Information technology (IT) hardware is likely to become more expensive in SA because of the weak economy and rand, according to Mark Walker, associate vice-president for sub-Saharan Africa at the International Data Corporation.
“SA is looking at a growth rate of 0.7% to 1.5% [in 2018]. Many organisations are pricing this weak economy into their discussions as it means that hardware and imported equipment will be more expensive.
“There are also murmurs around adding VAT to petrol and potential increases in taxes, so the technology sector could very well be an easy target from a tax point of view.”
As a result, IT was expected to become more expensive, particularly hardware, and this was likely to prompt “an acceleration into cloud-based computing”, Walker said.
Further, if the outcome of the ANC’s elective conference was not well received, the market would weaken further and this would further fuel the rise in IT costs.
Innovation and investment could be affected by the lacklustre economy, he said. “We have started seeing a trend emerge where you have individuals and organisations innovating locally, but then taking those ideas overseas because they are not able to unlock investment in the local market.”
However, a favourable elective conference outcome would be a boon for the local IT sector.
“The perception that SA is back on track could herald in a period of release of pent-up demand, investment spend on innovation and rolling out the infrastructure to enable broadband in rural areas, fibre and others that SA gravely needs.”
Network provider Vodacom has announced that it will “significantly reduce” out-of-bundle prices for all customers from mid-October.
“For pre-paid and customers on top-up packages, the out-of-bundle rate will drop by as much as 50% once the new 99c per megabyte tariff comes into effect on October 15.”The out-of-bundle rate for post-paid customers was reduced from R1 per megabyte to 89c on October 1,” the company said in a statement.
Group CEO of Vodacom Shameel Joosub said the company needs to expand 4G coverage and keep pace with an increase of more than 45% in sustained data traffic demand.
“Both of these come at a cost, and we have invested some R32.7bn over the last four years. However, lack of access to spectrum is hampering our ability to drive down infrastructure costs and in turn, enable us to pass savings to the consumer,” said Joosub.
Vodacom previously told Fin24 that it is committed to the process of drafting new regulations, after regulator Icasa said it would hold an inquiry in an attempt to reduce the country’s high data costs.
Vodacom joins Cell C, which recently responded to Icasa’s regulation of data by dropping out-of-bundle rates and extending bundle expiry.
In August it was announced that Icasa wanted to amend the End-user and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations by introducing “out-of-bundle billing practices” and other “expiry of data practices”.
Previously, the regulator announced it would hold an inquiry in an attempt to reduce high data costs.The probe will be conducted over four phases and will be completed in March 2018.
Kyle Venktess for Fin24
Business owners are constantly under pressure to reduce costs – but the things that are losing your business money might take you by surprise.
Here are a few practical tips on how to identify areas where small changes could bring about big savings:
Insurance is vital in securing the costly assets that assist in running your business. Compare quotes to find the cheapest, most comprehensive insurance plan that meets your business needs. When speaking to insurance brokers and agencies don’t be afraid to negotiate – ask for multiple quotes to compare and find what you need.
If it’s viable, try a multiple policy option – different types of cover from one service provider – as this often results in a discounted overall premium. Also consider consulting your bank for insurance options. Periodically review your coverage to ensure it’s still appropriate for your business’s needs – if it’s not, change it.
There’s nothing more costly than an inefficient workforce – and studies show employees spend 30-40% of their time looking for documents. A document management system stores and processes documents electronically, so employees don’t waste time searching for paperwork. They can spend time on what’s important, instead of getting bogged down with admin. This is especially beneficial for businesses having to cope with limited staff resources.
Explore digital tools that can assist with archiving, providing remote access to documents and streamlining workflow, like Nashua’s Managed Document Services.
Check your charges
Stay on top of bills to avoid penalty costs. Keep track of upcoming payments by using online banking and scheduling payments ahead of time. Remember to factor licences and permits into your annual budget to avoid unpleasant surprises. Be selective about subscriptions and memberships – only pay for what you need now. A journal subscription may have been useful at one point in time, but is it still a must?
Switch to green
Staying on top of what you’re spending on expenses like printing and stationery can save a considerable amount and help make your office ‘greener’. One way to eliminate wasteful printing is to manage print jobs digitally in one central hub, banish duplicate prints and audit the size of your device fleet, to downsize where possible. Nashua offers Managed Print Services (MPS) which can help significantly reduce printing costs.
Assign one or two people to manage office supplies like stationery and keep track of what’s being used. Make the process transparent and urge employees to use stationery conservatively and reuse where possible. For example, make it a rule in your business that all internal documents should be printed on reused paper.
