How will Brexit impact South Africa’s IT industry?

Many South African IT companies have their EU headquarters in the UK and use the country as a gateway for business across the EU.
There are a lot of uncertainties that may occur due to Brexit. We can presume that employment costs will be higher, limited movement will result in restricted access to low-cost labour, and dissimilar privacy laws will make outsourcing more difficult to implement between the UK and other countries.

Major challenges for South African companies could arise from the unpredictability of the British pound. These challenges include uncertainty about future policies between the UK and Europe and changes in financial and banking systems.

There could be a further decline in the value of the British pound which could render many existing contracts losing propositions. Thus, the uncertainty surrounding negotiations on the terms of exit and future engagement with the EU will have a vast impact on decision-making for large projects.

While the precise effects of all this remain to be seen, the waiting game will cause a slowdown in the outsourcing market. Right now, only time will tell how many of these predictions will come to pass, with a lot resting on what deal the UK will make with the EU after its withdrawal.

Stage Audio Works selects EpiserverCommerce to launch new retail brand

bluegrass Digital has recently been selected to design and develop a new e-commerce website for the retail brand, MiTech Direct, a leader in professional music, audio, broadcasting, lighting and consumer electronic equipment.
MiTech Direct has selected one of the leading enterprise Episerver Commerce platforms to power their online commerce experience. As a leading certified Episerver solution partner, Bluegrass Digital has extensive experience in delivering on Episerver solutions for local and international clients.

The project has been underway for a few months and Bluegrass has successfully completed a detailed user experience process for the website including defining user journeys, prototyping and interactive wireframes. Bluegrass also completed the new responsive designs for the website and is currently undertaking the build and implementation together with integrations to their back office ERP systems.

Nicholas Durrant, MD of Bluegrass Digital, says: “This is an exciting project and we are pleased to be part of the team in launching this brand. The client conducted a detailed and thorough review of the e-commerce platforms before selecting Episerver as their preferred platform. With Bluegrass as the partner to deliver the new website, we will be working closely with all the key stakeholders to deliver the first release of the site in the coming months.”

MiTech Direct is a first for Africa featuring a unique 9000m2 world-class experience store supported by a leading online retail experience. MiTech Direct is owned by Stage Audio Works Holdings, a leading international supplier, manufacturer and distributor of complete technology solutions.

About Bluegrass Digital

Bluegrass Digital is a leading provider of creative technological solutions and digital production services for mobile, web and social platforms. With our head office in London and hubs in South Africa, our highly-skilled team offers a diverse pool of knowledge and expertise, bringing together creativity and innovative technology that delivers top-notch results for our clients.

Our expert knowledge in creative technology and development means that we are able to deliver a unique offering, centred on service delivery excellence. Bluegrass has a proven track record of delivering high-quality projects on time and within budget.

Why brands should give a DAM when it comes to their digital asset management

With the amount of digital data growing – and with it the need for it to be managed in a clear, concise and user-friendly way – brands, their agencies, corporations and institutions with multiple departments, etc., should indeed care who, what and how, their brand is being handled.
Why brands should give a DAM when it comes to their digital asset management
The need to record a brand’s journey is important, not only for marketing purposes but for legal reasons too. But, the sheer volume of material that is generated, often on a variety of devices and by a host of different users, is staggering. It’s no wonder then that with the advent of ‘fast marketing’, sometimes things go awry – where vital logos, a brochure or image of the CEO shaking hands with an important dignitary go missing, or the wrong one is sent.

The answer to averting brand confusion or not being able to find an image of an event you hosted, for use in an annual report, or an image for the corporate ad or a host of other vital applications, is found in a centralised cloud-based repository called, Digital Asset Management or DAM. Digital Asset Management, sometimes popularly referred to as Brand or Marketing Asset Management, describes the process, policies and software an organisation uses to manage its digital assets such as images and brand material.

DAM has been around since the early nineties. The primary use at the time was to scan and store documents and images. But as the digital era grew, so did the need to find a simple yet secure system to store, retrieve and share the right information. Swiss-based Picturepark was launched in 1997 and was the first cloud-based DAM solution. One of its first clients was a well-known Swiss-based watchmaker (who incidentally remains a client) who required a place to store literally thousands of watch images.

