Help With Infertility For Women Over 40

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 10 percent of women in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant. If you are over the age of 40, it is even more dire as the Office on Women’s Health indicates that a “woman’s chances of having a baby decrease rapidly every year after the age of 30.”

If you are one of these women or in a relationship where conceiving is proving difficult, there are treatment options available. Fertility drugs, intrauterine insemination (IUI), or assisted reproductive technology (ART) methods such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also cite two options that can be of benefit to you. The first that the HHS list is the use of surrogacy.

The Office on Women’s Health states that the use of a surrogate is a good option for women who cannot produce eggs or produces unhealthy eggs. The surrogate agrees to become pregnant with her own egg and the man’s sperm. Once the baby is delivered, the surrogate gives up the baby for adoption to the man and the infertile woman.

The HHS mentions a gestational carrier as another option for infertile women or couples. A gestational carrier is different than a surrogate in that the egg and sperm of the potential parents will be used but the embryo will be placed in another woman who will be the gestational carrier. The carrier is not genetically related to the baby and gives the baby to the parents at birth. This option is typically used in couples where the woman, due to potentially serious health issues, should not get pregnant or when the woman has ovaries but no uterus.

If you do decide that any of the ART treatment options are best for you, keep in mind that recent research by the CDC showed that ART babies are two to four times more likely to have certain birth defects but the research does not indicate why this happens. The CDC indicates that the risk is low but that potential parents should consider this when thinking about using ART methods.

Help With Fertility After 40 – Cure Your Infertility

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) states that 10 percent of women need help with fertility. This is roughly 6.1 million women that are seeking help in order to get pregnant, especially after the age of 40. If you are one of these women, just know that you are not alone.

Hope is not lost if you are told you are infertile. Treatment options do exist for those that would like to seek out methods to get pregnant. For some couples, getting pregnant may seem like it is second nature (Duggars, I’m looking at you!). But for others, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and assisted reproductive technology (ART) methods may become the only options. However, these two types of couples are not the only ones that exist. The majority of couples lie in between these two categories. Before making a major decision like seeking medical treatment to help get pregnant, you may want to take a look at your lifestyle.

Fertility expert and doctors cite that smoking is an important factor in getting pregnant. Conventional wisdom dictates that pregnant women should not smoke and one should not smoke around pregnant women, not many know that smoking makes a negative impact on fertility.

“It can dramatically reduce both male and female fertility and it really impacts conception rates,” says Frederick Licciardi, MD, associate director of reproductive endocrinology at NYU Medical Center and associate professor at the NYU School of Medicine. To further this point, the journal “Fertility and Sterility” states that sperm count in smokers are on average 17 percent lower when compared to non-smokers.

According to Margareta D. Pisarska, MD, co-director of Center for Reproductive Medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and editor-in-chief of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine News, “smokers not only have a higher rate of infertility overall, but also those who do get pregnant take a much longer time to conceive.”

All of these reasons culminate in the need to eliminate smoking from your life. Quitting is difficult to do but if you want to get pregnant, you will have to quit anyway and by quitting, you may get pregnant faster and easier.

Help With Pregnancy When You’re Over 40

Many factors contribute to a woman’s need to seek help with their pregnancy. This is especially the case when a woman is deemed infertile or if the woman is over over 40 years of age. As countless women hold off on starting a family until they are more established, this typically means that a woman is well into her 30s or even her 40s before she has her first child.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services state that about 20 percent of women in the U.S. now have their first child after the age of 35. Age is a major factor and it is an ever-increasing cause of infertility problems. Furthermore, the HHS proclaim that about one-third of couples have fertility problems when the woman is over 35.

The aging process increases a woman’s chance of needing help with her pregnancy in several ways. The Office on Women’s Health cites that a woman’s ovaries may have become less able to release eggs which is why she may have problems ovulating normally. It could be that the woman has a smaller number of eggs left and the eggs she does have may not be as healthy. As a woman grows older, she is more prone to having health conditions that impede her ability to have a normal pregnancy. These health conditions can also lead to a higher risk in having a miscarriage.

