Tag Archive: Softline South Africa

–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

CANSA Shavathon 2012

ImageSpray, shave or eat! This was the theme of the day for the annual Softline CANSA Shavathon hosted nationally at Softline and its divisions around the country.
At Softline we believe that giving is receiving, and this year our team really came out in full force to support the CANSA Shavathon!
Softline pledged to match each employee donation received on the day, and we are glad to report that the Softline Group showed its generosity! Further proceeds were generated for the CANSA from the sale of delicious boerewors and prego rolls. We were fortunate enough to have assistance from Gary Rom hair stylists; to ensure those brave hearts over who opted to shave, looked great!
Softline Group is very proud to have raised over R115,000.00 in total for CANSA this year!
This is a well-loved and supported initiative that we at Softline look forward to hosting every year!

To see our Facebook Album, go to: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.309896515740555.76666.210672565662951&type=1&l=ac68bcc370

“The budget speech provided for a few uninspiring tax incentives for small business. But are tax incentives what small business really needs? I would argue that quality infrastructure, less red tape and admin burden and access to finance are far more important. Small business would also like to see local government award contracts fairly; and those lucky enough to win a contract still face the challenge of getting paid on time. As the growth engine for our economy, we need small business. I guess the fundamental question then is how do you start a business without some sort of decent education?”

- Rob Wilkie, CFO Softline and Sage AAMEA 

Ivan Epstein, CEO, Softline, says that irrespective of the nature or size of your business, selecting the right business software is important for streamlining financial management and business processes. Having a handle on your accounting, inventory control, customer data and the availability to generate powerful reporting are useful when meeting the challenges of today’s business demands.

Opportunities for both web and non-web based solutions continue to abound inSouth Africaand Epstein believes we’re in a good position to embrace our emerging markets, in which the SME sector continues to show strong signs of growth.

“The increasing reliance on systems by businesses of all sizes is driving fundamental change in the way business software is being provided to the SME sector. No traditional software application is immune to web-based competition, so it stands to reason that adopting web application technologies and business practices are an area that local vendors and customers are continuing to adopt.”

Vendors have seen a gradual move in the industry over the past few years, Epstein says. Customers are more frequently adopting Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models wherein web-based applications are explored as an alternative to traditional desktop applications. For the small business owner, perhaps one of the most challenging aspects is simply deciding which application is most appropriate for their business, as well as sourcing reputable options.

“In the past, SaaS offerings were limited to applications such as ERP, CRM, and the like. Today companies, of all sizes, are also looking at online infrastructure services – applications such as backup and storage. Online backup can help small businesses deal with the challenge of exponentially growing data volumes. It presents a new opportunity for small businesses by giving them all the benefits of enterprise-class backup without the associated management complexity and cost. Better yet, as more mature backup vendors start to offer their software through an online delivery model, small businesses can be sure their data is safely in the hands of proven experts.”

The challenge, however, for SMEs in South Africa which are interested in web-based solutions is the country’s bandwidth challenges “This will continue to improve over time”. Also, Epstein says, some businesses, particularly SMEs, are simply not comfortable giving their sensitive data to others to manage. Others have found that a web-based solution may actually be more secure than their current configuration.

“Either way, I would advise business owners to carefully investigate the issue of security in more detail if they’re exploring the benefits of web-based solutions for their business. Leading web-based vendors realise that this is a critical issue, and they have taken significant measures to ensure the security of their customers’ data files. Vendors must provide a secure data environment for their customers,” Epstein concludes.