Tag Archive: business software


Philip Meyer

Philip Meyer

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.

Connected Services 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 connection.

The adoption rate of online business software for new entrants into the market is increasing, posing the question of how to bridge the gap between the growing trend towards online software adoption and the traditional desktop application users in the same market segments.

The advantages and conveniences of connected services assist with expediting the many benefits of dual-deployment business software models such as client-side hosted applications with significant connected services capabilities and functionality, together with a seamless upgrade path to ultimately complete cloud-based models facilitated by vendors.

Connected Services has workflow capabilities based on the organisation chart or specific workflow orders per online form. Once an employee applies for leave online and it is management approved, the payroll & HR systems are automatically updated. The software also provides for leave scheduling, particularly practical over traditional December holidays when “skeleton staff” is required. The programme helps to manage minimum staff levels by providing system warnings.

When applying a connected services solution such as Self Service, companies should consider a hosted solution.  This guarantees quick deployment at low implementation cost, meaning companies do not have to invest in additional infrastructure to host the online application. All a company needs is an internet connection and a computer.

Frictionless (automated) payroll legislative updates
Frictionless updates are another example of connected services. This functionality enables traditional desktop applications to seamlessly update over the internet with minimal intervention from the end-user of the software.

Users no longer need to visit a website to download and install updates or CD versions manually as the connected services functionality does it all for them, directly from their payroll software. The days of CD-based updates and disruptive installation and implementation cycles are over.

RSS Feeds within payroll software
Another component of Connected Services allows HR managers and payroll administrators to receive RSS feeds to their desktops notifying them of legislative and tax changes as well as new system software releases so that the company is always on track and up to date.

The internet and, more specifically, cloud-based and online business applications constitute some of the most compelling opportunities for streamlining the way business is now conducted. It is reassuring that the optimisation of internet capabilities will almost certainly not amount to a one-size fits all model.

It is rather the incremental evolution of traditional desktop software, leveraging the internet where it is appropriate and business enhancing, that is playing an important role in the evolutionary shift to complete cloud-based business software provisioning, billing and deployment. This is providing a flexible and extensible migration path to the cloud, taking into account preferences of individual business requirements, as will pure cloud-only offerings.

Reduce payroll fraud and bank rejections with automated payroll software
Opt for a payroll vendor that can offerID number and bank account validations, as well as Employee Credit Checks and the delivery of secure salary EFT payments directly from the payroll software.

Companies need to take steps to avoid paying fake employees and can reduce payroll fraud and bank rejections, ensuring that they avoid stalling when processing salary payments. By combining monthly employee ID Number validation and verification with monthly bank account validation and verification together with secure payment services, companies  ensure that not only are they paying the correct employee through the correct bank account, but also that the payment is expedited in the most secure manner possible.

By validating and verifying the ID Numbers on the payroll, companies create complete peace of mind in the knowledge that not only has their employee provided a valid ID Number but also that the ID Number has been verified as belonging to the associated employee and is recorded on the Department of Home Affairs list of official ID Numbers. This eliminates both fake ID Numbers as well as ID Numbers not associated with the given employee.

With secure salary EFT payments, payment batches can be created automatically within a payroll system without creating the infamous “text files” which on some payroll systems needed to be stored on the hard drive of the Payroll Administrator’s computer and then forwarded or transferred to the authorised user of the banking software for transmission to the relevant bank. Avoiding editable payment  text files improves efficiency and eliminates yet another potential area for payroll fraud, ensuring a tamperproof payment is imported into the banking software.

By performing credit checks on employees, companies and Human Resource managers are provided with valuable information on existing and potential employees including judgments, defaults, notices / alerts, fraud listings / indicators, marital status spouse details and all residential address details. Reports can sourced from the three main credit bureaus in South Africa, namely TransUnion, Experian and XDS.

For more information on in-payroll software ID Number and Bank Account validation and verification services, contact Sage Pastel Payroll & HR and enquire about their Sage Pastel Connect Module.

For the latest legislative news, connect with Sage Pastel Payroll & HR. on Twitter (Payroll News), LinkedIn, Facebook.

