ITIL could improve the quality of service delivery

ITIL could improve the quality of service delivery

Edward Carbutt, Executive Director at Marval Africa

Technology is constantly evolving and organisations need to adopt the changing technology in order to maximise their benefits. But remaining agile and flexible enough to do so can lead to chaos if a company doesn’t have the right processes in place. According to Edward Carbutt, Executive Director at Marval Africa, the service lifecycle defined in Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) provides the ideal framework of processes to ensure that a business’s service offering remains competitive in a technology driven market.

“ITIL’s service lifecycle comprises 5 consecutive stages, each providing a guided roadmap towards the ever moving destination of full business maturity,” says Carbutt. “These stages are Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation and Continual Service Improvement. Contained within each stage are the processes which utilise the various elements of best practices of ITIL.”

Service Strategy is the first stage of the ITIL service lifecycle, when developing a new service. Carbutt explains, “The Service Strategy stage guides an organisation on how to develop service management strategies that will differentiate itself from its competitors and give it a market advantage. ITIL provides guidelines to assess all aspects of the organisation’s service portfolio in relation to its customers’ needs so as to approach its IT and ITSM operations proactively, and effectively address those needs.”

Carbutt adds that following ITIL guidelines at the Service Design stage aids the organisation to use its strategy to develop IT services, products and processes that will meet the desired outcomes of that strategy. He goes on to say that the importance of Service Design is often underestimated, adding that the purpose of this stage is to establish solutions to meet the requirements delineated in the service strategy stage to the best benefit of the organisation.

“The third stage, Service Transition, outlines processes and best practices for effective building and deployment of the newly developed IT service, product or process. It helps to guide an organisation on how to efficiently and productively implement the new services without disrupting current services and processes, ensuring seamless integration and ongoing customer satisfaction. This is critical for any company who needs to carry on with business as usual while implementing new – or changed – services.”

Service Operation gives advice on how to go about the day to day management and delivery of IT services and covers the fulfilment of user requests, service failure resolution, problem fixing, and operational processes. Carbutt says, “It is essential that organisations continue to run smoothly, reliably, efficiently and cost effectively throughout the operation of this whole process, and ITIL’s best practices assist in making sure that this happens.”

Finally, Continual Service Improvement brings us full circle, providing processes to manage the continual improvement of the IT service’s effectiveness and efficiency. “Continual Service Improvement is not the final stage, but rather the stage that underpins all other stages and the individual processes they contain. It effectively restarts the lifecycle, taking us back to Service Strategy,” says Carbutt. “Continual Service Improvement starts with knowing where change is needed, and gives processes to analyse the business’s IT service strategy, identify areas of improvement and look for ways to improve. It continually forces us to ask the question: How do we keep the momentum going?”

Despite implementing new services without negatively impacting customer experience, it is vital that the organisation does not settle for merely providing ongoing customer satisfaction. “The business needs to strive for optimised IT maturity,” says Carbutt. “IT maturity is when the IT and ITSM processes are fully aligned to the strategic business and IT goals, and are virtually “institutionalised” within IT and the business. It is a goal that organisations need to constantly reach towards. Always improving. Always seeking optimal ways to ensure quality IT service delivery, and quality service delivery in general.”

Staff Writer

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Recession? What recession?

Recession? What recession?

Y-Combinator visit in Abuja

There is money to be raised…if you are a technology startup

In July, Tim Draper, an American venture capitalist visited Lagos. He’d come to check in on Paga, a Nigerian financial services company in which he is an early investor. Draper, notorious for making bold and early bets (most notably in Baidu, China’s largest search engine), didn’t make any apparent public ripples while he was in town.

But then in August, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg dropped in unexpectedly. Not believing their luck, ecstatic founders fell over themselves to grab selfies. A few impetuous ones even got their pitches in. Because, why not? The Chan-Zuckerberg foundation had recently funded Lagos-born Andela in the sum of $24 million.

In the middle of a recent international live broadcast, WeCyclers’ founder and CEO, Bilikiss Adebiyi while speaking about the challenges of running her business in Nigeria’s unique circumstances received an offer from an investor, also a guest on the programme, to provide technical and financial support.

