Archive for Czerwiec, 2013

MTN Business enters into a strategic partnership with Britehouse

By admin, 27 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

MTN Business announced today that it has entered into a strategic partnership with Britehouse, a SAP channel and services partner. Through this partnership, MTN Business becomes one of the first telecommunications providers of the SAP® Business One Cloud solution in South Africa. The solution will be branded MTN Business ERP and is the first product offering within the MTN Business ERP portfolio, with more solutions to be added in the future.

Commenting on the relationship, Kanagaratnam Lambotharan (Lambo), Chief Enterprise Business Officer (CEBO), former CTO, at MTN SA, said: “We are pleased to join hands with Britehouse to address the growing demand of SAP solutions in South Africa. This will enhance our cutting-edge capabilities of the delivery of state-of-the-art services and business excellence to our customers.”

MTN Business ERP is a cloud based, integrated business management solution designed for small businesses or subsidiaries of large enterprises. It is a full end-to-end solution, available for purchase from MTN Business, that integrates all core business functions across a company, including financials, sales, customer relationship management, inventory and operations.

“Bringing this end-to-end solution to our customers allows MTN to further leverage our MPLS network and Internet access investment. Furthermore, this solution complements our existing range of MTN cloud services available to the market, which aligns to our MTN Business growth strategy;” adds Lambotharan.

Unlike many other small business solutions on the market, this solution offers businesses a single application to manage critical business processes, eliminating the need for separate installations and complex integration of multiple modules.

“The purpose of ERP is to facilitate the flow of information between all business functions inside the boundaries of an organisation, as well as to manage outside stakeholders,” adds Lambotharan. “The MTN Business ERP solution allows customers to achieve just this, with the benefits of cost and risk optimisation as well as strategic agility.”

MTN Business is currently the only service provider that can offer this complete solution to the market, encompassing connectivity, device, and solution access as a single offering. What’s more, as it is a cloud based solution, it is easy to set up, use as well as customise to meet the changing needs of a business.

MTN Business is leveraging its extensive network footprint to provide access to the solution for customers looking to manage their businesses from anywhere at any time. This means that customers can have up to the second information and control of their business activities no matter their location. Access to the solution is done via an online portal or through an application on a mobile device. This partnership is another example of how MTN Business is creating a full comprehensive ICT value proposition to the market.

“MTN is committed to partnerships that complement MTN’s strengths in the local market and this is another demonstration of that promise. The integrated ERP capabilities of MTN Business enable customers to streamline and optimise operations, increase business insight, and reduce total cost of ownership. This will result in increased business agility through the flexibility to size up or down based on changing business requirements with limited investment risk,” concludes Lambotharan.

SAP Business One is used in more than 120 countries globally with localised versions offered in countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, and now is available in South Africa.

 

Microsoft Office 365 vs. Office 2013 for the home user

By admin, 27 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

By Cindy du Toit, Microsoft Product Specialist at Drive Control Corporation

When it comes to buying the latest version of Microsoft’s Office solution, home users now have even more choice than ever, with the release of Office 365 alongside Office 2013. Cutting through the clutter of information around the products, what the various versions offer and what advantages there are to each product can be a challenging task. Deciding which solution is best for you depends on many factors, including the solutions you need access to, your budget, and the number of devices you use. Once you know which product offers what and for how much, the decision becomes a lot easier to make.

The first thing home users need to know is the fundamental difference between Office 2013 and Office 365. Office 2013 Home & Student is the latest home user version of the software we are all used to – you have a single license, and you either download the software or install it from a DVD. This license is valid for a single PC or notebook. Office 365 on the other hand is a cloud-based solution, which means that you are basically leasing a service from Microsoft for an annual fee. An Office 365 subscription can be installed on up to five devices, including PCs, notebooks and tablet devices.

