[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud computing is the technological revolution of the twenty-first century

One of the key drivers of Africa’s cloud computing boom is the unquestionable benefits the technology brings to the ICT sector. 

For some African sub-regions, the cloud computing model has already come to represent a solution to IT under-equipment problems, and the trends indicate that this model is set for major development provided certain accompanying measures are taken in a timely manner. 

Cloud computing, considered by some to be the technological revolution of the twenty-first century, could go a long way towards resolving such issues, provided the corresponding technology is implemented on solid bases that inspire confidence in users both domestic and foreign.  This is according to the cloud computing report by ITU. 

The report notes that the experience of African countries to date points to cloud computing technology being used at different levels according to the institutions concerned.

‘’Indeed, while a given administration may only now be preparing to introduce this new technology, it may well be the case that 50 per cent of the country’s ICT operators have begun to implement or are already using it’’ the report says. 

Nick Treurnicht, the Customer Engineer for Google Workspace at DigiCloud Africa, agrees with this in a recent interview with Africa Business Communities. 

‘’Africa has tremendous skills in IT engineering.  At the start of the pandemic and the lockdown in 2020, we saw many companies running legacy systems rush to deploy Google Workspace.  Most of the companies already running Workspace didn’t have a hard time picking up their laptops and working from home.  We even saw an increase in productivity instead of a decrease, as most business owners and managers feared.’’ Nick says. 

As we have mentioned in a previous cloud review article, in Africa, cloud remains a key part in shaping how Africa will grow when it comes to technological infrastructure.  It has the potential to transform economic activities considering its inherent pay-per usage model, flexibility and scalability features. 

As IDC also notes, cloud adoption is no longer merely an option; indeed, it is a necessity that promises tremendous rewards across entire organizations. As the region’s enterprises dramatically accelerate their digital transformation journeys, they need to embrace the power of cloud computing and its holy grail – frictionless, hybrid multi-cloud that provides infrastructure-agnostic views and unified management capabilities across all clouds and even legacy data centres. 

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa

[Interview] Nick Treurnicht, Customer Engineer for Google Workspace, DigiCloud Africa, South Africa

Nick Treurnicht is the Customer Engineer for Google Workspace at DigiCloud Africa, Africa’s Google Cloud Brokerage, specialising in Google Cloud products – including Google Cloud Platform, G Suite, Google Maps and Chrome.

Kindly introduce yourself and your role at DigiCloud Africa.

I have been working with Google Workspace since 2013 and have sold it, trained on it, deployed it and migrated it.  I started at a Google Partner in South Africa and assisted in them becoming a Premier Google Partner.  I have in depth knowledge of the entire platform and who it best serves customers in adopting the real cloud.  I then moved to Digicloud Africa as Google’s Distributor as I have a passion not just for South Africa, but the whole of Africa.  This continent is where Google and Digicloud can enable the next billion users.  I assist our ecosystem of Partners with technical expertise, customer engagements and solutions validation.  I assist them with deployments and migrations as well.  A happy customer makes for a happy partner.  And the partners are our customers.

Digicloud Africa is Google’s enablement partner in Africa. Tell us about this.

Digicloud Africa is the sole distributor in Africa for Google products; Google Workspace as well as Google Cloud Platform.  We function as the enablement and onboarding arm of Google, assisting in growing the Google ecosystem in Africa.  We onboard and train and assist with upskilling the partners on behalf of Google.  We offer our customers sales expertise as well as technical assistance so that they may best serve their customers.  We have experts on all the Google products that have worked at other partners and have gained valuable experience over the years that we now share with our partners, showing them how to become a Premier Partner themselves.

What role is DigiCloud Africa playing in growing African businesses, especially when it comes to cloud adoption?

Digicloud Africa employs a variety of Cloud Architects, Machine Learning specialists, Data Engineers and DevOps Engineers, Security Engineers to name a few.  All skilled and experienced in Google Cloud Platform.  Our partners’ customers benefit from our experience and guidance to assist them in their journey into Google Cloud.  We also assist in marketing the skills of our partners and host webinars online alongside our partners for visibility.  With Google Workspace, we show companies how to run their collaboration platform fully in the cloud.  Use your account from any internet connected device and never lose a document or an email ever again.  Ongoing engagements with the customer ensures that we are there every step of the way to assist the customer in making the right IT decision that supports their cloud strategy.

