Enterprise Mobile Applications – Get Those Ducks in a Row

Mobile business applications require thought and planning, not a gung ho approach believes Intervate Managing Director, Lionel Moyal.

Mobile applications are swiftly taking the business world by storm. What was once regarded as little more than novelty software to many CIOs and IT decision makers has now redefined the way that modern employees operate.

As demand for smartphone and tablet devices grows so the reluctance to be chained to a desk or restrictive infrastructure is beginning to increasingly impact staff retention and productivity.
The numbers don’t lie. According to widely regarded business publication, Forbes, enterprise tablet investment will grow by 50 percent within the next five years. This is expected to lead to 93.3 million mobile business devices by 2016 – up from 13.6 million in 2011.

These tectonic technological shifts are hastening the evolution of the modern worker. Connected employees wish to be, by definition, linked to the tools and collateral required for them to be productive wherever they may be. In response, many organisations have begun to invest in enterprise applications that address these needs.

Although a few have hit the mark, others are little more than early prototypes for more sophisticated versions to follow. This is due to a disconnect between IT objectives and user expectations.

Security and data management are of paramount importance to any corporate entity. Affording employees the tools to access sensitive information wherever they may be is accompanied by risk. Threats must be contained or avoided at all costs.

Often the cost is too high – sacrificing user experience for control and regulation. In these instances enterprise applications are often sidestepped or abandoned by the workforce, resulting in unrealised capital expenditure.

Corporate applications also have a tendency to lack integration between business units or content.
All too often IT departments are instructed to develop mobile software that serves a basic need but fails to provide the business with usage analytics or communicate tasks and process to related departments.

These are just a few of the maladies that plague this fledgling environment. Although experimentation and a phased approach to development are an important part of the learning process, it comes at a cost.

Businesses interested in developing proprietary mobile applications should get their ducks in a row first. By implementing a comprehensive content management framework, an analytical approach and process modelling IT can potentially avoid spending millions on unnecessary development

Enabling Government through Technology

Can the mobile environment aid government service delivery? Intervate Managing Director, Lionel Moyal, believes so – but it will require a significant change of approach.

It is no secret that the South African government is currently experiencing enormous pressure from local residents and the wider international community to meet its own deliverables.

Recently, the World Bank slashed local economic growth expectations to just 2.4 percent for the year. Similarly, a floundering education sector, growing unrest within the labour market due to increasingly frequent strike activity and pressing inquiries relating to lack of general service delivery are bearing down on state orientated departments and entities.

Can technology make a difference?

Although the South African government has a reputation for openness towards innovation, it has yet to embrace the remarkable opportunity that lies within the mobile sector.

South Africa is widely regarded as a global pioneer when it comes to cellular adoption. Today, market penetration is well above 100 percent, with many users owning two or more devices in order to take advantage of operator specials or packages.

Local smartphone adoption rates are also impressive. According to professional services network, Deloitte, there are currently over ten million active smartphones in South Africa. Although brand market share statistics are unreliable, the majority of major players are well represented.

These devices are also becoming more affordable. As prices drop, so current feature phone users are expected to begin moving towards more intelligent devices.

To service this growing market, Intervate recently embarked on a project to develop several key community focused mobile applications.

The first, developed on behalf of the Road Accident Fund –a public entity which compensates people injured in road accidents in South Africa, offers users a step by step guide to documenting motor vehicle mishaps. This application also provides emergency contact numbers and enables the citizen to capture important information such as images, responsible party details and time.

Similarly, Intervate recently announced the launch of a mobile meter reading application that allows users to measure and submit their own electricity usage. In districts such as Johannesburg, where billing scandals and lack of service delivery continue to plague local municipalities, this could pose an elegant solution to the problem.

The challenge here is that government, although willing, is often slow to respond. Considerable administrative barriers and restrictive tender processes have made collaboration with innovative partners increasingly difficult.

Furthermore, state agencies often lack the internal business processes required to service improvement. Great ideas are a positive step forward, but when poorly implemented they can simply exacerbate the challenges.

In order for the state to realise the benefit associated with mobile platforms, it must rethink its approach to technology and on-going support. The opportunity is certainly present, government just needs a push.

Intervate and AvePoint Introduce ‘SharePoint Starter Pack’ to South African Customers

Intervate and AvePoint introduce the ‘SharePoint Starter Pack’, a bundle of AvePoint’s DocAve SharePoint solutions to assist South African customers in their migration, protection, administration, and reporting of Microsoft SharePoint

Intervate, South Africa’s foremost provider of Enterprise Information Management (EIM) and Microsoft SharePoint solutions, has collaborated with AvePoint, the leader in governance, compliance, and management solutions for social enterprise collaboration platforms, to introduce the ‘SharePoint Starter Pack’ to local Microsoft SharePoint users and potential users in South Africa from 21 October – 31 December 2013.

