Oracle opens first cloud region in Africa

Oracle announced the availability of its first cloud region in Africa to meet the rapidly growing demand for enterprise cloud services on the continent. The Oracle Cloud Johannesburg Region will boost cloud adoption across Africa while also helping businesses achieve better performance and drive continuous innovation. The opening marks Oracle’s 37th cloud region worldwide with plans to have at least 44 cloud regions by the end of 2022, continuing one of the fastest expansions of any major cloud provider.

“The fourth industrial revolution, which is powered by cloud-led technologies, has significantly accelerated in South Africa and the wider African continent. In recent months, cloud technologies have played a vital role in helping African public and private sector organisations ensure business continuity, deliver essential services, and meet evolving customer expectations. The Oracle Johannesburg region offers a next-generation cloud to run any application faster and more securely for less, helping businesses build resilience, agility and achieve improved ROI,” said Richard Smith, executive vice president, EMEA, Oracle.

The Johannesburg region is built on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), which enables customers to easily migrate IT workloads and data platforms to the cloud or build new cloud native applications. In addition, Oracle offers a wide range of application modernisation and cloud strategies to help African organisations operate with global competitiveness.

Customer, Analyst, and Partner Commentary

African organisations are using Oracle to manage their mission-critical workloads and take advantage of cloud economics. Customers will benefit from significant performance improvements and reduced operational costs.

Airports Company South Africa owns and manages a network of nine airports in South Africa, including the three main international gateways: O.R. Tambo International, Cape Town International and King Shaka International, which together process more than 40 million passengers annually.

“Airports Company South Africa is mandated to advance South Africa’s national agenda of economic growth and development while delivering a sustainable and profitable business. Cloud-led digital transformation is vital for us to maintain an agile and profitable business model. The Oracle Cloud Johannesburg Region will offer us the flexibility to explore the latest technologies that can support our digital roadmap,” said Mthoko Mncwabe, CIO, Airports Company South Africa.

The Government Pensions Administrative Agency (GPAA) ensures the effective, transparent and accountable administration of pension funds on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GPEF) and the National Treasury of South Africa.

“GPAA is in the process of replacing legacy applications and refreshing its IT infrastructure. The timing of the Johannesburg region opening is perfect to enable us to lift and shift our existing and future Oracle deployments to the cloud. This will enable us to cut down on on-premises infrastructure and assist with the management of Oracle services, cybersecurity and disaster recovery,” said Meiring Coetzee, CIO, Government Pensions Administrative Agency.

Telkom is Africa’s largest telecommunications company.

“Telkom plays a leading role in South Africa’s digital revolution, providing the latest converged ICT solutions for a range of business and residential customers. The Johannesburg region will boost the local infrastructure capability of South Africa and the wider continent, and help organisations kick-start their digital transformation journeys,” said Reubin Layman, CIO, Openserve, Telkom SA.

“Our deep partnership with Oracle has always been one of Accenture’s most strategic and important initiatives to help our clients leverage the cloud and thrive in a cloud-first world. In this era of rapid transformation, cloud has proven to be a powerful tool for organisations to master change – in fact, we have found that cloud-focused organisations in Africa and Asia Pacific were able to achieve 1.5 times more cost reduction and were reported to be 3.7 times more likely to innovate as compared to their competitors. We have seen the benefits Oracle Cloud Infrastructure brings to our clients and know that the Oracle Cloud Johannesburg Region will further accelerate organisations’ cloud adoption and their ability to become agile, intelligent and digital businesses,” said Kgomotso Lebele, Technology Lead, Accenture Africa.

“Public cloud services adoption is accelerating at CAGR of 25 percent year on year between 2020 and 2025 in Sub-Saharan Africa and IDC projects that the growth momentum will continue. The role of cloud in enabling innovation is underscored by the priority organisations have given to it as part of their digital transformation initiatives. Cloud-based technologies have helped organisations weather the COVID-19 crisis and cloud is now helping them build resilient organisations that can withstand uncertainties. Our survey of CIOs in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria highlights that an in-country data center is an important factor for 60 percent of organisations that are planning to adopt cloud over the next 12-18 months. The Johannesburg region will boost regional cloud infrastructure availability. IDC believes that cloud has become an inseparable element of an organisation’s digital transformation and innovation roadmap,” said Mark Walker, associate vice president, Sub-Saharan Africa, IDC.

