Archive for Lipiec, 2013

90% of companies underestimate the volume of malicious software

By admin, 29 lipca, 2013, No Comment

Few companies have any realistic idea of how much new malware appears every day

Most companies greatly underestimate the number of new malicious programmes appearing daily, and only 6% recognise the true scale of the threat, according to the 2013 Global Corporate IT Security Risks survey conducted by analytical authority B2B International and Kaspersky Lab. According to Kaspersky Lab, nearly 200,000 new malware samples appear around the world each day. Asked to estimate this figure, 90% of global participants in the survey named a lower figure; 4% guessed too high and only 6% gave an accurate estimate.

The highest levels of malware awareness were found among respondents in the Middle East, where 24% of companies gave accurate estimates. At 4%, the lowest levels of malware literacy were found in Russia. In South Africa, the survey indicated that 28% of respondents estimated that 100 – 1000 new malware samples appear everyday – which is well below the actual amount, while 7% named a figure close to reality.

Remarkably, the results of this same survey revealed that an average 66% of companies had experienced at least one attack involving malware in the previous 12 months. 64% of respondents in South Africa highlighted that they had experienced the external security threats of viruses, worms, spyware and other malicious programmes over the last 12 months. The companies most frequently targeted in those attacks were located in South America (72%), Russia (71%), North America (70%), Asia-Pacific (68%) and Western Europe (63%) — in other words, the regions demonstrating relatively low levels of education about the number of new malicious programmes emerging daily.

Says Riaan Badenhorst, Head of Operations for Sub-Saharan Africa at Kaspersky Lab; “While a company’s ability to accurately assess daily malware volumes is not necessarily an indicator of preparedness to counter cyber-attacks, it’s reasonable to suggest that better informed organisations are more capable of assessing risk and making the most suitable choices when it comes to protecting IT infrastructure.”

Implementing a product such as Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business, can be affective, as the product includes targeted, developed features that work not only to protect a company’s IT infrastructure, but to manage it as well.

Customising your video communication solution with APIs to meet the changing needs of your users

By admin, 29 lipca, 2013, No Comment

By David Sales, Head: Product Management at Kathea

Today’s working environment is more mobile than ever. Employees are no longer bound to their desks but can now work from home, on the road, while travelling, irrespective of what part of the world they are in. This trend of moving away from a traditional bricks and mortar environment to an on-demand, ‘on-the-go’ workforce has largely been driven by new communication media such as tablets and smartphones.

However, this trend also presents challenges to organisations. Users expect technology and communication to be available on-demand in an easy to use, efficient and reliable manner. Furthermore, they require access from any device including notebooks/ultrabooks, Smartphones and tablets and do not want to wait for the IT department to set this up. For communication tools like video collaboration (VC), achieving this on-demand mobility has typically involved complex third-party integrations, but this is changing. With the introduction of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) onto VC platforms, customisation and integration is simplified, enabling organisations to tailor their VC solutions to meet the unique needs of their organisation and employees.

When using VC solutions, whether in the office or on the road, employees no longer wish to be dependent on IT to set up and connect their calls. They need to be able to use technology as and when they want, without the restrictions of ‘how’, ‘when’ and on what technology platforms they can interact. To ensure maximum adoption and uptake, and therefore maximum value of VC solutions, users themselves need to be able to initiate collaboration sessions, and bring people into the conference on-demand on the device of their choice. APIs, now included on open integration-based VC platforms, can be leveraged to develop custom applications and integrate the necessary services into the VC network, allowing this on-demand access to be made possible, amongst other benefits.

Traditionally, technology such as VC and collaboration has been an island, within integration taking place with products and solutions of the same brand. Open APIs change this however, providing a gateway that facilitates application development, allowing organisations to develop custom applications that integrate with a variety of third-party solutions and various platforms. Some examples of this include conference management applications, billing, resource reporting, provisioning and self-service portals, placing functionality that was traditionally the domain of technical resources into the hands of the end user.

For example, this enables users to make use of a single application for the scheduling and management of all rooms and communication infrastructure, including VC. Rooms can be booked using custom APIs which include booking management and VC functionality in one easy to use, intuitive application. VC calls can easily be initiated between all of the various parties regardless of their location and the device they are using, and resources can be centrally managed through a user-friendly interface. Integration becomes a much simpler task, so calls can be recorded, and through the API, data can be extracted to generate reports and graphs for intelligence on usage and being able to quantify a Return On Investment (ROI). Virtual meeting rooms in the cloud can enable users to conference with a variety of end-point devices, and an API can be used to monitor these virtual meeting rooms, with an application via the API layer used to manage the call, identify participants and create visibility that previously was not available.

