Standard bank selects TCS BaNCS cloud for digital claims transformation in short term insurance

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a global IT services, consulting and business solutions organization, announced that Standard Bank’s short-term insurance business in South Africa has selected TCS BaNCS™ Cloud for Insurance to power its digital claims transformation and reaffirm its leadership in the region.

TCS BaNCS Cloud for Insurance will be offered on a SaaS model on AWS Cloud and will help the insurer harmonize more than 60 products spread across four claims administration platforms, enabling faster and accurate claims processing. The solution will also integrate with 16 different downstream applications including the enterprise GL system, payment gateway, CRM, business intelligence solutions, as well as all other peripheral systems identified in Standard Bank Insurance’s technology roadmap.

Combined with a cloud-first approach, a faster claims processing engine and high configurability, the solution will help Standard Bank Insurance improve operational efficiency and streamline claims management. TCS BaNCS APIs will help Standard Bank Insurance connect to ancillary systems easily and offer personalized experiences to their customers. Additionally, TCS’ analytics and data-driven insights tool will help in decreasing customer churn and speed up decision-making related to claims settlements.

Dr Nolwandle Mqoqi, Head of Insurance, Standard Bank South Africa, said, “Customer satisfaction and loyalty are of utmost importance to us and with TCS BaNCS Cloud for Insurance’s SaaS-based solution, we expect to vastly improve policy holder claims experiences, deliver superior performance in a secure environment and benefit from the scale that a highly configurable solution offers. We have been a leading cloud adopter in the region and selecting TCS BaNCS Cloud as one of the partners is the next step in this journey. Availing TCS’ analytics tool for intelligent insights, we will approach product innovation differently, take advantage of new opportunities and deliver differentiated customer experiences.”
R Vivekanand, Co-Head, TCS Financial Solutions. TCS cherishes the over 20-year relationship with the Standard Bank Group and our long-standing commitment to the South African financial services industry. We are pleased to be selected as the strategic partner to the company for this engagement. TCS BaNCS Cloud for Insurance will help Standard Bank’s short-term insurance enhance customer experience, reduce operational risk, improve claims efficiencies, and take advantage of emerging opportunities by seamlessly collaborating with an extended innovation ecosystem of insurtechs. This claims transformation sets up Standard Bank well for its next leg of thought leadership and client-centered delivery in the South African market.”

TCS BaNCS Cloud for Insurance is an end-to-end rules-driven core insurance platform spanning capabilities in underwriting, customer policy servicing, claim processing, co-insurance, finance, reporting and branch operations across P&C, Health and Life insurance businesses.
This SaaS offering has been adopted by banks and financial institutions of varying sizes across the globe for its future-ready digital architecture, functionality, business agility and operational efficiency.

Its proven application architecture ensures anytime, anywhere digital access, scalability, resilience, high performance, and compliance. Cloud agnostic, it ensures that customers gain from a standardized and consistent platform.

With a predictable and committed roadmap, systematic regulatory updates, and a complete operational model it provides customers with the reassurance to concentrate on their core competencies rather than on building and maintaining costly IT infrastructure. TCS BaNCS Cloud handles over 100 million transactions per month for more than 220 customers across the world.

Sapiens International to provide cloud-hosted solutions to South African financial institution

Sapiens International Corporation has announced that one of South Africa’s top five financial institutions with nearly 10 million customers, has selected it as their transformation partner. The financial institution will implement Sapiens’ cloud-hosted, IDITSuite for short-term insurance and Sapiens Intelligence, with the help of Sapiens Managed Services.

Subsequent to successfully launching its fully digital insurance product for individuals to purchase cover for motor vehicle, household contents, all-risk and building cover, the financial institution decided to rethink its legacy core system. To bring the company up to date in terms of capabilities, a refresh was required. However, the financial institution had some concerns regarding data migration and implementation. Particularly, they wanted to ensure a fast time to market, and agreed to work with Sapiens on reviewing and rearchitecting some of their internal processes.

