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Execs must spend more time at work’s new coalface

By CHRIS BUCHANAN, Client Solutions Director at Dell South Africa

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The world loves delineation as much as buzzwords, so we often fall over ourselves to define generational differences with talk of ‘millennials’, ‘gen-z’, ‘gen-x’ and so on. Reality is never that cleanly cut, but I can definitely say this: there is something interesting about the new employees entering today’s workforce.

A recent conversation with a retail executive brought this home to me again. Having hired a gen-z employee, he ran into her on her first day. She said she was bored, so he decided to teach her a lesson. Go document the asset tracking and disposal process for the company and suggest improvements, he told her. The employee disappeared for 3 days, then emerged with the best presentation he’d seen in his career.

Today’s employees are driven and focused. This may be due to generational factors, but I can see the new views of employment across staff from their twenties to nearing retirement age. I suspect there is a lot of credit due to how we work with each other today, supported by new technologies and working methodologies. But are employers paying attention?

Problems occur when leaders assume they know what employees want. According to PWC, 90% of C-suite executives say their company pays attention to people’s needs when introducing new technology. Yet only 53% of employees agreed. In the same vein, 93% of the C-suite felt satisfied with the technology experiences they have, contrasted to only 68% of staff.

Why is there such a disconnect? One theory is that the C-suite delegates specific tasks. They don’t spend enough time at the coalface to really see if the technology does what it promised. Employees, on the other hand, are very attuned to this: 73% of employees surveyed by PWC said they know of technologies that would produce higher-quality work.

None of this should be sobering, because we already know it’s true. The greatest and grandest technology projects have failed because employees shunned it, returning to tried-and-tested methods rather than wrestle with systems not aligned to them. Change management projects fall short by an overwhelming number, usually because employees were treated as an afterthought.

You could skirt that problem in the past with ‘do as I say’ attitudes. But as my retail acquaintance’s experience shows, the rules of engagement are changing. Skilled and driven employees know their worth and they have expectations. Some things the executive heard during his interview of the candidate: she was deciding if she wanted to work for them (not the other way around), she placed a high premium on access to effective devices (not hand-me-downs), she wanted to travel and not be fixed to one location, and she expected flexible work hours.

That takes a lot of moxy, yet when the executive put her to the test, she came out shining. Not all employees will have the same desires, but they know their expectations matter. Modern workplace cultures are attuned to this, creating a virtuous cycle between ambitious employees and vibrant employment.

It may be about a grand technology service for your business or it can be as simple as putting the right devices and peripherals in the right hands. But are you asking what your employees want and are you listening? That may be the most important skill a business leader should have today…

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AppDate: Reserve Bank to choose fintech winner

This week, SEAN BACHER highlights the Global Fintech Hackcelerator, Fortnite’s skin for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, Standard Bank and iiDENTIFii’s partnership, WRAPP and Zulzi’s latest expansion.

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Image by Andre Gunawan: Tech in Asia - https://www.techinasia.com

SARB to choose Global Fintech Hackcelerator winner

The South African Reserve Bank will host a Fintech Demo Day on 29 October 2019 to select two winners from 12 innovative and sustainable fintech solutions shortlisted for the Global Fintech Hackcelerator @ Southern Africa.

In August, SARB joined forces with KPMG Matchi to run the 2019 Global Fintech Hackcelerator @ Southern Africa, an acceleration programme that creates a platform for fintech firms to demonstrate their innovative solutions to complex financial challenges in the Southern African region. Fintech firms from all over the world were invited to submit an application in response to problem statements constructed in collaboration with SARB. 

The regional hackcelerator received 95 entries from interested fintech firms located across the globe.  The 12 shortlisted respondents will showcase their solutions at the Fintech Demo Day at the end of this month in Johannesburg. 

Each Global Fintech Hackcelerator @ Southern Africa 2019 winner will receive the following:

  • A stipend towards travel expenses to attend the 2019 Singapore Fintech Festival
  • An opportunity to pitch their solution live during the Hackcelerator Demo Day at the 2019 Singapore Fintech Festival and engage with industry experts
  • Funding to develop a contextualised proof of concept, to be deployed within a year from the demo day
  • An opportunity to work with high-value corporates to contextualise a solution to their needs, while obtaining market entry into the Singapore and Asia-Pacific region.

The top three winners at the Singapore Fintech Festival will each receive a cash prize.

For more information on the Global Fintech Hackcelerator click here.

Click here to read about a Fortnite exclusive for Samsung Galaxy Note 10 users, and Standard Bank’s new way of identifying its customers.

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PC market grows again

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Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs, comprised of desktops, notebooks, and workstations, reached 70.4 million units in the third quarter of 2019 (3Q19), according to preliminary results from the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. Demand in the commercial segment combined with trade tensions between the United States and China to drive the market forward, resulting in a second consecutive quarter of growth with shipments increasing by 3% over the third quarter of 2018.

Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers, says: “With higher tariffs on the horizon PC makers once again began to push additional inventory during the quarter though the process was a bit more difficult as many faced supply constraints from Intel, leaving AMD with more room to grow. The trade tensions are also leading to changes in the supply chain as most notebook manufacturers are now prepared to move production to other countries in Asia, such as Taiwan and Vietnam.”

“Commercial demand should accelerate as enterprises work through the remainder of their Windows 10 migration,” says Linn Huang, research vice president, Devices & Displays. “The number of months until the end of service (EOS) date of Windows 7 can be counted on one hand. With January 14, 2020 drawing nigh, the commercial market should be able to digest the extra inventory over the next several quarters. Supply constraints may loom in subsequent quarters, so excess may not be a bad position for channel inventory through the remainder of the year.”

Regional Highlights

Traditional PC shipments in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) posted a year-over-year decline but the market performed above expectations. Back-to-school demand drove the consumer market in China, while online sales and preparations for the Diwali festive season supported consumer shipments in India, as two of the largest countries in the region surpassed the previous forecast. Meanwhile, the commercial market in China recorded a decline in line with expectations, impacted by macroeconomic pressures.

Coming in slightly above forecast, the Canadian traditional PC market delivered its 13th consecutive quarter of growth. The market is becoming increasingly solidified as the top 5 vendors now capture more than 85% of all shipments.

In Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the traditional PC market achieved stable growth in 3Q19 with both desktops and notebooks performing relatively well. A strong pipeline of deals ahead of the ongoing Windows 10 transition continued to translate into commercial strength, offsetting the softness in the consumer market and the overall negative impact of the component shortage.

In Japan, both the commercial and consumer markets largely outperformed forecast, driven by Windows 10 migration and the consumption tax increase respectively. Commercial shipments established a new third quarter record beating the mark set in 2013 when Windows XP EOS created similar momentum in the commercial PC market.

The traditional PC market in Latin America was very much in line with previous expectations of a 4.1% year-over-year decline. During this period desktop shipments were better than expected mainly due to the large enterprise segment and verticals such as banking, retail, and manufacturing. Notebook shipments also declined during the quarter due to a weak consumer market and delays in some education deals.

The United States saw low single-digit growth in the third quarter with both desktop and notebooks seeing continued year-over-year growth. Inventory pull-in continued to be supported by Windows 7 EOS and continued tensions in the trade war. As most List 4 tariffs have been delayed until the end of the year, inventory pull-in overall was slightly weaker compared to the previous quarter. According to a recent survey among IT decision makers in the USA, more than 60% of businesses have transitioned their Windows-deployed PCs from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Another 13% plan to do so by the Windows EOS date in January 2020.

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