SME GUIDE 2012 www.techsmart.co.za
The consumerisation of IT Your company is next
Crowd funding Skip the bank and take it online
From the Editorʼs Notebook t has been a year since we released our previous SME Guide, and in this time, it would seem that a number of companies have come to grips with some of the issues raised then. For example, the cloud has become more palpable, and offered many companies a valuable solution to some of their IT problems. But as some issues are resolved, new ones arise. With the proliferation of tablets, smartphones and swanky new ultrabooks, IT departments are faced with the headaches that develop when staff want to use their own devices in the office. The consumerisation of IT is one of the issues addressed in this SME Guide (p12-13), showing that companies can effectively ensure security while receiving all the benefits of this smart equipment. Near Field Communication (NFC) and the role it might play in future payments is also on the table, and we look at how the internet is making it possible to bypass your bank to fund future projects.
I hope that this SME Guide helps your company find the solutions needed to flourish in these tech-filled times, Mike Joubert (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Editor TechSmart & TechSmart.co.za Mike Joubert > 083-290-2889 email@example.com Business manager George Grobler firstname.lastname@example.org Print media manager Suzanne Rall email@example.com Sales and marketing manager Anneke Claassen > 083-301-9134 firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Carmel Ann Singh > 079-515-8708 email@example.com Karien Steenkamp > 083-748-3413 firstname.lastname@example.org Designer Brett Wilson Contributors Mike Joubert Hanleigh Daniels [HD], Ryan Noik [RN], Lance Harris, Chris Anderson Accounts & subscriptions Ronel Keet > 012-342-5141 email@example.com Distribution Renier van Vuuren > 082-555-6866 firstname.lastname@example.org
Telecoms 6 Interview: Tinyiko Seane, Executive: Small Medium Business Services, Telkom 8 Interview: Tim Walter, Head of Marketing, Nashua Mobile
Business IT 10 Avanade: Is big data producing big returns? 12 Avanade: Unlocking the power of the consumerisation of IT
Hardware 14 Samsung Series 9 NP900X4D 16 Samsung Series 7 Slate PC 16 Samsung Series 7 Chronos notebook
Money 28 Prepare for the near ﬁeld revolution 30 Social lending and crowd-funding: A new way to raise money
Sponsors: TechSmart SME Guide August 2012 | 2nd edition
Tel: 012-342-5141 977 Francis Baard Street, Arcadia, PTA www.smartpublishing.co.za Copyright © 2012. All rights reserved. No material, text or photo graphs may be reproduced, copied or in any other way transmitted without the written consent of the publisher. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher or of the editor. We recognise all trademarks and logos as the sole property of their respective owners. TechSmart shall not be liable for any errors or for any actions in reliance thereon. All prices were correct at time of going to print.
Top ultrabooks: The executive choice Although many available ultrabooks eschew a biometric reader, each of our top choices listed below boast a number of features that would well suit an executiveʼs work demands, with looks to ensure an approving nod round the boardroom table.
HP Folio 13
Dell XPS 13
he XPS 13 is the lightest and most portable ultrabook on offer here, and thus easy to recommend to business users on the move. It weighs a mere 1.3 kg, and manages to cram a Corning glass coated 13.3" screen into a 12" chassis to great effect, along with a maximum thickness of 18 mm. However, it is certainly no lightweight when it comes to looks, performance or features. It too boasts an Intel Core i5 2467M processor, clocked at 1.6 GHz, along with 4 GB of memory, and a 128 GB solid state drive (SSD). Its boot times are blazingly fast, at ﬁve seconds from powered off and a mere two seconds from sleep, which should make it ready for work in no time at all. The XPS 13 further offers a backlit chiclet keyboard and almost seven hours of battery life.
he Folio 13’s solid, strong build won us over, and we suspect, will be appreciated by many a business user who needs reliability in their device. In the performance stakes, the Folio 13 rose to our demands, thanks to its Intel Core i5 2467M processor clocked at 1.6 GHz, 4 GB of memory and 128 GB SSD hard drive. Also critical for business users, the backlit chiclet keyboard was a pleasure to type on, while an outstanding 8½ hours worth of battery life on a charge should keep business productivity running smoothly on a long ﬂight. Additionally, the ultrabook proved ready for work within ﬁve seconds from a sleep state and twenty two seconds from off. The Folio 13 also offers a 13.3" matte display at a resolution of 1366 x 768, a TPM 1.2 Embedded Security Chip and USB 2.0, USB 3.0, an Ethernet port and an SD card slot.
Full review: bit.ly/foliohp13
Full review: bit.ly/xpsdell13
Watch out for... Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
Asus Zenbook UX31
he Zenbook’s claims to top candidacy comes not only from its stunning looks and ﬂawless build, but also from the fact that it boasts serious performance. Loaded with a second generation Core i7 processor (2677M, clocked at 1.8 GHz), the ultrabook was able to make mincemeat of our computing demands. This, along with 4 GB of memory and a 256 GB solid state drive (SSD), was accompanied by a superlative 13.3" screen, which offered a 1600 x 900 resolution. This makes it ideal for long work sessions, and kept eye strain at bay. At 1.3 kg, the Zenbook is very light, while a battery life of between ﬁve and six hours (or a standby time of seven days and twenty three minutes) and a responsive chiclet keyboard, made it stand out as being a worthy executive choice.
Full review: bit.ly/ux31asuszenbook 2
The incoming ThinkPad X1 Carbon is yet another ultrabook worth keeping an eye on, as the 14" device will boast the distinct honour of being even lighter than those on this list when it becomes available locally in September. Its 14" display, like the Zenbook, offers a 1600 x 900 resolution and 300 nits of brightness. While the X1 Chrome offers the latest Intel Ivy Bridge processors, along with up to 8 GB of RAM. Other outstanding features include 3G connectivity, a ﬁngerprint reader for security conscious business users and a backlit keyboard. However, the main reason why business users may want to keep a close eye on the X1, is the asserted battery life that will be available on a single charge – past the ten hour mark. Additionally, it includes Lenovo’s famed RapidCharge technology that would require only 30 minutes at an outlet to boost it back up to 80% of its full charge. This, we suspect, would be a boon for international travellers in particular. [RN]
Upgrade time: Our Top 3 smartphones Youʼve received the notiﬁcation that youʼre due for an upgrade. But now thereʼs a choice to be made. We make it easy with our top three choices of the current selection available.
3. The Brightest Lumia star ‒ Nokia Lumia 900
2. The One Android to get ‒ HTC One X
1. The best Galaxy yet ‒ Samsung Galaxy S3
The Lumia 900 is savvy enough to take on the big boys thanks to its eye-catching design, snappy performance delivered by its 1.4 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, and the intuitive Windows Phone Mango platform. Nokia equipped the Lumia 900 with a 4.3" WVGA (480 x 800) AMOLED capacitive ClearBlack touchscreen that delivers excellent colour saturation and is particularly adept at keeping glare at bay. However, this beautiful display is not up there with the best of them in terms of screen resolution. Preventing the Lumia 900 from making it to the summit of our list is its single-core CPU, non-HD screen, lack of expandable storage, and the fact that it will not be upgraded to Windows Phone 8 (only Windows Phone 7.8). Regardless, the Nokia Lumia 900 is the best Windows Phone OS-running smartphone we’ve tested. RRP: A pricey R8 000.
Handset manufacturers set out to redeﬁne ‘massive’ this year, especially when it came to screen size. HTC was not immune to this trend, bolting an impressive 4.7" touchscreen onto its ﬂagship model, the One X. The ﬁrm managed to push this display’s pixel density beyond the 300 dots per inch mark (312 dpi) thanks to its mouthwatering 720 x 1280 resolution. That many pixels requires a capable processor and the One X has one in Nvidia’s Tegra 3 quadcore beast running at 1.5 GHz. Performance is not limited to the CPU, since the One X’s 8 MP snapper brings a few musthave features to the photography table. Photo quality is on par with Apple’s iPhone 4S, while users are able to capture burst shots and apply Instagram-like ﬁlters to their photos. Additionally, you get an enhanced audio experience on this Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) powered marvel via Beats Audio. Yours for R6 700.
Like HTC, Samsung decided to flex its mobile processor muscles within its flagship offering, as the S3 makes use of an Exynos 4212 Quad chip running at 1.4 GHz. It’s not only the quad-core brain of the S3 that exudes flagship status, since the delectable 4.8" Super AMOLED display (306 pixels per inch) also conveys this sentiment to you in exquisite detail. On the imaging front is an 8 MP snapper with full HD video capability, but it’s extras such as Pop-up Play and Smart Stay that show that Samsung is trying to push innovation, not being content with only offering the same features found on competing Android devices. A great device that will leave you happy until the S4 arrives. Own it for R7 740 (32 GB) or R7 000 (16 GB).
