Archive for Lipiec, 2013

SARS sets the example with proactive transaction monitoring with Oversight.

By admin, 18 lipca, 2013, No Comment

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has become the first local public sector institution to implement Oversight, a leading provider of solutions for monitoring transactions in the procurement system in real time. The organisation will be using Oversight to further improve its existing internal control mechanisms.

Oversight enables the continuous monitoring of transactions, and integrates with all major ERP and bespoke solutions. It is endorsed by SAP, the enterprise platform used by SARS, and is used by leading international organisations such the US Department of Defence, Coca-Cola and McDonalds.

“SARS consistently sets the pace when it comes to the smart use of technology. They are using Oversight to be even more proactive in identifying process improvement, particularly where there is particular risk of fraud, price manipulation, deviation from tender processes and corruption,” says Zola Ntolosi, Corporate Services Director, Barnstone. Barnstone is Oversight’s only partner in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ntolosi was until last year responsible for the organisational strategy of the Special Investigating Unit, and also for advising the various Heads of the Unit. He also played a leading role in the formation and steering of various government initiatives to improve governance and obtain better value for money, such as the Multi-Agency Working Group and the Anti-Corruption Task Team.

Themba Godi, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) says that the implementation of intelligent tools such as Oversight in the public sector would be significant as it would demonstrate the seriousness with which government regards improved governance particularly in procurement processes and in combating corruption. “Service delivery is a major priority and is negatively affected by corruption,” he says. “This would be a good milestone when it comes to using smart technology to strengthen the public accounting function across government.”

Ntolosi said “Recent international and local legal reforms have seen increasing pressure on directors and accounting officers to ensure that the best possible controls are in place and reviewed constantly. Individuals tasked with the responsibility of governance now assume serious personal liability for shortcomings in this area. For example, in terms of the United Kingdom’s Bribery Act, directors can be held individually liable for bribery unless they can prove that they have done everything possible to prevent it.”

Software that monitors transactions has emerged as one of the most effective tools in helping managers in both the public and private sectors to provide dynamic controls for corporate systems. Oversight Systems is a leader in this field, using analytics to provide managers with an easy way to pinpoint potential errors and risks in core organisational processes.

“Oversight has more than a decade of experience in helping corporate managers use the power of analytics to continually refine their organisational controls without having themselves to become analytics experts,” says Leon Dippenaar, senior finance and processes consultant at Barnstone Corporate Services. “We believe this software could play a significant role in helping public and private entities see through the complexity of their process environment to identify areas of concern.”

MobiPay chooses 4most SAP solution for ease of integration

By admin, 16 lipca, 2013, No Comment

Namibian based E-Money Issuer MobiPay will implement SAP Business One, from 4most, to assist them in the delivery of their integrated E-Money and Mobile Payment and VAS 3rd Party solutions in Namibia.

MobiPay, Namibia’s first licensed and authorised mobile payment solution and E-Money Issuer, provides the local community with the capability to transfer money, pay bills, buy airtime and electricity and make Point of Sale payments. Available across all networks, and compatible with all handsets and models, MobiPay users are able to take advantage of this service from the comfort of their mobile phone.

The extension of financial services to any community, particularly via mobile, brings with it greater flexibility, ease of use and quality of life. By opening doors to opportunities, often business related and perhaps not previously possible, the financial and social empowerment of communities is often accelerated.

Namibia is no exception to the exponential growth experienced in Africa’s mobile phone market, making MobiPay’s mobile payment solution perfectly suited. But convenience brings risk, with security regarded as one of the biggest barriers to entry in the mobile payment market.

As a result, whilst the implementation of SAP Business One will provide the benefit of a core integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) application, enabling and supporting end-to-end business processes, the financial integrity afforded is as important. This will be made possible through provision of controls eliminating any manual intervention during the processing of financial transactions.

“Integration was vital when considering possible options,” says Claus Deckenbrock, Commercial Director at MobiPay. “In addition to a core ERP application, we require integration of our bespoke financial transactional environment and other interfaces directly into the chosen technology.” This will enable MobiPay to secure the way mobile transactions and payments of electricity and other prepaid or post-paid services are made, providing them with an accurate and real-time cash management solution and improving customer efficiencies.