Why are the solutions you’re providing so important for African businesses?

Now is the best time to adopt the Cloud and with Digicloud Africa and Google’s support it’s easier than ever before to make it happen. If you are building an application or starting a company, you don’t need to and often cannot afford to, start by investing in hardware.  It is costly and requires continual maintenance and upgrades.  This stifles innovation.  Africa has an amazing entrepreneurial spirit that we wish to see growing over the next decade.  The Cloud not only helps you scale up when you need the services, but also scale down when it’s not needed during a lockdown as we saw in 2020.  On a continent where finding the right hardware is often difficult and costly, the Cloud offers you access to state of the art technology.

The demand for cloud services in Africa is growing fast, especially during this pandemic? Do you believe it’s time for every business to move to the cloud?

Yes.  Maintain the servers you have while planning your journey into the cloud.  Stop investing in costly short term solutions (server upgrades).  Modernise your application architecture so that you can run it in the most efficient manner in the Cloud.  Don’t just spin up virtual machines in the Cloud and keep running legacy code in the same old way.  Africa has tremendous skills in IT engineering.  At the start of the pandemic and the lockdown in 2020, we saw many companies running legacy systems rush to deploy Google Workspace.  Most of the companies already running Workspace didn’t have a hard time picking up their laptops and working from home.  We even saw an increase in productivity instead of a decrease, as most business owners and managers feared.

Let’s talk about the future. In Africa, cloud remains a key part in shaping how Africa will grow when it comes to technological infrastructure. What does the future look like?

The future is serverless with a hybrid cloud strategy.  Customers in the cloud should be able to move their applications and workloads between clouds seamlessly.  They will be able to work from anywhere in the world from any type of device; Windows, Macbook, Linux or Chromebook.  Google Workspace for Education is also taking off in Africa in a big way where again Chromebooks are playing an important role.  Kids today entering the workforce tomorrow won’t comprehend why they can’t work remotely or switch devices in the middle of the day and continue working.  Users shouldn’t be bound to their desk, where they can only perform their job function from their device.  Brick and mortar shop fronts will be less prevalent as it’s too costly to maintain and staff.  eCommerce and Logistics is going to play an important role and the cloud will enable that to scale globally.

You are among the speakers an upcoming Google Workspace webinar on April 22nd,  why was it so important to have this webinar?

Post lockdown regulations in South Africa have revealed that users want to continue to work from home.  People are much more productive when given flexibility and the right tools.  This webinar will show you in a very practical way how many Workspace customers did not have a hard time with lockdown or working remotely.  You had access to all of your emails AND files and business tools just like you did in the office.

Still, on the webinar, what should participants expect?

Participants can expect to get a great overview of what Google Workspace is capable of.  They will see the product in action as well and learn how easy it is to use.  They might have heard about ways of using Google Workspace and they might have heard about how other companies are using it successfully, but this webinar will give them a forum to ask questions and ask to see certain features in action and debunk myths about Google Workspace.  They will hopefully be inspired to do things differently and see how MS Office isn’t needed for an organisation at all.  No Office, no servers.

With the webinar happening, what opportunities do you see for DigiCloud in Africa?

We see a big opportunity for all the Africa companies still running legacy email servers on prem to modernise their setup.  All the companies wanting to replace MS Office with something more robust and easy to use where Google Workspace is a natural fit.  Many people have a misconception on what Google Workspace has to offer and only a practical demonstration of “A day in the life of a Workspace user” can really show them how easy IT can be.  The opportunity for Digicloud is really to showcase the strength of our Partner (Incentro) in Africa and how they are supporting their customers and helping them digitally transform.\

Any closing remarks?

This document was edited on a Chromebook (not Windows) using Google Docs (not MS Word) in the Chrome browser.  Every word that I typed was seamlessly saved as I typed without having to activate a certain setting.  The document was automatically saved to Google Drive which means it was backed up to our eDiscovery and Compliance platform (Google Vault) which is built into Google Workspace.  We want to show Africa how easily we do things and solve problems and build workflows without needing to host any servers without any downtime, from anywhere, on any device.

www.digicloud.africa

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Africa is Undergoing a Revolution in New Cloud and Data Centre Capacity

Compared with other Data Centre markets around the world, Africa is unique in the sense it has a population of over 1.3 billion people and a total landmass of 30,365,000 km. This is according to the The “The Cloud and Data Centre Revolution in Africa” report released last year.