But whatʼs next for Apple? 4
Will the next version of the iPhone be called the iPhone 4G, iPhone 5 or simply, like the new iPad, the new iPhone? The succeeding model is rumoured to sport a bigger but thinner casing, along with a smaller dock connector port, 4G/LTE support, and a larger (4") Retina display, in line with current top-end smartphone trends. It’s known that it will run on iOS 6, which includes more than 200 new features, including Facebook integration and a Maps app with Appledesigned cartography, turn-by-turn navigation, spoken directions and a novel Flyover view. Samsung has been stealing iPhone market share across the globe, so the pressure is on Cupertino to deliver something spectacular. The next iPhone deﬁnitely has to be a better upgrade than the 4S was over the iPhone 4, if Apple wants to close the ever-widening smartphone sales gap. [HD]
Interview: Tinyiko Seane, Executive: Small Medium Business Services, Telkom TechSmart talked to Tinyiko Seane, Executive: Small Medium Business Services, Telkom, about the beneﬁts of the companyʼs business oﬀerings and the move to all IP networks.
ver the last six months Telkom recorded a 105% increase in internet usage from retail customers over Telkom Internet. Why this large amount of growth?
This growth is not just happening locally, it’s a global trend and South Africa is not immune to this. From the customer side it is driven by an increase in for example, social media usage and a proliferation of internet enabled devices such as smartphones and tablets. Customers are also starting to experiment more with different applications, and all this is bandwidth intensive. From a competitor point of view, you are seeing a lot more offerings, and this also drives customer behaviour. While the mobile side is also experiencing growth in data usage, it is still really low compared to the ﬁxed-line space, where downloading, cloud services, live-streaming – all very data intensive activities – are taking place. With video conferencing and hosted cloud-based technologies becoming more pervasive, one can expect even more growth in future.
When should businesses consider upgrading their line speed? The general answer would be when internet becomes more integrated in day-to-day applications, especially when one starts making use of more bandwidth intensive tasks such as live-streaming and downloading big ﬁles. A few years ago, not all of the people in the office had access to internet, only a selected few. Now it is standard, while more devices in the workspace need to connect to the network. Businesses should take a step back and ask: “Has the internet become more integrated? Do we now have more users and devices, and have we started using more apps?” Going forward. some of the solutions that become possible include different ADSL lines that can be bonded for better speeds. All this makes a ﬁxed-line solution a lot more attractive.
Are companies still using ﬁxed amounts of data per month, or have they moved to uncapped? When entering the market, companies often ﬁrst opt for a ﬁxed data offering. They use it, go above their limit a few times and then migrate to an uncapped offering. The beauty of our offerings is that both capped and uncapped offer the same quality of service.
What about ﬁxed-line broadband versus mobile offerings? International trends have shown us that 80% of businesses want both ﬁxed and mobile. Most companies need to run important cloud services, but at the same time they need mobility. Only once you leave the office do you need the ability to roam, and Telkom offers ﬁxed and mobile in one package, so you can do both. So while there is an increase in both ﬁxed-line and mobile, the growth is more substantially on the ﬁxed side, since the quality of service is better. As such, we are increasing the line speed so the network is getting much better.
Why should a business go for a Telkom Business package and not just a regular ADSL offering from other service providers? More value, since you are not only receiving an access line, but also a lot of business tools. And once you start bundling offers together you start incurring considerable savings. Also, instead of going to multiple providers, you are only coming to one – Telkom. So you get your access line, your ISP, your business tools, even your cloud-services, from one service provider. Telkom has moved from providing businesses with internet access only, to offering much more value. For example, our business tools include domain name registration, collaborative email, web-hosting and the capability to build your own website. This while potential savings include a three months ADSL “payment holiday” for new contract customers (see p22). 6
Businesses are also receiving the tools to manage themselves through our enterprise portal, which means they don’t necessarily need to go through the support desk.
Tell us more about the TBiz Uncapped business product range and the beneﬁt to customers. TBiz is a combination of the line, the usage and the business tools, with offers created to suit customers’ wallets and which address the need for greater value. Included in these offers are email, not just simply any email but collaborative email which gives you the ability to host in the cloud, with up to 3 GB per email account with ﬁve aliases. Telkom also provides web-hosting with a control panel so you can create your own website linked to your own .co.za. On top of this we also give you the ability to select one or two year contracts, with the two year contract subscribers receiving an 802.11n Wi-Fi business gateway with 3G failover. With this business gateway you can connect your LAN thanks to four internet ports, plug in a SIM card for added 3G connectivity, and set it up with proﬁle management in order to restrict access to certain websites. The best part of this is that it allows us as Telkom to manage the situation if ever your line goes down, since we can automatically access the modem. Furthermore, we’ve also recently dropped the price on TBiz bundles, so these are now positioned as not only excellent value, but also well-priced. The offers also don’t need to be taken as is, since customers can talk to us about customised contracts. The bottom line is that TBiz is the stepping stone to a full ICT experience.
Businesses should take a step back and ask: “Has the internet become more integrated? Do we now have more users and devices, and have we started using more apps?“
Is VoIP still a consideration for SMEs? The world has moved from pure VoIP to an all IP scenario where we are now moving towards uniﬁed communication. This is also the case here at Telkom, where we are looking at removing our legacy equipment to evolve to full IP. Some of the all IP solutions are video conferencing, instant messaging and all IP PBX solutions. Voice, for example, is part of that migration, now where both small and medium customers start beneﬁtting from the same quality experience but over an IP network. On the medium to large business side, we do have SIP trunking solutions available, where customers can opt for this as part of their WAN instead of the analogue solution. Because this integrates into their full WAN/LAN setup, they can then switch into the Exchange server, for example, to get the beneﬁt of the instant messaging platform and uniﬁed communications. For small businesses we are offering Voice over Broadband as a second line alternative to customers, but we are looking at SIP trunking over DSL, which provides a much better solution rate.
Finally, can you explain Over the Top content and how Telkom is ensuring high quality access? Over the Top content includes applications that Telkom transports over our network without charging for the content. It’s important to ensure end-to-end performance from a quality point of view, especially on real-time applications. We as Telkom must provide customers with high quality access designed upon three core concepts – adequate coverage, high speed transfer and sustained performance. Our move to an all IP network enables us to do that.
Interview: Tim Walter, Head of Marketing, Nashua Mobile “May you live in interesting times.” This old Chinese curse certainly rings true in these tech-ﬁlled times. TechSmart talked to Tim Walter, Nashua Mobileʼs executive head of marketing, about technology convergence and the importance of innovation.
echSmart (TS): Recently you stated that technology to allow convergence has matured. How so?
Tim Walter (TW): The individual elements of convergence have been around for a long time, including the mobile phone, notebooks and Wi-Fi, but they’ve never been able to talk to each other. For example, we’ve had Wi-Fi networks for ages, but it’s only in the past few years that all smartphones come with built-in Wi-Fi capabilities. Phones can intelligently choose to connect to a Wi-Fi network when it is in coverage.
TS: This allows for 3G to Wi-Fi offloading? TW: Yes, speciﬁcally for data usage. We already see large apps and software updates that prompt you to move into a Wi-Fi network. It is both in the users’ best interest and also in the long term for the mobile operators’, since they can offload large data transfers, optimise networks and make better use of their spectrums. It is inevitable that we will see more voice traffic move into the SIP sphere. We are already starting to see products such as the Voice over Internet Solutions from IS where they are routing an organisation’s voice traffic through IS’s network instead of the conventional GSM network.
TS: How far are we from seeing voice disappearing completely? Will it be within the next 10 years? TW: Definitely. Mobile operators are already dropping their call rates, in part as a response to the threat of potential disrupters entering the market place and stealing their lunch. I will even go so far to say in the next five years at least 50% of voice traffic will be transmitted over Internet Protocol (IP).
TS: There’s a lot of talk about Near Field Communication (NFC) in the retail space, but you seem to be sceptical? TW: NFC will play a role, but the issue is that there’s a massive investment in point of sale equipment that retailers and providers would have to invest in to become NFC compliant. NFC shows some potential, but the concept of a Mobile wallet, to be able to communicate to a cloud via USSD or an app to authenticate the transaction, is a very real possibility. For small business owners such as plumbers or electricians, to be paid on-site via mobile phone, is where the real potential lies.
Our core value proposition is service and choice, but in addition to that we’ve added innovation. With all of the opportunities that mobile technology and convergence offers we feel we have to innovate.
