[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

[Column] Anthony Njoroge: The importance of flash storage for the cloud

As cynicism about the benefits of the cloud give way to rapidly embracing digital transformation, companies are finding themselves in a position where they must optimise their infrastructure.

While the modern cloud environment delivers improved performance and more responsive use of resources, it must be configured properly with the relevant hardware in place. This is where flash storage becomes an enabler to help unlock the business benefits arising from effective digital transformation.

There is no arguing about the speed advantage flash provides over more traditional storage options. But perhaps, more importantly, it results in improved productivity and responsiveness within the organisation. Because of the higher input/output operations per second of flash, it can deliver faster response times for those IT services that support the business. It makes it possible for insights to be extracted in real-time from the data warehouse further aiding the decision-making process.

The resultant enhancements in efficiencies that come from flash storage means companies will use fewer CPU cores and cloud cycles. Given how most cloud providers work on a pay-per-use model, there will be a significant cost savings that can be reinvested in other parts of the business.

According to the rule of thumb, flash storage can deliver approximately 10 times the performance of traditional storage arrays with just one tenth of the power consumption. It is therefore not difficult to understand why companies are increasingly adopting flash in their cloud architecture.

Storage flexibility

IT departments have also been exploring using NVMe to reduce response time and storage latency. For its part, NetApp was the first enterprise storage vendor to deliver NVMe/FC on all midrange and high-end all-flash A-series storage. This innovation allows customers using a 32Gb fibre channel to immediately see latencies drop to under half a millisecond.

All-flash arrays also enable storage tiering capabilities. After all, one of the ways to reduce cloud costs is to tier infrequently used data to less-expensive storage formats. However, the public cloud providers only offer data tiering between classes of their object storage offerings. This means that as storage requirements become more dynamic, companies require options in matching the fastest storage with the most critical applications.

By moving this less critical data to more affordable alternatives using a cloud-agnostic solution, such as the NetApp AFF, companies can tier data more strategically to meet both cost and access requirements.

Modernisation

Combining flash performance and application integration, while leveraging the power of the hybrid cloud, organisations can extend the capabilities of their data centres. These combine to make up part of the data fabric that help users unless the full potential of the data at their disposal.

Consider how consistent and integrated data management services and applications facilitate data visibility and insights, data access and control, and data protection and security. Together, these technologies will accelerate digital transformation and allow the business to address its highest imperatives.

All-flash storage has become a vital component in the cloud migration journey. It is something that companies must consider if they are to be effective in their digital transitions and leverage the agility that come from the high performance computing capabilities delivered through the cloud.

Anthony Njoroge is the Product Manager for NetApp at Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa

[South Africa] Nedbank enables business continuity and employee remote work with Nutanix

Nutanix, a player in private cloud, hybrid and multicloud computing, has announced that Nedbank, one of Africa’s largest financial institutions, is leveraging the Nutanix cloud platform to improve and facilitate the rapid delivery of its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) during the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling employees to work from home.

To ensure that the banking industry was able to provide its services and meet customer needs, Nedbank had to find a way for employees to work safely and productively from home.

When the initial COVID-19 lockdown stages were introduced, South African companies were forced to mobilize quickly with only a one-week period for preparation before a complete country lockdown. With approximately 30,000 employees serving more than 10 million clients, Nedbank needed to quickly scale its end-user computing systems to continue serving customers. With Nutanix already implemented, the IT team was able to seamlessly and rapidly extend its VDI solution.

“During the sudden switch to a work-from-home requirement because of the pandemic, we did not have to increase our infrastructure but rather optimize the way VDI is delivered to new users on the same platform,” said Johan van Tonder, End User Computing Senior Innovation Manager at Nedbank. “Using Nutanix, we can now maintain and upgrade mission-critical infrastructure during business hours without impacting any of our operations as well as enable employees to work from anywhere.”

