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Small biz in danger of being left behind by tech

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New research reveals South African small businesses are at risk of being left behind if they don’t adopt new technologies.

The research from accounting software firm Xero, conducted in partnership with World Wide Worx (WWW) shows that over half (52%) of small businesses admit that they are only just keeping up with technology adoption, while a further 45% acknowledge that they could be doing more.

The research, represents the opinions of 400 small business owners and the findings reveal many small businesses are still holding on to old technologies – a large portion (83%) of the businesses questioned are still using Excel spreadsheets, while almost three quarters (73%) are still printing invoices. This demonstrates a distinct lack of awareness concerning the benefits that newer technology can bring.

While small businesses are open to new technologies, the findings demonstrate that poor internet connectivity holds them back. Almost half (41%) of entrepreneurs cited maintaining a stable connection in their workplace as a key challenge.

The research reveals that the portion of small businesses that already use new technologies like the cloud (44%), report significant benefits. Of those that use cloud technology, 70% say the main benefit is time savings – with almost half (48%) stating to have claimed back more than ten hours per week. A further 52% also assert that cloud technology has saved them money.

Speaking of the results, Colin Timmis, South Africa Head of Accounting, Xero comments: “With economic volatility, it’s been an uncertain time for South Africa’s small business community. The entrepreneurs surveyed in our report demonstrate a strong awareness of the new tools available to them, and many are actively working to incorporate them into day-to-day working life. While it’s certainly encouraging that 58% of SMEs included cloud technology it in their business plans for the coming year, failing to adopt the right technologies, risks them being left behind.”

It is significant given that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) currently comprise 91% of businesses in South Africa, and employ 60% of the country’s labour force – contributing 36% of the overall GDP, according to The Banking Association South Africa.

Other key findings from the research reveal:

  • 63% of businesses admit that reviewing their existing technology setup is a high or medium priority.
  • Excel spreadsheets are predominantly used for accounting (68%), office management (56%), and financial planning (49%).
  • Poor or unreliable connectivity is a bugbear for many businesses: 66% indicate severe issues for 1-3 days every month, and 29% struggle for 5-10 days.
  • The main consequences of poor internet connectivity are lost time (56%) and frustrated employees (26%).

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New iPhone pricing for SA

The iStore has announced that the latest iPhones, the Xs and Xs Max, can now be pre-ordered at www.myistore.co.za , and will be available in stores starting 28 September 2018.

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iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max feature 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch Super Retina displays that offer remarkable brightness and true blacks while showing 60 percent greater dynamic range in HDR photos. iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max have an improved dual camera system that offers breakthrough photo and video features, A12 Bionic chip with next-generation Neural Engine, faster Face ID, wider stereo sound, longer battery life, splash and water resistance,

Pre-orders will be open for cash purchases and on iStore’s revised payment plan in partnership with FNB Credit Card, allowing customers to pay off their iPhone at a reduced interest rate. However, the contract period is 37 months rather than the usual 24 months.
*FNB Credit Card Payment Plan, price per month over 37 months, a 40% trade-in value after 24 months

How to pre-order – Pre-ordering online for either cash or the FNB payment plan gives customers the benefit of reserving their purchase without having to queue and the added convenience of having purchases delivered directly to their door. Pre-orders of iPhone Xs and Xs Max are completed online by visiting www.myistore.co.za.
FREE iCare Plus – Exclusive to iStore, all customers can get its 2-year extended warranty, which includes one Apple Certified screen repair, that normally sells for R1 999, for FREE. To qualify, customers should secure a voucher online now at www.myistore.co.za , and subsequently redeem it when they upgrade their contract or purchase any new iPhone at iStore (iPhone 8 and newer) between now and 31 December 2018. Offer is limited, secure your voucher now.

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Accenture opens Fjord design centre in Johannesburg

Accenture has launched its first design and innovation studio on African soil, Fjord Johannesburg.

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The company says the move significantly expands its design capabilities and demonstrates its commitment to unlocking Africa’s innovation potential through the creation of experiences that redefine industries in our constantly evolving digital era.

The new studio, opening in November, will be located at Accenture’s new 3875m² offices in Waterfall. It will be led by Marcel Rossouw, design director and studio lead for Fjord Johannesburg.

Said Rossouw, “Brands are constantly asking, ’how does one take a business need or problem, build that out into a definition of a service experience, and then bring it to market?’ It’s about re-engineering existing service experiences, identifying customer needs, prototyping rapidly, iterating often and proving or disproving assumptions. But it’s also about getting feedback from customers. The combination of these factors helps companies advance towards the ultimate service experience.”

Fjord is the design and innovation consultancy of Accenture Interactive. The Johannesburg location marks its 28th design studio globally, solidifying its position as the world’s leading design powerhouse.

Working in the same location as Accenture Interactive will allow Fjord to fuse its core design strategy DNA with the digital agency’s expertise in marketing, content and commerce to create and deliver the best customer experiences for the world’s leading brands. Accenture Interactive Africa‘s blend of intelligent design and creative use of technology has already been used by some of South Africa’s largest and most prominent brands, including Alexander Forbes, Discovery, MultiChoice and Nedbank. The digital agency has also earned industry accolades for its innovative and compelling business results, most notably two gold awards in the Service Design category at the 2017 and 2018 Loeries awards.

“Great design tells great stories,” says Wayne Hull, managing director of Accenture Digital and Accenture Interactive lead in Africa. “It unifies a brand, drives innovation and makes the brand or service distinctive and hyper-relevant in both the digital and physical worlds. This is critical to achieving results. Having Fjord Johannesburg as part of Accenture Interactive, and collaborating with all of Accenture Africa, will provide unique experiences and forward-thinking capabilities for our clients.”

“Businesses in South Africa are becoming more design-aware and are looking to take greater advantage of design skills to compete with the rest of the world,” said Thomas Müller, head of Europe, Africa and Latin America at Fjord. “We’re excited to open our first design studio on the continent and to be part of an emerging market that is ripe for design and innovation, and open for business. Developing markets like South Africa are challenging assumptions and norms about what digital services and products are meant to be, and we’ll strive to put design at the heart of the innovation being produced there.”

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