Oracle to expand cloud infrastructure globally

Technology company Oracle has announced plans to expand quickly its cloud infrastructure around the world for hosting customer applications.

The company launched 12 new cloud regions in the past year, and plans another three new sites this year as part of the expansion announced in October 2018. Additional redundant and new sites will be added over the coming year, to take the company to a total 36 cloud regions around the world.

Based on customer feedback, the company has decided to build redundant regions in almost every country where it operates.

This will occur over the next 15 months, while also adding multiple new countries. When the expansion plan is completed, Oracle will have multiple regions in 10 countries and the EU, and multiple government clusters. It’s adding in total 20 new regions to the 16 it already operates – 17 for commercial use and three for government use.

New regions will be built in the Bay area in California; Montreal; Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Newport, Wales; Amsterdam; Osaka, Japan; Melbourne; Hyderabad; Chuncheon, South Korea; Singapore; Jeddah and another city (TBD) in Saudi Arabia; Dubai and another city (TBD) in UAE; Israel (city TBD); South Africa (city TBD); and Chile (city TBD). The government regions will be Newport and London in the UK and in Israel.

www.oracle.com

[South Africa ] Cloud ERP solutions provider One Channel launches new ERP

One Channel, Africa’s leading cloud ERP solutions provider and Acumatica partner, has announced the Acumatica 2019 R2 release. This latest version of cloud ERP contains more than 100 improvements, enhancements and new features.

The new and practical innovations in Acumatica 2019 R2 make Acumatica even easier to use and customise. They really enhance Acumatica’s unique cross-functional workflows, which allow a user to move from CRM to Construction to Manufacturing to Distribution screens seamlessly in real-time, resulting in improved accuracy and productivity.

One Channel CEO Bernard Ford says many of the Acumatica 2019 R2 improvements and new features were the result of community suggestions on the Acumatica Feedback Site subsequently vetted and selected through Focus Groups.

“Product excellence is a key focus of Acumatica. Significant advances have been made across the Acumatica Cloud xRP Platform, further improvements added to Acumatica’s award-winning business functionality, and new capabilities built into the specialised Acumatica Industry Editions,” he explains.

Usability advances include new mobile enabled user-defined fields, conditional formatting, and advanced workflow engine with global messaging capabilities. A new Pivot Table Widget for Dashboards allows users to take actions based on summary information.

Enhanced Power BI and Tableau capabilities are joined by Google G-suite integration to enhance user productivity with third party tools. Predefined User Roles and new data migration templates accelerate implementation and reduce time to value for new customers. Mobile expense management enhancements include addition of Corporate credit card use by multiple resources with automated reconciliation.

Ford says Financial Management now includes the application of payments to particular lines of Accounts Payable Documents, allowing users to assign partial payment to an entire AP document or to individual document lines in various proportions.

“The system also supports tracking retainage by document, approval of AR Invoices, Credit Memos, and Debit Memos for companies requiring advanced approval workflows. Accrual of the Costs for Non-Stock Items provide improved visibility into profitability well in advance of expense recognition of services performed,” he says.

Responding to community requests, the restricted use of control accounts prevents otherwise out of balance mistakes. Payment application process has been honed to minimise clicks and improve the speed of processing multiple payments.

Acumatica Manufacturing Edition 2019 R2 enhances Engineering Change Control (ECC), streamlining multiple change requests by optionally grouping them for approval process, and displaying them in bill-of-material comparisons. The Bill of Materials (BOM) has advanced visualisation tools and reports to improve usability. Material Requirements Planning (MRP) has improved forecasting and exception handling.

Acumatica Field Service Edition supports new cross-module workflows with integrated Project Accounting supporting service contracts, project schedules, tasks, and cost codes by service order type. Visual calendar boards feature real-time mapping and travel estimates for service appointments based on current traffic information from Microsoft’s Bing mapping service.

Construction Edition adds tracking of Daily Field Reports to provide all stakeholders visibility to timely information. Users can now use two-tier change management capabilities to effectively manage change workflow. Enhanced lien waiver functionality avoids accidental or premature vendor payments.

www.onechannel.co.za

[South Africa] Kukula.com implements Sabre’s cloud based solution to improve airport experience for customers

As an airline at the forefront of innovation, South African carrier kulula.com is reinventing the airport experience for its customers, with the implementation of Sabre’s new Digital Workspace solution.

Digital Workspace, Sabre’s first completely cloud-based solution, will enable airport agents to deliver a seamless and personalized airport experience to customers. This solution equips agents with workflows that eliminate the traditional linear check-in procedure and improve agent productivity by up to 30 percent compared to current processes. This innovative new technology will be rolled out across all the airports that kulula.com serves, assisting more than 1,200 agents. Travelers on kulula.com can therefore expect shorter queuing times and enjoy a hassle-free check-in experience.

