Blogs

The Cloud This Week

Another interesting week in the cloud computing industry. Here are some key points:

  • Amazon are hosting an event in Cambridge where TriSys is presenting. Please click here to sign up.
  • Microsoft dropped the Azure name for its platform as a service (PaaS) cloud system.
  • Amazon and Microsoft both now support SQL Server in the cloud: Called RDS and SQL Database respectively.
  • Amazon are now supporting .Net via their Elastic Beanstalk. These last two announcements show that Amazon and Microsoft are collaborating on all things cloud, and this is very good news for TriSys customers.
  • Last week, the Google Drive and Microsoft Sky Drive joined Dropbox and Amazon S3 and others in the 'cloud data storage synched to pc' market. Another great move for consumers and business which will help drive down costs even further.
  • Google announced App Sync for Outlook 3.1 to help Microsoft Office customers, including TriSys ASP customers make better use of G-Mail.
  • TriSys are full steam ahead on a web site rebrand which highlights the breadth of our cloud credentials. We expect this to be live within the next 10 days.

The cloud is currently the most exciting and innovative technological space at present, and it sure is a fast and ever changing ride ;-)

AWR Contradicting Opinions

The North East and West Midlands lead the reduction in temporary labour usage in the past year.

The latest Comensura Government Index today shows there was a 15.2% decrease in the use of temporary labour across the public sector in the first quarter of 2012, when compared to the same time in 2011.

The North East saw the biggest drop in temporary recruitment at -127.3% with the West Midlands following close behind (-115.9%). London saw a drop of -25.5% in the use of temporary labour among Local Authorities.

Comensura Government Index shows Local Authorities cut temporary labour usage by 15% as AWR costs rise.

The North East and West Midlands lead the reduction in temporary labour usage in the past year

The latest Comensura Government Index today shows there was a 15.2% decrease in the use of temporary labour across the public sector in the first quarter of 2012, when compared to the same time in 2011.

The North East saw the biggest drop in temporary recruitment at -127.3% with the West Midlands following close behind (-115.9%). London saw a drop of -25.5% in the use of temporary labour among Local Authorities.

Conversely, the same period also saw an increase in pay rates as a result, in part, to the implementation of the Agency Worker Regulations (AWR). Across the board there was an average 8.9% increase in hourly pay rates.

The Comensura Government Index reflects temporary labour usage across 79 Local Authorities and other public bodies. The Index is compiled by Comensura, specialists in organisational efficiency through the managed supply of people in large organisations across the public, private and not for profit sectors.

The number of temporary workers in driving and transportation roles saw a reduction of -39% along with IT roles (-29.2%) and engineering and technical roles (-26.9). A positive was a 20.5% increase in the number of temporary workers placed in construction roles, which could show some green shoots of recovery for the economy.

Young people suffered the greatest effects of reduced spending by Local Authorities. In the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, the number of 25-34 year-olds employed on a temporary basis decreased by a significant -35.4%.

Whilst both men and women were affected by the reduction in temporary labour, women faired slightly better and now account for 45.3% of all temporary labour, up from 44.9% in the same period in 2011. This was in part due to a lower than expected reduction in the number of office/admin workers, a job category that accounts for almost 20% of all temporary workers and where women represent 70% of all temporary labour.

Jamie Horton, Managing Director, Comensura said today, “The decrease in temporary employment in the North East and West Midlands is reflected within the wider UK employment figures. Local Authorities have made a real and concerted effort to reduce the amount spent on temporary labour.”

He continued: “Looking forward, the decrease in usage of temporary labour is expected to continue. Local Authorities and other public bodies are increasingly gaining greater control of expenditure on temporary labour by implementing control methods to manage their expenditure in this area. Whilst there is better planning of workforce needs to ensure resources are spent in the right areas, the numbers of young people joining the workforce should be a concern for local authorities as they plan for the future.”