Sapiens’ extensive industry experience, together with its comprehensive range of insurance products for the bancassurance sector, will empower the client to align with the latest, market-leading trends. Sapiens will migrate the customer’s systems and data to the cloud, and Sapiens vast implementation experience will ensure the complex integration into the client’s extensive banking ecosystem. Highly configurable systems will ensure their self-sufficiency and ability to effect change and generate significant ongoing value.

“Sapiens is pleased to foster great partnerships and to demonstrate our strong commitment to accelerating growth in the bancassurance sector. We are honored to be a partner in our customer’s journey as they expand their leading position in today’s dynamic bancassurance marketplace,” said Roni Al-Dor, Sapiens’ president and CEO. “Our advanced solutions and deep understanding of the changes reshaping bancassurance have earned Sapiens a stronghold as a leading vendor in this industry.”

Sapiens IDITSuite is a component-based, core software solution comprised of policy, billing and claims solutions. IDITSuite supports end-to-end core operations and processes for short-term/non-life (general) insurance from inception to renewal and claims. Its pre-integrated, fully digital suite offers customer and agent portals, business intelligence, as well as a suite of tools for testing new lines of business, products and services. IDITSuite is fully cloud-enabled.

[Column] Winston Ritson: Africa finally has its head in the Cloud – but is it private, public or hybrid?

In an age of accelerated digital migration and modernization movements, the Cloud has been touted as a veritable salvation for continued operations and increased efficiency. But is Africa keeping up with this global trend? The answer, you will find, lies somewhere in the middle.

If you look at Africa from an economic development standpoint, you would be quick to assume the continent is not geared up to take advantage of the latest trends in Cloud technology. But you would be wrong. The mere fact that Africa has experienced historical low economic growth is the reason that it is perfectly suited to jump onto the Cloud faster than her peers.

International investors are clamoring to the front of the investment line to fund a boom in the African Cloud Computing market. The proliferation of smartphones, mass adoption of business software and general economic growth prospects have seen a great demand for data centers to be built within continental borders. A young mobile population is driving end-user demand and the potential for the next Cloud boom.

Africa currently accounts for less than 1% of the global public Cloud services revenue (Xalam report) despite accounting for 5% of the world’s GDP and 17% of its population. However, its capacity has doubled in the past three years. But and there is always a but, Africa does lag as one would expect as we are still talking about a Cloud penetration rate of around 15%, but a forecasted public growth rate of between 17 and 20 CAGR (Xalam report – The Rise of the African Cloud)

What is causing the lag?

There are two main culprits for Cloud’s lack of momentum in Africa. First and foremost, piracy is still a big problem on the continent. Many businesses continue to use legacy on-prem versions of software that are pirated. Although this is true all over the world, it is especially true in Africa, where cost occasionally eclipses security or features.

In its June 2018 report, The Software Alliance reported that the overall rate of pirated software across the Middle East and Africa was 56%. Three years down the line, and I can promise you that not much has changed. It is extremely difficult to pursue and prosecute.

On the plus side, from my perspective at Liquid Intelligent Technologies, we are seeing an increasing number of formal African businesses make the move to Cloud with very little resistance and an increase in productivity. Businesses understand the reduced security risk combined with the latest features are worth the monthly subscription.

Secondly, the move to Cloud is not an easy endeavor by any means. We have seen a lot of fragmentation when it comes to business comprehension. There is a tug of war between what they can do with the Cloud versus what they are willing to do. However, leaders of organizations are starting to understand that any strategy must include technological investments.

Unfortunately, with Cloud, there has been an all or nothing mentality. Yet, the rise of data protection and privacy laws is creating lines in the sand regarding the movement of data. Many businesses that were keen to move entirely into the public Cloud are now apprehensive and have adopted a hybrid Cloud model. These developments have somewhat fragmented adoption and created hesitancy.

The rise of hybrid – the end of the road for some, a stepping stone for others

Why is it that in Africa, most new developments are broken down into a public versus private debate? With the Cloud, the two are no different. Typically, Cloud investments exist as a single architectural deployment – ​​​​ie, public or private. Public being the big Cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, and private being an environment that is wholly controlled by a single customer, generally purpose-built for a particular business.