The essential areas of the starter pack focus on getting the content you need into SharePoint, and address the most common challenges which are very often standing in the way of a broader ECM level of SharePoint confidence and adoption.  These challenges were identified as providing an enterprise level of data protection and restoration, scalable and efficient management, restructuring of content based on constantly changing business demands, as well as a wide range of reporting for ecosystem monitoring within the SharePoint environment.

“We worked with AvePoint to identify the key challenges that SharePoint administrators and managers were experiencing and we came up with five key products in the DocAve suite to improve these users’ experience: Migration, Administrator, Backup & Recovery, Content Manager and Report Centre,” said Marc Fletcher, Marketing and Sales Director of Intervate in Cape Town.

A 30-day trial version of these products will be available from Monday, 21 October 2013 for download via the Intervate website.

“This initiative was designed with a very good understanding of what the current needs of South African customers are as well as empathy with the SharePoint practice of enterprises and their limitations around SharePoint related expenditures during the early stages of proving value,” Fletcher said.

“The ‘SharePoint Starter Pack’ is an extension of SharePoint’s native capabilities and adds a significant benefit to the administration and management functionality available to the IT team. This application suite was created to help new and emerging customers migrate content, manage users, protect their SharePoint assets and report on user activity and infrastructure changes.”

The five key ‘SharePoint Starter Pack’ products are:
Migration: DocAve Migrators allow users to consolidate multiple content sources into SharePoint 2010/2013 or Office 365 with minimal disruption on the business and migrate content granularly from 14 different legacy systems in real-time or on a scheduled basis.

Administrator: DocAve Administrator allows for search across all assets, batch changes of user settings, and delegation to power users to increase efficiency and productivity.

Backup & Recovery: DocAve Backup and Restore provides business-aware and comprehensive protection of the SharePoint ecosystem.

Content Manager: DocAve Content Manager allows users to copy, move, migrate or restructure content from one source to multiple destinations in order to quickly distribute changes across multiple sites or SharePoint environments.

Report Center: DocAve Report Center can provide intelligence on platform performance by reporting on SharePoint storage trends, sites, and users on a real-time or scheduled basis.

“We are proud of our partnership with Intervate to introduce the ‘SharePoint Starter Pack’ and we believe it will help companies with SharePoint in South Africa realise the platform’s full potential,” said Peter Sornat, Vice President of Sales and Business Development for AvePoint EMEA.

For more information, please contact Talia Farber at taliaf@intervate.com or 011 236 3860.

Intervate recognised with four accolades at Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards 2013

Intervate earns four major honours at Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards, including Microsoft Content and Collaboration Partner of the Year for the seventh consecutive year.

Intervate, South Africa’s foremost provider of enterprise information management (EIM) solutions, was awarded four major accolades during Microsoft’s Partner of the Year 2013 Awards ceremony, held at Gallagher Estate on 26 September 2013, further bolstering its reputation for client service delivery and innovation.

The evening saw Intervate garner recognition as Microsoft Content and Collaboration Partner of the Year for the seventh consecutive time. Intervate also walked away with Microsoft Commercial Industry Partner of the Year, Microsoft Public Sector Industry Partner of the Year and Microsoft Services Partner of the Year, earning steel ware in each of its nominated categories.

“This is a significant moment for Intervate as a company. We are extremely proud to have once again been awarded Microsoft Content and Collaboration Partner of the Year. This year, this award merged several specialisations, including Portals and Collaboration, Content Management, Search and Digital Marketing. We are equally pleased to have earned recognition in three other categories,” adds Intervate Managing Director Lionel Moyal.

“It signals that we have been able to maintain focus on our core strengths while venturing out into new markets. The fact that Microsoft chose to further recognise us as Public Sector, Commercial and Services Partner of the year is a huge achievement.”

Intervate is a longstanding Microsoft partner specialising in enterprise information management (EIM) and process automation solutions that improve productivity and collaboration, reduce costs and increase legal compliancy.

Intervate sweeps the boards at Microsoft Partner Awards

Enterprise Information Management solution provider Intervate has emerged as the major winner at Microsoft’s annual Partner Network Awards, announced at a gala dinner in Johannesburg last night. The annual awards honour Microsoft partners for delivering innovative solutions that directly address customer challenges during the past year.

Intervate won four awards on the night: Services Partner of the Year, Collaboration and Content Partner of the Year, and Industry Partner of the Year for both Commercial and Public Sector. The other big winner was Ascent Technology, whose two awards included the coveted Managing Director’s award for Partner of the Year.

The finalists in the 21 categories were chosen from hundreds of entries submitted by partners across the country, and the winners were selected on their dedicated use of Microsoft technologies to provide solutions for their customers’ needs.