To further ensure integration of their business environment, together with a seamless and streamlined operation, MobiPay will also implement SAP HANA. By taking advantage of the latest in-memory computing technology, it will provide MobiPay with real-time analysis and reporting on the information held in their SAP ERP solution. “Our high transaction volumes generate large amounts of data,” says Deckenbrock. “SAP HANA will enable us to take advantage of the latest in-memory computing technology, providing real-time analysis and reporting on this data, turning it into an asset we can use.”

“Information is power,” adds Eugene Olivier, business development director at 4most, a leading supplier and implementer of SAP Business One and ERP software and technology. “SAP HANA is enabling our customers to access their data, analyse and make sense of it at the touch of a button. It is ensuring faster and more accurate decision making, leading to greater productivity and cost efficiencies.”

“SAP HANA takes our investment with 4most one step further,” adds Deckenbrock. “And will put us in control of our business in a way not previously enjoyed,” he concludes.

Mobile commerce on the up – but lagging a bit in South Africa?

By admin, 16 lipca, 2013, No Comment

While the growth in the mobile sector in South Africa might not match the 44 percent growth expected globally this year, it is nonetheless a “pivotal and big market” in the country, said Derick Roberts, CEO of wireless specialist company, TruTeq Devices.

“We are generally always behind the USA and other First World economies in the adoption of mobile technology, but all the signs are there that the mobile market is a vital, and fast growing one, in South Africa”.

Roberts said that while there is a “fair amount of research data” available on mobile commerce with regards to advanced overseas markets, there is surprisingly little information available on the emerging market countries.

“But the consensus from market watchers is that there is the potential for rapid growth.”

According to technology research firm, Gartner, mobile commerce will increase by 44% globally, reaching $235 billion this year. These increases are expected to continue – and will rise to a figure of $721 billion, with an estimated 450 million mobile users by 2017. This figure includes transactions such as bill payments, money transfers and consumer payments.

When it comes to the South African market research done by WorldWide Worx Mobile, in its Consumer in SA 2012 report, claimed phone-based purchases of physical products that are delivered to the buyer are currently being made by only around 4% of urban cellular phone users.

The research also indicated that the most common purchases on a mobile handset for South African consumers are for airtime, mobile money transfer to other users, and mobile banking.

Network Platforms acquires level 3 BBB-EE status

By admin, 16 lipca, 2013, No Comment

National IT solutions provider Network Platforms has acquired Level 3 Contributor Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBB-EE) status, the company’s management has confirmed.

Established in 2003, Network Platforms has served as the premier service provider to clients for over a decade.

Its value proposition lies in solutions that address requirements related to ADSL connectivity, Diginet; Fibre, Microwave and 3G connectivity, IT management, VPN management, infrastructure monitoring, IP PBX/ VoIP and cloud services.

This BBB-EE status will strengthen the company’s operations going forward and is the most recent in a growing list of developments that have entrenched the business within the ICT service and solution integration space.

These developments include becoming an Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) registrar for the co.za domain name space, affirming its system’s technical capability to run and manage registrations; as well as the completion of a move of its entire datacentre infrastructure from its old environment to a new location in Teraco, Isando.

Bradley Love, MD of Network Platforms, says, “We are very pleased to have secured this level of empowerment status. It adds immediate value, particularly in terms of service delivery to enterprise and government.”

Have you chosen the right display for the job?

By admin, 15 lipca, 2013, No Comment

To get a job done well you need the right tools, especially within a corporate setting, believes Pvision Director David Ross.

Contrary to popular belief, not all displays are made equal. Like any other technology with multiple applications, there are numerous options available to customers that cater to the specific requirements of the environments in which they operate.

Despite this, the commercial market often makes questionable purchase decisions when investing in display equipment, particularly within the retail sector.

With the popularity of in-store activation and dynamic marketing on the rise, many outlet owners and franchise custodians are flocking to acquire video friendly solutions to showcase promotional material. Often preference is often given to the most cost effective option without further investigation or analysis.

