Archive for Maj, 2012

Zando brings over 200 brands and over 5000 styles into South African homes

By admin, 25 maja, 2012, No Comment

Free delivery with private courier that waits for customers to try on newly bought fashion items is just a few things Zando, Africa’s number one online fashion retailer is offering

When a customer buys online clothing at free delivery is offered throughout South Africa. The delivery personnel from Zando will wait for the customer to try the item on to ensure that it fits before leaving, and if it does not fit the driver will take it back and there will be no charge.

Delivery is normally 3-5 business days within the major cities. If the time it takes to deliver an item is longer than advertised by Zando the buyer will get a refund in the form of a credit.

“At Zando we want our customers to experience the convenience of online shopping, combined with great style tips from our fashion editors. If our customer was in a physical store to purchase a pair of shoes they would try them on. We offer the same thing in the convenience of your home,” says co-founder and managing director Eugen Petersen.

When browsing the online fashion store the customer can easily sort items by price, colour, and size for over 200 brands. If the customer needs help in any way, he or she can always chat directly to the online customer support at Zando for assistance.

After picking out the item and size, the customer can check out paying with credit or debit card, EFT or even cash on delivery as payment option in the three major cities. All payments are processed safely and securely through an internet SSL encryption, to avoid fraud. After checking out, the customer can share the purchase experience with friends on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

A hot tip is to have Zando deliver to the address where you will be available between 9am and 5pm for the delivery.

“Many South African’s still believe that a great sense of fashion is just for people in the major cities and those with credit cards. Zando wants to change this perception by being available throughout the country and offering customers a range of payment options,” says Eugen Petersen.

Shopping at Zando is far more convenient than buying fashion items from overseas websites because of faster delivery and no import taxes. At Zando, taxes are already declared so there are no hidden fees.

Airtel harmonizes its calling rates to all African Destinations

By admin, 24 maja, 2012, No Comment

Airtel Uganda has today announced new harmonized calling rates to all African destinations

Airtel Uganda ( has today announced new harmonized calling rates to all African destinations, cutting costs for Ugandans who communicate with family, friends and business associates across the continent. Starting today Airtel customers can call any destination in Africa for 10/- per second. . Calls within East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC) as well as calls to Nigeria and South Africa will cost even less, at 6/- per second.


Previously, customers were paying between 450/- to 1500/- per minute to call many of the African destinations, making these new rates from Airtel the best available.

Commenting on the new rates, Mr. Somasekhar VG., Managing Director, Airtel Uganda, said: “We believe the time for Africa is now and, as such, Airtel is committed to connecting the continent and breaking any cross-border communication barriers through providing affordable communication. Africa has experienced rapid economic growth over the last decade and this offer will allow Ugandans to capitalize on this growth. The lower rates will not only allow Ugandans to talk more, the increased communication will also play a role in promoting trade and commerce across Africa.”

The importance of connecting the Ugandan population to the rest of the continent is recognized by both corporate as well as the government. Speaking at the launch event, Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda, Minister of ICT in Uganda explained that the reality of closing the communication divide in Africa is only going to be made possible when we respond to the growing need for people to communicate by providing innovative and advanced ICT solutions that make mobile telephony and other communication available and affordable to all. He added that the launch of Airtel’s One Africa One Rate, which envisages a uniform charge for all calls made to African countries from an Airtel number, will go a long way in bringing African together.

As an added bonus, customers who call the African destinations frequently will stand a chance to win a dream holiday for two every week for next three months. The holiday is the result of a partnership between Airtel Uganda, Fly 540 and Serena Hotels.

Airtel has been at the forefront of driving innovation across Africa not only within the local scene but at international level through the One Network profile that allows customers to communicate at local rates when they travel to at least 17 countries in Africa.

Airtel ranked amongst Top 100 Global Brands

By admin, 24 maja, 2012, No Comment

Airtel has been ranked ahead of top global brands such as Citi, Sony, MTN, China Telecom, and Volkswagen

Bharti Airtel (‘Airtel’) (, a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, today said that Airtel has joined an elite club of global brands by making it to this year’s BrandZTop™ 100 Most Valuable Global Brands list.


