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SharePoint – not just another ‘file share’?

An in-depth look at how to extract the maximum benefit from your SharePoint investment.

By Kirk Schafer, Director, Dac Systems

Using SharePoint as just another file share to store content that you have on your “My Documents” is surely one way of using this powerful tool – but what a waste!

One of the inherent strengths of SharePoint is the ability to automatically tag content you add to it, with the correct metadata. With the ability to automatically move content to the correct library it should reside in, according to your File Plan, SharePoint is an invaluable tool to ensure your content is effectively stored with minimal effort.

But adding content is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. In SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint online (Office 365), to get the maximum benefit, you should be using the Search functionality to its optimum.

Just like you utilise search engines like Bing or Google to find your content, you should be doing exactly the same with SharePoint. Its great search capability is one of its strongest features!

SharePoint, used strategically and correctly, will add value to your business. Invariably the level of buy-in from top management is not as great as, say you were deploying another critical line of business solution. And this is where companies consistently get it wrong.

You need to treat SharePoint as you would any other critical Line Of Business (LOB) system you are deploying. You would not expect your staff to just start using the latest enterprise software tomorrow, without the proper training and the correct amount of change management? So why should SharePoint be any different?

Is there any other file share that can save you from having to explain why you cannot find the contract signed 3 years ago, which is now being looked for by the Head of Legal, or when the CEO wants the last signed NDA between your and another company – can you find it with just one search? In SharePoint you can!

The eDiscovery functionality will assist you to uncover content stored in the system that could have been changed, and which is now required for some litigation, audit or investigation. This will give you the peace of mind that you can keep a finger on what is happening with the digital content in your company.

SharePoint integrates fully with all the other Microsoft Office suite of products, and allows you to access external data from most LOB solutions.

Add to the above its many social features, from the Community Sites to the Newsfeeds, and the ability to use these features to set up, for example, Communities of Practice, make SharePoint a crucial part of your companies Knowledge Management, Communication and Collaboration strategy.

The ability to utilise SharePoint as an Intranet means that it can become your voice to your staff. It enables you to not only get a grip on all the digital content in your company, but keep your staff informed.

There are many Apps in the app store that will allow you to enhance SharePoint to assist with other LOB functions, If, however, you think that it will be able to replace your Financial System, or ERP solution, then you had better go back to the drawing board, as even though it is not “just another file share”, it most certainly will not replace any of those types of solutions.

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‘Why not shoot for the stars?’ asks Dac Systems intern

When third year Visual Communication student Mika O’Donovan came across a link from Dac Systems offering an opportunity for an intern to engage the digital world at Microsoft’s SA head office, she responded immediately. The decision to learn from a progressive Microsoft-focused digital solutions business has paid off.

O’Donovan committed to the process and brought to the table her three years academic and practical knowledge of subjects like wayfinding, information architecture and app design.

Added to this is her passion for the creative through digital interface and organising information in a way that is easy to understand.

This combination of skills and desire resonates with the mission and vision of Dac Systems, a national ICT services and solutions provider.

There was an instant synergy that O’Donovan recognised and was eager to exploit.

She applied for the intern position and provided proof of her work on the student council Facebook page as part of her portfolio of applied digital/social marketing skills.

Being accepted has provide the young entrepreneur with a unique opportunity to learn about communication, office culture, skills, networking and work life.

Her experience with Dac Systems has been very positive and O’Donovan describes the company as forward-thinking, organised and inspirational – specifically in terms of its focus on its Microsoft partnership and related technology adoption and application.

She found the company to be trusting of its employees and committed to a culture of professionalism, honesty and dedication to people development.

In the few months that she has been with Dac Systems, she has already proven to be an asset to the business.

“I was happy to see that my degree gave me an actual skill that is useful in the company – I could create visuals that can explain something and I was the only one in the office who could do it (unlike working at a design firm). I now believe that every growing company needs a designer on their team,” says O’Donovan.

“I feel confident that I have a skill that is workable in the job market today and I know more about myself as a person in the working world,” she adds.

Chris Willemse, CEO of Dac Systems, is very pleased with the progress Mika has made and how quickly she has fitted in with the company and its culture. “We are very impressed with the quality of Mika’s work and her contribution to the business in the short time she has been with us.”

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Dac Systems, Axnosis partner to offer ERP excellence

National ICT services and solutions provider Dac Systems has announced a partnership with established software solutions provider Axnosis, to offer clients access to a range of ERP solutions and relevant expertise.

Axnosis focuses its products, based on Microsoft Dynamics technology, on exploration, mining and metals processors, asset intensive organisations, services companies and related industries.

The company’s solutions are based on Microsoft Dynamics software and its own applicable software including Ax Safety & health, Ax Production accounting, Ax Stores management and Ax Treasury and BEE inside Ax.

This value proposition is based on the provision of fully integrated best of breed software, designed to enhance and transform conventional system integration, ERP, project and process management.