TS: Are there other examples of the benefits of convergence for SMEs? TW: Yes, convergence in terms of the cloud. There are a number of off the shelf apps available from app stores or suppliers where SMEs can leverage off world-class systems, including work force automation and accounting software. These can be accessed from mobile devices or from the desktop. Also, with voice processing moving into the cloud, with things like mobile VoIP and of course hosted PABX, a relatively small SME doesn’t have to shell out R40 000 for a PABX, they can tap into a hosted solution and pay on a per monthly basis. The advantage is that that extension is speaking to a person instead of device, which means you can have one phone number across multiple devices and the cloud transfers the call to where the person is available. It is cost-effective and the SME can have the same or similar infrastructure as a large corporate.
TS: You must be very proud of the Nashua Mobile app that you’ve produced? TW: Yes, we are very proud. Nashua Mobile is a mobile company, so we must have a mobile app, and we are the first telco in SA to have launched one. With the app we can provide our customers with day-to-day account info, which previously they either had to log onto the web or call our call centre to receive. From a long term strategic perspective, we are planning to roll out many services via the app, including transaction-based services, airtime purchases and other prepaid services.
TS: What we liked about the app is that you can actually check your daily data usage. TW: Yes, it also tracks your airtime balance and SMS traffic.
TS: How did Nashua Mobile’s Xtreme Data offering on certain Nokia handsets go? TW: The uptake has not been quite what we hoped for, but we still see good numbers every month. As a niche play, we are happy with the performance.
TS: Do you think the fact that only certain Nokia handsets were available might have detracted from the offer? TW: Absolutely, it was limited to a certain range of Nokia handsets, and we have expanded the offer to include the full range of Asha handsets. Soon we are looking to launch an Xtreme Data Premium version which will make the high-end Lumia devices available. The exclusivity period with Nokia expires at the end of August, and we are in discussion with other manufacturers.
TS: Are we talking about Android devices? TW: Yes, and they should be arriving in the September/October timeframe.
TS: You recently launched credit protector insurance for contract customers. How do you think this will perform in the market? TW: I think it gives our customers some protection – if something bad happens they can still honour their contract. We have done a lot of work on it; our underwriters are Mutual & Federal and we believe it is a competitive product and will serve our customers in good stead.
TS: It seems like Nashua Mobile is not resting on its laurels with such a large amount of value add to your offerings. Is this something you are constantly working on? TW: Our core value proposition is service and choice, but in addition to that we’ve added innovation. With all of the opportunities that mobile technology and convergence offers we feel we have to innovate. Smartphones are fantastic devices, but people only make use of a small percentage of their capabilities. If we can add another layer of services to help people make the most of these, then hopefully they will be more productive and have a better quality of life.
For more information about Nashua Mobile’s offerings, visit www.nashuamobile.com, or call 0861-531-531.
Avanade: Is big data producing big returns? The promise that ʻbig dataʼ will yield profound value for companies has become so popular, it is often taken as truth. But are the business returns from big data ‒ the increasing volumes of data companies are creating, storing and consuming ‒ measuring up to its promise? Interesting research on the subject by Avanade provide some key insight. n April 2012, Avanade conducted a large-scale survey of 569 C-level executives, business unit leaders and IT decision-makers in 18 countries to quantify executive attitudes and adoption trends surrounding big data. The survey reveals signiﬁcant strides in executive optimism and IT adoption – and much more work to be done to overcome obstacles and harness the power that big data promises.
This research study is Avanade’s second survey focused on big data speciﬁcally, and reveals these highlights: • Big data is reaching a tipping point. Data has become pervasive and empowering. Technologies that manage and analyse data are easier to use and are more readily accessible to wider groups of employees in the workplace. • Big data has gained a top spot on the agenda of business leaders for the value it has begun to create. Companies are heavily investing in staff and skills to convert data into business value. • There is more work to be done. Key business functions fail to fully leverage data for the value it promises, struggling with sheer volume and security concerns. And other technology trends, including mobility, social computing and cloud services, are causing companies to rethink their data strategies. In short, companies are moving from playing defense to offense in navigating big data.
Data management becoming easier
Big Data refers to the combination of an enormous amount of data generated and collected by organisations, the speed at which the data must be analysed, and the variety of the types of data that are collected such as text, sensor data, audio, video, click streams and log files. It is postulated that new insights emerge when all these data types are analysed together.
As big data skills and technologies permeate businesses, companies are seeing big money in big data.
Avanade research shows unmistakable signs that technologies used to manage, analyse, report and make business decisions from big data are becoming easier to use and are more widely available to employees in companies large and small. This is evidenced by the greater access to technologies that help ﬁnd, manage and extract value from data. With this change, data-related jobs and skills are permeating a wide variety of departments across these companies. Perhaps unsurprisingly, almost every company (91%) reports they are already using tools to manage and analyse data. The most widely used technologies are data storage (on-premises storage is favoured over cloud-based storage by 61% more respondents), reporting, data integration, and enterprise search. Looking ahead, 75% of survey respondents say that their company will make additional investments to improve their ability to analyse data within the next 12 months.
Big money in big data As big data skills and technologies permeate businesses, companies are seeing big money in big data. If they haven’t realised returns already, many executives believe in the promise of big data to generate revenue in the future. And beyond concrete revenue, companies report using data for a wide variety of purposes inside the company. An overwhelming majority of companies (73%) have already leveraged data to increase revenue. Of those companies that have already increased revenue, 57% used data to increase an existing revenue stream. The most popular use of data is for sales-oriented tasks. Interestingly, as companies get larger, they are more likely to also use data for competitive intelligence. Above all, 84% of respondents report that using data has helped them make better business decisions.
Work to be done As with many major technology trends, the beneﬁts come with meaningful challenges to realise the full value they promise. Companies report challenges from staff and skills to tools and technologies. The vast majority of respondents (85%) report obstacles in managing and analysing data, from being overwhelmed by sheer volume to data security, to not having enough dedicated staff to analyse it. While companies report successfully leveraging big data for increased revenue and competitive advantage, they also report a number of missed opportunities in using data to improve internal operations. For example, 70% of companies do not use their data to predict or assess staffing needs. Not coincidentally, a majority (63%) of stakeholders feel their company needs to develop new skills to turn data into business insights. Speciﬁcally, companies report investments needed in a wide range of staff skills, from math and statistics, to business operations and analysis, to visual design and reporting.
For Avanade’s full report on big data, visit bit.ly/DATABIG. For more information on how Avanade can help your company, visit www.avanade.co.za or phone 012-622-4400. 10
Avanade: Unlocking the power of the consumerisation of IT A
s the consumerisation of IT becomes more widespread, companies have an opportunity to transform the role of IT from a reactive, risk-mitigation function into strategic enablers that leverage the breadth of todayâ€™s powerful consumer technologies to drive business productivity. So what steps should companies take to unlock the benefits of the consumerisation of IT?
1. Understand and Optimise We are witnessing a rapid shift in the way employees are using personal technology in the workplace. Smartphones, tablets and notebooks, as well as social networks and online services that employees use outside the workplace, are increasingly being used in business. Rudy Greyling, innovation lead and CTO at Avanade South Africa, shares some valuable insight on how to deal with the consumerisation of IT.
IT leaders need to understand the impact of this consumerisation of IT on their organisation. What employee segments are using personal technologies in the workplace and how are they using them? Where do they work from and what devices and applications do they need to do their job? With this information in hand, IT leaders should develop a data-driven plan that enables their company to optimise access strategies for their workforce and take advantage of this emerging trend. This includes identifying and prioritising employee segments, defining work responsibilities and access requirements, and aligning the applications and devices that, if implemented, could improve productivity. This step also includes identifying training that can help accelerate implementation and improve business performance.
2. Build and Extend Once companies have a clear picture of the requirements of their employee population, the current state of consumer technologies coming into their company and a plan for how they will align with the future state, they should start building the core applications and services needed to enhance employee performance. Today, the value of consumer technologies is vastly underleveraged. Most employees do not have access to the same business data on personal devices like tablets as they do on their company-issued computer. IT has an opportunity to create a continuity of experience on these devices and provide user experiences that leverage the diverse capabilities of these technologies (e.g. small form factor, location awareness, built-in camera and GPS). Further, the majority of enterprise applications are not optimised for mobile devices and employees currently have to use workarounds to be able to access them. An enterprise app store should not only provide employees with a central portal to request an application across any number of devices â€“ from notebooks and desktops to tablets and smartphones â€“ but should also have built-in approval processes and workflows.
3. Manage the Change
Part of this process requires creating intelligent policies that clearly outline how employees can use their personal technologies in the enterprise. For most organisations, this will require a significant cultural shift.
