Tag: companies

Be wary of recorded conversations

Contrary to popular belief, companies may be within their rights to secretly record conversations with employees and use that information against them in a court of law. However, the reverse is also true.

Nicol Myburgh, Head of the Human Resource Business Unit at CRS Technologies, says this has the potential to significantly change the dynamic in the workplace.

According to Section 4 of the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (RICA), it is not illegal to secretly record a conversation you are party to. But it is still illegal to do so as a way of intercepting communications to commit an offence, for example obtaining a person’s bank account information.

“The argument that recording these conversations infringes on an employee’s (or employer’s) right to privacy is outweighed when using the recording in court is in the interests of justice. Of course, there is nothing prohibiting the addition of an explicit clause in employment contracts that mitigates against the risk of having communications intercepted.”

Technology has made it incredibly easy to record conversations without other parties being aware of it. Most smartphones and tablets come standard with audio recording features, making it virtually undetectable when somebody runs the app and puts the phone or tablet out of sight.

“Often, these conversations can be used as evidence in disciplinary hearings and other disputes even before they go to the CCMA or court. Further complicating matters is that courts do not hold privacy rights as absolute. Instead, they take other factors into account that can trump privacy rights.”

An example of this is in Harvey v Niland, where evidence was obtained by hacking into the respondent’s Facebook account. Evidence can therefore be presented in various forms and not necessarily only in the form of an audio recording.

Nevertheless, it remains in the best interests of either party to obtain recordings legally. From an employer perspective, fair process must be followed, with the employee being given an opportunity to respond to the evidence presented against them.

“From a legal perspective, it should also be noted that either party can record a conversation that they are part of. But if you are a third party, you need informed consent from one of the other parties to legally record that conversation. It is often this consent that confuses people into thinking all parties must agree to have a discussion recorded.”

Of course, if the recording is inaudible then it cannot be admissible. Myburgh says that employers or employees therefore need to ensure that the audio can be heard, and that the data is stored in a safe place to avoid it being lost, deleted, or edited in a way that will also make it inadmissible.

“Companies are operating in a dynamic, technology-driven environment. It should always be assumed that any conversation or meeting will be recorded, like assuming all work email will be read by a supervisor. In this way, both the employee and employer can ensure no mismanagement takes place.”

Death by Amazon

By Rebecca Ungarino for Market Insider

A new “Death by Amazon” index released by the investment-research firm CFRA tracks the stocks its analysts believe could be short-seller targets given their vulnerabilities to competition from Amazon.

The index is full of home goods and electronics retailers like Party City and Bed Bath & Beyond, some of which have seen their entire market value wiped out in recent years.

Investors are familiar with the Amazon effect by now.

The e-commerce juggernaut announces that it is preparing to enter into an industry – be it medication, brick-and-mortar grocery, entertainment, or others – and the stocks of companies in the new target market fall as jittery investors are struck with the fear that irreversible disruption is coming.

So the investment-research firm CFRA created a new index, “Death By Amazon,” that tracks the stocks its analysts think are particularly vulnerable to Amazon’s expansion and offerings.

“The equally weighted index serves as a retail performance benchmark and short-selling idea generation tool for our clients,” CFRA analysts Camilla Yanushevsky and Todd Rosenbluth wrote in a report to clients earlier this month.

To pinpoint the 20 constituents the analysts believe are poorly positioned to compete against Amazon’s efforts in various industries, they evaluated the companies’ “Share of Voice” data that comes from web-traffic analytics company Alexa Internet (which is owned by Amazon as its other Alexa-named product).

That measure shows the percentage of searches for a keyword across major search engines in the past six months “that sent organic traffic to the respective site.”

For example, the analysts compared how much traffic was going to a national jewelry retailer’s website when consumers search for the term “jewelry” versus how much traffic was going to Amazon for the same search term.
With this kind of analysis, you get an index full of brick-and-mortar retailers whose products are available on Amazon – and apparently less popular through online searches – from floor tiles to party supplies.

To be fair, it’s not the first Death by Amazon index. Bespoke Investment Group had already created its Death by Amazon index, tracking the same theme.

