SA sommelier to take on world’s best

first_img3 October 2013 Xolani Mancotywa, sommelier at the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg, has been named South Africa’s Best Young Sommelier 2013 and will be flying to Washington, DC to compete with 11 other national finalists in the International Chaine des Rotisseurs Young Sommelier Competition. The contest will take place at the Fairmont Washington, DC Hotel in Georgetown on 18 October, with the winner receiving the gold medal and trophy at a dinner at the French Embassy in Washington, DC on the same day. The national and international competitions are similar in format to those of the Court of Master Sommeliers, involving a day-long exam which tests the sommeliers on theory, practical skills and blind tasting. Originally from Cape Town, Mancotywa became sommelier at the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg in November. He holds the rank of Certified Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers in the United Kingdom. Mancotywa became interested in wine as a career when he attended a series of wine appreciation lectures at the Warwick’s Chef School near Hermanus in 2008. “I was intrigued by the other learners being able to associate freshly cut grass with Sauvignon Blanc,” he said. “In that moment I knew I had a lot to drink and subsequently learn. This was with the hope of also enlightening those that were as lost as I was when it came to wine.” On his work at the Saxon, where 60% of the clientele is international, he comments: “Pinotage and Chenin Blanc are favorite choices for travelling guests staying at the hotel. These are the bedrock of the South African wine industry. For an international traveler, it is always great to taste the local produce. Areas like Stellenbosch are producing phenomenal wines that have guests shipping cases back home.” Given his extensive experience and expertise, how did Mancotywa prepare for his South African exam and the international competition in Washington, DC? “Study, study, study. Taste, taste, taste. Do service training daily. Eat, live, and breathe it. “It is surreal to compete at this level,” he says. “As a lover of our beautiful country, it is with pride one can compete and expose the world to what we do.” The Chaine de Rotisseurs is the world’s oldest and largest gastronomic society, with 25 000 members in over 70 countries. Source: Wine.co.zalast_img read more

Lessons Learned From Target.com’s Mess

first_imgRelated Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting david strom If you are looking for a textbook example of how not to design your website shopping experience, take a look at what has happened recently with Target.com. They left their partnership with Amazon earlier this summer and started using a bevy of consultants and VARs to create their own ecommerce site. It has been one mess, to say the least. We aren’t just talking about broken links, or pages that are slow to load, or problems with search, although there are plenty of all of these issues to go around. It is the totality of the screw-up that has gotten attention. The latest recounting of woe can be found here in AdAge.So what can you take away from all of this? Join our six-step program, and you too can recreate a miserable Web shopping experience and drive your own customers to your competitors quicker than you can say Pets.com.1. Hire multiple dueling consultants to develop different pieces of your site, and then make sure they don’t talk to each other.At one point, more than 20 different vendors were working on the project under the lead SapientNitro integrator, the same one that brought trouble to Singapore Airlines website earlier this summer. Perhaps naming the relaunch “Everest” was a sign that things were not going to go well with this project.2. Don’t build any scalable infrastructure. When the big traffic comes, you want to make sure that your site crashes and burns and can’t scale up to meet demand. Last month, a run on Missoni designer fashions crashed the site because of too much traffic, and many orders were cancelled automatically by the retailer.3. Don’t implement an effective customer support call center. There have been many complaints about shopping carts abandoned because check out times were stretching to half-hour or more, and faulty bridal registries. If customers can’t buy from you, or call you to resolve problems, they are going to leave.4. Make sure your marketing and IT departments have as little contact as possible. If you don’t have a common vision for the site and what you are trying to accomplish, then you are doomed. Granted, Target is a big company and there are lots of players on both sides. But they should be playing on the same team. This could explain the Missoni September disaster, which was heavily promoted – some stores were sold out of inventory in a matter of minutes – but didn’t have the Web chops behind the campaign.5. Use the wrong metrics to measure performance. AdAge reports that time spent on the site is up 19% from this time last year, but “that increase could be due in part to the difficulties consumers are experiencing using the site,” and not because people are more engaged or buying more stuff.6. Don’t engage your customers on social networks.Target’s Facebook page continues to get comments about items with multiple prices listed, shopping cart problems, slow responses, and more. And the reps from Target? MIA. Don’t bother with all this social networking stuff, better to let the customer sit on hold on the phone. Granted, Target.com is a big Web property. It is the 22nd largest Internet retailer in the U.S., with $1.33 billion in sales last year, according to trade publication Internet Retailer. In contrast, Amazon is No.1, notching $12.95 billion in sales last year. Maybe they do know a few things about ecommerce after all.  A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#Analysis#cloud#Trends 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Missouri governor stands by open-records policy

