Some of the major challenges facing small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa are limited sales, access to finance, managing cashflow and competition from large businesses.

Laurica Kok, general manager of Sage Pastel Payroll and HR, says the business arena is increasingly going mobile with Cloud computing and big data both structured and unstructured. This is driving payroll and HR industries to provide affordable and online solutions as well as self service and connected services offerings to businesses and business partners alike.

“Users will buy if they are given what they need. As business increasingly embraces mobile technology we endeavour to stimulate our business partners and their vendors to change their mindset and meet the mobility challenge head-on. Mobile solutions are in demand in the South African market.”

Kok adds that mobility, affordability and accessibility any time anywhere for business-to-business or business–to-consumer are the future and futurist applications are the way to make your personal and business life easy.

Connected Services enables SME companies to extend their desktop payroll with an online solution that eases the growing burden of HR managers and payroll administrators.

The solution includes a web-based self-service tool that enables employees to manage and maintain their own information online, thereby carrying some of the overall HR administration responsibility. They are able to make online applications for leave, loans, bursaries, travel claims, view their payslips and update personal information no matter where they are so long as they have an internet or smartphone connection.

At the click of a button the online applications of employees can be updated to the desktop application, providing a beneficial application for employees and business owners, payroll administrators and HR managers.

With connected services, the payroll desktop solution provides users with the best of both worlds (desktop and online), by making use of frictionless automated update technology. Frictionless updates enable traditional desktop applications to seamlessly update over the internet with minimal intervention from the end-user. Businesses no longer need to download and install updates from a website or use CD versions to manually update their software. The software now does it all for them, directly from their payroll software – as long as businesses have an active internet connection.

Another component of connected services is RSS Feeds. Payroll administrators, HR managers, business owners and business partners can view RSS Feeds directly on their desktop payroll system. This allows the business to receive information, notifying it of legislative and tax changes as well as new system software releases, ensuring the business stays on the right side of the law.

Sumay Dippenaar, marketing manager at Sage Pastel Payroll & HR, said a company’s logo is no longer its brand. “According to futurist Pieter Geldenhuys, customers and employees are the brand. It is all about credible recommendations. Consumers know an advertising message may not be accurate and is purely aimed at encouraging people to buy a product. Traditional media are likely to be seen as less credible advertising mediums. In a recent survey only 3% of respondents said the advertising message is seen as very accurate.”

It is important that business partners build their personal brand and use it as a vehicle to generate more sales. An affordable marketing discipline to build a business partner’s personal brand is public relations, complemented by general online visibility such as suitable social media platforms, to name but a few.”

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