Just like any technology trend, the consumerisation of IT requires a combination of people, processes and tools to ensure these new technologies are used safely and securely in a business environment and to effectively manage the program of changes being rolled out to the employee community. Part of this process requires creating intelligent policies that clearly outline how employees can use their personal technologies in the enterprise. For most organisations, this will require a significant cultural shift. IT leaders will have to relinquish some control and employees will have to recognise that they are accountable for the way they utilise their personal technologies. Additionally, they may need to be open to some level of monitoring and management of personal devices and technologies. These policies and practices should be reinforced by frequent formal and informal communications between IT and employees. Further, with the ever-changing portfolio of devices, IT should consider expanded security solutions which address end-points more broadly. Implementing security technology for specific devices, platforms or operating systems will likely be fragmented, incomplete and short-lived. Enterprise device management capabilities and application distribution technologies should extend across all platforms and handle a diverse set of end-points.
To the point The accelerating consumerisation of IT trend offers incredible opportunities to create strategic advantage and business empowerment for companies. IT and business leaders must examine how consumer technologies are impacting their company today, and then build a roadmap that enables the organisation to capitalise on the benefits these technologies can bring to the workplace.
The full report can be found at bit.ly/CONSUIT. For more information on Avanade and the services they provide, visit www.avanade.co.za, or call 012-622-4400. 12
The Consumerisation of IT: Your company is next The lines between the technology you use at home and at work have blurred. Lance Harris delves into the world of consumerisation. he consumerisation of IT – one of the hot technology buzzwords of the moment – is changing the ways that companies big and small manage their IT environments. It’s a sweeping trend that sees employees increasingly bring their own devices to work and make use of the same tools and apps in the workplace as they do at home.
My own device is better The ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) trend is the result of the way that mobility has changed our relationship with technology over the past decade. The arrival of smartphones, tablets and lighter, more affordable notebooks – paired with faster cellular data solutions and wireless hotspots – mean that business technology is no longer conﬁned to the workplace. At the same time, many employees have bought their own smartphones, tablets and notebooks, and believe that their personally-owned devices offer a better user experience than their work-issued PCs or cellphones. With or without permission from their managers or IT departments, they are bringing these devices to work and using them to access company networks, applications and data. Consumerisation of IT is not only about the use of personal consumer electronics at work, but also about the way that apps and services employees use in their personal time are also starting to creep into the workplace as productivity tools. Examples include instant messaging apps like BlackBerry Messenger and WhatsApp, webmail services such as Gmail, online ﬁle storage services including Dropbox, and social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter.
The good and the bad Many companies see the consumerisation of IT as a massive headache because of the security and productivity risks. While these dangers cannot be dismissed out of hand and do need to be managed (see p12), consumerisation also offers enormous beneﬁts to SMEs by helping them to reduce costs and improve ﬂexibility. One immediate beneﬁt for the SME is that it saves money if an employee chooses to buy his or her own smartphone, tablet or notebook rather than expecting the company to do so. Employees beneﬁt from using the devices they are comfortable and productive with, even if the company does not have the budget to buy these tools for them. With access to these tools, workers can become more efficient and productive. For example, they can respond to client emails from their smartphone or tablet after hours, interact with customers and colleagues via instant messaging wherever they are, or stay productive while travelling. The downside of consumerisation is that it introduces new security risks and brings complexity into IT management and support. For example, if end-users are buying their own notebooks, companies may struggle to ensure that they keep these devices up-to-date with the latest security patches and antivirus deﬁnitions. Businesses should also be concerned with the risks of a user losing a smartphone with conﬁdential customer data, which he or she doesn’t encrypt or backup. And if employees are using a range of devices with different operating systems to access applications, it will be more complex to provide them with technical support.
Many employees believe that their personallyowned devices offer a better user experience than their work-issued PCs or cellphones.
The challenge These challenges are keeping IT managers at larger businesses awake at night, but are perhaps more easily managed in SMEs with simpler IT infrastructures. There are a range of tools that companies can use to manage and secure devices in a BYOD setting – for example mobile device management (MDM) solutions. The one certainty is that end-users have become used to bringing their own devices to work and making use of the apps that they like. Diehard Apple fans will resist corporate pressure to swap their iPhones out for any other platforms, while many users prefer their own tablets to the heavy company notebook. The choice companies face is simple. They can either take advantage of the tech their employees are bringing to work and manage it through sound policies and tools. Or they can embark on a futile ﬁght that will simply result in a lot of unmanaged devices and unhappy employees. 13
Samsung Series 9 NP900X4D A second helping of awesome Last year, we admittedly fell a little in love with Samsungʼs first generation Series 9. Now, the follow up to that notebook, with ultrabook specifications, is back to steal our heart yet again.
The 15" screen, which has been superbly fitted into an exceptionally thin (15 mm) 14" chassis and boasts a display resolution of 1600 x 900, is clearly the star of the show.
he appeal of the Samsung Series 9 begins with its design. On this front, the new Series 9 looks modern and stylish, as Samsung has ditched the all-black casing of last year’s model in favour of a minimalist silver body, which offers a cleaner, more accessible aesthetic.
Truly attractive The 15" screen, which has been superbly ﬁtted into an exceptionally thin (15 mm) 14" chassis and boasts a display resolution of 1600 x 900, is clearly the star of the show. While screen real estate feels expansive, the actual Series 9 in its entirety still feels quite portable. This is complemented by the fact that, along with fantastic sharpness and superlative colour saturation, it is an exceptionally bright screen (400 nits) as well. In particular, watching movies and viewing photos on the Series 9’s screen was a treat, while audio was satisfyingly loud. Additionally, general usage, such as browsing the web and working in programs, proved to be less of a strain on our eyes than dimmer screens of lesser resolutions.
Under the hood Performance wise, the Series 9 packs an Ivy Bridge Intel Core i5 (3317u) 14
processor clocked at 1.7 GHz, and a decent 4 GB of RAM. This accounted for particularly speedy performance in general tasks. Our test model featured an 128 GB solid state drive, although only 94 GB of this was user accessible. Graphics are taken care of via Intel’s integrated graphics 4000, rather than a discrete solution. Start-up time from sleep was an excellent two seconds, while from powered off took 18 seconds before Windows was fully loaded.
Smooth handling While the backlit chiclet keyboard was mostly comfortable to type on and use, it has sacriﬁced a depth of key press in order to allow the Series 9 to be as thin as it is. Some handy little touches are onboard though, such as function keys to enable/disable wireless, and conveniently turn keyboard backlighting on and off. Meanwhile, the generously sized trackpad was faultlessly responsive from end to end. One USB 2.0, one USB 3.0, a micro HDMI and a four-in-one card reader have been squeezed into the ultrabook’s slender frame.
To the point In many ways, the Series 9 is an improvement over its predecessor, which was already a superb notebook in its own right, and proved to be an ultra premium notebook we will not quickly forget. It retails for R14 999.
Samsung Series 7 Slate PC Slated for success For business users, productivity and portability often go hand in hand, and information quite frequently needs to be accessible at all times and in multiple locations. It is within these scenarios that tablet devices, like the Series 7 Slate PC, really comes into its own. he 11.6" Series 7 Slate PC offers the best of both the tablet and notebook world, as it boasts a full Windows 7 operating system and the performance of an Intel second-generation Core i3 or i5 processor. It also offers a form factor that is portable, easily handheld or thus easy to physically pass to and share with one’s colleagues. Importantly, business users can also run all their essential Windowsbased software and share documents with co-workers. Moreover, multiple inputs give users several options with regards to entering text: using an optional Bluetooth keyboard, writing on the screen using a digital pen, or entering text via the touch interface. The bright (400 nits) 11.6" HD LED Display, which boasts a resolution of 1366 x 768, is accompanied by a 64 GB solid state drive, which is considerably more storage space than offered by most tablets. The latter enables start up times to be measured in mere seconds, ensuring that the device is ready for business almost immediately. One USB 2.0 port, a microSD card slot and a micro HDMI port are also onboard. Additionally, a two megapixel integrated webcam caters for video conferencing. Of particular importance to mobile workers is the fact that the device offers a little more than six hours of battery life on a single charge, almost enough to get through a regular working day with continuous use. Additionally, at 860 grams – almost half as light as the least hefty ultrabook – the Series 7 Slate PC certainly won’t weigh its users down; while its 12.5 mm thin proﬁle further ensures its portability, making productivity possible, anywhere. It retails for R14 999.
The Series 7 Slate PC’s 64 GB solid state drive is considerably more storage space than offered by most tablets.
