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Simplifying The Business Of Being In Business

Here are some things you could do to streamline your IT Systems so that it works for you and not against you.

Vodacom SA

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Running a business is hard work, as any entrepreneur would attest to. Regardless of your title, in many instances you would need to fulfil multiple roles within your organisation.

With the current economic climate the onus is on Business owners to focus on the right tasks that would progress their organisations… minimised effort for maximised return.

At the heart of some of the frustrations is to keep your basic systems afloat, and dealing with multiple institutions and consultants to keep your IT systems updated and in check.

Related: 4 Digital Marketing Trends to Pay Attention to Right Now

Your end goal is to let you IT systems work for you to drive your business growth. One also needs to ensure productivity and collaboration aspects are aligned to your IT Strategy.

1. Find a trusted Partner

Invest time in finding the right partner for your technology needs, in an ideal scenario a single partner would provide you with assurance that that they understand your total solution and business needs, instead of providing you disconnected pieces , that don’t really fit together.

Avoiding a premium retainer of a solutions partner, could be an expensive oversight in the long run as technology plays such an intrinsic role in how your day to day business operates.

In the case of Vodacom, we have an extensive Partner network through which your selected partner and Vodacom are able to assist your business with building a comprehensive ICT Solution that speaks to your business needs.

2. Consolidate & Adapt

Once you have established your partner relationship, work together to create a strategy which would work for your business.

Your Business core service or product functions need to be carefully determined and aligned with the solutions that you have for your ICT services. Review your current systems and decide if they are still relevant, and that you are not paying for services that no longer benefit you.

As your business grows you would need to review these systems to ensure that they are sustainable in the long run, and will scale as you need.

3. Investigate Cloud opportunities for your business

Although Cloud is not a new concept it is not generally clear to all Entrepreneurs on what it actually means in the real world and putting it into practice.

Cloud services should provide you with Scale, agility and easy payment options.

It needs to grow with your business, and it needs to give you peace of mind that someone is looking after your IT while you out in the world growing your company

The trick is to focus on what you want out of it. Consider the following:

  • Do you have preference for capital expenditure vs monthly expenditure?
  • Do you have existing infrastructure that still do what you need it to do, but there are some devices that require a refresh?
  • Do you have capacity onsite to host your services, or are space and power a concern?
  • How do your employees connect to your environment? Do they travel or are they office bound?
  • How crucial is your Data to your businesses day to day operation?

All these factors will determine your Cloud strategy and how you move towards the end state.

Moving to Cloud services should not be an overnight event. It should be gradual considering all factors such as your existing investments.

Related: 10 Powerful Habits That Will Make You a Millionaire

Often things like Data backup and continuity are overlooked as they are considered a grudge purchase, but it might save you many hours of work in case of a failure, mitigating financial and operation risk

Managed services through Cloud providers such as Vodacom will provide you with the assurance that all elements are considered, planned and follows stringent processes to ensure uptime for your it systems. At the end of the day you can focus on your business while your Cloud provider supports you to grow.

Vodacom operates in five countries namely South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Mozambique and Tanzania. Vodacom's footprint in sub-Saharan Africa is strengthened by its subsidiary Vodacom Business Africa, Africa's largest provider of satellite and terrestrial network infrastructure and interconnection services for African and International telecommunications companies. Vodacom Business Africa's pan African network and on the ground presence in 14 African countries.

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Rethinking Learning In The 21st Century

The changing world of work has disrupted the three elements of the traditional ‘career’: Expertise, duration, and rewards.

Wits Plus

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Traditionally the concept of a ‘career’ was considered to include three elements:

  1. A career represented our expertise, our profession, and ultimately our identity.
  2. A career was something that built over time and endured. It gave us the opportunity to progress and advance.
  3. A career gave us financial and psychological rewards. It made life meaningful and paid us enough to live well.

The changing world of work has disrupted all three elements: Expertise, duration, and rewards.

A career can now be as long as 60 years; at the same time, due to rapid advancements in technology and the changes that bring about in the workplace, skill sets can become obsolete in as little as five years.

Increasingly, companies need to rethink the way in which careers are managed and learning opportunities are delivered, and many have already begun to overhaul their career models and L&D (Learning and Development) infrastructure in line with the digital age.

Related: Your Investment In Knowledge

Employees’ learning behaviour is also changing. In the past, employees were able to obtain the skills required for their career early on and as a once-off; now, the career itself is a journey of learning, up-skilling, re-skilling and continuous reinvention to remain relevant and to thrive in the changing world of work.

Older employees who studied at a time where most of one’s learning occurred prior to entering the workplace, find themselves working alongside millennials who place greater value on learning and progression rather than on earning potential as a first priority.

Eighty-three percent of the respondents surveyed in Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends survey say their organisations are shifting to flexible, open career models that offer enriching assignments, projects, and experiences rather than a static career progression.

