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App-athy slows productivity

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Many executives are moving towards cloud-based apps at work, but while this is improving productivity it is also causing a growing number of issues, writes WIMPIE VAN RENSBURG, Country Manager for Sub Saharan Africa at Riverbed Technology.

Improving productivity continues to be a priority for many organisations and as such, IT transformation is top of the agenda when it comes to boosting business performance. A recent study commissioned by Riverbed Technology found that companies are increasingly leveraging cloud computing, with 96% of executives using cloud-based enterprise apps at work today. However, moving to this environment is simultaneously causing a growing number of issues.

The underlying concern comes down to poor application performance, ultimately brought about by organisations’ migration to the cloud. 89 per cent say the poor performance of enterprise applications has negatively impacted their work on a weekly (58 per cent), and even daily (36 per cent) basis. With such regular performance issues, is stagnated business productivity the result of acceptance towards slow IT? Has poor app performance become the new norm? The overall impact on productivity is being felt and organisations need to overcome this problem now to ensure it does not become detrimental to results and overall business performance.

The effects of slow running applications

Just about every business operation is enabled and mediated by applications so it is easy to see why app performance plays such a relevant role in productivity, 98% of executives agree with this. Poorly performing applications affect almost every area of an organisation and slow apps present companies with a number of pitfalls which can have serious repercussions to an organisation’s bottom line. Our survey highlights that these include dissatisfied clients or customers (41 per cent), contract delays (40 per cent), critical deadlines missed (35 per cent), and loss of clients or customers (33 per cent).

Additionally, poor application performance does not just affect the business directly, it also has personal repercussions for employees. When apps are not performing it makes it harder for people to do their jobs and get things done. What’s more, over a third of executives (35 per cent) use this issue as an excuse for missing deadlines, with a quarter using poor application performance as a motive to take an extended lunch break.

Worryingly, when faced with slow performing apps, executives can exacerbate the problem as they try to work around it. 35 per cent of executives admit they have used unsupported apps when corporate apps run slowly or stop working altogether. This is often referred to as “shadow IT” and creates infrastructure complexity. Employees have also expressed their frustration to colleagues (31 per cent) and even left work early (23 per cent).

Overcoming performance issues

In order to overcome these issues, organisations need to recognise that users expect their apps to be constantly available and want the performance levels to remain high. When this is not the case, confusion and frustration can escalate. Globally, 71 per cent of our survey respondents said they have felt uninformed about why their enterprise applications are running slowly, highlighting a disconnect between IT teams and business executives that can lead to mutual frustration.

To meet business needs organisations must close the application performance gap. IT should establish clear visibility into how apps are performing, and the impact this has on the user experience. By identifying the cause of performance issues, IT can fix them before users notice. This improved visibility into application performance would result in increased productivity (56 per cent) and revenue (43 per cent), better customer service (54 per cent), product quality (49 per cent) and employee engagement (46 per cent).

Understandably, with apps, data and users literally everywhere, the work of optimising and delivering great app performance has gotten much tougher for IT organisations. But companies can’t control what they can’t see. And in order to close the performance gap, having a clear line of sight into how the apps are performing – and how the end-user experience is being impacted – has also become a business imperative. New technologies provide end-to-end visibility into application performance across the entire network. This allows visibility, optimisation and control, even within complex hybrid environments.

Achieving optimal application performance

The realities of the modern IT landscape can be daunting. Business-critical applications span both physical, virtual, and hybrid environments. In conjunction with this, end-users’ expectations continue to increase. In this light, never has it been more important to monitor the performance and availability of the business services that employees and customers rely on so business productivity can increase.

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Load-shedding leads
local searches

South Africans are searching in the dark, according to the latest Google Search trends.

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With more 1 million search queries generated in the space of 76 hours, load-shedding was by far the top trending search on Google South Africa this week.

Valentine’s Day came a distant second.

