News

May 6, 2021
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The term “Artificial Intelligence (AI)” is often used to describe machines (or computers) that mimic “cognitive” functions that humans associate with the human mind, such as “learning” and “problem-solving”. Every system can be considered Artificial intelligence if it involves a program doing something that would normally only rely on the intelligence of a human being.

With AI, a computer system is able to correctly interpret external data, learn from such data, and use those learnings to achieve specific goals and tasks through flexible adaptation.

How Artificial intelligence works

Artificial Intelligence is a problem-solving technology that works by following a systematic search through a range of possible actions in order to reach some predefined goal or solution. AI systems perform intelligent searches, interpret both text and images to discover patterns in complex data, and then act on those learnings. AI’s Problem-solving methods divide into special purpose and general purpose. A special-purpose method is tailor-made for a particular problem and often exploits very specific features of the situation in which the problem is embedded. On the other hand, a general-purpose method is applicable to a wide variety of problems. One general-purpose technique used in AI is means-end analysis, a step-by-step, or incremental, reduction of the difference between the current state and the final goal.

AI for Business

It is useful for companies to look at AI through the lens of business capabilities rather than technologies. Broadly speaking, AI can support three important business needs:

  • Automating business processes
  • Gaining insight through data analysis
  • Engaging with customers and employees.

Process automation.

This involves automation of digital and physical tasks, typically back-office administrative and financial activities, using robotic process automation technologies (RPA). RPA is more advanced than earlier business-process automation tools because the “robots” (that is, code on a server) act like a human inputting and consuming information from multiple IT systems. Tasks include:

  • Transferring data from e-mail and call center systems into systems of record; for example, updating customer files with address changes or service additions.
  • Replacing lost credit or ATM cards, reaching into multiple systems to update records, and handle customer communications.
  • Reconciling failures to charge for services across billing systems by extracting information from multiple document types.
  • Reading legal and contractual documents to extract provisions using natural language processing.

Cognitive insight.

Most AI systems use algorithms to detect patterns in vast volumes of data and interpret their meaning. These machine-learning applications are being used to:

  • Predict what a particular customer is likely to buy.
  • Identify credit fraud in real-time and detect insurance claims fraud.
  • Analyze warranty data to identify safety or quality problems in automobiles and other manufactured products.
  • Automate personalized targeting of digital ads.
  • Provide insurers with more accurate and detailed actuarial modeling.

Cognitive insights provided by machine learning differ from those available from traditional analytics in three ways: They are usually much more data-intensive and detailed, the models typically are trained on some part of the data set, and the models get better—that is, their ability to use new data to make predictions or put things into categories improves over time.

Cognitive insight applications are typically used to improve performance on jobs only machines can do—tasks such as programmatic ad buying that involve such high-speed data crunching and automation that they’ve long been beyond human ability—so they’re not generally a threat to human jobs.

Cognitive engagement.

This aspect of AI involves engaging employees and customers using natural language processing chatbots, intelligent agents, and machine learning. Some of the ways in which this function is expressed include;

  • Intelligent agents that offer 24/7 customer service addressing a broad and growing array of issues from password requests to technical support questions—all in the customer’s natural language.
  • Internal sites for answering employee questions on topics including IT, employee benefits, and HR policy.
  • Product and service recommendation systems for retailers that increase personalization, engagement, and sales—typically including rich language or images.
  • Health treatment recommendation systems help providers create customized care plans that take into account individual patients’ health status and previous treatments.

The Benefits AI brings to the business

Many businesses take up artificial intelligence (AI) technology to try to reduce operational costs, increase efficiency, grow revenue, and improve customer experience.

By deploying the right AI technology, your business may gain the ability to:

  • Save time and money by automating and optimizing routine processes and tasks
  • Increase productivity and operational efficiencies
  • Make faster business decisions based on outputs from cognitive technologies
  • Avoid mistakes and ‘human error’, provided that AI systems are set up properly
  • Use insight to predict customer preferences and offer them a better, personalized experience
  • Mine vast amount of data to generate quality leads and grow your customer base
  • Increase revenue by identifying and maximizing sales opportunities
  • Grow expertise by enabling analysis and offering intelligent advice and support

Article sources

https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/business-benefits-artificial-intelligence

https://hbr.org/2018/01/artificial-intelligence-for-the-real-world

https://www.britannica.com/technology/artificial-intelligence/Reasoning

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_intelligence

 

 

 


April 10, 2021
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Customer relationship management (CRM) is a process in which a business or other organization administers its interactions with customers, typically using data analysis to study large amounts of information.