“Investing in new, digital technologies is crucial to our strategy, which centers around improving the travel experience for our passengers,” said Wrenelle Stander, executive director – Airline Division, kulula.com.  “In today’s digital world, our customers expect a reimagined air travel experience, and Sabre’s digital technology will help us achieve our goal of becoming the most visionary and customer-centric carriers on the African continent.  With Sabre’s Digital Workspace, we will transform the airport experience to be more seamless, more personalized and less stressful – moving us a step closer to a fully digital integrated operation.”

Digital Workspace is part of Sabre’s Commercial Platform, an innovative new solution that delivers end-to-end personalized retailing and enables airlines to successfully retail, distribute and fulfil across all customer touchpoints.  Announced last year, the Sabre Commercial Platform is completely transforming airlines into intelligent digital entities – through advanced retailing, dynamic pricing, an open API hub, an ultra-fast shopping engine and a mobile, consumer-grade workspace for airport agents.

“Today’s digitally-savvy travelers are expecting a more seamless experience from their airlines,” said Sabre’s Dino Gelmetti, vice president, sales – Middle East and Africa.  “Passing through the airport is traditionally one of the most stressful aspects of travel, so reducing queuing times and check points will make a huge difference for kulula.com’s customers. kulula.com is one of the most progressive airlines in Africa, and Sabre’s cutting-edge technology will enable it to differentiate itself within a highly competitive and challenging environment – improving efficiencies and creating an unrivaled customer experience.”

Investments in the Sabre Commercial Platform accelerate innovation beyond the core SabreSonic passenger service system to enable airlines to maximize revenue and deliver end-to-end personalized retailing.

www.kulula.com

www.sabre.com

[South Africa] SilverBridge bets on cloud to bolster insurance uptake and experience

With more than two decades’ experience in the insurance market, SilverBridge has continually evolved to deliver on market requirements. With the significant investment by global cloud providers in the country, the organization is well positioned to continue doing so.

“The company has always built specialized solutions for insurers and delivered a unique set of services to its customers. Historically, this has seen our policy administration solution, Exergy being deployed on-premise using customer infrastructure,” says Lee Kuyper, COO at SilverBridge.

However, with the cloud becoming a strategic priority for many organizations, the groundwork the organisation has done with its partnership with Microsoft over the years is positioning it strongly for the next phase of its journey.

“This has seen SilverBridge working closely with Microsoft to re-architect our solutions for the cloud. Three years ago, SilverBridge moved its first customer to the Microsoft Azure cloud. The timing was opportune as this was the same time that Microsoft was changing their business model to a cloud consumption business. Since then, Microsoft has invested heavily a local data centre, which together with their focus on security and compliance, has allayed any concerns financial services providers may have when migrating to a cloud environment. With Microsoft as a secure and available platform, SilverBridge is highlighting the ability of the cloud to provide insurers with a more cost-effective, secure, and powerful alternative to traditional hosted solutions.”

Subsequently, as a Microsoft Managed Partner, SilverBridge has continued to work closely with the organisation and has resulted in Exergy becoming a Microsoft Prioritised Co-Sell Ready solution for the Middle East and Africa region. This means that Microsoft will incentivise its own sales teams to sell the Exergy solution.

“We are excited with these partnership developments, with Microsoft backing SilverBridge as a leading solutions provider in the insurance industry. This puts us in a great position to assist our clients in getting value from the cloud in their businesses. SilverBridge is in a position to continue, with Microsoft, to bring solutions to the insurance industry which not only benefit from SilverBridge’s industry specific experience and expertise, but also Microsoft’s leading technology,” concludes Kuyper.

www.silverbridge.co.za

[South Africa] Poor data management costs companies millions each year

Companies are failing to meet user demand for uninterrupted access to applications and data and it is costing them millions each year. They are now looking to embrace Cloud Data Management to better meet protection needs and leverage the power of their data, this is according to the 2019 Veeam Cloud Data Management Report.

The Report surveyed more than 1500 senior business and IT leaders from 13 countries and found that respondents are aware of the importance of data management to their business’ success, pointing to greater productivity today, and the potential to drive business transformation in the future.

The amount of data generated has exploded over the past decade; data growth and sprawl is so rampant that by 2025 more than 175 Zettabytes of data will be generated each year, up almost 75% from 2018.

Troye managing director Helen Kruger says companies need to manage and protect this data, no matter where it resides. “The latest industry survey from Veeam Software, the leader in Backup solutions that enable Cloud Data Management, states that 73% of organisations admit to not being able to meet users’ demands for uninterrupted access to data and services.”

“This highlights the devastating impact downtime can have on lost revenue, productivity and customer confidence. However, the study shows that business leaders are acting to combat this, with nearly 72% looking to embrace Cloud Data Management, often by exploiting hybrid cloud capabilities, to ensure success and drive more value from their data,” she explains.

Businesses are looking to embrace the power of technologies such as the cloud, or hybrid cloud, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) to drive business success and will invest heavily on such transformational technologies.

Almost half of respondents admit that data protection is imperative to leverage these investments. Alarmingly, only 37% of businesses are very confident in their current backup solutions, with the majority (73%) admitting that they cannot meet user demands.