If you are having difficulties getting pregnant and are considering seeking help getting pregnant, most experts believe you should wait one year before doing so unless you are 35 years or older. HHS defines infertility as “not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying. Or six, months, if a woman is 35 years or older.” Infertility can also be defined as a woman being able to get pregnant but unable to stay pregnant. They also state that as a woman reaches the age of 30, her chances of having a baby rapidly decrease every year. As mentioned before, health issues can play a part in increasing the likelihood of fertility problems. A woman should seek medical help with her pregnancy if she experiences irregular menstrual cycles or no menstruation at all. Painful periods should also be a cause for concern. HHS also list endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and if the woman has had more than one miscarriage as all reasons for her to talk to a doctor.

Speaking to your doctor is a good idea anyway if you are trying to get pregnant especially if you are in your 40s. Doctors can help by advising you on how to get your body prepared for having a baby and they can also answer any question you may have on fertility issues.

How To Use Article Directories For Unique Content

If you are looking for articles to incorporate on your Website, in your newsletter or any other online endeavor, your best bet is to use an article directory. You can use the articles provided in the directories to fill your ezine or post on your website if the topic is relevant to your enterprise.

If you not know where to find an article directory go to an online search engine under “article directories.” There are many of them, some topic unique like a directory for freelancers, or a directory for women in business. However, there are directories that carry a multitude of categories. Unless you have very tight “niche” markets go to the directories that have a large number of subjects.

There are five leading categories of article directories – just out additions, niche directories, e – commerce directories, directories with multiple categories like Article Bazaar, and other article submission sites. Latest additions – those article directories who post articles that are just out – could be very valuable in finding unused new content. If you are in a hot niche marketplace using the latest addition sites would be for you. Getting the freshest content when you’re in this situation is very vital.

Some of the latest article directory additions are spiritual niche directories, work etiquette articles, a directory of crafts and/or ceramic, multiple article directories about Websites, and many others with a large amount of topics.

In the niche article directory collection there are article directories on holiday and vacation rentals, real estate and other property, finance and business for the novice, one article directory that dealt exclusively with articles about dogs or cats, article directories about cars, a directory that had nothing but articles about Clickbank, directories on weight loss, health and fitness, and one religious directory listing whose topics were on wisdom, philosophy and life in general.

Self-help tips were the subjects of each article in one directory, another had a family descent and family history focus, then there was one about weddings, while yet another article directory dealt solely with beachwear.

E-commerce article directory subjects included one article directory on home business, another on women with children, a third on business equipment, and one as specific as women in business in a certain state.

Whichever directory or directories you choose, (post in many for more exposure), it is recommended to submit your own free articles – a very helpful way to get your name out there as an professional in your undertaking and bring customers back to your site and its products and services.

If you are afraid of writing in your field go to Article Bazaar, click on the Writing Category and then on Article Writing and you find all kinds of tips to get you started. Directories are another important tool you should be using in your marketing strategies. We hope to see you posting on Article Bazaar soon. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/460622

Article Directories are Losing Credibility

Bad Directories Making Good Directories, Bad

It’s as simple as that. A lot of sour apples are starting to water down the need for these sites. After years of seeing article directories covered in ads and hundreds of other refurbished articles, there is a sour taste in my mouth as well. The need for these sites still plays a very important role though, no matter how much you want to avoid them.

Article directories play an invaluable role in link building. Whether it is a client’s website, or yours, you need to build link equity. Without powerful backlinks coming into your site, it will never become the influential power house that you dream it to be every night. Everyone wants to win the lottery when it comes to building the next “big time” website, but no one is willing to buy the ticket, and put the work in.

If you have ever had any success in this business, you know that article directories are a huge key to building your backlink profile.

Article Directory History

The history of article directories isn’t very well documented, but something like this I presume doesn’t need documentation. It seems obvious that article directories were started to basically list articles in groups so that people searching for information had a more relative central location to search for it. That is my guess how, and why it started, but no matter how it started, things have definitely changed.

Now article directories seemed to take a role change in heading away from the end reading user and more towards the website designer / developer. It has more to do with developers wanting to rack up the backlinks in order to make their personal website more powerful. I do not even know of anyone that looks to any specific directories for information anymore.

The invention of the search engine basically suppressed any interested in using article directories to find information. Googling is far quicker, and honestly can provide better results than searching an article directory.