CRM systems can compile this information from a range of different communication channels, including a company’s website, telephone, email, live chat, marketing materials, and social media. These systems allow businesses to learn more about their target audiences and how to best cater to their needs, thus retaining customers and driving sales growth.

Early customer relationship management was carried out by evaluating customer satisfaction using annual surveys or by frontline asking. Today technology advancements have allowed CRM processes to evolve to stand-alone and cloud-hosted systems.

Why invest in a CRM?

  • A CRM has the ability to increase customer loyalty and usage behavior as well as reduce customer complaints and the likelihood of customer defection, hence improving the economic performance of the company
  • By accumulating information across customer interactions and processing this information to discover hidden patterns, CRM applications help firms customize their offerings to suit the individual tastes of their customers.
  • CRM applications also enable firms to provide timely, accurate processing of customer orders and requests and the ongoing management of customer accounts.
  • CRM applications also help firms manage customer relationships more effectively across the stages of relationship initiation, maintenance, and termination
  • It helps everyone in a business to easily update records and to get access to the latest information hence improving accuracy and efficiency. For cloud-based systems, this task can be fulfilled at any location on any connected device.

HOW CRM works

The key features of a CRM system typically include:

  • Contact management

All the latest information about customers such as contact details and service conversations is easily available to access and update.

  • Lead management

A CRM tracks the company’s leads, allowing marketing teams to enter new leads into the system (automatically or manually) and to track and analyze data about them.

  • Sales forecasting

Forecasting reports enable salespeople to get better visibility over their pipelines, qualify leads more accurately, and see how close they are to hitting their targets. Sales managers can use reports to motivate and manage their people

  • Instant messaging between employees

Real-time instant messaging functionality makes it easier for coworkers to ask and answer each other’s queries. Managers can check in on staff in the field, and employees can ask for instant feedback or support as needed.

  • File and content sharing

Team members can upload information to a centrally stored location, and share it easily and instantly with coworkers.

  • Individualized customer experiences

You can also use a CRM to create personalized and consistent experiences for your potential customers across various marketing channels, which may help increase conversions and boost brand awareness.

Some CRM systems include:

  • Data warehouse technology

It is used to aggregate transaction information, to merge the information with CRM products, and to provide key performance indicators.

  • Opportunity management

This helps the company to manage unpredictable growth and demand, and implement a good forecasting model to integrate sales history with sales projections.

  • CRM that is available as a software as a service (SaaS)

It delivers via the internet and accessed via a web browser instead of being installed on a local computer. Businesses using the software do not purchase it, but typically pay a recurring subscription fee to the software vendor.

  • Systems for non-profit and membership-based organizations

These help track constituents, fundraising, sponsors’ demographics, membership levels, membership directories, volunteering, and communication with individuals.

With over fifteen years of experience in providing IT solutions for enterprises, Infinity computers (I3C) is your trusted partner in developing an effective CRM system for your business.

Contact us today

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Customer_relationship_management
  2. https://www.salesforce.com/eu/learning-centre/crm/crm-systems/

March 15, 2021
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Human Resources (HR) software is a digital solution that combines a number of systems and processes to ensure the easy management of human resources, business processes, and data. HR software is used by businesses to automate and combine a number of HR functions, such as storing employee data, managing payroll, recruitment, employee performance management, time and attendance tracking, and tracking competency and training records.

HR Software development began during the 1970s with just a narrow scope that typically focused on a single task, such as automating the payroll process or tracking of employees’ work hours. Due to advancements in technology, today’s HR systems cover the full spectrum of tasks associated with human resources departments, including tracking and improving process efficiency, managing organizational hierarchy, tracking absence and annual leave, simplifying financial transactions, and providing reports on people data.

Benefits of HR software

The major benefit of using HR software is that the time spent on repetitive, low-impact administrative tasks is reduced and this allows HR professionals to focus on more productive responsibilities and longer-term strategic outcomes. Other benefits include;

  • Reduced errors

Not only is manual data entry time-consuming, but it’s also error-prone. Investing in robust HR technology can help make your HR processes more efficient and accurate by automating redundant tasks and integrating information system-wide. For instance, if an employee signs up for leave, that input is reflected as a deduction on his/her annual leave days without the need for manual updates.

  • Improved organization of documents and employee data

When you have all of your employees’ data securely stored on an integrated, cloud-based platform, it facilitates the process of retaining their documents properly as required by law. If you terminate or make someone inactive, you can archive their record but still have access to their information if you need it later.

  • Streamlined processes

By streamlining HR processes through automation and process improvement, you can save your organization time and money. For example, errors in payroll can be reduced and you can manage your workforce more effectively.