The report notes that this huge population has the potential to create huge demand for Data Centres and the digital services provided by Data Centre facilities. To-date only a small portion of the potential demand for African Data Centre space has been met with Africa having a low Data Centre penetration rate compared with other regions.

This explains why we have seen massive investments in Pan African data centres across Africa from a number of companies in 2021. Last week, Africa Data Centres, Africa’s largest network of interconnected, carrier- and cloud-neutral data centre facilities announced a significant investment into the construction of a new data centre facility in Lagos, Nigeria. In Kenya, IXAfrica, the new-entrant data centre operator in the countries announced earlier this month the start of significant investment in Kenya’s digital economy, with an ambitious plan to build a world-leading and sustainable campus at a prime location in Nairobi.

In March this year, The Raxio Group, a premier pan-African data centre developer and operator, also announced that it is establishing and investing in ‘Raxio Kinshasa’, the first in a series of state-of-the-art, privately owned, carrier-neutral, data centres in the DRC.

Until recently Africa has lacked Data Centre Providers with a presence in multiple countries – the scene is changing with a number of new private equity investors aiming to build Data Centre networks in Africa.

This growth as we mentioned in our last Africa Cloud Review article has been necessitated by the fact that most African enterprises have been moving to the cloud.  Just the other day, Absa Group, one of the largest financial service providers in Africa, has launched an internal cloud incubator initiative in collaboration with Amazon Web Services.  As one of the largest cloud adopters in Africa, Absa says it is promoting cloud fluency as part of its broader efforts to promote learning, experimentation and innovation across the organisation to enhance the banking experience for its customers. 

Liquid Telecom which recently rebranded to Liquid Intelligent Technologies also said it’s now expanding into a full cloud company. The company, which operates a 73,000km fibre network, said it wants to show expansion of its cloud business, cybersecurity services, and other technologies added to its existing telecoms and connectivity capability. 

Africa is indeed moving forward with its instigation of cloud computing on a theatre-wide basis. From local 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.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

www.incentro.com

Absa launches cloud computing skills incubator across its operations in Africa

Absa Group has launched a cloud incubator initiative in collaboration with Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), a leading cloud services provider, to enhance its cloud computing skills across its operations in Africa.

As one of the largest cloud adopters in Africa, Absa says is promoting cloud fluency as part of its broader efforts to promote learning, experimentation and innovation across the organisation to enhance the banking experience for its customers.

By migrating to the cloud, companies can eliminate the expense of building and managing on-site data centres while gaining the ability to reduce infrastructure costs and scale up and down rather than paying for excess on-premises capacity.

“Cloud is rapidly becoming the norm for large companies, a trend that was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted a step-change in digital solutions,” said Andrew Baker, Absa Group Chief Technology Officer. “Using cloud allows us to store much more data cost-efficiently, compared with physical data centres. Cloud has already improved our ability to manage and access data and will enable us to bring products to market faster.”

World Wide Worx’s ‘Cloud in Africa 2020’ report reveals that 84% of African organisations surveyed viewed cloud computing as cost-effective. Cloud investment is expected to increase significantly this year, with 56% of respondents estimating that a quarter of applications will have moved to the cloud by the end 2021, according to the report.

To support its cloud transformation, Absa has launched an internal cloud incubator programme to participate in AWS’s Skills Guild initiative, a comprehensive cloud skills training programme designed to help large enterprise organisations accelerate their cloud adoption journey and build cloud fluency for their employees. The cloud incubator initiative will equip more than 1 500 staff across Absa’s African operations with advanced cloud computing skills this year.

“The AWS Skills Guild offers enterprises a comprehensive approach to organisation-wide cloud enablement, and is designed to not only impart cloud skills, but create excitement, momentum, and accelerate paths to innovation. AWS Skills Guild is based on our experience building enterprise-wide skills transformation plans for our customers across the globe, including National Australia Bank, Deloitte, Kmart Group, and many more,” said Chris Erasmus, Commercial Sector Leader for AWS in South Africa.

A key outcome for Absa’s internal cloud incubator participants is that they will be able to identify cloud opportunities within their businesses, and create more efficient, scalable services and solutions. Employees will have the confidence to innovate faster and experiment more to drive broadscale digital transformation across the business.

