Sage Deploys Cloud and AI innovations for Business Transformations

Sage, the market and technology leader for integrated accounting, payroll & HR, and payment systems, underlined its strong commitment to future technologies this recently, with a focus on solutions that move business builders closer to a future of invisible admin at the Sage Summit Tour  in Africa and Middle East at the Sandton Convention Centre.


Sage Summit Tour in Africa and Middle East highlighted how business builders are moving closer to a future where accounting and admin is invisible

Sage spoke about how all Sage products will be connected to the cloud, with new mobile, social, chatbot and IoT (Internet of Things) offerings in the pipeline for the entire product portfolio.

It also highlighted a vision to empower business builders around the world to automate back-office functions, where accounting is invisible.

Sage used the Sage Summit Tour to discuss key product launches and developments. These include Sage Live, Sage One Payroll in East Africa and West Africa, the Sage X3 Fast Start configuration and more. Users got to see new technology in action, such as Pegg, the smart bot from Sage that helps you to track and manage expenses. These technologies allow businesses to automate processes, improve efficiency and become more agile.

Managing Director and Executive Vice-President, Africa & Middle East at Sage Anton van Heerden, while speaking at the event said that  Sage wants to enable entrepreneurs and business builders to spend less time on admin and more time on growing their businesses, developing innovative products and interacting with their customers.

He said: “Using the latest cloud technologies, we are focusing on addressing the immediate challenges our customers are facing today.”

In his keynote speech, Sage Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Kelly outlined a bold vision for a world of invisible accounting, powered by the cloud, bots and mobile technology.

“Artificial intelligence is the game changer for the next decade. Technology has made accounting business solutions much smarter, with admin capabilities that manage your business, enabling you to get on with your business and follow your dreams,” he said.

A panel discussion on the future of work saw industry experts explore the implications of automation alongside Sage experts. The accelerating pace of change and innovation means humans face an uncertain future and participants debated the challenges and opportunities this presents to leaders and organisations.

Panel moderator and Director of Inquisition at Sage, Vincent Hofmann concluded that while automation will surely replace many of the routine tasks that we do at work there is a case for optimism: new industries, new jobs will be created and people will be encouraged to refocus their time on creative problem solving and deriving more fulfilment from work. The recording of the discussion will be available next week as a podcast in Sage’s Invisible Admin podcast series.

Other speakers at the conference also issued a clarion call for digital transformation to businesses in Africa and the Middle East. “Don’t be a digital dinosaur. Never use the phrase ‘in my day’. If you’re alive, it’s your day,” said Nick Goode, ‎Executive Vice President, Product Management at Sage.

Head of Business, Sub-Saharan Africa at Uber Justin Spratt and Luke McKend, Country Director at Google South Africa both highlighted how growing connectivity are disrupting the world and creating new entrepreneurial opportunities.

“We need to take advantage of the fact that we’re more connected than ever, all the time,” said McKend, while Spratt pointed out that there will be mobile penetration of 90% by the end of 2017.

“Technologies such as the cloud, mobility and artificial intelligence are all unlocking innovation, driving better performance and helping the region’s businesses to become more competitive,” said Van Heerden. “Sage will provide business builders with ‘invisible accounting’ so they can focus on following their visions and changing the world.”

2 WikiLeaks Releases Files on CIA Cyber Spying Tools

Anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks has published what it said were thousands of pages of internal CIA discussions about hacking techniques used over several years, renewing concerns about the security of consumer electronics and embarrassing yet another U.S. intelligence agency.

The discussion transcripts showed that CIA hackers could get into Apple Inc iPhones, Google Inc Android devices and other gadgets in order to capture text and voice messages before they were encrypted with sophisticated software.

Cyber security experts disagreed about the extent of the fallout from the data dump, but said a lot would depend on whether WikiLeaks followed through on a threat to publish the actual hacking tools that could do damage.

Reuters could not immediately verify the contents of the published documents, but several contractors and private cyber security experts said the materials, dated between 2013 and 2016, appeared to be legitimate.

A longtime intelligence contractor with expertise in U.S. hacking tools told Reuters the documents included correct “cover” terms describing active cyber programs.

Among the most noteworthy WikiLeaks claims is that the Central Intelligence Agency, in partnership with other U.S. and foreign agencies, has been able to bypass the encryption on popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal.

The files did not indicate the actual encryption of Signal or other secure messaging apps had been compromised.

The information in what WikiLeaks said were 7,818 web pages with 943 attachments appears to represent the latest breach in recent years of classified material from U.S. intelligence agencies.

Security experts differed over how much the disclosures could damage U.S. cyber espionage. Many said that, while harmful, they do not compare to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 of mass NSA data collection.

“This is a big dump about extremely sophisticated tools that can be used to target individual user devices … I haven’t yet come across the mass exploiting of mobile devices,” said Tarah Wheeler, senior director of engineering and principal security advocate for Symantec.

Chief Executive Officer of Cylance, Stuart McClure, an Irvine, California, cyber security firm, said that one of the most significant disclosures shows how CIA hackers cover their tracks by leaving electronic trails suggesting they are from Russia, China and Iran rather than the United States.

Other revelations show how the CIA took advantage of vulnerabilities that are known, if not widely publicized.

In one case, the documents say, U.S. and British personnel, under a program known as Weeping Angel, developed ways to take over a Samsung smart television, making it appear it was off when in fact it was recording conversations in the room.

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