Tag Archive: mobile technology

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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–By Grant Lloyd, CTO Softline and Sage AAMEA


Grant Lloyd

Microsoft’s prolific marketing machine refers to Windows 8 as “Windows reimagined”.  Whilst the somewhat cynical view may be that the new OS from Microsoft, slated for release in late 2012, may only be following a trail blazed hitherto by Apple, the much anticipated event may more significantly (or even ominously for some) be the strongest indication yet that the PC era is slowly drawing to a close.

Through a necessity imposed by its predecessor’s prodigious historical desktop- and server-side successes over two decades, Windows 8 will by all accounts be somewhat schizophrenic, catering as it does to the demands of traditional desktop users with a marginally improved offering to that of Windows 7, whilst simultaneously within a single OS, embracing touch devices, new hardware architectures, mobile devices and a programming model more identifiable for having its roots in the web rather than some form of desktop ancestry, based as it is in HTML 5, CSS and JavaScript.

Propitiously (or perhaps worryingly), the last time Microsoft effectively “combined” two operating systems into one, via the release of Windows 3 in the early ‘90’s, packaging at the time both MS-DOS and a new Windows GUI on the PC simultaneously, the “event” (pun intended) heralded the ultimate demise of DOS as a broad-based PC OS of choice, ushering in the “new era” of graphic user interfaces, event-driven programming and multi-threading on the desktop…..

Perhaps Microsoft Office 15 best illustrates the earth shattering nature (at least for Microsoft) of the new OS best through its redefinition of the web, rather than Office, as the new platform for Office 15.  And, whilst fundamental paradigm shifts such as this are at the core of the Windows 8 design philosophy (look to the development environment for yet another example of fundamental design shifts, remember .net?) it is perhaps the “exactly different” natural comfort of a second major 2-in-1 OS in twenty years from Microsoft which promises the most and induces “stickiness” for existing Windows users without compromising on the “sexiness promise” and irrefutable portability advantages of an “iDevice”.

After all, would it not be comforting, at least for a while, to take a break from the relentless treadmill of mobile technology evolution and trust your Windows desktop OS with your mobile devices too?

And perhaps maybe, just maybe, this “hybrid” approach could transition a life-time of desktop investment and most importantly historically aggregated data, into an elegant, future-proof alternative embracing the best of the desktop of “old” simultaneously with the mobility and connected services of the “new”?  Oh, and I forgot to mention, through a single OS…..

So, is there an elephant in the room then, I hear you ask?

Perhaps….. but in my opinion, not likely.

Whilst paradoxically Microsoft’s greatest asset, a universally enviable installed-base of desktop users may yet prove to be its albatross, it would at least on face value appear that an expansive desktop user-base may in fact embrace the duality of this schizophrenic OS in much the same way that Windows 3 made slow yet inexorable progress in the ultimate extermination of DOS.  As Blackberry and RIM’s early innovation almost inevitably yet inadvertently gave birth to the prolific and successful range of Apple devices and iOS, perhaps too, Microsoft’s first experience at late-adoption from an OS perspective may prove the ultimate undoing (or re-niche-marginalisation) of these offerings.

So whilst I am not sure THEY can claim imagining everything about connected services and data in the cloud, Microsoft marketing is indeed correct to a point; Windows 8 truly IS “Windows reimagined”.  Don’t write of the idea of Windows 8 just yet….. it makes a lot of sense, and it really looks good too.

…..oh, but don’t go and forget about Android either!  J