“Accelerating cloud adoption will have a significant impact on Absa’s ability to innovate, offer new value propositions, and play a meaningful role in our customers’ and clients’ experiences,” said Baker.

www.absa.africa

[South Africa] Mazule Fuels Growth with Infor SunSystems and Sapphire Anywhere

Infor, the industry cloud company has announced that mineral and energy trading company Mazule has selected Infor SunSystems. The solution will be implemented by Infor partner Sapphire Systems, and hosted on its Sapphire Anywhere SaaS platform. The cloud-based solution is set to streamline accounting processes, facilitate in-depth insights, and expedite reporting for the metals, minerals and coal trading specialist. 

With many years of experience in the African minerals and energy sector, South Africa-based Mazule markets mined resources directly to a global client base. With a focus on enhanced quality control and reliable delivery at every step, the trading company relies upon real-time information and visibility to ensure customers receive the raw materials they need to fuel their industrial and energy operations efficiently. 

Against a backdrop of business growth, and increased complexity in the market, Mazule identified a need to replace the system it has used since its inception. Having reviewed the market, the trading specialist selected Infor SunSystems based on its ability to support multi-dimensional accounting, and to provide in-depth reporting insights across different product lines, as well as the ability to break down transactions by various analysis codes. Sapphire Anywhere was selected based on its flexible cloud model, ease of accessibility from different locations around the world, scalability and fast access to support. The platform’s watertight backups and security were key to the decision, given the privacy and sensitivities of client data as a trading business.

“We work very closely with another of Sapphire’s SunSystems customers whose reporting needs are similar to ours, and have been really impressed with the value brought to the table by the joint proposition,” comments Kiara Barker, Mazule’s COO. “The features and functionality within SunSystems aligned closely with our requirements, and the granularity of information we now have access to is hugely beneficial in expediting decision-making and planning. Being based in South Africa, a cloud platform was the best option. The stability and robustness of a cloud model, combined with the reduced resource required to maintain infrastructure, means that we can focus resources on our business, safe in the knowledge that our core systems are being managed by experts, and that we have a single point of contact should issues arise.”   

“The professionalism of the Sapphire team from the outset has been truly impressive,” Barker continues. “From risk assessments and the identification of potential stumbling blocks, to round-the-clock communication and fast responses to our many questions, the timeline, deliverables and commitment have all converged to create a great experience so far. We look forward to a continued, successful partnership.”  

“I’m delighted Infor SunSystems and Sapphire Anywhere have been selected for Mazule’s expansion plans,” comments Ian Caswell, Sapphire Systems CEO. “Their new cloud financials platform will continue to scale their business faster, allow them to take full advantage of the reporting capabilities the solution offers, and enable them to deliver high-quality reliable services to every customer.

www.mazule.co.za

www.infor.com

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud Infrastructure Spending in Africa is on the rise

Enterprises have been moving to the cloud as more increasingly rely on it other than on-premise data centres. While the trend continues to grow day by day, it is not until last year that spending on cloud infrastructure surpassed on-premise data centres — and by a large margin. This is according to a new report from Synergy Research Group.

Spending on cloud infrastructure grew by 35 per cent to reach almost $130 billion in 2020. At the same time, enterprises reduced spending on data centre hardware and software by 6 per cent to $89 billion.

The report indicates how enterprises are increasingly depending on cloud infrastructure, as spending has been on an uptrend since 2010. By 2019, the spending almost equalled enterprise spending on data centres, but the pandemic has helped catapult the cloud shift.

In Africa, cloud remains a key part in shaping how Africa will grow when it comes to technological infrastructure and 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.

Recently, Incentro Africa, an IT service provider became the first in Africa to achieve the Google Cloud Partner “Work Transformation” Specialization, in the Google Cloud Partner Specialization Program. French-based technology firm, Fieldcloud also joined the Smart Africa Alliance. Smart Africa is an alliance of 31 African countries, international organisations and global private sector players tasked with Africa’s digital agenda. Box, Inc., the Content Cloud, announced that Sebastien Marotte will be joining the Box Executive team as President of Box Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), effective June 7, 2021.

This and all other news around cloud in Africa shows a clear direction Africa is taking with cloud.  In fact, market research company IDC says investments in digital transformation and cloud technology will help drive a 2.8% increase in spending on IT this year in the META market (Middle East, Turkey and Africa), to a total of $77.5 billion, after a decline in 2020.