Saul Symanowitz (Divisional Manager: Sage Pastel BEE123) , Hon. Rob Davies (Minister: Department of Trade and Industry), Thulani Fakude (Business Development Executive: Sage Pastel BEE123)

Saul Symanowitz (Divisional Manager: Sage Pastel BEE123) , Hon. Rob Davies (Minister: Department of Trade and Industry), Thulani Fakude (Business Development Executive: Sage Pastel BEE123)

Sage Pastel, has donated R7.5 million of software, training and other support interventions to the newly formed Black Management Forum (BMF) SMME Programme.

Launched this week by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, the BMF is extending its support for the development and empowerment of black businesses in the SME sector.

“With a 70% first-year failure rate amongst local start-ups, small business owners need as much support as possible,” said Saul Symanowitz, head of Sage Pastel’s BEE123 division. “Foundational business systems and basic business knowledge are not always part of an entrepreneur’s skill set and the Sage Pastel business toolkit will go a long way to providing that support.”

Sage Pastel will contribute to the BMF SMME Programme by donating 500 toolkits to participating small businesses.  This business support system, which is dubbed the BMF SMME Business Bundle, covers the key areas of accounting, legal, human resources, BEE and marketing. The retail price of the toolkit would be prohibitive for most small businesses.

Sage Pastel has been the leading developer of business and accounting software for small, medium and growing businesses for over 23 years and acknowledges the importance of this sector in building the local economy.  “This donation is part of our on going support for small businesses in South Africa. SMEs play a vital role in economic growth and employment creation. It is essential to ensure that businesses operating in this sector are viable and sustainable in the long term.” comments Symanowitz.

Minister Davies stated that his department supports the development of strong and productive enterprises, endorsing President Jacob Zuma’s position of the need to develop black industrialists. He also indicated the importance of encouraging symbiotic relations between small and big business, and using BEE codes to ensure small business development and the growth and expansion of a healthy SMME sector.

By: Christophe Letellier, CEO for Sage ERP X3

Christophe Letellier

Christophe Letellier

When approaching the subject of the Cloud, there is a choice between being strongly positive or enthusiastic. The wave in favour of the Cloud is so strong that views which attempt to even mildly address the need or even the relevance of the Cloud could make you look like a supporter of the past. But this has always been true with new technologies or business models; just look back to the early 2000s.
Cloud technology is not a revolution; it’s an evolution that materialises the maturity of the Internet. By definition the evolution will take time, a long time, when in contrast a revolution could change our world in weeks or months. As customers and suppliers, it has already taken us 15 years to get to where we are today with the Internet. I would bet it will take even longer before everything runs from the Cloud
The Cloud, in my opinion, brings many good things to the software industry. It means solutions can be developed more quickly, agile development becomes standard and seamless upgrades a given. Software vendors are changing and the Cloud is the trigger, but the change is embraced because it creates value for customers.
On a similar note, the Cloud implies a different business model that is based on usage. The ‘per month, per user’ pricing model is the first step that will evolve into fully consumption-based pricing. Once again, it’s good for our customers. The Cloud will also open the ERP world to many more users than today. Because it’s more flexible and web based, we can expect that the Cloud will provide much easier access to an ERP system. C-level executives will, at last, benefit from the mine of data that is created by their ERP system. This is particularly true in mid-sized companies where the CEO is in the operational driving seat and today drives almost blind! Casual users will also be more at ease and will be able to contribute more. This is true for occasional internal users, but also for external users like partners, suppliers or customers. The 25-year-old concept of an extended enterprise now becomes a reality.
All these changes can bring great value to our customers and it’s important that we aim to deliver on these promises. The Cloud is not the means to get there, but only the trigger. It has changed mindsets and offers a technical solution, but we can deliver the very same value to our customers via other delivery mechanisms. If I look at the ERP world for instance, there are many examples of strong adoption of financials in the Cloud when manufacturing, that requires significant customization and close connection to shop floor control systems, looks less attractive. Does it mean that our customers should be put on the side of the road? Today a vast majority of mid-sized companies do use their ERP systems on fat clients without web access, when such systems have been available for over 10 years now. Why should we expect that adoption of full cloud solutions will be that much faster? And does this mean that our customers shouldn’t have access to the benefits listed above?
Adoption of the Cloud is a long journey. Cloud will become a standard in one or two decades. What do we do for our customers in the meantime?
My conviction is that although the Cloud will not dominate for some time in the ERP space, it will profoundly change mindsets and drive software vendors in a new direction. Having sold web-based products like Sage ERP X3 for over 10 years, Sage is not afraid of this evolution. On the contrary, we welcome this change towards flexibility and openness. This has always been our motto. Building hybrid systems and leveraging the best of the on-premise and cloud worlds will help the transition, drive adoption, and create true value for our customers. Our customers are pragmatic so we have to be inventive.