Here are all the stocks listed, in alphabetical order, with how their “Share of Voice” scores for various products stack up against Amazon:

  1. At Home Group
    1-year performance: -40%
    % below all-time high: -46%
    Share of Voice score for “seasonal decor”: 4.2%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “seasonal decor: 19.6%
  2. Barnes & Noble Education
    1-year performance: -38%
    % below all-time high: -74%
    Share of Voice score for “textbook”: 1.3%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “textbook”: 6.9%
  3. Barnes & Noble
    1-year performance: -0.1%
    % below all-time high: -84%
    Share of Voice score for “books”: 23.2%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “books”: 12.2%
  4. Bed Bath & Beyond
    1-year performance: -16%
    % below all-time high: -80%
    Share of Voice score for “cookware”: 2.4%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “cookware”: 23.3%
  5. Best Buy
    1-year performance: -14%
    % below all-time high: -19%
    Share of Voice score for “electronics”: 1%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “electronics”: 8.1%
  6. Big 5 Sporting Goods
    1-year performance: -71%
    % below all-time high: -88%
    Share of Voice score for “fitness equipment”: 0%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “fitness equipment”: 11%
  7. Big Lots
    1-year performance: -6.5%
    % below all-time high: -41%
    Share of Voice score for “cookware”: 0%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “cookware”: 23.3%
  8. Dick’s Sporting Goods
    1-year performance: +15%
    % below all-time high: -43%
    Share of Voice score for “sports deals”: 18.7%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “sports deals”: 24.5%
  9. GameStop
    1-year performance: -31%
    % below all-time high: -87%
    Share of Voice score for “video games”: 7%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “video games”: 17.1%
  10. Kirkland’s
    1-year performance: -49%
    % below all-time high: -81%
    Share of Voice score for “home decor”: 5.4%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “home decor”: 10.8%
  11. Office Depot
    1-year performance: -19%
    % below all-time high: -95%
    Share of Voice score for “office supplies”: 33.1%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “office supplies”: 9.8%
  12. Overstock.com
    1-year performance: -67%
    % below all-time high: -86%
    Share of Voice score for “dresser”: 1.3%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “dresser”: 9.9%
  13. Party City
    1-year performance: -49%
    % below all-time high: -65%
    Share of Voice score for “party supplies”: 22.5%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “party supplies”: 13.2%
  14. PetMed Express
    1-year performance: -40%
    % below all-time high: -60%
    Share of Voice score for “pet supplies”: 5.1%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “pet supplies”: 13.7%
  15. Pier 1 Imports
    1-year performance: -65%
    % below all-time high: -97%
    Share of Voice score for “home decor”: 8.3%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “home decor”: 10.8%
  16. Signet Jewelers
    1-year performance: -49%
    % below all-time high: -87%
    Share of Voice score for “jewelry”: 3.8% for kay.com, 2.9% for jared.com, and 0.12% for zales.com
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “jewelry”: 10.7%
  17. The Michael’s Companies
    1-year performance: -43%
    % below all-time high: -67%
    Share of Voice score for “drawing supplies”: 13.1%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “drawing supplies”: 24.5%
  18. Tiffany & Co.
    1-year performance: -5%
    % below all-time high: -31%
    Share of Voice score for “jewelry”: 6%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “jewelry”: 10.7%
  19. Tile Shop Holdings
    1-year performance: -36%
    % below all-time high: -85%
    Share of Voice score for “tile”: 2.1%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “tile”: 22%
  20. Williams Sonoma
    1-year performance: +7%
    % below all-time high: -42%
    Share of Voice score for “cookware”: 16.7%
    Amazon’s Share of Voice score for “cookware”: 23.3%

Budget: State-owned ICT companies by 2020

The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) plans to establish a state IT company and a state ICT infrastructure company by 2020, although the exact functions of these new companies remain a mystery.

The telecoms ministry confirmed the news in the Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) document, handed out to coincide with finance minister Malusi Gigaba’s National Budget Speech.

According to the DTPS, establishing these two new entities will involve merging different functions of the State IT Agency, Sentech and Broadband Infraco.

ITWeb first reported on the news of two state-owned ICT companies last year, noting the department had developed a consolidated SOC rationalisation process of key state-owned companies to form a state IT and ICT infrastructure company.

The ENE document says: “The department has submitted proposals for the establishment of these companies to Cabinet for approval and plans to draft their proposed mandates in 2017/18. Draft legislation will be developed for these companies in 2018/19 for submission to Parliament in 2019/20.

“To fund these activities, allocations to the ICT Enterprise Development and Public Entities Oversight programme are expected to amount to R797.4 million over the medium-term.”

Over the medium-term, the department pointed out it also plans to continue with the phased implementation of the 2016 White Paper on National Integrated ICT Policy, which will entail changes to existing legislation and the development of new legislation.

The White Paper was finalised and published in September 2016, and is supposed to replace the separate white papers on telecommunication (1996) and postal services (1998).