One example of how this software operation has accurately read its market and developed relevant, practical technology is in the release of xMMP (exploration, Mining and Minerals Processing)

Industries that Axnosis is involved with have shifted from being supply-based to being demand-based, fuelled by the demand from booming economies reliant upon minerals and ore. There has been a subsequent demand for productivity in xMMP services and the need for supportive solutions.

To address this need Axnosis developed Dynamics xMMP to assist businesses with Total Life of Mine (‘LoM’), which means that, using the solution, they are able to effectively leverage mineral rights claims, exploration, drilling, stockpiles, shipping, dispatch, amongst other areas of operation and functions.

Riaan van der Berg, MD of Axnosis, explains that the Company’s solution meets a specific need, it fills a void – a space that has grown over time because of the lack of reliable, comprehensive software solutions.

”Axnosis has applied years of experience and knowledge of Microsoft to engineer Ax ERP and take it to the market in partnership with Dac Systems, a Microsoft-focused business that understands the nuances of demanding, volume-and customer-centric markets ,” says van der Berg.

Chris Willemse, CEO of Dac Systems, says the alliance represents the union of two market leaders who have in common a strong track record of successful solution development and implementation. “Most industries are reliant upon comprehensive solutions that are designed to be robust and developed to provide the level of functionality that is required at various stage of operation. Along with Axnosis, we have the market experience, product knowledge and technical expertise to ensure that clients are able to leverage this advancement processing.”


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Government investment firm streamlines projects with Dac Systems

Dac Systems has implemented the McMethod.net project and portfolio automation solution, developed in conjunction with McManus Consulting, at a South African public sector investment entity to assist it in the establishment of a project management function.

The entity required a solution that would help IT, evolve its technology to be more innovative and deliver additional business value to the organisation. But with no project management office in place, the new system needed to provide a platform for it to deliver on projects and get its employees involved in this business-critical function.

“For the client, IT needed to be more than just a cost centre and had to deliver a support function. In essence, it had to become a strategic asset. Project management therefore had a big role to play in this. Following an extensive tender process, Dac Systems was selected because the McMethod.net solution was not only price sensitive but also promised the level of innovation required. Furthermore, it is built on top of the Microsoft Project Server and Nintex Workflow products,” says Aldo van Tonder, chief marketing officer at Dac Systems.

McMethod.net provides a turn-key project management methodology management solution and easy to follow best practices. In addition, it provided the client with the ability to define its own processes with project managers having a clear understanding of what each element or action requires.

“DAC had to work under very tight deadlines with the project managers keen to get started. The team provided us with a very configurable solution that enabled us to reduce our infrastructure footprint significantly while the implementation was going on,” says a senior spokesperson for the organisation.

As McMethod.net fulfilled such an integral role for the client, it was vital to ensure employees were trained and had the comfort levels necessary with the new system.

“DAC provided us with the assistance we needed to get everything up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible. Whenever we had a challenge, Dac Systems helped us to assess the problem and helped us move forward on the implementation,” says the spokesperson.

Following the implementation, the client could for the first time ever see where there are resource deficits in its projects and allocate the necessary staff to them as one example of the features being used. The return on investment has been significant.

“With McMethod.net, we have been able to achieve amazing returns. By helping us manage our budgets more carefully and prioritise resources and projects, we saved in excess of R2-million within six months of completing the project which pays for the implementation several times over,” adds the spokesperson.

For van Tonder, the relationship with the client has been one of the cornerstones behind the success.

“They have been really impressed with the capabilities of our team and the features of McMethod.net. Such has been the success of the project that the client has already indicated that they want to continue their relationship with us on a number of additional potential projects,” he concludes.


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Dac Systems to feature at Microsoft’s Re-imagine 2015

National services and solutions provider Dac Systems has confirmed its sponsorship of Microsoft Re-imagine 2015, a networking session organised by the software giant to showcase and detail Microsoft Dynamics solutions.

Dac Systems is a Microsoft technology specialist and Gold certified partner in the Microsoft Partner Network.

The company has announced its sponsorship of this specialist Microsoft channel event, organised to provide networking and learning opportunities to an expanding market.

“This is an opportunity to acquire valuable business connections, Microsoft Re-imagine 2015 provides insight into the functionality of Microsoft Dynamics, best practices and operational efficiency, as well as product expertise,” says Aldo van Tonder, Chief Marketing Officer at Dac Systems.

The Microsoft business solution market space is growing in South Africa. Companies are interested in integrating solutions that reinforce operational efficiency and help a business to be agile, take advantage of trends like the cloud, big data, mobility and collaboration.

Dac Systems has leveraged its long-time partnership with Microsoft to provide clients with access to advanced collaborative business solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM,
Microsoft Dynamics AX and their own solution like Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM) and Project Lifecycle Management (PLM).

Microsoft Dynamics Re-imagine 2015 will afford delegates an opportunity to meet Microsoft Dynamics partners, specialists and service providers.