  • More efficient and focused recruiting efforts

If your company adds personality or skills assessments, the system can track the results. These types of tools can help your company sharpen its hiring process and make sure you’re hiring the right people for the right positions.

  • Accurate and actionable workforce analytics

By keeping your HR information in an integrated database, you’ll be able to track not just costs, but also characteristics of successful, long-term employees. Having workforce analytics readily available when you need them will also make planning easier.

Types of HR software

There are a variety of applications to meet the many workforce management needs of modern companies. The following are some of the most common types of HR software:

Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS)

A Human Resources Information System (HRIS) is a software application for the data entry, data tracking and data management needs of an HR department. Common features of HRIS software include:

  • An employee profile database where managers can easily access contact, salary and performance information
  • An employee self-service portal where employees can manage their own information, view payroll documents and request time off
  • Benefits portals where employees can enroll in and manage their healthcare benefits
  • Recruiting management tools
  • Time and attendance tracking
  • Payroll functionality
  • Learning and Development

Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS)

The term Human Resources Management System (HRMS) is often used interchangeably with HRIS. Technically speaking, an HRIS is a type of HRMS. HRMS systems offer more data analytics and forecasting options than a standard HRIS.

Human Capital Management (HCM)

Whereas HRIS and HRMS software tend to focus on the day-to-day management of employees, Human Capital Management (HCM) software typically includes more specialized tools for workforce planning and analysis. In addition to HRIS/HRMS software features, an HCM system will offer functions such as reporting and data visualization features, as well as predictive HR analytics to assist in planning for future challenges.

Employee Document Management Software

An employee document management system seamlessly manages all aspects of employee files and adds critical security and compliance functionality that is missing in most HRISs or HCMs. This software automates time-consuming paper processes, allowing HR managers to classify, file, and route documents with just the touch of a button.

Systems integrate with a company’s HRIS or HCM and store all documents in the cloud, making it easy to access files anytime, anywhere, hence maintaining centralized, audit-ready files.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

An applicant tracking system (ATS) is a type of specialized software that assists HR managers in recruiting and hiring. Large companies typically use an ATS to assist in collecting and sorting large volumes of resumes. Instead of reviewing each resume, recruiters and hiring managers can search submissions using keywords, as well as automatically filter and rank resumes using certain criteria. Additionally, an ATS can assist with job postings and track candidates throughout the hiring process.

HR Payroll Software

Payroll software automates the compensation process. These applications generate employee checks, initiate direct deposits, calculate taxes, make deductions and maintain payment records. Most programs also incorporate functions that allow management to monitor attendance, time, and pay structure.

If you are looking for an HR software solution that will help your business stay profitable in a competitive and evolving market, then Partner with us at Infinity Computers and Communications Company (I3C). We use the latest technologies to develop HR solutions that serve the needs of employees and organizations.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_resource_management_system

https://www.bamboohr.com/hr-glossary/hr-software/


February 15, 2021
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Financial technology, also known as Fintech, is an industry that uses technology to deliver financial services. Unlike traditional methods of delivering financial services, with Fintech, computer programs/applications and other technology are used to support and even automate banking and financial services.

The use of smartphones for mobile banking and cryptocurrency are examples of using technology to deliver financial services.

How Fintech works

When the term ‘Fintech’ first surfaced, it referred to the back-end technology systems of financial institutions like banks, including activities such as international money transfers and depositing cheques using smartphones. With time, the scope of the term broadened to include sectors like financial education, retail banking, fundraising and non-profit, and investment management.

Fintech platforms enable run-of-the-mill tasks like depositing checks, moving money among accounts, paying bills or applying for financial aid. They also encompass technically intricate concepts like peer-to-peer lending or crypto exchanges.

Businesses rely upon Fintech for payments processing, e-commerce transactions, and accounting. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more businesses are turning to Fintech to enable features like contactless payments or other tech-fueled transactions.

Typical Fintech Users

Business-to-Business (B2B)

Fintech is used by businesses to obtain loans, financing and other financial services through smartphones. Other cloud-based platforms and customer relationship management services provide enterprise-oriented services that allow companies to access and manage financial data, with B2B-focused cross-border payments that cater to businesses’ international transfer needs.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

Fintech is used in several B2C applications like PayPal, Venmo, and Apple Pay, which allow users to transfer money through the Internet.

Nigeria’s Interswitch, a leading technology-driven digital payments company, is helping to shape the payments ecosystem across the growing e-commerce sector in Africa. Interswitch offers the largest system integration in e-payment services in Nigeria, with a broader presence across Uganda, Gambia and Kenya. The platform is scalable across multiple channels (ATMs, POS and e-Commerce) as well as card types (Debit, Credit and Prepaid).

