Archive for Czerwiec, 2013

Infor ION: Infor’s top-selling and fastest growing product

By admin, 28 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

Infor has announced that more than 1300 organisations in 59 countries have purchased Infor ION, making it the top-selling and fastest-growing product in Infor’s portfolio of industry-specialised software products.

An innovative lightweight middleware, Infor ION is a flexible and powerful integration framework that seamlessly connects operational, front office and back office systems across the entire business using industry standard XML document exchange. ION enables a modern, consumer-inspired user experience that incorporates social, mobile, and cloud computing in existing environments, unlocking hidden information and analytics when and where it is needed.

Jane Thomson, Managing Director at Softworx says that ION is being used by hundreds of companies to integrate Infor applications with non-Infor applications. “With a tool like ION, companies are able to easily link their systems; drive workplace processes and trigger events all from inside the same technology framework – easily and quickly.”

To better manage the strong growth of this platform, Infor has hired Steve Moroski as senior vice president of Platform Technologies. Moroski, an industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience, joins Infor from Oracle Corp., where he most recently served as group vice president for engineered systems.

“The strong momentum Infor is experiencing for ION and other platform technologies is a testament to the benefits of simple, lightweight middleware built on open standards,” said Stephan Scholl, president of Infor. “With a proven track-record that demonstrates a unique understanding of platform technologies and their application to drive business process improvement, Steve Moroski is the ideal person to lead this high-growth area for Infor.”

Brewster Dairy, a leading international manufacturer of quality cheese, using ION to integrate its Infor ERP and asset management systems in 2011, has received widespread industry recognition for advanced use of technology to improve performance. In addition to being selected “Customer of the Year” at Inforum 2012, Brewster Dairy was recognised by Ventana Research for IT performance management, and was a finalist in the Saugatuck BEACON awards.

Futuresense delivers financial insight for African Rainbow Minerals

By admin, 28 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

Futuresense, a Johannesburg-based performance management specialist and Oracle Gold partner, has developed a financial intelligence solution for diversified mining group African Rainbow Minerals (ARM).
Replacing spreadsheets, the Oracle Hyperion Strategic Finance (HSF) solution will provide vital financial information and the ability to compare various development projects currently in progress at ARM, as it seeks to expand its operations.

“As a diversified mining company going into a growth phase, we want to invest in projects that will add the maximum value to shareholders. The Hyperion Strategic Finance toolset plays a critical role in determining where to invest, across our diversified portfolio of coal, copper, platinum, manganese, or iron ore,” says Martin Nicholson, Manager: Project Evaluation at African Rainbow Minerals Limited.

Until recently, business analysis was conducted with the support of independent financial models. However, this was a time consuming and error-prone process. “Furthermore, integrating all information into a portfolio of projects was onerous,” Nicholson notes.

Futuresense director Steven Hyslop says the company created three generic models which are applicable across ARM’s business units. He explains: “There is a Smelter, Mining, and Precious Metal HSF model. With the nature of ARM’s business, any new project that ARM is considering can use any of these models to analyse the business from a financial perspective.”

The complexity of the models is considerable and encompasses business rules and variables such as, income tax, royalties, carbon tax, funding and valuation calculations. However, with considerable groundwork invested in the models, it takes mere days to apply a suitable model to any new operation to evaluate its financial and comparative feasibility.

“Through Futuresense’s work, HSF delivers rapid scenario simulations and sensitivities across all business units, while providing the ability to instantly roll results up into a Group view. It improves executive decision-making and time-to-decision, with a high degree of integrity and confidence in the numbers,” he explains.

The results of the initiative are clearly seen, Nicholson notes. “We have confidence in the underlying structure of the models. When inputs are made, it is no longer a concern as to where and how those inputs will affect the overall output of the model but time is used to analyse the result.”

“HSF provides the ability to compare and rank individual projects, a view which was formerly difficult to achieve with the various separate spread sheets. The solution provides the intelligence to understand which projects and business units will provide a better return on investment. Using HSF is a big step towards improving our business – and, eventually will herald a change to the way in which we conduct business,” he concludes.

Reviewing top tech

By admin, 28 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

What you need to know

There have been rapid advancements in technology over the past few years with constant new developments. We have seen the launch of Apple’s smart TV, Microsoft’s Windows 8, the Blackberry 10, Samsung Galaxy S4 and a myriad of quirky digital apps. Social networking continues to grow exponentially with Facebook hitting 1.11 billion users globally at the end of March 2013 and Twitter at over 550 million users by the end of May 2013. With so much happening in the tech environment, it can be difficult to stay up-to-date.