“Supply chain is mission critical. Kӧrber’s unrivaled portfolio of supply chain software, spanning WMS, voice, robotics and beyond, empowers businesses to turn what were once warehousing and logistics challenges into strategic differentiators. Our work with Oracle takes this to another level, enhancing our capabilities with the power of the cloud. We look forward to the possibilities our solutions and the Oracle Cloud together will bring the industry in South and Sub Saharan Africa and globally”, said Joe Couto, executive vice president, robotics and 3PL at Kӧrber Supply Chain Software.

Preparing Africa’s Next Generation for the Digital Economy

In South Africa, Oracle has initiated an annual “Graduate Leadership Program” to address the skills gap in the local ICT industry and creating employment opportunities for South Africa’s youth. The program focuses on equipping disadvantaged South African students with specialised technology and leadership skills that prepare them for a career in the IT industry. Since its inception in 2014, more than 200 graduates have completed this program with several securing permanent employment with Oracle partner companies and other organisations.

High Availability and Disaster Protection

Oracle’s strategy is to meet customers where they are, enabling customers to keep data and services where they need it. Customers can deploy Oracle Cloud completely within their own data centers with Dedicated Region and Exadata Cloud@Customer, deploy cloud services locally with public cloud-based management, or deploy cloud services remotely on the edge with Roving Edge Infrastructure.

OCI’s next-generation architecture provides a high-performing, resilient foundation for cloud services, while its physical and virtual network design maximizes performance and security. For example, each Oracle Cloud region contains at least three fault domains, which are groupings of hardware that form logical data centers for high availability and resilience to hardware and network failures.

Sustainability

Oracle is committed to sustainability and has pledged to power all Oracle Cloud regions worldwide with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.  Several Oracle Cloud regions in North America, South America, and Europe are already powered by 100 percent renewable energy, and all Oracle Cloud regions use state-of-the-art energy management and cooling technologies to minimize their impact on the environment.  As part of its clean Cloud initiative, Oracle reused or recycled 99.6 percent of its retired hardware in FY21 while strictly adhering to Oracle’s data privacy and security practices.

Cloud Regions Deliver All Cloud Services and Multicloud

Oracle Cloud regions support every Oracle service and feature and are available to customers anywhere in the world. This includes Oracle Autonomous Database, Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes, Oracle Cloud VMware solution, and Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications Suite.

OCI’s extensive network of more than 70 FastConnect global and regional partners offer customers dedicated connectivity to Oracle Cloud regions and OCI services – providing customers with the best options anywhere in the world. FastConnect provides an easy, elastic, and economical way to create a dedicated and private network connection with higher bandwidth, lower latency, and more consistent performance versus public Internet-based connections. Partners available at launch for the Oracle Cloud Johannesburg Region include Colt, Telia, Equinix, and Megaport.

In addition, OCI and Microsoft Azure have a strategic partnership that enables joint customers to run workloads across the two clouds. This partnership provides a low latency, cross-cloud interconnect between OCI and Azure in ten regions (San Jose, Phoenix, Ashburn, Toronto, Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, South Korea and Vinhedo), federated identity for joint customers to deploy applications across both clouds, and a collaborative support model. Customers can run full stack applications in a multi-cloud configuration, while maintaining high-performance connectivity without requiring re-architecture. They can also potentially migrate existing applications or develop cloud native applications that use a mix of OCI and Azure services.

www.oracle.com

Safozi launches high performance cloud services in Tunisia with Sunlight.io Infrastructure Technology

Sunlight.io, the edge infrastructure company, has announced its partnership with North Africa’s leading Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider, Safozi. Together they’re bringing high-performance and private cloud services, with local support, to Tunisia and other countries across North Africa.

Sunlight is working with Safozi to deploy high density servers with high core count CPUs, fast SSD and SAS storage and fast networking. This means they can offer their customers, including key Tunisian news outlets and financial services firms, a no-compromise cloud service that combines the ease of cloud with the performance of bare metal infrastructure.

With Sunlight, Safozi’s enterprise customers can benefit from a superior cloud solution that is locally hosted in Tunisia. Safozi can offer a higher performance and lower cost alternative to AWS or OVH. In addition, customers have the flexibility to take advantage of their virtual data center service – allowing CIOs to subscribe to a guaranteed set of CPU, memory and storage resources, which can be sliced into virtual machines that precisely meet their workloads’ needs.

“With Sunlight, we can offer our enterprise customers a superior cloud solution that’s hosted locally in Tunisia, with local support and at a low cost,” said Zied Ouled Ali, Safozi’s Founder & General Manager. “The Sunlight team has been on hand to help get our new cloud capability up and running quickly. My customers are excited to experience the high performance they can now get from the Sunlight infrastructure.”