Since then, Picturepark has expanded its operations to cover most corners of the globe and in South Africa, has partnered with Brandpark, under the guidance of CEO Mnive Nhlabathi to assist the African continent manage its digital assets better.

While South Africa already has a number of large corporations who have reaped the benefits of integrated DAM systems, DAM has been particularly effective of late, for the number of companies that are spreading their corporate wings into Africa.

“South Africa and Africa as a whole continue to be an attractive proposition for multinationals looking for new and emerging markets. With the successful merger or acquisition of the asset, comes the need for corporates and their marketing agencies to converge and centralise their marketing collateral so it can be deployed in various markets and adapted for local use,” explained Mnive Nhlabathi, CEO of Brandpark, the South African company that has been awarded the exclusive rights to the technology of leading DAM provider, Picturepark.

“A DAM system that allows for uploading files into a central repository and tagging them with descriptive metadata, is no longer a luxury but a necessity.”

However, DAM is not reserved solely for the multinationals and advertising agencies. Other organisations that could well benefit from the implementation of a DAM system, are the likes of libraries, tertiary institutions, banks, estate agency groups, and more.

It’s not all about safe storage, ease and safety of distribution though. There are some pretty good time and cost savings too, that allow you to reap full ROI on your investment in brand and marketing assets. These include:

Time saved searching for assets
Increased productivity
Data Storage cost savings
Bandwidth cost savings
Managed Copyright risks
Analytics on usage
And, being aware of the assets you actually have (for the expanded list, please see below).

The question is, are brands truly leveraging their investment in their digital assets?

Shimansky – Creating a personalised customer experience with Sitecore

Bluegrass Digital was tasked with the design and build of the new Shimansky website.
Shimansky – Creating a personalised customer experience with Sitecore
click to enlarge
A key driver of the project was the implementation of Sitecore Experience Platform. This platform provided Shimansky with state-of-the-art CMS and marketing functionality and allows for a richer, personalised customer experience.

Bluegrass Digital is partnered with Sitecore and recommended the platform because it empowers clients to market in context of current and past customer interaction, across any channel and in real time.

Other special features implemented on the site include web forms for marketers (WFFMs), dynamic filters, custom search, pages built with blocks and personalisation, but to name a few.

Shimansky is a respected international jeweller known for its unique and clean designs.

About Bluegrass Digital

Bluegrass Digital is a leading provider of creative technological solutions and digital production services for mobile, web and social platforms. With offices in London, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Lagos, our highly-skilled team offers a diverse pool of knowledge and expertise, bringing together creativity and innovative technology that delivers top-notch results for our clients.

Our expert knowledge in creative technology and development means that we are able to deliver a unique offering, centred on service delivery excellence. Bluegrass has a proven track record of delivering high-quality projects on time and within budget.

Tips On Writing A Good And Successful Blog

Writing a blog is almost as same as publishing a magazine. You need to be definite that you are providing quality content and presenting them is a manner that is Search Engine friendly. Now while posting an article on your blog, the single most important thing is to see that you are giving it the right title.

How to give Title your Blog
Firstly you need give a title to your blog. Now, you may have some fancy title on your head and think they are great and creative enough and they may well be, but when selecting a title of your blog, you must keep it in mind that your title ought to clearly communicate the niche of your blog. You can also start doing some keyword research and see what words or phrases are most searched on the subject you want your blog to build around.
Then try to insert that keyword into your blog title. This way you will ensure that most number of people visit your blog.

Choosing effective Article Titles for your Blog
Inserting keyword into your blog article titles is even more important. There are a lot of keyword tools online, just research the keyword and include them at some section of the title- preferably early in the title.
At the same time, you must ensure that the title sounds relevant and interesting enough. Achieving these two tasks simultanoeusly may not be perfectly easy, but with time you will learn to master the skills.
You can also install tracking plug-ins on your blog to see the number of readers on your blog and which of your articles are most famous among your readers.

Efficient Use of Keyword inside the Article
The most important thing to keep in mind that you should use your main and subsidiary keywords a number of times in the article, scattered over the whole body of the article. This will ensure your article a higher ranking at the search engine result. However, the keywords must be used in a relevant manner and not out of context. Otherwise your article may get tagged as spam.