By Himanshu Palsule: Sage Chief Technology Officer and Head of Product Strategy,

Himanshu Palsule

Himanshu Palsule

There are two distinct global trends shaping the technology landscape. Although the Internet has disrupted the value chain and workflow, as we know it today, it has created immeasurable opportunity and is shaping customer requirements.  Choice and flexibility top the list of most users today.  We no longer have a classic business model within a structured workday.  Customers are often remote and disconnected, thus demanding access anywhere, any time and on any device.

This has lead to a significant transformation strategy for the Sage group, if not the entire technology industry. It has also accelerated innovation and brought about a new way of thinking.  We get accounting and we get ERP. The challenge we set for ourselves was to understand our customers even better and what they wanted going forward.

Taking complexity out was a key requirement.  A testament to the new way of doing business was our customers asking us to stop doing things.  There is clearly a case of feature fatigue and despite having asked for the numerous features, customers now want simplicity.  Whether this is a result of a slowing economy or global complexity is unclear, but customers want simpler workflows and we will give it to them.

In Sage we have brought together a team of product design and experience professionals hailing from companies such as Google and AOL.  We didn’t need this level of innovation in design before, but the world has changed and we do now.

Tasked with bringing the required innovation, consistency and simplicity to all Sage products, the team spent four months interviewing hundreds of CEOs and it was clear that it was time for a change. There were two obvious trends: mobility and cloud computing, both of which have already had a positive impact on our current product roadmap.

In North America smartphone usage went from 49% to 77% and the same trend exists in South Africa with 75% of companies in South Africa using smartphones.  From a cloud computing perspective, IT budgets went from 10% to 24% in 2012. This not only shows a distinct shift, it is also proof that we have indeed entered a cloud-first culture.

In going forward, all Sage products will be built with a mobile and cloud strategy in mind.   This is not a trend with an end in sight; it is a new way of life. There are industry-wide predictions that by the end of this year, there could be more smartphones on the planet than humans, and that by 2016 there could be 10 billion smartphones.   We cannot underestimate the impact of mobility, nor can we see it as a technology.  The simple truth is that technology is just an enabler to a connected, simpler way of life.

By Jeremy Waterman, the Managing Director of Sage ERP

Jeremy Waterman

Jeremy Waterman

The Sage Insights 2013 Conference was a resounding success and a true celebration of the mobile revolution and the challenges it poses for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).  More than 250 Sage ERP Africa’s business partners attended, which included 32 partners from East and West Africa.

The opening address focused on the mobile revolution and the challenges it holds for software vendors. It is not really the concept of mobility that is revolutionary, but more the reality of the delivery mechanism that has undergone an evolution.

Himanshu Palsule, Chief Technology Officer and Head of Product Strategy at Sage Group said in his keynote address that in going forward all Sage products will be built with a mobile and cloud strategy in mind. This is not a trend with an end in sight; it is a new way of life.

Benoit Gruber, Vice President of Product and Alliances Sage ERP X3, Product Marketing Europe and Sage mid-market, spoke about the road ahead for Sage ERP X3 and the planned release for version 7.0. This new technology update will make native thin client access to Sage ERP X3 a reality from any device, desktop or mobile.

Sean Mooney, the Head of Research and Development at Sage CRM assured partners that Sage CRM will remain at the heart of integrated business.

A strategic sales summary was delivered by Keith Fenner, Senior Vice President for Sales at Sage ERP Africa. He spoke about the Group’s extraordinary year and said that the success of Sage ERP x3 in Africa continued with triple growth digit growth in 2012. It is an ideal fit for many of the larger companies in Africa.

Another highlight of the conference was the announcement of Parity Software as the winner of the Sage National Solution Provider award for 2012. This is the highest recognition awarded by Sage for excellence in development, sales and technical expertise.

Parity’s managing director, Warren Williams said they are extremely pleased by the fact that after 30 years in business they continue to receive the highest industry accolades and that they still plan to provide top quality business solutions for Sage and other business partners.

