[Column] Kree Govender: Why cloud hasn’t had a big impact on Business Intelligence

Although the notion of network-based computing stems right back to the 1960s, the modern term “cloud computing” arose in the 2000s. Yet, almost two decades later, South Africa still lags in both its adoption, and its use for critical functions like business intelligence (BI). 

While many believe that this is largely due to a lack of local data centre infrastructure, the landing of the Azure data centres in Africa will drastically change the Cloud landscape across the continent. “This effectively eradicates the fear of shifting massive datasets offshore to global data centres,” confirms Kree Govender, Managing Director of South Africa Qlik Master Reseller (SAQMR). 

The current hesitance towards Cloud adoption in Africa is illustrated by the Qlik implementations across the continent. Statistics show that as much as 95% of Qlik’s customers in Africa are on premise. 

“Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80 percent of enterprises will migrate entirely away from on-premises data centres with the current trend of moving workloads to colocation, hosting and the cloud leading them to shut down their traditional data centre,” adds Govender. “If these predictions prove accurate, the new data centres will mean there’s no longer anything holding Africa back from catching up with the rest of the world.” 

Adam Barrie-Smith, Chief Technology Officer at SAQMR, believes that the Qlik platform is perfectly positioned to capitalise on the benefits that these data centres will offer. “This will complement extensive mobile analysis testing using Qlik’s SaaS and Cloud business, leveraging Qlik Senses’ multi-Cloud capabilities. The first advantage is the data centre, the next will be the containerised cloud environment which is set to follow soon.”  

To Barrie-Smith, one of the greatest benefits of local data centres is enhanced identity management. “Let’s consider the impact on the banking industry, for example. Most African banks still hold on-premise hardware, which is now reaching retirement age. The question now becomes, should they invest in more hardware or virutalise? With the new data centres, our banking customers will find it much simpler and more cost-effective to embrace the Cloud, through a hosted layer within Azure.” 

While making Cloud adoption easier, the new data centres also offer rich integration capabilities, enhanced virtualisation opportunities, a more elastic environment and greater security. “With the local Azure data centres, African organisations will be empowered to embrace hybrid cloud, and we predict a much greater cloud drive,” concludes Govender.  

 Kree Govender is the Managing Director of South Africa Qlik Master Reseller (SAQMR). 

[Column] Andrew Cruise: Two years until Infrastructure as a Service boom hits South Africa

Routed, a leading vendor neutral provider of cloud infrastructure, says that the predicted growth of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is in line with the increasing growth forecasts for cloud computing. Andrew Cruise, managing director, Routed, says that while IaaS is seen as an emerging opportunity in Africa, the work has already started locally with demand increasing as awareness of cloud capabilities increase.

“Since launching three years ago, we have seen a steady increase in both interest and deployment of cloud infrastructure services. As cloud computing grows, so too does the need for cloud-based infrastructure resources,” says Cruise. “Without IaaS there is no Cloud: IaaS is the foundation for all Cloud services. Now that connectivity is fast, cheap and reliable we have reached the tipping point in South Africa where general interest in Cloud has switched into action.”

According to The Xalam Rise of Cloud Report 2019, South Africa is the largest cloud market on the continent. The country accounts for 75% of Africa’s total cloud revenue and Xalam says that this is unsurprising as around 60% of the continent’s enterprise ICT services revenues are generated in South Africa. Routed, which featured in the report as a leading provider of cloud infrastructure resources, says that IaaS is the fastest growing category in the African cloud space, averaging around 120% annually over the three years at 2018.

The report also estimated that around 80% of Africa’s public cloud revenue is generated from SaaS applications. To a large extent this reflects the embryonic nature of this market; SaaS is a cloud starting platform for most businesses according to Xalam.

Guy Zibi, managing director, Xalam Analytics, says IaaS is seen as more of a long-term player, estimating that South Africa is two years away from a true boom: “From a low base – IaaS is the fastest-growing cloud services segment across our cloud value chain.”