This basic difference does not, however, tell the whole story. Office 2013 Home & Student includes the basic functionality of the Office Suite – Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote. It does not include Outlook, Publisher and Access, which are only available on the Office 2013 Professional 2013 software solution. However, once the license is purchased, it is yours, and can be used indefinitely. This license does not entitle you to upgrade to a newer version of the software when it is launched. Office 365 Home Premium, on the other hand, offers all of the features of Office 2013 Professional, but the subscription is only valid for a single year. However, during your subscription, should an upgrade to a newer version of the software become available, you will automatically be eligible for this upgrade.

Pricing is another important factor to consider. Office 2013 Home & Student retails for a recommended price of R849.99 including VAT, for a permanent license for a single device. Office 365 Home Premium carries a subscription of R649.99 per year for up to five devices. However, one must bear in mind the differences in functionality between these two. If you wish to purchase a license for similar functionality from Office 2013, you will need am Office Professional license, which retails at R3699.00 including VAT.

Aside from additional Office applications, Office 365 provides access to a host of other tools and advanced functionality, including a full Personal Information Manager in the cloud, and an Outlook web app which lets you access many of the functions of your desktop Outlook wherever you are on a mobile device. This web app synchronises with your desktop application and gives you added flexibility in how you manage your emails. Office 365 also supports the SharePoint Workspace offline tool, which lets you work on your desktop and then synchronise with the cloud when you are connected. Office on Demand also enables you to stream Office applications to any PC from Office.com, letting you use these applications normally and save documents to SkyDrive, uninstalling and leaving no trace when you are done. This means you can access your full Office suite from any computer, anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.

If you only require access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, and do not need this extra functionality, then Office 2013 may be the solution for you. Depending on your needs, Office 2013 may be more cost effective, particularly if you only have a single device, do not need access to advanced features, and do not need access to the very latest version of the software at all times. If you do not wish to pay an annual subscription, then this software is also ideal. Office 2013 is permanent, once you have purchased it, it is yours to use, whereas with Office 365 if you cancel your subscription you will no longer have access to the software and will only be able to read documents that you have saved.

However, in terms of value for money, Office 365 Home Premium is the perfect solution for any home user. It includes much more functionality than Office 2013 Home & Student and you have the option of upgrading to a newer version of Office should it be launched. With Office 365 you can install the latest Office suite on up to five Windows and Mac devices. It also has the added benefit of accessing Office from your mobile device, and is highly cost effective for a family with multiple PCs.

The decision of which solution to choose may have become more complex with the launch of Office 365, but the added functionality is a major bonus for many users. Cloud solutions such as Office 365 offer a cost effective way for home and small business users to access features and functionality that were previously only available to large enterprises, letting you do more for less and enabling you to work from home or ‘on the go’ with a familiar set of products such as the Office Suite.

 

DCC appoints new Dell Commercial Product Specialist to enhance service to the channel

By admin, 27 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

Distributor Drive Control Corporation (DCC) has appointed George Lodewick as its new Dell Commercial Product Specialist. Lodewick is responsible for the Commercial range of products including the Latitude, Optiplex and Precision ranges, notebooks, PCs and workstation that have been specifically designed for the business and enterprise markets. He brings a wealth of experience to the position from a varied background, having previously held positions at Axiz and Pinnacle along with other distributors, as well as at a reseller and retail.

“The commercial product range relies on the channel for sales, and having a dedicated product specialist in this area will help us to provide enhanced and improved service to our valued channel partners. Lodewick was the ideal candidate with his background in both the distributor and reseller environment, which gives him a valuable perspective of the requirements at both ends of the channel,” says Frank Lumley, Dell Business Unit Manager at DCC.

Lodewick holds an A+ certification as well as a Business Management Diploma, and has gained more than 13 years of experience in sales and marketing in retail, distribution and reseller environments. Although he had interviewed for a pure sales position, this broad knowledge base and experience secured his position as Product Specialist after DCC recognised the value he would add to the team. In his spare time Lodewick enjoys cycling, reading, playing the guitar, listening to music and watching television.

“It has been my goal to become a product manager at a distributor for some time, and I am happy to have reached this milestone. My background in sales and dealing with a variety of clients and government will stand me in good stead, and my knowledge of the market and the environment will assist me in elevating myself to this new position. I am looking forward to tackling the challenges that come my way,” says Lodewick.