Yet, many have chosen the best of both worlds as a hybrid Cloud solution operates across both. Hybrid Cloud combines a private Cloud with one or more public Cloud services where the business makes use of workloads optimized for the deployment model selected. There are inherent advantages to the public Cloud, including almost infinite scalability and an unbeatable breadth of independent service vendor (ISV) offerings. The private Cloud suits low latency data regulatory requirements and is built for purpose installations. In the end, in these precarious times, hybrid Cloud services are becoming powerful as it gives businesses greater control over their private data.

Is this simply a stepping stone on the road to a full Cloud solution? I would argue, yes. For many businesses, hybrid is a step on the journey to a full Cloud solution. We are still in the development phase for Cloud in the world, let alone Africa. As more infrastructure arises in all corners of the continent and the world, businesses will find the allure of a full Cloud solution may be too tempting to pass up.

But, if you are downsizing and getting rid of corporate offices or storefronts, you then need the flexibility for the end-users to access their data through whatever application, no matter where that user is. There should be no interruption of services, especially if it is financial information like an online banking application. This means that moving all data in one go to the Cloud remains problematic.

Many organizations worldwide are struggling with harnessing the full capabilities of their Cloud environments. An  IBM report  suggests that though 90% of companies globally were “on the Cloud” by 2019, only about 20% of their workloads had moved to a Cloud environment.

The Cost Paradox of Cloud

Having said all this, the paradox of scale means that you are probably going to need your own private Cloud and data centers once you grow big enough. If you are the size of Uber or Netflix, it makes sense to eventually start building your own data centers. In 2019, various sources estimate that AWS charged Netflix US$9.6 million a month for services rendered. That’s a lot of money.

Although you can count on one hand the number of businesses in the world that require that amount of Cloud space. For everyone else, depending on your data restrictions, regulations, and ability to operate efficiently – a hybrid Cloud solution may be the end of the road and work just fine. But don’t think your opinion isn’t going to change as the tech evolves. There is always a better solution on the horizon.

Winston Ritson is the Group Head for Cloud Services at  Liquid Intelligent Technologies.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Africa is suited to jump to the cloud more than its peers

The speed at which Africa’s business sector has changed over the past year has been nothing short of astonishing. Business leaders have had their hands full, from enabling remote work on a previously unprecedented scale to adapting to disruptions among many other things. At the center of this change is cloud.

Before the pandemic hit, a number of businesses in Africa were at different stages of their cloud strategies, whether that meant moving their email server to the cloud or upgrading to Google cloud or Microsoft 365. This process has been accelerated as many workers were forced to work remotely.

According to a Synergy Research Group survey, which we wrote about in our last cloud review column,  spending on cloud infrastructure bypassed spending on data center hardware and software for the first time in 2020 . This study shows that spending on cloud infrastructure services (PaaS, IaaS, and hosted private cloud combined) grew by 35 per cent to reach almost $130 billion in 2020, while spending on data center hardware and software dropped more than 5 percent to less than $90 billion over the same period.

Cloud adoption—including hybrid and multi-cloud adoption—is expanding fast among both private and public sector organizations of all sizes.

At the enterprise level, consulting firm BCG estimates that two-thirds of companies globally already use multiple clouds. It predicts that by 2025, up to 60 per cent of consumer-facing applications, almost 40 per cent of data warehouse and analytics workloads, and more than 30 per cent of core business applications will be running on public clouds operated by the likes of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Traditional on-premises technology will handle no more than a third of these workloads.

In Africa, the continent has been suited to jump to the cloud more than its peers. 

”If you look at Africa from an economic development standpoint, you would be quick to assume the continent is not geared up to take advantage of the latest trends in cloud technology. But you would be wrong. ” Winston Ritsonthe Group Head for Cloud Services at Liquid Intelligent Technologies.   says in an OP ED published last week. 

Winston notes that international investors are clamoring to the front of the investment line to fund a boom in the African Cloud Computing market. 

”The proliferation of smartphones, mass adoption of business software and general economic growth prospects have seen a great demand for data centers to be built within continental borders. A young mobile population is driving end-user demand and the potential for the next Cloud boom,” he says.