Moving to the cloud as Shanon Ramdaw, the Business Development Manager – Infor Services at iOCO, Infor’s Gold Partner in Africa notes, allows organisations to dedicate their time and energy into their area of speciality. Utilising on-site EAM solutions, he says means time and money spent on updating and managing this system. With a cloud-based system, this management time is practically erased, allowing for more time to focus on pivotal business processes that generate revenue for the organisation. 

Bottom line, as we highlighted in our Africa Cloud Review column last week, cloud computing remains a key part in shaping how Africa will grow when it comes to technological infrastructure.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa



www.incentro.com

[Column] Shanon Ramdaw: Nine reasons to move asset management to the cloud

Moving Asset Management processes to the cloud has become an ever-increasing necessary step. However, many organisations seem to struggle with the idea of moving away from their known systems, however outdated and ineffective these systems may be. In exploring the benefits of moving Asset Management systems to the cloud Shanon Ramdaw, Business Development Manager at iOCO, within iOCO Software Distribution, the local Infor Master Reseller, outlined Infor’s nine essential reasons for moving to the cloud.  

The first reason as indicated by Ramdaw is that moving to the cloud allows organisations to dedicate their time and energy into their area of speciality. Utilising on-site EAM solutions means time and money spent on updating and managing this system. With a cloud-based system this management time is practically erased, allowing for more time to focus on pivotal business processes that generate revenue for the organisation. 

Secondly, adopting a modern software as a service (SaaS) solution means that payments are based on a monthly or annual fee based on consumption. This means that unlike capital investments in software

licenses, hardware, and IT support, payments are not done upfront with SaaS. This contractually agreed predictability allows organisations to better manage and maintain their budgets and make effective investments in business growth. 

The third benefit is that businesses can exponentially increase their ability for agility. This is due to cloud-based EAM services offering the option to instantly offer new services such as opening new plants, expanding into new areas, adding additional application functionality, and onboarding new enterprise assets.  “Additionally, Cloud vendors allow for the ability to automatically give subscribers monthly and quarterly updates. These updates include releases of new capabilities, allowing clients access to these features as soon as they are released.” Continues Ramdaw.  

Fourthly, Utilising the most up-to-date Cloud-based EAM solution is imperative as organisations often have difficulties when utilising transactional relational database management (RDBMS) systems as EAM services, as they are unable to store all the necessary data. Whereas, advanced cloud-based EAM solutions allow for the storage of large amounts of data from various streams of input. This allows organisations instant access to their entire ecosystem. This accessibility and increased manageability enable businesses to capture and deliver big data to power their analytics and machine-learning strategies.

The fifth benefit indicated is the ability to leverage greater scalability. Businesses have the opportunity to scale their capacity up or down depending on the current need.  Storage is a scalable element with cloud-based EAM as well, enabling for the capacity to store large amounts of data collected from equipment sensors and IoT applications, and this data capacity can be increased at any time. 

The sixth benefit is that cloud-based EAM solutions offer organisations enhanced reliability, availability, and disaster recovery.  In comparison to on-site EAM solutions, organisations utilising cloud-based solutions do not need to worry about the effectiveness of their back systems should an error occur after hours. Ramdaw advises “The best EAM solution must function in a multi-tenant cloud environment and must be advanced enough to ensure business continuity This means that it must offer copies of critical applications and that all data are backed up and mirrored globally. Further, disaster recovery must be effective and efficient should the primary system go down.” These cloud-based solutions should also offer upgrades that have zero downtime so organisations do not have to deal with unscheduled time loss. 

The seventh benefit indicated by Ramdaw is that cloud-based EAM solutions assist in keeping organisations secure. This is achieved through availability to greater resources for a higher level of security, as well as taking on the various security-related tasks that are demanded by various regulations. 

The eighth benefit is the wider range of accessibility provided to organisations through cloud-based solutions. Managers and technicians are able to better function in their roles through being afforded continuous access to EAM data. Cloud-based EAM also allows for data to be easily exchanged between EAM and other enterprise applications. 