Because there is still a need for them, whether it be to the reader or the developer, it is why they have not gone into extinction. The best directories on the web are mostly made up of all human edited directories, but more on that later. I bring up that point because so many directories, site and article, have been all automated, allowing AdSense sites and other junk to be referenced from the site. This is again, only encouraging the demise of directories. The people who created them seem to be the same people destroying them.

How to Know if a Directory is Bad

Here, I am going to provide a bit of information on how to tell if the article directory you are currently viewing has any potential to help your site.

Articles Get Published Without Human Review

If you can submit an article without there being any waiting time to be reviewed, the article is being accepted automatically. This means that no human is looking over the article, and that means any spammer could put whatever article they want on that site, and that should throw up a big warning flag as to the quality of the article directory.

Articles Don’t Make Sense

Take a look at a few articles. If the articles don’t even make much sense, they could just be refurbished articles. This happens a lot when articles are not reviewed by real people.

Too Many Ads

If ads clutter the site too much, don’t bother with the directory. Keep in mind though that the owners of these sites do need compensated somehow for their time. If they don’t make anything from the site, there isn’t much incentive for the owner to review hundreds, and literally hundreds of articles. If the ads take up more than 50% of the page layout, it is a big problem though. Don’t bother submitting your content to these directories.

How to Know if a Directory is Good

Well, this is pretty easy to answer. Take a look at the section prior to this one, and just do the opposite. If the articles are clearly being reviewed by real people before they are published, that is a very good sign.

Also, take a look at a few articles, and if they are legible, well written with few grammar and/or spelling mistakes, it is also a good sign.

Finally take a look at the ad space. If there isn’t much, or it doesn’t take away from the actual content on the site, that is also a good sign.

Example of a Good Article Directory

Informative Post
A good example is the Informative Post article directory. Each article published on this site has been read and reviewed by college educated individuals.

This article directory is a bit of a hybrid though. It is a directory of articles, but they are all originally written for the site. The site pays authors to submit good unique content to them.

This site looks to have an impressive innovative business model that I would suggest you jump on board with soon, and get your links in while you still can. If you want to learn a little more about this option, check out their author’s corner [http://www.informativepost.com/Authors-Corner/].

Article Directories Still Provide Great Link Equity

Go to any forums and ask the question, “What is the best link building technique?” You will find out quickly that submitting articles to article directories will be at the top of nearly everyone’s list. There is still a place on the internet for these directories. They still offer so much to the web community. It pains me to see directories crop up that look like they haven’t gotten any attention in years.

I cannot tell a lie. Writing articles specifically for article directories take an immense amount of diligent work. The payoff however makes it all worth it.

In the beginning it will seem like you are writing all the time, submitting to hundreds of directories, and nothing is happening. Here comes the most difficult phase in the owner’s/developer’s/designer’s website lifetime… waiting. Be patient. Once the search engines start picking up all these backlinks in all of these credible article directories, you will see your backlinks sore!

Conclusion

In conclusion, my last remaining bit of advice is don’t lose faith. While you are waiting, you can be writing and submitting more content, doing more design, doing more development. It is an on-going process that only the strong reap the rewards from. If you get into this business trying to make a quick buck and get out, you will be trying to squeeze water from a rock. It won’t happen.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/966250

Automated Generation of Modelling Programs Using Jena and Protege

Abstract

This paper explains a technique of User Driven Model Development that could be part of a wider approach of User Driven Programming. This approach involves the creation of a visual environment for software development, where modelling programs can be created without the requirement of the model developer to learn programming languages. The theory behind this approach is explained but the main practical work in creation of this system is in its’ early stages. The basis of this approach is modelling of the software to be produced in Ontology systems such as Jena and Protégé.

Introduction

The Systems Engineering Estimation and Decision Support (SEEDS) team is part of the Aerospace Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at the University of the West of England (UWE). SEEDS expertise is in applying techniques in managing, categorising and visualising information to provide decision support for design and manufacturing.

The SEEDS team have completed large projects and are experienced in creation of software for costing and decision support modelling. The SEEDS team recently completed the DATUM (Design Analysis Tool for Unit cost Modelling) project with Rolls-Royce aerospace. For this the team created sophisticated decision support models and web output.

The research outlined in this paper unites approaches of object orientation, the semantic web, relational databases, and event driven programming. Tim Berners-Lee defined the semantic web as ‘a web of data that can be processed directly or indirectly by machines’ http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/Weaving/Overview.html. This research examines ways of structuring information, and enabling processing and searching of the information to provide a modelling capability, and enable the automation of model production.

