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Admin robs business of billions

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Sage, the market leader in cloud business management solutions,  today launched its second annual Productivity Tracker, which investigates the amount of time lost to administrative tasks. Launched in South Africa ahead of World Entrepreneurs’ Day (21 August), the study reveals that the South African ‘Productivity Puzzle’ is far from solved. 

The total amount of economic value lost to admin in South Africa in the last 12 months totalled R7.2 billion. Productivity losses caused by unnecessary admin are costing South African businesses R229 every second of the day – a slight improvement from the R231 per second reflected in the 2018 Productivity Tracker.

Sage commissioned its second annual Productivity Tracker study to YouGov, an international internet-based market research and data analytics firm, headquartered in the United Kingdom. The Productivity Tracker surveyed small and medium-sized businesses across 12 countries, uncovering the percentage of time spent during an average working week on unproductive administrative tasks; time that could be reduced by using technology and digital tools.

The admin burden continues to hold back the productivity of small and medium businesses:

  • Across the 12 countries surveyed by YouGov, the average time lost to admin, which includes tasks such as chasing late payments, processing invoices and HR tasks, is 5.2%.
  • South African businesses lost an average of 3.6% of their time to admin tasks.
  • The analysis reveals that Spain reported the highest percentage of business working hours spent on these tasks, at 10.5%.
  • The nation reporting the lowest amount of time dedicated to these tasks is Canada, where only 1.7% of business time is allocated to tasks per year. 

Pieter Bensch, Executive Vice-President at Sage Africa & Middle East, says: “The amount of time South African businesses spend on admin compares favourably to international benchmarks, but there is still more we could do to reduce the time businesses spend on routine tasks like generating invoices, paying taxes, chasing payments and issuing payslips.

 “Transitioning to a digital business model and automating more business processes can enable businesses to unlock significant value. On World Entrepreneurs’ Day, government and big business should also ask how they can help smaller businesses to boost productivity through reducing procurement paperwork, paying them on time, and subsidising new technologies.”

Global Snapshot: We Power the Nation – Productivity Tracker Insights

CountryCurrency2019 % time lost to ‘admin’2019 implied productivity loss (bn)
UKGBP5.640.0
USAUSD4.9346.0
CanadaCAD1.718.2
AustraliaAUD4.831.8
IrelandEUR3.62.4
GermanyEUR3.930.0
SpainEUR10.532.7
FranceEUR7.543.2
BrazilBRL6.277.1
South AfricaZAR3.67.2
SwitzerlandCHF7.048.2
MalaysiaMYR3.756.6

Methodology

This research has been produced by Sage Group plc (“The Group”). All primary research survey figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov or are calculated by The Group using figures from YouGov.

To establish time lost, Sage commissioned YouGov to run a survey sample size of 1,466 small and medium business decision-makers ensuring a minimum sample size of 100+ in each of the 12 countries analysed. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th March and 5th April 2019 and carried out online. We summarised findings as a single statistic for SME productivity, based on an average of business time spent on administrative tasks. This is calculated by assigning a mid-point to each of the answer bands for both business size and days spent by the business on administrative tasks, e.g. 7.5 for the band 5-10. 

For tracking the cost of lost productivity in 2018, the implied value has been calculated based on 2019 IMF data with changes vs 2018 extrapolated over 12-month changes when compared to the 2018 ‘Sweating the Small Stuff’ valuations. The research has assumed a linear time-bound impact using GDP growth figures taken from the IMF’s World Economic Outlook (April 2019).

While a compound effect of underinvestment in technology may cause the costs to accelerate through the year, the adoption of productivity-enhancing tools for business may counteract this effect. 

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DStv Now adds free education to ‘lockdown channels’

In its response to the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa, DStv is offering 16 free channels on its streaming app

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Two new channels have been added to a free service being provided on DStv Now, the online version of DStv. 

In response to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, DStv owner MultiChoice worked with local and international news channels in mid-March to add 24-hour news coverage to the DStv Now free service.

The company says the intent was to help all South Africans stay up to date with announcements and developments, and the results so far are encouraging. Usage of the service has increased 20% since the lockdown began, and peak usage is up 80% compared to pre-crisis peaks. 

 Now, in another step to help families through the lockdown period, MultiChoice has added additional educational content to the free service with the Mindset PoP channel. This channel features educational programming covering the entire General Education and Training (GET) phase, including Early Childhood Development (ECD), as well as a key focus on the Grade 4 – 9 curriculum. 

The channel aims to prepare children for when schools reopen. Mindset PoP will deliver live lessons daily, with six fresh hours every day. A website is available for parents to download worksheets and information sheets to work through with expert teachers. Lessons are based on the South African Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) and are also aligned to the Cambridge curriculum.

“We’re extremely grateful to all of the channel providers for being so willing to work with us to help all South Africans through this unprecedented lockdown period,” said Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice. 

“Thanks to their support we’re able to keep people informed, keep kids’ educations going, and keep people entertained.”

The full list of channels available to non-DStv customers on the DStv Now free service is:

100 – DStv

180 – People’s Weather

238 – SuperSport Play

313 – PBS Kids

317 – Mindset PoP

320 – Channel O

343 – TBN

400 – BBC World News

401 – CNN

402 – Sky News

403 – eNCA

404 – SABC News

405 – Newzroom Afrika

405 – AlJazeera

414 – Euronews Now

417 – africanews

To sign up for the DStv Now free service, go to http://now.dstv.com 

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FNB Connect cuts data price by 55%, offers 1GB free

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FNB Connect has reduce its data prices by up to 55%. It is also doubling customers’ data on Lifestyle plans without any price increase.

This weekend, FNB Connect will also give all its customers 1GB of free data during the national lockdown, with a validity period of 30 days. This lockdown data allocation is in addition to the Free Connect allocations that customers with qualifying transactional accounts receive monthly.

“This will enable our customers to save on telco spend, which is a regular feature in household budgets,” says Raj Makanjee, CEO of FNB Retail. “Access to affordable and free data goes a long way in assisting our customers navigate difficult times and is also aligned to our ethos of offering real help when it’s needed the most.”

Shadrack Palmer, FNB Connect product head, says: “In our efforts to provide our customers with more value for their money, we’ve reduced our mobile data prices and doubled the data bundles on most of our Lifestyle plans, to give our customers more reason to connect anywhere and anytime. This is needed now more than even, as South Africans are observing the 21-day national lockdown, with many strapped for cash during these challenging times.”

The new data prices and doubling of the Lifestyle plans are to be repriced as follows:

“Since the launch of our Free Connect offering in July 2019, we’ve tried to remain consistent to see how best we can incentivise our customers when they need it most,” says Palmer.  “As FNB Connect, we understand the pressures customers are facing financially and are committed to providing better value at every opportunity.”

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