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Kalahari voted best in e-shopping

For the second year running, has been named South Africa’s Best e-Commerce Store of 2007.

The South African E-Commerce Awards are coordinated by the shopping search site Jump Shopping, and take into account range, price, design, ease of use and quality of service. was also named Best Online Bookstore, and Best Online Jewellery and Watch Store.

The 2007 awards saw a large number of new entries nominated by the public. “It is a clear indication that the standard of local e-commerce stores has vastly improved from the previous year,” says Albert Bredenhann, managing director of Jump Shopping.

Keep reading →

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Posted in the category: Economy, News, Technology

Great growth for Africa, but …

Africa’s communications market offers exceptional opportunities for growth thanks to increased demand for communications and broadband services, but operators must improve coverage and quality of service, and regulators must provide effective regulation to facilitate this growth.

AfricaCom logoThese were the key messages from AfricaCom 2007, the continent’s leading communications event for mobile, fixed, wireless and satellite telecommunications professionals, which took place in Cape Town last week. More than 3000 attendees, 70 expert speakers and 150 exhibitors participated.

At the high-level strategic conference, some of the region’s thought-leaders discussed what they thought were the optimum strategies for growth in their sector.

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Posted in the category: Economy, News, Technology, Trends

WiFi losing hi-tech arms race

Wireless warCommercial WiFi hotspots face a dim future in South Africa – at least among corporate workers on the move, a new research study reveals.

Mobility 2007, the latest edition of World Wide Worx’s annual study of mobile technology, released this week, shows that the corporate use of WiFi – small networks that allow wireless access to the Internet – has fallen back after a steady rise in the previous three years. By contrast, the use of 3G – wireless broadband provided by the mobile networks – has rocketed.

World Wide Worx had been warning for several years that commercial WiFi hotspots, especially in hotels and conference centres, were in danger of pricing themselves out of the market. And, now that a monthly subscription to a basic 3G service is cheaper than a few hours on most commercial hotspots, the chickens have come home to roost.

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Posted in the category: News, Technology

Beware the lure of the strategy metaphor

Sun TzuThe Art of War, written more than 2000 years ago, has become a standard textbook for any executive wanting to learn the basics of strategy.

The principles of waging war laid out by the military philosopher Sun Tzu seem fairly relevant, especially when he deals with issues like understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your own troops and those of the enemy. This can even be intoxicating for the strategy junkie, who thrills at the parallels to be found between the ancient Chinese battlefield and the corporate boardroom.

The problem is that most people don’t get the connection.

Not because they are too dense to deduce what AOL and Time-Warner or Microsoft and Facebook could have learned from the alliance between the soldiers of Wu and Yueh, but because they find that there are far more relevant lessons to be learned from modern thinkers and strategists. Not to mention from the business successes and failures of the 21st century. Keep reading →

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Posted in the category: Insight, Strategy

Fax lives!

By Hayden Lamberti, manager, applications solutions, Internet Solutions

The humble fax machineWorldwide, there’s a general perception that fax is dead – replaced by e-mail, instant messaging and scanning of documents, all of which having reached new heights of usage. If you have an Internet connection you can send your stuff anywhere, any time.

But across the globe, and specifically in South Africa and the African continent, fax is most certainly alive and well, especially fax to e-mail and e-mail to fax.

Several reasons come to mind, the first of which are the social/economic factors which are prevalent in SA. Keep reading →

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Posted in the category: Technology, Trends

Big Words for bears of very little brain

By Rudy Nadler-Nir

The original 1926 Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh said “For I am a bear of very little brain, and big words bother me.” This is probably the most profound statement on the issue of Big Words.

You know the scene. Someone walks into your office, pulls out a laptop and starts the presentation. It sounds something like this:

“With advertising click-through rates running a pitiful 0.5% or less, Web advertisers have turned to more-intrusive forms of advertising.

True viral activity is about people in the experience rather than specific content,” he blurts. “Technology enables the social currency that drives it, and keeps the fire going.”

Say what!? Keep reading →

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Posted in the category: Insight

Big brother is watching your work

Smart buildings that monitor the movement of employees sound great. But when the boss gets too smart about it, monitoring staff can be a recipe for disaster.

Meet Mr Big.

Big BrotherHe is the boss of all he surveys. And, these days, he doesn’t just rely on his eyes.

Sitting behind his large mahogany desk, from where he runs a large organisation, he can watch his staff on a video monitor which allows him to select from dozens of channels, depending which office or department he wants to “observe”.

With a click of a button, he can observe which web sites a particular employee is visiting, or even who that person is e-mailing. Checking on when an employee arrives and leaves, or visits the cafeteria or the bathroom? Old hat for Mr Big. Keep reading →

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Posted in the category: Strategy, Technology

Skills shortage a calamity

Gusti CoetzerThe shortage of skilled executives in South Africa was nothing short of a calamity, a leading recruiter warned this week. And, she added, the belief that expatriates who had left the country would return to reverse the situation was an illusion.

Auguste (Gusti) Coetzer, founding partner with leading executive recruitment firm Leaders Unlimited – Korn/Ferry International, said there was a world-wide shortage of talented people, and South African recruiters were fishing in the same global pool as their competitors elsewhere in the world.

Speaking at the Labour Market 2008 conference in Midrand, Coetzer said the workforce had become globally integrated and executives were now selling their services to the highest bidder on an international basis. Keep reading →


Posted in the category: Economy, News, Trends

A TRC for the economy

By Craig Canavan

A lack of information, coupled with the general ignorance of business and public alike of what South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policies really mean, are the main causes behind the slow pace of transformation in the business sector.

BEE ConferenceThis was one of the main themes to emerge from the first day of the inaugural annual Bee Conference held at Johannesburg’s Pyramid conference centre on 7 and 8 November.

“It’s the most misunderstood, misinterpreted piece of legislation I think this country has ever seen,” said William Janisch, director of Empowerment Services. Keep reading →

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Posted in the category: Economy, News

Software gets a leg-up in SA

The Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE), based at Wits University, has launched a new partner programme for companies to get involved in the upliftment of the local software development sector. Prof Barry Dwolatzky, newly-appointed JCSE CEO and Director, says the partner programme aims to position the JCSE as a focal point for the sector’s growth and maturation as an industry.

Home of the JCSEThe JCSE was launched in 2005 with almost R5 million in funding from almost twenty companies who partnered with Wits University and the City of Joburg to open the JCSE. Gold partners included the likes of IBM, Microsoft, Unisys, the Meraka Institute, FNB and more.

“From the outset, the JCSE’s aims have been to promote best practice in software development within an African context, grow the country’s capacity to deliver world class software and develop research and training initiatives to strengthen the local software development industry,” Dwolatzky says. Keep reading →

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Posted in the category: News, Technology

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The Big Change is a business strategy blog and newsletter published by Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, a leading technology research organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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