Head of Products at MWEB, Rihana Hoosain, provides a review of today’s tech advancements and outlines what’s important to know.

Smartphones
The fall in smartphone prices has boosted sales and expanded their user profile. According to the 2013 edition of the TomiAhonen Almanac, this year will hold two milestones – the count of mobile handsets will match the count of the human population alive on the planet, as well as reaching the point where half of all new phones sold will be smartphones.

The mobile market is increasingly competitive; which is a huge innovation driver for manufacturers. Earlier this year, an Internet Trends report shows that Android smartphone adoption is increasing rapidly, and is now nearly six times higher than iPhone adoption. The constant competition amongst players like Samsung, Apple, Blackberry and HTC mean better prices with more value added services included for the consumer. According to Gustav Fachs, Mobility Director, Microsoft Middle East & Africa, Microsoft aims to become the number 1 smartphone provider in South Africa by 2016.

With the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4 this year, there has been more talk around Near Field Communication (NFC). This Wi-Fi short range technology enables you to transfer data between two devices, meaning you can simply connect your smartphone to a payment terminal and it will pick up your account details and make the payment from your phone. Depending on how much information you want to give the device access to, the NFC chip could prove to be very convenient as your phone becomes your very own e-wallet.

Mobile apps
Mobile app stores are emerging rapidly, with more apps continuing to advance and shape the way we consume media. A report from Analytics Firm Distimo reveals that the most downloaded Apps from the Apple Inc App Store are games, whilst Google Inc’s Google Play store is more popular for utility apps such as Google maps and free messaging service WhatsApp. Download the right apps for your needs, and it can make life a little more convenient.

Tablets
The International Data Corporation (IDC) increased its 2013 forecast for the worldwide tablet market to 190.9 million from its previous forecast of 172.4 million units. Indicating an extreme shift in computing, tablets have changed the way we consume and share media, enabling on-the go convenience and 24/7 connectivity. This high level of mobility empowers businesses to revolutionise the way they communicate and instigate customer engagement with their product offerings.

So how do you know which is the best tablet for you? This all depends on your needs. The Apple iPad is user-friendly as it is all about simplicity with fewer hardware extras. Android tablets offer more advanced tech features with additional hardware options such as HDMI ports that enable you to connect to a TV. Important to consider, is the amount of memory you will need, which will influence the number of apps you can store. Most tablets offer a 16GB memory that is sufficient for the general user. If you want a tablet that has the simplicity of an Apple iPad, but runs on Android, the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 is a good start. If it’s the latest buzz you’re after, the Google Nexus 7 has been very well received as one of the more popular Android Tablets this year.

E-Reading
Following the launch of the Kindle in 2007, the market for e-reading has gained huge momentum. Research has revealed that many people prefer e-reading to reading paperback or hardcover books simply for the convenience it provides. Online bookstores also offer consumers a wide selection of available books at affordable prices without any check-out queues.

The e-reading market has become a competitive one. In South Africa, the Kobo, made by Japanese Company Rakuten, launched last year as a more affordable option to Amazons highly regarded Kindle. Although the Kobo wins in price, the new Kindle Paperwhite, hailed as the world’s most advanced e-reader, with higher definition, higher contrast touchscreen with built in light and 8 weeks battery life, is enjoying great demand.

Exclusive e-readers themselves are, however, in some danger as the tablet market produces smaller, more affordable models that offer e-reading apps along with all their other uses.

Social networking
It’s no secret that social networking is growing. What’s interesting to see is the growth in the use of Pinterest, which focuses on high quality visuals that users share to their personal “pin boards”. In February 2013, Reuters and ComScore stated that Pinterest had 48.7 million users. In addition to this, video social networking has risen as the latest medium to create and share videos online, with new additions such as Twitter’s Vine but YouTube remains the most popular for now.

Social networking is now focusing on more ways to share content across platforms and continues to replace traditional news sources for information gathering. We are seeing many brands jumping on board with new social networking accounts being opened every day. Consumers are endorsing brands by using their personal social platforms to recommend preferred products to their friend base. Businesses are using social media to create engagement with their clients and provide and receive real-time feedback.

Telecoms
Cutting spending on voice communication is a key focus for most consumers and small businesses. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), which has been used by call centres and larger companies in South Africa for a while, uses your standard Internet connection and enables you to make cheaper calls over the Internet. This innovative technology is fast on the rise and being introduced into a lot of small or start-up businesses as a substitute for standard telephone usage. There are even VoIP apps available on some smart phones.