Cruise says that one factor influencing the growth and potential of IaaS is what Xalam refers to as the VMWare factor. The availability of VMWare virtualisation solutions is providing African MSPs with a platform to compete with hyperscale providers on IaaS; while they can’t match the capabilities of AWS or Azure, MSPs have increasingly been able to offer local-centric IaaS services, with support and other benefits not offered by global cloud providers.

“For more than a decade, VMware’s solutions have been the go-to virtualisation and management platform for enterprises requiring uptime, security and performance on-premise. Now enterprises can be reassured that the same outcome can be delivered using specialist, certified VMware Cloud Providers, without internalising risk, or investing in facilities, hardware, software and engineering resources,” says Cruise.

Andrew Cruise is the managing director at Routed.

Johannesburg Stock Exchange starts offering historical tick data in the cloud

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), Africa’s largest, multi-asset class stock exchange, now offers historical equity; equity derivatives and currency derivatives tick data in the cloud, meaning that clients, data vendors, investors and traders will now be able to access historical data more swiftly.

The JSE has partnered with CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, to house its first cloud solution offering.

The move modernises the JSE’s market data offering and strengthens the exchanges position as a global market player.  

The historical tick data will enable clients, traders and investors to assess trading opportunities, strengthen their market insights and improve risk mitigation intelligence based on both the market and various individual stocks’ past performance, support compliance reporting with more extensive data and conduct other valuable trading-related analyses.

“Traders, investors and our clients require tick data all the time in order to make informed decisions and we are pleased to offer them swifter access to information that can enable them to make these decisions.  As the JSE we constantly aim to provide our clients with the right solutions to meet their needs,” says Mark Randall, Director of Information Services at the JSE. 

www.jse.co.za

SEACOM upgrades CloudWorx for public cloud networks and data centres in South Africa

Moving to meet the requirements of an evolving corporate ICT marketplace, Pan-African Internet and connectivity service provider SEACOM is expanding its CloudWorx cloud connectivity solutions. 

CloudWorx is a versatile, private connectivity service for businesses that connects corporate customers directly to the leading cloud-service providers like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform.

Until now, SEACOM’s CloudWorx was primarily provisioned through the provider’s network interconnections with data centres in Europe and was exclusive to companies in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The revised and upgraded CloudWorx continues to provide low latency and secure access when connecting to cloud providers overseas, but now also includes access to public cloud networks and data centres located in South Africa – accomplished via SEACOM’s presence in open-access Teraco Data Environments.

In addition, as SEACOM extends its South African national network, CloudWorx will increasingly be available to corporate customers outside the country’s major metros.

The shift in scale of CloudWorx availability reflects SEACOM’s growth as a connectivity and business solutions provider.

Approved by regulatory authorities on 1 March, SEACOM has acquired 100% of FibreCo Telecommunications, a national fibre network with infrastructure, connectivity services and over 60 Points of Presence across South Africa.

This ever-expanding footprint will bring SEACOM cloud connectivity solutions, like CloudWorx, to businesses in hitherto neglected economic centres such as Bloemfontein and East London.

Whether your requirements are to connect to the newly-launched Azure or AWS data centres in South Africa or Google and Oracle based out of Amsterdam, SEACOM has the presence, infrastructure and scalability to help South African (and East African) businesses fast-track and support their cloud migration strategy.

The FibreCo acquisition introduces over 4700km of national fibre, in addition to SEACOM’s pioneering subsea cable system connecting East Africa to South Africa, Europe and Asia.

This robust network lets SEACOM customers take advantage of a high-speed, flexible and resilient backbone from an end-to-end perspective. International capacity on the SEACOM network is currently lit at 1.5 Tbps and the South African national backbone is being upgraded to 1 Tbps.

Across the board, fibre access is uncontended and unshared to provide corporates with carrier-grade, scalable connectivity.

Scalability and general fluidity are key considerations for South African businesses to future-proof their cloud migration strategy. Cloud provider requirements may switch between public Internet access and dedicated private connectivity.

Meanwhile, individual businesses may see their cloud usage change in line with their growth strategy, using office software-as-a-service today and data-intensive AI analytics tomorrow.

