To outsource or not? From a different perspective, BRUCE VON MALTITZ, co-founder of 1Stream, unpacks 5 key reasons why outsourcing specialist tech services, allows business decision makers to produce the best results.
Whether it stems from our desire to remain in control or the often inherent mistrust of outsourcing services, many businesses prefer keeping departments in-house. But when looked at from a different perspective, it becomes clear that to manage specialist technology, we need specialist resources, for a number of reasons. With managed services such as cloud-based call centre providers, it is possible to make the most of the opportunities available to produce the best results for a business.
1. Meeting business objectives and retaining IP
Those who praise the retention of in-house technology departments, will offer up shared business objectives and retained internal IP as vital benefits. Both elements are essential to the success of a business, but an internal team is not necessarily a requirement for this. Retaining the ever-important IP and ensuring all parties, whether employed or contracted, are working towards the same goal is not an empty hope – it is a reality. Through proper management and building successful business partnerships with external teams and specialists, business objectives are reached faster and the internal IP is built up.
2. Less time spent attracting and retaining talented staff
Those who find their career in the tech world, often do so because of a fascination with new developments and a desire to be at the forefront of new technology. Unfortunately, the reality in many large enterprises and SMEs is that the day-to-day Information Technology (IT) needs are more mundane than many would like, making it more difficult for businesses to attract and retain talented employees with the work available.
By building relationships with specialist companies who have the skilled resources necessary to do the job effectively, the ongoing recruitment battle becomes less of a constant focus.
3. Fewer resources put into ongoing, high-level IT training
Technology is constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated. As a result, the level of ongoing training necessary to ensure internal resources are well equipped to manage the systems in use, becomes increasingly pricey and time consuming. Add that to the difficulty of attracting and keeping talent, and maintaining an internal team at the required level of functionality becomes difficult.
In specialist companies, the main priority is to ensure the human resources are upskilled and trained constantly in order to provide the best service possible. With the right managed services, companies can see a significant cut in the time and cost it takes to consistently update their employees’ skills.
4. A more streamlined process
A lot goes on within a company, and often internal teams are pulled in several different directions. The sole function of specialist companies is to service the needs of the client, so the areas that need more attention internally can be attended to with more focus while the service provider works on the assigned projects. It’s also possible to select a service provider who complements your business needs and culture, which sees the company team grow in a way that solves more problems than it creates.
5. Increased cost effectiveness
Human resources are a high-level line item on the expense budget for any company, and their time and efficacy is a priority focus in any company. Making use of outsourced services means that the specialists and their expertise are available when needed without the entire team being employed in-house. Specialist teams can be on site or are available remotely via cloud-based computing, delivering expert assistance more efficiently.
For larger enterprises, outsourced managed services lessen the HR burden and ensures that focus is being put in the right areas by both internal teams and the managed services. For the smaller businesses without significant cash flow, outsourcing the management of technology systems means access to the best possible services that would otherwise have been out of reach.
Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets
Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.
Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.
Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps.
Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.
Vodafone Smart Kicka 4
At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.
The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018.
Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games.
Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.
Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer.
The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past.
Huawei Y3 (2018)
The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are.
Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.
Comparing the 3
All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker.
Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.
SA gets digital archive
As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive.
The southafrica.co.za site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.
Designed as a nation building, educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.
The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.
At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.
Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.
“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.
Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island. The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.