With an overall ranking of 71 and brand value of USD 11.5 billion, Airtel has been ranked ahead of top global brands such as Citi (82), Sony (86), MTN (88), China Telecom (90), and Volkswagen (96).

The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study conducted by leading global research firm Millward Brown. It is the only brand valuation that takes into account what people think about the brands they buy alongside rigorous analysis of financial data, market valuations, analyst reports and risk profiles. The ranking is arrived through a continuous in-depth quantitative research on a category-by-category and a country-by-country basis. The research covers some 2 million consumers and more than 50,000 brands in over 30 countries.’

Alcatel-Lucent introduces the world’s most powerful Internet core router

By admin, 24 maja, 2012, No Comment

The 7950 XRS family – based on the FP3 400G chipset – brings a huge boost in capacity, efficiency and flexibility to the heart of the Internet, while slashing power consumption and total cost of ownership

Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext and NYSE: ALU) today unveiled a new family of Internet core routers designed to address the major shifts that are happening in global networks. The 7950 XRS (Extensible Routing System) allows network operators to embrace the rapid adoption of ‘cloud’ applications, the explosion in video traffic and the widespread use of smartphones and tablets and prepare the core of their networks for the next decade of growth.

Shattering performance barriers

Representing a new generation of core IP routers, the 7950 XRS is based on a compact, highly efficient system design that is built with the future in mind. The flagship of the family, the 7950 XRS-40, supports 32 terabits per second (Tbps) capacity and 160 100Gigabit Ethernet ports in a single system, which is five times the density of today’s core routers. Using the latest techniques in silicon and system design, the 7950 XRS also slashes power consumption by more than 66 percent compared to typical core routers.

With 100 gigabit per second (100G) links increasingly serving as the foundation of IP transport networks – and with 400G and Terabit (1000G) links on the horizon – the 7950 XRS accelerates and simplifies core network evolution, helping service providers more easily respond to customer demand. This unprecedented combination of capacity, efficiency and scale can significantly improve the economics of operating and expanding core IP networks.

Basil Alwan, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s IP Division, said: “With the 7950 XRS we are revolutionizing the network core, just as we did over the past ten years at the network edge with service routing. Core networks are evolving at an unbelievable pace, with IP backbones and ‘metro’ cores facing a host of new requirements.”

Unparalleled feature/flexibility for the ‘New Core’

Traditional core routers have lacked performance and 100GE density, while recent alternatives have compromised on features and flexibility in an attempt to improve performance and density. Using the Alcatel-Lucent designed FP3 network processor unit (NPU) – the industry’s first and only 400G NPU – the 7950 XRS eliminates this tradeoff between capacity and capability. The 7950 XRS has the versatility to support the distinct requirements of both IP backbone networks, which move vast amounts of Internet content around the world, and regional ‘metro’ core networks, where content is increasingly distributed for fast, efficient delivery to consumers and businesses.

“The core router platform of the future needs to be able to efficiently deliver enormous capacity, and do so without sacrificing the intelligence and capabilities needed to support an expanding variety of content and applications. With the 7950 XRS family, service providers need not compromise on any of these dimensions,” Alwan added.

The 7950 XRS also extends Alcatel-Lucent’s commitment to tighter integration between IP networks and optical transport networks. This includes support for transponder integration into the 7950 XRS at 10G, 40G and 100G speeds, efficient grooming of traffic from the IP layer into the optical transport network, common management with the industry-leading 5620 Service Aware Manager (SAM) platform and an Optical Extension Shelf capability that integrates the 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) with the 7950 XRS.