Samsung Series 7 Chronos notebook This notebook means business Samsungʼs Series 7 Chronos notebook proves, as the name suggests, that noteboooksʼ time in the sun is far from over. hile ultrabooks have grabbed a fair share of attention, excellent notebooks still offer some features that their smaller counterparts do not, which are particularly relevant for business users. The advantages that notebook shoppers should take note of are the more generous screen sizes, the inclusion of a built-in optical drive that caters to DVDs and more capacious hard drives. The 15.6" Samsung Series 7 Chronos offers all these, as well as a number of other noteworthy features. Chief amongst these is excellent all round performance thanks to impressive specifications, which include a second generation Intel Core i7 quad core processor (2675QM @ 2.2 GHz), up to 8 GB of memory, and discrete graphics card in the form of the AMD Radeon HD 6750M. It further offers the best of both worlds storage wise, as the Chronos boasts a regular hard drive (in our model, 500 GB) as well as with an 8 GB SSD drive for faster boot-up times. The comfortable keyboard offers backlighting, the brightness of which can be controlled to one’s liking. A plethora of ports are also onboard, as the Chronos offers a generous two USB 3.0 ports for faster data transfer, along with one USB 2.0, HDMI, an SD card reader and a DVD drive. All the above though, is fitted into a brushed aluminium shell that denotes pure business, while also offering a modern and stylish aesthetic. While the Chronos may not be as thin or as light as some of Samsung’s ultrabook offerings, it is still portable in its own right, and at 2.3 kg, is light enough to earn its place on a business trip and on a business-users desk. It has a RRP of R13 999.
Chief amongst the Chronos’ noteworthy features is excellent all-round performance thanks to impressive specifications.
NVIROMON remote environmental monitoring and control The watcher over your IT equipment For equipment to function optimally, environmental conditions within a companyʼs IT computer room, data centre or networked PC area, must be optimal. But what happens when the airconditioning fails or a plumbing leak ﬂoods the area?
his is where the hardware and software of electronic research and development company, Netshield, comes in. With NVIROMON, IT managers can easily and effectively remotely monitor and manage the environmental-, power-, access- and ﬁre risk conditions within their company’s IT computer room or other equipment areas. All Netshield manufactured products have a lifetime carry-in warranty, while outsourced products have a one year carry-in warranty.
What the hardware does
With NVIROMON, IT managers can effectively remotely monitor and manage the environmental-, power-, access- and fire risk conditions within their company’s IT computer room.
NVIROMON’s hardware, installed in the IT computer room, will prevent catastrophes before they can occur via a number of probes/sensors on the device. This includes probes for humidity, temperature and water, gas/airﬂow and power meters. Additional functions, like taking care of power management and control, air-conditioning, surge and ﬁre protection/ suppression, are also available. Thanks to the built-in GSM module, an escalating alert notiﬁcation is sent to the appropriate personnel member’s mobile phone as soon as a problem is detected, enabling proper measures to be taken to ensure that IT equipment remain fully functional and optimally conﬁgured. The GSM module can send out more than one SMS, alerting the relevant authorities which might include the ﬁre department, plumbers or other relevant members of staff – a unique feature of the NVIROMON package.
Netshield Monitor One software Working in conjunction with the hardware, the Netshield Monitor One software is a comprehensive SNMP-based management information system, available to remotely monitor and manage the environmental-, power-, access- and ﬁre risk conditions via SNMP communication with all the NVIROMON units connected to the network. The alerting notiﬁcations on the Netshield Monitor One system may be achieved via SNMP trap, email, SMS and or a graphic user interface. The software gives users a graphical representation of a network, allowing for direct monitoring of the remote sites. This system is often used in 24 hour control- or call centres. The Monitor One system can be conﬁgured as a web server, allowing monitoring anywhere on the web with a standard web browser. Historic data allows managers to trace a problem back to its root, as well as helping to discover potential problems before they occur.
Netshield access control A hardware-based monitoring solution is not complete without the ability to also control who may or may not enter your facilities. To this end, the NVIROMON system can also provide full access control, with complete command over who enters the room, when and for what reason. There is even an option of a full security alarm system that can capture images of people entering. Users will be able to see and hear if anything is out of the ordinary; but best of all, it will alert you via SMS if you are not close by. In order to restrict access to rooms where sensitive, dangerous or expensive equipment is housed, the NVIROMON unit can be enhanced via certain key equipment. This includes the MULIODCBPSU, which controls access through the main door. It allows the user to enter with WIEGAND-based technology such as ﬁngerprint readers, WIEGAND interface keypads or Normally Open/Normally Close contacts.
Your own personal ﬁre-ﬁghter Netshield also provides equipment for when your IT equipment is under serious threat. The FireSmother automatic ﬂame suppressant, for example, is a must-have. The compact and easy-to-install Fire-Smother is an automatic ﬂame suppressant which can extinguish ﬁres in controlled areas, without damaging electronics or leaving any residue. The non-corrosive and non-toxic Fire-Smother does not need to be maintained or serviced, is not dangerous to health and is completely environmentally friendly.
About Netshield Since Pretoria-based Netshield, responsible for developing the NVIROMON, is an electronic research and development company, they are able to develop, manufacture and customise products to the speciﬁc needs of clients. For more on the NVIROMON product range, contact Netshield on 086-111-4428 or visit www.netshieldsa.com. 18
Tech evolution of SME presentations Awind wePresent WiPG-1000 and wePresent 920 More than a decade ago, corporate presentations made the leap from overhead transparencies to multimedia-based ones delivered via PC. Now, this mainstay of the corporate arena is evolving once again to keep abreast of technology trends. wind’s wePresent WiPG-1000 (Wireless interactive Presentation Gateway) and wePresent 920 allows users to sever their wired connections by enabling wireless presentations. In addition, your company’s presentations will be brought into the 21st century via these two devices’ numerous features such as split screen projection, HD video streaming and remote desktop accessibility.
A Both the wePresent 920 and the WiPG-1000 come with exciting features, enabling savvy presenters to make their presentations more productive and appealing.
How does a wireless presenter tool work? Both the WiPG-1000 and wePresent 920 act just like a wireless router found within office networks across South Africa. After connecting the device to a large high deﬁnition monitor using an HDMI cable, or to the boardroom projector by way of a standard VGA input connector and 3.5 mm audio cable, you can start to stream content from your PC wirelessly to these units. At the same time, users are able to wirelessly share this content with all the presentation participants on their respective notebook PCs or mobile devices in real time. As many as 32 participants are able to connect to a single wePresent device and once connected, they simply download the wePresent software. PC users do this only once by either installing the software using the dongle contained in device’s retail box, or via a browser by going to the address supplied on screen. Those using an iPad, iPhone or Android-powered smartphone or tablet can download Awind’s MobiShow app from Google’s Play store or Apple’s App Store to be able to follow the presentation on their respective devices. By employing the wePresent software, participants can display their part of the presentation, either using one screen at a time or having up to four users showing their content on screen simultaneously via these devices’ 4-to-1 split screen projection feature. A designated presentation facilitator prevents presentation chaos by ordering the ﬂow of information. This moderator uses the device’s conference control mode to select whose content is presented and in what order.
Which one for your oﬃce?
Awind wePresent 920
Users that only require a device to project and wirelessly share images and audio will be happy with the wePresent 920, which is able to stream high quality (HD-Ready, 720p) video. This video is scaled to XGA (1024 x 768) resolution so it looks fantastic and remains lag-free. The wePresent WiPG-1000 will be at home within SMEs whose offices sport a Wi-Fienabled screen within their meeting room, since the WiPG-1000 supports DoWiFi (Display-over-WiFi), further cutting down on the need for cables. By downloading Awind’s WiFiDoc app, smartphone and tablet users will be able to more actively participate in presentations, as it allows them to send content such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Word, Excel and PDF documents from their devices to the large screen or projector via the WiPG-1000. Beyond DoWiFi, the WiPG-1000 can display content at resolutions up to full HD (1080p) and sports three USB 2.0 ports compared to the wePresent 920’s one. Users connect a USB keyboard and/or mouse to these ports in order to remotely access a too-heavy-to-carry PC that is still within the wePresenter’s operating range.
To the point Both the wePresent 920 and the WiPG-1000 come with exciting features, enabling savvy presenters to make their presentations more productive and appealing. The wePresent WiPG1000 goes for R4725 (incl. VAT), whilst the wePresent 920 is available for R5267 (incl. VAT).
For more info contact Forefront on 011-259-7000 or send a mail to email@example.com.
Awind wePresent WiPG-1000 20
Telkom frees uncapped internet Three months internet and Wi-Fi modem included
In line with the ever increasing demand for more data utilisation, Telkom has announced a promotion oﬀering three months free uncapped internet connectivity to residential customers and small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
ustomers signing up for a 24 month uncapped internet package in the do Uncapped residential product range and the TBiz Uncapped business product range, will receive three months free Uncapped Internet connectivity. This promotion delivers savings of up to R4 000 for residential customers and up to R10 000 for SMEs. In addition, new customers will receive free ADSL, landline installation and a free Wi-Fi modem.