The main ontology tool used in the research so far is Protégé – home page http://protege.stanford.edu/. The projects that use Protégé page links to information about other projects that use this tool. Further research involves the use of Jena to develop the web based view of our ontology, and further Protégé and Jena based tools to develop the user interface for automated programming by end users for this system. Some research of others that have explored this further than us is at [http://jena.hpl.hp.com/juc2006/proceedings.html]. A particular paper of interest to us, for our research in semantic web based decision support systems is that on the ACUITy system. The presentation and paper for this are at [http://jena.hpl.hp.com/juc2006/proceedings/crapo/slides.ppt] and [http://jena.hpl.hp.com/juc2006/proceedings/crapo/paper.pdf].

Collaboration

To achieve the aims outlined above it is necessary to allow model developers (who would be users of our software) to collaborate to share and develop models. The method of enabling this is to provide templates to enable non-programmers to develop software models for the purposes that interest them. [Olsson] explains the advantages of increasing user involvement in software development. Collaboration and knowledge sharing would be important in this process with models being sharable over the web. This form of collaboration would be based on the ‘open source’ method of co-operation where source code and explanations are added to a web site and comments and improvements would be encouraged. Some examples of this form of co-operation are the Wikipedia collaborative online encyclopaedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page, the Mozilla Firefox browser development http://www.mozilla.org/ and the Semantic Web Environmental directory (SWED) [http://www.swed.org.uk/swed/about/]. The intention is to create an online community that can provide and use free software for modelling and education.

The advantages of open source collaboration are that as well as allowing researchers to co-operate and work together where they share an interest; it will also allow the untapped potential to be developed of those who do not have an official research position. This could include students, people employed outside the academic environment, retired people and amateurs’ who have useful expertise. Astronomy for example has harnessed skills of this very diverse range of people to make new discoveries. The advantage of this wide involvement could be in getting feedback on usefulness, or ease of use of software, as well as their actual involvement in model development.

[Aziz et al.] Examine how open standards software can assist in an organisations’ collaborative product development. The methods used and success of others that had used an approach of web based collaboration have been examined. This approach is outlined in [Ciancarini et al.]; [Huang and Mak]; [Kim et al.]; [Li]; [Morris et al.]; [Nidamarthi et al.]; [Reed et al.]; [Zhang et al.]. The above research reinforced our view that this is a sensible approach.

Methods

A web based collaborative approach is demonstrated on our SEEDS team web site at http://www.cems.uwe.ac.uk/amrc/seeds/. Examples of semantic web costing, searching, and decision support techniques will be freely available and could be used within universities and in outside industry and the community. Such modelling would be useful for, but not limited to, decision support for design and manufacture of products, simulation of manufacturing processes or business processes, economic forecasting, scientific modelling, medicine, business decision making, construction, and cost benefit analysis. It could also be used for modelling of systems for educational use. These models would illustrate and explain processes. Such modelling would be useful to universities as an illustration of concepts to students, and as a chance to participate in the development of modelling systems.

Software Approach

[Huhns] and [Paternò] both explain that alternatives to the current approach to software development are required. This should allow translation from a model-based representation of software to the actual software. This could involve automatically producing software for a semantic web site from visual representations of the problem. The core of this modelling infrastructure would be automated generation of models written using World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards based languages and the visualisation of information represented in such W3C standard ways.

Ontology systems such as Protégé [http://prot]égé.stanford.edu/, Jena http://jena.sourceforge.net/, and Kaon http://kaon.semanticweb.org/ either individually or in combination will be used to create our ontology. So far Protégé and Jena have been investigated for this. The use of RDF/XML (Resource Description Framework using Extensible Markup Language syntax) allows XQuery and SPARQL (SPARQL Protocol And RDF Query Language) http://jena.sourceforge.net/ARQ/ to be used for searching. The ability of Jena and Protege to save in relational database format also makes it possible to use SQL (Structured Query Language). Using these standards it is possible to represent information in Jena, Protégé, or other ontology systems. All this flexibility is useful when different organisations are not all using the same systems. An important reason for creating an open standards central ontology is that it can be accessed by many different applications. The open standard OWL (Web Ontology Language) is explained by [Bechhofer and Carroll]. Research of others in this field have been investigated [Corcho]; [Corcho and Gómez-Pérez] and [Noy]. Issues involved in visualisation of lightweight ontologies are examined by [Fluit et al.].

