InfoSlips Press Releases
1st press release
Tilos brings unique software model to SA
Tilos Business Solutions, a Midrand-based company, has developed a model of
software that has proven to be unique in SA. “The only software that is even remotely
close is Hummingbird, a US software company,” according to Sybille McCloghrie,
director at Tilos.
Explaining the company’s success, McCloghrie says the technology is leading edge
and adds value to business. Tilos has proven particularly popular among outsourcing
services providers dealing with old legacy systems. “With our software they can layer
over old systems, do a technology uplift, and create quick point solutions,” she says.
The software vendor has adopted a varied partner model, including IT consultants,
big solutions providers such as Business Connecxion, Accenture and CS Holdings,
as well as smaller niche players in vertical sectors.
Any reseller who has very specific vertical sector knowledge is welcome to partner
with Tilos. The software is intuitive and requires little technical skill. “Our aim with our
software is that business people can use it and make changes to it,” she says. The
software is Microsoft based.
The benefits to partnering with Tilos is access to a close-knit network of partners,
which allows a lot of cross referencing, lead generation and cooperation to take
place, she says.
Tilos is currently expanding its international footprint. The company already has a
distribution channel in England, Russia, Scotland, Germany and Dubai.
2nd press release
Tilos Learning Portal unites training systems under one banner
Tilos Business Solutions has developed and released its Learning Portal to
consolidate disparate learning management systems (LMSes) and diverse content
under one umbrella. Compatible with most content authoring tools, it allows for a
diversity of courseware to be incorporated into one consistent front-end.
Clients can push information down to users based on comparisons to key
performance indicators (KPIs), balanced scorecards, analytics and performance
management, rather than relying on people to pull down the information in an erratic
or unstructured manner. Thus existing investments in technology and related e-
learning assets are exploited to their fullest extent, while change management and
adoption issues are minimised.
The product, a fully-fledged e-learning solution, uses Tilos's other products - Tilos
Portal, Workflow, Self Service, Document Manager and MIS++ - as "building blocks",
consistent with Tilos's overall approach to delivering business software solutions.
" The e-learning portal is the glue to a learning solution within an organisation," says
Debbie Hill, head of the services division of Tilos. "It provides a company with one
place of learning, enabling users to log into the portal and have access to all training
content, learning management systems (LMSes), HR systems and more. Also, any
third-party system within an organisation can have access from the portal where
" You don't need to discard what you already have. Tilos Documents allows for any
type of media already in the organisation to link into the system."
The portal addresses compliance issues, as well as reports for the South African
Qualifications Authority (SAQA), for those organisations wishing to claim back part of
their Skills Development Levy for training that has been undertaken. The application
comes with some standard reporting functionality, so adding further elements merely
involves configuration rather than customisation. Thus total cost of ownership (TCO)
is not prohibitive when it comes to scalability.
Tilos advocates a "blended learning" approach, incorporating classroom-based
training, ad hoc content training and self-study learning over the Web - all of which
can be incorporated into an e-learning strategy. This results in reduced learning and
training costs through reduction in travel and accommodation expenses, as well as
less time in the classroom.
The Tilos MIS++ integrated management environment provides a robust and
interactive assessment and analytical platform that delivers summarised and high-
level training information to management to facilitate and quicken the decision-
making process. This component of the e-learning solution provides the ability to
store, mine and extract learning data in the organisation into simple, readable,
Sybille McCloghrie, director of Tilos, says it is key to an organisation's growth to
provide a single place of learning in a company. "There should be a single look and
feel for the organisation and a standard framework of learning," she says.
" What differentiates the Tilos portal is that it's a proactive system that can push
down the right information at the right time and place to correspond with the profile of
a person in terms of career and development paths. This gives learners access to the
training content/information they need to perform their jobs, which in turn allows
critical business decisions to be made faster."
Hill adds: "The solution assists in the initial creation and the constant reinforcement
of corporate identity, within the e-learning space, via one view/entry point of the
portal and logon that is customised to the organisation's brand."
From a corporate social responsibility perspective, the learning portal can be
extended to the greater community and families of employees for literacy training, for
If an organisation does not have an LMS, the system can provide simple LMS
functionality. In addition, Tilos can source content for its clients. It works with various
partners, and is not tied into specific content providers. It will deliver content
according to client requirements.