Last week’s Nigerian tech headlines were abuzz with news of Tolet.ng. The four-year old Lagos-based real estate listings startup raised $1.2 million from Frontier Digital Ventures, a Kuala Lumpur-based investment firm.

Clearly, something is happening in Lagos.

“Every year, we organise the tour of tech. And every year, the investors say they want to come to Lagos, and only to Lagos”, says Maya Horgan-Famodu, the founder of Ingressive, an investment group that connects Silicon Valley investors to African investment opportunities. Since the 24th of September, she’s helped top Y Combinator executives, Michael Siebel and Qasar Younis, navigate Nigeria’s technology startup landscape, organising close to a dozen public and private sessions with entrepreneurs and investors in Lagos and Abuja.

Nigeria is in a recession. Yet while other sectors are certainly feeling the bite of hard times, somehow, the macro-economic headwinds do not seem to have dampened foreign investor appetite in its technology startups. And even without the help of local sherpas like Ingressive, they have been finding their way to the most promising deals. Before Y Combinator CEO and COO, Michael Siebel and Qasar Younis decided to come and see things for themselves, the “world’s most powerful incubator” accepted four hot Nigerian startups in its programme, and six more across Africa. Most, if not all, of these investments happened within the last 12 months. Startups that get accepted into Y Combinator receive $120,000 in exchange for 7 percent equity. Most YC alumni typically raise even more money on demo day, after going through its 3-month incubation programme.

More investors are coming. Ingressive’s next tour of tech is taking place in November. In March 2017, Geeks On A Plane will bring 500 Startups’ top executives to Lagos. Like Y Combinator, 500 Startups has also made some recent African bets, and is looking for more opportunities to get behind. While times might be hard, there’s probably never been a better time to be a technology startup in Nigeria.

Of course, that is by no means a guarantee that dollars will be handed to any venture that christens itself a tech startup. Asked what types of companies they invest in, YC COO Qasar Younis said “companies that make something that people want”. Which in English actually means companies that can grow very big off user demand. Technology investors are interested in ventures that can become billion dollar companies. With blockbusters like Airbnb and Dropbox propping up its cred, Y Combinator and its ilk will be looking out for startups with Pan-African ambitions and unicorn potential.

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Developers get free access to explore rich visual analytics with Qlik Playground

Developers get free access to explore rich visual analytics with Qlik Playground

Web developers gain easy access to explore the rich visual analytics capabilities of the Qlik Analytics Platform

Qlik has announced the launch of Qlik Playground™. Qlik Playground is a web-based environment providing an easy way for developers to learn about, use, and experiment with Qlik’s powerful platform, providing access to the QIX Associative Indexing Engine and open APIs for loading, searching, analysing and visualising data.

Built for developers by developers, Qlik Playground is available now and extends Qlik Branch – an open source, collaborative community to share and ignite innovation using Qlik’s visual analytics platform.

Learn, Experiment, Play

With Qlik Playground, developers are introduced to the powerful capabilities of the Qlik Analytics Platform, and provided their own sandbox to experiment and try out specific APIs for working with, analysing, and visualising data, or explore ready-made samples. By connecting to their own data and accessing public data sets through Qlik’s APIs, developers can get hands-on and see how easy it is to find and explore the relationships that exist within the data, and bring it to life visually.

Qlik’s platform and open APIs are designed to work with any software architecture or stack, platform, and language. The query-less approach to data retrieval provides high performance access via a familiar JSON based interface, and simplifies the structure for working with data. Even searching data can be enhanced with the QIX Associative Indexing Engine, creating more powerful and easier-to-use interfaces for web-based applications. Qlik Playground demonstrates how little time and effort is needed to turn data into fully-interactive, data-driven applications, which creates all kinds of new possibilities.

Speros Kokenes, Director of Visual Analytics at Axis Group, a Qlik Partner, comments, “Qlik Playground is opening up a whole new world for developers with common Web development skills that are not proprietary or require product-specific development training. User interfaces and charts are not limited to product constraints but instead are open to our imagination on how to best support customers’ specialized needs.”