first_img(AP) Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s spokesman says his office will continue to shield certain contact information from public-record requests.Spokesman Steele Shippy on Tuesday defended the practice following complaints from Democratic Auditor Nicole Galloway.At issue is the Republican governor’s response to public record requests made by The Kansas City Star and others. Parson’s office has cited the First Amendment in redacting phone numbers, addresses and emails of private citizens who contacted the governor.The newspaper reports that Galloway requested that the state attorney general weigh in on whether Parson broke the law by making those redactions.Parson’s office has argued that it’s an issue of free speech and that constituents wouldn’t contact elected officials if they believed that information might become public.Shippy called Galloway’s criticism a “lame partisan political attempt.”last_img read more

10 Mobile BI Strategy Questions: Business Processes

first_imgWhen developing a mobile business intelligence (BI) strategy, you can’t ignore the role that business processes may play. In many cases, the introduction of BI content into the portfolio of mobile BI assets provides opportunities to not only eliminate the gaps in your business operations, but to improve the existing processes.Often, the impact is seen in two main ways. First, the current business processes may require you to change your mobile BI approach. Second, the mobile BI solution may highlight gaps that may require a redesign of your business processes to improve your mobile BI assets and your business operations.Business Processes Will Influence Your Mobile BI DesignExisting business processes will have a direct impact on the design of your mobile BI solution. I’m often amazed to discover that the lack of consideration given to identifying business processes stems not from a lack of insight but from wrong assumptions that are made during the requirements and design phases.It’s true that the business processes may not be impacted if the scope of your mobile BI engagement is limited to mobilizing an existing BI asset (like a report or dashboard) without making any changes to the original end-product, including all underlying logic. But in many cases, the opposite is true—the mobile BI end product may be the driver for change, including the update of the existing BI asset as a result of a mobile BI design.Mobile solutions may require different assumptions in many aspects of their design, which range from source data updates to report layout and logic. Advanced capabilities, such as a write-back option, will further complicate things because the integration systems outside the BI platform will require closer scrutiny and a much closer alignment with business processes.Moreover, constraints that surround source data will have a direct influence on the mobile BI design. For example, if you’re dependent on feeds from external data sources, you may need to consider an additional buffer to take into account possible delays or errors in the data feed. Or, perhaps you have a new application that was just built to collect manually-entered data from field operations. If this new application was introduced as part of your mobile BI solution, the process that governs this data collection system will have a direct impact on your design because of its immediate availability. This wouldn’t have been as important before as an operational tool with a limited audience without mobile BI.Mobile BI Solution May Drive Improvements in Your Business OperationsAs part of designing your strategy or developing your mobile BI solution, you may discover either gaps or areas for improvement. Don’t worry. This is a known side effect, and it’s often considered a welcome gift because it gives you a chance to kill two birds with one stone: improve your business operations and increase the value of your mobile BI solution. However, it’s critical here to ensure that your team stays focused on the end goal of delivering on time and on schedule (unless the gaps turn out to be major showstoppers).Typical examples are found in the areas of data quality and business rules. The design of a mobile BI asset—especially if it’s new—may highlight new or known data-quality issues. The visibility factor may be different with mobile. Adoption or visibility by executives often may force additional scrutiny. Moreover, adoption rates (ratio of actual users divided by total users of mobile solutions) may be higher because of the availability and convenience with mobile. As a result, mobile users may be less tolerant about the lack of quality assurance (QA) steps.Business rules offer another example due to the same visibility factor. A proposed change in a business rule or process, which previously failed to get attention due to lack of support, may now have more backers when it’s associated with a mobile BI solution. Strong executive sponsorship may influence the outcome.Bottom Line: Do Not Ignore Business ProcessesIt’s easy to make the wrong assumptions when it comes to business processes. It happens not just in mobile BI but in other technology projects. You cannot take existing processes for granted. What may have worked before may not work for mobile BI. Let your business processes complement your overall mobile BI strategy, and let your mobile BI engagement become a conduit for opportunities to improve your operational efficiencies.Not only will these opportunities improve your business operations, but they will lead to increased adoption by increasing the trust your customers/users have in your mobile BI content.What do you see as the biggest challenge when it comes to business processes in your mobile BI strategy?Stay tuned for my next blog in the Mobile BI Strategy seriesConnect with me on Twitter at @KaanTurnaliOpens in a new window and LinkedInOpens in a new window.This story originally appeared on the SAP Analytics BlogOpens in a new window.last_img read more