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Xero hits 1m mark

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Xero recently passed one million subscribers on its global cloud accounting platform, meaning it has doubled subscriber numbers in less than two years and has added nearly 300 000 subscribers in the last year alone.

The online accounting platform Xero has announced it recently surpassed one million subscribers worldwide on its global cloud accounting platform.

Xero has doubled subscriber numbers in less than two years and has quickly grown to become a global accounting platform leader, adding nearly 300 000 subscribers in the last year alone. Xero launched in South Africa in 2016, and has grown rapidly since then.

“Five-and-a-half years ago, at 50 000 subscribers, we asked shareholders to imagine our business at a million subscribers,” Xero CEO and Founder, Rod Drury said. “We invested for the long term to build a business and ecosystem to achieve those numbers. It’s very satisfying to deliver on that promise.

“Starting around ten years ago with our first lines of code, it’s amazing to see the global community who have built businesses on our platform,” Drury said.

Accounting has gone global

With subscribers in more than 180 countries, many are now doing business across borders – not just in their home countries. Cloud technology has reshaped trade over the last decade, and we’re seeing the rise of truly global small businesses that have grown up without the need to operate within the confines of a single country’s borders.

“Only a global platform – on a single global code base like Xero – can offer the opportunity for small businesses and their advisors to expand their businesses offshore, connect to banks in multiple countries and use Xero’s technology and payment partnerships with Google, Apple, Square, Paypal, Stripe and others to do business seamlessly all over the world,” Drury said. “It sets in motion a global network effect as small businesses expand their trade between countries.”

“Many of the 100,000 business advisors who work with their clients on Xero have small businesses that import or export. The increasingly global nature of small business means that, like Airbnb, Amazon, and Facebook, accounting platforms must also be global.  Surpassing one million subscribers positions us as a leading global cloud accounting platform. We’re just getting started.”

Ready for the AI generation

The next wave of accounting innovation is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Xero completed its complex migration to Amazon Web Services, consolidating the platform on a powerful set of technologies that help unlock the power of our vast connections and data. In the last 12 months, Xero has processed more than R10.9 trillion of global economic activity, giving it a unique and high-value dataset to drive insights

and  machine learning.

Xero’s machine learning system can now code invoices for small businesses, categorize expenses and recommend accounting practices to a potential client, automating the busy work of accounting, freeing advisors up to focus on providing clients with expert advice.

“Machine learning and automation will open up the next phase of innovation in accounting, driving a transition in the industry bigger than the move to the cloud did ten years ago. With technology doing more of the time-consuming, data entry work, we will see more accountants take on advisory and virtual CFO roles within the small businesses they support,” Drury said. “Rather than just keying in data, they’re interpreting the output – and with the power of machine learning, they’ll provide higher level advisory services that help clients feel in control of their finances which is a key human function that cannot be replaced.”

Cloud innovation drove Xero’s rise to help more than one million subscribers. Machine learning and automation will be the wave which enables us to scale to service millions of small businesses and advisors around the world.

“Xero has evolved from the market challenger into one of the leading global cloud accounting platforms. The first challenger to surpass one million subscribers is a significant milestone for cloud accounting and validation for an industry which didn’t exist a decade ago. Together with our accounting partners and small business owners, we’re so excited to lead the industry innovation charge.”

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Legion gets a pro makeover

Lenovo’s latest Legion gaming laptop, the Y530, pulls out all the stops to deliver a sleek looking computer at a lower price point, writes BRYAN TURNER

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Gaming laptops have become synonymous with thick bodies, loud fans, and rainbow lights. Lenovo’s latest gaming laptop is here to change that.

The unit we reviewed housed an Intel Core i7-8750H, with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. It featured dual storage, one bay fitted with a Samsung 256GB NVMe SSD and the other with a 1TB HDD.

The latest addition to the Legion lineup has become far more professional-looking, compared to the previous generation Y520. This trend is becoming more prevalent in the gaming laptop market and appeals to those who want to use a single device for work and play. Instead of sporting flashy colours, Lenovo has opted for an all-black computer body and a monochromatic, white light scheme. 

The laptop features an all-metal body with sharp edges and comes in at just under 24mm thick. Lenovo opted to make the Y530’s screen lid a little shorter than the bottom half of the laptop, which allowed for more goodies to be packed in the unit while still keeping it thin. The lid of the laptop features Legion branding that’s subtly engraved in the metal and aligned to the side. It also features a white light in the O of Legion that glows when the computer is in use.

The extra bit of the laptop body facilitates better cooling. Lenovo has upgraded its Legion fan system from the previous generation. For passive cooling, a type of cooling that relies on the body’s build instead of the fans, it handles regular office use without starting up the fans. A gaming laptop with good passive cooling is rare to find and Lenovo has shown that it can be achieved with a good build.

The internal fans start when gaming, as one would expect. They are about as loud as other gaming laptops, but this won’t be a problem for gamers who use headsets.

Click here to read about the screen quality, and how it performs in-game.

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Serious about security? Time to talk ISO 20000

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By EDWARD CARBUTT, executive director at Marval Africa

The looming Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act in South Africa and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) have brought information security to the fore for many organisations. This in addition to the ISO 27001 standard that needs to be adhered to in order to assist the protection of information has caused organisations to scramble and ensure their information security measures are in line with regulatory requirements.

However, few businesses know or realise that if they are already ISO 20000 certified and follow Information Technology Infrastructure Library’s (ITIL) best practices they are effectively positioning themselves with other regulatory standards such as ISO 27001. In doing so, organisations are able to decrease the effort and time taken to adhere to the policies of this security standard.

ISO 20000, ITSM and ITIL – Where does ISO 27001 fit in?

ISO 20000 is the international standard for IT service management (ITSM) and reflects a business’s ability to adhere to best practice guidelines contained within the ITIL frameworks. 

ISO 20000 is process-based, it tackles many of the same topics as ISO 27001, such as incident management, problem management, change control and risk management. It’s therefore clear that if security forms part of ITSM’s outcomes, it should already be taken care of… So, why aren’t more businesses looking towards ISO 20000 to assist them in becoming ISO 27001 compliant?

The link to information security compliance

Information security management is a process that runs across the ITIL service life cycle interacting with all other processes in the framework. It is one of the key aspects of the ‘warranty of the service’, managed within the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The focus is ensuring that the quality of services produces the desired business value.

So, how are these standards different?

Even though ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 have many similarities and elements in common, there are still many differences. Organisations should take cognisance that ISO 20000 considers risk as one of the building elements of ITSM, but the standard is still service-based. Conversely, ISO 27001 is completely risk management-based and has risk management at its foundation whereas ISO 20000 encompasses much more

Why ISO 20000?

Organisations should ask themselves how they will derive value from ISO 20000. In Short, the ISO 20000 certification gives ITIL ‘teeth’. ITIL is not prescriptive, it is difficult to maintain momentum without adequate governance controls, however – ISO 20000 is.  ITIL does not insist on continual service improvement – ISO 20000 does. In addition, ITIL does not insist on evidence to prove quality and progress – ISO 20000 does.  ITIL is not being demanded by business – governance controls, auditability & agility are. This certification verifies an organisation’s ability to deliver ITSM within ITIL standards.

Ensuring ISO 20000 compliance provides peace of mind and shortens the journey to achieving other certifications, such as ISO 27001 compliance.

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