In the news

Last week, Liquid Intelligent Technologies creates direct access to USA internet resources via a new POP connection to Miami. The new POP is connected to Liquid’s 100,000km of fiber across 11 countries on the continent and another 14 countries via the Operators Alliance Program and Liquid Satellite Services. This results in customers being able to leverage a better connection to the US, giving them access to Cloud services, OTT resources, Internet content and high-quality voice and video calls with family and business partners.

A South African financial institution also partnered with Sapiens on Cloud-Hosted Bancassurance solutions. The financial institution will implement Sapiens’ cloud-hosted, IDITSuite for short-term insurance and Sapiens Intelligence, with the help of Sapiens Managed Services.

Google Cloud and SAP  announced an expanded strategic partnership to help customers execute business transformations, migrate critical business systems to the cloud and augment existing business systems with Google Cloud capabilities in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

[Column] Francis Wainaina: How cloud technology could transform manufacturing in Africa

Globally, the manufacturing sector plays a significant role in driving economic growth, job creation, and lifting people out of poverty. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, global manufacturing output has been in decline and Kenyan manufacturers say they are now prioritising cost reduction, increasing revenue, retaining jobs, and improving cash flow. At the same time, with the Fourth Industrial Revolution underway, manufacturers are being pushed to embrace technological development – or risk losing business to more technologically advanced competitors.

Cloud technologies offer manufacturers a solution to this, providing speed, agility, cost savings, and innovation advantages that could accelerate the recovery of the manufacturing sector as well as increase Kenya’s global competitiveness. The African Continental Free Trade Area, Kenya-USA Free Trade Area, Kenya-UK Free Trade Area, and the European Union, under the Economic Partnership Agreements, all present enormous export opportunities for our country, but our manufacturing sector cannot fully capitalise on these global markets without undergoing significant digital transformation.

Kenya’s vision

In 2008, the Kenyan government launched Kenya Vision 2030 with a long-term national development strategy to transform Kenya into a globally competitive industrial hub. Under the Big Four Agenda, the government hopes to increase the manufacturing sector’s contribution to Kenya’s GDP to 15% by 2022. 

The Competitive Industrial Performance Index Report (2020), which benchmarks our ability to produce and export manufactured goods competitively, ranked Kenya 115th out of 152 countries.  While this places us as a leader in East Africa, Kenya’s manufacturing sector still has a long way to go – and the pandemic has not made things easier. In May 2020, a KAM-KPMG survey showed that 53% of manufacturers were operating below 50% capacity during the pandemic. Although manufacturing’s contribution to GDP decreased from 7.8% in 2018 to 7.5% in 2019, the sector also saw an increase from KSh. 690.6 billion to Ksh. 734.6 billion in value added over the same period – largely due to increased output in the manufacturing of transport equipment, chemicals, and chemical products and pharmaceuticals.

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers developed the Manufacturing Priority Agenda 2021 to accelerate the recovery of Kenya’s manufacturing sector, with enhanced digitalisation as one of the seven key agendas to “enhance productivity, induce innovation, and enhance resource efficiency”.

The future of manufacturing

In the past, the prevailing winning strategies for manufacturers were large production sites, long product life-cycles, vertical integration, and a heavy investment in costly on-premise systems. But the face of manufacturing has changed, and today’s manufacturers do not only compete by the size and scale of their operations, but also by their speed and agility. For example, many plants today are distributed across the globe and dependent on a constantly fluctuating global supply chain, which necessitates more flexible and data-driven approaches to supply chain management. 

As is the case in most other sectors, the future of manufacturing now belongs to those who can successfully adopt technologies such as machine learning and automation, big data, or IoT. Cloud systems enable these forward-facing technologies, which is why 46% of respondents in Africa’s manufacturing sector, according to a study by World Wide Worx, reported an increased spend on cloud services.

Why manufacturers are using the cloud

Efficient manufacturing is about accomplishing more with fewer resources without compromising on quality. It is also about effectively managing communication between suppliers and distributors, streamlining production schedules through real-time and insight-driven monitoring, and minimising operational costs.

Cloud technologies play directly into all of this, and while some of these capabilities are possible with on-premise systems, cloud-based systems are much faster and more cost-effective to roll out, enable easier customisation and flexibility, allow for scalability, and open the door for innovation. Manufacturers often compete in highly regulated industries where being first-to-market is crucial, and cloud computing is making it possible for them to reduce the time it takes to conduct strategic sourcing, quality audits, supply chain management, optimisation, and more accurate forecasting.

