Latest Blogs

What’s the Value of an Apple Repair Certification?

Posted on Wednesday 9th October 2019 10:05

What’s the value of an Apple repair certification? | Blog

As leading Apple training providers, we often receive queries about the benefits of gaining an Apple repair certification. Besides the joy of repairing beautiful devices, we’re confident that an Apple repair certification will boost your career. In this article we’re going to show you the tangible benefits of Apple repair training.

Career Prospects with Apple Repair Certification

The Apple Certified Macintosh Technician (ACMT) and Apple Certified iOS Technician (ACiT) certifications are required to repair Apple devices under warranty. With the number of Apple devices continuing to grow, the need for this skill is increasing accordingly. This applies to both customer-facing Apple repair businesses and organisations needing to maintain their own devices internally.

Salary Expectations for Apple Technicians

An Apple technician can expect an average salary of £20,000 per year. If you gain the Apple repair certification and become an Apple Genius, that average rises to £28,000. When you diversify your skills further—by becoming an Apple trainer or Apple consultant, for example—that figure can increase.

Without further ado, let’s look at the roles you could win by taking an Apple repair course.

Apple Support Technician at a Business or School

Macs and iOS devices are popular across industries, though particularly in schools and universities. These often prefer to become an Apple Self Servicing Account (SSA), so they can repair their devices in-house. To gain SSA status they need an ACMT or ACiT certified technician. An applicant with these Apple repair certifications is more likely to be hired than one without.

Apple Genius or Technical Expert at an Apple Store

Have you ever been to an Apple Store and thought, “How did they get that job?” The answer is: with Apple repair training. While an Apple Technical Specialist must be ACiT qualified, an Apple Genius must be skilled in both ACMT and ACiT. Of course, these are not everything an Apple Store looks for when hiring. Still they are a distinct advantage for the technical side of these roles.

Apple Technician at an Apple Authorised Service Provider (AASP)

The qualities applicants need here are similar to those needed to work at an Apple Store. However, because AASPs tend to be local businesses, they typically receive fewer applicants than Apple. They may also offer a unique range of services, which means that job descriptions vary from one AASP to another. But as long as Apple repair is in the mix, there are no qualifications more valuable than ACiT and ACMT.

4 Steps to SAP Licence Optimisation

Posted on Thursday 3rd October 2019 12:19

SAP licensing is complex. Licence management, contractual obligations, complicated metrics, and industry-specific systems combine to make SAP licence optimisation a very necessary art. And as high-profile examples such as the SAP vs Diageo case show, misunderstandings can come with a damaging price tag. The key to avoiding this is awareness of your exact licence usage. Once you have the data, SAP licence optimisation is relatively easy to achieve.

Even if you believe you’re totally compliant, there’s a chance your organisation could save money by cutting under-used licences. In fact, the majority of SAP users are over-licensed, typically by 20 to 30 percent.

Over-Licensing and How to Avoid It

Over-licensing usually occurs when SAP licensing is based on predicted usage, rather than actual usage. To take one example, identifying 10 employees who are over-licensed by £2,000 would result in an immediate saving of £20,000. By replicating this process across dormant, low-activity, and duplicate users, the savings increase rapidly. Again, the key here is understanding and in-depth analysis.

With 25 years of BI licensing experience behind us, Influential Software’s consultants are experts in the field. And as an independent SAP Partner trusted by FTSE 100 and 250 clients, we have your best interests at heart. Don’t let SAP licensing weigh you down—consult the experts today.

The Hidden Danger of Non-Compliance

The SAP vs Diageo case showed just how slippery licensing agreements can be. At the crux of the issue were the definitions of “use”, “access”, “direct”, and “indirect”. The verdict ruled that Diageo’s indirect access to the SAP licences via a third-party system was included in the agreement’s definition. For this reason regular technical audits, conducted with a thorough understanding of SAP licence agreements, are crucial to ensuring compliance.

Quick Questions for SAP Licence Optimisation

  • Do you frequently check the licence usage in your organisation?
  • Are your organisation’s licensing agreements available to all who need them?
  • Do you have clear responsibilities defined for SAP software asset management?
  • Are you aware of how many surplus SAP licences you could redeploy?

If the answer to any of these questions is negative or unsure, then SAP licence optimisation should be a priority.

How to Excel at SAP Software Asset Management

The route to savings and compliance consists of four basic steps.

