The importance of enterprise solutions in a digital world

The rapidly evolving digital landscape in SA and the importance of enterprise solutions in a digital world

The rapidly evolving digital landscape in South Africa is seeing larger organisations focus more on optimising their business processes and improving cost efficiencies to remain competitive. Ian McAlister, General Manager at CRS Technologies, says this is where the advantages of using enterprise solutions become apparent

Enterprise software provides for a more configurable and scalable environment where the organisation can tailor the solution to help meet its strategic objectives. So, even though software designed for smaller businesses is more affordable, its inability to scale according to the growth needs of an enterprise makes the investment a waste of resources. Consequently, companies should rather consider how best to integrate bespoke solutions into their operational environment,” says McAlister.

Of course, this approach does take more time (at least initially) and requires specialist skills (often something the organisation does not have), but the long-term platform it creates makes the investment worth it. This is not to say a company should rip and replace its legacy infrastructure in favour of something different. Instead, it entails a detailed assessment of what is being used and identifying the components that are most critical for upgrading.

Easy to be tempted by the allure of going the cloud rout

“Unlike cloud solutions, companies own the enterprise software they purchase outright. This means that they could continually fine-tune the software to evolve as its business requirements change. Furthermore, this more nuanced approach can ensure the business can more easily expand operations into new territories without being concerned about issues such as data sovereignty that often complicate cloud approaches.”

Perhaps one of the most pressing issues when it comes to enterprise software, is its inherent security over solutions designed for smaller companies. Because it installs directly on organisational services, the connection is generally more private and secure as opposed to transferring sensitive data over the internet to a cloud provider.

“It has become easy to be tempted by the allure of going the cloud route. Yet when it comes to the performance, security, and scalability most needed for a large company, enterprise-specific software solutions should be a business priority,” McAlister concludes

To read more about this topic, <click here> to download our free White Paper ‘Choosing the right software for your enterprise or small business.

Faking your qualifications is now a criminal offence

Faking your qualifications is now a criminal offence

Falsifying credentials is a great deal more serious than some may believe. It’s not just about mischievously deceiving a potential employer, playing a role to achieve an end, or simply a clever form of con-artistry – actually this scourge on South Africa’s already-pressurised economy is costing the country dearly, and now those found guilty of faking qualifications can be prosecuted.

Although not new, the problem seems to be on the rise and experts agree that as the economy struggles and unemployment levels increase, job prospects become scarcer and people go to extreme measures to get a foot in the door.

In 2017 the then Presidency Minister Jeff Radebe was quoted by Independent Online as saying: “As at the end of January 2017, a total of 1 276 qualifications (444 national and 832 foreign qualifications) were recorded on SAQA’s (South African Qualifications Authority) list of misrepresented qualifications, with 78 affidavits completed for handover to the Hawks for prosecution.”

Falsified CVs and other reference material

We don’t have an exact measurement of where those figures stand now, but suffice to say more and more businesses complain of misrepresentation, falsified CVs and other reference material as part of the recruitment process.

In a market in which skills remain in short supply, sourcing the right skill is only half the task completed. Today, employers have to go above and beyond to ensure who they are recruiting is who they say they are, from their personal backgrounds right through to their qualifications and career experience.

There is a lot riding on the National Qualifications Amendment Bill, recently signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

According to SAQA, “The NQF Amendment Bill aims to protect the integrity of the South African education and training system by giving SAQA the legal responsibility to verify qualifications and part-qualifications (an assessed unit of learning that is registered as part of a qualification.)”

Misrepresenting your qualifications could lead to a harsh fine, or up to five years in prison

This means that South Africans who are found guilty of misrepresenting their qualifications could face a harsh fine, up to five years in prison, or both.

This is not limited to a CV, but could also include making the claim on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.

Anyone, not just employers, can report people making false claims to SAQA, which will publish a national name and shame list of fraudulent credentials.

Dealing with mental issues in the workplace

Dealing with mental issues in the workplace – rethinking the recruitment process

The use of anti-depressants in South Africa has increased by more than 50% over the last five years. This, together with the classification of some mental illnesses as disabilities, is resulting in organisations having to rethink how they approach the recruitment process, says Nicol Myburgh, Head of the HR Business Unit at CRS Technologies.