However, in today’s fast-paced business world, even if companies are restructuring L&D delivery, no one is going to make you engage in a strategy that is essential to your future success – continuous learning. You will have to take the initiative yourself.

Noted self-help expert W. Clement Stone, in his many writings on this topic, recommended that one spends anywhere from a half-hour to two hours a day in study and thinking time. This tireless dedication, combined with an insatiable curiosity, will equip you to excel in the future world of work. What’s more, learning new skills and knowledge can be fun!

The good news for both companies and for employees is that an explosion of high-quality content and digital delivery models offers employees ready access to continuous learning. The Wits DigitalCampus offers a range of accredited and fully online short courses to support your continuous learning.

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Your Investment In Knowledge

When you understand the value of knowledge, in this world where technology is rendering previously expensive products or services much cheaper (and even free), it’s just a matter of getting more of it. Dedicate yourself to constant learning!

Wits Plus

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Most people spend their lives collecting, spending, and worrying about money — so much so, in fact, that they say they “don’t have time” to learn something new.

However, some of smartest and busiest people in the world — Barack Obama, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates — all spend at least one hour a day on deliberate learning. They see what others don’t: That learning is the single best investment of our time that we can make. As Benjamin Franklin said long ago, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

When you understand the value of knowledge, in this world where technology is rendering previously expensive products or services much cheaper (and even free), it’s just a matter of getting more of it. Dedicate yourself to constant learning!

One of the very benefits of ongoing technological advances is that it empowers an accelerated and personalised learning experience that puts the learner in the driver’s seat. Modern learning harnesses the speed, power and ubiquity of digital capability. Online platforms, software and mobile devices means that the traditional hurdles to learning — such as income, status and location — have just about disappeared. Knowledge can now be gained by anyone with the passion to pursue it and the commitment to stick with it.

Related: Building Customer Relationships

We are only at the tipping point of what future learning technology can deliver. Artificial intelligence (AI) will transform all aspects of human capital management, including learning. Technology-enabled learning will be immediate and directly relevant to the task, for example:

  • personally tailored learning content and experiences delivered to you as and when you want or need them
  • chatbots and virtual assistants can source and categorise the information that you need for optimal decision-making
  • augmented and virtual reality simulations can provide a multi-sensory experience to speed up and embed learning.

Additionally, social connectivity already enables user-generated content to outpace and outstrip what traditional education and learning institutions can deliver.

Knowledge may be the new money but, unlike money, you don’t lose it when you use knowledge or give it away. Transferring knowledge anywhere in the world is free and instant. It’s fun to acquire and it makes your brain work better. It helps you think bigger and beyond your circumstances. It puts your life in perspective by essentially helping you live many lives in one life through other people’s experiences and wisdom.

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Are You Struggling To Find Financing For Your SME? Try Alternative Finance

If you don’t qualify for traditional funding or if it isn’t the right fit for your SME why not explore alternative funding? We specialise in alternative financing options by providing in-depth and custom plans for you and your business needs.

Spartan

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Alternative Finance is finance beyond the traditional – it is defined by the financiers’ area of specialisation – by what they specialise in, whom they serve, and how they provide their funding. It does not replace traditional finance but rather functions as a complementary and additional form of funding.

Alternative financiers are specialists – they focus on a particular need and on a specific audience. As a result their ‘how’ is customised to deal with their chosen target market and for this targets unique needs. This applies to the funder’s processes and to their level of flexibility around things such as collateral.

An example of this is that a SME may have an existing R1 million overdraft (their traditional finance) secured by R 1.5 million collateral but suddenly they need R5 million for some kind of contract or bridging finance – they need it fast and don’t have that extent of collateral.

The traditional funder cannot provide what they need, their process is too long and their flexibility is too low. An alternative financier providing bridging finance and specialising in SMEs is ideally positioned to fill this gap.

One of the most significant differences between a traditional funder and an alternative financier is in their process. In the case of the alternative financier, they have often chosen to deal exclusively with a particular customer base, for example SMEs. As a result, this funder has both an affinity and contextually relevant empathy in working with SMEs.

Not only do they speak the same language the funder also has an appreciation for the time and material constraints of the SME and has developed their processes to cater to this market. This applies most notably to the turnaround time of the funding need and to the assessment aspect – where flexibility around things such as collateral is vital in making the finance happen for the SME.

A traditional funder is unable to meet the deadline of a bridging finance need, submitted on an urgent basis, where the finance is needed as soon as 2-3 days from time of application. A specialised or alternative funder is able to do exactly this. A traditional funder is also unable to find creative methods in solving the SMEs lack of high-value collateral in applying for finance.

This SME has generally already used their high-value collateral for traditional credit facilities but now needs funding for growth or resolution of a temporary cash flow challenge. An alternative financier is able to look at such an application in a different way, and has most likely already established alternative ways to make this happen for the SME.

Related: 5 Key Questions To Answer For Raising Funding

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