Final Word
Most of these technologies require access to reliable, affordable, high speed data services and ISP’s continue to develop and provide solutions to meet these needs. In the past few years South Africans have gained access to uncapped Internet, VDSL (Very-High-Bit-Rate Digital Subscriber Line), reliable Wi-Fi, and 4G (4th Generation)/ LTE (Long Term Evolution) Networks.

Be sure to look into all available Internet options available to you through established, reliable providers, in order to maximise your use and enjoyment of these and upcoming tech advancements.

 

Bytes awarded NetApp’s most prestigious partner status

By admin, 28 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

Bytes Systems Integration has become the first NetApp partner in South Africa, and only the third on the continent, to be awarded NetApp’s prestigious Star Partner status. Bytes was elevated to Star Partner status in June, after meeting the programme requirements and attaining the outstanding revenues necessary to be considered for such a promotion.

Mike Broderick, divisional director at Bytes Systems Integration, says that Star Partner is the highest NetApp partner status it is possible to attain. It is dependant both on the number and level of certifications an organisation has, as well as the revenue it generates.

“To be elevated to Star Partner status, you need to have NetApp bookings in excess of a certain amount, as well as comprehensive sales and professional service offerings covering NetApp solutions,” says Broderick, adding that Star Partners must also demonstrate the highest level of commitment to NetApp.

A critical benefit of the move to Star Partner, he explains, is that Bytes will now be offered higher rebates by NetApp, which in turn will allow the organisation to be even more competitive in the market.

“Moreover, it highlights our skills and experience, most notably in our understanding of the data centre and its importance to business. NetApp has a number of global agreements with international financial services enterprises, and it is obvious that the data centre is the absolute heart of such a business. Therefore, we want to leverage our Star Partner status to assist these entities as they move into the African market.”

“Bytes already has a mandate to aggressively grow its African business this year, with plans to extend far beyond the current nine African nations it operates in. Being able to highlight our Star Partner status across the continent will vastly improve our credibility and really help to drive our business forward in these markets,” he says.

Broderick points out that Bytes has been a NetApp partner of some description for many years, and has long led the charge with its solutions. He says that the company has a very strong relationship with NetApp and in terms of its experience in the marketplace, Bytes is in fact the longest standing and largest NetApp partner in South Africa.

“Bytes is proud of the strength and depth of our organisation, which has led directly to achieving Star Partner status. We are fully committed to our relationship with NetApp and look forward to a bright future of continuous innovation and growth,” concludes Broderick.

3rd annual IT Leaders East Africa Summit

By admin, 28 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

The 3rd annual IT Leaders East Africa Summit will take place from 4 to 5 September 2013 in Nairobi, the heart of Kenya’s esteemed capital city. The summit is hosted by international business-to-business conferencing company, Kinetic in proud association with the Kenya ICT Board (KICTB) and Kenya Information Technology and Outsourcing Services (KITOS).

The summit will focus on enterprise IT challenges facing the African IT industry, preventing enterprises within the continent from reaching the international standards of first world nations. The summit will address today’s top ICT and operations issues, and technological advancements impacting your enterprise with strategic guidance and actionable tactics.

Discover the most effective solutions in delivering IT projects and services that will enable business growth and innovation, while successfully leveraging existing resources and investments. Advance goals of operational excellence through powerfully demonstrating the value of IT organisation to the enterprise. Attendees will actively engage in topical discussions addressing how IT industry challenges can be overcome through effective innovation with the productive alignment of business.

For more information, visit www.itleaders-eastafrica.com or contact Gillian Nairn on +27 21 555 0866 or gillian@kineticevents.net. Follow @KineticEventsSA on Twitter & Kinetic on Facebook.

EA makes a splash with The Sims 3 Island Paradise

By admin, 28 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

Set Sail With The Latest Expansion Available Worldwide This Week

Today, the Maxis™ Label of Electronic Arts Inc., (NASDAQ: EA) announced that The Sims 3 Island Paradise Expansion Pack* for PC/Mac® is now available across retailers in South Africa and on Origin.com. For the first time ever, players can dive beneath the waves and explore what lies on the ocean floor, build and cruise along on their very own houseboat to discover uncharted islands or create and run a five-star resort experience. With so many innovative features introduced for the first time in The Sims PC gaming franchise, The Sims 3 Island Paradise truly opens up a world of new possibilities for players to discover on land and in sea.

