Archive for Kwiecień, 2013

Eskom power outages threaten local business continuity in winter

By admin, 30 kwietnia, 2013, No Comment

Eskom’s warning that the risk of unplanned power outages remains high presents significant challenges for most local businesses which are reliant on a steady source of power in order to continue operations, particularly ahead of the winter months when energy usage typically soars.

This is according to Ray Stride, Managing Director of Global Continuity South Africa – a group company of JSE-listed Metrofile Holdings Limited – who says businesses must implement an effective Business Continuity Management (BCM) Programme in order to ensure financial, reputational and legal repercussions are avoided. “According to Global Continuity data gather over 20 years, power outages are the second leading cause of business interruption in South Africa and currently account for approximately 14% of cases with this percentage likely to rise in light of Eskom’s warnings.”

Power fluctuations can also lead to damage of critical company data, which gives rise to another leading cause of business disruption known as data corruption which accounts for approximately 9% of business interruption cases in South Africa, says Stride. “As a result, effective BCPs are becoming increasingly critical to local business survival and ultimately the growth of the economy.”

Electric power outages cost American business $80 billion every year, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. While there are no local statistics, this extremely high figure highlights the massive cost power outages can cause, further cementing the need to take adequate precautionary measures to avoid additional financial consequences.

Stride says the main function of a sound BCM plan is to enable a business to avoid disasters or survive and continue functioning at a sustainable level following a major disruption to critical daily operations. “This is done through the identification of certain business processes that must be recovered within a certain time frame in order to continue supplying critical products and services during adverse operating conditions or alternatively to ensure that business processes are not interrupted by disastrous events.”

“The repercussions for businesses with no effective BCM solution can range from loss of revenue, assets, clients and staff to litigation, penalties and perhaps even worst of all, reputational damage. There are also personal consequences for the business leaders as they could face Director or Officer liability cases on the basis of negligence or criminal liability, which could even affect their reputation to act as a Director in future.”

Stride says some examples of essential services and activities, which are critical to the sustainability of a business include, but are not limited to: revenue collection; communication with staff, suppliers and clients; service delivery; logistics and procurement.

“Unfortunately, no insurance policy is able to keep a business running – it can pay for damages caused, but it cannot answer the phones, communicate with clients or satisfy stakeholders when a major unforeseen interruption renders the business incapable of continuing mission critical activities.”

However, the importance of testing the BCP cannot be stressed enough as a recovery plan is only effective if it is certain to work, says Stride. “Testing is the key activity which determines, firstly whether the implementation of the BCP has been worth the effort and expenditure, and, secondly how to address those issues which inhibit effective recovery.”

“In a time when disruptions to business operations can occur at any moment, all businesses have a responsibility to clients, employees and stakeholders to ensure a tested plan is in place which allows the organisation to continue functioning at an operational level even in the event of a disaster,” concludes Stride.



Vox YahClick and VisiConnect bring broadband satellite to Eastern Cape farmers

By admin, 30 kwietnia, 2013, No Comment

21st century farming is an IT-intensive business – but, says Stephen Basson of Graaff Reinet-based VisiConnect, lack of Internet connectivity has stopped farmers from being able to reap the full benefits.

“It’s hard to check stock prices, register for online auctions, do Internet banking or even just check your email if you’re stuck with a 14Kbps dialup modem on a landline that doesn’t work for much of the time,” says Basson. “Yet that’s the reality that a lot of South African farmers have been stuck with until now. There’s no option of ADSL and no cellphone reception. It’s been intensely frustrating.”

This frustration explains the rapid success of the YahClick broadband satellite offering from Vox Telecom, says Basson. “I have one client who used to wait ten minutes for a single email. The first time he connected via YahClick he downloaded 248 emails in four minutes – he could hardly believe it. He invited all his neighbours over for a braai on the spot to show them how it worked.”

Unlike older satellite offerings, YahClick is based on new technology that makes it highly affordable, says Basson. “Whereas in the past you may have been forced to pay more than R1,200 for a 512Kbps satellite plan, Vox Telecom’s YahClick plans start at less than R500 for their 512Kbps plan (which includes 4.5GBs of data) and their plans go up to 15Mbps if you need it.”

The service also enjoys an excellent uptime. Jacques Visser, YahClick project manager, says that YahClick guarantees a 99,5% uptime. “That’s about only 8 hours of downtime every year, which still compares favorably to broadband alternatives.”

