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Why modernising is key to business success

Companies are often deterred from becoming more digitised due to the costs involved. However, according to MATUMANE TSHABALALA, managing executive of Application Services, the cost far outweighs the benefits further down the line.

As companies continue to grapple with the need to become more digitised, many are being held back by legacy technology. The cost of modernisation is often an inhibitor, but removing the risks associated with outdated technology far outweighs the price. The challenge is that many organisations do not even realise how vulnerable they truly are.

The first step organisations need to take is to understand what legacy technology and applications are running in their environments and how critical these are to their business, which requires a thorough assessment of the environment. Once that has been done, there are various options around the use of the existing legacy application, completely rewriting it, or just assisting with the migrations of those applications. This is determined based on the organisation’s needs and the actual application.

One of the biggest risks associated with outdated technology is security. It’s relatively easy for an attacker to scan an environment and identify the vulnerable areas. Once the technology has reached the end of its lifecycle, there typically will no longer be security updates available for it, which means you are potentially exposing your organisation, your network and your data.

While most companies are aware of the need for modernisation, dealing with it is a lot more difficult than it sounds. Firstly, there is the cost associated with modernisation, but through the right partnerships, this can be managed. Regulated environments such as financial institutions face another challenge in that once their technology stack has been certified, even minor component changes will require complete re-certification.

The modernisation of technology infrastructure and operating systems also has an impact on the applications running in an organisation. When organisations modernise their technology and operating systems, this can result in their enterprise applications breaking. If an application is developed to run on older operating systems and these are upgraded to more modern versions, the application will break, which means the entire application might need to be re-engineered.

Companies are increasingly looking for a consolidated view of their enterprise applications. We come from a history where whenever we had a problem, we threw software or an application at it. Where clients used to rely on the industry in the past to advise them on what solutions they needed, they are a lot more informed nowadays. So, they are taking back the control and looking to consolidate as much as possible. The wilderness of applications available does not make it any easier. Employees are using applications in their personal capacity and are expecting the same convenience in an enterprise environment. The problem is that, rather than looking at a consolidated approach, organisations look for quick fixes to appease employees, resulting in them deploying applications that don’t necessarily fit into the long-term strategy. Any application deployed within an organisation needs to be part of a bigger technology roadmap to ensure long-term sustainability as the solution evolves.

Modernisation focuses on more than just current business needs, taking into account the enterprise’s future business needs. And while it comes at a cost, it will enable the organisation to be far more agile and competitive, while keep the organisation relevant. Digitisation is rewriting the rules of competition and if CEO’s are not abreast of this, they will be left behind.

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Mobile is the new branch

Standard Bank has launched an account for mobile devices that gives back 500MB of data a month

Standard Bank has introducd a R4.95p/m bank account called MyMo that customers can open on their mobile devices, loaded with data and airtime offerings and other benefits such as virtual and Gold physical card.

MyMo account holders will also enjoy the convenience of a cheque account through a Visa and Mastercard gold card. Once the account is open, users can choose to either receive R50 in airtime or 500MB of data a month, if their card is swiped more than four times a month. A further megabyte of data is loaded on the account for every R20 spent.

“MyMo is an account for everyone, whether you just landed your first job or have been around the block. With no documentation required it only takes a few minutes to open the account,” says Funeka Montjane, Chief Executive for Personal and Business Banking, South Africa, at Standard Bank Group. “For just R4.95 a month customer will be able to enjoy free swipes and ATM withdrawals at only R6.50 for amounts under R 1 000.

“Mobile is the new branch. This account is about bringing the mobile branch into customers hands, it is about convenience and security while banking.”

She says mobile offers low cost transactional banking which integrates people and businesses into the new connected economy, making mobile the new branch ecosystem that will drive and connect Africa’s growth. Physical connections to the economy are rapidly changing to digital where banks have to move from being financial institutions to service organisations.

“In the past people congregated in communities and eventually cities to maximise the advantages of connectivity. Today a simple hand-held device has the potential to open infinite doors, transforming individuals’ access to opportunities, regardless of where they are, and like never before in history. 