As Robert Marston, Global Head of Product at SEACOM, explains, “Through SEACOM’s investments in undersea & terrestrial fibre, coupled with its interconnections with the major Cloud Providers both locally and internationally, SEACOM has the highest-speed bandwidth, low-latency routing, and a comprehensive set of options to ensure its clients can make effective use of the Cloud services in their businesses.”

Although it has benefits for medium to large businesses in all sectors, SEACOM CloudWorx is versatile enough to cater for industries such as the Mining Sector who may have limited requirements for cloud connectivity, to the Financial Services Sector, which has strict security and throughput requirements driven by their day to day operational needs.

 In these applications, utilising software-as-a-service platforms, hosted in a cloud environment, results in increased speed, security and application efficiency.

With CloudWorx users experience higher security, lower latency, increased reliability and greater speed in comparison to public Internet connectivity to cloud platforms.

In line with SEACOM’s commitment to growing business in Africa, CloudWorx is a specialist approach to cloud connectivity that prioritises flexibility and scalability for customers. Local organisations can leverage it to improve their efficiency and competitiveness as the wholesale digitisation of work takes hold.

www.seacom.com

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[Column] Doug Woolley: How to save cloud from complexity

Ten years ago, business technologies had saturated to breaking point. The potential they offered were diminished by their deployment and maintenance costs.

 Then virtualisation, cloud and similar technologies emerged to offer new capacities and optimisation. Companies were able to vastly simplify their technology stacks, as is evident by even large enterprises moving wholesale to service-centric models where you own less and get more.

But that pendulum was going to change direction eventually. The arrival of the cloud world wasn’t just about creating efficiencies.

 It introduced radical new ways of creating applications and deploying services. The initial gains in terms of efficiency were just the start – once the cloud engine started firing on more cylinders, its true potential came to light.

Artificial intelligence, real-time data, IoT infrastructure and other cutting edge services became widely feasible and affordable.

The modern technology era is powerful because of its modularity, but this creates a new type of complexity headache.

Several reports have highlighted concerns among modern CIOs that complexity is getting out of hand again.

One study found that a single web transaction used to interact with around 22 technology systems a few years ago, whereas today the number is more than 35. That’s a 59 percent increase in complexity.

The major bite is coming from managing multi-cloud environments. Today’s organisation is spoilt for choice. It can juggle hyperscale environments, co-location arrangements, private clouds, application containers and straight service pipes to create the best combination of technologies that enable its desires.

 But the simple beauty of grabbing an iPad for a performance dashboard belies the agile and complex relationships making that happen behind the scenes.

I can tell you that Dell EMC has been mulling this long before it became a clear challenge. Even before the successful merger that created Dell Technologies, we already pursued ways to better manage the complexity created by cloud environments.

 I don’t say this to advertise our services, but to point out that we never bought into a blue-skies view of cloud. The complexity was bound to return. If it isn’t contained and disciplined, then the promise of cloud would soon devolve into the familiar muck everyone’s trying to break free from.

We’re not alone: the market has been reaching this conclusion as well. A recent VMWare survey found that 83 percent of cloud adopters are seeking consistent infrastructure and operations from the data centre to the cloud.

In other words, they want as seamless an experience as possible between the various moving parts of their technology investments.

Digital maturity isn’t a single curve. It’s more akin to a radar chart, with different indicators spreading outwards to complete the picture.

 The ability to curtail multi-cloud complexity is increasingly a dominant indicator of digital proficiency. But the means to create that control will depend heavily on the partner of choice.

Reining in cloud isn’t just about a nice management suite. It has to cover a powerful integration of hardware, software, services and consumption options. It also can’t exist to try and cap your cloud capabilities for the sake of stability.

Cloud management has to remain dynamic to allow for the agility, accelerated innovation, improved economics and reduced risk that are the promises of the cloud era.

This requires a multidisciplinary approach that no single vendor can comprehensively provide. It needs a stable of different capabilities, such as virtualisation, infrastructure management and mature business thinking.

When a company wants to avoid or untangle the new complexities wrought by cloud, the solutions don’t lie in services but how rich the partner landscape is that provides the management services.