Built to last

The 7950 XRS is designed to be easily expanded and upgraded to meet evolving demands. All aspects of system design have been optimized to ensure in-network scalability and non-stop operation. Every component of the platform design is modular, from power to cooling to all active components, making the system simple to maintain and upgrade. The 7950 XRS backplane and optical interconnect are designed to handle slot capacities of 2 Tbps, multi-chassis clustering that enables the system to scale up to 240 Tbps in the future, as well as support 400GE and 1 Terabit interfaces as they become available. The 7950 XRS also inherits the robust and reliable Service Router Operating System (SR OS) that already supports residential, business and mobile broadband traffic in more than 450 service provider networks worldwide.

Strong Industry Support:

“Verizon is experiencing tremendous growth in metro Ethernet services. Platforms such as the Alcatel-Lucent 7950 XRS will help us efficiently scale to support higher speeds and new capabilities while offering efficiency and flexibility,” said Ihab Tarazi, Vice President of Global IP and Transport Planning and Technology, Verizon. “We applaud Alcatel-Lucent for its bold approach to router value and performance.”

“The success of our broadband services worldwide is resulting in rapid traffic growth in our IP network. As we carry more traffic, we have to improve the power and space efficiency of our network infrastructure” said Fumio Ito, Vice President Network Services Technology of NTT Communications. “We are pleased to see innovation from Alcatel-Lucent that brings enhancements to the IP network in terms that might be able to address our operational challenges and costs.”

“BT is constantly improving our network to deliver new and better broadband services to our consumer and business customers” said Karl Penaluna, President, BT Global Networks and Systems. “We’ve been using Alcatel-Lucent’s 7750 Service Router for many years as part of the rollout of the 21CN program across the UK. As we deal with increasing traffic volumes and deliver the growth in cloud services from our data centers, we’ll need platforms for our national and metro core networks that scale to 100Gigabit links and beyond. We’re also constantly seeking to reduce our physical footprint and power per bit, so we’re very encouraged to see Alcatel-Lucent meeting these challenges with the 7950 XRS.”

“Service providers face a serious problem as they tackle 100G, the next great inflection point in their routing, switching and optical networks. If they keep adding more of the same equipment to their networks, they will end up multiplying space and power requirements” said Michael Howard, Principal Analyst & Co-Founder, Infonetics Research. “Alcatel-Lucent’s new 7950 XRS core router platform appears to address the scaling of core networks without growing both soft and hard operating costs. We expect that service providers will also see direct benefits of the versatility of the 7950 XRS in core/metro/datacenter interconnect networks and include it in their decision process mix as they evaluate how to scale their 100G infrastructure.”

7950 XRS – Technical Capabilities

• The 7950 XRS family consists of three routers:

  •   7950 XRS-40 supports 32 Tbps of routing capacity, capable of supporting 160 100GE interfaces in a single core router – the best in the industry. It is designed to accommodate up to 2 terabits per slot and is upgradeable to multi-chassis configurations to ensure continued growth as needed. It will be available in the first half of 2013.
  •  7950 XRS-20 is a 16 Tbps core router that can deliver 80 100GE interfaces in a single rack (5x more than the current norm). It can be upgraded to 7950 XRS-40 and/or multi-chassis configurations as demand requires, and is designed to accommodate up to 2 terabits per slot. It will be available in the third quarter of 2012 and is currently in several trials.
  •  7950 XRS-16c is a 6.4 Tbps core router, ideal for meeting core routing requirements of smaller points of presence (POPs)/nodes with maximum agility. It delivers up to 32 100GE interfaces and is designed to accommodate 1 terabit per slot. It will be available in the first half of 2013.

• Supports a comprehensive set of IPv4 and IPv6 routing, MPLS switching and infrastructure services in a single platform.

• Common operating system (SR OS) across the Alcatel-Lucent router portfolio – a highly available, feature-rich and field-proven software infrastructure that is trusted by more than 450 service providers worldwide.

• Common network management system – the 5620 SAM – offering seamless support across the 7950 XRS family, the service router portfolio and the 1830 PSS optical transport family.

7950 XRS and the High Leverage Network

Alcatel-Lucent’s vision of the High Leverage Network™ (HLN) is focused on addressing the exploding demand for broadband capacity and services, making it easier for service providers to be able to capitalize on the new demands of an always-on world.