Benefits and beneficiaries

Applications of Fintech

Crowdfunding:

As seen in companies like Kickstarter, Fintech allows Internet and app users to send or receive money from others on the platform. It also allows specific individuals or businesses to pool funds from a variety of sources on a single platform.

Cryptocurrency:

Crypto exchanges like Coin base match buyers with sellers of Bitcoin and Altcoins. Block chain and cryptocurrencies are some examples of Fintech outside traditional banking.

Mobile Payments:

In the last few years, use of mobile payment apps like Apple Pay, Alipay, and Paytm has increased exponentially. All these apps use sophisticated financial technology.

Insurance:

Insurtech includes everything from car insurance, to home insurance, to data protection. With Fintech, insurance services can be accessed via the internet.

Robo-Advising and Stock-Trading Apps:

Robo-advising provides algorithm-based asset management recommendations and portfolio management at a lower cost than an individual would face as compared to working with a traditional wealth manager. While some investors may still prefer the face-to-face experience when it comes to managing their wealth, many people–particularly younger people investing smaller amounts–are willing to experiment with robo-advisory.

Quick money transfers:

Fintech helps expedite processes that once took days, weeks or even months, like requesting a credit score report or sending an international money transfer. Platforms like Upstart and TransferWise accomplish these tasks in a fraction of the time.

I3C offers a full complement of information technology products and services inclusive of Fintech Solutions which we have successfully implemented for government agencies, corporate clients and private sector players in Uganda and the wider East Africa sub-region and beyond.

Article sources

https://www.forbes.com/advisor/banking/what-is-fintech/

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/fintech.asp

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_technology

 


January 7, 2021
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Closed-circuit television (CCTV), also known as video surveillance, is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors. Such systems are mostly used for surveillance in areas that require additional security or ongoing monitoring. The name closed-circuit translates from the fact that all elements from the cameras to the recording devices are directly connected in order to keep the video from being broadcast over public airwaves.

The technology could only be used to observe live footage, but it quickly developed into a recording system that allowed users to both view and preserve data hence making it the ultimate security technology.

Benefits and beneficiaries

Crime prevention

Studies show that CCTV reduces crime by 24-28% in public streets. CCTV can be helpful in decreasing unruly behavior in massive gatherings and theft in supermarkets/mass merchant stores. Furthermore, CCTV has played a crucial role in tracing the movements of suspects or victims and is widely regarded by anti-terrorist officers as a fundamental tool in tracking terrorist suspects. When placed in homes, CCTV cameras are an effective deterrent to potential intruders as it increases the risk of identification through the camera footage.

Crime-solving

CCTV footage can also help to identify criminals and can be used as evidence in criminal investigations. Whether for anti-social behavior near your property or a full-on break-In, a major benefit of having CCTV at home is that offenders are more likely to be identified, caught, and brought to justice. Modern CCTV systems can be monitored through mobile phone apps which allows people to view live footage of their house from anywhere they have internet coverage.

Traffic flow monitoring

Many cities and motorway networks have extensive traffic-monitoring systems, using CCTV to detect congestion, notice accidents, and automatically read number plates of vehicles entering the road. Footage from road CCTV systems can help traffic police to notice road safety offenders.

Sporting events

Sporting events can use CCTV inside the venue for fans to see the action while they are away from their seats. The cameras send the feed to a central control center where a producer selects feeds to send to the television monitors that fans can view. CCTV monitors for viewing the event by attendees are often placed in lounges, hallways, and restrooms.

Business surveillance

Organizations can use CCTV to monitor the actions of workers. This helps to track the actions of workers, especially when they are making critical financial transactions, such as correcting or canceling a sale, withdrawing money, or altering personal information as well as employees’ reporting to work among others.

How CCTV technology works

A CCTV system consists of a camera, monitor, and a recorder. The camera picks up the images, which are then transmitted to a recording device and then a monitor. CCTV security camera systems are categorized into Analog and IP(digital) systems.

With analog surveillance systems, your standard analog camera is connected to a digital video recorder (DVR) via transmission cables. The DVR receives the video from the camera, compresses it, and then stores it on a hard drive for either live viewing or later viewing. This setup also allows you to transport the video over the internet for remote viewing. The DVR is used to compress, convert, store, and stream the video.

In an IP configuration, the camera itself does the compressing and converting of the video and it is streamed directly to someone’s computer over an internet connection.