For organisations with in-house developers, APIs can easily be used to customise solutions. If these organisations do not have this capability in-house, distribution partners can provide this development along with the solution, opening up new avenues of business for the channel.

APIs open up the VC space to allow for greater levels of integration and customisation, enabling organisations to fully utilise the power of their technology investment to drive greater effectiveness and efficiency and maximise return. There are many applications to leverage APIs in all industries, from healthcare to financial services to education, allowing VC solutions to provide face-to-face interaction with any user, regardless of device and geographic location. By customising and integrating business processes within VC, video can become an integral part of modern business.

 

Plan for a successful data migration

By admin, 29 lipca, 2013, No Comment

By Gary Allemann, MD at Master Data Management

Data integration and migration challenges arise every time an organisation moves to a new data system, or wishes to combine multiple data systems, either internally or as a result of a merger. This is a significant undertaking, which, if it fails to meet expectations, inhibits a business’ ability to function effectively. Yet, surveys indicate that more than 80% of all data integration projects fail. There are several reasons for this failure, but the most commonly cited issue is a lack of understanding of the extent and nature of problems that were to be experienced within the data itself. Data quality is critical to the success of any data integration and migration initiative, and organisations leave this aspect to the last minute at their peril.

Planning and data quality go hand in hand when it comes to data integration and migration, and any other big technology project for that matter. However, the moving of data is often an afterthought, since the business challenge revolves around implementing the new system or merging two disparate systems together. Data is also often outside of the scope of most system integrators, and is deemed to be the responsibility of the business once the system has been implemented.

The issue that arises is that projects do not adequately plan for data migration or integration from the start, and it is common for them to get caught out by unexpected data issues as a result. In a typical data integration or migration scenario, during the initial project planning and scoping, data problems remain unidentified. This frequently then requires a rework at a later stage in the project implementation, if issues are picked up during testing for example, which extends project deadlines and leads to unanticipated expenses. In fact, addressing these unplanned data issues can consume up to 70% of the time and budget in a rework later on, which results in costly and unnecessary delays.

The challenge with not planning for data at the outset is that systems are typically designed based on what people think the data should look like, and not what the data is actually like. Issues such as invalid date information, missing codes, incorrectly captured information and duplicate fields may seem like small fry compared to the other challenges of implementing a new system, but the reality is that these data quality problems can have a significant effect on the functionality of the entire system.

Data issues can cause loads to be dropped when the data is transferred to the new system, which means that information will be missing. This can also lead to multiple duplicates being created, which can destroy the integrity of the database, take up unnecessary storage space and impact negatively on system performance. Without information, businesses cannot function, and without ensuring data quality before a migration or integration, organisations cannot guarantee the availability of quality data, severely affecting business performance.

The biggest challenge around data integration and migration is proper planning from the start. This is exacerbated by large data volumes, which can make identifying problems a complex and time-consuming task. The best way of avoiding these issues is to use effective data profiling techniques, which will enable a sound understanding of any data quality issues. It is also advisable to conduct a proper analysis and scope of the implications of the data take-on at an early stage in project implementation, so that data issues can be planned and budgeted for.

Businesses often underestimate the problems that data issues can cause, and the impact of amalgamating data or moving it over to a new system. This aspect is often overlooked in favour of the functionality of the system, but the reality is that data quality affects functionality. Data quality remains one of the major reasons why IT projects fail to be delivered on time and on budget. High quality data lowers integration costs and project risks, increases user acceptance of new systems, and ensures systems meet the requirements of business users, helping to ensure a successful and problem-free project implementation.

For more information on the reasons why data integrations fail, and for strategies and solutions on preventing these failures, download the Data Integration and Migration white paper.

Riverbed introduces enterprise-class server and data consolidation solution

By admin, 29 lipca, 2013, No Comment

New high performance, high capacity appliance enables consolidation of large branch offices and large data sets

Riverbed Technology the application performance company introduced a new release of its groundbreaking Riverbed Granite product family that delivers an enterprise-class solution for server and data consolidation. With expanded capacity and higher performance IT managers can now extend the benefits of Granite to larger branch offices and data-intensive applications that previously were difficult or impossible to consolidate.