After news emerged last Sunday of the impending stage 3 load shedding, South Africans had generated more than 1-million load-shedding search queries by the time Tuesday came around:

  • “Loadshedding schedule” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding schedule” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Eskom load shedding” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding Cape Town” – generated more than 50k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding schedule” – generated more than 400k on Monday
  • “Load shedding Johannesburg” – generated more than 20k searches on Monday
  • Load shedding schedule” generated more than 200k search queries on Tuesday

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, South Africans generated close to 300k search queries related to the romantic festival, including searches for quotes and gift ideas:

  • “Valentines Day” generated more than 100k search queries on Thursday
  • “Happy Valentines Day Images” and “Valentines Day Images” generated more than 10k search queries each on Thursday, with “Happy Valentines Day 2019” generating more than 20k search queries on Wednesday
  • “Valentines Day Specials 2019” generated more than 5k search queries on Thursday
  • “Love quotes” generated more than 5k search queries on Thursday
  • “Valentines Day quotes” generated more than 100k search queries and “Valentine messages” generated more than 50 000 search queries on Wednesday

Search trends information is gleaned from data collated by Google based on what South Africans have been searching for and asking Google. Google processes more than 40 000 search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Live Google search trends data is available at https://www.google.co.za/trends/hottrends#pn=p40

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Showmax invites
student films

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Thanks to the growing popularity of video-on-demand services, there’s a new opportunity to help kickstart the careers of local filmmakers.

Numerous Hollywood blockbusters (District 9Tomb Raider 2018, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron to name a few) have featured substantial shoots in Johannesburg and Cape Town. While providing great opportunities for SA’s production talent, aspiring writers and directors don’t get the same benefit.

So where can local creatives showcase their work? Broadcast TV isn’t a natural home for unknown short films, and while self-publishing platforms are readily available hosting options, it’s tough to get noticed and get traffic when competing with videos from across the planet.

But with the emergence of video-on-demand services into the mainstream, there’s now a solution. The African film school AFDA has teamed up with the streaming service Showmax to give local talent a much larger platform than ever before. From 18 February, eighteen of the best recent short films made by AFDA students from their Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth campuses will be live on Showmax. Drama, documentary, fantasy, and animation are all represented, in pieces running from under eight minutes to almost half-an-hour long. The full list of movies is included below.

Teresa Passchier, CEO of AFDA, said: “AFDA, Africa’s number-one school for the Creative Economy, is proud to kickstart this exciting and meaningful journey with Showmax and AFDA students, ensuring emerging young African filmmakers’ voices are heard and given a platform. It’s ground-breaking to share young, local, culturally relevant content on the same platform as Hollywood blockbusters. I am certain that this unique initiative will serve to boost and develop the African film industry and the careers of many young South African and African students alike.”

Included in the short films coming to Showmax are the award winners Junior and O-PunchaJunior, directed by Bert Dijkstra, picked up the Audience Award in the Made in South Africa Competition at the shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival Awards 2017. O-Puncha, directed by Adam Hansen, won two awards at the 5th annual Eldorado Film Festival: Best Student Made Short, and Best Editing – Alexander La Cock.

Another celebrated film is Sicela Amanzi directed by Mlu Godola, which talks to the subject of water shortage. The film’s heroine Zoleka is a mild-mannered young woman forced to go to extreme lengths when a small community’s only source of water unexpectedly collapses. The power of films like this is they shine a light on critical topical issues in new ways.

Speaking about working with the film school, Candice Fangueiro, Head of Content for Showmax, said: “There’s immense depth of filmmaking talent in Africa and it’s a privilege to be able to give that talent a home and a platform. Showmax is becoming part of the fabric of film and TV production in Africa, and importantly we’re doing this as a partner rather than just as a consumer. This is a key competitive advantage of being local and something we aim to continue to work on.”

AFDA is an Academy Award-winning institution, founded in 1994, and the first and only African film school to win an Oscar – for the Best Foreign Student film in 2006, the postgraduate film Elalini, directed by Tristan Holmes.

The full list of AFDA short films coming to Showmax is as follows:

Film titleDirectorGenre
Lullaby from the CryptKeenan Lott & Raven DavidsAnimation
Ko Ga CherenyaneSibonokuhle MyatazaDocumentary
IzilwaneKyllian RouxDrama
MallemeuleJaco Van BoschDrama
Canal StreetBrodie MuirheadDrama
On the FenceWarrick BewsDrama
The Righteous FewLindo LangaDrama
Hlogoma PeakLuke AhrensDrama
Frozen FlameCameron HeathmanAnimation
WolfBrett van DortFantasy
The Walk HomeSisanda DyantyiDrama
BearWesley RoodtDrama
JuniorBert DijkstraDrama
O-PunchaAdam HansenDrama
UmngenoSiphosethu NdungeDrama
DoreenLuvuyo Equiano NyawoseDrama
ForeverLindo LangaMusical
Sicela AmanziMlu GodolaDrama

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