The introduction of the 7950 XRS family is another critical milestone toward bringing this vision to life, enabling service providers to dramatically increase network capacity and flexibility, while keeping costs and power consumption in check.

Tiger Wheel & Tyre Group IT Executive, Melody Fourie to speak at IT Infrastructure Africa Summit

By admin, 24 maja, 2012, No Comment

The 2nd annual IT Infrastructure Africa Summit will be held at the Westin Hotel in Cape Town from 12 to 13 July 2012. The summit will focus on IT Infrastructure challenges and how these challenges can be overcome through innovation, alignment of business with technology and the positive influence of active government participation.

International business-to-business conferencing company and event organisers Kinetic Events, is proud announce confirmed speaker Melody Fourie, Group IT Executive at Tiger Wheel & Tyre.

Melody Fourie has more than 17 years experience within the IT industry including various management and consulting roles. Melody boasts an impressive portfolio within training, business analysis, programming and innovative business solutions architecture.

Melody’s key long-term responsibility is to focus on planning IT initiatives to ensure the organisation does not lose sight of the importance of IT. Her portfolio has recently expanded beyond IT, including the management of strategic business projects with a key focus on aligning IT with business requirements.

At this year’s summit, Melody will lead topical discussions exploring important IT infrastructure, operations issues and technological advancements with strategic guidance and actionable tactics.

Following the success of last year’s summit, IT executives and senior decision makers have wasted no time in securing their place for this year. The strategic invitation-only 2-day event will enable senior decision makers to discover efficient methods to deliver IT projects and services, resulting in business growth and innovation and successfully leveraging existing resources and investments. Senior executives will discuss goals for operational excellence and powerfully demonstrate the value of IT organisation.

For more information, to apply to attend, comment or photographs, visit or contact Shaunei Meintjes on +27 21 555 0866 or Follow @ITLeadersAfrica and @KineticEventsSA on Twitter for daily updates and news feeds.

Newtec boots satellite througput for Gilat Satcom

By admin, 24 maja, 2012, No Comment

Gilat Satcom’s customers across Africa benefit from Newtec’s performance enhancing technology

Gilat Satcom, an Israeli-based communication provider offering satellite and fibre-based connectivity services in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, has deployed Newtec technology to fully optimise its satellite links for backhauling in Africa on Measat’s Africasat 1, 46° East.

Gilat Satcom upgraded their existing IP trunking network from DVB-S2 CCM/VCM operation to an adaptive ACM environment seamlessly integrating Newtec’s FlexACM® technology ( For Gilat Satcom and its customers this technology ensures a more robust link at the highest availability and the most efficient use of the bandwidth.

“Gilat Satcom is committed to providing its customers with the latest technology at affordable prices,” said Ofer Doron, VP of Engineering and Operations of Gilat Satcom. “Deploying Newtec’s FlexACM technology enables us to maximise the throughput of the existing satellite link at all times whilst keeping a robust service in all conditions.”

This proven solution provides the highest throughput in a given leased space capacity to get the most out of this limited resource but being still flexible in matching any possible business model.

“Newtec’s technology, which is being used in this project, boosts the data throughput in Gilat Satcom’s networks,” said Serge Van Herck, CEO of Newtec. “We are continuously helping our customers to optimise their IP Trunking and IP Backbone network services over satellite and have therefore been able to demonstrate an impressive track record of installations worldwide in Ku-, Ka-, C-band on both geostationary and inclined orbit satellites. We are proud that Gilat Satcom continues to trust Newtec to help them further optimize their transmission services towards their customers.”

Newtec’s FlexACM solution implemented by Gilat Satcom combines a range of different technologies. These include Newtec’s Cross-Layer-Optimization™ ( and Clean Channel Technology™ (CCT,

Through Cross-Layer-Optimization the satellite modulation equipment is in continuous interaction with Newtec’s acceleration, compression, bandwidth management and IP shaping technology. As soon as the satellite link condition changes the link is automatically optimised using Quality-of-Service (QoS) and traffic priority settings. All of this is done without losing any data or connectivity. Cross-Layer-Optimization is unique on the market as it is shaping both the IP and the RF part of the network.