The Comensura Government Index shows the usage of temporary labour across 79 of Comensura’s clients in England and Wales during 2011 and 2012. The Comensura Government Index is distributed on a quarterly basis and uses a variety of metrics to measure the usage of temporary labour including Full Time Equivalent (FTE), the reasons for hire, job class, age and gender.

The question we have to ask is are these decreases a direct result of AWR?  Contradicting surveys show differently, to see my previous blog on the effects of AWR click here

Flashback: Recruitment '94

Recently, a jealous competitor questioned TriSys' claim to be the worlds first windows based recruitment software, and therefore by implication our assertion that we lead the recruitment software industry in terms of innovation and direction.

A trawl of the TriSys archives has revealed the following brochure:

 

This is the glossy brochure from the Recruitment '94 exhibition at The Barbican in London.

This is TriSys' listing in this brochure advertising our windows recruitment software:

 

The show was a great success. TriSys was the only product demonstrated at the show to use a monitor with colour! Other products of the day ran traditional 'green screen' monitors which used 80x24 character based terminals and high price Unix servers.

What is amazing is both the sophistication of the first version of the software and the entry level price of recruitment software which, in 1994 was around £3,000 - a far cry from today, where TriSys Starter-Edition can be purchased for as little as £50 per user per month.

TriSys began developing its windows recruitment software in 1990 and gained its first customers in 1993. Following the Recruitment '94 exhibition, sales of TriSys rocketed as customers moved away from mainframe and minicomputers to a more PC centric client-server architecture.

Please click here to view the original brochure, or click here to view the history of login splash screens of all previous versions of TriSys.

Ah, happy days ;-)

 

Windows 8 Editions

Microsoft has announced which editions that will be available for "Windows 8" when it is released to market around Q4 2012:

http://bit.ly/ISc9Pz

Windows 8 is the official product name for the next x86/64 editions of Windows. Windows 8 has effectively two types of windowing environments:

  • Windows Desktop is the traditional windows interface with task bar and 'start' button. This interface is almost identical to Windows 7.
  • Metro is the new tiled based interface first used in Windows Phone 7, but optimised for large touch enabled screens.

Users can switch between each environment, or mode by using a new interface paradigm called 'Charms' which appear when the mouse, or finger is positioned to the left or right edge of the screen.

For PCs and tablets powered by x86 processors (both 32 and 64 bit), there will be two editions: Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro

Windows RT is the newest member of the Windows family – also known as Windows on ARM (one of our fellow Cambridge technology companies) or WOA (Windows on ARM). This single edition will only be available pre-installed on PCs and tablets powered by ARM processors and will help enable new thin and lightweight form factors with long battery life. Windows RT will include touch-optimized desktop versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. There is to be no Outlook on this version, and it is also not possible to install non-Microsoft Office traditionanal windows or .Net applications.

TriSys Version 10 is already running on non-ARM Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro.

There will be two ways to run TriSys on ARM Windows RT mobile devices:

  • Via the ASP Remote Desktop
  • The New TriSys Web Browser product, or Project-X as previously discussed

Developers can now develop for Windows 8 using a new programming environment called WinRT, which is like a mini .Net framework, but allows access to the Metro interface to create native applications for tablet devices based on ARM processors. We can also build native applications in HTML5 and Javascript and Visual Studio 2012 provides new capabilities to assist developers with this.

Week 12 Rights From Day 1?

Kevin Green, CEO of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation gives his opinion on the latest Xpert HR agency workers survey released today, which found that 65 percent of employers are providing agency workers with the rights they are entitled to after 12 weeks from the first day of their assignments. To see the Xpert HR article click here
 
Kevin Green, CEO of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said:
 
“It’s really good news for temps that so many employers are deciding to implement equal treatment from day one. It’s good for the worker and it’s good for the business and the agency as it avoids the bureaucracy involved in making changes after waiting 12 weeks.
 
“We think the flexible labour market is here to stay and will continue to expand as businesses see it’s an effective way to align their workforce with demand while keeping themselves competitive. And for the workers, a temporary position is a great stepping stone into more work and permanent employment.
 