This ontology could then be read into a decision support system which outputs results in web formats, this would also allow information that is relevant to different faculties or organisations to be shared. To enable creation of web pages by people who are not experts in this task, open source content management tool such as Rainbow Portal http://www.rainbowportal.net or the Zope Community Content Management Framework (CMF) http://www.zope.org/, which is currently used at UWE could be considered. Ajax techniques for creation of highly interactive web pages may assist in this http://ajaxpatterns.org/wiki/index.php?title=Whats_Ajax%3f.

Translation

This approach is to enable a type of very high level Meta programming. Meta-programming and structured language is explained by Dmitriev http://www.onboard.jetbrains.com/is1/articles/04/10/lop/ and [Mens et al]. This is intended to mitigate the problems of cost and time over-run, and failure to achieve objectives that are the common malaise of software development. The creation of a web based visual representation of the information will allow people to examine and agree on information structures. It is envisaged that a translation system to create software from diagrams that represent the problem is developed. The Figure illustrates our approach to provision of a system to enable users to create and/or use their own models.

Translation Process

To achieve this requires –

1 Search trigger(s) resulting from user actions.

2 Knowledge of the relationships between nodes in the tree.

3 Ability to read equations held in a standardised mathematical form.

4 Rules of syntax for the language of the code to be output.

The SEEDS teams’ approach involves creation of an elaborator or translator that converts the diagrammatic representation of the problem into software, in various computer languages or a meta-programming syntax. The software created falls into two categories. The first category is structuring, sorting, and searching of information Jena http://jena.sourceforge.net/, Protégé [http://prot]égé.stanford.edu/, Exist XQuery http://exist.sourceforge.net/, Orbeon Xforms http://www.orbeon.com/. This kind of software can be both the ontology editor and the output format. The other category of software would be used for modelling and would be an output, this includes Cost Estimator [Koonce et al.] [Wujek et al.], metaL http://www.meta-language.net/ and Simkin http://www.simkin.co.uk/Links.shtml. The elaborator needs to follow a structured taxonomy to establish how related concepts represented visually can be represented in equivalent code. The visualisation can be either as a colour coded tree or an interactive SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)

http://www.cems.uwe.ac.uk/~phale/InteractiveSVGExamples.htm diagram of a component to be modelled.

The research undertaken aims to adapt or create software systems to provide the visual editor for the source tree, and allow model builders to create a model by editing this. By doing so the model builders would create a generic model for a particular modelling subject. DecisionPro http://www.vanguardsw.com/decisionpro/ can be used to convert the taxonomy into a decision support and modelling system. Vanguard is making their server available for collaborative model development. The model users could then use this decision support and modelling system to create their models. These models would be a more specific subset of the generic model, and could be applied for their own analysis. Our team would also provide a translation mechanism to convert information or models into other languages (primarily web based), and to visualise this information. Researchers could also create individual learning objects for education.

Conclusions

The technique of User Driven Programming can be achieved through the use of highly structured languages and visualisation of these structures to allow editing. Examples of software created this way are available at http://www.cems.uwe.ac.uk/~phale/. This project would give people more access to software for modelling, education, and allow them to develop their own software.

References

Aziz, H., Gao, J., Maropoulos, P., Cheung, W. M. (2005) Open standard, open source and peer-to-peer tools and methods for collaborative product development. Computers in Industry, 56, 260-271.

Bechhofer S., Carrol J. (2004) Parsing owl dl: trees or triples? Proceedings of the 13th international conference on World Wide Web, NY, USA pp 266 – 275.

Ciancarini, P. & Rossi, D. & Vitali, F. (2001) Designing a document-centric coordination application over the Internet. Interacting with Computers, 13 677-693.

Corcho, O., Gómez-Pérez, A. (2000) A Roadmap to Ontology Specification Languages. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management. Chicago, USA.

Corcho, O. Fernández-López, M., Gómez-Pérez, A. (2003). Methodologies, Tools and Languages For Building Ontologies. Where is their Meeting Point?. Data and Knowledge Engineering, 46, 41-64.