Sunlight Founder and CEO, Julian Chesterfield, said, “It has been a pleasure working with Safozi to bring affordable, high performance cloud services to Tunisia and the North African region. Applications running on Safozi’s cloud will now be able to deliver a far higher level of responsiveness to their users which translates to better customer satisfaction.”

Under the partnership, Safozi will also act as a value-added reseller for Sunlight in the region.

www.safozi.com

www.sunlight.io

IBM and MuleSoft partner to help accelerate flexibility across public and private clouds

IBM and MuleSoft have announced a global relationship. MuleSoft plans to extend its Anypoint Runtime Fabric, a container service for multi-cloud and hybrid deployments, to run on Red Hat OpenShift, the industry’s enterprise Kubernetes platform.

IBM and MuleSoft plan to deliver increased integrations and solutions around the IBM Z product family to support financial services and other mutual customers. In addition, IBM plans to significantly expand its overall investment in integration software and industry expertise, including increasing the number of MuleSoft-certified professionals in its consulting services organization.

According to the latest State of Salesforce report from IBM and Oxford Economics, nearly 30% of innovation activities and ecosystem, workforce, and customer engagement will be virtualized by 2023.

The shift to digital-first customer and employee experiences has created more data from more systems than ever before – and delivering these connected digital experiences will require seamless integration of data, potentially across multiple siloed systems.

Empowering companies to deliver seamless digital experiences, faster

IBM and MuleSoft plan to make it easier to securely connect, compose, and automate business processes and modernize applications at scale:

In collaboration with Red Hat, MuleSoft will extend Anypoint Runtime Fabric to Red Hat OpenShift as a certified OpenShift application, unlocking increased flexibility for companies to deploy APIs, integrations, and automations across public and private clouds.

Today, 85 of the world’s top 100 banks run on IBM Z. MuleSoft supports IBM Z Digital Integration Hub, making it easier for joint financial services customers to integrate core business applications and share real-time, industry relevant information with MuleSoft.

IBM Z Digital Integration Hub creates flexible, efficient real-time information flow multiple systems of record on z/OS and cloud environments while also optimizing costs.

MuleSoft complements IBM Z Digital Integration Hub by allowing customers to securely share current information stored in the Z Digital Integration Hub via reusable APIs and easily integrate it to external applications with clicks, not code. To provide even more options for clients, MuleSoft also provides a CICS connector via the IBM CICS Transaction Gateway.

Together, IBM and MuleSoft plan to accelerate integration with core systems and faster development of hybrid cloud applications, as well as support for governance, risk and compliance requirements.

As a part of the IBM Z and Cloud ModernizationCenter, a digital front door to a vast array of tools, training, resources and ecosystem partners, MuleSoft will help joint customers accelerate the modernization of their applications, data and processes in an open hybrid cloud architecture.

As part of the commitment to its longstanding Salesforce practice, IBM Consulting is also significantly increasing the number of MuleSoft-certified professionals to support intelligent workflows, automation, and industry-focused use cases that accelerate digital transformation. IBM Consulting, a global Salesforce partner, harnesses the industry expertise of certified Salesforce and MuleSoft practitioners to help companies deliver key business outcomes and scale innovation faster.

www.ibm.com

www.mulesoft.com

Vodacom Business expands Cloud Connect offering to support business needs across Africa

The expansion of Africa’s digital economy is gaining momentum, with the potential to reach US$180 billion by 2025, about 5% of the continent’s gross domestic product, according to a recent report released by the International Finance Corporation and Google. To meet the increasing demand for digital services in Africa, Vodacom Business Africa has expanded its Cloud Connect offering across the continent.

Cloud Connect provides businesses with a secure, private, high performance, high availability connection to leading public cloud service providers, including Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

“Africa is experiencing a boom in digitalisation. Combined with the disruptions of COVID-19, this is driving many organisations on the continent to seek out the benefits of cloud services. Our Cloud Connect services keep businesses securely connected while providing them with operational agility and access to essential data and software applications to enhance their performance now and into the future,” says Wale Odeyemi, Executive Head of Strategic Marketing at Vodacom Business Africa.

Meeting the needs of businesses today
As the pandemic has shown, businesses need to be able to adapt to market changes, and with speed, to avoid disruptions to continuity. To help with business agility, Cloud Connect clients are able to experience the same fast switch-on flexibility of public cloud with their own WAN/network. Bandwidth choice ranges from 50Mb to 1G depending on the cloud service provider, so clients can scale network capacity to maintain performance as business needs change.