Clean Channel Technology further improves satellite efficiency by up to 15 % compared to the current DVB-S2 standard for IP trunking, backhauling and government networks but also broadcast contribution.

SA Law Firm Breaks the Mould for Cross-Border Finance Advice

By admin, 24 maja, 2012, No Comment

Dommisse Attorneys has responded to a crying need from SA’s growth sector for help with international financing. This small, focused team of attorneys have specific skills as investment bankers as well as in corporate finance, tech-industry contracting and international commercial law, allowing them to guide businesses through the demanding waters of domestic- and cross-border investment structuring.

“We help local companies secure funding, as well as to expand across our borders into the rest of Africa. At first blush these two business needs seem opposing – the entrepreneur looking for funding and the established company wanting to expand. But they share all-important requirements – they will need to establish financial relationships with parties across several legal jurisdictions, in a way that takes into account the nature of (for example) the tech industry,” explains Adrian Dommisse, founder and senior partner of Dommisse Attorneys.

“A recent trend has also been for international tech companies to look to acquisitions in South Africa as their markets saturate. Without the having a relevant lawyer in your corner, the possibility of being overreached by investors is real.”

Technology entrepreneurs in South Africa are hungry for funding – and often look to the US and Europe for investors. They are sometimes liquidity stressed, they may not have a finance background, and they certainly aren’t familiar with the legal systems that their potential investors are located in.

Established South African companies looking to spread northward into new African markets may similarly have little experience in contract law, especially when cross-border contracting, and may lack understanding of typical emerging market risks such as currency and political instability.

“We are from a corporate finance and investment banking background, with expertise that can help guide clients when they need it most – when they think they don’t have options. We also pair with like-minded firms in other countries, such as Mahons Attorneys in Mauritius, to provide relevant tax and legal advice where required,” says Dommisse. “I have seen it over and over again where an entrepreneur ends up taking a terrible deal, simply because they didn’t understand the implications of the agreement they signed in blood. We advise clients on how to ensure they get the best possible deal – but also guide them through the process, co-ordinating and managing it, right from the initial negotiations to receiving transfer of the funds .”

He describes the situation with a recent client, Mobile Transactions International, a mobile payments business based in Zambia, South African and Mauritius that recently secured over R20-million in funding from a consortium of US-based venture capital companies. Mike Quinn, the CEO of MTI, was completely focused on wooing investors, but had to be sure he was getting the best deal.

“We relied on the heroic efforts of Adrian Dommisse, our sole company lawyer who joined on a retainer basis in January 2011 in one of our best decisions of the year,” said Quinn, in his fascinating recounting of the funding saga (Mikes Mobile Transactions Story.pdf)

Explains Dommisse: “Entrepreneurs are always emotionally invested in their business – they have to survive the stress and long hours. This means they’re often in a tough place to be making important legal decisions. We understand growing enterprises, and what they need from a lawyer. Cool headed advice is the one thing that could save their businesses later.”

Yuppiechef shows how to beat credit card fraud in online retail

By admin, 24 maja, 2012, No Comment

Yuppiechef is not only one of South Africa’s most popular and prominent online retailers — it’s also one of the most successful at staying one step ahead of fraud attempts, according to Peter Harvey, the founder and CEO of payment gateway provider PayGate.

“We tell our clients that good business processes are the final line of defence against online fraud, and Yuppiechef is a great example,” says Harvey. “They’ve put a lot of thought and effort into developing systems to beat credit card fraud.”