Granite is a technology that empowers businesses of all sizes to remove servers and data from branch offices and centralise them in the secure datacentre—without sacrificing user experience. This new architectural approach makes it possible to centralise backup operations and get data out of high-risk locations, while increasing agility and lowering the costs of managing remote office IT. To succeed in this dynamic environment, IT leaders need agility, security and control, while business users demand performance. Granite delivers these benefits in a single solution.

This announcement includes new Granite 2.5 software that adds support for Fibre Channel to its existing iSCSI support, enabling Granite solutions to now support over 90% of the current enterprise-class storage array market. Granite 2.5 also improves data protection with automated snapshots and simplified support for existing data-centre class backup and recovery software. This news builds upon EMC E-Lab qualifying Granite with EMC VMAX in 2012 and the recently completed EMC E-Lab qualification of Granite with EMC VNX in June 2013. The performance of Granite 2.5 can be further enhanced with the addition of the new, purpose-built Steelhead EX 1360 model appliance, on which Granite can be hosted. The Steelhead EX 1360 model appliance offers enterprises greater capacity and performance for consolidating larger data stores back to the datacentre. Granite 2.5 and the Steelhead EX 1360 model appliance together deliver an enterprise-class solution for server and data consolidation that allow organisations to deploy any application to any location with high performance and reliability.

“Data growth and infrastructure shifts continue to hamper IT’s ability to meet all protection, retention and compliance requirements. Addressing all these data protection challenges, requires a holistic approach,” Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst at ESG. “Silos in technology add to the cost and complexity while reducing productivity and increasing risk of data loss. IT needs to give end users the tools they need to be successful while IT keeps oversight and control.”

Extended Integration with Enterprise-Class Storage Arrays
Granite 2.5 software adds Fibre Channel support for the virtual Granite Core that extends integration with enterprise-class storage arrays, including those from EMC, NetApp and IBM. Leading analysts have found that nearly 70 percent of enterprises deploy Fibre Channel-based external disk solutions in 2013. Many organisations choose to deploy Fibre Channel-based storage solutions for their high speed, low latency transport capabilities and abilities to interconnect multiple storage devices to better use and share the storage within the data centre. The addition of Fibre Channel storage solutions support to the already supported iSCSI in the datacentre means over 90% of the current enterprise-class storage array market is now supported by Granite solutions, providing greater flexibility for enterprises to meet the storage consolidation needs of branch offices with larger data sets.

“We see the expanded flexibility of Granite 2.5 in the data centre as a big win – both from a storage and a data protection standpoint,” said Mike Rinken, director of information technology at Mazzetti, an engineering design and consulting firm. “In our business where large CAD files have been moving toward a more collaborative parametric modeling data set, more resources for Granite Edge appliances make perfect sense. We can consolidate even more data and still make sure branch users get the local performance they need to be effective. We’re excited to have the flexibility of utilising Fibre Channel storage and how Riverbed is extending their storage footprint by offering more robust devices.”

Simplification of Backup and Recovery
By consolidating data out of the branch and into the data centre, Granite enables organisations to eliminate branch backup and recovery systems, shifting data protection operations to the secure data centre and leaving data protection to skilled storage personnel. Granite 2.5 further simplifies data protection through enhanced support of industry-leading backup and recovery software solutions like Symantec NetBackup. Granite 2.5 also offers an enhanced centralised management user interface and simplified scheduling of hourly, daily or weekly application snapshots executed in the branch office and captured in the data centre. As a result, Granite 2.5 delivers a single point of management for branch snapshot schedules simplifying data protection, resulting in improved recovery time and recovery point objectives (RTO/RPO).

“We’ve deployed Granite to help us manage our data and applications centrally and eliminate the hardware footprint at our data-intensive branches, which has translated to cost savings for us,” said Rohit Tellis, director of information technology at Alamos Gold, a Canadian-based gold producer with exploration and development activities around the globe. “The data protection enhancements help even further and will give us the assurance that our centralised backup process is easy to manage.”

New Steelhead EX 1360 Model Appliance
Remote and branch offices come in many sizes and with diverse application and data storage requirements. The Steelhead EX1360 model appliance consolidates larger data sets back to the data centre while ensuring business continuity. The new model delivers local-speed experience for applications that need high-performance storage access such as high-volume transaction databases and geographic information systems (GIS) data modeling files that require high input/output per second (IOPS). In addition, the new Steelhead appliance also enables organisations with larger data workloads to increase the amount of data it can lock within the appliance cache, increasing the ability of branch offices with larger data sets to maintain productivity, even during WAN outages. The new Steelhead EX1360 model appliance enables a broader range of organisations to deploy Granite storage delivery solutions, even those branches with demanding application and heavy compute and storage workloads without fear of performance degradation or productivity loss.