The high-performance connectivity of Cloud Connect enables periodic data migration and replication for continuity, disaster recovery and retention. The low latency connectivity is also able to support key business applications, including storage, big data, development and interactive applications, fast and in a scalable manner. For example, large data sets are quickly transferable for big data computing applications, and huge media files are streamed in real-time to and from the cloud.

In addition, the consistent performance and reliability of Cloud Connect improves application response times, so businesses can use the cloud as an extension of their data centres. High availability with dual diverse connections to cloud data centres ensures redundancy and protection in the event of a network failure.

Cloud Connect is a managed service, giving businesses more time to focus on important activities, and IT resources can be utilised more effectively, in an organisation.

How does Cloud Connect work?
Vodacom Business Africa’s Cloud Connect offers a secure, private connection without the need to redesign existing large corporate networks or experience the traditional delay of dedicated connections to cloud provider data centres. Cloud Connect works seamlessly alongside the IP-VPN and other fixed connectivity products to give organisations a total ‘Ready Network’ solution.

The service directly integrates into the branch sites of a business and is not reliant on the internet. The cloud locations are integrated into the private WAN, effectively seen as another site on the IP-VPN. Different locations in the IP-VPN then share the connectivity to access resources in the cloud.

“We are experiencing an exciting transformational period in the enterprise landscape in Africa. As a leading connectivity provider on the continent, Vodacom Business Africa remains committed in supporting businesses to take advantage of our continent’s growing digital economy and recognise real return on investment on cloud technology. To this end, we continue to leverage our strategic partner networks to provide innovative products and services, affordably, seamlessly and securely to our clients,” concludes Odeyemi.

www.vodacombusiness.co.za

Cloudmania targets 13 African countries with new offerings

Cloudmania, an exclusive provider of Cloud Partner Programmes in Africa, has opened its doors in 13 countries across the continent. The indirect provider focuses on partner building and enablement by giving resellers the ability to resell superior solutions by leveraging Cloudmania.

According to Winston Ritson, Chief Business Officer, Cloudmania, “We understand the growing need for cloud services and its vital role to ensure seamless collaboration between employees. Our extensive expertise will ensure that you are provided with the appropriate tools to assist your customers on their cloud migration journeys. Just as customers have transformed their business, partners have to transform and rely on a partner invested in their business “

Cloudmania aims to help businesses keep track of their data, performance and customers, and creates a single-pane view of the entire network. In addition, the programme is designed to increase workflow efficiency, lower operational costs, and most importantly, develop partnerships with resellers. 

Cloudmania will assist partners’ profitability by supporting them with marketing, training and specialist advice. Using the programme’s communication channels, the team will source qualified and unqualified leads to help partners build their businesses. The offering is backed by superior world-class technology, equipping a reseller’s business with innovative cloud technology, enabling them to offer exceptional customer solutions.

All resellers will have access to a suite of solutions tailored to suit customers’ needs. The products include Microsoft 365, One Voice – a unified voice solution, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Azure in a box, Cyber Security, cloud connectivity, cloud infrastructure, Google workspace, Windows virtual desktop and Basekit site builder.

Cloudmania will assist in boosting the performance of a reseller offering while ensuring affordability, scalability, improving uptime, availability and provide seamless integration.

 The offerings are supported by partner development managers in each country, a panel of experts and focused training programmes. Resellers engaging with the Cloudmania will also benefit from in-country billing in specific territories and reseller discounts.

Cloudmania and its suite of offerings is currently available in South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Cameroon, Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

www.liquid.tech

Google Cloud announced Google Distributed Cloud during Google Next ‘21 virtual event

What does this mean?

In simple layman’s terms a customer can now have some Google Cloud services running some certified hardware and software either in their data centers with full autonomy or colocation data centers.

Google Cloud’s simplified preferred definition of Google Distributed Cloud, is a portfolio of solutions consisting of hardware and software that extend Google Cloud infrastructure to the edge and into your data centers.

Where can Google Distributed Cloud be deployed to?

1. Google’s network edge – Allowing customers to leverage over 140+ Google network edge locations around the world.

2. Operator edge – Enabling customers to take advantage of an operator’s edge network and benefit from 5G/LTE services offered by our leading communication service provider (CSP) partners. The operator edge is optimized to support low-latency use cases, running edge applications with stringent latency and bandwidth requirements. 

3. Customer edge – Supporting customer-owned edge or remote locations such as retail stores, factory floors, or branch offices, which require localized compute and processing directly in the edge locations.

4. Customer data centers – Supporting customer-owned data centers and colocation facilities to address strict data security and privacy requirements, and to modernize on-premises deployments while meeting regulatory compliance.