Fluit C., Marta S., Harmelen F. V., Staab S., Studer R. (2003) Handbook on Ontologies in Information Systems. Springer-Verlag.

Huang, G. Q., Mak, K. L. (2001) Issues in the development and implementation of web applications for product design and manufacture. Computer Integrated Manufacturing, 14 (1), 125-135.

Huhns, M. (2001) Interaction-Oriented Software Development. International Journal of Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering, 11 259-279.

Kim Y., Choi Y., Bong Yoo S. (2001) Brokering and 3D collaborative viewing of mechanical part models on the Web, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, 14 (1), 28-41.

Li, W. D. (2005) A Web-based service for distributed process planning optimization. Computers in Industry, 56, 272-288.

Mens, K., Michiels, I., Wuyts, R. (2002) Supporting Software Development through Declaratively Codified Programming Patterns. Expert Systems with Applications 23, 405-413.

Morris, S., Neilson, I., Charlton, C., Little, J. (2001) Interactivity and collaboration on the WWW – is the ‘WWW shell’ sufficient?. Interacting with Computers, 13, 717-730.

Nidamarthi S., Allen R. H., Ram D. S. (2001) Observations from supplementing the traditional design process via Internet-based collaboration tools, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, 14 (1), 95-107.

Noy N.F. (2004) Semantic Integration: A Survey Of Ontology-Based Approaches. SIGMOD Record, Special Issue on Semantic Integration, 33 (4).

Olsson, E. (2004) What active users and designers contribute in the design process. Interacting with Computers 16, 377-401.

Paternò, F. (2005) Model-based tools for pervasive usability. Interacting with Computers 17 (3), 291-315.

Reed, J. A., Follen, G. J., Afjeh A. A. (2000) Improving the Aircraft Design Process Using Web-Based Modeling and Simulation. ACM Transactions on Modeling and Computer Simulation, 10 (1), 58-83.

Zhang, S., Weimen, S., Hamada, G. (2004) A review of Internet-based product information sharing and visualization. Computers in Industry, 54, 1-15.

I am a Researcher in the final year of my PhD. I specialise in applying Semantic Web techniques. My current research is on a technique of ‘User Driven Modelling/Programming’. My intention is to enable non-programmers to create software from a user interface that allows them to model a particular problem or scenario. This involves a user entering information visually in the form of a tree diagram. I am attempting to develop ways of automatically translating this information into program code in a variety of computer languages. This is very important and useful for many employees that have insufficient time to learn programming languages. I am looking to research visualisation, and visualisation techniques to create a human computer interface that allows non experts to create software.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/181448

TFG invests in management solution to safeguard supply chain

The Foschini Group (TFG) has chosen CA Southern Africa’s Application Program Interface (API) management solution to support its digitalisation strategy across its 2,200 stores in 31 countries.
TFG invests in management solution to safeguard supply chain
© gstockstudio via 123RF
Craig de Lucchi, account manager, CA Southern Africa, says, “TFG required a solution that would safeguard the supply chain and support new digital initiatives. It needed to enable seamless systems integration with its suppliers, while maintaining security.”

The system enables TFG to receive automated alerts about product shipments by its suppliers. “TFG is also integrating its e-commerce platform with stock management systems to provide its customers with up to the minute product information. Essentially it delivers a seamless customer experience both online and in-store and provides customers with information on stock availability which in turn enables the company to better manage customer expectations,”

Wayne Beckley, senior enterprise architect at TFG, says the company was keen to improve visibility of the supply chain and establish greater automation. “We particularly wanted suppliers to be able to automatically notify us when goods were shipped.”

The group had various tools in place for integration but significant development effort was required, which was costly and time-consuming. “We selected the CA Technologies solution, implemented by CA Southern Africa, because its flexible policies enable us to govern and secure our APIs. It also works seamlessly with Active Directory,” continues Beckley. “The digitalisation of its business will facilitate the group’s growth into the future and help to position it at the front of a highly competitive market.”

de Lucchi notes that APIs are the building blocks of digital transformation. “To compete successfully and thrive today, enterprises across every industry need to transform. This process is not about incremental improvement but also about evolving core businesses to meet the demands of today’s connected world. API management accelerates this digital transformation by providing the capabilities you need to bring systems together, secure these integrations, deliver better customer experiences faster and capitalise on new opportunities,” he concludes.