For the many livestock and game farmers in the Eastern Cape, Basson says one of the benefits of YahClick broadband access is being able to participate in online livestock auctions. “Bidding via the Internet is a lot easier, cheaper and quicker than travelling hundreds of kilometres to do it in person,” he says. “But you can only do that if you have a fast, reliable connection.”

Keep your business continuity skills up to date with ContinuitySA

By admin, 30 kwietnia, 2013, No Comment

Business Continuity Management (BCM)—the science of keeping a business operational throughout times of crisis—is a complex undertaking. It is also vital to an organisation’s long-term survival and forms a key element of any comprehensive risk mitigation strategy.

“Creating and managing an effective Business Continuity programme requires a diverse set of skills, ranging from project management and facilitation to specialist knowledge on business continuity itself,” says Tracey Linnell, GM Advisory Services at ContinuitySA. “As Africa’s premier provider of business continuity management services, ContinuitySA offers a range of training programmes in this discipline through its Compete Continuity Training Academy. Our training offers a way for executives involved in business continuity to hone their skills and keep up to date with new standards and industry trends.”

Among the Academy’s offerings is a one-hour session, aimed at giving operational executives a high-level awareness of Business Continuity Management. The session explores Business Continuity Management and covers the reasons for implementing a Business Continuity Management programme as well as how to do it. A more detailed one-day course introduces these concepts in more detail for middle managers.

Two-day IT Service Continuity Training is aimed at executives responsible for the continuity of IT services within their organisation, while the five-day Complete Continuity Practitioner Programme is designed to equip executives in all aspects of implementing, managing and maintaining an effective framework for Business Continuity Management.

“Business Continuity Management is intimately connected to the way a company conducts its operations, and its training needs will reflect that, as well as the specific skills profile of its staff. Consequently, the Complete Continuity Training Academy also offers customised continuity training,” Linnell says.

Customised courses are compiled in consultation with ContinuitySA’s Business Continuity Management Advisory Services to ensure that they deliver what is required, and are aligned with the client’s operational context.

Kaspersky Lab bundles Internet Security 2013 with Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft

By admin, 30 kwietnia, 2013, No Comment

Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 and world’s most popular MMO now available together for one low price.

As of today, gamers can take advantage of a special arrangement between Kaspersky Lab and Blizzard Entertainment. The two companies are working together to offer a software bundle that includes Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 (KIS) and World of Warcraft®, the world’s #1 subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game – both for the regular KIS 2013 retail price of R399.00 (for 1 user). This package is available from major retail chains in South Africa.

The KIS 2013 and World of Warcraft bundle comes with its own unique packaging, as well as 30 days of free game time to explore World of Warcraft, including the content of Blizzard’s Burning Crusade® and Wrath of the Lich King® expansion sets. Players who purchase the bundle will be able to play the award-winning World of Warcraft while benefiting from Kaspersky Internet Security 2013’s world-class protection from all types of contemporary cyber-threats which can be encountered via everyday computer use.

“Cybercrime is no longer just about stealing passwords to bank accounts or annoying us with spam. It has become a serious issue for gamers. According to our research, every day up to 7,000 online gamers worldwide* come across malicious programmes designed to steal their passwords,” said Sergey Golovanov, Malware Expert at Kaspersky Lab. “Gamers should take responsibility for securing themselves against possible threats. Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 is the latest edition of our proven security software, and offers gamers a reliable defensive tool against cyber-threats.”

“Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 understands what gamers need. It has a special ’Game Mode’ which, when activated, postpones resource-hungry processes to free up processor power for smooth gaming,” added Riaan Badenhorst, Head of Operations for Kaspersky Lab Africa. “Additionally, it doesn’t distract you with notifications if you choose a full-screen mode while gaming; yet it never stops protecting you and your gaming experience.”

It’s the ‘post PC’ era and mobile computing is here to stay.

By admin, 30 kwietnia, 2013, No Comment

By Nitesh Devanand, Dell Consumer Product Specialist at Drive Control Corporation (DCC)

Mobile computing is a growing phenomenon in the workplace and out with leading researchers already recognising the emergence of a ‘post PC’ era. As more people access IT applications and content by preference using their tablets, ‘phablets’ and smartphones, a whole new set of challenges and opportunities are emerging. In South Africa, however, the majority lag the mobility hype by about two years.