What Google Cloud services are running on Google Distributed Cloud?

Google Distributed Cloud is enabled by Anthos. It helps you to build and run applications on GKE clusters and virtual machines anywhere with a Cloud-backed control plane for consistent management at scale.

Compute Services:

●  Compute Instances

●  Serverless Containers

●  Kubernetes Engine

●  Serverless Functions

Storage Services:

● Object Storage

● Istio Service Mesh

Continuous Integration Services:

●  Build (from Cloud Build)

●   Deploy (from Cloud Deploy)

●  Artifact Registry

Developer Tools:

●  IDE plugins

●  Cloud SDK

APIs Services:

● API Gateway

● Apache Kafka (Partner-provided services)

● Kubernetes Engine

●  Serverless Functions

Security Services:

●   Key Management Service

●   HashiCorp Vault (Partner-provided services)

●  Identity Aware Proxy

Data and Analytics Services:

●   PostgreSQL Database

●   Elasticsearch Service (Partner-provided services)

●   MongoDB Database (Partner-provided services)

●    Redis Data Store (Partner-provided services)

●   Event Streaming

●   Data Lake Storage

AI/ML Services:

● Speech-to-Text

●  Language Translation

●  Machine Learning Platform

●   Video Content Analysis

●   Text-to-Speech

●   Image Insights

Observability Services:

●  Loggin

●   Prometheus (Partner-provided services)

●  Grafana (Partner-provided services)

●   Splunk (Partner-provided services)

Will Google Distributed Cloud make management of the hardware and software harder for me and my organization?

No. Google Distributed Cloud is a fully-managed integrated hardware and software solution, meaning you don’t have to worry about the underlying infrastructure and can focus on your application and business initiatives. Google Cloud aims to simplify operations leveraging Google’s expertise and track record in areas like skill deployment fleet management and site reliability engineering. This allows you to focus on your business priorities and leave the complexities to Google Cloud.

Wil this meet our data sovereignty needs?

Yes. Google Distributed Cloud (GDC) enables customers to have a full spectrum of control.

Data Sovereignty (Keep data within the sovereign cloud): Data is allocated on your premise and under the control; No data transferred outside of your isolated environment.

Operational Sovereignty (Fully control your own platform): Operated independently of Google Cloud and global networks.Can be operated by customer directly or a trusted partner, on dedicated networks and with local control plane.

Software Sovereignty (Cloud as a trusted local service): Google Cloud’s open core and open API helps reduce vendor risk and enable operational and software continuity even in black swan events. The benefits of cloud are delivered locally.

Will I need to have my Google Distributed Cloud on premise connected to Google Cloud?

No. Google Distributed Cloud includes a hosted mode to run sensitive workloads. Hosted mode helps you meet sovereignty needs by addressing data residency with strict security and privacy requirements all while providing you with a way to modernize on-premise deployments. Customers can manage this directly or host through a designated and trusted partner. This will not require connectivity to Google Cloud at any time to manage infrastructure and uses a local control plane for operations. Upgrades and patches are offered by Google and verified by the trusted partner.

References

How to extend Google Cloud services with Google Distributed Cloud – Hosted Mode

Driving transformation with Google’s Distributed Cloud

With over 10 years of proven expertise in technical consultation and related services, Incentro, the only Google Premier Partner in East, West and Central Africa has become the go-to partner for successful business transformation in the continent.

From Enterprise CollaborationCloud Migration and Smart Application Development, we proudly serve over 26 countries in Africa and are growing. Whatever your ambition is, we’ll aim for maximum impact. We dive deep into your organization, challenge your plans, build solutions swiftly and make sure they work.

Matthew Munyiri is the Online Marketeer at Incentro Africa. He is an ambassador for cloud and consumer technology and how it pertains to increased efficiency and productivity in the workplace. Want to know more? Get in contact with Matthew – matthew.munyiri@incentro.com.

www.incentro.com

cloud.google.com

Routed appoints Axiz Cloud Technologies to boost South Africa’s cloud market

Cloud infrastructure provider and VMware Principal Partner, Routed, has appointed Axiz Cloud Technologies as a VMware cloud distribution partner.

Andrew Cruise, MD, Routed, says that as a vendor neutral infrastructure provider, Routed has always planned to build a resilient and robust channel. He says the Axiz appointment is not only strategic, but necessary to further enhance a local channel focused on the development of cloud in South Africa.