Multi-cloud environments are delivering both expected and unbelievable gains, often as smooth interactions for end-users. But the background complexity can diminish returns very quickly and erode digitisation gains. This is the technology conversation of the year and foreseeable future, so let’s start talking.

Doug Woolley is the General Manager of Dell Technologies South Africa

[South Africa] CMC Networks solve African cross-border cloud connectivity issues

CMC Networks, a global telecommunications carrier, says Teraco’s Africa Cloud Exchange will play an important role in its recently launched Multi Cloud Connect solution.

CMC Networks, a global telecommunications carrier, says Teraco’s Africa Cloud Exchange will play an important role in its recently launched Multi Cloud Connect solution. This will enable its customers direct connection to AWS Direct Connect and Microsoft Azure Express Route cloud platforms across multiple countries in Africa. 

Marisa Trisolino, CEO, CMC Networks, says that as the largest Pan-African provider of connectivity, the collaboration with Teraco is crucial to Multi Cloud Connects success: “By providing the essential building blocks, the Africa Cloud Exchange greatly assists us to provide our customers with the most direct and best possible cloud experience across the continent with stringent service levels to suit.”

Multi Cloud Connect will enable much sought-after connectivity for African countries trying to connect to cloud regions located in South Africa: “This is a significant offering that enables African ISP’s and carriers to connect directly without having to route to Europe and back to Africa. Leveraging CMC’s extensive African footprint Multi Cloud Connect will also drastically reduce latency through the African Cloud Exchange,” says Trisolino.

Having first engaged with Teraco over ten years ago through its carrier neutral data centre offering and NAPAfrica, Africa’s largest Internet eXchange point, Trisolino says CMC Networks has offered hosting services and peering diversity to a multitude of its customers.

The acceleration of cloud adoption, she says, spurred the company on to develop a cloud offering utilising its existing relationships: “We believe the nature of the Africa Cloud Exchange will encourage and lead to increased cloud innovation. It is an outstanding platform and will support us to achieve our strategic cloud objective, which centres on solving cross-border cloud connectivity problems throughout Africa.”

Andrew Owens, Teraco peering and interconnection specialist, says that Africa Cloud Exchange improves hybrid and multi-cloud performance through direct interconnection: “We empower our carrier communities to do more in the cloud by providing secure, direct, flexible network connections to a wide range of local and global cloud service providers.” By using an interconnected network architecture approach, Owens says that Africa Cloud Exchange will improve cloud application performance, reduce latency, scale on demand, lower network costs, and visibly deliver a better cloud experience to end users.

Trisolino is excited about the burgeoning cloud prospects across Africa. Having established itself close to 30 years ago, CMC Networks built and manages the most extensive network across Africa with 80+ Points of Presence servicing 51 African countries and in excess of 108 Points of Presence globally across USA, Europe, UAE, India, Asia, and Australia.

“The cloud era is a very exciting one for us. With our significant Africa network, Cloud Connect will undoubtedly play a vital role in the growth and improvement of cloud adoption across the African continent,” says Trisolino.

Countries that can expect sub 100ms RTD include Angola, Benin, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

www.cmcnetworks.net

www.teraco.co.za

Managed services model accelerates in Africa

No longer just a buzzword, cloud has become a hot commodity and organisations are migrating based on the benefits.

More and more businesses across Africa are making the move towards cloud and subsequently, managed services. No longer just a buzzword, the cloud has become a hot commodity and organisations are migrating based on the benefits. In fact, according to Pieter Potgieter, Senior Manager: Commercial Operations at Britehouse, the African market is at a point where there is no hesitation and uncertainty around cloud, rather businesses are embracing its adoption to help them grow.

“This is driving businesses to adopt more of a menu-focused model – using and paying for only what they need – and adopting a managed service approach to bring everything together,” says Potgieter. “As a specialist IT consultancy that focuses on the implementation, development, hosting and management of SAP software-based solutions, Britehouse have created a flexible, secure, high performance platform for delivering hosted SAP applications as a managed service to businesses throughout Africa, using SUSE.” 