“In The Sims 3 Island Paradise, The Sims Studio has brought to life a tropical vacation for players to experience without ever having to leave home,” says Ryan Vaughan, Producer for The Sims. “With so many new gameplay features included in this game, players will be able to explore, inhabit and discover beachside bliss just as they would in real life.”

In The Sims 3 Island Paradise, players can snorkel and scuba dive beneath the sea where they will discover an aquatic world filled with sea life, collectibles, caves and sunken treasure. Underwater explorations can lead to many new adventures including befriending mermaids, spotting legendary sea monsters and potentially life-threatening encounters with sharks.

For players looking to move around and explore the different islands, a houseboat may be their perfect new abode. These fully customizable floating homes make a first time appearance in any Sims game and give players the option to extend their explorations by living a life fully at sea or by breaking away for a day’s escape.

It’s not all fun in the sun though. Players seeking management opportunities will reap the benefits of building and owning their own resort. Be it a family-friendly resort of waterslides and buffet tables, a romantic retreat with bungalows in the sand, or a singles resort that features pool bars, players will make management decisions that will affect their resort’s success. Whether it’s adding in pools and fire walk pits, upgrading guest rooms or selecting from daily beverage specials, players will be able to fine-tune their resort’s amenities based on feedback received from customer reviews.

Players looking to add a little heat to their island getaway can order The Sims 3 Island Paradise on Origin and get the Carnaval Costumes Pack**, featuring two exclusive outfits to make any tropical night more festive. Female Sims will be the life of the party in a feather-clad costume while male Sims can spread their wings like a peacock in an ostentatious ensemble.

The Sims 3 Island Paradise has been rated 13 S by the Film and Publication Board (FPB) in South Africa. To learn more about The Sims 3 Island Paradise, visit http://www.thesims.com/the-sims-3-island-paradise.

Press assets for The Sims 3 Island Paradise can be found at www.info.ea.com.

 

 

 

34 and wiGroup Integrating mobile couponing for high-impact campaigns

By admin, 28 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

Running successful brand campaigns across multiple retailers can be a challenge – and when it comes to using mobile coupons and vouchers, the challenges have been more like roadblocks. But thanks to wiGroup’s mobile transaction platform, wiPlatform, that’s already in place at several major retailers, Cape Town agency 34 has just become the first agency in South Africa to use mobile vouchers across multiple retailers in a single campaign. wiPlatform enables retailers to accept any form of mobile transaction or currency at their point of sale (POS) through a single integration.

Tasked with introducing Clover’s new The One 1%-fat milk to the market, 34’s Judy During and her team developed the “Pick up one good habit with The One” campaign which ran from January 1 to February 28 this year. The campaign integrated a Facebook app and wiGroup enabled mobile vouchers with print and TV advertising, in-store activations and on-pack promotion.

“The campaign enabled us to tap into and support the New Year resolutions we knew everyone would be making,” says During. “Facebook fans could sign up to develop one of eight good habits including getting fit, stopping smoking and eating more healthily. Depending on their preferences, we supported them with daily or weekly communications with how-to information and motivational tips.”

Fans who reported their progress regularly were eligible for prizes ranging from R10 off vouchers for The One to a R25,000 grand prize at the end of the campaign. Vouchers were sent directly to consumers’ cellphones via SMS, and could be redeemed in any Checkers, Shoprite or Pick n Pay store by giving the unique code to a till operator.

“We issued nearly 1,500 vouchers and had a remarkably high redemption rates of between 16% and 32% across the two retailers” says During. “With paper-based coupons and vouchers we’d be looking at redemption rates from 1-5% — and it’s much more expensive. wiGroup enabled mobile coupons and vouchers also have the advantage that we can track redemptions in real time, instead of having to wait three months for a report.”

During says the technical aspect of the process worked perfectly: “It’s crucial that the backend systems work seamlessly, and we had no problems at all getting the wiGroup platform to integrate with our Facebook app.”

“We will definitely do this again,” says During. “Paper coupons and vouchers will continue to have a place, but this has put an attractive new touchpoint on to the rate card.”

Bytes partners with Lumidigm on fingerprint identity authentication

By admin, 28 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

Bytes Technology Group has become a Lumidigm partner, following its acquisition of Brand New Technology (BNT), which had a broad range of exclusive distribution agreements in place focussed on delivering identification management solutions.

The acquisition has seen Bytes Technology Group become the exclusive distributor in Africa and the Middle East for global authentication solutions company Lumidigm.