“Employers are telling us they plan to use more temporary workers, not fewer. We regularly poll employers about their hiring intentions and as recently as last month, 85 percent said they planned to either maintain or increase their levels of temporary workers over the next three months.
 
“Unfortunately there are some real misconceptions out there about what AWR really means – for workers and employers. It’s the role of recruitment agencies to communicate clearly to clients and candidates what the new rules mean, and how both parties can benefit.”

Employers use exclusions to get round agency regulations

Around two-thirds of businesses have taken advantage of legal exclusions to lessen the impact of the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) introduced six months ago, according to a study from law firm Eversheds.
 
With the regulations stating that agency workers employed for 12 weeks must be given equal pay and conditions as permanent staff, tactics such as ‘Swedish derogation’ – where the individual is employed directly by the agency – have become increasingly popular. Around 17 per cent of employers have used Swedish derogation, found the survey, while other methods used include taking on a succession of short-term placements or using the services of self-employed people.
 
Perhaps because of this, the regulations have not been as costly to employers as many feared, said Richard Sheldon, associate at Eversheds.
 
“Four years ago a very large proportion of respondents to one of our studies (80 per cent) told us that they feared a hike in costs once the regulations took effect,” said Sheldon.
 
"More recent feedback suggests considerably fewer organisations have encountered a rise in their overall UK labour costs although, clearly, some of the impact will have been absorbed – or avoided – in other ways in the long run up to the regulations.
 
“What proved particularly revealing is the extent to which the responses suggest many employers are avoiding the worst of the impact currently, by relying on exclusions from the regulations.
 
"Interestingly, and despite some resistance from trade unions and employee representatives, use of Swedish Derogation Contracts appears wider than was anticipated, possibly as awareness of such contracts has increased.”
 
Previous research had indicated that only 12 per cent of firms were planning to adopt Swedish derogation, so the 17 per cent figure represents a considerable increase, he added. Supermarkets Tesco and Morrisons are among large employers who are using the tactic.
 
There is some evidence that employers are taking on more permanent staff and fewer temps as a result of the regulations. The latest labour market data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that permanent recruitment is currently growing at a much faster rate than the increase in temporary placements.
 
“Some of the rise in permanent placements appears to stem from employers simply switching temporary workers to permanent status due to the higher entitlements that the Agency Worker Regulations have given them,” commented Ronnie McCombe, partner at KPMG.

Action Templates and Warmer Weather

Support calls slowed down a bit due to holidays, allowing us to catch up, do some housekeeping and investigate more imporvements to our infrastructure.

We are looking at new terminal servers using Windows 2008R2 technology, as this is a big improvement on Windows 2008 and solves some technical issues.

We have to upgrade our management servers also, so this is an ongoing project, and Domain Controllers and Desktops are already in test.

 

 

Action Templates
 
Action templates are an excellent way to automate e-mail and documentation to contacts.

Action templates pull in information from various places in the database to automatically fill in many details.

Action templates are excellent for targeted mailshots or general everyday mail.

 Used when running the E-mail and Direct Mail action, the system administrator can devise a set of templates to hold default text that the action uses.

When running the action the "source template" is selected by the user and can be output in various ways such as e-mail or .doc(x).

From this action the system administrator can add additional templates or edit the templates that already exist.

In addition to the text that is used to create the e-mail or word document the template can also hold defaults for the following:

  • Additional documents that are to be merged with database information and appended to the source template or in the case of
     e-mails created and either appended or attached to the e-mail.

  • Additional attachments not requiring merging. These can be in many different forms such as existing word documents, pdf files,
     excel spreadsheets or image files etc.

Training courses on how to create and manipulate templates are available from Trisys.

Please call us to discuss your requirements - 01223 393519

 

For further information on Action Templates see:- Action Template Setup

For other training courses please see:- Trisys Training Courses 

 You can find further helpful information at :- support.trisys.co.uk

 

Night Sky

Jupiter, Venus, Mars and saturn, mercury and Neptune are still visable in the evening but only just. Still enough time to get out from early evening to have a look.