“We are delighted to be working more closely with Axiz Cloud Technologies. This partnership is key to the success of VMware Cloud uptake and we are excited to work with the local team to build out even more VMware-inspired cloud platforms. Their legacy in distribution is a key advantage in terms of technical ability and reach within the local channel. Our distribution agreement with them will also help ensure that Managed Service Providers (MSP) are given the necessary support and technical assistance when implementing cloud strategies,” says Cruise.

He says that the cloud opportunity is massive across the African continent due to digital transformation and the related cloud/IT spend.  Hastened by the Covid-19 pandemic, Cruise says that Routed anticipates further interest and growth in cloud adoption.

 Research by African Cloud Market 2021, states that cloud-based office applications are increasingly vital components of the African modern workplace. The rise of the cloud in the African market ostensibly goes beyond basic office applications. From banks looking to accelerate the rollout of new applications to startups disrupting entire industries with innovative, cloud-powered models, cloud services are transforming Africa’s productive capacity and emerging as one of the most essential pillars of Africa’s digital transformation.

According to Cruise this paints a picture of why having a robust and agile channel is so important. “This agreement is one way in which to address the growing cloud requirement. In simple terms, we need MSPs who can manage the implementation and rollout of cloud and Axiz Cloud Technologies, as one of the leading distributors, has the depth and breadth to do this successfully.”

He says that Axiz Cloud Technologies will offer the full suite of VMware Cloud solutions offered by Routed, which is the most complete VMware-based cloud infrastructure deployment available locally. Routed’s cloud and infrastructure products address all Enterprise cloud platform, recovery solutions and modern application requirements of business.

The role Routed plays within the VMware cloud ecosystem is key says Cruise. They are not only the first VMware Cloud Verified partner in Africa, but also boast Principal Partner Status, which is the highest tiered recognition within the VMware Partner Connect programme. In addition, Routed is  the first VMware DRaaS Certified Partner in Africa: “This enables us to provide Axiz Cloud Technologies with immense support as well as access to our technical experts, and guidance in terms of better understanding the VMware solutions and services.”

Willie Jansen van Rensburg, executive, Axiz Cloud Technologies, says that this appointment is key to the business’ future as a cloud distributor and solution provider: “We are excited to further develop our role in the local cloud ecosystem. Routed is undoubtedly a market-leading VMware specialist and we are confident that together we can increase VMware’s cloud market share, while developing local skills too.”

www.routed.co.za

www.axizcloud.com

afriQloud and whitesky.cloud have put the foundation in place for a federated EMEA cloud infrastructure

In partnership with the European company whitesky.cloud, afriQloud has designed a completely new architecture for affordable and local cloud services.

In the ever-expanding international cloud market, the partners from both the African and European continent introduce a completely new and compelling value proposition to the cloud industry. Thanks to their white-labelled platform, any organisation can become a Virtual Cloud Operator (VCO) offering cloud infrastructure through their own brand.

Extensive research identified the most important pain points channel partners and end users experience with the large and dominant hyperscalers. One of the most important pain points is the issue of data sovereignty. The partners decided to use principles well-known in the world of telecom (wholesale and roaming) to design a scalable and federated global cloud grid in order to resolve this and other pain points 

“Distributed cloud capacity provides excellent opportunities for African organisations as well as international companies seeking to bring their digital services to the African continent,” explains Eric Mugerwa, Founding Partner and CTO of afriQloud.

Any interested party (telecom operators, system integrators, managed service providers, software developers, etc.) can now easily become a Virtual Cloud Operator (VCO). Both afriQloud and whitesky.cloud provide a fully managed solution, including a certified training programme which enables channel partners to sell and deliver cloud capacity on both continents.

“It’s exciting for us to be part of this solution, which provides an interesting opportunity for channel partners in both Europe and Africa. We enable them to provide cloud services on both continents from the day they decide to become a VCO,” says Jeroen van Langenhove, Managing Director of whitesky.cloud.

www.afriqloud.com

www.whitesky.cloud

[Column] James Bayhack: How mobile service cloud can transform customer experience

Service, service, service. That’s been the call for businesses that want to keep their clients happy and turn one-time customers into lifelong fans. Now, however, the focus has moved to brilliant customer experience. But what does this mean? And why are we seeing the shift?  

Think about how you do business today compared to just a few years ago. Customer service was measured by metrics like how many rings there were before your service department answered. In addition, were your retail staff smiling and pleasant, and did your team respond to a customer email timeously? While customer service is still crucial, there’s a lot more to it in today’s multilayered, omnichannel world of business. 

What is Customer Experience (CX)?

Customer experience is how your customers perceive their interactions with your company or brand.  