Finally, Cloud-based EAM allows businesses to easily adapt and comply with regulatory demands and data sovereignty requirements. Cloud-based EAM solutions are updated on a monthly or quarterly basis to accommodate the continuous regulatory changes for FDA Title 21 CFR Part 11 for life sciences, the Joint Commission for healthcare, State of Good Repair for transportation, and others. Further, these solutions allow organisations to stay up to date with the sovereignty requirements. 

Utilising advanced and state-of-the-art Cloud-based EAM solutions allows organisations the opportunity to move their businesses to the next level. Procedures and processes are easily accessible, reliable and efficient. This allows for better organisational asset management, which means better functionality, potential for increased performance and thus revenue. 

Shanon Ramdaw is the Business Development Manager – Infor Services at iOCO, Infor’s Gold Partner in Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud computing is shaping Africa’s technological infrastructure growth

Cloud computing remains a key part in shaping how Africa will grow when it comes to technological infrastructure.

Given the current covid-19  pandemic internet use and technology in Africa is unsurprisingly on the rise as we have mentioned in previous cloud review articles we have published. With this, the demand for cloud services is also set to go up

Cloud computing involves the management of an extensive network of resources such as data storage, servers, applications, and processing power. More importantly, it provides on-demand access to this network of pooled resources.

In countries like South Africa, integrated cloud platform provider Routed notes that the cloud market is showing good signs of growth and development as enterprise customers begin to take serious notice of multicloud and its benefits. As a result, it is imperative to develop and maintain a robust mutlicloud strategy that meets continuously evolving business demands. Moving to a multi-cloud environment is undoubtedly the future.

Of course this is a conversation we can’t have without mentioning data centers. Recently, IXAfrica, the new-entrant data centre operator in Kenya, announced an ambitious plan to build a world-leading and sustainable campus at a prime location in Nairobi. Data centers are rising across Africa – and cloud companies are taking charge of creating them.  A recent report from The African Data Centres Association (ADCA) and Xalam Analytics revealed that Africa needs 1000MW and 700 facilities to meet growing demand and bring the rest of the continent onto level terms

A new IBM study conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC), also revealed that 84% of South African C-Suite are either pursuing or planning hybrid cloud strategies

According to the study, C-Suite executives in South Africa are prioritising the implementation of hybrid cloud strategies to benefit from flexibility, cost savings, testing and development, as well as Disaster Recovery. The IDC study showed the stages of the adoption journey that these executives are at with 32% of these executives currently pursuing hybrid cloud strategies, whilst over 60% were in the planning phase.

‘’However, some organizations are struggling with harnessing the full capabilities of their cloud environments’’ the study says.

As this happens, Incentro Africa, an IT service provider delivering custom build software solutions for the European and African market announced that it has achieved the Google Cloud Partner “Work Transformation” Specialization, in the Google Cloud Partner Specialization ProgramThe Google Enterprise Work Transformation Specialization is the highest level of technical achievement for a Google Workspace Partner.   The specialization indicates success deploying Google Workspace to Enterprise organizations, which includes providing services for establishing governance, technical implementation, training people, processes, and support.

A recent report from Synergy Research Group also notes that enterprises have been moving to the cloud as more increasingly rely on it other than on-premise data centres. While the trend continues to grow day by day, it is not until last year that spending on cloud infrastructure surpassed on-premise data centres — and by a large margin

As enterprise demands shift, how cloud is deployed will adapt in tandem and as Andrew Cruise, managing director, Routed, says, the future is likely to be a pragmatic cloud or dirty cloud. 

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.



www.incentro.com/en-ke

[South Africa] Building a successful multicloud strategy unlocks IT business value, Routed

South Africa’s cloud market is showing good signs of growth and development as enterprise customers begin to take serious notice of multicloud and its benefits. As a result, it is imperative to develop and maintain a robust mutlicloud strategy that meets continuously evolving business demands.

Andrew Cruise, managing director, Routed, a neutral cloud infrastructure provider, notes there are clear business benefits of pursuing a multicloud approach, including having a choice of best-in-class platforms to match a variety of business requirements and the ability to efficiently allocate scarce capital by utilising the operating cost model of cloud consumption. “However, some other no less important advantages of mutlicloud involve its potential to drive innovation, flexibility, and scalability of new apps in hyperscale public clouds. Multicloud can also ameliorate risks of failure and vendor lock-in by load balancing across multiple cloud platforms. In addition, multicloud really enables IT to meet business needs by freeing up time to focus on where value is added.”