What’s holding us back? While a small number of power users and high tech corporates are leveraging mobile computing to drive productivity and staff mobility, the majority are still slow to adopt mobile computing due to still high bandwidth costs, a general lack of Wi-Fi access and the limitations of 3G, a lack of awareness of the potential that mobile computing presents and dearth of tech-knowledge needed to integrate and synch systems and devices.

As the mobile computing trend gathers pace and best practices and standards continue to mature, locals will catch up quickly and potentially will not have to deal with many of the early challenges businesses and individuals are facing in terms of integrating mobile computing into their daily lives and every aspect of business operations, i.e., security and privacy issues, integrating mobile into business processes, and developing for multiple mobile platforms.

The profound change mobile computing brings is clear in the ease that the characteristic use of touch and gesture interfaces, voice commands and interactive mobile assistants brings. There’s also the new dimension that social and context driven interfaces and interactions offer and as mobile becomes increasingly ubiquitous, synching across devices is helping to deliver an integrated experience.

Simply put, mobile computing is changing the norms of business interaction and the meaning of “customer-facing business”. GPS is a common feature in mobile devices. Social interaction platforms and applications let the user define what they see and hear and more and more, advertisers have the ability to track the individual’s online choices. The result is the rise of context and location based marketing.

Would you want to know that the latest CD of your favourite band is available in the store you are passing by? Maybe you will have an application, probably free to download as you enter the mall, that can take the information from the three music stores in the mall and give you an availability and cost comparison. As push marketing becomes more common, users will become even more savvy consumers of content and applications.

Businesses, if they wish to remain competitive, cannot ignore mobile computing for too much longer. Employees are bringing their own devices into the workplace and how these devices are managed, especially in terms of access to, and integration with business applications and data, will become very important – not only to protect company assets but to drive greater productivity, customer interaction, and collaboration with colleagues and partners.

The bottom line: mobile technologies, both devices and applications, are impacting every aspect of the average consumer’s personal and business lives, making it easier to interact, collaborate and work remotely. We are a bit behind in South Africa in terms of broader uptake of many of the benefits mobile computing brings, but the mobile marketing push and the drive to develop business strategies that leverage mobile technologies are inching us forward.

We have a lot to look forward to. Not least are more and better mobile applications, improved and enhanced user interfaces, and perhaps new business models. It is certainly going to keep IT staff busy as they begin to deal with an expanding universe populated by multiple devices all running on different platforms.


TCF: Think beyond compliance to treating customers fairly

By admin, 30 kwietnia, 2013, No Comment

In 2011, the Financial Services Board (FSB) announced it would be implementing a Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) policy for the South African financial services industry by 2014. Based on a similar policy rolled out in the UK, it’s a consumer protection plan aimed at ensuring that fair treatment of customers is central to corporate culture.

TCF dictates that customers have to be treated fairly and properly at every point of interaction with the company. More specifically, of the six TCF outcomes companies are required to deliver, outcome number six relates to managing customer complaints.

Companies that want to start embedding a culture of TCF need to understand that managing feedback and complaints properly is critical, says Colyn Dee, director at Cirrus TechVue, a company that specialises in enterprise feedback and complaints management. He says the best way to start addressing TCF requirements in the organisation is to put in place a robust feedback management system to drive the inculcation of TCF.

“The FSB has stated that TCF must be incorporated throughout the company, so that everyone understands what TCF is and can apply it,” says Dee. “A good feedback and complaints management system provides evidence of customer experiences and enables organisations to use the information they glean from the system to drive change in the business, particularly when it comes to customer service, which is perhaps the biggest competitive differentiator in the financial services industry.”

By capturing all feedback, over time organisations can gain good insight into the root cause of complaints and then set out on a path to ensure that they meet the FSB’s reporting requirements around TCF. In addition it will help them start to address the other TCF outcomes.

An occasion to boost customer loyalty
“Why do people complain?” asks Dee. “Because they want something fixed. A complaint is a pivotal point in the relationship with a customer. Complaints transition customers from agnostic to opinionated. If treated well they become more loyal. If ignored they may move on. Less than one per cent of people complain. The others just take their business elsewhere. Handling complaints well gives you an opportunity like no other to drive up customer loyalty.”

Global research also shows that handling complaints poorly can put up to 12 per cent of an organisation’s annual revenue at risk, while responding appropriately can increase loyalty by as much as eight per cent.

