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Budgeting the digital tightrope

Research has found that employees can potentially lose up to 42 days a year thanks to outdated technology. But digital tools have the potential to transform the relationship between the employee and the business, says MANDLA MBONAMBI, founding CEO of Africonology, technology.

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Pause for a second on that maths. It’s the same as giving the entire company six weeks off for the July holidays. Now, imagine what could be achieved if the organisation’s technology investment didn’t impact on performance? It’s a giddy nirvana of productivity and extraordinary client and employee experiences. It also isn’t realistic.

There is a fine line between the business budget and the technology it can realistically afford.

How can the business invest in the right technology without overstepping its budget? Purchasing decisions need to be influenced by strategy, market value, and long-term sustainability. They also need to be transparent and relevant.

The technology the business chooses to invest in from the outset has to support its strategy in delivering services and enabling them to remain competitive. Today, the organisation is under enormous pressure to retain its market worth, much less increase it, and any technology investment needs to be weighed against these budgetary imperatives.

For the business that’s already halfway across the tightrope with an economy on its back and complex market conditions scampering along the wire, the added complexities of budget versus employee are difficult to manage. The business must invest in the productivity and happiness of its employees without risking long-term business success.

Technology purchasing decisions are influenced by a variety of factors. On one hand, new product development and new solutions that are being developed need to be prioritised. On the other hand, the way in which the business plans to increase its efficiency in delivering these products and services is equally important.

Providing the employees with the right technology extends far beyond just quick access to an operating system. It ties directly into the organisation’s need to service clients and deliver products seamlessly. Without the right tools, clients won’t have the kind of experience that will elevate the business above the clutter.

It is extremely challenging to keep everyone happy. Organisations have to remain in control of their technology decisions while ensuring their employees are happy and their tools are relevant. It is one of the biggest elephants in the room.

What’s the best way to deal with an elephant? Training. Change management workshops and training can play a significant role in rallying employees to the organisation’s cause. Providing them with information and being transparent about the direction the business is taking can make a huge difference in how employees approach their technology and their future.

Transparent and honest communication from the organisation to the employees is crucial. If employees understand why a technology decision has been made and why they are valuable assets, then they will be open to working with the company and supporting its investment decisions.

In addition to qualifying the why of the technology investment, these training sessions are essential in providing the how. Insight into how new tools work, what technology changes mean, the impact that new systems will have on legacy operations, and how to get the most from the outdated while budget waits for the new, will revolutionise how employees engage. While there is no miracle cure for the balance between budget and technology, there are ways of smoothing over the rougher parts of the journey.

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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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