Sage VIP’s latest generation product offering, called VIP People is now officially available to all South African companies, particularly for the enterprise market and offers a turnkey integrated payroll, HR and Employee Self Service Solution. “It is powerful, simple, flexible, feature-rich and highly customisable. The solution caters for diverse and often quite complex payroll and HR challenges faced by South African organisations, especially those with a large number of employees,” says Anton van Heerden, Managing Director of Sage VIP (previously known as Softline VIP).

Anton Van Heerden

Anton Van Heerden

Anton continues: “VIP People places the organisation on the forefront of yet another development. Innovation is one of the core values at Sage VIP and therefore we continuously develop software that is fresh, forward thinking and in line with world-class standards. The new offering combines state of the art technology with VIP’s existing, well developed infrastructure. It also effectively incorporates the Group’s extensive experience in the HR and payroll industry, ensuring that companies are legislatively compliant, while keeping focus on business efficiency and value. VIP People is the result of years of interaction with our clients, learning how they operate and incorporating best practices and procedures.”

Van Heerden says, “VIP People is one of the biggest research and development projects the company has invested in for the last five years. Development of the product was completed in August 2011. Systems were then sold into a controlled environment to a small number of companies, ensuring everything runs smoothly before the formal launch of the product.”

The first company that bought VIP People was King Price Insurance. Basil Song, financial director, says: “King Price Insurance embraces innovation and is proud to be the first live customer on VIP People.  We like the fact that the software is scalable, can grow and expand as our requirements change. Secondly, the software is extremely easy to use, I was put in a position where I had to submit Equity reports on short notice and, with VIP’s prompt assistance, was able to submit on time with ease. As expected, VIP lived up to its reputation as being a world class service company.”

Existing customers of VIP’s Payroll offerings will have the choice to continue with their existing software or to buy the latest offering, with full support from Sage VIP resources. The roll-out into Africa is scheduled for 2014.

Some interesting facts about VIP People:

  • Developed in .Net and runs on a MS SQL Server.
  • The real-time design that VIP’s products are known for, is also an integral part of the People system.
  • It employs a friendly and familiar user interface with the ability to customise the working space for each user as they prefer.
  • The payslip can keep track of, and manage details of external payments for example garnishees, bond payments, revenue services, etc.
  • It creates remuneration structures containing all the payroll definitions applicable to a specific individual or group of employees, which streamline processes.
  • Company management is also streamlined. For example, VIP People can create unlimited companies per database and employees’ pay periods can be viewed for two years in advance.
  • Customers can regularly receive all the latest statutory updates ensuring full legal compliance with minimal effort.
  • The reports allow for complex calculations and further manipulation.
  • Multiple Medical aid providers with their various options can be created.
  • The employees’ leave transactions can be viewed on an actual calendar and leave set-up is done according to company specific guidelines.
  • It is built on an extremely secure design which employs best practice principles to ensure maximum security and control.

For more information, visit www.vippayroll.co.za.

By Sandra Swanepoel, Director Sage VIP

Sandra Swanepoel

Sandra Swanepoel

Companies consider replacing their payroll and HR systems from time to time. The reasons may vary, ranging from questions about the technology and problems with service, through to group decisions, mergers or features that lack in current applications. The ten most reasons why Companies, that have been using Sage VIP for many years, continue with our product, are mainly the following:

  1. At Sage VIP CIDCustomer Intimacy Discipline’ means that we deliver world class customer service. This can be attributed to the fact that we invest in customer service training, which uplifts and measures our employee performance on an on-going basis. It is addictive and clients that experience it want more, which explains why 99.39% of our users recommend Sage VIP as the payroll and HR solution of choice.
  2. The biggest cost facing companies is their human resource costs that need to be managed effectively. Sage VIP’s software is designed in such a way that you can manage your ROI per employee or per department with optimum accuracy. The data is available online, in real time at the click of a button which underscores informed decision-making.
  3. How much do you need to know when you want to be a Payroll or HR consultant? At Sage VIP a graduate is given classroom product training for four months, which is followed by supervised practical sessions with the assistance of specialists. Some may consider it to be a bit of an over kill but when you work at Sage VIP you realise just how much a customer depends on your expertise, it can never be underestimated.
  4. Feature rich software sounds so yesterday, yet you cannot invest in anything less than that if you need software that is flexible. It is essentially an investment in the future of your business and if your payroll and HR system cannot cater for the requirements you never thought would happen, it will cost you dearly in the long run.
  5. Legislation is a must for all payroll and HR applications, and often I hear companies say that every payroll calculates tax; but how quickly are legislative changes made available, and does it include all the legislation? Catering for legislative changes means doing it across multifaceted environments and countries, accurately and comprehensively.
  6. Sage VIP walked away with the Deloitte best company to work for award for the third year running in 2012. It means that our employees are challenged and content, which directly translates into longstanding client relationships that are built on integrity.
  7. The infrastructure that Sage VIP offer provides support to companies in remote parts of the country with fully functional offices in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Bloemfontein, Gaborone, Windhoek and Nairobi. It is a key consideration that companies, who are planning to expand their operations across South Africa and Africa, should heed.
  8. Sage VIP’s operational systems such as its national call centre and CRM products are state of the art.  Some may question the value of these systems but it saves time and underpins flawless customer service that will help you solve your query quickly and efficiently.
  9. Innovation is a core value at Sage VIP that defines software that is fresh and up-to-date. We invest in technology solutions so that our clients never need to reinvest in new software.  One of our customers has been with Sage VIP for 23 years, which is unheard of in the industry, yet part of the package at Sage VIP.
  10. Sage VIP has ample resources available that companies can utilise. If you are looking for a payroll and HR administrator that is well acquainted with Sage VIP’s products you can rest assured that there are many expert people available and looking for opportunities.

By Keith Fenner, Senior Vice President of Sales for Africa at SAGE ERP Africa.

Keith Fenner

Keith Fenner

This years’ annual Sage Insights 2013 Conference is taking place from 7-10 February at Misty Hills in Johannesburg and brings together local and international Sage staff, solution providers and third party developers.  The conference serves as a platform for players in the industry to network with the purpose of providing some insight into 2013 and what to expect in terms of trends and product developments in the fields of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Business Intelligence (BI).

An opening address from Managing Director of Sage ERP Africa, Jeremy Waterman, will kick the event into gear on Thursday, 7 February 2013.

Himanshu Palsule, Chief Technology Officer and Head of Product Strategy at Sage Group will address the roadmap that is planned for the launch of Sage 300 ERP, formerly known as Sage ERP Accpac, which is in line with Sage Group’s directive to consolidate its brand name globally.

Keynotes will be delivered by Sean Mooney, the Head of Research and Development at Sage Group, on developments that are expected for Sage CRM in addition to Benoit Gruber, Vice President of Product and Alliances Sage ERPX3, Product Marketing Europe and Sage mid-market, speaking on the road ahead for Sage ERP X3.

The launch of Sage ERP X3 Version 7 is also one of the big announcements scheduled for Sage Insights 2013.  This new technology update will make native thin client access to Sage ERP X3 a reality from any device, desktop or mobile.

For more information visit:  www.sageerp.co.za

By Keith Fenner, Senior Vice President of Sales for Africa at Sage ERP Africa.

Keith Fenner

Keith Fenner

The continued pursuit of mobility will fuel the uptake of Cloud solutions and requests for software on a subscription basis in 2013.

The sales of our solutions in the cloud have doubled in the last year, and I believe it is mostly attributable to the decline in bandwidth costs.  This trend has underscored the uptake of cloud in the last year.  A cloud solution can be tailored to meet the needs and pockets of the user, which makes it adaptable to suit the needs of the organisation.

A trend that will certainly continue to stamp its presence into 2013 is the demand for connected services, especially around service, sales and stock.  The days of spending hours to compile data and to debug excel formulas, are numbered.  Clients want to know what their key performance indicators (KPIs) are at the touch of a button and with a host of cloud enabled Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions you literally need an internet connection and a laptop, tablet, PC or smart phone to review your performance.  Slick and easy to use is the name of the game and that is why the uptake of applications for mobility has mushroomed.

Many vendors with modern architecture have easily adapted to the new challenges of mobility, but not all software is architected to allow for a rapid response to changing market conditions and that is something that the industry will need to work on in 2013.

Mobility will continue to gain traction well into 2013, in addition to the uptake of solutions in the cloud from both a consumer and enterprise point of view.  Devices, applications and social media are revolutionising the way that we communicate and it will have far-reaching effects on the South African IT industry going forward.