1. Evaluation

Our consultants will provide a report of your contractually available SAP licences and how that contrasts with SAP’s view on your environment. This will show up any licensing gaps that could indicate non-compliance.

2. Optimisation

An in-depth analysis of your usage will reveal your actual SAP software activity. This will highlight issues such as incorrect deployments, outdated software, accidental installations, and duplicate licences.

3. Renegotiation

At this point it’s important to turn any grey areas in your SAP agreement into black and white. Having negotiated with SAP on clients’ behalf for over 20 years, we hold our corner in this domain.

4. Ongoing awareness

By developing processes for ongoing monitoring of licence usage, you will ensure accurate licensing and compliance into the future.

Find out how much you could save on SAP licensing.

TM1 End of Life Arrives: Upgrade to IBM Planning Analytics

Posted on Thursday 26th September 2019 11:33

TM1 End of Life Arrives: Upgrade to IBM Planning Analytics - Blog

TM1 end of life is coming on 30 September. Besides the lack of IBM support, there are compelling positive reasons to upgrade to IBM Planning Analytics.

As the natural successor to TM1, IBM Planning Analytics combines modern features with a simple, familiar UI. The spreadsheet-based interface is powered by the multi-dimensional IBM TM1 engine. IBM has also made major improvements to enhance collaboration, server performance, and security.

Does your organisation want to ensure a timely, reliable, and tailored upgrade to IBM Planning Analytics? Having worked with Cognos and IBM solutions since 1993, Influential Software’s experience in this area is unrivalled in the UK.

Top 3 Reasons to Upgrade to IBM Planning Analytics

As noted above, TM1 end of life isn’t the only reason to upgrade to IBM Planning Analytics. Read on for the top four enhancements you’ll find in latest IBM analytics solution.*

IBM Planning Analytics Workspace

Workspace is the customisable interface that is the new face of TM1. It supports reporting, analysis, and write-back, with an interactive viewer that makes it easy to navigate multi-dimensional cubes and share results with others. This interface has been praised by customers and analysts alike for its ease of use. And with more than 25 different images, charts, maps, and scorecards, Workspace lets you create compelling visualisations quickly. It’s also mobile, so you can work with Workspace books at your convenience, on an iPad or other tablet devices.

IBM Planning Analytics for Microsoft Excel

The IBM Planning Analytics for Microsoft Excel add-on is the successor to IBM® Cognos Analysis for Microsoft Excel (CAFE). It gives you Excel access to the IBM® TM1 database with superior performance over wide-area networks. It lets you retain full Excel functionality and formatting when moving data between TM1 and Excel, and integrates smoothly with Workspace, sharing a common UX, Cube Viewer, and Set Editor.

New Hierarchies

The “hierarchies” capability in IBM Planning Analytics provides both technical advantages and business-user benefits. With hierarchies, you’re not limited to the traditional definition of cubes. You have the flexibility to perform in-depth, granular analysis, exploring data by attributes such as customer, product, sales program, and more. You can model attributes and drill into them without having to create a new dimension or add elements (members) to the hierarchy. You can also see the intersections of several hierarchies within the same dimension, so you can drill down to find data points never before possible.

Getting Greatest Value from IBM Planning Analytics

IBM Planning Analytics is your enterprise’s nerve centre. For the whole body to work together, you need it perfectly configured and aligned with your business. As a decades-long IBM Partner, Influential Software has the expertise to give the results you expect from Planning Analytics.


If you’re interested in upgrading, why not speak to our IBM experts?

*This section has been adapted from content on our partner IBM’s website.

Understanding the SAP Business Objects Licensing Model

Posted on Friday 20th September 2019 5:03

Understanding the SAP Business Objects Licensing Model - Blog

As a general rule, SAP licensing is based on two components: packages and named users. The SAP Business Objects licensing model is quite straightforward. There’s no longer a need to consider CPUs or cores. And if you only use SAP BusinessObjects as display-only BI, then named user licences are not necessary either. That leaves us with package licences to consider.

However, the type of package licence you require depends on metrics. For the SAP Business Objects licensing model, these metrics are “concurrent session” and “user”. It’s up to you which of these, separately or together, you want to use.

Could you reduce your BusinessObjects costs?

Metrics in the SAP Business Objects Licensing Model

There’s a simple way to differentiate “user” licences and “concurrent session” licences. While concurrent session licences can be used by anyone—but only one at a time—user licences are reserved for a particular person.