As a result, display solutions intended for home usage are frequently applied to a commercial setting. Although these units are capable of housing content, they are not configured to meet the demands associated with a corporate environment.

Producing vast quantities of heat during suspended operation, residential panels have no means to control temperature within the unit. This can often lead to unrealised investment when the product begins to fail.

Ultimately, the success of any video solution is highly dependent on matching display and duty cycle.

Defined as the amount of time an entity or product spends in an active state, duty cycle should be the primary driver of consideration when investing in a display solution. In a commercial environment, panels are often required to remain in operation throughout the day. Naturally, a duty cycle of this nature presents its own unique set of needs and challenges.

To operate successfully commercial display solutions must incorporate a framework for temperature control. Usually, this comprises of a thermostat within the unit and a cooling system to remove heat.

Properly equipped to manage the thermal by-product of electrical activity, these solutions boast longer lifecycles even in the most challenging environments – significantly reducing failure rates and replacement costs down the line.

Commercial display units also incorporate metal cabinetry to account for the wear and tear associated with public environments. Furthermore, these units also include a broader compliment of video source options and do not feature IR sensors or physically available controls that may encourage tampering or interference.

Put simply, although residential displays may be more cost effective due to economy of scale and greater simplicity, they are not orientated towards commercial settings. To make the most of display investment, it is vitally important to couple expected requirements with the correct solution.

Low bandwidth no obstacle to moving into the cloud, says Framework One

By admin, 15 lipca, 2013, No Comment

Many businesses are reluctant to move key applications into the cloud because they fear high bandwidth costs and unstable connectivity – but, says Alexander Mehlhorn of Framework One, the reality is exactly the opposite.

“If you have even one branch apart from your head office, moving your applications into the cloud will actually increase stability,” he says. “For most businesses, cloud-based applications offer greater speed and higher reliability at a significantly reduced cost.”

Cloud-based applications come with other advantages, he adds. “Nowadays, you want as much of your processing as possible to happen in a data centre where they have the fastest servers, and massive capacity that will enable you to increase your processing power, bandwidth and storage whenever you want.”

“There is also a lot of wonderful new technology, especially when it comes to backup and data replication, that’s only really economical to run at massive scale. Unless you’re a Fortune 500 company, you can only reap the benefits of that scale by being in the cloud. Then there is the advantage of never needing to install new software or updates – it all happens automatically, for every user in your organisation simultaneously.”

Framework One specialises in developing custom enterprise applications based entirely in the cloud, using Windows Azure services. “If your application is running out of an Azure datacentre, every branch links directly to that application – and it’s a safe bet that the pipe going into that datacentre is fatter, faster and better protected than the link to your head office,” says Mehlhorn.

This means, he says, “that even if someone digs up the Telkom lines outside your head office, your branches won’t be affected.”

Mehlhorn says awareness of Windows Azure services in South Africa is growing rapidly as more businesses become aware of the benefits. “The move towards the cloud is unstoppable,” he says. “More and more people are realising that it delivers far better return on your IT investment than trying to run all your own hardware.

EMC Acquires Aveksa Inc., leading provider of business-driven Identity and Access Management Solutions

By admin, 15 lipca, 2013, No Comment
  • EMC Corporation announced it has acquired privately held Aveksa Inc., a leader in business-driven Identity and Access Management (“IAM”) solutions.
  • Aveksa’s innovative technology will help extend RSA’s vision of Adaptive IAM, designed to transform traditional static systems into agile, intelligent and scalable “situational perimeters” to help organizations dynamically manage user lifecycles and access across enterprise and cloud environments.
  • Aveksa’s leadership in Identity and Access Governance (“IAG”) and Provisioning will help RSA customers ensure that users have appropriate and secure access to applications from within the enterprise or the cloud regardless of their location or device.

EMC Corporation (NYSE: EMC) has announced it has acquired privately held Aveksa Inc., a leader in business-driven Identity and Access Management. Effective immediately, Aveksa will operate within the RSA® security division as part of RSA’s Identity Trust Management product group, bringing leading technology and expertise that will help RSA bring innovative new solutions to identity and access management challenges across enterprise, cloud and mobile access use cases. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition is not expected to have a material impact to EMC® GAAP or non-GAAP EPS for the full 2013 fiscal year.