“For the next six months I will be focusing on learning as much as I can about DCC and its channel and customers, which will only be of benefit in my position. I will also be concentrating on driving awareness of my product ranges and enhancing my team’s sales figures,” he concludes.

New team means business at TEAMtalk media

By admin, 27 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

Digital sports media company, TEAMtalk media, is famous not only for its dynamic digital sports sites, but also for its hardworking management and sales team. This month saw two new additions to their team ‒ and they mean business.

Sphiwe Mahlangu joins the TEAMtalk media team as New Business Sales Consultant. Having worked in a number of industries, including telecoms and public relations, Mahlangu is a driven and comprehensive thinker. With previous experience at Mxit and Vox Orion, his passion for working with people and his ‘keep it simple’ approach, make him a valuable addition to the team.

Joining Mahlangu is TEAMtalk media veteran, Dave Morris. Known for his role as senior rugby writer, he has traded in his boots to take on his role as New Business Sales Consultant. Since returning from a stint in the UK in 2005 he turned his dream of writing for Planet Rugby into a reality. With a passion for sports, Morris has had many highlights across his professional career, one of which was travelling around the country in 2009 as a journalist for Planet Rugby during the British and Irish Lions tour to SA.

So what do this dynamic duo have in common? They are passionate about what they do and delivering top results to both clients and sporting fans.

Cheaper smart phones to improve the lives of more people

By admin, 27 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

While the South African mobile telecommunications sector continues to be one of the fastest growing sectors in the country, the market is still dominated by feature phones. “Over the next two to three years we hope to see cheaper smart phones coming to the market place, allowing more citizens the benefits of smart phone technology,” says OnePixel COO Nicholas Rixon. “This would allow more people to browse the Internet, gain access to mobile Apps that could help them in everyday life, and enable them to communicate with friends and family using cheaper methods like Whatsapp or WeChat,” explains Rixon.

Blackberry currently leads the way in the smartphone sector, with its free data plans, BBM service and affordable device range. At the same time Samsung is looking to eat away at the Blackberry market with its Android operating system offering a superior user experience, while Apple is talking of bringing out a cheaper version of its revolutionary iPhone. “All this makes for a very interesting future mobile landscape that could bring smart capability phones to more people,” says Rixon.

The South African mobile market remains fragmented in terms of devices and the operating systems that support them. The use of mobile devices as a wallet and money-transferring device is a new hot topic, and the race is on to see which technology will emerge as the defacto money exchange method in the mobile space. The success of M-Pesa mobile-phone based money transfer service in Kenya has pushed other African countries to adopt mobile as a valid means of banking the unbanked.

The mobile wallet sector in South Africa has matured over recent months with wallets becoming a reality for high-end devices like Android, Blackberry and Apple devices through the use of mobile wallet Apps. Near Field Communication (NFC) is also impacting the retail and local mobile wallet space. NFC is contactless Wi-fi lite technology that will become a permanent feature on the phones of the future. Right now only a limited number of smartphones have NFC built in, but the next generation of smartphones will have the technology included internally. NFC has the power to change the way users interact with retailers with regards to paying for goods and customer engagement. For example, retailers will be able to identify shoppers as they enter a store and offer loyalty points just for visiting.

Location Based Services (LBS) is also a growing topic and a technology that has matured over time and can now offer some real value. Users can make use of LBS to discover new interesting places close by, locate retail specials and make contact with friends and family nearby. On the brand side of things, businesses will be able to make direct contact with users who frequent certain areas and provide them tailored offers that maximise their time in that space, which is a win/win situation for both users and retailers.

“Overall, the expected growth in the smart phone market in the coming months and years will have a positive impact on people’s lives by allowing them to browse, bank, communicate, connect and shop more effectively,” concludes Rixon.