Some types of CCTV cameras include;
  • Bullet cameras

They are the go-to solution for basic surveillance needs. Their fixed mounting makes them instantly recognizable hence sending a strong message about surveillance, making them good for deterrence.

  • Night Vision, Infrared (IR) CCTV Cameras

They are used for surveillance of areas where ambient lighting cannot always be maintained. Night Vision CCTV cameras are equipped with their own LEDs, typically in the IR spectrum, which can be used to illuminate the camera’s immediate environment.

  • Single-lens Cameras

These are fixed lens cameras that can be used for small and medium distance, budget-efficient surveillance.

  • Audio Cameras

Unlike the traditional video-only CCTV cameras, these are audio-enabled CCTV cameras, some of which have speakers and can relay your voice. These are called two-way audio CCTV cameras. They can allow security personnel to speak to an individual who is seeking permission to access the premises without face to face interaction.

  • Facial Recognition Cameras

These are equipped with the ability to match faces in a picture against a set of known faces in a database. They can be used for example in scenarios where it is necessary to recognize people that have been banned from an organization’s premises

  • Wire-free IP Cameras

These typically use Wi-Fi for data connectivity, and batteries or solar power modules as power sources. They are useful for outdoor surveillance, especially in places where running power cables is inconvenient, such as back or front yards.

I3C team deploying OSP fiber for a CCTV network

In CCTV technology, the main investment is at the network deployment stage, and thereafter you just carry out routine maintenance of CCTV cameras hence making the cost of security affordable not just for cities but also for homeowners in any given location.
With four years’ experience in the rollout of safe-city (metropolitan CCTV networks) solutions, Infinity Computers and communications company (I3C) is a regional leader in providing public safety technology.


November 23, 2020
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An efficient IT system is essential for a thriving online business. While traditionally on-premise IT infrastructure would be set up to manage data storage and back as well as other computing needs, Cloud Computing is another user-friendly and cost-effective solution businesses of all sizes are adopting today.

What is Cloud Computing?

With Cloud computing, you get on-demand access, via the internet, to computing resources such as servers (physical servers and virtual servers) and data storage, hosted at a remote data center managed by a cloud services provider (or CSP). Leading IT and Telecommunications services provider, Infinity Computers and communications Company (I3C) partners with IBM to provide cloud computing services worldwide.

The Pros of cloud computing compared to traditional on-premise IT infrastructure set up include;

  • Reduced IT costs

With Cloud Computing, the costs of purchasing, installing, configuring, and maintaining your own on-premises infrastructure is skipped since you just pay a subscription fee to get access to all of these services from a Cloud Service Provider via the internet

  • Improved time management

With Cloud, your enterprise can instantly access applications and resources unlike the case of on-premise IT infrastructure where you would have to wait for weeks or months for purchases and configuration hardware and software installations.

  • Developer support

Your in-house developers get access to community-tested code patterns through operating open sources hence helping them hone their skills to deliver expert services.

  • Easily and cost-effective scalability

With Cloud, instead of purchasing excess capacity, you increase or decrease IT resources as needed to meet changing demand.

Included among I3C’s cloud computing services through IBM are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), storage-as-a-service, data warehousing and back up services, and hosting for mobile-enabled web sites and databases.

Reach out to us today for excellent Cloud Computing Services

Get Started


January 29, 2020
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What is a domain name? Well, this is basically the name of your website. It is the address where Internet users can access your website.

Selecting the right domain name is one of the most important decisions that one makes for their business in today’s world. This is because usually, the first thing your potential clients do when searching out your product or service is to conduct a web search, and if your website is relatively easy to find and navigate, you’ll greatly increase your chances of making a sale.

 

Here are some things you should always consider when choosing your domain name.

  1. Does it match your company/business name?

Having your domain name match your business/company name is very crucial for your business because it will help potential clients find your website more easily. This easy access will allow them to know your services and also acquire your contact details much faster.

Consistency is key and will prompt you to grow a memorable and strong brand.

 

  1. Is it ‘well branded’?

A good brand name is: Unique, Clear, Short, Catchy yet meaningful.

Does yours depict all those traits?

If not, then it’s time to revisit your idea. Think about how it sounds, what it looks like when written down and how relatable it is; if there is a hidden meaning or play on words you’re going for, put your options out to your network and get feedback.

 

  1. What appears when you carry out an internet search for your products or services?

Carry out an internet search for your products or services in order to get an insight into what of kind of names get ranked highest. This will give you an idea on what keywords and terms are highly ranking for your chosen products. If you are going to compete with many outstanding domains, sure you pick something which is unique and will easily appears in search results

Tip: Make use of Google AdWords’ Ad preview and diagnostics tool to see what ranks for your brand name in various different countries using various different versions of Google.