In today’s increasingly cloud-based and application-centric world, authentication, authorization and identity management have become even more intertwined, complex and critical. The model for each user has shifted from a single authentication to an enterprise network, to dozens of authentications to applications and related data, from multiple user devices, across cloud and on-premise infrastructures. The task of ensuring that the right users get access to appropriate company resources has traditionally been IT-driven, using legacy IAM solutions to enforce all the policies, processes, procedures and applications that help organizations manage access to information. The lack of intelligence and business context has led to increased risk of data breaches, non-compliance and excessive privilege.

RSA and Aveksa together will help give organisations the ability to automate the complete identity lifecycle of users from a business-driven perspective, helping turn traditional IAM systems into more agile, intelligent and scalable “situational perimeters.” With Aveksa, customers have a unified dashboard to manage, control, and deliver access, while consistently enforcing identity and access policies across the enterprise and cloud, at a granular level.

Aveksa solutions help define rich user profiles and increase the convenience of managing user identities, allowing customers to continue building “situational perimeters” that can flexibly enforce security whenever and wherever users interact with corporate data and resources. The line of business is given easy and secure access to applications, while enabling them to take accountability and responsibility for making access decisions, within the controls, processes, and policies defined by the information security organization.

Similar to RSA, Aveksa solutions are deployed by customers of all sizes in financial services, healthcare, retail, energy/utility, telecommunications, transportation and manufacturing to solve a wide range of identity management challenges. Aveksa is a comprehensive solution – it spans multiple, heterogeneous IT systems for both on-premise and SaaS systems, and is designed to be easily integrated into an enterprise’s infrastructure.

Aveksa aligns with RSA’s intelligence-driven security strategy, leveraging insight from roles, processes, and security-oriented Big Data to enable better evaluation, prioritization, detection and response to real-time threats. For example, Aveksa’s ability to provide rich identity context could be used to enhance situational awareness within the RSA Security Analytics solution.

Aveksa products also complement RSA’s strong authentication, access management and federation solutions portfolio. Together, RSA and Aveksa have the opportunity to fuse notions of authentication and identity as part of an Adaptive Identity platform, leveraging Big Data analytics to transform identity assurance and access controls to ensure only legitimate users have appropriate access to sensitive corporate information.

Becoming a force to be reckoned with: Lessons learnt from Salesforce

By admin, 15 lipca, 2013, No Comment

By Bruce von Maltitz, 1Stream

A few months ago, Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce.com invited the founders of Rypple, a start-up he had hoped to buy, for lunch. Soon thereafter, Salesforce bought Rypple for $60 million – turning down a much larger offer from a company with mega-vendor backing. The decision, as one of the founders said, was made “not because of deal terms, but corporate culture”.

There are many things that make cloud service providers successful – cutting edge technology is part of it, but it’s not necessarily the most important factor. The episode with Rypple is a demonstration of a hands-on, collaborative corporate culture that trickles throughout the organisation as a whole…and it’s indicative of one of the critical success factors that any cloud provider should look at: the personal touch. It’s something that we have learnt early on, and that stood us in good stead.

It’s called Software as a Service for a reason
It’s a clichéd expression, but people buy their technology from people. Salesforce did what a lot of companies fail to do; they listened to customers. They then follow this up with ongoing support and customer service. A popular slogan within the company is “it’s called software as a service, not software sold in a box”.

Cloud technology is still fairly new in South Africa – and recent improvements in connectivity, coupled with the effects of the global recessions – has attracted the attention numerous software companies hoping to compete with a slice of the market. On the surface, most of the companies offer the same basic model – phones, PCs, and Internet gateway. But many prove to be little more than (what we refer to as) “box droppers”. They drop the minimal on-site equipment off at their clients, with minimal instruction, and then disappear behind a shared-call service number.