Customers are bandwidth hungry “Telkom’s Do Uncapped offering removes restrictions on data volumes to satisfy the customer’s growing appetite for media rich online content, thus enabling our residential customers to download and watch more movies, and music and so forth,” says Manelisa Mavuso, managing director of Consumer Services and Retail. “With this promotion we are continuing to create new products and services that enable multiple users in a household or business to run multiple bandwidth-hungry applications at the same time, at faster speeds and with greater stability provided by fixed line internet.”
Telkom had observed industry trends and analysed data usage patterns to develop an uncapped product that delivers a quality and sustainable service that ensures responsible, fair and balanced data consumption.
Benefits to SMEs SMEs will not only enjoy the benefits of this promotion but also the recent price adjustments and speed upgrades on the TBiz Uncapped product range. “As more sophisticated business applications such as collaborative email, document sharing and web-hosting or cloud storage tools become relevant to the SME, the demand for greater data volumes and the freedom to explore the internet unrestricted grows,” explains Thami Magazi, managing executive at Telkom’s SME Services. “Our uncapped offerings offer small and medium businesses the ability to integrate high speed internet into their daily operations and ultimately boost their productivity and subsequently their profits,” concluded Magazi. When launching uncapped last year, Telkom had observed industry trends and analysed data usage patterns to develop an uncapped product that delivers a quality and sustainable service that ensures responsible, fair and balanced data consumption. These promotions help make the uncapped product accessible to even more customers. All of Telkom’s uncapped packages are subject to certain daytime speed restrictions outlined in Telkom Internet’s Acceptable Use Policy.
About Telkomʼs TBiz Uncapped Bundles Telkom’s TBiz uncapped bundles offer the flexibility needed to run intensive business applications without worrying about a data usage limit, but with consistent quality of experience. Starting with the TBiz Basic Uncapped package (up to 1024 kbps ADS for R595 monthly), businesses can choose from four packages, concluding with the TBiz Premium+ Uncapped product that offers up to 10 Mbps ADSL download speeds, uncapped 10 240 shaped internet usage and a starter VAS package for R3 495 monthly.
How to upgrade Should you wish to customise a broadband solution to meet your business requirements, please contact Telkom on 10217. If you are an existing Telkom Broadband customer, your Broadband service can be migrated to any of the TBiz bundles. Should your current contract be older than 18 months and you sign up for a new 24 month contract, you will receive a new business router as part of the TBiz solution. 22
Telkom Business revitalises internet value outh African Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can look forward to bandwidth increases on the entry-level ADSL offerings and up to 27% reduction in prices on the higher end usage offerings. Effectively, customers on entry level 384 and 1024 Uncapped Internet usage products will be upgraded to 1024 and 2048 Uncapped Internet respectively at no additional cost. The new prices on usage products and value bundles are effective immediately, while speed upgrades will commence automatically from 24 August 2012. “Telkom Business remains committed to enabling small and medium business customers with high quality internet services. Today, we have not only increased value but we have also slashed prices,” says Thami Magazi, managing executive: SME Services. “Over the last six months, we’ve recorded a 105% increase in internet usage from our retail customers over Telkom Internet. This includes increased activity by small and medium enterprises customers who are integrating high speed internet into their daily operations.” Magazi suggested that the increase in ﬁxed bandwidth was enabled by the introduction of high quality uncapped internet last year which has facilitated the uptake of more sophisticated business applications such as collaborative email, document sharing and web-hosting or cloud storage tools. These product updates follow the recent announcement by Telkom on the upgrade of entry-level ADSL speeds to enable new generation consumer content and business applications in a more cost effective manner. Steve Lewis, managing executive of Product House says: “Based on our customers’ responses, we are improving our uncapped offerings while remaining responsible to the core network products through which we deliver our customer traffic. We are passing on beneﬁts of improved bandwidth pricing and increased value in entry level products into our uncapped usage products.” These product updates have been designed to enable businesses to gain a signiﬁcant competitive edge. “We believe that by offering these packages at these prices, we offer business customers the ability to enhance their ICT experience with a wider range of business utilities to truly boost their productivity,” concluded Magazi.
Telkom Business reveals greater value on its internet oﬀerings with signiﬁcant price adjustments to their internet product portfolio.
SMEs can look forward to bandwidth increases on the entry-level ADSL offerings and up to 27% reduction in prices on the higher end usage offerings.
Pricing details Telkom’s shaped uncapped offerings have been re-priced as follows: Usage Product
Value and pricing on TBiz Uncapped Bundles have been adjusted as follows: Usage Product
Up to 384kbps*
Up to 1Mbps*
Premium+ (10Mbps) Up to 10Mbps
* To be upgraded automatically from 24 August 2012 to higher speeds. Prices include VAT, exclude business line rental. Usage products are subject to the Telkom Internet AUP. The Starter VAS package includes multiple email accounts, web-hosting and .co.za domain registration, and self-management tools.
Going solo: Four steps in using Facebook to empower your business. Now more than ever, it is possible to turn a great idea or saleable skill into a successful business reality. Chris Anderson looks at how using Facebook eﬀectively can help turn the tide for oneperson businesses.
mall, one-person operations have been deﬁned by the limitations of real-world challenges such as location, ﬁnancing and marketing. Yet thanks to the far-widening inﬂuence of social media platforms with their user-friendly interfaces, growing a successful small business has never been easier. A good online professional reputation goes a long way to elevating that one unique skill into a successful solo enterprise. Vital to this is understanding how to constructively use the tools available, together with the principles of basic marketing and common sense. Four simple, distinct ideas can initiate a strong online social media presence for any business or individual on Facebook – the most elementary and widely used online social platform.
1. Identity, Simplicity and Professionalism A Facebook page’s ﬁrst impression is its visual element. Proﬁle photos will be attached to each post and every interaction, determining the identity of the company. Simplicity is key, especially on a tight budget. Logos must be easy on the eye and photos should be basic communicators of the company’s message and philosophy. As important as visuals, the tone of the page’s text needs to be established early. To project a professional air, be aware of spelling, appropriate language and writing style. Everything from the name of the company, descriptions of services and products, to interactions with page followers should be consistent, whether the tone is strictly professional or more conversational. These two elements are key gateways to capturing audiences and retaining loyalty to your company’s services and products, and apply across all social media platforms.
2. Interaction, Consistency and Personalisation Retaining interest in a Facebook page comes down to interaction with your audience. Creating talking points through posts, whether they are of your products/services or related, relevant outsourced material (i.e: YouTube videos, news links, etc.), is the best way of discovering the demographics of visitors to the page. The adaptable Facebook Questions app is a great informal survey to gain customer feedback. Communication with visitors should be conﬁdent and professional, but avoid being stock answers. Personalising interaction with a potential customer base stays a step ahead of how corporate companies interact with client. Consistent, real interaction creates loyal customers. Even if you choose to make your business a faceless one, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be a voiceless one.
Retaining interest in a Facebook page comes down to interaction with your audience.
3. Content, Content, Content To explain the signiﬁcance of how content can make or break a Facebook page, criticism has recently being given to a local television network for the amount of irrelevant content, mostly image and video memes, posted on their fan page. Users don’t want yet another stream of useless information on their newsfeeds, and can quickly turn against a page that posts twenty LOLCats a day, without actually saying what the company does. Any potential customer will remember the company, if only to avoid it in the future. Moderation in this area is vital. Posts of videos and news items, even a meme once in a while, can create a strong community feel and encourage interaction on the page, ultimately building a good reputation for a company. This is only true if the material is well chosen, relevant and professionally presented.
4. Plan, Promote and Evolve Stagnation kills a Facebook fan page. The three ideas above can make the difference, but in order to reap full beneﬁt of the Facebook outlet for your business, a page should be a signiﬁcant part in basic marketing strategy, its importance on par with the nuts and bolts of the business. Its cultivation should be a daily routine: regular posts and updates, cross-promotion with other social media platforms to gain the largest audience possible; and continued interaction with the business’ best asset: the customer. Facebook pages are evolving entities, affected by the trends and habits of users, and small businesses and self-promoting individuals must constantly adapt media strategies accordingly. 24
ZANDO: Five important lessons in eCommerce What does it take for a company to succeed in the fast moving world of eCommerce? Peter Allerstorfer, co-founder and MD of the current darling of the local fashion world, ZANDO, provides ﬁve important lessons he learnt since going live.
ANDO (www.zando.co.za), South Africa’s newest online fashion store is evidence of the online explosion that the South African market is experiencing at present. The website launched on the 23rd of January 2012, and since then this eCommerce domain is seeing 200 000 unique visitors a month. ZANDO is fast establishing its position as one of the leading eCommerce players in South Africa, and with more than 300 local and international brands and 8 000 styles featured online, it’s easy to see why. Peter Allerstorfer, MD of Zando, shares his experiences.