With the time change and warmer weather, exploring the night sky is a little more pleasurable.

As well as the planets, there are also other galaxy and messier objects :-

 Seven Sisters (Pleiades)

 Orion Nebula

 Andromeda Galaxy

If your not sure of what is visable at any time, a good up to date website is here:- Planets To See In The Sky Tonight

You don't need a telescope, just a good pair of binoculars, and a clear sky.

Well this is all from me for now, pop back later if you get a mo.

   
http://support.trisys.co.uk - support@trisys.co.uk - 01223 393519

Five top reasons why online software is beneficial for start-up companies

Five top reasons why online software is beneficial for start-up companies

When starting any new business no matter the industry or sector the start-up costs are key to everyone, this includes cost of IT hardware, software applications and accessibility of the information you use daily, and all this represents a financial hurdle for start-up’s or even established companies looking to move away from their current IT solutions.

If you’re a solo person company or multi-site/multi-lingual company you need a solution that will fit your existing needs along with allowing growth to be painless, especially on your pocket!

Using an online also known as ‘Cloud Computing’ business software you have the freedom of knowing your data is accessible no matter where you are.  This ‘Cloud’ solution is in essence classed as a subscription based service, usually on a per user per month model.  This could range from Hosted E-Mail Systems all the way to bespoke business software solutions, traditionally called Software as a Service (SaaS).

For a business application such as TriSys Starter Edition aimed at new start up recruitment agencies you’re investing in £50 per user per month.  At this cost for a 1 user system it allows access to Candidates, Clients, Vacancies, Diary and additional workflow process at the fraction of the cost of traditional locally installed application.  Locally installed application would require additional investment on IT Hardware/Software/Resource etc.. to manage; this is a cost a new start up wants to avoid.

Why go Online for your software you ask…

1. You don’t need to invest heavily in IT hardware/software

Cloud-based applications allow you to control your spend, there is no need to invest in costly IT hardware or worry about application upgrades as new versions are released, as these are included in the subscription model you choose. TriSys’ online solutions vary from £50 per user per month based for a Starter Edition; all the way to a full blown bespoke enterprise solution that will costs as low as £100 per user per month.   The subscription based models can vary from just a simple application that works with the software on your machine or a fully hosted desktop solution that includes all the applications used on a daily basis.

2. Usability and accessible anywhere

Storing business information online is as easy as saving it to your computer hard drive. The difference is that it can’t be “lost”. Online services constantly back up and your information on resilient backups along with disaster recovery locations.  These fundamental points allow anyone to have a peace of mind that the data is stored safely ‘Online’ and secure, rather than worrying about your data if your computer/tablet is stolen or catastrophic IT system failure.

All your business data would be stored and accessible no matter where you are or what device you’re utilising.  It’s your data and it should be available when you need it ‘On Demand’!!

3. Working with other people – no matter where they are

‘Cloud’ systems in general allow you to work with your team internally or externally, sharing information no matter where they are or at what time they are working.

Being able to access your data and provide your team with the same information is a must to any business, traditionally if you worked in a different location or was on the road accessing your data couldn’t be any easier with a ‘Cloud’ solution.  TriSys’ application allow your colleagues to be anywhere and have the ability to access the information they need, there and then rather than worrying if it was printed, e-mailed or faxed through.

4. All your information… All the time!  

Your information/data is very important to all businesses, if you can’t access it when it’s really required it puts a halt on your processes!  If the data is ‘Cloud’ based this solution will let you progress without any downtime, this is key for those important meetings!

All the information/data will be stored securely online, people within the organise will have different permissions allowing them to have more or less access to your data, if you have a new employee you can set them up to have very limited access, however Managers and Senior level personnel would have enhanced access/usability of the online system.  These security/functional features would be setup but the ‘Cloud’ provider and thus allowing you to have confidence once its setup it will ‘just work’, if changes are made based on those features the usual turnaround is minutes rather than hours/day when you may need to ask your IT Resource to make the changes.