Developing scalable manufacturing intelligence across various plants can be achieved at a much lower cost and with greater accuracy using cloud systems, which can provide real-time insights into production performance using one central dashboard. Cloud-based monitoring systems also allow production processes to be fine-tuned actively and with greater accuracy, making it easier to identify bottlenecks and make configuration changes from any location.

Legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems that do not run in the cloud were not designed for complex compliance reporting requirements, which is becoming increasingly important in the manufacturing sector. Cloud computing is making it possible to integrate these legacy systems with the cloud and define entirely new metrics and performance indicators.

Unlocking Africa’s potential

As industries and businesses adapt to working in the digital-first world, digital transformation has become critical to success. Cloud technologies have become a pillar of the modern business world, and the manufacturing sector is certainly no exception. To accelerate the growth of Kenya’s economy through improved manufacturing capabilities, we need to follow international trends and take advantage of all the opportunities that cloud has to offer.

Francis Wainaina is a Senior Product Manager at SEACOM East Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Nguniri: Kenya’s Kenya Data Center Market Size by investment is set to Reach $342 Million by 2026

Kenya is witnessing the growing adoption of digital services such as cloud, big data, and IoT driving the demand for data centers in the region.

Kenya’s data center market is set to grow at a CAGR of 12.36% during 2021-2026. This is according to the “Kenya Data Center – Investment Analysis & Growth Opportunities 2021-2026” report released this week.

The report notes that  the data center market in Kenya includes around six unique third-party data center service providers operating around nine facilities. 

Kenya is one of Africa’s primary data center hubs and is considered the gateway to the East African region. Nairobi, the capital city, is a favorable location for data center development. In Kenya, Unaitas Sacco, a financial firm, selected Eastra Solutions for installation and commissioning services to Unaitas Data Center. Atos is investing in the development of a new data center facility in Kenya with around USD 260 million investment at the Mwale Medical and Technology City (MMTC) in Butere, Kakamega County. which is among the top data centers investors in Kenya recently announced the construction of its third data center in Kenya to be located in Nyali, Mombasa. Called MBA2, the new data center is expected to be completed in Q1 of 2022 and set to provide an estimated capacity of 1.6MW megawatt and 1,200 square meters of IT space. 

Other key investors include IXAfrica, PAIX, Teraco Data Environments, and Wingu.

Other tech giants like Huawei Huawei Technologies is among the leading vendors in the modular data center space with multiple efficient and reliable deployments. All the vendors the report notes have taken precautionary measures to reduce disruptions in their supply chain operations. The most commonly adopted servers in the industry include rack and blade servers from Cisco Systems, HPE, Dell Technologies, IBM, and Lenovo.

Data centers are being utilized now more than ever according to Carol Koech is the Country President for Schneider Electric East Africa. Data spending is also going up with Gartner estimating that end-user spending on global data center infrastructure is projected to reach US$200 billion in 2021, up 6% from 2020. The landscape in East Africa is no different. In Kenya for example, the country has a total number of 43.7 million Internet/data subscriptions according to the Communication Authority of Kenya; this coupled with the country’s youthful demographics means that data demand will rise rapidly, which will require more data centers. And we can already see investments in this space.

Across Africa, the continent accounts for less than 1% of the world’s co-location data centre supply, with South Africa accounting for the bulk of the continent’s capacity. Co-location facilities rent space, power and cooling to enterprise and hyperscale customers; they also offer interconnection enabling businesses to scale at low complexity and cost.

Nina Triantis, Global Head of Telecoms, Media & Technology at Standard Bank notes that we should expect to see a substantial wave of data centre investments materialise across the continent, led by regional economic powerhouses including South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.  

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

[Column] Phil Lewis: Is Multi-tenant Deployment the Only True Cloud?

Enterprises that have decided to move to the cloud are being presented solutions built on two different deployment models: single tenant (ST), which is really nothing more than running an on-premises solution on someone else’s IT (hosting), or multi-tenant (MT) built on much more scalable, true cloud technologies. 