1. The customer should be the focus of your activities Listening and engaging is key in an online business. The radical increase in our offering is testament to the growth that we are experiencing and has been a direct result of listening to what our customers want. 2. Your staff is your asset In support to the growth of ZANDO’s business, investing in human capital is a key focus for the business. Identifying and retaining talent is vital to the success of our company. 3. Be data driven and have attention to detail Paying attention to our customers’ needs directly affects what we sell. It allows us to offer the widest range, convenience, great service and fast delivery. As such, no decisions can be made without data. Access to data is essential for measurement, benchmarking and the bottom line. It’s all about the details. 4. There are no shortcuts Hard work, long hours and dedication to your business are key factors when growing a company. There are no shortcuts to success. 5. Prioritise correctly and have razor-sharp focus In a start-up/new eCommerce company, there are thousands of things to do, so it’s all about prioritising. Create a short list of the top 50 things you need to get done on a daily basis and don’t waste your time on things that are not important. This enables you to have razor-sharp focus. To find out more about ZANDO, visit the online store at www.zando.co.za or follow ZANDO on Facebook or on Twitter (@zando_co_za). ocial media principles that apply to large corporates also apply to SMEs. When getting started, all businesses, no matter their size, need to bear in mind that social media is not a PR tool, it is an experience requiring businesses to create a ‘home’ with unique content about the business.
Social media for S SMEs: The Doʼs The doʼs and donʼts By Donna Palinhos, Head of Content and Community at NATIVE
• Have a social media strategy in place that will effectively promote your brand. Don’t automatically assume your business belongs on Facebook. Perhaps Twitter or MXit would provide a more meaningful conversation with your target audience. • Develop your company’s brand voice in accordance with its unique brand identity, marketing message and positioning. Social media must look off the cuff but be planned well ahead of time and regularly updated. • Provide fans and followers with exclusivity to time-sensitive deals, offers, give-aways, events and rewards in creative ways. • Be conversational and friendly to your audiences to stimulate dialogue and build a sound relationship. • Measure the worth of your social media strategy. Analyse the activity on your Facebook page or Twitter profile every month – understanding what kind of content resonates best with your audience.
The Donʼts Social media has become very much part and parcel of the business marketing mix, and like any other marketing tool available, you want to be able to derive the best possible value for your business. Donna Palinhos, head of content and community at NATIVE, SAʼs largest independent digital marketing agency, provides the doʼs and donʼts of social media.
• Never ignore or simply delete queries and complaints. Answer all queries and deal with negative comments quickly and honestly. • If the situation is difficult to contain within social media, try to take the conversation “offline”. Don’t panic if your brand faces slander, negativity and complaint in your online communities. Have a plan in hand to deal with crisis situations. • Forego the PR and sales-pitch speak. Ask questions that inspire response. Create thoughtful and engaging conversation with your communities. • Don’t take content without crediting its source. Make your presentation of content fresh, engaging and shareable. • Don’t spam fans and followers with a continuous stream of messaging. • Don’t use the same content on Facebook and Twitter. These are different platforms with different audiences, treat them as such. • Don’t ignore Facebook rules when it comes to the use of the cover image (not to be used as a promotional space or for competitions). The requirements of the Consumer Protection Act should also be adhered to.
oza Online (www.wozaonline.co.za) is a joint initiative started by Google, the Department of Trade and Industry, Vodacom and the Human Resources Development Council. The project aims to assist South African SMEs in creating their own websites, which can result in these companies experiencing a boost in turnover, as the ﬁrms are now able to market and possibly sell their wares and services to a new, much broader audience base.
W Woza Online gets SMEs online in a ﬂash More than 25 000 business websites created Since its launch at the beginning of the year, the Woza Online initiative has enabled more than 25 000 South African small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop an online presence without any hassles, and for mahala.
What does this initiative oﬀer your business? Businesses that participate in this initiative receive an easyto-build professional website, a free sub-domain name (http://yourcompanyname.wozaonline.co.za) and hosting, which is provided by Google for all Woza Online participants for free. In addition, companies obtain an automatic listing on Google Places, which also reﬂects within Google Maps, making it simpler to ﬁnd their addresses online. Businesses aren’t merely left to their own devices with regards to the websites, since they have access to training material, workshops and free online support via Google Chat as well as email.
What is required? In order to set up a website, companies are only required to have an internet connection and Google account. They do not need to download any elaborate website creation software at all. By utilising the browser-based Google business sitebuilder tool, they will be able to create their website in the space of an hour or less. Once created, your ﬁrm’s new website will be automatically optimised for browsing via mobile phone, which is crucial within a country where mobile penetration is high. Besides the local Woza Online initiative, Google also launched similar programs within 27 other countries around the globe, ranging from the UK and France through to Brazil and Indonesia. Via these, the company has brought more than 400 000 businesses online over a two year period. Within Africa, this programme was launched in Kenya and Nigeria last year, and together with South Africa’s 25 000 ﬁrms, the initiative has already seen more than 80 000 African SMEs gaining an online presence.
Selling online: What you should know about payment gateways
PSPs specialise in making online payments happen – they are the link between sellers, customers, their respective banks and card companies.
Selling goods online is a fantastic way for small businesses to reach a bigger market. But, says PayGate MD Peter Harvey, would-be online businesses need to become familiar with very diﬀerent ways of being paid. etting an online merchant account so that you can take credit card payments directly can be a very involved and expensive process and not everyone will qualify. Fortunately, you don’t need a merchant account to trade online. There are alternatives available like UKash, FNB Cell PayPoint, PaySum1, Mpesa, SID (Secure Internet Deposit) and more. But how do you know which one is right for your business? A payment service provider (PSP) should be able to help business owners answer that question, says Harvey. “PSPs specialise in making online payments happen – they are the link between sellers, customers, their respective banks and card companies. One of the first things to look for in a PSP is whether they’re able and willing to guide you in making the right choices.” Although you don’t want to leave your choice of PSP up to your web developer, you do want to make life as easy as possible for them. “Find a PSP that offers plugins for all the popular shopping cart applications your developer might want to use – you don’t want to have to develop anything from scratch,” says Harvey. The relationship with the PSP needs to continue long past the web development stage however. “Look for a PSP you can build a long-term relationship with. The costs of changing payment providers are high, especially if your business can’t afford to be out of action for a few hours or days.” Payment needs are likely to change as a business grows, notes Harvey. “Don’t get tied into a two-year contract with a high minimum monthly commitment – or any two-year contract, in fact. A 30-day notice period should be the standard.” Online commerce can be scary for first-timers, says Harvey, but many people have built very solid businesses online. “If you’re supplying any kind of niche product or service, selling online might be the only way to build a sustainable customer base. The secret is to find the right partners to help you make it happen.” For more info on visit www.paygate.co.za.
Prepare for the Near Field revolution NFC to oﬀer beneﬁts and opportunities for SMEs Amongst the many things of which SMEs need to be mindful, being prepared for current and forthcoming changes in technology is imperative. One of these changes is the adoption of Near Field Communication (NFC), which is expected to change the way businesses receive payments from their customers. Ryan Noik investigates.
hen one considers the popularity of smartphones, and the fact that NFC has been routinely integrated into most modern handsets, it is quite clear that both small and medium businesses will need to cater to consumers’ ever-present device: the smartphone. Explained simply, NFC technology enables its users to merely swipe their smartphone or NFC enabled device across a reader. With NFC, a mobile phone has to be enabled with an NFC chip and mated with an NFC reader to facilitate payments. The paying party, however, does not require a credit card to make a payment, only a bank account that has eWallet functionality.
The future beckons According to Deloitte, tentative steps are already being taken into a world in which mobile phones will be a passport to making transactions. The result could be that current retail payment systems will be pushed into redundancy and even bank-issued cards will be a thing of the past. According to Jonathan Houston, digital marketing lead with the Deloitte Consulting Technology Division, the beneﬁts will not only be felt by consumers who will be able to make payments using their phones and no longer carry cards. Of particular interest to merchants and SMEs, is that cashless payments would enable them to operate more securely and be less vulnerable to crime, as the volume of cash on their premises would be vastly reduced. Houston added that ultimately, the pressure will be on ﬁnancial institutions, business and retailers to prepare for the coming payment revolution. “There is no doubt that consumers, especially early adopters of technology, will be demanding these services the minute they become commercially viable,” he asserted.
In South Africa, it is the capital-intensive process of rolling out point of sales terminals that will be the big barrier to NFC adoption.