Be mindful of devices to reduce your electricity bill. Remember, power is still drawn if machines are switched off but plugged into a live outlet. Wherever possible, use natural lighting and invest in power saving or solar-powered light bulbs – they often last longer too.
Replace desktops with laptops – they use less power. If you can’t use laptops throughout the office, aim to introduce energy efficient desktops. Look out for Energy Star qualified hardware – it’s engineered to consume less energy when performing regular tasks and automatically switches to a low-power mode when not in use.
Increased connectivity means employees don’t have to be in the same room to hold an important meeting. Assess all planned business trips and eliminate the unnecessary. Ask yourself: does this actually require face time? Can it be done over the phone or via conference call? If so, can the trip. If you can’t avoid an out-of-office meeting, try carpooling with team members or use services like Uber, Ryda and Snappcab.
Consider switching to an IP-based telephony service – because calls are all routed via the same line, it can drastically reduce your call costs. Nashua Voice offers this kind of cost-cutting technology – it also means you’ll be able to switch to virtual fax, virtual boardroom and virtual conferencing to further reduce costs.
European businesses currently using laser printers and copiers could dramatically reduce their waste, energy consumption and noise emissions by switching to Epson WorkForce Pro inkjet printers, according to new independent tests by Buyers Laboratory LLC (BLI) commissioned by Epson.
BLI tested several WorkForce Pro models against a selection of competing colour lasers and laser copiers and found that Epson’s printers produce up to 95% or 77 kilograms less waste when printing up to 80,000 pages. Furthermore, BLI tests against a selection of competing machines showed that Epson WorkForce Pro models use up to 82% less energy than lasers and laser copiers.1
“The outstanding eco features of our WorkForce Pro printers are made possible by Epson’s PrecisionCore inkjet printhead, which uses Epson’s proprietary Micro Piezo technology,” comments Paul Steels, Director of Business Imaging, Epson Europe.
“PrecisionCore printheads have the ability to accurately fire a wide variety of liquids in exactly the required quantities at varying media on demand, minimizing ink waste and reducing the frequency of consumables replacement, therefore producing much less waste compared to colour lasers and copiers.”
“Laser printers and copiers use a combination of heat and pressure to fuse toner to the paper. Instead of heat, Epson’s inkjet printers use subtle changes in pressure to fire ink droplets on to the paper, so they consume minimal energy when printing.”
In addition, the BLI research confirms that over a range of typical office activities for a three-minute period, WorkForce Pro models are up to 18% quieter (29.42 dBA) than competitive laser printers and copiers, making them ideal for the work environment.2
“Inkjet printers are capable of entering a sleep mode at a much faster rate compared to lasers, which reduces both energy consumption and noise emissions, helping employees focus on the task at hand,” Steels adds.
“Businesses and organizations today are constantly looking for new ways to keep distraction down and workplace efficiency up,” commented BLI Senior Editor Priya Gohil. “The clear environmental benefits, among others found in these tests, demonstrate the unique advantages inkjet printers have – making them the ones to watch in the printer space.”
The BLI test results for the WorkForce Pro range highlight Epson’s strength in developing compact, energy-saving, and high-precision technologies, which form a common base for all of Epson’s core technologies: Micro Piezo, sensing and microdisplay.
Rob Clark, senior vice-president for Epson Europe, adds:
“Through characteristics such as minimizing the use of resources and reducing waste, our core technologies are kind on the environment. Epson will continue to refine these technologies to increase the value we provide to our customers and further contribute to the environment.”
“On a company level, Epson is committed to achieving its ‘Environmental Vision 2050’ by restoring and preserving biodiversity as a member of the eco system, reducing CO2 emissions by 90% across the entire product life cycle and ensuring all products are included in the resource and reuse recycling loop.”
“As part of our environmental goals, we are challenging ourselves to create compelling, customer-pleasing products that have 50% lower impact across their life cycle by making them more compact, reducing their power requirements, designing them for easy recycling and extending their service life. By reducing the environmental impact across our products, services and all areas of operation, we help our customers to meet their environmental targets,” Clark concludes.
Catalogues: they are expensive, restrictive, inflexible and old-fashioned, yet 95% of office supplies dealers still use them. For many dealers, catalogues continue to be their principal sales and marketing tool. Across the Euroffice Group, we stopped printing catalogues a year ago. Our business hasn’t suffered. In fact, the opposite is true.