“We believe true disruptive innovation is best fostered through openness and exchange,” said Anthony Deighton, Qlik CTO and Senior Vice President, Products. “We want to give developers everywhere the ability to explore the potential of incorporating data and analytics into apps to provide a new dimension of interactive discovery. With Qlik Playground, we create a game-changing platform for developers to accelerate innovation to bring analytics to life.”

Staff Writer

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CITES to stamp out illegal wildlife trade

CITES to stamp out illegal wildlife trade

The IFAW since 2004 has established that Wildlife cybercrime is a serious threat to endangered species

Wildlife cybercriminals will be under more scrutiny than ever following the commitment by all 183 Parties to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), to stamp out illegal online wildlife trade.

The decision was taken at a high level meeting held during the CoP17 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) being held in Johannesburg, South Africa this week.

Parties that spoke in favor of the decision were:
Syria, Guinea, Israel, India, Malaysia, Senegal, Liberia, Costa Rica, the Maldives, Nigeria, South Africa and the European Union.

“This decision will lead to a much more cohesive counter offensive against wildlife cybercriminals, in that it brings together enforcers, online market places and social media platforms from across the globe in a common mission to save wildlife,” said Tania McCrea-Steele, Global Wildlife Cybercrime Project Lead for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, IFAW.

McCrea-Steele said IFAW welcomed the Secretariat’s intention to engage with online marketplaces and social media platforms in order to crack down on wildlife cybercriminals.

Wildlife cybercrime is a serious threat to endangered species as research conducted by IFAW since 2004 has clearly established. Most recently in 2014 IFAW’s Wanted: Dead or Alive – Exposing Online Wildlife Trade found more than 30,000 endangered and protected live wildlife and their parts and products available for sale over a six week period across 16 countries. The value of the items was in excess of US$10-million.

Yesterday’s decision at CITES came during a meeting where Governments and NGO’s gathered to consider the fast growing threat of illegal Internet trade in wildlife.

The Decision calls on INTERPOL to bring together the enforcement community in order to effectively police online wildlife crime. Parties will now also have the opportunity to convene and review their legislation by engaging in the workshop.

The document was tabled by Kenya, whose representative said the country was concerned by the threat that wildlife cybercrime poses to the survival of endangered wildlife.

“Enforcement operations and prosecutions show that criminals who seek to profit from the illegal trade in endangered wildlife are now utilising the internet to enable their criminal activities,” said Kenya.

“It is essential that we have robust laws specifically addressing the unique threat posed by online wildlife crime while also increasing enforcement knowledge and intelligence on this issue. In addition, it is necessary to engage e-commerce platforms who can assist law enforcers but also improve consumer awareness.”

 

Staff Writer

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Tecno Mobile expands beyond Africa,  releases Phantom 6 & 6 Plus

Tecno Mobile expands beyond Africa, releases Phantom 6 & 6 Plus

Taking its first official step into the international scene, mobile technology giant, TECNO Telecoms launched its flagship devices the Phantom 6 and Phantom 6 Plus, last Sunday in one of the most beautiful venues in the world, the prestigious Armani Hotel located in Burj Khalifa, Dubai.

There were more than 80 local and international media present at the launch to witness the growth of TECNO Telecoms.Among the prominent international media, the Al Khaleej, Emirates News – Dubai, One TV, the Gulf News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur DPA (German News Agency) and Xinhua News Agency – Dubai Bureau,broadcasted the international product launch live. Other notable guests at the event included Kimura Makoto, General Manager of SONY; Jeremy Doutte, CEO of Jumia; Arthur Wang, Senior Director Corporate Sales International of MediaTek; Martin Kariithi, Manager Android Partnerships for Google (West Africa) and other business partners of TECNO Telecoms. Interestingly also, popular TV personalities Mercy Aigbe and VJ Adams were also present at the event.

The dynamic mobile multinational has done well for mobile phone consumers in Africaover the last ten years.Their customized product lines focus on how to meet the needs of consumers and how to effectively serve them. After 10years of operations in Africa, TECNO has become one of the leading mobile phone manufacturers across the world.

