Being able to access digital information is a must these days. But, says MONIQUE WILLIAMS, Hyland Southern Africa Regional Manager this information has to be managed across the enterprise to ensure easy access for competitiveness.
In this day and age, the ability to access and manage information or content digitally is critical to all business processes. Managing that content across the enterprise is even more valuable to ensure a competitive business and support organisation growth.
However, the reality for many organisations is that they do not have the scope, budget or time to solve all of their content needs at once, and it has become more difficult to know where to get started. With all the technology that exists and the myriad vendors, enterprise content management (ECM) roadmaps can seem complicated.
There are six categories that not only help explain ECM, but also provide a very useful framework for building a new solution and evaluating existing solutions. This framework can be used to address the challenge of rolling out an ECM solution for a specific problem, a department or to an entire organisation. By using this framework, an organisation will be sure to implement a solution that is more than just an electronic filing cabinet with light processing functionalities.
When many people think about ECM, the first thing they think about is imaging or scanning – getting the paper digitised and into the system. And of course that is a key part of the solution – to eliminate filing cabinets and boxes of information and archive records digitally. But that is not where capture ends.
An ECM system is also able to capture and centrally manage all related information, whether that comes in as a text report, documents borne in SharePoint, related communications from emails and faxes, and data streams with content from another system. Technology automation ensures an ECM solution is able to capture any file type from any physical location with minimal data entry.
An ECM solution revolutionises the way an organisation performs the processes that use this content. Many processes can be automated with a digital solution, particularly structured processes that follow predefined steps and have predictable outcomes. For example, in accounts payable, any amount under R500 could be paid automatically.
An ECM solution allows documents and decisions to be routed to the right people as soon as that information comes in. This is particularly helpful with unstructured information that still requires human intervention, such as an invoice for something the company didn’t order.
A new wave of content management includes case management, combining the best of structured and unstructured content and providing useful tools to manage all the tasks and activities within case work. It builds processes and solutions around a person and their work rather than a complete business process.
With an ECM solution, personnel can access content easily, from anywhere and whenever they need it. There are more points of access to the information than just the software solution itself.
Personnel working in other applications can just reference the information in the ECM system as it integrates with the screens of other applications. Information can also be accessed offline or through a mobile device. The software itself can be personalised to match a user’s work, cutting down on user training. And access to content can be extended to people outside of the organisation like customers, students or patients, thereby reducing calls to customer service.
As mentioned above, another key element of an ECM solution is that it is able to integrate with any other enterprise application, such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, productivity tools or home grown applications, without anyone having to write custom code. This ensures that the content never resides in a bubble and avoids duplicate data entry into multiple systems. Applications that are data driven can have a real time data exchange.
With all content in one centralised place, and all activity happening in a coordinated manner, an ECM solution enables an organisation to gain insights into process and system performance. It allows the company to see how accurate and efficient processes are, identify and eliminate bottlenecks, deliver accurate and timely data for an audit, and prove return on investment.
An ECM solution also empowers an organisation to secure and protect content from the moment it enters the system and in accordance with compliance requirements. For example, in the case of dealing with credit card or social security numbers, the data can be encrypted at rest and during transportation.
The solution can also provide affordable and inbuilt protection of the data and instant online redundancy, so that in the event of a server failure the company is not at risk of losing any critical data and can have a continuation of business. Finally, an ECM solution has the ability to handle long term retention and destruction requirements from a legal records retention policy point of view.
Ultimately, with all the functionality available, an ECM solution should be able to flexibly meet the needs of a company’s individual content management requirements, whether at a departmental or organisational level.
AI, IoT, and language of bees can save the world
A groundbreaking project is combining artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things to learn the language of bees, and save the planet, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK
It is early afternoon and hundreds of bees are returning to a hive somewhere near Reading in England. They are no different to millions of bees anywhere else in the world, bringing the nectar of flowers back to their queen.
But the hive to which they bring their tribute is no ordinary apiary.
Look closer, and one spots a network of wires leading into the structure. They connect up to a cluster of sensors, and run into a box beneath the hive carrying the logo of a company called Arnia: a name synonymous with hive monitoring systems for the past decade. The Arnia sensors monitor colony acoustics, brood temperature, humidity, hive weight, bee counts and weather conditions around the apiary.
On the back of the hive, a second box is emblazoned with the logo of BuzzBox. It is a solar-powered, Wi-Fi device that transmits audio, temperature, and humidity signals, includes a theft alarm, and acts as a mini weather station.
In combination, the cluster of instruments provides an instant picture of the health of the bee hive. But that is only the beginning.
What we are looking at is a beehive connected to the Internet of Things: connected devices and sensors that collect data from the environment and send it into the cloud, where it can be analysed and used to monitor that environment or help improve biodiversity, which in turn improves crop and food production.