Trade Up with Nashua Mobile’s Smart Trade

By admin, 27 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

As a Nashua Mobile customer, you can now get more from your old device and Trade Up to a more elegant smartphone, through the new Nashua Mobile Smart Trade Programme which was launched in June 2013. This is another one of Nashua Mobile’s simple, but smart ideas to save you money.

3 Easy Smart Trade steps:

  1. Charge your old phone before taking it to a store for a trade in quote. Remember to erase all personal data from the phone & remove the SIM card.
  2. Have your device assessed at your nearest Nashua Mobile store or phone 0861 412 412 for a   provisional quote.
  3. Get your SMART TRADE quote from our consultant. Once you have accepted the quote, you choose how you’d like to benefit.

With Smart Trade you’ll pay less when you take a new contract, upgrade or purchase a new device. You can even use your trade in value to purchase accessories, data or airtime. You are not required to return the charger, receipt or the original packaging. All that’s required is the device.  The value will be determined by the device’s condition.

However to maximise the Smart Trade value, the screen must be undamaged, the device must power up and have no signs of water damage. If not, Nashua Mobile will still allow you to trade it in, but at a lower value!

Not only does Smart Trade save you money, but it also allows you to do your part for the environment. Nashua Mobile will recycle or redistribute your old device in a way that is friendly to the planet.

What’s great is the fine print isn’t complicated either:

  • The Smart Trade programme is exclusive only to Nashua Mobile customers. This benefit will also apply to new contracts.
  • The trade-in value quoted for the used device is subject to inspection of the device.
  • The trade-in value cannot be set off against a specific cost such as a hardware subsidy or used over 24 months. The trade-in value received is loaded as a credit on the customers’ Nashua Mobile account.  Any expenses on the customers’ account thereafter will be offset against the value until the credit is depleted.
  • The turn-around time for the trade in and credit will be 5 working days.

Visit the Nashua Mobile website for a store near you and don’t just trade in but trade up with Smart Trade.

Bigger isn’t better – why partnering with SMEs benefits business

By admin, 27 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

High on the CIO’s wish list from a partner is personal support, agility and an understanding of the business’s unique strategic needs. SMEs can deliver these, says Elingo CEO Ian Goss-Ross.

Bigger is not always better when it comes to ICT partners. When a corporate entity grows beyond a certain size, it has a tendency to become slower to adapt to change, bogged down in bureaucracy, and less inclined to focus on individual customer needs. To cope, it tends to compartmentalise customers and deliver the same services across the board.

This is in stark contrast with what CEOs and CIOs need from their ICT partners in an increasingly competitive landscape. Now, ICT needs to deliver in an agile, always-on manner, 100% in line with the business’s strategic goals and able to adapt on the fly.

Enter SMEs. Increasingly, enterprises are seeing the value of partnering with SMEs when IT matters. In the past five years, we have seen a growing volume of the work done through the channels involving numerous smaller implementation and support partners. In some cases, this may be due to empowerment procurement imperatives, but mostly, we believe it is due to the fact that SMEs offer several advantages over large enterprises when it comes to delivering.

SMEs care more. Quite simply, SMEs likely to have fewer customers than major enterprises do. Each of these customers contributes a significant portion of the SME’s revenue, unlike in a major corporate, where revenue from a single customer is just a drop in the bucket. Because each customer is so important to the SME’s survival, the small enterprise will try harder to ensure it delivers faster on its customer’s needs.

SME employees have a stake in customer satisfaction. By their very nature, SMEs employ only the best skills and have a low tolerance for employees who do not perform. There is nowhere for a non-performer to ‘hide’ within an SME environment and such staff tend to move on rapidly. Performers tend to take the SME’s success personally, and there is often a low staff turnover within an SME. Because SMEs are small, management is likely to be in regular contact with all staff, ensuring that strategy is communicated on an ongoing basis. This means staff within an SME tends to be skilled, enthusiastic and committed to its success – which ensures better service for its customers.

SMEs are agile. Because SMEs are smaller, and management is involved at every level, SMEs are able to action decisions and adapt to market conditions far faster than major corporates can.