The real draw card of the cloud is that it’s affordable and easy – but it doesn’t deliver on its promise of ease and affordability in the hands of the wrong provider. As with any technology, things do go wrong. And aside from technical hiccups, businesses and their needs and processes change – probably faster today than ever before – which means that their systems need to adapt as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

We realised early on that the service aspect of “Software-as-a-service” is crucial to our (and our clients’) success. Unless you are able to sit down with a client and take the time to weave the system you are selling into their unique business processes and goals, it’s bound to be a frustrating experience for both parties. Being the single point of contact for your client is not easy – in our industry in particular, call centre managers do not keep standard nine-to-five hours and it’s not unheard of to get a phone call at 3 am. Taking that call, however, is what makes them keep coming back to you.

Size doesn’t matter
Although Salesforce is a multi-billion dollar corporation in their own right, they are dwarfed when compared to the software giants like SAP or Oracle in terms of market share, size or revenue. Yet, they were the first enterprise cloud computing company to exceed $2 billion in annual revenue run rate, have 100 000 customers worldwide (including the Japanese government) and have been named the 4th fasting growing company in the world.

It’s not to say that the mega-vendors aren’t producing excellent products. They are. But the cloud provides companies with the agility to produce a model that is fundamentally simpler, cheaper and more flexible than that of the mega-vendors, who sell pricey enterprise software that in turn requires their customers to not only invest in expensive subscription fees but also an in-house IT department to assist with the complex installation, maintenance and upgrading work needed.

Like many cloud companies, my partner and I started off working in a corporate environment before founding 1Stream in 2006. Although the hosted model hadn’t arrived in South Africa, it was taking off internationally and it was apparently that would soon become the standard way of running your contact centre. Unfortunately we soon realised that many large corporate’s operational model were not well-suited to hosting, particularly since the foundation of many large companies lie in heavy capex investments. To build a hosted model, various services have to bought from various divisions (such as LAN, security, licensing, trunking, VoIP, etc) and each division has adds their own margin. When margins are added to margins, a simple installation becomes highly expensive. We realised that the market was ready for the product we wanted to sell, but that we had to move away from the restrictive corporate way of doing business.

Although we didn’t quite move to a garage, we had to start small and build our business from the ground up. Our motto was that we wouldn’t strive to become the biggest, but rather the best. This meant taking the time to develop the technology and become experts in the field. As a result, without focusing on growth, we grew – quickly. We’ve consistently taken business away from large corporates because of our focus has been on niche, specialised skills – rather than drastic expansion.

Born and raised in the cloud
“We achieved our market position by being born cloud,” Benioff writes in his biography. He goes on to explain that their constant “rebirth” is rooted in their experience – building on fundamentals they’ve mastered from the get-go.

We tend to play fast and loose with the term “innovation” today – the term is slapped on every new gadget that enters the market. But a true innovation has more to do with transforming the way we do business (or live our lives) and less to do with cosmetic changes to existing technology.

Part of the reason we integrated with Salesforce is because there is something to be said for companies who were “born in the cloud” – like we were. I’ve seen it time and time again: the providers that are weathering the storm of rapid cloud tech adoption are the ones who are able to provide a well-rounded perspective, the ones who are engaged with the industry and able to easily broker a solution to their customers’ problems…because they’ve been there. In fact, very few providers have the experience needed when it comes to understanding a customer’s needs or foreseeing the potential pitfalls of adopting various services.

The providers that will remain competitive after the initial rush to the cloud has dissipated, will be the ones who can offer the true service capabilities that comes from being born and raised in the cloud – rather than merely milking it.

Conclusion
There is no generic recipe for success when it comes to any business, but there are certain principles and fundamentals that hold true. I believe that as long as an entrepreneurial company retains its ability to listen and consult with clients, and as long as they keep growing their depth of knowledge rather than chasing numbers, they will succeed.

 

Novell iPrint streamlines and secures virtual mobile printing for business

By admin, 15 lipca, 2013, No Comment

A virtual appliance that streamlines complex printing environments and secures mobile enterprise printing has been introduced by Novell South Africa.

Novell iPrint uses the industry standard internet printing protocol (IPP) to provide instant global access to printing resources via a web browser. Users are able to to find a printer on a graphical office map, download drivers and create the printer on their Mac, Windows or Linux workstations.

