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Why risk software must change

Comfort exists because we know something works well and we’d like to keep it. But at some point we get stuck and risk not acknowledging when it starts losing its edge, which can be a catastrophe, writes RIAAN BEKKER,  Force Solutions Manager, thryve.

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A friend of mine is a keen cyclist. He had a trusty bicycle that carried him around, especially when taking the kids out over weekends. And that was all fine: why replace what works well?

Eventually, though, he had to retire his trusty steel steed and buy something new. Only at that point did he realise the difference. His older bicycle was by all means functional, but a far cry from the advances made since he bought it. The new bicycle is lighter, more responsive and better balanced. He used to spend a lot of his energy fighting the old bike and yet not realise it. Now, suddenly, he’s got all that spare capacity. He’s since started hitting the trails much more often – a little to the chagrin of his family, who like to sleep in!

Comfort exists because we know something works well and we’d like to keep it. But at some point we get stuck and risk not acknowledging when it starts losing its edge. Business applications often fall into this trap. Today, even with highly affordable and very reliable web applications for email, many of us still hang onto our desktop clients for dear life. Then we complain when we can’t find a mail or lose our archive in a system crash.

GRC (governance, risk management and compliance) software falls acutely into this category. Risk is not seen as a line-of-business function, so once we have something that does that job, we’d prefer to keep it like that. Yet like my friend’s bicycle, risk has evolved tremendously. This is due to data: it’s much easier and better today to integrate data sources across a company, creating single versions of the truth.

For every risk manager who has had to spend late nights making sense of different risk reports, it’s a life changer. The right risk aggregation platform, such as what we promote here at thryve, takes hold of company data and forges it into objective sense that can be used without fear or doubt.

But you can’t just drop the solution into place. For it to be effective, you must take the opportunity to address the root causes that often scuttle the ship. Governance is one of the key problem areas: companies without good governance tend to get bad GRC implementations. This leads to expensive remedies and eventually silos as different parts of the company try to avoid the dysfunction. That would place you right back at square one: disparate reports and no sense of the business truth.

The business’ data is also a crucial factor. What can be kept and what should be archived? How should it be structured? GRC systems often age quickly after mergers, which create a mess of business information. Replacing GRC software is the perfect opportunity to get on top of that. This not only helps risk, but contributes to overall attempts at establishing solid data practices across the business.

It thus makes sense that administrative structures must also be in place, else the GRC platform will run – and falter – in isolation to the business’ processes. Finally, you can’t forget about the people: there must be clear reporting structures to help inform on the adoption and make sure that your workforce is seeing the benefits they expect (and affect change when they don’t).

You will not be able to entirely replicate the functionality of the departing GRC software. Things have evolved, so don’t look at it as a replacement. It’s an evolution and one that can be painful if everyone had grown comfortable with the status quo. So there will be resistance and legacy that can threaten to cripple the process.

But making the shift brings incredible advantages. Avoiding it is ultimately business suicide. At some point you have to let that old bike go and experience the advances in newer models. Your company will thank you, but first they will resist you. Start with what they rely on – the company’s structure, rules and culture. If those are aligned and ready for change, everything else will be as well.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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