It didn’t start out that way, acknowledges Yuppiechef MD Andrew Smith. “When we started out in 2006 we were so small that when the first order came in we high-fived and did a happy dance,” he recalls. “The idea that we might be targets of fraud didn’t even enter our heads. The first time it happened, we got a chargeback on an expensive mixer we’d delivered to an address in Johannesburg. When we looked back at the original order there were some clear danger flags, so when the same person tried the same thing again we actually worked with the courier company and the police to set up a sting. When the suspect appeared before the magistrate he just said he’d been collecting the package for a friend — there was insufficient evidence to convict him and he walked away. That’s when we realised that we were on our own when it came to combating fraud – we’re just too small to be worth serious police attention.”

Smith and his team set out to develop systems that would stop fraud attempts in their tracks. “We have an automated process that picks up potentially suspicious transactions and flags them for human attention,” he says. “We look at what the order is and where it’s going – we can tell a lot from names, addresses and email addresses, and even from typing style and language use. Once you know what the signs are, it’s actually fairly easy to spot.”

If his team has reason to suspect the transaction is a fraud attempt, says Smith, “we’ll check their Face book page, or ask for some additional ID or a landline telephone number. People who are legitimate buyers will provide that with no problem — it’s only the fraudsters who have a problem.”

It’s important to be as non-invasive as possible, notes Smith. “We don’t want to annoy 99.9% of our real customers with extra processes just to catch the 0.1% who are fake – that’s why we don’t, for example, ask for an ID number on checkout.”

Fortunately, says Smith, Yuppiechef is not a particularly attractive target for fraudsters. “Our goods are not that easy to resell – they have nothing like the street value of a computer. But we do sell vouchers and cookware, which are where we tend to get problems. And the problem is small enough that if we do get burned, we can adjust our systems the next day and not suffer a significant loss. Only about one out of 100 orders we get is a fraud attempt – we’d have a bigger problem with shoplifting if we were a physical store.”

Yuppiechef backs up its own fraud checks by using PayGate’s PayProtecter, which provides an extra layer of automated checks for suspicious transactions. “We don’t want to rely only on PayProtector because those reports come the next day, and 85% of our orders leave the same day they are placed. But it’s a very useful check.”

Yuppiechef doesn’t use the 3D Secure online PIN system from Mastercard and VISA because, Smith says, “it’s a hassle for our customers and we’d lose sales. But if fraud was a bigger issue for us we’d certainly use it.”

PayGate’s Harvey says Yuppiechef exemplifies the multi-tiered fraud protection strategy it recommends for all its clients. “There’s no magic bullet,” he says; “no one thing you do can eliminate the risk of fraud. But any business can dramatically reduce its risk of fraud by using a combination of its own systems, PayProtector and 3D Secure. Not implementing anything at all is asking for trouble.”


Kaspersky Lab’s IT Threat Evolution in Q1 2012 – Taking a Bite out of Apple Security

By admin, 24 maja, 2012, No Comment

How botnets are evolving, why Mac is becoming the weak link in corporate security systems and the latest tricks from the authors of Duqu – Kaspersky Lab’s antivirus experts discuss all this and more in its traditional quarterly malware report for Q1 2012.

After a quiet 2011, where botmasters failed to come up with anything new, 2012 started with a bang. In Q1, for the first time, cybercriminals used a “fileless” bot to build a zombie-net. We also saw the discovery of a mobile network with infection numbers similar to typical Windows botnets, and a zombie net of 700,000 Mac OS X computers were exposed.

Among the growing malware problems for Macs, we saw the rise of targeted attacks against this OS. Users need to be alert to the risk of cybercriminals targeting organisations which use both Windows and Mac platforms. In the first quarter of 2012, one case involved cybercriminals using two Trojans – one for Mac and another for Windows – to gain access to confidential records. Depending on which OS was running on the target machine, the appropriate malware was loaded. Both Trojans got their commands from a single control centre. To make the initial intrusion into the system, the criminals used an exploit that works in both Windows and Mac OS X environments; a successful attack gave them control over the infected machine.