“They can send documents to the printer from any application on the desktop,” says Novell Partner Executive Stephan van der Merwe. “The appliance delivers true self-service and users can add printers whenever they wish without an administration login.”

The Novell iPrint solution does not require any new hardware and employees can use their existing internet connections to print documents to remote printers. Auditing capabilities are included and the software works with a variety of third party accounting programmes, enabling the company to charge departments for their printing and apply “green” initiatives to reduce waste.

“iPrint simplifies the printing process, reducing the need to use the help desk and as a small virtual appliance it also saves time for IT staff as it can be uploaded into the system in minutes. Printing usually needs drivers to convert documents into printer-ready language and some vendors use use cloud services to convert documents from mobile devices.

“However, the mobile capabilities of iPrint do not require the sending of documents through the cloud or use specific hardware. Avoiding the cloud means iPrint is significantly more secure than other options. The current infrastructure can be used so that vendor lock-in is avoided and iPrint has its own rendering and conversion capabilities to receive print jobs from a variety of mobile sources.”

For Apple users who usually need an Air-Print enabled printer, Novell iPrint is able to make a company’s current printers Air-Print capable and visible to users of iPhones, iPads and other Apple devices without even having to install an app.

“Users of iOS and Android mobile devices can download apps that allow them to print to any of their company’s printers from wherever they may be as they can use the ‘open in’ or ‘share with’ capabilities in the phone or tablet to print from their mobile applications to an iPrint printer,” adds van der Merwe.

All of the basic print screen specificationscan be adjusted through a simple user friendly touch-screen interface.

Where email is concerned, users are able to print from any email enabled device by sending the email to iPrint. Administrators can set up a single email address for the organisation’s printing or one for each printer as well as set up white lists and other controls to increase the security of the mobile emali-based printing, ensuring that iPrint processes only relevant print jobs.

“Novell iPrint integrates its data store with the user’s identity directory . Working with lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP) sources such as eDirectory and Active Directory, iPrint is able to authenticate users to increase the security of of printing operations. It is also able to autheticate users through the next generation of identity services, including social identities, Apple ID or a Google profile. So, no matter what mobile device an employee is using, iPrint authentication will keep the organisation’s information secure.”

 

Empowering your staff with financial knowledge pays dividends

By admin, 15 lipca, 2013, No Comment

By Kevin Phillips, idu software

One of the best investments any company can make is to develop and empower middle managers to take ownership of their area of the business.

“Taking ownership” is a classic Buzzword Bingo phrase, of course, along with “empowerment” – but that doesn’t make these words completely empty. Organisations thrive when managers genuinely take responsibility for the health of their domains – and have the power to make that responsibility count. When every cost centre is run as its own small business, how can the entire company not work better?

Responsibility for money — and power over it – is a critical part of the equation. If all the financial decisions are made by five people at head office, there’s not a whole lot of ownership left for the branch managers in Bloemfontein and East London and Nelspruit to take.

Leaving it to Finance is the path of least resistance, though. The typical manager has risen through the ranks and has probably never studied accounting. Such a person is often insecure about their financial knowledge and intimidated by complex ERP systems that have been built to make perfect sense to professional accountants, but hardly anybody else.

Nor do the professional accountants want ordinary managers with their fingers in core financial systems, either. Too much can go wrong, and too much time can be wasted running pointless reports.

What you need is a bridge between the financial data in the ERP system, and the brain of your middle manager: Something that’s easier to use than Facebook but conveys all the important information – budgets and forecasts, reports, variance analysis — in a way that makes intuitive sense. There are plenty of tools out there to do the job.

Systems on their own can’t make anybody take responsibility, of course – but they can help to create transparency. And when everyone can see what is going on, it’s much harder to point fingers or redirect responsibility somewhere else.

Not everyone will like this – there’s always a minority quite happy to live in convenient obscurity. But the vast majority of people will welcome tools that give them more information, and more ability to get things done.

When financial information flows freely across the organisation, as well as up and down the hierarchy, it’s like oiling the machine: Things get smoother, and you can push that little bit harder and faster without risking damage. There is no good reason not to do it.

 

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