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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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Legion gets a pro makeover

Lenovo’s latest Legion gaming laptop, the Y530, pulls out all the stops to deliver a sleek looking computer at a lower price point, writes BRYAN TURNER

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Gaming laptops have become synonymous with thick bodies, loud fans, and rainbow lights. Lenovo’s latest gaming laptop is here to change that.

The unit we reviewed housed an Intel Core i7-8750H, with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. It featured dual storage, one bay fitted with a Samsung 256GB NVMe SSD and the other with a 1TB HDD.

The latest addition to the Legion lineup has become far more professional-looking, compared to the previous generation Y520. This trend is becoming more prevalent in the gaming laptop market and appeals to those who want to use a single device for work and play. Instead of sporting flashy colours, Lenovo has opted for an all-black computer body and a monochromatic, white light scheme. 

The laptop features an all-metal body with sharp edges and comes in at just under 24mm thick. Lenovo opted to make the Y530’s screen lid a little shorter than the bottom half of the laptop, which allowed for more goodies to be packed in the unit while still keeping it thin. The lid of the laptop features Legion branding that’s subtly engraved in the metal and aligned to the side. It also features a white light in the O of Legion that glows when the computer is in use.

The extra bit of the laptop body facilitates better cooling. Lenovo has upgraded its Legion fan system from the previous generation. For passive cooling, a type of cooling that relies on the body’s build instead of the fans, it handles regular office use without starting up the fans. A gaming laptop with good passive cooling is rare to find and Lenovo has shown that it can be achieved with a good build.

The internal fans start when gaming, as one would expect. They are about as loud as other gaming laptops, but this won’t be a problem for gamers who use headsets.

Click here to read about the screen quality, and how it performs in-game.

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Serious about security? Time to talk ISO 20000

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By EDWARD CARBUTT, executive director at Marval Africa

The looming Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act in South Africa and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) have brought information security to the fore for many organisations. This in addition to the ISO 27001 standard that needs to be adhered to in order to assist the protection of information has caused organisations to scramble and ensure their information security measures are in line with regulatory requirements.

However, few businesses know or realise that if they are already ISO 20000 certified and follow Information Technology Infrastructure Library’s (ITIL) best practices they are effectively positioning themselves with other regulatory standards such as ISO 27001. In doing so, organisations are able to decrease the effort and time taken to adhere to the policies of this security standard.

ISO 20000, ITSM and ITIL – Where does ISO 27001 fit in?

ISO 20000 is the international standard for IT service management (ITSM) and reflects a business’s ability to adhere to best practice guidelines contained within the ITIL frameworks. 

ISO 20000 is process-based, it tackles many of the same topics as ISO 27001, such as incident management, problem management, change control and risk management. It’s therefore clear that if security forms part of ITSM’s outcomes, it should already be taken care of… So, why aren’t more businesses looking towards ISO 20000 to assist them in becoming ISO 27001 compliant?

The link to information security compliance

Information security management is a process that runs across the ITIL service life cycle interacting with all other processes in the framework. It is one of the key aspects of the ‘warranty of the service’, managed within the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The focus is ensuring that the quality of services produces the desired business value.

So, how are these standards different?

Even though ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 have many similarities and elements in common, there are still many differences. Organisations should take cognisance that ISO 20000 considers risk as one of the building elements of ITSM, but the standard is still service-based. Conversely, ISO 27001 is completely risk management-based and has risk management at its foundation whereas ISO 20000 encompasses much more

Why ISO 20000?

Organisations should ask themselves how they will derive value from ISO 20000. In Short, the ISO 20000 certification gives ITIL ‘teeth’. ITIL is not prescriptive, it is difficult to maintain momentum without adequate governance controls, however – ISO 20000 is.  ITIL does not insist on continual service improvement – ISO 20000 does. In addition, ITIL does not insist on evidence to prove quality and progress – ISO 20000 does.  ITIL is not being demanded by business – governance controls, auditability & agility are. This certification verifies an organisation’s ability to deliver ITSM within ITIL standards.

Ensuring ISO 20000 compliance provides peace of mind and shortens the journey to achieving other certifications, such as ISO 27001 compliance.

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