This inhibits the adoption of tools and processes that can drive business advantage, but leaders recognise work needs to be done; more than half of those surveyed are looking to deploy Intelligent Data Management and multi-cloud solutions across the business to address this failing.

“In this data-driven age, businesses need to wake up and take action to protect their data. They need to manage their data in a way that always delivers availability and leverage its value to drive performance. This is no longer a luxury, but a business necessity,” she stresses.

There are massive benefits to be gained from the deployment of digital initiatives. However, there is a global disparity in digital adoption. Some of the world’s largest economies are at risk of having to play catch-up when it comes to their investment in digital innovation.

Kruger says there is a significant opportunity and competitive advantage for those who effectively manage their data. “Business leaders need to determine whether their business data will always be available and if they are unsure, it’s time to act. This study shows that many are not acting fast enough.”

Some of the world’s most advanced economies are at risk of being left behind when it comes to their digital adoption. It’s crucial that companies get the right digital foundation in place to intelligently manage their data and safeguard their future. To achieve this, businesses must be united internally, with IT and the business working collaboratively and addressing cultural and skills challenges.

The Report found that companies that are on a journey to become a more intelligent business, meaning they are leveraging technologies such as Cloud Data Management and AI to create a real-time view of the collective business and the ability to act intelligently on that insight.

Amongst the businesses on this journey, the study highlights four common components globally:

Cloud: Cloud Data Management is a key component of delivering Intelligent Data Management. It is evident that leaders are recognising the advantages of a multi-cloud and hybrid-based approach, citing cost, reliability, flexibility and data security of the cloud as their main reasons for choosing it.

About 75% of companies report using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms and many are using the cloud for their backup and recovery services with 51% using Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) and 44% using disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS).

Capabilities: Companies must enhance their capabilities, to ensure employees can draw on data insights and use new technologies as they are deployed, with 9 out of 10 businesses viewing upskilling employees’ digital skills as vital to their digital success.

Culture: Creating a culture that is adaptable and receptive to new technologies so that people can evolve with the organization is essential, with more than two-thirds of respondents believing that company culture needs to become more open and accepting to digital technologies.

Confidence: Companies must create a sense of confidence in the business’ digital capabilities, built on a strong data foundation. Presently, only a quarter of respondents report total confidence in their capability to meet their digital challenges.

What is clear from the 2019 Veeam Cloud Data Management Report is that the time for action is now. This starts with a strong digital foundation, which ensures that data is backed up and always available.

“With this in place, businesses can confidently deploy new digital initiatives, leveraging the business value and competitive advantage for today and in to the future, and harness the potential of Cloud Data Management,” she concludes.

www.troye.co.za

[Column] Bernard Ford: Managing fixed assets efficiently is an art

Modern cloud-based fixed asset management software helps today’s businesses focus on their core competencies rather than complex IT processes. More importantly, it helps them avoid huge costs related to software, storage and technical staff. This is according to One Channel CEO Bernard Ford.

Cloud offers various advantages such as scalability, flexibility in capacity, enhanced collaboration and cost-efficiency. It also offers a centralised way to integrate the system and its components with web and mobile applications and helps businesses with efficient asset management, maintenance and productivity.

Cloud-based deployment is expected to have a significant growth in the fixed asset management software market, research shows that this market size is expected to grow from US$3-billion in 2019 to US$5.2-billion by 2024.

Fixed asset management software empowers businesses with a centralised platform to efficiently manage their assets throughout its lifecycle. This includes asset lifecycle management, asset budgeting, depreciation management, disposal management, document management, barcoding/Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), asset tracking, audit trail, and tax management.

He says businesses across all industries are adopting fixed asset management software as it enables them to monitor their assets and increase operational efficiency. “Maintenance, repair, and operations of assets are of the utmost importance in any asset-intensive industry.”

Preventive maintenance and IoT technology will boost the adoption of fixed asset management solutions. Also, the growing need to reduce operational cost and proliferate profits through efficient management of assets, are the major factors driving the growth of the fixed asset management software market.

Fixed assets include everything from laptops to printers, furniture, machinery, vehicles and buildings. They need to be managed effectively, regardless of whether it’s a few devices or thousands deployed across multiple locations.

“Traditional fixed asset software typically used spreadsheets whilst modern products enable business owners to use bar code technology to manage off-premise assets including laptops, equipment and machinery. Modern software makes it much easier to track asset location, its usage and even the condition of any asset. Some applications also offer maintenance schedules for these assets,” he explains.

Modern cloud applications like Acumatica allow business owners to track maintenance schedules, location of the asset, current condition and depreciation. It also allows for better asset management, having all asset data stored in a single application eliminates the need for multiple spreadsheets that track multiple assets.

“More accurate reporting is crucial, so instead of using spreadsheets, business owners can now manage their assets right along with their other accounting tasks, saving time by reducing duplicate data entry and eliminates the potential for human error,” he concludes

Bernard Ford is the CEO of One Channel, South Africa.