McCloghrie says the solution is vertical-independent, and suitable for all industries,
"from government to financial to telecoms. It is chameleon-like in terms of its
3rd press release
InfoSlips: Real-time personal information portals
When InfoSlips were first released to market they were seen as a new type of user
interface, but they offer more than merely a way of distributing and displaying
information. Not only do InfoSlips offer a rich client interface combined with the
versatility of a Web page; they also seamlessly integrate data from diverse sources
into an easy-to-read package. A differentiating feature is that once a person has
received their InfoSlip, usually via email, they can work totally offline and
independent of any connectivity or servers.
Alan Burger, CTO of Tilos Business Solutions, driver of the InfoSlip revolution in
South Africa and Europe, offers a simple example: “By offering staff their payslip as
an InfoSlip, companies not only display the relevant payroll information to each
person, but they can also integrate data from the HR database, the medical aid
database, each person’s mini bank or credit card statement and personal details from
almost any source they choose – even offering financial advice.
“ The employee can simply click on his pension contribution to view his accumulated
totals, or click on her medical aid deduction to immediately view her latest medical
aid statement,” he continues. “InfoSlips have revolutionised the process of providing
standard information to people – and there’s much more to come.”
Not only does an InfoSlip contextualise information from multiple systems and
package it in a readable format; it is also a secure method of communicating, with
guaranteed delivery and it can notify the sender once it has been read.
Additionally, more querying facilities are set to appear on new releases of InfoSlip
technology. Once an executive receives a report, for example, clicking on an item of
interest will allow him to drill down into the corporate database (as far as he has
authorisation to delve) from the InfoSlip. There is no need for third-party applications
or to understand business analytics; simply point and click.
Because of the Microsoft technology behind InfoSlips, information does not have to
be displayed as text either. The interface can be engaging and graphical, presenting
information in charts and graphs, again allowing the user to click on a diagram to drill
down for more information.
Burger adds this flexibility is necessary as different people process information
differently. “Two people can look at the same piece of paper and come away with two
different impressions of what information the page delivered. The same can happen
with InfoSlips, except each reader can be guided to the information the sender wants
them to see and they can view it in the format they prefer.
“ In terms of compliance regulations, the InfoSlip is the ideal vehicle to extract data
from various sources, package it so that it’s easy to read and send it securely to
people within and external to a company,” adds Burger. “Management can ensure
every person who should receive the information actually gets it and reads it.”
Like an e-mail, each InfoSlip can also be digitally signed to ensure the information
delivered is the same as the information sent and nobody has intercepted the
message and read or changed the data. In an age where data security is top of mind
for most IT managers, InfoSlips are ready for the most stringent security policies.
InfoSlips can be used for almost any task companies use to supply information,
either to customer or employees, whether a statement, payslip, an invoice or even
reports on the status of the company. The ability to easily display a rich interface and
to drill down to more in-depth data, even if it resides on multiple, disparate, remote
systems with a click differentiates this technology from others that simply display
“ In a world in which access to information is critical, the InfoSlip is a personalised,
integrated independant information portal delivering real-time data into the hands of
readers,” concludes Burger
4th press release
Cheeky entrant breaks down the club door
Report finds that the big four banks control payments system
If you were to start a bank from scratch, you’d probably take the route of Standard
Chartered or Egg, the UK online bank: no branches, no tellers and no cash-in-
transit. Just a rack of gently humming computers, plenty of bandwidth and a team of
wired warriors in the background to handle the back office and client queries.
Customers who need cash can draw from thousands of competitor-owned ATMs, a
service for which they pay the standard Saswitch rates (Saswitch is the switch
allowing customers from one bank to draw cash from another bank’s ATM).
Starting a bank from scratch you would have the benefit of standardizing IT systems
at the outset, passing on the ample savings to customers in the form of attractive
lending and deposit rates. It remains to be seen, however, how Standard Chartered
fares over the long term, but the rowdy launch of its 20one banking product – a
deposit account and credit facility rolled into one – caused angst in some quarters.
2-twenty was plucked by Standard Chartered from the Saambou quagmire in 2003
and relaunched earlier this year with the cheeky tag line: “What you’re currently
paying in interest is obscene.”
FNB fought back with a campaign of its own, dwelling on the gaps in Standard
Chartered's product offering (though it didn’t name the bank). Standard Chartered
SA CEO John Kivits says the online bank intends launching home loans before year-
end, to be followed by a range of retail products, some of which may carry the
Standard Chartered brand.
“ We’re signing up new customers at a steady rate,” says Kivits. “What’s interesting is
the typical profile of customers now compared with when Standard Chartered first
launched several years ago. We’re finding customers are more mature and slightly
better credit risks.
