for Infrastructure Development at the national DoH.

“The national DoH therefore established the need for an information system within its health infrastructure unit that would meet the aforementioned objectives as well as to enable officials to closely examine their programmes and projects in order to identify projects that are underperforming and those facing high risks, thereby assisting officials to take more timely remedial actions.”

Additionally, PMIS will be used to prepare standardised programme and project reporting for improved monitoring, and enable the preparation of specialised reporting, as may be required from time to time.

Says Guy Jelley, CEO at Post Vision Technology: “The software will also assist with mapping the national DoH’s infrastructure management processes and be integrated with the PMBOK methodology that includes the relevant knowledge areas: integration-, scope-, time-, cost-, quality-, human resource-, communications-, risk- and procurement management, and processes.”

Jelley adds that the software also includes specific features, such as: scope – including scope changes, scheduling of tasks/ activities for projects with specific functionalities, costing, risk management, issue management, customisation and quality management.

Furthermore, the software has the capabilities to generate and filter reporting documents on all project information and allow for an infinite number of documents to be stored and projects to be created by the administrators. “It also has a documentation management module, which will permit all documents – of formats Word, Excel, Powerpoint, PDF, Project and graphics – to be uploaded and stored within the application,” confirms Engelbrecht.

This will be the second time that the national DoH has chosen PPO to assist it in its programme and project management requirements. It first deployed PPO in preparation for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Results showed that this structured project environment was successful in meticulously tracking the progress of these two projects to meet crucial “kick-off” deadlines.

“PPO is designed, developed and supported locally to assist organisations to simply and efficiently manage their projects and project portfolios. As the solution is provided on a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, the Department of Health has access to the PPO application on a hosted and rental basis over the Internet, at a fraction of the cost and with no infrastructure-related concerns,” explains Jelley.

Engelbrecht says that the software’s tried and tested Web-based capabilities and reputation, plus the fact that it can easily be customised and its affordable support service, all played a role in the national DoH selecting the tool.

He says: “PPO offers the national DoH a cost effective solution that can be customised around the needs of the user. It is also a stable solution that comes with good back up and excellent real life business cases. An added bonus is that it is a local South African product.”

A key factor in the overall success of the PMIS will however be the support it receives- and the commitment to it by all nine provinces. “The key to the software’s success is adoption by all users – from the start,” believes Jelley.

Engelbrecht agrees and says, “The PMIS offers great potential. The willingness of all to grasp the opportunity that the PMIS envisages is critical. Importantly, the system can become the backbone of a well-implemented health infrastructure programme that is able to serve the nation with pride.”

 

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