Granite 2.5 and Steelhead EX 1360 model appliances are expected to be generally available in Q3 2013.

 

IP VPNs – the evolution of communications

By admin, 29 lipca, 2013, No Comment

By Dean Young, Senior Sales Consultant, Telecommunications at T-Systems in SA

Choosing a technology partner provider for your voice, video and data traffic can be complex. This is particularly relevant in business competitive environments where delays, information loss and downtime are truly worst case scenario.

There is no doubt businesses benefit tremendously from reliable and high-performance platforms that enable them to access their applications over a network when needed.

If the above coupled with security and advanced service management features are at the top of your list then an IP VPN (virtual private network) might just be the best choice.

However, IP VPNs are not without their own set of challenges, particularly in South Africa where we continue to face last-mile issues whether due to theft, unavailability – particularly in rural areas – or damage from excavations.

In this light what have companies to gain from IP VPN and what are some the prerequisites when choosing the right service provider who can overcome local hurdles?

And the difference?

It is firstly important to familiarise yourself with some fast facts around IP VPN. MPLS (multi-protocol layer switching) or IPSec based IP VPN for one might sound very similar but practically there are a few important differences.

IPSec based VPN networks are in essence an encrypted point-to-point based and provide enterprises bandwidth on a shared internet platform. It is built around the ability to provide remote access via the Internet and well suited to companies with some branches.

IP VPN based on a private carrier infrastructure essentially represents the evolution of IP VPN and is designed to deliver a secure, private any-to-any service over the network.

An IP VPN backbone provides you with the ability to converge and prioritise traffic to ensure that critical applications such as voice and video are not compromised by less time-sensitive applications such as e-mail.

An IP VPN is also based on a well defined Service Classes which means that companies benefit from guaranteed services and security run on a private network but still enjoy the advantages of a shared environment.

With regards to security – IP VPNs (MPLS based) carry traffic only between designated customer sites over a service provider’s IP infrastructure with no visibility to other customers or sites outside of the given VPN.

The result is that companies benefit from a private network that is logically separated from the public. However, they still enjoy economies of scale – the more companies use the network, particularly over long distance connectivity, the more costs are driven down.

Also, IP VPNs play an important role in realising Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) over the cloud. Larger outsourced service providers are building centralised platforms that drive down hardware expenditure; realising voice and video through IP VPNs.

The last-mile

As mentioned, in South Africa despite the advantages of a MPLS based IP VPN, the realisation of IP VPNs does come with its own set of challenges. However, service providers are becoming creative in overcoming particularly last-mile issues.

For example, in metropolitan areas such as Sandton and surrounds, outsourced service providers offer additional failover enabled by point-to-point wireless services.

Furthermore, due to fibre connectivity’s increasingly competitive pricing structure, service providers can actually run two high-speed links and split the traffic, optimised for the various business-critical applications.

Rural areas, however, are a different ballgame altogether. Unfortunately, high-speed connectivity remains prohibitively expensive and last-mile carriers are limited. Furthermore, telcos aren’t investing in rural areas yet which means IP VPNs to mining companies etc remain a challenge to provide.

Hopefully this will change in the next few years as telcos realise the importance of offering services to the entire country.

There is no doubt IP VPNs offer, despite SA’s local challenges, a myriad of important benefits. As connectivity and bandwidth costs continue to become more competitive so will IP VPNs increasingly benefit organisations of all sizes.

Bytes partners with OneVault to give customers voice biometric authentication

By admin, 29 lipca, 2013, No Comment

Bytes Systems Integration has partnered with authentication service provider OneVault and will integrate OneVault’s hosted voice biometric solutions into its solution offerings.

Bytes SI’s main focus lies in providing innovative solutions by integrating products, applications and services which enable customers to generate enhanced business value, hence the partnership with OneVault, which offers a hosted solution that provides convenient, cost-effective secure authentication using remote voice biometrics.

As more transactions are conducted online, companies demand significantly enhanced, multi-level authentication solutions to mitigate risk and reduce fraud. Traditional methods can be time consuming, inconvenient and costly, but voice biometrics offers a secure, convenient and cost-effective solution for remote access and authentication.