 

  1. Is it easy to read/spell?

This is a no-brainer for building a strong brand which people remember. Not only that, but it will help people find you.

 

  1. Don’t go over the top with keywords

For example, I would choose a good, creative brand name over a keyword-heavy domain name. That’s not to say you can’t have a domain name with a keyword in it if it makes sense.

Let’s say I was building a city guide for Kampala, I might go for a domain like Kampalacityguide.com over Kampalacityguide-locationmap.com. That way I’m including a keyword in “cityguide” but I’m prioritizing a good brand name over keyword stuffing.

Also remember that Google “pursued” low-quality exact match domains (EMD) in 2012 to ensure they do not rank well in the Google search results. That should tell you what Google thinks of spamdexing domain names.

 

  1. What TLD?

TLD stands for top-level-domain. A top-level domain is the part which comes after your domain name and before your subpages.

The most common TLDs are: .com, .org, .net, country specific like .ke, .ug, …There are so many other TLDs. But with so many options, how do you know which one to go for? That depends on the nature of your company or business and one’s preferences.

But here are a few things to note for example;

  • For business owned and started in a specific country, one may use the country TLD like .ug for Uganda. One may also use a country specific TLD to identify the branch website of the company specific to a particular country.
  • For organization, one may use .org
  • .coms can be used for any kind of business from shopping sites to corporate companies and some charity organization

 

  1. Is it Unique?

Always ensure that no one else is using the same domain that you are aiming for. You might find that although the one you want to go for is available, someone else is using the same domain with a different TLD.

Ideally you want a domain name which is completely unique. You can buy your domain name from various domain name providers, but to help with tracking purposes it’s best to pick it up from the same company you choose for hosting.

Visit https://registry.co.ug to get access to .ug domains available for use.

 

  1. Are all the social handles available too?

We agree that it can be quite frustrating to dream up the perfect brand name, get hold of the domain name, and then find out someone else has taken that name on one of the social media platforms, right? Advise here is to carry an intensive search across the internet for the name you plan to use. Try tools like namevine.  Even if you don’t plan on using them right away, get hold of the profiles to prevent others from taking them. You know what they say, “Better safe than sorry”.

 

  1. Do trademark check

Cover all bases before you go steaming in with your credit card details to buy your dream domain, make sure the name is not already trademarked. You should also look at trademarking the name yourself to avoid potential copyright problems in the future. By trademarking your brand name, you can also stop competitors using that name on their AdWords campaigns.

 

SUMMARY:

Whether you own an existing business or have an idea for a startup, you need a strong online presence with the right name. With that in mind, it’s important to be creative, think outside the box, and come up with a domain name that will last a lifetime.


October 23, 2019
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What are your thoughts when it comes to the responsibilities that arise with database servers? Do you have responsibilities for: Database administration tasks; Database software maintenance fixes and upgrades; OS upgrades; scale the infrastructure; maintain systems that guarantee your availability. Such questions should be at the back of your head. Do you have an organization that owns pieces of your database server? Whichever way it is that you handle your challenges, try to focus on the real aim which is to come up with a business solution.

As these challenges arise, technology also evolves and the mix grows. One has to start to integrate the old and new solutions mixed together. Your premise investment in maintaining your software, skills, expertise and hardware continues to increase. Generally systems don’t quickly migrate when new technologies emerge. Steady state systems run and do not get retrofitted while new systems take advantage of new products.

How do you then take advantage of the change and adoption of these new emerging technologies? Do you realize that on premise is slower to adopt then what you see available from cloud providers? Do you notice rising costs where keeping up with technologies available in cloud solutions is concerned? How do you manage and budget for this needs to be weighed against moving to the cloud. With a cloud offering many of your infrastructure costs in supporting systems is shifted to the solution you choose. There could be significant savings as well as allowing your technical staff to work on business driven solutions versus maintaining infrastructure. As a database owner you need to understand the importance of a stable platform. What should you be looking for in a cloud offering which we as I3C always include for our clients? Of course at a minimum it should give you the desired performance, availability, access, and security. These are the additional advantages we offer our clients with our packages:

  • Geographical independence.
  • Capacity on demand.
  • Freedom of more choices.
  • Intangibles that generate more value.
  • Access to new functionalities
  • Ability to try solutions typically not available.

What is your real aim? Is it to provide and deliver business solutions and value to your customers. Do you want to invest in testing and creating SW/HW platforms, or allow your business to easily have access to technology and quicker transformations? As you look at cloud solutions you need to ensure that the service provider delivers a better and robust product for your business.