According to the department, it has identified that the Electronic Communications Act and the State Information Technology Agency Act require revision, and ICT commission and tribunal, and ICT state infrastructure bills need to be developed to make provisions for the department’s long-term strategic intent.

“To give effect to these activities, spending in the policy, research and capacity development programme is expected to amount to R271.2 million over the medium-term, increasing at an average annual rate of 4%.”

By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba for ITWeb 

Nedbank, Telkom, Discovery and Investec are among top South African listed companies with the most exposure to cybersecurity risks.

This is according to a new research report from the Cyber Intelligence Research Group, the results of which are being released on Monday at CyberCon, a cybersecurity conference in Johannesburg. If you want to protect your applications, use DAST. The Cyber Exposure Index (CEI) was launched in Singapore earlier this month. Over the next few months, indices for eleven major global stock exchanges outside of the US will be released. Following the release of the Singaporean and Finnish indices, the South African index is the third to be published.

In the ICT sector, those scoring a 4 included Telkom, MTN and EOH. Mix Telematics, Vodacom, Huge Group, Mustek, Adapt IT, Blue Label Telecoms and Naspers all scored 3
The CEI scores listed companies on their levels of exposure. South African companies received an average exposure rating of 1.9.

The index aggregates data that is publicly available through the dark and deep Web, or as the result of third-party data breaches. This data is used to identify top listed companies’ vulnerability to hacker group activity, disclosed sensitive information and leaked credentials.

Companies are then scored from 0-5, where 0 indicates no exposure and 5 places a company among the 1% of firms with the most exposure.

While no South African company scored a 5, many household names — from Sasol to Liberty Holdings and from Woolworths to Anglo American — scored a 4.

ICT sector

In the ICT sector, those scoring a 4 included Telkom, MTN and EOH. Mix Telematics, Vodacom, Huge Group, Mustek, Adapt IT, Blue Label Telecoms and Naspers all scored 3. ICT companies scoring at the other end of the scale, with 0, included Alviva Holdings (formerly Pinnacle Holdings) and Labat Africa.

Telecommunications companies have among the highest levels of exposure in South Africa at 13.1%, compared to the global average of 2.4%, according to the researchers.



South Africa’s global relative cyber exposure by industry, according the Cyber Exposure Index

South African companies have received an average exposure rating of 1.9 in the debut results of the Cyber Exposure Index
The company responsible for the index, Kinkayo, is a Singapore-based cyber intelligence organisation founded by professionals in the cybersecurity field. Virtual CISO tackles such problems very efficiently.

The CEI has been developed as a way for companies to gauge their cyber exposure, empower them with the opportunity to identify where their vulnerabilities lie and take decisive action against their risks, it said.

Download the full list here.

Source: Tech Central 

The best places to work in 2016

At a gala event on 16 March 2016, Universum, global leaders in employer branding, announced the results of their largest research sample to date at the Universum Most Attractive Employer Awards 2016.

With the global importance of attracting and retaining top talent of crucial importance to business, the results of Universum’s annual national survey are mandatory reading for business and HR executives and leaders.

Every year Universum Global conducts research across the world and specifically within South Africa in 2015, Universum interviewed over 45,000 tertiary institution students as well as over 21,000 professionals in the following sectors:

  • Business/commerce
  • Engineering/technology
  • Health care / health sciences / sciences
  • Humanities / liberal arts /law

This year’s winners reflect the trends In the research that show that even with fears around economic instability still a concern, (67% of the students are concerned about their prospects of finding a job after graduating), most students are looking for opportunities that include leadership opportunities and professional training and development, with these traits being the most preferred attributes that drive employer attractiveness.

More than simpling announcing a list of top employers, every year Universum also shares critical insights into the wants and needs of South Africa’s top talent – the qualitative insights that drive the rankings.

Universum South Africa Marketing and Activation Manager, David Rachidi explains further, “Universum’s Most Attractive Employer Awards are an important opportunity for business leaders, HR executives and others in related fields to deepen their understanding of the importance of employer branding in recruiting and retaining top talent. At Universum we believe that companies which will further flourish in future are, companies able to understand their talent and retain the best in their fields. The awards play a key role in recognising those companies that have been successful in this regard. The Universum Awards serve as a platform to recognise and award companies across various industries.We want companies to know that they are ranked within the Top 50, with the Top 3 companies in each sector announced at the event on the evening of March 16th 2016″

Top-ranked company: KPMG

Why do you think KPMG has achieved such a high position in the rankings?
Our achievement is owed to KPMG’s continual proactive engagement with Universities and students across the country. We remain committed to our students’ academic success and seamless transition to their personal life because they are an important KPMG stakeholder and the future leaders of our country. We are, therefore, tremendously excited for this recognition as it is encouraging to know that they feel a connection with the KPMG brand.