The hives are integrated into the World Bee Project, a global honey bee monitoring initiative. Its mission is to “inform and implement actions to improve pollinator habitats, create more sustainable ecosystems, and improve food security, nutrition and livelihoods by establishing a globally-coordinated monitoring programme for honeybees and eventually for key pollinator groups”.
The World Bee Project is working with database software leader Oracle to transmit massive volume of data collected from its hives into the Oracle Cloud. Here it is combined with numerous other data sources, from weather patterns to pollen counts across the ecosystem in which the bees collect the nectar they turn into honey. Then, artificial intelligence software – with the assistance of human analysts – is used to interpret the behaviour of the hive, and patterns of flight, and from there assess the ecosystem.
Click here to read more about how the Internet of Things is used to interpret the language of bees.
Download speeds ramp up in SA
All four South African mobile network operators have improved their average download speed experience by at least 1 Mbps in the past six months.
This is one of the main findings in the latest South Africa Mobile Network Experience report by Opensignal, the mobile analytics company. It has analysed the mobile experience in the country, updating a study last conducted in February 2019. While a quick look at its South Africa awards table suggests not much has changed since the last report, it’s far from stagnating.
Opensignal reports the following improvements across its measurements:
- MTN remains the leader in our 4G Availability measurements, with a score of 83.6%. But the other three operators are all now within 2 percentage points of the 80% milestone — with Telkom’s users seeing the biggest increase of over 8 points.
- All four operators improved their Download Speed Experience scores by at least 1 Mbps. But growth in our Upload Speed Experience scores has stagnated, with only winner Vodacom seeing an incremental increase.
- MTN and Vodacom remain tied for our Video Experience award, and both have increased their scores in the past six months, putting them on the cusp of Very Good (65-75) ratings. Cell C also increased its score to tip over into a Good ranking (55-65).
- MTN scored over 90% in 4G Availability in two of South Africa’s biggest cities and was just shy of this milestone in the others. Meanwhile, MTN and Vodacom have now passed the 20 Mbps mark in Download Speed Experience in three cities each.
A quick look at the awards table would suggest not much has changed in South Africa since the last report in February. MTN won the 4G Availability award again, Vodacom kept hold of the medals for Upload Speed and Latency Experience, while the two operators tied for Download Speed and Video Experience just as they did six months ago.
But far from stagnating, we’re seeing improvements across most of the measurements. All four of South Africa’s national operators — Cell C, MTN, Telkom and Vodacom — are now closing in on 80% 4G Availability nationally, while at the urban level, MTN has passed the 90% mark in two cities. And in Download Speed Experience, our users on all four operators’ networks saw their scores increase at least 8%.
In this report, Open Signal has analyzed the scores for all four national operators across all their metrics over the 90 days from the start of May 2019, including South Africa’s five biggest cities — Cape Town, Durban, Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg, and Tshwane.
MTN has been top of Open Signal’s South African 4G Availability leaderboard for a couple of years now, and the operator remains dominant with a winning score over 4 percentage points ahead of its rivals. But it was users on Telkom’s network who saw the most impressive boost in 4G Availability, as its score jumped by well over 8 percentage points.
This leap has put Telkom into a three-way draw for second place with Cell C and Vodacom, who both saw their scores increase by at least 3 percentage points.
While MTN is the only operator to have passed 80% in national 4G Availability, the other three players are all less than 2 percentage points away from this milestone. Based on the current rate of improvement, Open Signal fully expects to see all four operators pass the 80% mark in its next report — which will provide testament to the rapid maturing of the South African mobile market.
MTN and Vodacom remain neck-and-neck in the Video Experience analysis, with both operators scoring 65 (out of 100). And the two rivals both saw their scores rise by around 3 points since our last report, meaning the two continue to share our Video Experience award. Cell C and Telkom remain in third and fourth place, but both saw larger increases — of 5 and 4 points respectively — to narrow the gap on the leaders.
The increase in MTN and Vodacom’s Video Experience scores means the two operators are on the cusp of Very Good (65-75) ratings in this metric — with the users on their networks enjoying fast loading video times and almost non-existent stalling, even at higher resolutions. By comparison, Cell C’s score earned it a Good rating (55-65), while Telkom remains in Fair (40-55) territory — meaning users watching video on Telkom’s network, in particular, will likely struggle with longer load times and frequent stuttering, even at lower resolutions.
In terms of 4G-only Video Experience, Cell C’s score has increased enough to tip it over into a Very Good rating — now featuring three operators achieving 4G network scores with a Very Good ranking. And as 4G Availability continues to increase, the overall Video Experience scores will continue to climb, making mobile video viewing more of a viable proposition across all networks. And in a country where fixed-line broadband connections are relatively rare and the large majority of South Africans only connect to the internet via cellular, this improvement has the potential to transform people’s lives.
Read more from Open Signal’s report here.