“Bytes already has an established customer base for both authentication and identity management solutions and we believe that adding a voice biometric solution to our offering reinforces the breadth and depth of our offering to customers,” says West McMullin, director, Bytes Converged Solutions. “Voice biometrics, as a technology, has evolved and grown significantly across the world over the past couple of years and we believe it has a strategic place in our clients’ customer engagement channels. The partnership with OneVault makes sense and we are looking forward to creating new opportunities with this offering,”

“OneVault is excited about the partnership with Bytes,” says Paul Hutton, CEO, OneVault.

“We believe that voice biometrics is going to change the way companies think about, apply and implement authentication solutions. As Bytes SI is a leading systems integrator to many South African companies, OneVault’s hosted voice biometric solution is a perfect fit and supports Bytes SI’s objective of bringing innovative solutions to their clients.”

Standard Bank to present on enterprise architecture and outsourcing at EA Forum

By admin, 27 lipca, 2013, No Comment

This month’s enterprise architecture (EA) Forum takes place on the morning of Tuesday 30 July at Telkom’s Wisteria Auditorium in Centurion, as well as on Wednesday 31 July at the FNB Learning Centre in Sandton. The events are sponsored by Telkom and Real IRM Solutions, and attendance is free.

Standard Bank’s Sarel van der Westhuizen will present on the drivers and constraints for business process outsourcing of corporate and investment banking operations. He will also look at how enterprise architecture can be used to guide outsourcing decisions. Van der Westhuizen is Head of Strategy and Business Architecture in the Office of Planning and Implementation at Standard Bank. He holds a BCom Hons (Industrial Psychology) and a Diploma in Information Technology from the University of Johannesburg, as well as an MBA from the University of the Witwatersrand.

The EA Forum
The EA Forum is a social network event hosted by The Open Group in South Africa. It was started in 2004 and takes place every second month or so in the major centres with one event each in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town. At the EA Forum, industry leaders share their experiences and knowledge of architecture and related topics. Real-world case studies highlight how business problems are solved using the discipline and practice of architecture.

The Open Group, represented in South Africa by Real IRM, is a vendor- and technology-neutral consortium. Its members are a diverse group that spans all sectors of the IT community – IT customers, systems and solutions suppliers, tool vendors, integrators and consultants, as well as government, academia and researchers.

“We would like to encourage people in the enterprise architecture space to attend,” says Stuart Macgregor, CEO of The Open Group – South Africa. “The EA Forums offer an excellent opportunity for peers, colleagues and industry players to network and collaborate.”

For more information on the EA Forum and to RSVP visit http://opengroup.co.za/ea-forum.

Samsung Africa appoints new President, CEO

By admin, 27 lipca, 2013, No Comment

Growing the brand on the continent

In a move designed to continue to drive growth in key markets – a number of executives in Samsung’s key regional posts have been reassigned. Mr. Sung Yong Hong has been appointed as the new President and CEO of Samsung Africa effective 1 July – taking over from Mr. Kwang Kee Park who has been promoted to President and CEO of Samsung South East Asia. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Hong was the President of Samsung Electronics Turkey (SETK)

Mr. Park has served for three and half years as the company’s first-ever President of Samsung Electronics, Africa Headquarters. While in Africa, Mr. Park developed Samsung Electronics’ presence in key regions and expanded its operational infrastructure in Africa. Prior to the position, Mr. Park was President of Thailand Samsung Electronics (TSE), where he had led TSE through impressive growth through his innovative approach towards distribution. During his tenure at Samsung Africa he initiated a number of projects aligned to his commitment to reach the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility vision of impacting the lives 5 million people across Africa by 2015 including; The Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy; Africa R&D Centre and The Samsung Solar Powered Internet School – to name a few. Additionally, he oversaw the successful deployment of four Africa Forum events – a global initiative that is carried out in each continent – committing to a smarter life for Africa through technology.

“At face value, the geographies might seem quite different. Yet, both Turkey and South Africa are emerging economies that serve as a platform for greater growth on their respective continents. Mr. Hong’s vast experience and proven track record fills us with great excitement for the future to build on the existing foundation Samsung has in Africa,” says Matthew Thackrah, Deputy MD and Director of Consumer Electronics at Samsung Electronics South Africa.

Having been recognised for his capabilities as President of SETK and Samsung Gulf Electronics (SGE), Mr. Hong is now responsible for overseeing the company’s operations in Africa. He is no stranger to the region having spent 5 years as CFO at Samsung Africa, from 2000 to 2005.