As internet access is available on all mobile devices such as Tables/Laptops/Smartphones you would expect to have similar functionality that you have while at your desk.  When you access your data via any of these devices you know straight away its’ real-time and up-to-date!

5. As you grow, it grows

“Pay-as-you-go” cloud services are great for businesses that are keen on growing, with the PAYG service you’re only tied into a 28 day contract as you are only paying for the service period.  If you decide to add more people or functionality the costs scale.  You may have some people on the limited access version and others on the feature rich enhanced solution.  These solutions really work with you in growth phases.  With this in mind you will see the total cost up front rather than thinking about the additional over heads that you’ve done in the past.

The subscriptions are always very clear with the ‘Cloud’ products you choose, as easy to say “What you see in what you get”.  Online solutions in general are very transplant with costs.  If there are additional feature that are required they could be service driven that requires human input or automated solutions that requires additional setups.   Either way the prices are always clearly shown.  If in doubt always ask!

You’re in control….

Cloud solutions allow you to control the spend on all aspects of your business, as mentioned above e-mail is key to any business – if you’re down for 1 hour you have lost business, however investing in a great e-mail provider such as Google Business Apps or Microsoft Hosted Exchange you know they are HUGE players in the market they have full resilience and backup in case anything does go wrong.   Database, Applications and a plethora of other online solutions are available and can be purchased and setup within minutes!  As you can see what you’re buying you can control the overall spend!!  Adding services/features/users this can be done with a few changes to your subscription and in minutes too.

TriSys Business Software have been offering ‘Cloud’ based solution for 10 years, from simple application access to full blown hosted desktop environment and applications as your fingertips.  The ‘Cloud’ as a whole lets you grow your business as you see fit, not adding extra complexity or cost.  Empower your colleagues today and invest in ‘Cloud’ solutions and allow your business to grow!

Big Data

Big Data - the next Big thing..?

  

 

so what is Big Data?

  

 

Every day an increasing amount of information is gathered and stored by all manner of websites, companies, organisations and products.  We record data on everything from weather stations to shopping habits, social media to traffic trends. The volume of this data is growing at an alarming rate as we develop more complex programs for recording data down to the smallest detail for analysis, reporting and business intelligence, and the type of data that we can record is also evolving. 

 

 

Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data

 

 

The growing need for "trending" means that not only does an individual customers details now need to be stored, data for all customers is now required to be accessed quickly and analysed as a whole, to find trends and patterns across the whole collection of data whether that be thousands, millions or trillions of values to be analysed

 

 

90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone

 

 

Structured/UnStructured Data
Data now also does not only mean values and figures that can be represented in spread sheets and graphs as previously favoured. "Data" can now be stored as images, documents, emails, text messages, audio, video, etc.. These various data types are commonly known as “non-structured” or “unstructured”, ie: unable to be stored and analysed in a typical relational database.  This is the real issue faced by todays companies, the data they have stored is not able to be analysed in the traditional way, but simply ignoring this data would be foolhardy

 

 

Many organizations are becoming overwhelmed with the volumes of unstructured information — audio, video, graphics, social media messages — that falls outside the purview of their “traditional” databases. Organizations that do get their arms around this data will gain significant competitive edge

 

 

For example in the past medical records would be held in vast paper files containing Xrays, reports, doctors notes, etc.. Now those Xrays are recorded electronically and can be accessed from a doctors PC without the need for any physical document store.  One hospital will store and record thousands and thousands of Xrays, one hospital group will have millions. Big Data is the means of retrieving this information easily and comparing and analysing this data in a way which has never been possible previously

 

 

“We are only looking at what we have in our data warehouses, it’s not going to be enough for us to get the insights that we need. If you’re a retailer and you were not using all the information you could to judge your customers’ buying patterns, then the retailer across the street probably will, and they’ll steal your customers. That’s the realization, I think, that drove a lot of people to think that they should be capturing much, much more” 

 

 