Open source has become an integral part of the technology strategy of any business. The rise of cloud computing, big data, and even social networking has seen open source being recognised as the way of the future. Potgieter agrees: “We are certainly seeing a positive construct when it comes to open source and SUSE. The adoption market has matured quite a bit and businesses are less worried about previous perceived open source pitfalls and rather see it now as a robust, secure and cost-effective hosting platform – especially when packaged into an enterprise solution.”

Business are also looking to modernize their application infrastructure and traditional monolithic platforms are not part of digital transformation and as a result, many businesses are re-evaluating their infrastructure priorities. “Clients are looking for stability, performance, service and security – and we believe SUSE meets these requirements,” adds Potgieter.

SUSE offers far higher performance and lower total cost of ownership. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, a leading Linux platform, optimised and resilient for SAP applications and databases, also uses less system resources and is more stable – keeping hardware costs low, while enabling high availability. Customers also benefit from economies of scale, getting a solution that would cost them much more to set up and run themselves.

“Better stability, peace of mind and improved service level are just some of the benefits African businesses are reaping from a managed service offering,” says Potgieter. “Additionally, with the skills gap hitting businesses hard, businesses want to be able to use the skills they have and apply them to more strategic areas of the business and this allows them to do exactly that. We see a very real merger of software and infrastructure as a service and a desperate need for the successful collaboration of these elements at a managed service level.”

“The current siloed-approach to infrastructure slows innovation and hinders go-to market strategies for companies, and this negatively impacts growth plans. As a result, companies are increasingly turning to solution providers to manage infrastructure, software and all things cloud related. However, to thrive in the digital era, businesses must act on opportunities and solve problems more quickly than ever before. They must innovate relentlessly and respond to customers, partners, and employees at light speed. Agility is the name of the game and SUSE allows business to unlock data intelligence, drive innovation and run with the best,” concludes Grant Bennett, Country Manager for SUSE South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa.

www.suse.com

www.britehouse.co.za

SEACOM adds eight new PoPs across Africa for more African businesses to connect to worldwide cloud facilities

The PoPS will also enable the businesses to connect to the continent’s first Microsoft Azure data centres, in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Pan-African Internet and connectivity service provider SEACOM is adding eight new Points of Presence (PoPs) across Africa to enable more African businesses to connect to cloud facilities worldwide. The PoPS will also enable the businesses to connect to the continent’s first Microsoft Azure data centres, in Johannesburg and Cape Town.  

In Kenya, SEACOM has extended its presence in the brand-new icolo data centre in Mombasa. This full-service facility acts as an on-ramp to SEACOM’s resilient network, providing better support to service provider and enterprise customers in the country. It offers both premium IP/MPLS and transmission services from this new PoP.

SEACOM’s Mombasa PoP is also significant as it connects Kenya’s first truly open-access data centre onto the SEACOM open-access data network. Rare in the region, in comparison to operator-owned data centres, these carrier-neutral facilities encourage competition in the local ICT sphere, helping to increase cloud-based service offerings for customers while driving down costs.  

SEACOM has similar plans for new open-access PoPs that are coming in Nairobi and Kampala. In preparation for higher demand and expanded services to business customers in the region, SEACOM has upgraded its backhaul connecting Mombasa to these new PoPs to include four separate and resilient routes.

In South Africa, SEACOM is deploying a new PoP within the carrier neutral Teraco Bredell data centre. Robert Marston, Global Head of Product at SEACOM, explains, “This new facility is a key location, catering specifically to content providers and enterprise customers. It will also serve as an important data recovery site for many operators.”

Although it already owns Africa’s most extensive international ICT data infrastructure, SEACOM says it is continually investing in strategic upgrades and expanding its PoP footprint within Africa. The company’s recent acquisition of FibreCo has added more than 60 network nodes across its South African network – including six core PoPs in major metros – vastly extending its reach. Internationally, SEACOM is the only African carrier to cover all five of the largest exchange points in Europe (London, Frankfort, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Marseille), in addition to Mumbai.