Foschini downloads digital strategy

CA Southern Africa has announced that TFG has implemented the CA API (Application Program Interface) Management solution to drive the digitalisation of its business and supply chain. TFG fashion and lifestyle retailer operates in 31 countries and has 2,200 stores across Africa and recently expanded into the UK.
Image by 123RF
Image by 123RF
According to Craig de Lucchi, account manager, CA Southern Africa, TFG required a solution that would safeguard the supply chain and support new digital initiatives. “The company needed to enable seamless systems integration with its suppliers while maintaining security.”

CA API Management enables TFG to receive automated alerts about product shipments by its suppliers. “TFG is also integrating its ecommerce platform with stock management systems to provide its customers with up to the minute product information. Essentially it delivers a seamless customer experience both online and in-store and provides customers with information on stock availability which in turn enables the company to better manage customer expectations.”

Wayne Beckley, senior enterprise architect at TFG, says the company was keen to improve visibility of the supply chain and establish greater automation. “We particularly wanted suppliers to be able to automatically notify us when goods were shipped,” says Beckley.

The group had various tools in place for integration but significant development effort was required, which was costly and time-consuming.

“We selected the CA Technologies solution, implemented by CA Southern Africa, because its flexible policies enable us to govern and secure our APIs. It also works seamlessly with Active Directory,” says Beckley.

He emphasises that the digitalisation of its business will facilitate TFG’s growth into the future and help to position them at the front of a highly competitive market.

De Lucchi notes that APIs are the building blocks of digital transformation. “To compete successfully and thrive today, enterprises across every industry need to transform. This process is not just about incremental improvement, but about evolving core businesses to meet the demands of today’s connected world. API management accelerates this digital transformation by providing the capabilities you need to bring systems together, secure these integrations, deliver better customer experiences faster and capitalise on new opportunities.”

How building control officers can avoid conflict of interest

The South African Council for the Architectural Profession’s (SACAP) registrar/CEO Marella O’Reilly, together with her Legal and Compliance Unit, has embarked on a campaign to clarify historic misunderstandings of the law and to educate municipalities and their building control officers (BCOs) on ways to avoid conflict of interest.
How building control officers can avoid conflict of interestParliament has given SACAP the authority and duty to regulate and guide the architectural profession with the Architectural Profession Act (No 44 of 2000).

Some BCOs are engineers and others come from within the architectural profession itself; including professional architects, senior architectural technologists, architectural technologists and architectural draughtspersons.

Registering with SACAP

A steadily growing number of BCOs and indeed all architectural professionals are placing themselves into good standing with the law by formally registering with SACAP and receiving their registration number.

O’Reilly says this is good news for keeping the built environment safe and the level of professionalism high. “To register and maintain their registration with SACAP, architectural professionals must complete continuing professional development activities throughout their career to make sure they maintain, improve and broaden their knowledge, skills and technical duties.

The registrar is educating municipalities, as well as home owners who use architectural professionals that BCOs are indeed entitled to draw plans themselves; however, municipalities need to ensure that all conflict of interest is avoided when these plans get submitted for local authority approval.

SACAP Code of Conduct

“Any plans drawn by a BCO needs to get submitted for approval to a municipality outside of the jurisdiction of that BCO,” she says. “The very same BCO cannot draw plans and have them approved in the same municipal jurisdiction where they work because no BCO must be in a position to derive personal benefit from the actions or decisions they make in their official municipal capacity.”

In her educational campaign she highlights the fact that any home owners and commercial property owners who commission an SACAP-registered professionals and feels wronged by them can ask SACAP to investigate whether that professional has acted against SACAP’s Code of Conduct and needs disciplinary action. An online copy of the code can be found on www.sacapsa.com, saved under the “Who we are” section.

‘Those’ SEO Secrets…

I’ve been doing SEO in South Africa for 10 years. One of the questions I get asked a lot is, “What quick things can I do to get to the top of Google?”
The answer to this question is that you can do a lot and it’s easier than you might think:

You can simply ensure that your on-site SEO is adequate
Your targeted keyword is in the site title, description, H1 tag and content
All your images’ ALT text and your page URLs contain your keyword
Your site is getting plenty of links from automatic article directory submissions, maybe some site-wide footer links and forum/blog comments. You could even exchange links with other websites or pay for them.