In 2006, TECNO entered the Africa mobile market sphere and in its 10 years stay, they have delivered several high-end devices like smartphones, smart-bands and tablets with the aim of making high-end mobile devices readily available to consumers across every emerging market of the world.

In the last decade, mobile phone penetration rate in Africa has risen from 6% to 80% and TECNO Mobile being a major driver of this development is already servicing over 35 African countries while currently retaining the largest market share of 41.1% and 31.1% in Tanzania and Nigeria respectively.

Mr. Vane Ni, Deputy General Manager and Global marketing lead at TECNO Mobile said, “we are proud of what we have been able to achieve in Africa so far and we are confident that the time is right for us to duplicate the same success across other emerging markets. When we arrived Africa 10 years ago, very few people would have thought that we would grow so fast to control the largest market share of 25.3% across six major African markets – Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Cameroon and Ethiopia”.

Today, TECNO has extended its web to more than 48 countries of the world, across the Middle East, South East Asia and South America – this has made them one of the mobile brands to reckon with, not just in Africa but also globally, while serving about 2.5 billion consumers, which is 35% of the world’s population.

The new Phantom 6 wears an ultra slim design with premium chamfered edges, spotting the TECNO brand’s first dual rear camera technology- a high definition combination of 13 mega pixel fixed-focus and 5 mega pixel auto-focus cameras with LED flash.

Taunted by some analysts as the slimmest smartphone with dual rear cameras, the Phantom 6 stomachs an expanded internal storage space – powered by 3GB RAM for smoother operations with 32GB ROM leg room, expandable to 128GB. TECNO Phantom 6 enjoys improved processor speed at 2.0GHz, MediaTek’sHelio P10 chipset.

“The TECNO Phantom 6 gives mobile consumers better stability, speed and possibly the best camera experience on mobile phone,” said Mr AttaiOguche, TECNO Deputy Marketing Lead, Nigeria

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Google unveils  free photos  management service

Google unveils free photos management service

PHOTO: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/GettyImages)

Google has unveiled Google Photos, a free photos management system that could be used to create the ultimate album and memorable wedding.Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Google’s Anglophone West Africa spokesman, said Google Photos also offered unlimited storage for high resolution images and videos.

“A wedding is that beautiful ceremony where two people are united in marriage and it is dependable on budget.“Checklist done; the wedding venue, guest list, the cake, caterer, don’t forget the “aso ebi” frenzy and so on, but still, an essential item for any wedding ceremony is the photograph.

“Not capturing beautiful moments of weddings can be a disaster and so photos are essential even after the ceremony,’’ the Google spokesman said in a statement.He said that smartphones had made it possible for almost everyone to be a photographer and Google was making it easier with Google Photos.

“Nowadays, wedding photos have moved from the usual hard copy printouts to having photo albums that are beautifully designed by contracted photographers for weddings.“Some have even gone a step further to have their photos posted online on various wedding blogs and websites, which is also a trend nowadays,’’ Kola-Ogunlade said.

Kola-Ogunlade said that for weddings, one could download the Google Photos app from the iTunes Store if an iPhone user or from the Play Store if an Android user.

He said that getting hold of everyone’s photo after the wedding could be tricky but listed few tips to make Google Photos the right photo app to make the process painless.

These included choosing a hash tag that was simple, yet unique enough to remember, creating a shared album in Google Photos, tracking the photos and editing photos on Google Photos.

The Google spokesperson added that the Google photos app could be downloaded from the app store on one’s device and viewed on the computer at https://photos.google.com.

He listed other Google Photos functions as the possibility of uploading as much content as one wanted for free as well as its availability on iPhone Operating System, Android and desktop apps.“This allows one to auto-sync images and videos from your mobile devices, PC, camera or SD cards and can also upload photos through a “drag-and-drop” interface.“Google Photos will merge two or more duplicates of photos, leaving only just one photo, thereby cleaning your storage space automatically.

“Smarter search is incorporated in Google Photos. You can search through your photos with a keyword much like what you do when searching for images in Google Search.

“For example, searching your wedding photos with the keyword, ‘food’, will return every image of food in it. You can also search with a colour keyword like red, green or blue.