SMEs will deliver. Because each customer is so crucial to an SME’s success, the SME is likely to go the extra mile to deliver. Now, SMEs can deliver the same product sets large corporates can. Reputable SMEs will ensure they have solid partnerships with top vendors, in order to support their solutions. If they do not have a specific skill in-house, they will likely partner with another SME in order to support their customers’ needs. They are cognisant of the competition, and will ensure that their employees remain certified and skilled in order to retain their competitiveness

When choosing an SME partner you should:

  • Rely on word of mouth recommendations
  • Pay site visits and carry out customer checks
  • Establish its culture and values
  • Assess projects the SME has implemented
  • Look at the SME’s track record. In the case of start-ups, assess the track records of individual founding members.

It isn’t easy for ICT start-ups to succeed in South Africa. It takes funding, skills, resources, and up to three years to build a track record worthy of customer attention. Those that achieve this have invested heavily in their survival. The fact that they have survived in a highly challenging market demonstrates their agility, skill, problem-solving ability, perseverance and service excellence – and these qualities are all high on the CEO and CIO wish list when it comes to selecting partners.

 

Samsung provides a converged gaming experience

By admin, 27 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

Link your mobile device to your TV

Thanks to a new range of gaming titles on the Samsung Apps store, Samsung Electronics South Africa says local consumers are now able to integrate their mobile devices with their Smart TVs and take their entertainment experience to a new level.

“Companies are quick to talk about the converged lifestyle without really understanding what it means. At Samsung, we are committed to providing our customers with an experience unlike any other – giving them the ability to use their mobile devices and Smart TV sets to talk to one another and engage with games like never before,” says Lance Berger, Head of Product Marketing TV/AV at Samsung Electronics South Africa. “This means that the mobile device becomes an extension of the game on the TV and gets the whole family involved in something fun and interactive.”

For example, a person can use their Samsung smartphone or tablet to control what is happening on the TV set at the time. In Monopoly, the dice is rolled on the mobile device and the board is visible on the TV. For a Black Jack Party, the cards of a person are displayed on the mobile device while the TV becomes the ‘table’.

However, these converged experiences extend to beyond board and card games. There are also several apps based on the 2012 London Games including Archery and Shooting that sees the mobile device become an extension of the action that is happening on the TV. Other family favourites to utilise this technology include Bubble Pop, Shaking, Gunman: The Legend Begins, Lumberjack: The Mighty Bear, Air Force, and You’re Fired to name but a few. The little ones are also not excluded and can also experience this interactivity through exciting titles such as Three Little Pigs and Gingerbread Man.

“People demand so much more from their entertainment experiences than in the past. With Samsung, we are showing them how easy and integrated the connected lifestyle becomes with our devices. It is no longer just a case of families playing electronic games on their own, rather we provide the gateway to fun family game nights with the latest technology and product innovation,” concludes Berger.

Spam in May 2013: Microsoft’s “golden ticket”

By admin, 27 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

In May, the percentage of spam in email traffic was down 2.5 percentage points and averaged 69.7%. The experts at Kaspersky Lab noted a very slight increase in the share of phishing emails compared with April, while malicious attachments were detected in 2.8% of emails, an increase of 0.4 percentage points from the previous month. In a bid to persuade users to open these attachments, spammers imitated legitimate notifications from popular Internet services and logistics companies such as Amazon, UPS or Western Union. As expected, social networking sites remained the most attractive target for phishers.

Most of the world’s spam originated from two countries – China (21.4%) and the United States (16.3%). South Korea completed the top three – its contribution continued to grow and reached 12% in May.

Spammers continued to exploit national holidays in the US – Mother’s Day and Memorial Day – to advertise goods and services. After Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day is the second most active holiday for spam mailings, and the quantity of spam from “flower” partner programmes increases dramatically in the preceding days and weeks.

Our experts warn that not all of this holiday-related spam is a harmless inconvenience: users’ personal data – including banking credentials – may be the spammer’s main target. For instance, a number of phishing messages were sent in May disguised as Microsoft customer service support emails with the specific aim of stealing personal data.