Three other companies won two awards each. Karabina Business Technology Solutions won the Business Intelligence and Dynamics CRM awards; Gijima was named Deployment Partner of the Year and Messaging and Communications Partner of the Year; and First Technology won the Large Account Reseller of the Year and Volume Licensing Partner of the Year awards.

The Partner of the Year Award winners and finalists represent some of the best and brightest our ecosystem has to offer,” said Munir Kundakci, head of Small and Midsize Solutions and Partners at Microsoft SA. “We had hundreds of solutions that helped save costs, improve productivity and increase efficiencies.  We are always amazed by the business understanding of our partners and how they use technology for addressing business needs.”

The full list of winners is:

Application Integration Partner of the Year – nVisionIT
Business Intelligence Partner of the Year – Karabina Business Technology Solutions
Collaboration and Content Partner of the Year – Intervate
Core Infrastructure or Private Cloud Partner of the Year – BUI
Corporate Social Responsibility Partner of the Year – CTU Training Solutions
Data Platform Partner of the Year – Ascent Technology
Deployment Partner of the Year – Gijima
Distribution Partner of the Year – Comztek
Dynamics CRM Partner of the Year – Karabina Business Technology Solutions
Dynamics ERP Partner of the Year – AccTech Systems
Hosting Partner of the Year – PwC Exordia
Industry Partner of the Year – Commercial – Intervate
Industry Partner of the Year – Public Sector – Intervate
Large Account Reseller of the Year – First Technology
Learning Partner of the Year – Bytes People Solutions
Messaging and Communications Partner of the Year – Gijima
Software Asset Management Partner of the Year – Business Connexion
Services Partner of the Year – Intervate
Volume Licensing Partner of the Year – First Technology
SMB Customer Partner of the Year – GreenData ICT Solutions
Managing Director’s Partner of the Year – Ascent Technology

Intervate Sponsors Community Saturday Western Cape

Intervate,South Africa’s foremost provider of enterprise information management (EIM) solutions, has formally announced its sponsorship of the highly successful SharePoint Saturday seminar to the Cape Town business sector, on 7 September 2013, at the Sanlam Head Office in Bellville, Western Cape.

This year SharePoint Saturday and SQL Saturday have been combined to form ‘Community Saturday’ – a free gathering in which registered delegates can learn more about Microsoft SharePoint and SQL while giving their attention to a worthy charitable cause.

Aligning with the theme of Community, Intervate will dedicate its stand and its efforts at the event to its community project: Ubuntu House.

Ubuntu House, part of the AFM Executive Welfare uMephi project, is a place of safety and a halfway house for newborn babies given up by their mothers or saved from abortions and rejection due to HIV or related social issues.

Intervate will be running an engaging and participative competition at its stand during Community Saturday with the objective of donating critical supplies such as milk formula for the infants at Ubuntu House.

Intervate, KPMG host productivity event

KPMG, in partnership with South Africa’s foremost provider of enterprise information management (EIM) and process automation solutions, Intervate, hosted an event where KPMG presented the fifth annual Sourcing Advisory Pulse Survey in Cape Town on 7 August 2013.

The event aimed to provide insights into improved productivity through technology and trends within the finance, shared services and accounting sectors.

 

Intervate demonstrated and discussed its accounts payable solution at the event, with a focus on how organisations can improve manual finance processes through automation, thereby reducing associated time and cost.

According to the pulse survey results released by professional auditing group, KPMG, the Finance and Accounting arena is a key focus area for improvement of performance and service delivery and IT systems are a key enabler to do so.

“Our information capturing solution with automated image recognition makes it possible for large organisations to streamline financial departments and processes while reducing overheads,” explains Gia Thom, Intervate’s business development manager for Imaging and Capture Solutions.

According to Thom, Intervate’s accounts payable automation solution makes it possible for large companies to cut their invoice queries by 50% due to effective detection and addressing of anomalies and automated notifications to suppliers.

The process of data capturing of invoice information is accelerated through automated data extraction of up to 98%. Automated statement extraction and matching can further reduce manual tasks by automating reconciliations.

“Query handling gives management additional visibility and allows for better and responsive decision-making. Meanwhile, the Accounts Payable team is freed up to focus on supplier relations, exceptions and tasks requiring human intervention,” explains Thom.

Information capturing, although crucial, is often seen as laborious. The benefits associated with the automation of invoicing within large entities include avoiding late payments, SARS compliance, more streamlined business processes and a reduction in overheads.

“Image recognition may be the most logical approach in the race to improve service delivery while eliminating unnecessary cost,” concludes Thom.