In 2000, Standard Chartered's customers were more technology savvy. This shows
how the online market has matured over the past few years.”
Standard Chartered charges prime rates for lending – about half the rate charged for
typical credit card dept by a high street bank – and pays interest of between 1% and
6%, depending on the size of deposits. Interest payable on outstanding credit
balances is reduced each time a deposit is made, and advantage of having a credit
and deposit account rolled into one.
Most banks offer a consolidated credit facility that allows customers to pool their
credit card, mortgage, overdraft and other debts into a single account attracting one,
low interest rate.
The difference is that 20one is available to anyone earning R5 000/month and bank
fees are capped at R100/month.
All this is that 20one is available to anyone earning R5 000/month and bank fees are
capped at R100/month.
All this is made possible by Standard Chartered's low overhead, online banking
model. The bank uses Wealthview, supplied by Canadian-based Fincentric, as its
banking engine. SA-based Tilos Business Solutions provided solutions for the
automation of business processes, integrating the website with the internal work flow
and document management. Tilos CEO Sybille McCloghrie says the system was
designed to optimize the workflow.
“ Customers open an account by filling out a form online and it is then directed to the
appropriate team in the bank. The system is designed to carry out a credit check with
Experian and staff can monitor where the application sits at any time.
“ The whole process is intuitive and is designed with the customer in mind. The
turnaround time on account applications is fast and customers do not need to fill out
new forms for each subsequent interaction with the bank.”
Standard Chartered competitors may feign equanimity at this assault on their retail
heartland, but now government has them in its sights.
A recent Treasure-sponsored report into the banking industry found that low- and
middle-income earners faced “exceptionally high bank charges”, disclosure of
banking fees was poor and the big four banks controlled the payments system.
The report urged the competition commission “to investigate the possibility of a
complex monopoly in the payments system”.
5th press release
Tilos sets new management information standards with launch of MIS++
Tilos Business Solutions has developed and announced Tilos MIS++, an active
management information system (MIS) that formally structures data and provides
meaningful support to management and other decision-makers. As such, it goes
beyond traditional management information and other business intelligence systems
to identify issues of concern to management, along with a set of recommended
Sybille McCloghrie, director of Tilos, says MIS++ is an integrated management
environment, rather than just an MIS. "Usually, an MIS deals with figures and reports,
with a core focus on users performing queries. That environment does not provide
real support to management, as the final product is merely a set of reports and
cubes," McCloghrie notes. "If the reports manage to show that something is wrong,
systems do not provide a corrective path. With MIS++, if turnover is down, for
example, it suggests the appropriate corrective interventions. It is an active
management environment, as opposed to a data warehouse that simply provides
review information to management."
A host of metadata underlies MIS++, detailing the relationships between various
types of data. It formalises outputs, such as sales figures, and ensures management
"compares apples with apples", McCloghrie says. Data is formally managed and
figures derived are traceable. "For example, you can follow sales data to its source to
see how the final figures were derived," McCloghrie says.
Tilos initially invested R10 million in developing the system, which was conceived in
response to client needs. These included the strategic importance of an MIS
environment in areas such as:
Information retrieval and reporting requirements;
Measuring key performance indicators;
The integration of budget requirements into a consolidated whole;
Web-based information delivery; and
Improved customer relationship handling and identification of opportunities
McCloghrie notes: "Whether these are all undertaken together with an initial project
or subsequently, the building blocks in the MIS++ environment, together with the
integration of workflow and document management, can be rapidly customised and
deployed to create a comprehensive solution. This represents a rapid, cost-effective
approach to providing a single integrated management perspective. "MIS++ is a point
of departure for the fast, cost-effective, complementary development of other
systems, such as e-learning, budgeting, forecasting, activity-based costing, and even
elements of CRM."
The solution provides core functionality for integrated reporting and management,
including the necessary methods and metadata to interface to legacy and underlying
systems. The active management and reporting environment can be a foundation for
additional solutions (either as short-term "glue" or as a long-term solution), such as
one or a combination of any of:
Customer relationship functionality
Employee financial wellness management
Budgeting and forecasting
Performance management and reporting at the organisational level or down to
the individual employee
Compliance architecture for FAIS and Basel II
Rapid deployment is enabled by the rich suite of existing MIS++ building blocks,
leveraging the MIS++ workflow integration and extractions and interfaces to systems
already implemented for MIS++, with the ability to provide integrated views across
multiple diverse systems.