How has KPMG’s employer brand contributed to this?
Recruiting the best is not a new phenomenon to KPMG as the Firm is always looking to engage with extraordinary individuals. We strongly believe that every student has talent, and it is our commitment to affirm that everyone lives to their full potential. Our purpose at KPMG is to inspire confidence and empower change, similarly, we apply this approach when engaging with students as we continue to instil this philosophy into their lives. As a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services, our brand has a solid foundation. It is against this backdrop that students want to associate themselves with a brand that helps them achieve their career aspirations. We seek to engage with students in a meaningful way and continue to have a presence on their campuses, with a focus on building and maintaining relationships with them, as opposed to once-off interventions. Furthermore, KPMG offers vacation work, where we expose them to the real life experience of working in our environment. Through this, they have engaged with KPMG on a personal level.

What does this achievement mean for KPMG?
This ranking reflects our excellence and achievements in promoting higher education. It truly acknowledges the global nature of KPMG as a brand and celebrates the holistic value we bring to Universities through deep academia knowledge, Undoubtedly, future generations are dependent on us being market leaders, collaborators, innovators and influencers, addressing the challenges and needs facing students with courage, agility and integrity. Indeed, young people are the future leaders of our country and KPMG. It is important to attract them because they have energy and innovative ideas. We live in a fast paced world and we need to offer our clients innovative solutions to their ever changing challenges. Having new blood allows us to have this resource to deliver the best results to our clients.

Top three rankings by main field of study


South African Breweries (SAB)



Legal Aid





Webber Wentzel Attorneys
Legal Aid

Source: www.skillsportal.co.za

A new report by the World Bank says protection from domestic and foreign competition is the reason why firms in developing countries — particularly in the retail and wholesale trade, as well as in finance and transport sectors — are reluctant to adopt new digital technologies, even if this would boost their competitiveness.

The World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends, due to be released in Cape Town this week, says digital technology creates opportunities to accelerate growth, but these are often overlooked because firms in sectors where technology’s impact is greatest are frequently protected from innovative competitors.

Firms that intensively use digital technologies share other high-productivity characteristics. They tend to be larger, fast-growing, skill intensive, export intensive and located in the capital city. The report says firms that face more competition use digital technology more intensively and effectively, as it enables them to reduce their costs to outperform their competitors.

“But firms in developing countries do not necessarily have the incentive to adopt new technologies to increase their cost effectiveness because they are often protected from domestic or foreign competition,” the report says.

It cites companies in the retail and wholesale trade, finance, transport, along with public utilities, saying this is where digital technology can increase productivity the most.

The goal is for firms’ Internet usage to promote competition, which encourages even more companies to use the Internet.

“But that will not happen if vested interest groups are strong enough to capture regulators and create new barriers to competition and technology adoption. A level playing field for business was always important — digital technologies have made it an imperative,” the report says

The report says more productive firms are more likely to adopt the Internet and use it more intensively. African firms using the Internet have on average 3,7 times higher labour productivity than nonusers and 35% higher total factor productivity.

The report documents examples where the Internet, cell phones and other digital technologies have delivered digital dividends by boosting growth, expanding opportunities and improving services.

It notes that governments are increasingly going digital, and more government jobs in developing countries are information communication technology intensive than in the private sector.

By 2014, all 193 United Nations member states had national Web sites; 101 enabled citizens to create personal online accounts; 73 to file income taxes; and 60 to register a business.

But the report also finds the broader benefits have fallen short and have gone disproportionately to the wealthy, skilled and powerful. The lives of the majority of people remain largely untouched by the digital revolution. Only about 15% can afford access to broadband Internet.

Cell phones, reaching almost four-fifths of the world’s people, provide the main form of Internet access in developing countries. But even then, nearly 2-billion people do not own a cell phone, and nearly 60% of the world’s population has no access to the Internet, according to the World Bank report.

By Bekezela Phakathi for www.bdlive.co.za

SA companies not ready for POPI

Trustwave has released its findings from a survey of 113 South African IT professionals, asking if they are ready for POPI – South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act which seeks to regulate the processing of personal information and standardise compliance with privacy and data protection legislation.

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