Intervate demonstrates enterprise search

Intervate, South Africa’s foremost provider of Enterprise Information Management Solutions (EIM), will host a discussion on the benefits of solution-based enterprise search functionality at the SharePoint Saturday event – due to be held in Northriding, Johannesburg on 8 June 2013 and again during a seminar held at Microsoft on 10 June 2013.

During the presentation Intervate’s search specialist, Paul Niemand, will present an overview on how smarter search functionality within the SharePoint 2013 environment is changing the face of modern business. Furthermore, the Intervate team will demonstrate the importance of a powerful corporate search solution, rather than a search technology, as an enabler of success within the organisation.

All too often, corporate information is too broadly scattered throughout the organisation’s data management systems to be of use to those who really need it. In today’s knowledge economy, information is power. Search is not simply an afterthought; it is a critical contributor towards business productivity, believes Niemand.

“A business lacking a comprehensive search solution is at risk of compromising its own efficiency. Without easy access to critical information employees are simply unable to operate effectively.

“Fortunately, SharePoint 2013 has brought with it exciting new functionality which combines the best of SharePoint 2010 search, FAST search and elements found in Microsoft’s Bing search engine. We look forward to demonstrating these at SharePoint Saturday and at Conversations with Intervate in June.”

Existing SharePoint 2013 users are likely to be familiar with the elements Niemand references. The “out of the box” search functionality bundled within this platform has, in many ways, revolutionised corporate information retrieval.

Improved features include native PDF indexing, federated location search, mailbox search and improved scalability while an updated user interface has made it easier for employees to find what they’re looking for – resulting in a richer search experience.

“The changes implemented within Microsoft SharePoint 2013 are significant. We would like to invite any business interested in finding out more to join us at SharePoint Saturday or Conversations with Intervate,” concludes Niemand.

Intervate partners with KPMG on Finance event

KPMG will be presenting the results of its 5th annual Sourcing Advisory Pulse Survey at events in Johannesburg and Cape Town, on 24 and 30 April 2013, respectively. Through analysis of local organisations, the survey provides insight into trends and projections and compares these to global benchmarks. Results show that finance and accounting are key focus areas for improvement in performance and service delivery. The trend is to implement technology as a solution to improve processes and cut costs. By attending the event, companies can catch up on global trends within the financial, shared services and accounting arenas, as well as commentary and insight into improved productivity through technology.

In conjunction with KPMG, account payable and process automation specialist Intervate will present case studies and solutions on how organisations can improve manual finance processes through automation, thereby reducing the associated time and cost. The company will also reveal how an integrated software solution can augment a company’s existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) process for better results.

Using accounts payable as an example, Intervate will go on to demonstrate how organisations can accelerate processing by automating up to 98% of information capture. Reducing invoice processing time results in lower operating costs and even makes it possible to take advantage of early payment discounts.

Gia Thom, Intervate’s Business Development Manager for Imaging and Capture Solutions, comments: “We’ve seen organisations cut their rejections by 50%. This, in conjunction with automation of query handling, frees up the AP team, allowing them to focus on tasks requiring human intervention. At the same time, management gains additional visibility, allowing them to make better and quicker decisions.”

To attend and register for either the JHB event on 24 April or the CT event on 30 April, contact Talia Farber: taliaf@intervate.com.

Intervate acquiries Calabash ID -improving Finance solution capabilities

Intervate Solutions, an enterprise information management (EIM) solutions provider with a key focus on document capture and automation, has acquired the business operations of Calabash Integration and Development (Calabash ID).

Calabash ID is a dynamic information technology company and Kofax Gold Partner, providing business solutions and applications in the accounts payable (AP), enterprise content management and document imaging space.

“Calabash ID have extensive experience and understanding of the AP space as well as strong technical abilities gained from the implementation of many successful projects. This, coupled with their Kofax alignment, perfectly complements Intervate’s existing capabilities, allowing us to better meet the needs of our customers,” says Mpumi Nhlapo, Director and head of the Imaging and Capture Solutions business unit at Intervate.

Intervate’s AP solutions streamline the labour-intensive process of capturing invoices, resulting in increased efficiencies. The solution, built on Kofax technology, provides a single funnel to consume paper and electronic invoices, automatically extract and validate invoice data, and queue invoices for payment in the ERP system. The improved processes and reduced time results in greater accuracy and reduced operating costs for finance departments.

“Intervate welcomes the Calabash ID team and customers into the Intervate Imaging and Capture Solutions business unit and looks forward to the improved service and support that the combined organisations can provide,” adds Nhlapo.

Intervate will be hosting an event, in conjunction with KPMG, to discuss trends in the South African finance market and showcase accounts payable automation solutions. The event will take place in Cape Town on 19 April, and in Johannesburg on 24 April. For more information or to register, contact Talia Farber: taliaf@intervate.com.