Writing Blog Articles
Writing is never easy, if you are new to it. You will get a hang of it if you practice enough. You just need to have good English and a creative mind. You can even visit web article portals like EzineArticles.com to get ideas about what to write about. You can even write down the different ideas that come to you at different times on a notebook and then develop on them.

Ideal Length of an Article
Generally, if you are writing for blogs, the best thing is to keep your article from 200 to 1000 words.Do include keywords into your articles for the sake of SEO and so that readers like this link here that you posted and refer it back to others.

Although many people think longer articles are not ideal for websites or blogs, many successful bloggers say that longer articles with good content is your best shot at success.

Things to Write About
You should write only on things that interest you and not write crap. Do good keyword research and see how you can build your topic around them in an interesting way. You must also regularly read other people’s blog. This will furnish you with newer ideas.

Lastly, think again how you can make your article more SEO-friendly. Research the rules of SEO online and try to implement them when writing articles on your blog.

Tips For Your Successful Online Learning

1) Online is not similar to other media. You can’t take a book or a lecture, put it on the Web, and expect others to learn. People don’t have the necessary patience to listen to a commentator, turn pages, or watch an automatic demonstration. Online learners wish to hear, see, and do, at the same time. Also, they wish to interact anywhere they will locate an Internet connection. The don’t wish to wait with a very slow connection.

2) I wish to study what I wish, when I wish it, wherever I occur to be. In fact, convenience is a must. You cannot expect somebody to take a course on a topic as that is the way it is been studies in the past. Online students expect learning programs of 5-15 minutes. Consider short attention parts, MTV generation, and in time education.

3) How am I doing? Actually, content is king, and feedback is queen. It is not only about putting the info out there. Students wish to know how they’re doing. It is not only, “did I get the question right?”, but also, “how do I polish the technique from now?”

4) I learn it my own way. Typically, a student just requires a tip, typically a complete explanation. Usually a student will wish to see a pattern. Typically, a student will wish to practice. The selection must be theirs. A student won’t be held hostage as a system only lets a single style of learning, he/she will tune out.

5) Learners do not always stick to directions. There is not just a single way to reach Carnegie Hall and there cannot be only one way through the educational material. Certain people will wish to observe an index. Others will wish to search. Some people will stick to a sequence of links, plus others will follow along consecutively. The major point is the system as well as material should be made with various paths in mind.

Are Articles The Secret To Niche Marketing?

Article writing has become popular recently. Search engines have changed the way they rank web sites and have begun to place a stronger value on good content. Correction: they have become better at filtering out commercial content, sales pitches, and advertising posing as content.

One incredibly good method of achieving a web presence with good content is that of article writing. Why? It provides the content that the search engines are looking for. It provides meaningful content for the individual searching the web for good information. And it provides an avenue whereby the article writer can be noticed on the web.

Where does niche marketing come in? First of all, lets define niche marketing as marketing that is designed to meet the needs of a small group of individuals (a niche), rather than the mass needs of individuals. For example, a particular type of pet owner, a particular type of web user, or a particular religious faith might be considered niche markets.

For niche markets like these, traditional forms of mass Internet marketing, such as banner ads, classifieds, and traffic generation programs, are not as effective. The mass advertising forms are much more effective, cost-wise, when promoting a product that has wide market appeal.

So what does the niche marketer do? Assuming he has a web presence, and provides a quality product or other solution to the niche customer’s needs, he can become involved in article writing. The articles would be of a particular interest to the niche customer. They would contain valuable information that the niche customer cannot find anywhere else.

Sometimes article writers will write generic articles that really don’t provide any real benefit to the reader, thinking that an article is an article. That is simply not true. Think about yourself. When you read an article, if you do not learn something new when you read the article, are you disposed to learning more about the person, company, or products represented by the article writer?

The key to writing articles for a niche market and effectively gaining web presence by doing it, is to write quality. Fill the article with useful information. Show the reader that you really are an expert in your niche. Give the reader a burning desire to want to hear more of what you have to say about their need. And the only way you can create that burning desire is to give them quality information in the first place.

Good, well-written, articles are the key to niche marketing in today’s Internet marketing environment. Write articles, submit them to the most-used article databases, and watch your web site traffic grow.