Some companies specifically recruit people with disabilities because it counts towards their employment equity and BEE rating, but not every individual is forthcoming about their mental illness.

“If a potential employee who has been diagnosed with a mental illness that could impact their work performance does not disclose it if asked during the appointment process, the company could have grounds for termination later. However, because employees cannot be discriminated against because of their disability, the reason for their dismissal would therefore be the material impact the disability has on the job and the fact that they misrepresented themselves,” Myburgh notes.

From a legal perspective, the Employment Equity Act (EEA) protects people with disabilities against unfair discrimination in the workplace. The Disability Code of Good Practice sets out key aspects on the employment of people with disabilities. Ultimately, it comes down to how the impairment affects a person’s ability to work.

Enabling environment

“For its part, an organisation can take several steps to assist employees who are suffering from a mental illness,” says Myburgh. “This can include the likes of allowing additional sick leave, providing moral support, offering flexible work hours, and even offering the services of a psychologist or psychiatrist.

“Should the employee’s condition worsen, the ‘reasonable accommodation’ must be adjusted. If necessary, the company should consult with appropriate experts at its own cost. Based on their assessment, working time and leave could be adjusted, specialised support could be provided, and training and supervision in the workplace can be offered.

“This all depends on the employee and the degree to which the illness affects their performance. In other words, it must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that can work in this regard.”

Companies must always be guided by the affect an illness has on the business. Employees who are appointed with an existing illness must be accommodated. “If the situation becomes operationally intolerable, termination can be considered. It is all about whether the person can perform their job function or not,” Myburgh adds.

Be compassionate

“Companies would do well to become more compassionate employers,” she continues. “They must remember that they are dealing with people. If person is about to have a breakdown, find out why and provide support wherever possible. If someone is crying at the office every day, something is wrong, so ask the question.”

Although employees with mental health issues can potentially impact others in the workplace, this is where support comes in.

“Each individual must be treated and managed in accordance with their unique needs. A company should be guided by what works best in a specific situation. Also, the services of a reputable outsourced HR services provider can go a long way towards ensuring the business does everything it can to support employees suffering from mental illnesses effectively and respectfully,” Myburgh concludes.

Government’s NHI plan – like it or not, there are implications

The new Government NHI plan – if you like it or not, there are implications

It is fair to say that South Africa’s National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill 2019, introduced to the National Assembly on 8 August, is a contentious issue and remains a talking point for both employees and employers.

As CRS Technologies, our first point of departure (and advice to all business leaders and employees) is to equip ourselves with as much knowledge as possible. As the saying goes, ‘forewarned is forearmed’, and it is always best to have a firm grasp of would-be legislation in order to best prepare, avoid problems and secure any advantage.

The first question to ask is: ‘Why has the government introduced the Bill?’ Well, it aims to achieve several objectives,  but the main ones to focus on for now are universal access to quality healthcare services as per Section 27 of the Constitution, and the establishment of a National Health Insurance Fund that will be managed to purchase healthcare services on behalf of users.

The Bill has drawn criticism from some circles

That is a synopsis of a broader set of objectives, but the government is positioning the Bill as a means to assist medical scheme members with their high out-of-pocket costs.

The official position is that the government acknowledges that state medical staff and hospitals cannot cope with treating the majority of South Africans who do not have a medical aid.

It is also fair to suggest that the Bill has drawn criticism from some circles, specifically from those who are concerned over the affordability of the NHI and the capacity to manage this fund.

There are, of course, implications for both the employer and employee.

Every South African citizen will become a member of the NHI Fund and citizens who earn an income will contribute towards the NHI Fund. The contribution percentage that could be levied on an employee and its employer has not yet been determined.

Levy an extra tax on taxpayers’ personal income

Government will levy an extra tax on taxpayers’ personal income and use the money it will save by not giving taxpayers tax credits for being a member of a medical scheme.

Government will use South African citizens’ tax money, as well as some of its healthcare budget, to buy services from public and private doctors, specialists and hospitals that are accredited with the state.

The fund will cover a range of medical services, treatments and procedures for free, except if it is not a medical necessity, and on an annual basis, government will determine what prices will be paid for by specific services.