You need to have the flexibility of leveraging additional services once you have an application up and running on a cloud service provider. Look for: easily customizable solutions; API driven services; pre-built extraction/transform/load operators. These allow you to extend the application and provide additional value at a low incremental cost.

So when evaluating where to really spend your money and time on, it makes sense to spend your valuable time improving your product and not developing accessory infrastructure components. Look at what you stand to gain when a solution is built and how everyone can  take advantage of it. Look at the value you now have and how the service provider can improve on that. I3C has shaped itself around the concept of being a thought leader and providing solutions for its clients.


October 23, 2019
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It has been undeniably one of the most ingenious inventions of this modern era. A technology that has ended up being the backbone of a new type of internet by allowing digital content to be distributed but not copied. The identity of the creator of this technology still remains a mystery and the only thing known about this individual or group of individuals is that they are known by the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. Originally it was devise for the birth of the digital currency era with the creation of Bitcoin but since its inception, the tech world has found other ways to fully utilize the technology and it has evolved into something greater but the question that has railed people up to this day is what blockchain really is and what the benefits of embracing it are.

A blockchain is a time-stamped series of immutable record of data that is managed by a cluster of computers that are not owned by any single entity. Each of these blocks are secured and bound to each other using cryptographic principles (i.e. chain).One thing the world needs to understand is how it works in order to embrace the properties that make it so important and ingenious. According to Don & Alex Tapscott, authors of Blockchain Revolution (2016),”The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

Imagine a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network of computers. Then envision that this network is designed to regularly update this spreadsheet and you’ll have a basic understanding of the blockchain. Information held on a blockchain exists as a shared and continually reconciled database.

  • A blockchain network has no central authority in other wards it’s a decentralized system.
  • Since it is a shared and immutable ledger, the content in it is open for anyone and everyone to see hence anything that is built on the blockchain structure is by nature transparent and everyone involved is accountable for their actions.
  • A blockchain carries an infrastructure cost but has no transaction cost. It’s a smart way of securing content flow from A to B in a fully automated and safe manner.
  • Once a party to a transaction initiates the process of creating a block, it’s verified by thousands and millions of computers distributed on the network.
  • The verified block is added to a chain which is stored across the net creating not just a unique record but a unique record with a unique history. Falsifying a single record would mean falsifying the entire chain in millions of instances. Bitcoin uses this model for monetary transactions but it can be modified to serve other purposes.
  • Blockchain transfer is free and can store money. It replaces all processes and business models which rely on charging a small fee for a transaction. You can charge for anything in any amount without worrying about third parties cutting into your profits.

Once the merits of a safe ledger without transaction fees is widely interpreted and implemented, financial institutions will go bankrupt and be forced to adapt fundamentally after all, the financial entities are built on taking a small cut of the client’s funds for the privilege of facilitating a transaction.

Currently, there are at least four types of blockchain networks, public blockchains, private blockchains, consortium blockchains and hybrid blockchains.

Public blockchains

A public blockchain has absolutely no access restrictions. Anyone with an internet connection can send transactions to it as well as become a validator (i.e., participate in the execution of a consensus protocol). Usually, such networks offer economic incentives for those who secure them and utilize some type of a Proof of Stake or Proof of Work or algorithm.

Some of the largest, most known public blockchains are the bitcoin blockchain and the Ethereum blockchain.

Private blockchains

A private blockchain is permissioned. One cannot join it unless invited by the network administrators. Participant and validator access is restricted.

Why should business entities embrace blockchain services in the first place?

  • First and foremost since blockchain is decentralized, data isn’t stored in one spot because everyone on the network owns the information which makes it such a hard target for potential hackers.
  • When centralized systems like the one that traditional financial institutions run go through a software upgrade, the whole system comes to a halt which isn’t the same with blockchain in which case the system keeps operating even when under a software upgrade.
  • With blockchain since the information is shared across the network, it’s always accessible which isn’t the case with the centralized entities which make it hard to access information when they shut down for whichever reason.
  • In scenarios where individual entities want to interact, it’s very possible without having to go through a third party. You and you alone are in charge of your money. In other terms, you can send your money to anyone without having to go through the bank.
  • Security measures are reinforced. A person’s identity is hidden via complex cryptography and represented only by their public address so in cases where people look up for people’s transaction history, one would only find an address i.e. “1mfykujfm7890 sent 1BTC.It also works two ways. If you know your company’s address, it’s easy to see the transactions that they engage in which makes it easy to monitor.
  • Blockchain technology can be used to create a permanent, public, transparent ledger system for compiling data on sales, tracking digital use and payments to content creators, such as wireless users.
  • Blockchain content is immutable meaning that once entered into the blockchain, it cannot be tampered with. Imagine how this could be a relief for financial institutes. Embezzlement cases would be solved in a jiffy if people were unable to “cook the books” and fiddle around the company accounts. This is achieved by the cryptography hash function which means taking an input string of any length and giving out an output of a fixed length.
  • The potential for added efficiency in share settlement makes a strong use case for blockchains in stock trading. Initially there are always three days for clearances in these sectors but with the elimination of intermediaries, it becomes instantaneous.