Deciding which model to go with isn’t always recognised for its immense importance. It’s a decision often rushed through without proper consideration of the repercussions. Executives may assume the only distinction between the options is whether the cloud is public or private. Or they may guess that a private cloud is safer. Such misconceptions can cause enterprises to start their digital journey in the wrong direction, heading to disappointment. This primer into the many benefits of multi-tenant deployment will help IT leaders and their colleagues understand why MT deployment is sometimes called the only true cloud.    

The method chosen matters greatly. It sets the parameters for the upgrade and the organisation’s ability to digitally transform itself. Making the wrong choice can waste resources, including time and effort. Moving to a ST solution can bring about surprise costs, require more commitment from the IT team, and hinder the ability to adopt advanced capabilities that require greater cloud technologies. Unfortunately, some organisations don’t realise the hidden limitations of ST deployment until they are struggling through an implementation that feels like it is simply relocating old problems to new hardware, at a new, out-of-reach location. 

One of the most compelling reasons why ST versus MT matters is that an upgrade is also a chance to innovate, adopt new processes, and truly become agile. The difference lies in retaining old problems versus purging them. It’s a chance to say goodbye to those excessive modifications that can be so problematic for future upgrades and put sweeping new strategies in place. Simply migrating a legacy solution to the cloud perpetuates old inefficiencies and causes new ones. 

The basic differences between ST and MT solutions lie in their definitions. 

ST architecture provides software that is served by separate server infrastructure for each customer like it would be installed on-premises. This gives the enterprise more control but requires more effort and investment. Organisations can lift their legacy system, with all its existing strengths and shortcomings, and put it in the cloud. The organisation remains responsible for several functions, such as security and back-ups or hands those responsibilities to the hosting provider for added fees. These add to the cost of maintaining the solution.  

The MT environment gives several clients the use of the application within the same operating environment on shared hardware and resources. This shared-cost model reduces investment and provides the benefits of using standardised processes, maintenance, and security. MT solutions rely on extensibility and configurability that can be upgraded rather than customisations that cannot.

In addition to its configurability and agility, MT deployment also offers advanced capabilities (think IoT, AI, and ML) with access to continuous upgrades and progressive cost controls. The Platform as a Service approach delivers no/low code tools for ease of use and personalisation. Forsoftware to be viable in a MT environment, it must meet rigorous testing and quality control standards – thereby ensuring top quality. From streamlined processes to enhanced digitalisation, excellent security, automated back-ups and full redundancy, MT cloud solutions drive organisations to match peek demands. 

Happy MT customers frequently cite three main reasons for moving to the multi-tenant cloud, including: built-in last-mile functionality, featuring standard business functionalities that are perfectly adapted to customers’ equipment sales (including rental), spare parts management, procurement and stock management issues; SaaS features offering greater configuration for security, scalability, simplicity and reliability; and embedded analytics giving users control over the production of tables and reports, particularly by geographical area and by product.

Organisations worldwide in all industries are realising the value of cloud deployment as they strive to upgrade and modernise processes to be more competitive. Turning to a cloud-based solution is just the first step. It’s also important to choose multi-tenant deployment to take advantage of the features that make cloud computing so attractive: agility, security, and the ability to adopt advanced AI-driven functionality.

Phil Lewis is the Vice President Solution Consulting for Infor EMEA.

Google Cloud and Workday Announce Strategic Partnership to Digitally Transform Enterprises Around the World

Google Cloud and Workday Inc. a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, have announced a strategic partnership that will enable businesses across the world to further their digital transformations. As a Workday preferred cloud partner across core industries—such as healthcare, financial services, and retail—Google Cloud will help businesses run Workday enterprise applications for finance, HR, and planning in a public cloud environment, with ease-of-management, and low network latency.

As the way people work continues to evolve with hybrid and remote models, it’s critical for businesses to adopt digital strategies that help improve employee productivity and operational resiliency. This includes providing cloud solutions that give employees secure access to applications and data. Workday, with more than 50 million users and serving more than 8,000 customers globally, supports finance and people operations for some of the world’s largest organizations, many of which have varied requirements regarding where their data can be stored, accessed, and managed. 