It is very important to note that citizens might be expected to register with a GP who is contracted with the state. Each contracted GP might have a set number of patients who they will service for the NHI Fund.

Medical schemes may disappear and foreigners won’t be covered

There will be strict rules about seeing specialists: people won’t be able to go directly to a specialist, but will have to obtain a referral first.

The state will buy medicines for everyone, medical schemes may disappear and foreigners won’t be covered. Foreigners visiting South Africa must have travel insurance to receive health care services through the NHI Fund.

The fund will be managed by a CEO, who will be appointed by the Minister of Health.

All these aspects could have serious and long-term implications for the general welfare of South African households and, by default, the country’s workforce. No tax credits for medical aid payments will impact on the purse-strings, and one can only but express concern over rising unemployment (at 29%) and a pressurised economy.

At the very least it is best to understand this possible legislation and how it could affect your operation and your employees.

As always, we invite you to contact our legislation team at info@crs.co.za if you require any additional information.

AUGUST 2019 – SOUTH AFRICA
NEW VERSION OF PAYE BRS PUBLISHED
It is important that employers note the following:

SARS PAYE BRS for Employer Reconciliation (2019 release) version 18.0.4 published

The latest SARS PAYE Employer Reconciliation Business Requirement Specification (BRS) was published on Monday, 19 August. The requirements in this version of the BRS will become effective from September 2019 until it is replaced by an updated version.

Minor changes regarding discrepancies identified during the testing cycle of the PAYE Filing Season 2019/2020 project were made in the PAYE BRS V18.0.4. The detail of these changes is highlighted in grey in the BRS.

A summary of the sections where changes were made is as follows:

Employer information section:

  • Employer Contact Person: Cell No:
    Must be at least 10 characters long.
  • Employer SEZ Code:
    The wording “Year of Assessment” has been replaced with “Transaction Year”.
  • Diplomatic Indemnity Indicator:
    The wording “Years of Assessment” has been replaced with “Transaction Year”.

Deduction codes:

  • Code 4582:
    The wording “This code must not be printed on the IRP5/IT3(a) certificate” has been removed.
  • Code 4583:
    The wording “This code must not be printed on the IRP5/IT3(a) certificate” has been removed.

To view the new BRS, follow the link

Contact our legislation team at info@crs.co.za if you require any additional information.
© 2019 C
RS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Why choose enterprise solutions?

Why choose enterprise solutions, instead of going the SMB solutions route

Even though solutions designed for small to medium businesses (SMBs) are cost-effective and relatively easy to implement, they do not meet the scalability and capacity requirements needed for the enterprise. Ian McAlister, General Manager at CRS Technologies, argues that large organisations should steer clear of going the SMB route and instead opt for solutions that best fit their needs.

“An advanced business environment necessitates a more strategic approach. This requires enterprise-class solutions that empower decision-makers to harness the growth potential that exists for the business. The limited scope and functionality of an SMB offering can cause more challenges that could end up costing the business considerably more in the long run,” he says.

Take payroll, for example.

“Decision-makers at an enterprise level must ask themselves how advanced their business environment is…”

The payroll and human resources requirements of an enterprise are considerably more advanced than that of an SMB with fewer than ten staff members. The latter can be easily managed by the owner or an accountant with a cursory knowledge of how payroll works. Additionally, the cloud environment might only extend to having online access to data, backups of important files, and basic analysis of work performance.

On the other end of the spectrum, an enterprise with hundreds and even thousands of employees requires solutions capable of time management, leave policies, salaries and wage analysis on departmental performance and so on. Even at a glance, this level of sophistication means a true enterprise cloud-based payroll environment would be worlds apart from what an SMB requires for its success.

“Decision-makers at an enterprise level must ask themselves how advanced their business environment is when compared to that of an SMB. The latter requires only a basic technology experience while the former relies on sophisticated technologies that include artificial intelligence, machine-learning, and real-time data analytics. Also, from a support perspective, an enterprise must have access to round-the-clock assistance in the event of a crisis, whereas an SMB can get away with a service provider who only delivers assistance during office hours,”
McAlister continues.