The above strategy is how easy it was to rank globally for your chosen keyword back in 2009, and this strategy still seems to work just fine for most SEOs in South Africa.

‘Those’ SEO Secrets…

Now for the bad news…

In case you didn’t know, ‘those’ secrets don’t really work anymore; certainly not in today’s global SEO game. South African businesses that utilise SEO as part of their marketing strategy need to be aware that Google’s algorithm is a lot more sophisticated these days and it won’t be long before Google starts to pay more attention to how SEOs are optimising for the South African SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).

Certainly, the last bullet point above is not a recommended tactic today, and could get your site in deep trouble with Google.

The annual organic ranking-factors report by Search Metrics highlights approximately 50 of what are deemed to be the most influential signals currently at play, all contributing in varying amounts to how sites fair in the organic SERPs.

If you really want to outperform your peers online, chances are that you’re going to need to build a medium to long-term strategy that addresses as many of these signals as possible. You will need to prove to search robots and users that your website and content really does deserve to be more visible than that of your competitors.

There is hope!

With the bad news out of the way, it is worth mentioning that there are still a number of simple, but impactful, often forgotten, SEO tactics that you can use to improve your website’s overall performance and visibility. By no means are these the Holy Grail, but they will help your site to perform better and provide some valuable food for thought.

1. Optimising listings outside of the big search engines

There is no doubt that the big search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo account for a tonne of search online. As such, they are often the first and only places that online marketers look when trying to secure traffic. However, there are alternative places that SEO can factor-in and for certain industries, such as food, travel and automotive. These alternatives can have an extremely positive impact. Take for example:

Listing sites such as Carfax Used Cars, TripAdvisor, Realtor.com and Google+ Local
App Stores such as Google Play Store and iTunes
Listing Apps such as Hotels.com, AirBnB and Yelp

Many of these sites have their own internal algorithms and optimising towards them can aid the external search visibility of your own site, plus provide vast amounts of referral traffic. Furthermore, the quality signals associated with ranking prominently on large authoritative sites are capable of influencing visibility and rankings across large search engines too.

2. Leverage user generated content

User Generated Content (UGC) is a force to be reckoned with! Getting customers, consumers and users involved in your content creation is a great way to scale SEO efforts, build-out your site’s Information Architecture and generate trust-building consumer-focused content.

In an environment where ‘content is king’, some of the most cost-effective and efficient ways of growing content across your brand’s digital assets is to incentivise others to do it for you!

How does this look in real terms?

Q&A sections on your website
Forums with relevant topics and conversations
Surveys to build data sets that can be incorporated into rich media assets
Customer feedback

Reviews are also great ways to use UGC in building brand authority and trust while contributing towards your SEO campaign. Not only do reviews provide fresh, unique content which is keyword rich, but by using schema code to mark-up reviews you will also allow Google to present your reviews and ratings as Rich Snippets and within its Knowledge Graph.

Studies have shown that Rich Snippets and Knowledge Graph content can increase click through rate (CTR) in search engines by up to 30%.

3. Using PPC to validate your keyword strategy

Within SEO campaigns you won’t necessarily know how profitable a keyword will be until you’ve invested the time and effort to rank for it. However, this process can be expedited with paid search tests.

Say you have a very competitive keyword with 5,000 searches a month, and a much less competitive term getting 250 search a month; intuition and sheer ambition will often prompt you to invest resources into establishing your site for keyword A. However, a quick PPC test could show that keyword B produces twice the conversions as keyword A, even with such low search volume. This can then validate focusing your keyword strategy towards the lower volume, less competitive keyword in order to maximise revenue and increase conversions.

The point is that insight is incredibly valuable and should be used to help structure and sculpt an informed SEO strategy. Pay-per-click offers some great opportunities to garner this insight.

To summarise

These aren’t clever technical tricks that will catapult your site to the top of search, they are tactics that, for me, are often forgotten about or neglected, but represent healthy wins in terms of improved website performance and visibility.

SEO in South Africa is no longer something that can happen silently behind the scenes, using manipulative tactics – it is part of the overall marketing mix. Put users first and ask whether your SEO activities will benefit the customer. If the answer is yes, you know you’re investing time appropriately.