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How you can simplify processes in your organisation

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Being able to access digital information is a must these days. But, says MONIQUE WILLIAMS, Hyland Southern Africa Regional Manager this information has to be managed across the enterprise to ensure easy access for competitiveness.

In this day and age, the ability to access and manage information or content digitally is critical to all business processes. Managing that content across the enterprise is even more valuable to ensure a competitive business and support organisation growth.

However, the reality for many organisations is that they do not have the scope, budget or time to solve all of their content needs at once, and it has become more difficult to know where to get started. With all the technology that exists and the myriad vendors, enterprise content management (ECM) roadmaps can seem complicated.

There are six categories that not only help explain ECM, but also provide a very useful framework for building a new solution and evaluating existing solutions. This framework can be used to address the challenge of rolling out an ECM solution for a specific problem, a department or to an entire organisation. By using this framework, an organisation will be sure to implement a solution that is more than just an electronic filing cabinet with light processing functionalities.

1. Capture

When many people think about ECM, the first thing they think about is imaging or scanning – getting the paper digitised and into the system. And of course that is a key part of the solution – to eliminate filing cabinets and boxes of information and archive records digitally. But that is not where capture ends.

An ECM system is also able to capture and centrally manage all related information, whether that comes in as a text report, documents borne in SharePoint, related communications from emails and faxes, and data streams with content from another system. Technology automation ensures an ECM solution is able to capture any file type from any physical location with minimal data entry.

2. Process

An ECM solution revolutionises the way an organisation performs the processes that use this content. Many processes can be automated with a digital solution, particularly structured processes that follow predefined steps and have predictable outcomes. For example, in accounts payable, any amount under R500 could be paid automatically.

An ECM solution allows documents and decisions to be routed to the right people as soon as that information comes in. This is particularly helpful with unstructured information that still requires human intervention, such as an invoice for something the company didn’t order.

A new wave of content management includes case management, combining the best of structured and unstructured content and providing useful tools to manage all the tasks and activities within case work. It builds processes and solutions around a person and their work rather than a complete business process.

3. Access

With an ECM solution, personnel can access content easily, from anywhere and whenever they need it. There are more points of access to the information than just the software solution itself.

Personnel working in other applications can just reference the information in the ECM system as it integrates with the screens of other applications. Information can also be accessed offline or through a mobile device. The software itself can be personalised to match a user’s work, cutting down on user training. And access to content can be extended to people outside of the organisation like customers, students or patients, thereby reducing calls to customer service.

4. Integrate

As mentioned above, another key element of an ECM solution is that it is able to integrate with any other enterprise application, such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, productivity tools or home grown applications, without anyone having to write custom code. This ensures that the content never resides in a bubble and avoids duplicate data entry into multiple systems. Applications that are data driven can have a real time data exchange.

5. Measure

With all content in one centralised place, and all activity happening in a coordinated manner, an ECM solution enables an organisation to gain insights into process and system performance. It allows the company to see how accurate and efficient processes are, identify and eliminate bottlenecks, deliver accurate and timely data for an audit, and prove return on investment.

6. Store

An ECM solution also empowers an organisation to secure and protect content from the moment it enters the system and in accordance with compliance requirements. For example, in the case of dealing with credit card or social security numbers, the data can be encrypted at rest and during transportation.

The solution can also provide affordable and inbuilt protection of the data and instant online redundancy, so that in the event of a server failure the company is not at risk of losing any critical data and can have a continuation of business. Finally, an ECM solution has the ability to handle long term retention and destruction requirements from a legal records retention policy point of view.

Ultimately, with all the functionality available, an ECM solution should be able to flexibly meet the needs of a company’s individual content management requirements, whether at a departmental or organisational level.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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