“Bytes has worked alongside BNT for several years to build an established customer base and strategic market share for Lumidigm biometric fingerprint readers locally,” says Nick Perkins, divisional director, identity management solutions, Bytes Systems Integration. “Our identity management solutions division focuses largely on customer identity verification solutions, and having access to Lumidigm’s multispectral imaging (MSI) technology ensures that customers who want to use fingerprint readers, get the very best fingerprint technology available. With Bytes SI’s large footprint in South Africa and across the continent the partnership made sense as it enables further penetration of the market for both companies.”

Perkins says customers want fingerprint technology that focuses on real world conditions. Most solution providers use conventional optical technology whereas Lumidigm uses its patented multi spectral imaging technology. With optical technology, the finger must be clean, and sensors image only that part of the finger that is in contact with the platen, resulting in an “ink on paper” fingerprint effect. With Lumidigm MSI, the fingerprint reader uses a direct imaging process that “sees all” characteristics of the surface and subsurface of the finger, even those not in direct contact with the platen. This produces a highly detailed image which is much more unique and, when compared with future matches, is far superior at matching than optical fingerprint readers.

The real benefit of MSI technology, he adds, is that “poor” fingerprints can be enrolled too, including those of older people and manual labourers. “If you cannot obtain an image upfront with which you can match against in the future, the system can never be properly deployed. Lumidigm MSI now ensures you can, regardless of the quality of the fingerprint.”

Lumidigm is already in use at five of the top six banks in South Africa, and in a number of other industries. As a result of the number of fraudulent transactions taking place in Africa, Perkins says, the market is demanding assurance of identity when transacting with customers. This affects financial services, retail, telecommunications, hospitality, government and any organisation that interacts with a customer who have to provide an identity credential – such as a credit, store or loyalty card – during the transaction process.

“Organisations want confirmation that the person presenting these credentials is in fact the owner of that credential, and is entitled to make use of it,” he says. “A simple solution is to match a fingerprint against the card credential during the transaction to ensure that the person presenting the card is the rightful owner. The market is enormous and Bytes and Lumidigm are well positioned to assist organisations achieve greater efficiencies and operating cost reductions,” adds Perkins.

2nd annual East Africa Outsourcing Summit

By admin, 27 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

The 2nd annual East Africa Outsourcing Summit will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nairobi from 2 to 3 September 2013. The summit is hosted by international business-to-business conferencing company, Kinetic in proud association with the Kenya ICT Board (KICTB) and Kenya Information Technology and Outsourcing Services (KITOS).

This summit will provide a platform for existing and potential players within the outsourcing sphere in East Africa to network and learn from experts in other outsourcing regions. Attendees will have the opportunity to gain knowledge on current, global trends and learn the practical steps needed to increase market penetration and recognition.

With content designed for CIOs, IT leaders, sourcing, and vendor managers, this summit will deliver the insights needed to achieve successful BPO operations that support both current and long-term business objectives.

This summit will provide existing and potential service providers the opportunity to network and exchange ideas to gain insight on developments and best practices within the industry.

For more information, visit www.eaosummit.com or contact Gillian Nairn on +27 21 555 0866 or gillian@kineticevents.net. Follow @KineticEventsSA on Twitter & Kinetic on Facebook.

Webinar: Optimise the Customer Experience

By admin, 27 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

Organisations are investing millions of dollars to improve the customer experience. These servicing strategies are tied to an unprecedented number of customer contact points – inbound/phone/outbound/email/chat/social. Consistent customer service delivery is a serious challenge. So is planning for it.

Ever wondered:

  • If you are using the right metrics to measure “customer experience”?
  • How effective and accurate your analysis, planning and forecasting is?

This is the second in a brand-new series of webinars, this time highlighting the importance of Workforce Management within your Customer Experience Strategy and the key role that your contact centre can play to deliver Service Excellence.

The webinar on the 2nd July at 14:00 CAT will focus specifically on agent capacity planning and analysis. Interactive Intelligence will give insight into how to optimise contact centre resources and performance in order to get the right number of agents, in the right place, at the right time, to deliver exceptional service.

Kelly Witherspoon, workforce management expert at Interactive Intelligence, will be presenting and the session will be moderated by Deon Scheepers, strategic consultant at Interactive Intelligence.

Register for the free webinar to learn what your organisation can do to be at the cutting and competitive edge of customer service delivery.

Date: 2 July 2013
Time: 14:00 CAT

 

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