Enterprise requires either a private or hybrid cloud environment with the integrated security needed to safeguard its data

Additionally, enterprises must deal with complex issues around corporate governance especially when it comes to data management. Most SMB offerings take a very simplistic approach to backup and storage and are not robust enough to deliver compliance for the enterprise. This also applies to data protection policies. Smaller organisations rely on the public cloud for their needs, but an enterprise requires either a private or hybrid cloud environment with the integrated security needed to safeguard its data.

“When it comes to scalability and integration with existing solutions, the enterprise must be able to leverage local and international expansion support that extends to multiple currencies and tax tables, things SMB offerings simply cannot do. Furthermore, an enterprise offering is bespoke and features the employee self-service capabilities required that are not possible with an off-the-shelf SMB solution.”

McAlister says organisations must focus on putting enterprise solutions in place that suit their specific internal needs, irrespective of industry sector.

Enterprise-class scalability and support is a crucial component

“Building a successful organisation revolves around more than business acumen and strategic drivers. A fundamental technology platform built on enterprise-class scalability and support is a crucial component if a large company is to be competitive in this rapidly evolving digital market,” he concludes.

To read more about this topic, <click here> to download our free White Paper ‘Choosing the right software for your enterprise or small business.’

AUGUST 2019 – SOUTH AFRICA NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE BILL 2019

It is important that employers note the following:

National Health Insurance Bill published

The Department of Health published and introduced the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill 2019 to the National Assembly on Thursday, 8 August.

The Bill aims to achieve the following:

  • Universal access to quality health care services in the Republic in accordance with section 27 of the Constitution
  • To establish a National Health Insurance Fund and to set out its powers, functions and governance structures;
  • To provide a framework for the strategic purchasing of health care services by the Fund on behalf of users;
  • To create mechanisms for the equitable, effective and efficient utilisation of the resources of the Fund to meet the health needs of the population;
  • To preclude or limit undesirable, unethical and unlawful practices in relation to the Fund and its users; and
  • To provide for matters connected.

Also, the government says the aim of the NHI is to help medical scheme members with their high out-of-pocket costs. At the same time, it also acknowledges that state medical staff and hospitals can’t cope with treating the majority of South Africans who don’t have medical aid.

However, there remain huge concerns about whether the government can afford and manage its NHI plans.

A summary of what can be expected:

  • Every South African citizen will become a member of the NHI Fund.
  • Citizens who earn an income will contribute towards the NHI Fund.
  • The contribution percentage that could be levied on an employee and its employer has not yet been determined.
  • Government will levy an extra tax on taxpayers’ personal income and use the money it will save by not giving taxpayers tax credits for being a member of a medical scheme.
  • Government will use South African citizens’ tax money, as well as some of its healthcare budget, to buy services from public and private doctors, specialists and hospitals that are accredited with the state.
  • The fund will cover a range of medical services, treatments and procedures for free, except if it is not a medical necessity.
  • On an annual basis, the government will determine what prices will be paid for by specific services.
  • Citizens might be expected to register with a general practitioner (GP) who is contracted with the state. Each contracted GP might have a set number of patients who they will service for the NHI Fund.
  • There will be strict rules about seeing specialists. Citizens won’t be able to go directly to a specialist but will have to obtain a referral first.
  • The state will buy medicines for everyone.
  • Medical schemes may disappear.
  • Foreigners won’t be covered. Foreigners visiting South Africa must have travel insurance to receive health care services through the NHI Fund.
  • The fund will be managed by a CEO, who will be appointed by the Minister of Health.

Once the Bill is assented by the President, it will become law on a date fixed by the President by proclamation in the Government Gazette.

Contact our legislation team at info@crs.co.za if you require any additional information.
© 2019 CRS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

AUGUST 2019 – MOROCCO MINIMUM WAGE

It is important that employers note the following: 

Minimum wage increased

Morocco has a government-mandated minimum wage which stipulates that no worker in Morocco can be paid less than this mandatory minimum rate of pay. Employers in Morocco who fail to pay the minimum wage may be subject to punishment by Morocco’s government.

Two sectors are specified in the national minimum wage rates:

  • SMAG for employees and workers carrying out agricultural work;
  • SMIG for employees and workers in industrial and commercial sectors, as well as liberal professions.

The social agreement signed in April 2019 provided for an increase of SMIG and SMAG of 10% over a period of two years.