In conclusion, most financial institutions have recognized the value of blockchain technology and some have even started implementing it.

Companies especially in the entertainment sector are using for protection of intellectual property for example digital information. Smart contracts have been developed off the back bone of blockchain to protect copyright and automate the sale of creative works online eliminating the risk of file copying and distribution. All in all companies world-wide need to embrace the need for blockchain technology and contemplate about the merits of implementing it.


October 23, 2019
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Big Data is a hot topic in the world of analysis right now. It’s been gaining popularity with business for a few years, and now it’s seeping into the social sector. I see evaluators, nonprofits, donors, and even governments discuss its pros and cons. Big Data is hot, and it makes big promises and that makes you want to get in the game. But before you use Big Data, you need to be sure it’s right for you.

Don’t get me wrong. Big data is amazing when used correctly It can be cheaper and less invasive to collect. It can lead to the understanding of patterns we didn’t previously recognize. As with all data, there are always some technical issues e.g. how do you protect data owners’ privacy? How do you ensure you’re actually measuring what you intend to measure? But before you use big data in the social sector, there are also important analytics issues to address. And they all come down to one critical question:

Are you trying to answer a question of prediction or causality?

Big Data is extremely useful when you’re making predictions. The bigger, the better. Want to understand what someone is most likely to buy from your website? Big Data has the answer. Want to determine which people in your database are most likely to contribute to your fundraising event? Big Data can be your inside man. Any time you’re trying to make a prediction about the future, you can pretty safely use Big Data.

But often in the social sector, our questions aren’t about predictions — they’re trying to determine cause. For example:

  • Trying to understand the effects of a specific type of education
  • Attempting to determine why something is happening the way it is
  • Measuring the impact of your program or service

These are all questions of causality. In these instances, it wouldn’t be very helpful at all to use Big Data.

No problem, right?

Mostly no problem. The issue is that Big Data can give you the feeling that you’re doing great analysis. Your sample size is so big and you have so much data, you feel like the conclusions you’re drawing must be meaningful. In fact, there’s a fair chance they aren’t even accurate.

How Big data may be a disadvantage.

You can use Big Data for predictive questions. If you’re looking to the future, off you go enjoy the power and ease of Big Data analysis. If you’re trying to determine the cause of something sorry, Big Data is not for you. Big Data isn’t generally great for causal questions because:

  • It’s often biased. If you want data that is a good representation of the community you’re studying, you need to collect it in a certain way. Big Data is almost never collected in a way that allows you to learn about the community.  When you use Big Data, you usually only learn about the people contributing the data, and these people are often from a select group that doesn’t represent the group you’re focused on.
  • Algorithms aren’t always as smart as they sound. Machine learning algorithms can’t tell mediators from confounders. In most predictive models, the best way to get a good answer is to throw as many variables as you can into the mix to get the highest rate of correct prediction. This method is terrible for causal analysis. When asking causal questions, there is no way to avoid the need for conceptual understanding and theory. Machines just can’t cut it.
  • Sample size doesn’t mean what you think. The “big” part of Big Data can give the (mistaken) impression that its sheer size can eliminate bias. This is entirely false. A huge amount of biased data will simply produce a very biased, very incorrect result.

WE STILL LOVE BIG DATA

Please don’t misunderstand: we’ve been able to use Big Data to solve previously unsolvable problems in the social sector. For example it’s being used by the government help understand the impact of farming input franchises in Kenya. It can be used in so many great ways even in the social sector if manipulated well. Sometimes, Big Data is great.

But you need to be sure it’s the right tool for the job.

If you’re part of a social sector organization that wants to use Big Data, it’s critical that you recognize what type of question you’re trying to answer. The vast majority of training and Big Data analysis methods currently available are designed for prediction and are hopeless at answering causal questions.

If you need help determining whether you can use Big Data for your project, we are here to help. Contact i3C today and get an insight into how you can use big data to help you.


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