From navigating the website to contacting customer service and receiving the product that they ordered, customer experience is the sum of every interaction the customer has with your company. It impacts their feelings and emotions, encompassing their entire customer journey. It also determines whether or not they come back. 

A recent report by integrated customer experience company Ajua found that 81% of Kenyan companies with strong capabilities for delivering customer experience are outperforming their competition. By contrast, 91% of customers will not do business with a company a second time if their first experience is negative.

Findings also suggested that certain industries have upped their CX game and are experiencing growth even in a pandemic. These include banking, insurance, retail, and food and beverage. In the Telco space, Safaricom ranked top in terms of customer experience.

So, some companies are getting it right. Now, the question is, how can you do the same? With such a broad range of expectations, how can you narrow down the most critical factors and eliminate friction where it matters most? You’ll be thrilled to know we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and the easiest solution lies in mobile service cloud.

Here’s how this smart technology helps to solve the most common customer issues.

Creating bulletproof CX in 6 key steps

Omnichannel Inbox

In a single, convenient inbox, you can manage conversations from all channels. This solves the issue of long wait times when customers have a problem or question as it places all communication in one place for easy reference and super-fast response.

It’s common for many customers to conduct research before purchasing something from your company, and checking different platforms is one way of doing this. Whether they trust you or not depends on the quality of information they find and your responses along the way. 

An omnichannel inbox allows you to deliver a brilliant customer experience on all channels. Don’t you agree that it looks unprofessional if you respond quickly via live chat but not at all via Facebook? When customers receive excellent service, they will tell their colleagues and friends about it.

Communication Stream

It’s important to communicate with customers wherever they feel comfortable and wherever they are likely to be. 

Remember, CX is built on the somewhat fickle foundation of customer perception. What makes one person irate may not bother another, so it makes sense to cover all bases. Communication can make or break your CX. Lengthy delays, inefficient processes, or insufficient access to information will have your customers rolling their eyes in frustration. 

Customer experience is about strengthening relationships with customers and building bonds through the use of technology.

Chatbots

It used to be considered bad form to chat with a customer via text or any automated platform, but today it’s the norm. In fact, it’s expected. 

Streamline repetitive tasks by automating them. Our system allows you to create your own chatbot to automate conversations and implement quick replies. Your team can serve customers better and more efficiently if you make service easier and faster for them, without weighing them down with unnecessary and unproductive conversations.

Chatbots can reflect the personality of your brand, answer FAQs, and direct customers to where they need to be. Fast. A super-efficient addition to your customer service team, they don’t require sleep so they’re even more perfect for those after-hours shoppers. Your customers will benefit from swift response times for quick questions or enjoy assistance from stress-free and focused staff.

Team Collaboration

The problem of disjointed communication between internal and external teams ends here, as do many customer frustrations.

Remote employees, global time differences, and communication with external parties can get messy and negatively impact your SLAs. And really, your internal communication choices shouldn’t impact your customer’s experience, should they?

Mobile service cloud alleviates this problem by bringing all players together in one place, allowing conversations to be automatically assigned based on skills, or snoozing conversations as needed. It’s like putting everyone in the same room at the same time, relegating forgotten messages or misplaced communication to a thing of the past.

Customer Profile

Develop customer profiles based on data from your CRM or Customer Data Platform. The integration of systems enables you to provide customers with a quicker, more personal service experience.

Data can be displayed right next to the customer’s questions, so there’s no need to search across multiple systems. Improve customer profiles by including all available data and getting more insights about customer impact.

This key area grants your team the information they need to assist a customer, no matter what platform they come from. All data is immediately available to all employees no matter where they are, which, let’s face it, makes you look good!

Statistics

Customers are the lifeblood of a business. This is why corporations are concentrating on how to develop new business and, importantly, retain existing customers. However, if you don’t know where a problem lies, you won’t know how to fix it. 

Identifying and addressing customer issues can be prevented by using reporting tools that uncover metrics that directly impact your business. Other vital statistics such as ‘response time’ or ‘availability’ highlight how your team is coping with their responsibilities and where improvements can be made. The data in these reports is invaluable to improving customer experience and deep-diving into customer experience metrics.

As effective as your management team may be, they can’t be omnipresent. But having real-time access to your channels, your team, business partners, and any other stakeholders you care to track gives you information worth its weight in gold. 

Boost customer service today!

Businesses that adopt a customer experience strategy enjoy success in key areas: their churn rates are reduced, they increase brand loyalty, and revenues are increased. Surely those advantages are worth exploring?