SEACOM’s PoPs are key to the provider’s direct access offerings, which bypass the public Internet in connecting company networks to digital business solutions. The standard-setting service sees line rates reach from 100 Mbps up to 100 Gigabits per second. By connecting onto a SEACOM PoP that is in closer proximity to their core business sites, customers can experience the SEACOM network’s speed and reliability with more convenience, and generally less cost.

Marston concludes, “The moves that SEACOM is making to improve our infrastructure on the continent will benefit African companies with greater high-speed, reliable and secure connectivity to cloud services and other online tools. One of our major objectives is to add simplicity to cloud migrations wherever possible.”

www.seacom.mu

[Column] Robin Brown: Ten cloud myths busted

Cloud ERP has come of age, but the uptake is still very slow. Why are enterprises reluctant to make the switch from on-premise to the cloud?

There are many misconceptions about cloud-based ERP that may be holding you back. Let’s bust those myths and sort out fact from fiction.

Myth 1: Cloud ERP is difficult to manage

Like so many myths, the opposite in, in fact, true.

With cloud ERP, all back-end management is handled by the SaaS/PaaS provider.

The off-site technical team handles everything your in-house IT team would have done: hardware, database management, security, back-up/restoration, high availability and disaster recovery.

This leaves the IT department free to concentrate on running the business infrastructure.

Myth 2: SAP is not user-friendly

In recent years, SAP has focused on the front end, and the new generation of cloud ERP products, like Business ByDesign, is UX-friendly and sports user interfaces that are modern and intuitive, made-for-mobile and ergonomic.

SAP’s commitment to improving the user experience is evidenced by the recent acquisition of Qualtrics, a global leader in experience management (XM) software.

Simplicity with power is the key design philosophy: these systems are made to serve humans, not the other way round.

Myth 3: Cloud ERP is expensive

Multi-tenant cloud-based ERP is significantly more cost-effective than on-premise deployment because a number of customers share the hardware and software installation and maintenance/upgrade costs. With SaaS, a subscription model avoids significant upfront capital investment in the form of hardware and software acquisition costs.

Even single-tenant cloud-based ERP systems are more cost-effective than on-premise deployments because the SaaS provider is able to leverage economies of scale by having large data centers servicing multiple businesses.

Myth 4: The cloud is not secure

‘In the cloud’ means living on the internet, right?

Well, not quite. The internet is used to deliver the information, but the software and data live in highly-secured data centers that have 24/7/365 protection, provided by expert security teams, with strict policies, regular audits and penetration testing for regulatory compliance.

Most data breaches come form inside the organisation, so a proper cloud-based system is, in fact, more secure. SAP’s data centers comply with strict EU GDPR requirements.

Myth 5: Moving from on-premise to the cloud is complex

Implementing a new automation system can be daunting, and yes, it’s complex. There is so much to consider, not least of which is the possibility of business disruption. That’s why it’s important to choose the right software and a service partner with the experience to understand your business and how best to deliver value from the ERP software. At Siris, our heavyweight team sweats the details before plunging into the task of migrating. Numerous mock data loads are performed in a non-production environment, and used as the basis for testing and training. Only once the client is comfortable, will the live data migration and cut-over take place in the production environment.

Myth 6: Cloud automation will replace jobs

Yes and no – but mostly no. Automation and digitisation are changing the world, and so many mundane jobs are already being done by robots or automated systems. As AI advances, the ability for automated systems to do more of the complex, yet repetitive tasks, increases. Automation allows people to be more efficient and to do more meaningful and interesting work.

Myth 7: There is a risk of downtime

If your server goes down, whether it’s due to malware, power problems or mechanical failure, it could bring your business to a halt. SAP has 45 data centers in 25 locations around the world, with more being built all the time.

These data centers have iron-clad security, redundant power sources, redundant cooling and high-end fire protection systems. In addition, each data center is backed up to a remote location, in case of a major catastrophe (such as an earthquake or act of war).

Myth 8: Software updates may disrupt operations

At SAP, every effort is made to test software updates before they are rolled out, and clients are given advance notification of scheduled updates with details of planned changes. Updates tend to be over weekends so the risk of operational disruption is minimised.