The strategic relationship will provide customers with greater choice to meet their specific business needs. Customers will be able to deploy Workday Financial Management, Workday Human Capital Management (HCM), and Workday Adaptive Planning all on Google Cloud’s scalable and reliable infrastructure.

“The combination of Workday and Google Cloud provides customers with an exceptional public cloud experience where they can take advantage of leading innovation services from both companies, helping to drive greater value from their enterprise investments,” said Chano Fernandez, co-CEO at Workday.

“Together, we’re uniquely positioned to deliver industry-leading cloud capabilities so organizations can enhance workforce productivity and accelerate their digital transformations.” 

“More than ever, businesses are looking for increased flexibility, openness, and choice when it comes to where their data is stored, accessed, and managed,” said Thomas Kurian, CEO at Google Cloud. “By running Workday on Google Cloud, organizations can adhere to commercial data requirements, while maintaining the enterprise-grade security, scalability, and performance they expect from a trusted cloud leader like Google.”

Through this multi-year relationship, Google Cloud and Workday plan to build strategic, joint, go-to-market programs that include co-marketing activities and establishing co-selling programs to increase awareness among customers and prospects across the U.S.. Additionally, the two companies will explore opportunities for co-innovation, bringing even more innovative and transformative technologies to business in industries such as retail, healthcare, and financial services.

[South Africa] Google Cloud appoints Niral Patel Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa

Google Cloud has appointed former Oracle South Africa Managing Director Niral Patel as Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Before Oracle, Patel also held various leadership roles at global tech companies including Microsoft, IBM and Hitachi. 

Patel brings with him more than 20 years of tech sales leadership to his new role and will be based in Johannesburg. He will be responsible for leading Google Cloud’s business across the Sub-Saharan Africa region.

“We have been seeing strong customer momentum in Africa, and companies ranging from digital natives to large corporations are coming to us to help them digitally transform and reinvent their business models,” said Abdul Rahman Al Thehaiban, Managing Director, Turkey, Middle East and Africa at Google Cloud. 

“We are thrilled to have Niral join us as we accelerate the next stage of growth with our local teams, partners and customers. He brings a wealth of experience to the Google Cloud family.”

With 24 regions and 73 zones in 17 countries, Google Cloud delivers high-performance, low-latency cloud services to customers. It’s is the world’s third-largest cloud computing infrastructure provider after Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.=

Google Cloud has been a key partner in accelerating African businesses’ growth strategy using Cloud-based solutions like Google Workspace, Chromebooks, and Cloud infrastructure.

[Column] Isme Oosthuizen: South Africa’s financial institutions need to pursue their own path to the cloud

Cloud adoption—including hybrid and multi-cloud adoption—is expanding fast among both private and public sector organisations of all sizes.

At the enterprise level, consulting firm BCG estimates that two-thirds of companies globally already use multiple clouds. It predicts that by 2025, up to 60 percent of consumer-facing applications, almost 40 percent of data warehouse and analytics workloads, and more than 30 percent of core business applications will be running on public clouds operated by the likes of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Traditional on-premises technology will handle no more than a third of these workloads.

“South Africa’s path to the cloud is following a similar trajectory – but with a preference for hybrid cloud,” says Isme Oosthuizen, associate director at BCG Platinion. The Enterprise Cloud Index report by Nutanix found that 50 percent of South African businesses surveyed moved with speed to adopt hybrid cloud in 2020, and that 88 percent consider hybrid their ideal operating model – in line with the global average of 86 percent.

Financial services is the exception to the rule. Instead of rushing to the cloud, banks, credit card and payment companies, and insurers are likely to move toward hybrid or multi-cloud models at a measured pace over several years or more, and the pathways of adoption will include banking software vendors as well as large cloud service providers.

Banks and other financial services providers face a complex, hybrid, and fluid tech landscape that will demand a mix of infrastructure, skills, capabilities, and partnerships to navigate. Each company’s size, business mix, data and technology strategy, and ambitions will shape its journey.