“Make it easy for your customers to complain,” says Dee. “People don’t trust current processes. That is why they go straight to social media to vent their anger. What people want is a fair and consistent process – even if they don’t win. That is what makes them more loyal.”

Dee adds that complaints are often complex. It’s a familiar scenario. A customer will call to query a premium that has been incorrectly debited from their account. They’ll be repeatedly cut off by the IVR system and by the time they get through to the consultant they will be annoyed with the call centre. To make matters even worse, they might get through to a consultant who is having a bad day and will be rude to them.

“That’s three different areas of the business that will form part of the customer’s complaint, making it a complex and time-consuming matter,” says Dee. “What started off as a simple query has now become a multi-faceted complaint. The right technology will enable you to embed a consistent and fair process to capture and manage customer feedback so that you can go from anecdotal to analytical, get to the root cause of customer satisfaction issues, and address them.”

In addition, it enables the organisation to create a true culture of TCF that can be proven to the FSB when necessary. Considering that UK company Combined Insurance was fined £2,8 million in 2011 for TCF failures, non-compliance is simply not an option. By the same token, what would a one per cent improvement in customer loyalty do to your organisation’s bottom line?” asks Dee. “For one UK customer, it adds £10 million to the bottom line annually.”

Cirrus TechVue will be hosting an event titled “TCF – Thinking beyond compliance” on 4, 5 and 6 June at the Wanderers Club in Illovo, Johannesburg. On the agenda is feedback form the FSB in a recent video interview, a customer case study on how to prepare for TCF, as well as a number of presentations from key UK Respond executives who will offer insight into how UK companies have addressed the same type of changes in regulations.

“Numbers will be limited to 25 people per event, and we urge insurance company CEOs, compliance officers and customer experience managers to attend,” says Dee.

Interactive Intelligence to share customer service expertise across Africa

By admin, 30 kwietnia, 2013, No Comment

Interactive Intelligence is launching a year-long campaign to educate African enterprises on customer service best practice.Through a series of webinars and in-house seminars, Interactive Intelligence aims to help African businesses improve their customer experience strategies, for bottom line business benefits.

Interactive Intelligence, a leading global provider of contact centre solutions, are announcing results of a survey which shed light onto the strategies and tools that enable customer service excellence.

“In a fast-changing environment, we see contact centres across the world challenged by the need to create a customer-centric service delivery model, while at the same time minimising overheads. In addition, contact centres are grappling with integrating new technologies and addressing customer demands for new channels for interaction with enterprises,” says Deon Scheepers, Strategic Consultant EMEA for Interactive Intelligence Africa.

Interactive Intelligence recently announced its renewed focus on penetrating the African market, where it sees huge potential for the contact centre industry. To help enterprises across Africa fast-track their customer service strategies and gain insights into new contact centre technologies and management tools, Interactive Intelligence’s new education programme has been tailored to meet the unique needs of African enterprises.

The Interactive Intelligence Customer Service in Africa series will include webinars covering topics such as strategy and planning, processes, operations and technology, with experts delivering insights and advice on addressing new technology trends such as social media, mobile and multi-channel contact centres and cloud computing. Illustrating the impact these trends can have on the contact centre, Interactive Intelligence research shows that a key contact centre trend in the coming year is a major move to the cloud, with 30% of business communications applications deployed to the cloud and the number of contact centre agent positions in the cloud expected to grow 18.7% this year.

Through its series of webinars, the company aims to help enterprises get a better understanding of the impact of new trends, learn how to adapt to them, and discover how to improve their customer service in order to improve customer experience and their overall business performance. Customer case studies will be used to illustrate how contact centre challenges can be overcome.

The webinars will be delivered in an interactive format that allows participants to pose questions to the experts. These sessions will be supported by regular seminars at the Interactive Intelligence offices in Rivonia, offering ‘deep dives’ for greater insights into the key topics. The series will kick off on 7 May, with a webinar on Customer Experience (CX), where experts will give insights into the latest local research and discuss the impact for local contact centres.

To register for the Webinar, click here.

Bonzai Megamix – The 3rd Anniversary / DJ Yves (CD/VA)

By admin, 29 kwietnia, 2013, No Comment

Bonzai Megamix – The 3rd Anniversary / DJ Yves (CD/VA) Wie Neu!!

By admin, 29 kwietnia, 2013, No Comment

(o) Amii Stewart – Megamix (Maxi)

By admin, 29 kwietnia, 2013, No Comment
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