Considering the sheer number of options available, the task of building a successful strategy should inevitably begin with a clear decision on where an enterprise’s efforts and resources should be focused. “In other words, where does IT bring business value? Use cloud infrastructure to free up internal resources and scarce capital to facilitate investment in these areas,” he adds.

Cruise says it is also advisable to build out from familiar areas of expertise incrementally. “A ‘big bang’ re-platforming approach, especially involving multiple unfamiliar hyperscale environments, is fraught with risk. Instead, base digital transformation strategy on current expertise, use industry-standard virtualisation platforms like VMware both on-premise and in local clouds for core business critical foundational workloads, and then add cloud native apps in global hyperscalers in stages.”

Successfully managing a multicloud environment is another understandable area of concern for enterprises, especially where security and regularity compliance are non-negotiable. “A proper assessment of peopleprocesses and control can provide a bird’s eye view of all IT and from there what is required to apply policies and procedures coherently together with a security strategy across all platforms,” says Cruise.

As digital transformation and cloud migration are now fully understood as business imperatives, choosing the right provider should be a carefully considered decision. Cruise explains that it’s vital to understand that no two cloud providers are the same, and that each market and sell on what they do differently. “Each provider has their own unique set of services and tools, which paradoxically, is where their value lies, but the drawback is that it also creates a barrier to multi-cloud due to incompatibilities. Enterprises should be circumspect in targeting these specific USPs in each provider as they will enforce a level of vendor lock-in and base their multicloud strategy on which providers will give them a consistent user experience across all platforms.”

As enterprise demands shift, how cloud is deployed will adapt in tandem. Cruise believes the future is likely to be a pragmatic cloud or dirty cloud. “This is the path of least resistance as it leads to what works most easily. This is mixture of onsite; private-style cloud like local VMware VPC; and public cloud from global hyperscalers.”

www.routed.co.za

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud adoption is the future of African SMEs

In our previous Africa Cloud Review report, we highlighted how cloud adoption is no longer merely an option but a necessity that promises tremendous rewards across entire organizations.

Africa is currently witnessing a revolution in new cloud and data centre capacity, with a growth forecast of 80 per cent and 50 per cent. In fact, Xalam Analytics has previously noted that African data centres are the hottest growth area in the African ICT market. 

The emergence of cloud in Africa as the Cloud Over Africa report by Research ICT Africa report notes is viewed as a natural extension of the deployment of advanced IT technologies by high-end users in both the consumer and enterprise services markets.

‘’Much of the hype around cloud computing in Africa is as a result of the adoption of high-end technology and software industries such as financial services, oil and gas; and of advanced next-generation networks by the telecommunications operators.’’ the report says.

This is of course something we have mentioned in the previous cloud review article we have published here. From fintech companies that are changing the way Africans send and receive money, to Agriculture, cloud technology has the power to transform how we work in emerging markets. 

SMEs and public services stand to gain the most from the adoption of cloud services, which provides immediate access to the infrastructure and services previously only available to big enterprises able to invest heavily in IT. 

As Soromfe Uzomah, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative notes Cloud computing gives businesses the ability to scale, cost-effectively, to new markets. This is particularly beneficial for SMEs, who often lacked the resources or infrastructure to expand before.

Pedro Guerreiro, Managing Director, Central Africa at SAP, also notes that investments into new technologies like cloud will greatly assist SMEs in the region as they adapt to a very different operating environment.

 “As one of the most important drivers for job creation and economic growth, the SME sector is vital to the region’s economic recovery. Technology will continue to play a determining role in how well the sector recovers from this year’s events, while also digitally-tooling organisations to out-perform their competitors in this new economy and enabling them to execute the business, operate, and thrive in the market,” he says.

Currently, most of these SMEs are struggling to survive in an ongoing global recession. Cloud offers many opportunities and could help companies to improve their business and use technology more efficiently. 

The Cloud Computing: Adoption Issues for Sub-Saharan African SMEs report envisages that as cloud computing evolves, more SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa will adopt it as an IT Strategy. This could positively contribute to the successes of these SMEs and consequently, contribute to the economic growth desired by these developing countries.

Bottomline, cloud platforms are the future of African SMEs. This Digital transformation is imperative for these SMEs, as it enables them to streamline back-office operations and free up time and resources to focus on their core business.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa

www.incentro.com/en-ke