The state of play: meeting the current and future needs of financial institutions

In response to internal demand for increased agility, scale, speed, cost-savings and efficiencies, as well as external competitive signals from peers and new digital rivals, financial institutions of all sizes and types have tested various approaches to the cloud. These efforts have ranged in scope from launching limited pilots to moving major workloads to cloud services providers (CSPs).

For industry-unique reasons—including mainframe technology, regulatory frameworks, and organisational digital maturity—financial institutions have been slower than businesses in other industries to move their core infrastructure workloads to CSPs.

This will change as leading CSPs establish more offerings for the financial industry to reduce the barriers to adoption and as all but the largest institutions face decisions about whether to build new data centres, upgrade existing ones, or seek alternative solutions to expanding needs and rising costs.

Sooner or later, most will embrace some form of hybrid model. “The majority of South African traditional banks are in the process of adopting a hybrid cloud strategy, enabling them to move certain applications and platforms to the cloud to drive organisational efficiencies,” says Oosthuizen.

Most CSPs are pursuing strategic partnerships with major financial institutions to address industry-specific needs and requirements. For example, Standard Bank, the continent’s largest financial institution, has partnered with Microsoft, on a cloud-first strategy to enable innovation and resilience. It involves migrating the bank’s workloads, applications, and platforms to Microsoft Azure to drive organisational efficiencies, as well as workforce collaboration.

Absa, for instance, has chosen Amazon Web Services (AWS) to build new service capabilities in the cloud for a more agile business and to optimise technology expenditure. The bank has launched more than 100 initiatives on AWS Cloud and is accelerating its cloud adoption to enable it to innovate, offer new value propositions to customers, manage and access big data sets and bring products to market faster.

Overall, CSPs are increasingly recognising that they cannot just provide the tech – they need to understand the bank’s core business and collaborate to solve real business problems.

Planning for the future: taking the hybrid versus multi-cloud approach

But since not one cloud architecture is perfect for all purposes when it comes to tooling, service selection, and sourcing models for each layer of the technology stack, chief information officers (CIOs) at financial institutions need to make decisions on a couple of levels.

First, they need to determine what their strategy should be with respect to hybrid or multi-cloud operating models.

Second, they need to figure out how to implement their strategy with respect to tooling (open standards versus off-the-shelf commercial solutions), operating model (hybrid or true multi-cloud—with CSP vendor agnosticism and workload portability—versus multiple clouds that operate independently), and sourcing model (CSP agnostic versus CSP native adoption).

BCG has found that financial institutions have a continuum of choices, with differing architectural trade-offs that they must consider in the context of the organisation’s broader IT and business strategy. At the strategic level, the industry has yet to reach a consensus view on hybrid or multi-cloud usage, and institutions’ experiences and results vary.

Whichever route an institution chooses, four truths are likely to shape its journey:

Adoption will be slower than most observers predict. The cloud will not replace data centres in the next three to five years. Most institutions can continue to operate their current data centres while they work with core banking software vendors on future offerings.

The future is hybrid. Institutions need to be thoughtful about how to make hybrid and multiple-cloud solutions work.

The industry has its own cloud challenges. The design and technology choices that institutions ultimately make must reflect the particular challenges of the industry, including latency, operational resiliency, security, and compliance. Companies should also be thoughtful about enabling end-to-end automation, orchestration, and integration.

Every institution needs to build some muscle in cloud. Even hybrid solutions entail building a set of in-house skills to work with cloud partners. For organisations that want to lower the risk and cost of cloud adoption, training staff and building capabilities are just as important as pursuing a specific outcome or benefit.

For example, Absa introduced a cloud incubator initiative with AWS, to train 1 500 staff members across Africa with the aim to enable participants to identify cloud opportunities within their businesses and create more efficient, scalable services and solutions. By giving employees the confidence to innovate quicker and experiment more, the bank will drive broadscale digital transformation.

“South Africa’s financial institutions need to plan for a future in the cloud, but their emphasis should be on getting the integration right rather than making the transition fast,” says Oosthuizen. “A cultural shift away from long-established approaches to technology that have served financial institutions well will be a big part of the challenge. Each institution will move at its own pace, and leveraging others’ experience can help.”

Isme Oosthuizen is the associate director at BCG Platinion.