“Understanding Africa and the unique requirements of the different countries will be a critical driver for future growth. In Mr. Hong, we have the experience and passion to continue to build our brand proposition as one of the best-known consumer electronics companies on the continent,” concludes Thackrah.

JCSE concludes Google and MIT entrepreneurship programme

By admin, 27 lipca, 2013, No Comment

The Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits University has successfully hosted a technology entrepreneurship training programme presented by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and funded internationally by Google. The ‘Accelerating IT Innovation’ (AITI) programme enabled more than 30 engineering and computer science students to develop real-world mobile service start-ups, as well as implement well researched technology and business plans.

The MIT AITI is part of a multidisciplinary group of MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives that promote development in emerging regions by cultivating young technology entrepreneurs. JCSE Director Professor Barry Dwolatzky says that AITI is an inspiring six week intensive incubator programme. ‘As a significant emerging market, South Africa needs programmes like this to not only develop skills, but to encourage young students to consider careers in engineering and technology, or to aspire to start their own business.’

Dwolatzky says that AITI partners with universities such as Wits to offer advanced courses in entrepreneurship and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). These courses are taught by MIT student instructors and have, since 2000, sent nearly 120 MIT instructors to teach over 1 500 students in 12 countries worldwide.

‘The programme develops curriculum materials, software technologies, platforms, and networks that enable undergraduate students in emerging regions to innovate. It often results in the creation of technology start-ups, which is in line with the ethos of the JCSE and our approach to incubator programmes. It also fosters the development of entrepreneurial spirit as well as job creation, which is critical,’ says Dwolatzky.

The course culminates on Saturday, 27 July 2013 with a Demo Day at the Wits Club from 14:00 to 18:00. Student led start-up groups will present their products to an audience of potential investors, mentors, and the technology entrepreneurship community in Johannesburg.

Anyone wanting to attend can contact student leader Mahlet Woldeyes on mahlet.woldeyes@gmail.com or the JCSE on 27 11 717 6390.

 

Making the most of loyalty data – Wellness Warehouse shows the way

By admin, 27 lipca, 2013, No Comment

Progressive health retail outlet Wellness Warehouse is using insights gained from its loyalty programme to drive merchandising and promotion decisions – and is seeing the benefits.

“The major insight has been that our most loyal customers are nothing like our typical customers,” says Group Systems Manager Elaine van der Westhuizen. “Our top products by sales are one thing – the products our loyal customers are buying are different. They are buying a lot more beauty and food products, especially gluten-free. So we’re expanding our ranges in that area, and targeting promotions much more specifically at those customers.”

The road to these insights hasn’t always been easy. Wellness Warehouse, which opened its doors for the first time in July 2007 and now has eight stores in greater Cape Town, went through two other loyalty programme providers before establishing its current relationship with Innervation.

“We had two bad experiences, one of which did real damage to our brand because the loyalty points system was so unreliable,” says Van der Westhuizen. “We were ready to dump the whole concept of a loyalty programme, but couldn’t disappoint the customers who had stuck with us through all the problems.”

As a result, says Van der Westhuizen, “our expectations were fairly low – we just wanted a loyalty system that we and our customers could trust, and that would be easy to administer. But that was the least of what Innervation delivered. Now that the system has proved itself, and we know what we can do with it, we have a lot of ideas for future expansion.“

Van der Westhuizen says the changes prompted by data from Innervation’s loyalty system have already produced a visible impact on turnover. “It’s given us a great deal of confidence,” she said. “Our core group of loyal customers has doubled since we introduced the new system.”

Now, she adds, “we can start to look at how we truly nurture and reward those customers. For example, we had one product that was such a slow seller we wanted to stop stocking it. But the loyalty data showed there is one customer who buys 20 units a month, so we make sure their favourite store always has it in stock. The store managers are starting to take that kind of initiative.”

“It’s every retailer’s dream to be that proactive for their customers,” says van der Westhuizen. “But as much as we wanted to, we could never do it before because we just didn’t have the information. In fact, when the first few monthly reports from Innervation landed it felt like overload – and the results were so surprising we weren’t sure whether to trust them. Now we’re confident that it works, we have lots of ideas for how to use the information to deliver a better experience for our customers, and we’re seeing positive results.”

The next phase of the relationship between Wellness Warehouse and Innervation will see the loyalty programme go online, as well as the introduction of a coupon and voucher programme. “We have all the physical and systems infrastructure we need at the till in place,” says Van der Westhuizen. “Now we’re excited to see what more we can do with it.”

 

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