Single-tenant customers also have flexibility to schedule their “upgrade weekend” within a certain timeframe. It’s important to note that true cloud ERP (SaaS) is designed for seamless, regular upgrades. This is achieved by keeping the core solution “vanilla” and performing complex customisation on a separate application development platform (PaaS).

Myth 9: Customisation is limited

Because every business is unique, cloud ERP products like SAP Business ByDesign cater for extensive customisation.

Simpler customisation, such as customer-specific forms and fields, can be performed directly with the ERP system, while more complex customisation can be done with SAP Cloud Platform, which integrates with the cloud ERP system.

With regular updates, cloud ERP solutions are improving all the time, and what used to be considered customisation has in many cases become part of standard configuration.

Myth 10: Limited product suites

SAP Business ByDesign has earned the moniker “suite in a box” because it can provide most of the applications that a business might need, including SCM (logistics), CRM, procurement, project management, finance and HR.

Sectors that successfully employ this robust ERP system include manufacturing, professional services, wholesale and distribution, retail, construction and engineering.

The advantage of a “suite in a box” cloud ERP over a collection of disparate line of business applications is the fact that integration and data quality across core modules is guaranteed by the software vendor.

Moving ERP to the cloud enables fast, anytime, anywhere (mobile) access. It’s cost-effective, easy to maintain, flexible in terms of adding or removing business processes, and agile to scale as the company grows and changes.

Cloud computing and automation are transforming the business world as we know it. Those businesses that fail to move with the times will be left behind, as their competitors improve efficiencies, enable better customer centricity, and become more adaptable to shifting customer needs.

Cloud ERP is a certain competitive advantage for companies who want to become future-fit.

Robin Brown is the Director Siris Cloud Solutions South Africa

[South Africa] Microsoft to provide cloud services for Standard Bank Group’s i internal corporate functions.

Standard Bank Group has selected Microsoft to provide cloud services for its internal corporate functions. The new strategic partnership between the two companies will help transform the bank’s technology estate and internal corporate functions, enabling the largest bank in Africa to accelerate its digital transformation journey significantly improving its employee experience.

The partnership also forms part of Standard Bank’s multi-cloud approach and strengthens its long-term relationship with Microsoft.

“Standard Bank is embracing digital transformation and the opportunities it presents. They realise that investment in digital transformation is also about investing in your organisational culture, ensuring that employees can succeed in a fast-changing world,” says Jean-Philippe Courtois, EVP and President, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing & Operations. “Together we aim to bring innovation into every aspect of the bank’s IT systems, transform every employee experience and in turn enable enriched interactions with the bank’s customers. Being part of Standard Bank’s digital journey is particularly exciting as we share the ambition of making a positive impact on the African continent.”

The new partnership agreement adds to the work the two businesses are doing together. Microsoft already provides infrastructure, software, and platform services to the bank as well as cloud services across its productivity suite. These services continue to support Standard Bank’s expansion into Africa as well as enabling a true modern workplace.

“By providing these services, Microsoft is supporting Standard Bank Group in our digital transformation, helping to better leverage data to empower employees, create operational efficiencies, optimise our processes and transform our services and products to serve our clients with consistent excellence,” says Sim Tshabalala, Group CEO of Standard Bank. “The relationship between the Group and Microsoft has helped us execute our digitisation strategy and embark on this digital journey.”

Last month, Microsoft announced the launch of its new enterprise-grade data centre regions in South Africa. Microsoft Cloud — comprising Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 — offers scalable, available and resilient cloud services to help organisations, businesses and government meet their data residency, security and compliance needs. Microsoft is the first global provider to deliver cloud services from datacentres on the continent, and there are plans in place to migrate a proportion Standard Bank’s cloud services to these local data centres.

Microsoft also provides the bank with access to its cloud expertise across its array of teams and businesses allowing it to leverage the learnings from Microsoft’s own transformation journey and its strong culture of collaboration.

In its quest to support communities and businesses on the African continent, Standard Bank is also developing a comprehensive education and digital skills programme in Southern Africa to address to critical skills shortages and to upskill the next generation of African cloud experts.

www.microsoft.com

www.standardbank.com