Ultimately, good customer experiences are the most effective form of marketing with the highest ROI. Successful businesses are simply those with happy customers.

ames Bayhack is the Director of sub-Saharan Africa at CM.com

Oracle expands global cloud footprint to meet continued triple-digit growth

Oracle has announced plans to expand its cloud region footprint to support strong customer demand for Oracle Cloud services worldwide.

Over the next year, Oracle will open 14 cloud regions with new locations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. Upcoming cloud regions include Milan (Italy), Stockholm (Sweden), Marseille (France), Spain, Singapore (Singapore), Johannesburg (South Africa), Jerusalem (Israel), Mexico, and Colombia.

 Additional second regions will open in Abu Dhabi (U.A.E.), Saudi Arabia, France, Israel, and Chile. Oracle plans to have at least 44 cloud regions by the end of 2022, continuing one of the fastest expansions of any major cloud provider.

Oracle provides a broad and consistent set of cloud services across 30 commercial and government cloud regions in 14 countries on five continents to serve its growing global customer base. OCI currently operates 23 commercial regions and seven government regions, in addition to multiple dedicated and national security regions.

“Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has seen stellar growth over the past year,” said Clay Magouyrk, executive vice president, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. “We’ve introduced several hundred new cloud services and features and are continuing to see organizations from around the world increasingly turn to OCI to run their most mission-critical workloads in the cloud. With the additional Cloud regions, even more organizations will be able to use our cloud services to support their growth and overall success.”

To help customers build true business continuity and disaster protection, while helping them address their in-country data residence requirements, Oracle plans to establish at least two cloud regions in almost every country where it operates. The U.S., Canada, U.K., South Korea, Japan, Brazil, India, and Australia already have two cloud regions.

Oracle’s strategy is to meet customers where they are, enabling customers to keep data and services where they need it. Customers can deploy Oracle Cloud completely within their own data centers with Dedicated Region and Exadata Cloud@Customer, deploy cloud services locally with public cloud-based management, or deploy cloud services remotely on the edge with Roving Edge Infrastructure.

High Availability, Disaster Protection, and Dual Region Cloud Strategy

OCI’s next-generation architecture provides a high-performing, resilient foundation for cloud services, while its physical and virtual network design maximizes performance and security. For example, each Oracle Cloud region contains at least three fault domains, which are groupings of hardware that form logical data centers for high availability and resilience to hardware and network failures. Some regions (Ashburn, Phoenix, Frankfurt, and London) provide further resilience to entire data centers through multiple availability domains (ADs), which each contain three fault domains.

For business continuity and compliance requirements, Oracle’s unique dual-region cloud strategy enables customers to deploy resilient applications in multiple geographically separated locations—without having sensitive data leave the country. To help customers plan data center deployments to meet application requirements and optimize their cloud infrastructure, OCI’s provides a no cost inter-region latency dashboard that provides insights into real-time and historical latency for Oracle Cloud regions around the globe.

Sustainability

Oracle is committed to sustainability and has pledged to power all Oracle Cloud regions worldwide with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.

Several Oracle Cloud regions, including regions in North America, South America, and Europe are already powered by 100 percent renewable energy, and all Oracle Cloud regions use state-of-the-art energy management and cooling technologies to minimize their impact on the environment.

As part of its renewable energy clean Cloud initiative, Oracle reused or recycled 99.6 percent of its retired hardware in FY21 while strictly adhering to Oracle’s data privacy and security practices.

Cloud Regions Deliver All Cloud Services and Multicloud

Oracle Cloud regions support every Oracle service and feature and are available to customers anywhere in the world. This includes Oracle Autonomous Database, Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes, Oracle Cloud VMware solution, and Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications.

OCI’s extensive network of more than 70 FastConnect global and regional partners offer customers dedicated connectivity to Oracle Cloud regions and OCI services—providing customers with the best options anywhere in the world. FastConnect provides an easy, elastic, and economical way to create a dedicated and private network connection with higher bandwidth, lower latency, and more consistent performance versus public Internet-based connections.

In addition, OCI and Microsoft Azure have a strategic partnership that enables joint customers to run workloads across the two clouds. This partnership provides a low latency, cross-cloud interconnect between OCI and Azure in eight regions (Ashburn, Toronto, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, San Jose, Vinhedo and Frankfurt), federated identity for joint customers to deploy applications across both clouds, and a collaborative support model. Customers can run full stack applications in a multi-cloud configuration, while maintaining high-performance connectivity without requiring re-architecture.

They can also migrate existing applications or develop cloud native applications that use a mix of OCI and Azure services.

www.oracle.com