“A new feature of Google Photos is that it allows you to snap few photos in succession and create an animated Graphics Interchange Format (GIF), which can be fun for your wedding photos,’’ Kola-Ogunlade added.

He said, “LASIMRA is going to address the issue of sharing using the proposed Unified Duct System (UDS) to avoid these issues from reoccurring.

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NCC sets up taskforce to enhance QoS offerings

NCC sets up taskforce to enhance QoS offerings

Prof. Umar Danbatta, NCC Boss

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it has set up a high level taskforce to identify all issues militating against quality of service in the networks.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of NCC who stated this at a press conference in Abuja to mark to mark his one year in office, said that the report of the committee is already being implemented for the resolution of some urgent issues militating against quality of service.

He said that the quality of service on the various networks, which includes infrastructure, service providers facilities had taken considerable attention of the commission.

“The commission has been able to identify and taken notice of the difference between the records of quality service as recorded in the switch of the service providers and from the practical experience of the consumers.

“We have therefore taken some measures to address the issue of quality of service.’’Danbatta said that the commission was also promoting a Telecom Industry Working Group on Quality of Service that engages service providers to discuss germane matters leading to resolution of critical quality of service.

He said that the commission had also identified and engaged critical stakeholders, who were relevant in the resolution of issues of quality service, multiple taxation, and regulation, and indiscriminate shutting down of live base stations.

The NCC boss added that the commission had identified state governments as critical stakeholders whose actions may contribute positively or negatively to quality of service issues.

“We have so far made a presentation at the Governors Forum, especially to draw their attention to the National Economic Council’s resolution on multiple taxation and multiple regulations on deployment of telecom infrastructure.“We are also engaging the governors directly and so far have met and received the support of four governors who have agreed with our point of view.

“Our visits had fostered more understanding about the need to support the deployment infrastructure to energise economic activities in the states rather than discourage investments through imposition of taxes and multiple regulations.’’

Danbatta also said that spectrum monitoring had been improved to ensure sanity in the industry.

“Through efficient monitoring and value driven usage of spectrum for provision of different types of service, revenue generation for the Federal Government through frequency allocation and renewal fees have improved from the previous years.

“More than N47 billion was realised in spectrum usage and licensing within the year under review.

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Federal government appoints Pantami  as DG of NITDA

Federal government appoints Pantami as DG of NITDA

Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday refused to confirm the appointment of Dr. Vincent Olatunji, as director general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and appointed instead Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami as substantive chief executive of the agency.

Dr. Pantami and 12 other new chief executives for different federal government agencies were appointed earlier in the week.Pantami is a professor of Computer & Info Systems at the Islamic University of Madina and former lecturer, Department of Information Technology, ATBU takes over from Olatunji, an establishment man who put up perfunctory efforts to get President Buhari’s confirmation.

He is expected to turn around NITDA, which is a waltzing story of failures and inadequacies unable to meet its clear mandate of fostering the development and growth of IT in Nigeria.

Since its establishment in May 2001, NITDA has operated in fits and starts and abdicated its responsibilities in a country where ICT is growing at an increasing rate.

Perhaps, nothing could have been more damning on the NITDA as a failed agency than the recommendation that it should be scrapped by the Steven Oronsaye 2012 Committee Report on Rationalization and Harmonization of MDAs.

Oronsaye recommended that NITDA should become a department inside the newly created Ministry of Communications Technology and its duty as IT clearinghouse for government to taken over by Galaxy Backbone Plc.To some extent, NITDA’s careworn state is a direct doppelgänger of past leaderships at the agency since inception.

They all displayed clear lack of focus and understanding of the role of the agency in the present ‘knowledge era’.Drive and innovation are scare at the agency beyond its mechanical civil service role.

It is so worrisome that an agency with so much powers from the National Information Technology Development Agency ACT 2007, has failed over the course of 14 years to plan, develop and promote the use of Information technology in Nigeria.

Olatunji who has acted since Mr. Peter Jack, former DG was sacked earlier in the year, over alleged “misconduct” did little to lift the image of the agency.

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