“We are looking forward to hearing from experts and specialist presenters, as well as the ‘deep dive sessions’ which offer greater depth and topic exploration,” van Tonder continues.

The event is scheduled for 22 and 23 April 2015 at Emperors Palace.

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‘The customer must be central to the business lifecycle’ – Dac Systems

In a changing, technology-driven world in which business is driven by project and customer management, the customer should be the main focus of any lifecycle to ensure success.

This is one of the key takeaways from a joint marketing initiative and information sharing session hosted in Johannesburg by Dac Systems, together with industry partners Microsoft and Gijima.

Project and Customer Lifecycle Management represent the ‘front lines’ of management technology development, integration and application to influence business processes today.
These disciplines have become more significant with the emergence of what is referred to as ‘customer obsession’ – a new approach to client and customer service management in businesses across the spectrum of industry and commerce.

To meet the needs of businesses who require a holistic and 360-degree of the customer and or projects, ICT services and solutions provider Dac Systems presents Project Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM) as end-to-end solution stacks that empowers organisations with the ability to effectively manage every facet of the project lifecycle and its customers.

At the event hosted at Microsoft in early March keynote presenter Rory Headon-Weeks, specialist sales lead and CTO at Microsoft SA, inspired delegates with an outline of what is expected for the future at Microsoft and how partners will play a critical role in helping to realise a fully connected, digitised future business ecosystem.

Dac Systems, a Microsoft technology specialist and Gold certified partner in the Microsoft Partner Network, says PLM speaks to the inherent capabilities of a business to enhance the project management functions.

Chris Willemse, CEO of Dac Systems, presented an overview of both Project and Customer Lifecycle Management and explained the significance of using the right tool for an organisation.

Gary Regan, the Company’s COO, delivered an example of great project management by putting a project lifecycle into perspective and accessing the tools necessary to complete a project flawlessly and in good time.

“The core components of PLM include project accounting, methodology management, demand management, BI and reporting, document and records management, process management, portfolio optimisation and prioritisation as well as issue and risk management,” said Aldo van Tonder, Chief Marketing Officer at Dac Systems,

Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM) is central to customer-centric service delivery. It not only represents a set of solutions that increase productivity, it speaks to Lifecyle Management and the ability to utilise resources strategically. “This means using the right resources first time to achieve the results. It is the ability to focus on a customer’s needs and desires, market a campaign aimed at locking in quality leads,” says van Tonder.

CLM and PLM are used to transform leads into loyal customers with response service that saves time, money and fosters a relationship based on reliability and trust.

The principles of the enterprise mobility suite, such as consistent identity, data protection and application management on cross-platform devices, was raised during a successful event.

“These components are all applicable and all relevant during some phase of the lifecycle, they all need to be handled successfully,” van Tonder adds.


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Dac Systems launch a groundbreaking project lifecycle solution

National services and solutions provider Dac Systems has launched Project Lifecycle Management (PLM) to the domestic market. This end-to-end solution stack offers users the ability to effectively manage every facet of a project lifecycle – from inception to closure.

The solution stack is aimed at companies of all sizes that in some way or another manage a project or run their business as a project.

Project management is defined as the process and activity of planning, organising, motivating and controlling resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals.

All projects are unique says Dac Systems, but all have one common feature: the various areas or stages that have to be negotiated successfully as part of an entire lifecycle.

Dac Systems have successfully created solutions that are applied at every phase of the project in order to help clients effectively deal with factors that can influence project success. Factors such as budget, industry conditions and available resources often come into play.

Dac Systems, a Microsoft technology specialist and Gold certified partner in the Microsoft Partner Network, have brought to market PLM, a solution, the companies claim, speaks to the inherent capabilities of a business to enhance the project management functions.

“The core components of PLM include project accounting, methodology management, demand management, BI and reporting, document and records management, process management, portfolio optimisation and prioritisation as well as issue and risk management,” says Aldo van Tonder, Chief Marketing Officer at Dac Systems,

“These are all applicable and all relevant during some phase of the lifecycle, they all need to be handled successfully,” van Tonder adds.

Through using any of the solution areas in PLM, clients have an immediate solution with advanced functionality to handle every phase of project development, helping users to gain quick control over each stage.

These stages are interlinked says van Tonder and each needs to be adequately managed in order for the project to make progress. Collaboration is key and must be introduced as quickly as possible to facilitate a streamlined approach.

PLM speaks to the advances in project management, incorporating key influences like the Cloud, mobility, collaboration and workflow.

“This represents the next level of project management and keeps your business running smoothly and consistently. That means competitive advantage, which, in this market and economy, is of significant value,” van Tonder says.

Join Dac Systems at Microsoft SA on 04 March 2015 from 13h00 to hear how businesses should negotiate each of the multiple steps involved in the entire lifecycle of these key elements of your business. For more information, contact Gloria Malan at gloria@rubicomm.co.za.

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