“Judging by the speed with which new malware is being created for targeted attacks on Mac OS X, it is not that complicated for cybercriminals to develop. Meanwhile, the careless attitude of many Mac users, coupled with a lack of security on their computers, makes Macintosh the weakest link in business security systems,” said Yury Namestnikov, Senior Malware Analyst at Kaspersky Lab, and author of the report.

After a four-month break the authors of Duqu got back to work – in Q1 a new Duqu driver with functions similar to previous versions was detected. The difference in the code was negligible; all the changes were aimed at evading detection. The main Duqu module related to the driver has not yet been found.

“We were right in our suppositions – when so much money has been invested in a project, as it was with the development of Duqu and Stuxnet, it is impossible to suddenly just halt that process. Instead, the cybercriminals are persevering as usual – they have changed the code so it avoids detection and will continue to attack,” concluded Alexander Gostev, Chief Security Expert at Kaspersky Lab.

The first quarter of 2012 was also notable for the successful joint efforts of antivirus companies and law enforcement bodies – they took over control of the 110,000-strong Hlux (Kelihos) botnet, shut down control centres of several ZeuS botnets targeting online banking users and arrested several Russian cybercriminals.

To view the full version of the report ‘IT Threat Evolution: Q1 2012’, please click on the following link:

Global data can drive FM ‘next level’ performance

By admin, 24 maja, 2012, No Comment

By Phil Gregory, Senior Regional Executive Johnson Controls Global WorkPlace Solutions: Middle East & Africa

Outsourcing non-core activities used to be seen by multinational companies as simply a way to save money. This is no longer the case. Today leading companies appoint outsourcing providers as part of a deliberate business strategy to have specialist partners bring value in their non-core functions, while they focus their investment and resources on their core business.

Phillip Gregory

Phillip Gregory

In terms of facility management (FM), outsourcing is increasingly seen as a strategy to provide the most efficient and effective working environment to help the organisation’s people and the core business perform better. Depending on the business, this might be about ensuring that a production line is kept running at full capacity, a critical data centre is kept operating 24/7, a research and development laboratory complies with legislation, or that a customer visiting a shop has an experience that is worthy of a brand. However, as the industry globalises and matures, a real opportunity exists for multinationals to take advantage of the data that global FM companies can provide.

Many FM outsourcing partnerships are now in their third decade. Over this time, companies have moved from looking at outsourcing FM on a country-by-country basis to the current position, where increasingly companies are seeking providers who can provide FM solutions on a pan-continental and global basis. There are a number of reasons for this. As organisations have sought more efficiency on their non-core areas, they have consolidated their supply chain and removed the internal cost of managing and processing multiple vendors. Also, as business has become more global and companies have moved to international operating structures, the value of the consistent service that a single supplier can deliver has become much more important. Companies increasingly want to know that their buildings are operated to consistent quality standards, regardless of whether they are in Boston, Berlin, Beijing… or Africa.

This drive for greater efficiency and effectiveness has of course been fuelled by the global economic challenges of the last few years. This has caused many companies to take a much more aggressive look at their business models and has led to significant expansion in FM outsourcing.

However, the trend to appoint fewer or single suppliers is also driven by the need for standardised performance data. In order to make that jump to the next level of efficiency, companies need to have consistent data about their buildings’ performance. The ability to collect and analyse this data will become more important to multinationals, as it allows them to identify hidden opportunities for improvement. As the industry has globalised, expectations have increased regarding suppliers’ capability to deliver and measure performance data consistently everywhere they operate.

The new generation of cloud-based data platforms, which receive building information from multiple sources including building management systems, energy meters and security systems, will allow FM providers to support their customers’ core business in new ways. Information from a multinational’s entire building portfolio will be collected, analysed and used to benefit the core business in ways that were not previously possible. For example, this data could be used to discover that a particular maintenance regime reduced production costs at a manufacturing facility, which could then be introduced globally. Similarly, such data could uncover that a pharmaceutical company was using too much energy for a laboratory process at one of its sites compared to other locations in its global portfolio.

This requirement for consistent global processes, data management and analytics to support the customer’s core business will be one of the main features of the global FM industry in the future.

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