Welcome to our first newsletter for the new Ascent financial year. While the recent past has been challenging for all of us, we at Ascent believe that the corner has well and truly been turned. With that conviction comes an invigorated anticipation of the new challenges which lie ahead. This is also our last newsletter before the World Cup kicks off here in South Africa; we hope all our customers are feeling the same levels of excitement we are. After all, this is definitely a momentous event in our country’s recent history.
Tackling the skills shortage
There is no doubt that the country is currently experiencing a severe skills shortage in a number of key areas. We understand that many customers are struggling to find people with proficiencies in specialised areas, such as database administration. Fortunately for our clients, Ascent has recently completed its annual Partner Accreditation Programmes for both Microsoft and Oracle.
As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with accredited competencies in Data Management and Business Intelligence Solutions, as well as a Gold Certified Oracle Partner, we know that we can offer all the skills necessary to help our customers overcome any challenges they may be facing in this regard.
Ascent has witnessed an interesting market shift from within our client base, as a result of their need to access these hard-to-find skills. With a greater number of organisations considering cost-cutting measures and implementing consolidation procedures, the need to access people with reliable proficiencies in key areas has brought about a major swing towards the adoption of co-/outsourcing models.
In particular, Ascent believes that the co-/outsourcing model represents the future for database administration. This model protects customers from potential disasters and unnecessary downtime, while enabling them to retain ownership of their sites, intellectual property and equipment. At the same time, they have the security of knowing that Ascent is providing the skilled personnel to manage and optimise their entire database operations.
There is no doubt that this market swing is driven by the improved cost efficiencies offered by the model, as well as the more reliable and consistent service assured by Ascent’s strong service level agreements.
An end to downtime
Organisations have quickly come to realise the damage that downtime can do to their business. The loss of income and trust that can occur should there be an unexpected loss of continuity can be disastrous. For this reason, high availability is non-negotiable for most companies.
Ascent has professional skills in this area, as we have competencies in terms of both Microsoft SQL Server Clustering and Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC). As specialists in the area of high availability, we are witnessing growing demand. This is borne out by the large number of implementations of these environments we are performing in any given month.
Recovering from disaster
The need for high availability ties directly into an organisation’s business continuity and disaster recovery requirements. In addition, there is also a growing body of compliance legislation that advocates the necessity of a good disaster recovery plan.
Because of these burgeoning requirements, we continue to receive requests from our customers for disaster recovery solutions. Thanks to our proficiencies with Microsoft SQL Server Replication and Oracle Dataguard, we are able to provide the answers to any and all requirements for these solutions.
Ascent Technology continues to place a strong focus on issues like skills development and corporate responsibility. The company has been rewarded for this progressive stance by being recognised as a Level Three contributor, according to the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Codes of Good Practice, as laid down by the Department of Trade and Industry. The company has also been listed on the National BBBEE Registry.
This is an improvement on the previous year’s Level Four rating, indicating that Ascent has met or exceeded the various scorecard elements which are taken into consideration. These include management control, employment equity, skills development, and socio-economic development, amongst others. We are proud of this achievement, which we believe is a reflection of the work we have done and are continuing to do in this respect.
HyperBac changes hands
In a turn of events that will be of strong interest to many of our clients, HyperBac Technologies has been acquired by Red Gate. As the new owners operate on a direct sales-basis only, they have negated the previous channel model. This means that customers who have purchased the HyperBac software solution from Ascent will now receive all the necessary support directly from Red Gate. Strong continuity is, however, assured and Red Gate will no doubt be contacting all local HyperBac customers in the near future in order to build relationships going forward.
Driving teambuilding home
As part of its continuing goal to deliver fantastic service to customers, Ascent has instituted an ongoing teambuilding exercise. The initial results have been driven home – quite literally. At a go-karting challenge held at the Randburg Raceway, staff members were split into teams from different departments, in order to have fun while learning a bit more about each other.
It was most enjoyable to see everyone at the event, working together in a relaxed and fun-filled environment. In addition, we all learned new things about our fellow employees. For example, while database administrators may appear timid, they are ultra-competitive when behind the wheel.
In addition to the teambuilding, we’ve kicked off a cultural cuisine experience, which ties in with our support for Bafana Bafana and the World Cup. A series of international dinner evenings have exposed our employees to a variety of different cultures. Our most recent dinner at a Thai restaurant tied in nicely with the national team’s friendly against Thailand. Great fun was had by all as our employees demolished the menu in much the same way as our team did the opposition. Perhaps our next event will see us eating Mexican or French food!
The last word
We have taken the ‘Football Friday’ concept to heart as well, purchasing shirts that can show our Proudly South African stance in support of the national team. There is no doubt that this is going to be a watershed year in South African history. It has already proven to be a great one for Ascent, with numerous successes under our belt. It is therefore our sincere hope that Bafana Bafana will experience at this World Cup the kind of success that Ascent has already achieved in 2010!
By: Johan Lamberts