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Posted in the category: News

Top 10 business continuity issues for SA in 2010

While views on 2010 are generally cautiously optimistic, there are serious issues South African businesses will have to face during the year, issues that have nothing to do with soccer or economics, writes ALLEN SMITH, CEO of ContinuitySA.

Whether it’s crumbling infrastructure, lack of skills, social unrest, failing health standards, a larger tax bill or any combination of these events, 2010 in South Africa will be a good year to be sure your business continuity plans are in good shape.

There are, of course, always issues that force organisations to implement their business continuity plans, but with reduced budgets, less certainty in all spheres and the continuing brain drain, we expect a busy year for business continuity professionals.

With that in mind, I believe the following make up the top 10 issues businesses will face in 2010 that will cause them to invoke their business continuity plans:



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Posted in the category: Economy, Insight, Strategy, Trends

Now employing: signpost for 2010

Two ads in the employment section of the latest Sunday Times offer two related signposts for the development of technology infrastructure in South Africa during 2010, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

Two ads in the latest Sunday Times were seemingly innocuous: six posts advertised for Broadband Infraco, and 13 for the Department of Home Affairs. But between the lines, they said so much.

To start with, the Home Affairs ad was headlined “Building the New Home Affairs”. That ’s a positive sign to start with; an acknowledgement that Home Affairs as it had been structured and the way it had been operating simply wasn’t good enough.



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

Ready to serve: Lessons from the muck

The third in a series of presentations delivered by Arthur Goldstuck via Twitter. The presentations consists of 10 Twitter messages, or 10 tweets, each of 140 characters or less. The format will be refined over time, but this is how the “tweenote” presentation entitled “Ready to serve: Lessons from the muck” appeared on Twitter on 11 August 2009:

1. Who is the most important person you have ever met? Richard Branson? Mick Jagger?  Nelson Mandela? Sepp Blatter?

2. The most important person I’ve ever met is Aaron Mabase. I only had the privilege of meeting him once.

3. He boomed out: “Welcome to my office!” The walls and floors of his office gleamed white. He watched to see if I approved.



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Posted in the category: News

Tweenote: Mind the Gap

The second in a series of presentations delivered by Arthur Goldstuck via Twitter. The presentations consists of 10 Twitter messages, or 10 tweets, each of 140 characters or less. The format will be refined over time, but this is how the “tweenote” presentation entitled “SA’s Mobile Subscribers: Mind the Gap” appeared on Twitter on 13 July 2009:

1. SA’s cellular industry was launched in 1994 with 2 networks and a projected subscriber ceiling of only 2-million.

2. In 96, Vodacom launched a pre-paid service, adopting a system first used by Portugal’s TMN in Sep 95. MTN followed fast.

3. At launch the industry expected to reach the 1-million mark in 6-10 years. It reached the million mark in 3 years.

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Posted in the category: News

I am a RICA criminal

The RICA law requiring all cellular SIM cards to be registered came into effect on 1 July. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK tests the law and confesses to a new crime…

As of yesterday, I am a criminal.

I brazenly walked into a large CNA outlet, stepped up to the cellphone service kiosk, and without any form of identification demanded two starter packs, one with a Vodacom phone number and one with MTN. In full sight of anyone who bothered to look, I took the packs to the cashier and handed over R1,98 to cover the 99c cost of each pack.

It gets worse.

Once I got home, in total secrecy, I slipped the SIM cards from each provider into two old phones, and switched them on. The MTN card worked immediately, and I was able to begin receiving calls without any further ado. The Vodacom card required me to dial 100 to activate it, and I could then start receiving calls on that phone too.

In the above process, I violated the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (Rica) about half a dozen times – that I know about. The law came into effect on 1 July this year, even though it had been passed back in 2003. Various impracticalities, mainly relating to the process of identifying cellphone users and SIM card owners, delayed its implementation. Following various amendments, it now criminalises a range of acts of commission and omission that previously were normal everyday practice.



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Posted in the category: Insight, News, Technology

All change in cabinet – but not in ICT

The appointment of a new Minister and Deputy Minister of Communications has both raised and dashed hopes for a new era for the advancement of telecommunications in South Africa. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK looks at where change may and may not come – and why.

Siphiwe NyandaAny fan of South African dream football team Kaizer Chiefs will know the feeling: they start off every season with immense hope and promise, and their fans have every expectation they will end the season as champions, or at least with enough silverware in the trophy cabinet to have pleased most of the fans most of the time. By the end of a season littered with disappointment – the one just ended this weekend being a case in point – the fans realise that promise and hope means nothing without results and delivery. Even more ignominiously, it comes a few weeks after the team had been bundled out of a knock-out tournament by a lower-league side.

Siphiwe Nyanda. Pic: Mail & Guardian

So it is with the Department of Communications. Every time we begin a new season, i.e. have a new team in charge appointed by the President, we live in hope that, this time, we will all end up winners. By the end of the season, in which a startling lack of results and very little delivery has left us jaded, cynical and sad, we realise that we have fallen for false promises once again. It is left to the minnows of private enterprise to take on the Department – and beat it, as happened in the courtrooms with regard to licensing – in order for us to see progress.



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Posted in the category: Economy, News, Technology

Internet turnaround has begun in SA

In the past year, the Internet user base in South Africa has seen its highest rate of growth since 2001, increasing by 12.5% to 4,5-million.

This is the key finding of the Internet Access in South Africa 2008 study, released today by World Wide Worx. The study was backed by Cisco Systems, and the findings released during the Networkers at Cisco Live! conference in Johannesburg.

World Wide Worx logo“The increase comes on the eve of the biggest shakeup in South African Internet access we’ve seen since the dawn of the commercial Internet in 1994,” says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx. “It is only the beginning of a dramatic turnaround, and is occurring despite numerous obstacles in the way of growth.”

Among these obstacles has been a highly restrictive regulatory environment, with the Minister of Communications only deciding late in the year not to oppose a court ruling that would allow all network operators to supply their own infrastructure.



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Posted in the category: News

New book unveils the NOHO office

Everyone in business has heard of the SOHO – Small Office Home Office. Now make way for the NOHO – Small Office No Office.

The concept of NOHO – Small Office Home Office is introduced in a new book released today, “The Mobile Office”, by Arthur Goldstuck, technology writer and editor of The Big Change. The book is sub-titled “The essential small business guide to office technology”, and goes beyond the technology to explain how the modern office for both the small business and the travelling executive has changed more radically in the past ten years than in the previous hundred years.

“It’s not just the Internet, not merely the plunging prices of laptop computers, not only the arrival of cellphone banking and mobile e-mail,” says Goldstuck, who heads up the World Wide Worx technology market research organisation.



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Posted in the category: News, Technology, Trends

The real cost of connecting

A new book, “The Mobile Office”, reveals the true cost of connecting a small office or a mobile worker to the Internet – and sounds the death knell for dial-up access in South Africa.

“The Mobile Office”, the latest book by Arthur Goldstuck, technology writer and editor of The Big Change, has for the first time presented a detailed analysis of the cost of Internet access in South Africa. It shows that dial-up access is the most expensive form of Internet connectivity in South Africa.

The belief that dial-up is cheap because it tends to carry the lowest monthly subscription of all forms of Internet subscription is shown to be a myth. While the upfront subscription is usually far cheaper, once the access is actually used, it quickly becomes more expensive.

Arthur Goldstuck and FNB’s Len Pienaar at the media launch of “The Mobile Office” on 20 November

World Wide Worx’s research into mobile technologies in South Africa, under the Mobility project sponsored by First National Bank, provided the initial impulse for the book.



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Posted in the category: News, Technology, Trends

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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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