Time to prepare South African businesses though, are in a unique, perhaps even enviable position, of having a fair bit of time to prepare for the inevitable, and get to grips with how the technology could affect and beneﬁt them. According to Tim Walter, executive head of marketing at Nashua Mobile, mainstream adoption of NFC may be as much as two to three years away. He added that in South Africa, it is the capital-intensive process of rolling out point of sales terminals by stores, hotels, restaurants, services ﬁrms and other merchants that will be the big barrier to adoption. “Retailers and banks will need to see some clearly deﬁned beneﬁts in security, convenience and cost-reduction before they adopt NFC in a big way. We will need to see big retail groups, mobile operators and banks cooperate closely to nurture an NFC ecosystem based on a sound business model that works for all of them – and that could take some time,” Walter elaborated.
Opportunity knocks However, we may well see other applications for NFC-enabled phones come to the fore in the interim period. Indeed, NFC has a myriad of other uses that SMEs may well be interested in. For example, the technology can be used for applications such as electronic ticketing, loyalty programs and coupons, parking payment, buying goods from vending machines, paring devices to establish Bluetooth or WLAN connections, and more. How popular NFC will become for such applications depends on market penetration of enabled devices and the beneﬁts companies see in adopting it.
To the point Even so, all this could offer SMEs across a range of industries a means of engaging with their customers, and leverage off the desire of people to utilise their smartphones in innovative and novel ways. This in itself could provide new opportunities for enterprising SMEs to integrate the technology into their sphere of business. 28
Social lending and crowd funding: A new way to raise money
Top of mind amongst small and medium businesses alike, most particularly those just getting oﬀ the ground, is the often vexing question: what is the best way to raise money and secure funding? Ryan Noik investigates new trends emerging across the web. eyond the traditional means, recently new options have emerged and are growing as both viable, and promising answers to that question in their own right. Both social lending and crowd funding enables individuals, non-profit organisations and entrepreneurs to sidestep banks and turn to alternative, online sources for investment in projects and ideas. With social lending, businesses and individuals are thus able to lend and borrow money at more competitive interest rates than they could get from the banks and without the excessive charges and fees.
Social lending and crowd funding explained Sean Emery, the co-founder and CEO of RainFin, explained that this new person-toperson model of lending directly links people and groups who have cash to invest, with people and small businesses who want to borrow money. While currently focused on a personal lending product, RainFin will be launching its own SME focused Supply Chain Funding marketplace later this year, which will give SMEs the opportunity to borrow money to fund working capital. Crowd funding portals, such as Kickstarter.com, Indiegogo.com, Profounder.com and Evly.com, enable people and small businesses to apply for funding, whereby they can raise money from the public by offering a variety of returns to potential funders. These range from something as small as promising them some form of acknowledgement or a share in the company’s profits. However, Emery notes that in most crowd funding campaigns, the funders are promised the company’s product in return for their money.
Putting the ʻfunʼ back in funding According to two local entrepreneurs who have jumped into the alternative funding arena, South African entrepreneurs Ben Botes and Lourie Nel, with their online funding portal, StartMe.co.za, the biggest issue facing entrepreneurs of start-up businesses today is funding their ideas to fruition. “Approaching banks requires that the entrepreneur follows certain eligibility criteria such as credit worthiness. This can lead to delays in getting the business off the ground and the potential of losing first-mover advantage,” elaborated Botes. He further asserted though, with StartMe, the entrepreneur can raise money in “just a few months” to expand their business or start their business from the crowd. Crowd funding also offers a soft benefit, enabling small, start-up companies to generate some much needed publicity for their company, and see how well received their product may be before going to market, while garnering the funding to move forward.
Inarguable promise Businesses that may be inclined to dismiss crowd funding as being relegated to ‘creative types’ or entrepreneurs who have small scale projects in mind, need only look at the success of Ouya to dispel their disbelief. The Android console developer managed to raise in excess of $5.7 million (R46.5 million) in less than a month, from some 45 000 investors on Kickstarter (view the video: bit.ly/andouya). Additionally, crowd funding further opens a door for businesses that bring to market new, untested innovations, often frowned upon by banks when they consider the feasibility of granting a loan.
Stay tuned for more Only cementing the argument for crowd funding’s viability is proof that the trend is no ‘flash in the pan.’ According to Crowdsourcing.org, the emergence of crowd funding platforms (CFPs) around the globe is accelerating. By the end of 2012 there are expected to be more than 530 platforms, an increase of 60% since last year. While the US leads the trend, with 191 CFPs, this growing funding alternative is also booming in Europe, with 44 CFPs in Britain and more than 100 in existence across the rest of the Eurozone. Additionally, the site predicts that the amount of money raised by international crowd funding projects during 2012 will reach $2.8 billion (about R22.5 billion) up 91% since 2011.
To the point For SMEs, particularly of the start-up variety, above all else, crowd funding and social lending offer a ray of hope, and that is certainly nothing to be scoffed at. We hope to see a few local success stories soon. 30
Getting the technology in business right can be tricky. Your tech can either improve eﬃciency and contribute to the bottom line ‒ or it can be a hidden drain on your resources. Tim James of Cape Town-based company, sustainableIT, is on hand with a few ways to save money by improving your IT practices. 1. Adopt tools that enable you to switch your PCs oﬀ when you arenʼt using them Poor PC management can be a signiﬁcant source of electricity waste. I often visit companies where staff leave their PCs turned on 24/7 because the IT department conducts security patching or maintenance tasks overnight. A simple, tech solution can enable wake-on-LAN technology that reduces PC energy (without interfering with their nocturnal security patching) and shut machines down when they aren’t required.
2. Cut out servers you arenʼt using Gartner estimates that 12-14% of the world’s servers actually have no use whatsoever. Software solutions exist that can identify these unused servers so that they can be eliminated. This not only reduces your energy costs, but your maintenance and staff costs too, freeing your IT team up to do more with the useful resources you have.
3. Optimise the servers that you do need
Better IT energy practices: Four steps to save you money By Tim James, MD of sustainableIT
Servers are, on any given day, using energy to do ‘useful’ work (e.g. the work employees do on a day to day basis) and ‘housekeeping’ work (such as indexing checks or antivirus updates). Although the housekeeping work is necessary, it can waste energy. By forcing the server software into the lowest energy-using state while still running, you can cut your data centre energy use by 12% with no impact on performance
4. Beware of unused software licenses Most organisations have either unused software (installed on PCs, but not needed or used) or shelfware (software that is purchased but never deployed) in their organisation. What they don’t realise is that the maintenance costs for this software can often run between 15-20% of the original license fee per annum. Add to that the fact that we typically see between 20-40% of software installed remaining entirely unused at any given company, and you’re paying a hefty price tag for no reason whatsoever. Find out what you own, what you are using, and what you really need. Most companies have some form of IT waste in their organisation. Fortunately, there are excellent and inexpensive tools that can be implemented that will not only enable your business to run more efficiently, but more proﬁtably as well. For more info contact sustainableIT on 021-403-6411.
Tour of the Mustek assembly plant Local company celebrates 25 years in business
Mustek, the largest assembler and supplier of PCs in South Africa, is this year celebrating its 25th year of operation. As part of the celebrations TechSmart was recently given a tour of the companyʼs world-class assembly plant in Midrand. he plant plays host to a massive (2 530 m²) assembly line that manufactures 400 computers per day on average. This can be boosted to 800 daily units, with Mustek producing 127 500 units in its last ﬁnancial year. An impressive feat considering that only 44 people are employed at the assembly line.
A proud history
Mustek’s progression from a small start-up to a proudly South African listed company was made possible through hard work and client loyalty.
Mustek established the line approximately 8½ years ago, using it to assemble all products for the Mecer brand and provide a software imaging value add service to multinational brands. It is the largest semi-automated computer assembly line in South Africa and has the ﬂexibility to offer built-to-order units as well as customisation for pre-assembled ones. David Kan, CEO of Mustek, stated that the company’s progression from a small start-up to a proudly South African listed company, was only made possible through hard work and client loyalty. “We continue to address the changing requirements of the market and our customers. The days of the hardware box-drop are over, where we have evolved to taking ownership of the whole process, offering customisable business and lifestyle solutions.” Kan concluded that Mustek remains committed to South Africa and its future. He said that one of the company’s main focuses will be addressing the local IT skills shortage via training programmes and e-Learning initiatives.
The future According to Hein Engelbrecht, managing director of Mustek, the company is already looking forward to the challenges ahead in the next 25 years. These include the consumerisation of IT, which Engelbrecht feels requires a novel approach that addresses the need for employees to use their personal mobile devices at work. “Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices are creating security and integration headaches in the workplace, making it more difficult to safeguard critical data. For many of our customers in the public and ﬁnancial sectors, the desktop remains an important tool for business, driving us to develop our technology and offer custom-built solutions,” Engelbrecht concluded.