So with a concurrent session licence, other users will have to wait for the current user to leave before they can use the licence. But a user licence is available to a single, named person at all times.

Concurrent Sessions in Practice

Let’s look at a practical example of concurrent sessions. In this scenario, the administrator sets up 1,000 users of the type “concurrent session”. At the same time, the system is limited to 250 logins (concurrent sessions) at the same time. Therefore, when the 251st user tries to log in, the system won’t allow it. But when one of the 250 users logs off, then the waiting user will be allowed in.

The key to setting up this kind of licensing correctly is to look at historical usage data to inform the number of concurrent sessions you’ll need.

In addition to the above, here are a few notable points:

A single user can engage in multiple sessions at the same time if these are across different access points, such as Live Office, BI Launchpad, or BI Mobile. Concurrent session licences are limited to one deployment. They cannot be shared across various deployments you might have.

User Licensing in Practice

It’s worth clarifying that named users do not count towards the number of concurrent sessions being consumed at any time. In addition, named users can log in to multiple deployments—they aren’t limited to one.

Beyond Display Only Licensing

There are some users, such as administrators and query builders, who will need greater rights than display only. For these roles, there are the following named user licences:

  • SAP Business Expert User
  • SAP Business Analytics Professional User
  • SAP Business Intelligence (BI) Limited User

BusinessObjects Licence Optimisation

Cutting to the bottom line, how can you optimise your SAP BusinessObjects licensing model? The answer is by identifying your usage and tailoring your licensing to match. Of course, the licensing model will change and it pays to find expert support. Both in terms of compliance and to avoid excess costs, our licence optimisation services are an investment in peace of mind.

Are you spending too much on BusinessObjects licensing?

SAP BusinessObjects 4.3 Features for Hybrid Deployment

Posted on Wednesday 18th September 2019 1:31

SAP BusinessObjects 4.3 Features for Hybrid Deployment - Blog

While cloud BI is gaining traction, the majority of enterprises want to retain their on-premise investments as well. The new SAP BusinessObjects 4.3 features, scheduled for Q2 2020, are set to meet this hybrid requirement.

For those whose main interest still lies in on-premise, there’s nothing to fear. SAP’s ongoing investment into SAP BusinessObjects and Web Intelligence (WebI) demonstrates this. Customers using version 4.2 will be able to transition to 4.3 with a simple update. No migration is required.

The SAP BusinessObjects 4.3 features will facilitate this hybrid deployment by improving connectivity between on-premise and SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC). These developments take the following form:

  • Synchronisation of on-premise BusinessObjects users with SAC
  • An improved live connection between SAC and universes
  • Consumption from SAC Webi documents as a data source
  • Automatic report publishing through integration with SAP Analytics Hub

Are you in need of SAP BI assistance? Whether you’re firmly on-premise or looking at the cloud, our SAP consultants have the experience to assist. Find out more on our SAP BusinessObjects and SAP Analytics Cloud websites—or simply drop us a message.

Details of the New Hybrid Structure

The key to version 4.3’s hybrid structure is stronger integration with SAP Analytics Cloud. This includes the following changes to Live Universe Connector 3.0:

Increased performance, without moving on-premises data to the cloud, when using SAP Analytics Cloud on top of BusinesObjects Universes

  • The option to apply data-level security
  • Support for SAP Analytics Cloud features – regardless of the data source – such as powerful queries and visualisations made with business terms
  • Better support of SAP Analytics Cloud capabilities, such as powerful queries and visualizations created using business terms, regardless of the data source

Streamlined User Management and SSO Configuration

Another new feature of this hybrid structure is the SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence Data Model. With this capability you can both reuse your existing Web Intelligence documents to build new information and consume Web Intelligence data in SAC.

Meanwhile, hybrid user management enables you to deliver System for Cross-domain Identity Management (SCIM) APIs. In this way you can easily onboard on-premise groups or individual users to the cloud. This also allows SAC users to access on-premise data, via the SAP Identify Provisioning Service.

At SAP, Change Is the Only Constant

As we have seen, SAP BusinessObjects 4.3 brings a host of improvements in response to customer demand. The BI landscape continues to evolve in terms of the technology, the skills required, and the business practices around it. At Influential Software, we work to optimise SAP BI with a complete package of technical support, consultancy, and training. Get a free quote for your project by sending a short message to our BI team.