Data Timeline
The other demand for data is timeliness.  The demand for “real-time” data is increasing, data that is 24 hours or even 1 hour out of date could be the difference between a successful business decision.   The accuracy of the information received often depends on the age of the data analysed, for example a hotel needs up to the minute room allocation data in order to receive new customers.  If this data was 10 minutes old then a room could be allocated twice, or customers turned away when a room is actually available.  For Credit Card companies the ability to recognise fraudulent activity quickly and stop the stolen card saves them many thousands of pounds
Real-time analytics is the big demand.  The Holy Grail is “getting and making effective use of information as it happens.”  Whoever can crack this will be the forerunner

 

 

'Data delayed' is 'Data Denied' 

 

 

Velocity – Often time-sensitive, big data must be used as it is streaming in to the enterprise in order to maximize its value to the business 

 

 

So now we understand that “Big Data” is the means of accessing and analysing large quantities of data regardless of size, format or timestamp

 

 

The next question is how do you compare millions of images to find trends and patterns? Originally in a "structured" database this would not be possible (useable), as a relational database is designed to analyse data, not images. For the latter we need a platform to query "non-structured" or “semi-structured” data.  New technologies are now emerging for the storing and analysing of this large volume structured and non-structured data, but it is still early days

 

 

Platform:
NoSql (short for Not Only SQL) is the term used to describe non-relational databases that can handle both structured and unstructured data.  There are several contenders for big data databases, some use no SQL at all while others utilise certain areas but avoid joins, etc..

 

 

Contenders:
Apache Cassandra is the most common NoSQL database, as used by Facebook
Apache Hadoop (to be integrated with SQL Server 2012 – more on this in the next blog)
SimpleDB
Google BigTable
MapReduce
MemcacheDB
Voldemort

 

 

It has been predicted that “Organisations that will leverage the new data types will outperform their peers by 20% by 2015” - If you ignore big data, your competition will not

 

 

Once Big Data takes off the possibilities opened up will create a lot of changes.  New cars fitted with “smart boxes” recording data about your driving could be accessed by Insurance companies, with lower premiums offered to those drivers who can prove they are a safer risk.  Medical data compared for millions of patients to identify high risk groups for certain illnesses or diseases, and tests developed to pick up the warning signs earlier for those most at risk. GPS data analysed to predict traffic volume and flow at peak times, Event data built into our satellite navigation to warn of possible delays. Live streaming from traffic cameras to our iPhones’.  Facebook photos used to identify benefit fraudsters

 

 

The realization that time to information is critical to extract value from data sources that include mobile devices, RFID, the web and a growing list of automated sensory technologies

TriSys Everywhere - The Economic Argument

I recently ran a poll on LinkedIn in which I asked all recruiters I know, including all TriSys customers, to choose how they prefer to access TriSys. The results are very interesting:

This poll proves that the TriSys windows desktop application delivered on a PC or via a secure remote desktop is favoured by 85% of TriSys customers.

These results however do not tell the full story.

Firstly, like all LinkedIn or social network polls, response is usually measured in dozens, rather than thousands which would be a much more representative sample size.

Secondly, we have not over-promoted our mobile or browser offerings to our customer base, rather we have relied on standard non-pushy sales and marketing techniques which our customers tend to prefer.

Finally, tablets are coming, together with a lot more smart phones. The latest research by IDC shows the following: 

Upon first glance it appears that smartphones are taking over the world, but it actually shows that PC and tablet sales are increasing over the next 4 years. Of course it also correctly predicts that most people on the planet will own a smart phone very soon.

The second chart shows this forecast from a different perspective: 

 

In this view, we see that it is laptop PC's in emerging markets which enjoy the greatest growth.

What does this mean for 'TriSys Everywhere'?

This latest research points the way to a more mobile, and global recruitment industry, whilst retaining the traditional PC and laptop, but augmenting this with many more mobile devices. TriSys will therefore continue to invest in R&D to supply recruiters with powerful, yet very accessible recruitment systems. By everywhere, we simply mean on every device in any location in the world.

Get ready for the future. Thanks for reading.

 


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