McCloghrie says: "MIS++ provides management with a powerful tool for integrated
reporting across diverse and changing information systems. Business can be
insulated from these changes, in that management reporting and cross-system action
management can be deployed from this layer.
" Management reporting ensures management still has an end-to-end understanding
of operations, irrespective of data source. Cross-system action management allows
management to trigger, manage and report on specific business actions essential to
continuing functionality." McCloghrie concludes: "The solution to many reporting
problems goes beyond the traditional data mart/warehouse to a focus on the
workflow and management of information and knowledge. It is not enough to run
multiple complex queries in a functional area and produce multiple outputs if this is
not done with an outcomes-based framework.
" With MIS++, a focused and formally managed subset of critical management
objects is defined, including critical success factors and key performance
indicators and measurements. The lifecycle of these is then managed within
the ambit of a set of methods that allows for the acquisition, collation, analysis
and deployment of data, information and knowledge in a formal yet flexible,
responsive and user-friendly framework."
6th press release
E-government systems help deliver essential services to the poor
Local government authorities can deliver essential services to poorer people by
implementing e-government systems. Sybille McCloghrie, director of Tilos, says this
is because such systems improve efficiencies and thereby save money.
E-government technology systems increase efficiency and reduce duplication of
processes, thereby delivering cost savings to local authorities.
This has an impact on the delivery of services to poorer people. Because these
departments operate more efficiently, they have more money at their disposal to
provide essential services, such as water, electricity, sewage and rubbish removal.
E-government is the transformation of government communications and systems to
online services, to meet the needs of the business community, citizens, non-
government organisations, government departments, employees and legal entities, in
innovative ways, using technologies like the Internet, interactive voice response
(IVR), kiosks, and other means.
ITWeb reports Jack Shilubane, acting government CIO, as saying that development
work on the national e-government project is complete. Some municipalities have
already launched enhanced customer service portals. Shilubane says all government
information will be integrated on a single portal. Some departments, provinces, and
municipalities have been doing e-government projects, begun before the government
gateway was established. They will ultimately fit into the national process.
One such local authority that has begun e-government initiatives is Potchefstroom
City Council (PCC). To ensure it keeps tabs on all business processes arising from
incoming and outgoing documents and delivers the service its public requires, the
city's officials have implemented a Web-based document management, workflow and
The implementation at Potchefstroom creates a solid foundation on which to expand
to a full e-government service.
The system is paperless. All documents are routed via the workflow engine, so there
is no movement of paper documents between and among people and departments.
Even older employees, who are usually scared of technology, love the system, as
they don't have to trace their documents and write notes to each other anymore -
everything they need is stored in a place that is convenient for everyone to access.
Interaction among the fire, electricity and land departments is starting to happen.
Getting documents to another department used to be an issue - now they are all
connected via a LAN and have access to all the documents they should.
The departments are operating more cohesively. Ratepayers are also enjoying
enhanced service - they are no longer pushed from department to department when
they have a query, as all documents are at the fingertips of any PCC official.
Efficiencies are up and customer service is improved.
Documents such as applications for erf rezoning, agendas and meeting minutes, are
no longer lost. This helps the council deal with compliance issues.
If the mayor uses the system's push function to tell someone something must be
done by a certain date and time, there is a pull function that alerts him if the job is not
completed on schedule. He can then find out why it is not done, allocate it to another
person, or allow more time for the task to be completed.
There is also an auto schedule function that can be set to alert a specific person that
a job done six months ago is up for review, for example.
All documents are now scanned as they enter the council. The paper document is
then stored in the central archives, the department tasked with holding and managing
all physical documents for the council. The image is saved in PCC's workflow system
and routed to the city secretary, who assigns each document to the appropriate
people and departments.
Staff in the workflow process can add notes to the documents without affecting the
original, keeping everyone updated as to what has occurred since the document
entered the system and highlighting any problems or anomalies.
Recurring errors, such as a staff member continually returning a document or
forwarding an incomplete document, are a warning beacon that additional training is
necessary, allowing PCC to plan for corrective action targeted at real problems that
employees experience in their day-to-day routines.
Should a member of the public call in to find out the progress on a letter sent to the
council, for example, the council can immediately provide all pertinent information,
such as what still needs to be done and by when the process should be finished.
The system intuitively and constantly improves productivity and the way things are
done. This helps PCC deliver on its commitment to good governance for all its
Such a package can be used by even the largest metropolitan municipal regions, as
it eases communications and control across a dispersed organisation. It is the first
step in helping local authorities to meet national e-government requirements ahead
of the government's plan