  • An increase of SMIG/SMAG of 5% from 1 July 2019
  • An increase of SMIG/SMAG of 5% from 1 July 2020

The value of the SMIG as of 1 July 2019 is fixed at 14.13 Dirham per hour.
The SMIG monthly is equal to 14.13 Dirham per hour * 191 hours per month = 2,698.83 MAD.

As of 1 July 2020, the value of the SMIG will be 14.81 Dirham per hour.
The monthly SMIG equals 14.81 Dirham per hour * 191 hours per month = 2,828.71 MAD.

Contact our legislation team at info@crs.co.za if you require any additional information.
© 2019 CRS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Adjustment of minimum wages for 2019/2020 in Botswana

The Ministry of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development has published a notification informing the public that the Government of Botswana has approved an increase for minimum wage rates for 2019/2020.
The adjusted minimum wage rates took effect on 1 July 2019.

Failure to adhere to the stipulated rates will be in violation of Section 138 of the Employment Act, Cap 47:01 and punishable.
Employers who can afford to pay more than the above-mentioned minimum wage are encouraged to do so.

Contact our legislation team at info@crs.co.za if you require any additional information.
© 2019 CRS Technologies (Pty)Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Understanding what makes software enterprise-ready

Understanding what makes software enterprise-ready

Enterprises require solutions that meet their unique requirements. Irrespective of whether it is enterprise application software (EAS) or software-as-a-service (SaaS), according to Ian McAlister, General Manager at CRS Technologies, an enterprise-focused approach is fundamental to business success in the digital world.

Contrary to software for small to medium businesses, EAS is used to satisfy the needs of an organisation rather than individual users. This can include private or public sector entities. Services provided by enterprise software are typically business-oriented tools, such as online shopping and online payment processing, interactive product catalogues, automated billing systems, security, business process management, and enterprise content management.

Where organisations can unlock the true potential of the software

“As enterprises have similar departments and systems in common, enterprise software is often available as a suite of configurable programmes. It is in this configurability where organisations can unlock the true potential of the software. Off-the-shelf solutions might work well for smaller companies, but large entities require sophisticated tools capable of managing their growth demands,” says McAlister.

SaaS is a popular option for users needing to take care of a very specific purpose. In this software model, users typically rent the software and never own it. SaaS is often hosted in the cloud, requiring users to be connected to the internet to use the software and access the data.

“While SaaS can provide quick universal access to software that offers specific actions, traditionally its drawbacks include lack of configuration. This means it cannot be specific enough for large-scale, enterprise-wide implementations. Yes, this approach is convenient and quick to implement, but the long-term ramifications far outweigh any immediate gains,” McAlister continues.

Gives decision-makers the freedom to tweak as their strategy evolves

In terms of configuration, EAS is typically owned outright, giving users considerably more parameterisation ability. Enterprises often have in-house developers and programmers configure the software according to predetermined parameters to make it match enterprise needs.

“Given this flexibility, developers can more easily adapt the solutions to any problems that may incur during implementation or when the needs of the organisation change. It gives decision-makers the freedom to tweak as their strategy evolves, while the scalability inherent to EAS makes it a perfect fit.”

EAS is generally hosted on physical servers and the software relies on a computer network to connect to its many users. Some parts of the software may also rely on intranet and occasionally internet connections. Because enterprise software installs directly on organisational servers, the connection is generally more private and secure.

“They feel more comfortable being in control of where their data is stored and how it is managed”

Recent years have seen SaaS offerings designed for the scalability and customisation required in enterprises. The arrival of multinational data centres in South Africa has given further impetus to a richer SaaS experience for enterprises.

“Yet, many decision-makers want to keep their mission-critical information and solutions on their own servers, given the privacy and security concerns of transferring information to the cloud. Additionally, with the complexities of the continually changing regulatory environment to consider, they feel more comfortable being in control of where their data is stored and how it is managed,” adds McAlister.

“Consequently, enterprises must carefully evaluate their software requirements and expectations. Chances are, the smaller business-focused offerings will simply not be up to the task,” he concludes.

To read more about this topic, <click here> to download our free White Paper ‘Choosing the right software for your enterprise or small business.’