The messages, which at first glance appear to come from the perfectly legitimate microsoft.com domain, stated that the user’s “Microsoft Window” records would be suspended due to updates – supposedly recommended in earlier messages – not being installed. Recipients are told to immediately follow the link in the email to avoid any disruption. Users who fell for the scam ended up on a phishing site specially crafted to steal personal information.

Other mass mailings contained fraudulent notifications of wins in a non-existent lottery that was supposedly organised by Microsoft. In some mailings the scammers sent notifications about the supposed win and asked recipients to contact them for more information, while other messages promised huge sums of money while asking for a small payment to cover the costs of processing the winnings.

As the holiday season gets underway internationally, experts anticipate a further increase in the number of fake notifications sent allegedly on behalf of well-known companies.

“We advise caution if you receive a notification from any service. Remember that official mailings never ask customers to enter and confirm personal or banking information via links contained in emails. Nor do they threaten to block customer accounts.

Never click on a link if your antivirus programme or a browser has blocked it. Pay close attention to the links in the message. If the link indicated in the email leads to an unofficial site or if the text of the email shows the address of the official website while the link leads to another page, this is a clue that you may have a phishing email in front of you. If you have any doubts about the authenticity of the email, contact the customer support of the organisation which supposedly sent the email and find out whether this mass mailing really was sent out,” says Darya Gudkova, Head of Content Analysis & Research at Kaspersky Lab.

 

Why we cannot ignore the impact of a virtualised business market

By admin, 27 czerwca, 2013, No Comment

There are specific benefits associated with virtualisation, cloud computing and web-services in business. Experts in the field of IT solution development, integration and application believe that there is now greater awareness of the realities of acquiring and utilising these services – and that, ultimately, success is dependent on connectivity.

In an overview of the current market, Bradley Love, MD of Network Platforms, a South African provider of IT solutions, says that whilst the term ‘cloud’ has emerged as a buzzword and there is more emphasis from software providers on hosted cloud services, connectivity plays a substantial role in cloud solutions.

“One of the fundamental aspects affecting Cloud services is connectivity and the recent price decrease and improvements is speeds have contributed to companies moving to or considering Cloud services,” Love explains.

Love says there is a growing awareness of what virtualisation, cloud computing and web-services mean for the market. It is all about positioning services and technology to differentiate the business.

“The impacts of cloud computing include quick deployment, cost savings, better infrastructure and scalability,” he continues.

Network Platforms suggests that email, file storage, off-site backups, disaster recovery, PBX, HR, CRM and accounting applications can be deployed quickly because there is no need to procure and setup the server infrastructure required to host these applications.

“Traditionally the server infrastructure that is procured to host internal infrastructure needs to be replaced every five years so this element is eliminated. The other cost saving is there is no need to employ the services of a company to manage the server infrastructure,” adds Love.

In order to meet market demands and adapt to pressures on the system, companies are looking to invest in access to hardware infrastructure that would previously have been difficult or costly to implement.

“The hardware that hosts the applications within the datacentres generally has a lot of redundancies and infrastructure that would not make business sense to implement from a cost perspective – like generators, security, fire suppression, cooling, multiple servers for failover, multiple switches, multiple storage platforms and in some cases multiple data centres and very good connectivity. Furthermore, if there is a requirement for additional hardware – due to growth, for example, if more memory, processors or disk space is required this can be allocated quickly,” Love continues.

But before decision makers decide to branch into cloud service, management at Network Platforms suggest they review what connectivity is available from locations that need to access the cloud services, as well as cost implications, amongst other considerations.

Love adds that it is important to confirm what hardware infrastructure the services will be hosted on in order to understand the redundancies and what backup procedures are in place.

With regard to the further rollout of web-services to compliment cloud uptake and delivery, Love suggests that trust required by client to handing over their infrastructure to be hosted is one challenge and connectivity another.

Despite the challenges, Love is confident of the growth opportunity that resides in these technologies and application across Africa.

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