“Historically, a bank account represented access to economic citizenship. Today, having a simple device enabling digital access to a modern banking platform is a passport to global connectivity and vast human development potential.”

The bank says it is using technology, and mobile phones in particular, to deliver low-cost transactional channels accessible to all our customers. The evolution in mobile can be seen in transaction options like cash back at the retail checkout till rather than the ATM, free digital banking rather than using a branch, and the ability to transact using digital wallets, even without a bank account.

“Developing comprehensive connected ecosystems requires a mind-set change from Africa’s banks,” says Montjane. “Banks will evolve away from traditional financial service organisations, into service ecosystems enabling broad universal access to almost everything like enhanced purchasing experiences of vehicles and homes, online procurement of goods and services and lifestyle elements like rewards and travel. 

“These connectivity drivers will also act to future-proof evolving connectivity ecosystem by allowing us to offer untold future services while deriving income from as yet unrealised revenue streams,.   

From a customer perspective, the kind of ecosystems of knowledge, access and, ultimately, connectivity that banks will come to provide will radically transform the share of life that almost all individuals will be able to access.”

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Two-thirds of SA staff hide social media from bosses

With 90% of people in employment going online several times a day, it can be hard for most workers to keep their private and work-life separate during the working day (and beyond). The recently published Global Privacy Report from Kaspersky Lab reveals that 64% of South African consumers choose to hide social media activity from their boss. This secretive stance at work also extends to their colleagues, with 60% of South Africans also preferring not to reveal online activities to their co-workers.

Globally, the average employee spends an astonishing 13 years and two months at work during their lifetime. Interestingly though, not all this time is directly related to solving work tasks or earning a promotion: almost two thirds (64%) of consumers admit visiting non-work-related websites every day from their desk.

Not surprisingly, 35% of South African employees are against their employer knowing which websites they visit. However, more interestingly, 60% of South African are even against their colleagues knowing about their online activities. This probably means that colleagues constitute an even greater threat to future perspectives of an office slouch or maybe the relationships with colleagues are more informal and therefore, more valuable.

On the contrary, social media activity appears to be a less private domain for many and therefore, more suitable for sharing with colleagues but not the boss. This is probably because workers fear harming the public image of a company or interest in decreased staff productivity motivates companies to monitor employees’ social networks and make career changing decisions based on that. Such policies have led to 64% of South Africans saying that they don’t want to reveal their social media activities to their boss and 53% even don’t want to disclose this information to their colleagues.

A further 29% are against showing the content of their messages and emails to their employer. In addition, 3% even said that their career was irrevocably damaged as a consequence of their personal information being leaked. Thus, people are worried about how to build a favourable internal reputation and how not to destroy existing workplace relationships.

“As going online is an integral part of our life nowadays, lines continue to blur between our digital existence at work and at home. And that’s neither good nor bad. That’s how we live in the digital age. Just keep remembering that as an employee you need to be increasingly cautious of what exactly you post on social media feeds or what websites you prefer using at work. One misconceived action on the internet could have an irrevocable long-term impact on even the most ambitious worker’s ability to climb the career ladder of their choice in the future,” comments Marina Titova, Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky Lab.

To ensure workers don’t fall prey of the internet threats at a work, there are some core guidelines to adhere to in the digital age:

  • Don’t post anything that could be considered defamatory, obscene, proprietary or libellous. If in doubt, don’t post.
  • Be aware that system administrators may at least, in theory, be informed about your web browsing patterns.
  • Don’t harass, threaten, discriminate or disparage against any colleague, partner, competitor or customer. Neither on social networks or in messages, emails, nor by any other means.
  • Don’t post photographs of other employees, customers, vendors, suppliers or company products without prior written permission.
  • Start using Kaspersky Password Manager to ensure your social media and other personal accounts are not at risk of unauthorised access by someone else in an office. Install a reliable security solution such as Kaspersky Security Cloud to protect your personal devices.

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