Prior to deploying the hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI)-powered Nutanix cloud platform, Nedbank had a three-tier infrastructure that was siloed and required dedicated IT teams to solve specific problems when they arose. It would take a significant amount of time to fix or restore functional problems, which resulted in a large amount of downtime that negatively affected their customers’ experience. Nedbank knew it needed an environment that would increase performance speed and simplify infrastructure management.

In the past, the IT team would have to schedule overtime on the weekend when no users would be accessing the system to complete updates. Now, the IT team can perform firmware updates during peak office hours with minimal disruptions, if any, to the VDI environment or client systems. Additionally, Nedbank was able to simplify the management of its different clusters across separate physical locations, all from a single management console.

With more than 8,500 virtual desktops in its 160-node environment, it is crucial that Nedbank has an infrastructure in place that can enable employees to continue to work even during a pandemic.

“The method and speed at which Nedbank approached these challenges is a testament to the team’s understanding of the power of a hyperconverged infrastructure software and the downstream operational impact it can have on a business,” said Dom Poloniecki, General Manager, Sales, Western Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa at Nutanix. “Today’s clients don’t want their technology partners to approach their problems with a basket full of new technologies. They want to leverage their existing investments to find incremental value and leverage they are looking for. By leveraging its Nutanix solution, Nedbank is doing just that, stretching and truly deriving value from an existing investment.”

www.nedbank.co.za

www.nutanix.com

[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.

Elaraby leverages cloud to deliver efficiency across businesses in Egypt, Africa and Middle East

Riverbed has announced that Elaraby Group, an Egyptian manufacturer and retailer of home electronics, has maximized the value of its Microsoft Office 365 investment by deploying Riverbed® SaaS Accelerator.

 In an effort to enhance user experience and employee collaboration as it advances its cloud-first strategy throughout its vast geographic operations, Elaraby has enabled a faster, more responsive Office 365 experience for its employees by reducing network latency and empowered its teams to be more productive and better equipped to serve customers by deploying Riverbed SaaS Accelerator.

Elaraby has also invested in Riverbed® Cloud Accelerator to speed migration and access to workloads on Microsoft Azure. As a long-standing customer of Riverbed® SteelHead™, the market-leading WAN optimization solution worldwide, Elaraby is now accelerating applications from on-prem to cloud to the client and end-user.

Elaraby is a player in developing and manufacturing consumer electronics and home appliances in Egypt, the Middle East and Africa and the company’s products are widely accepted in more than 60 countries.

The Elaraby business has more than 40,000 employees, 16 commercial and industrial enterprises, over 3,000 sales partners, 17 trade stores across Egypt and approximately 600 after-sales service centers.

Elaraby is leveraging the cloud to deliver the efficiency, agility, and scalability its business demands. To ensure all locations and all employees are seamlessly connected, the company has migrated to Office 365. “Our use of the cloud is significantly growing,” said Medhat ElAraby, Vice President of Elaraby Group. “We have already migrated one of our data centers to Azure, and we are leveraging both PaaS and SaaS.”

While the company had successfully implemented Office 365, issues with network latency, congestion, and last-mile delays were restricting Elaraby ‘s ability to realize the full potential of its investment. As latency could potentially impact many aspects of the business – from direct sales and production, to store management and marketing – Elaraby turned to Riverbed to reduce data transfer costs and optimize speed across the enterprise, compressing data before sending it between sites.

With the support and expertise of Riverbed’s local partner, Global Brands Group, a leading provider of Consulting, Technology and Outsourcing services, the IT team recently extended its Riverbed SteelHead solution with the addition of six new appliances and one software instance in Azure.

 In addition, the company has deployed 3,500 licenses of Riverbed SaaS Accelerator, which accelerates popular SaaS apps up to 10x, as well as Riverbed Cloud Accelerator. In total, 6,000 users at Elaraby now have access to Office 365 and the improved performance across email, Dynamics 365 for Customer Service and Field Service, and SAP, and it has had a direct and very positive impact on retail and production.

“We could immediately see with Riverbed how we could address network latency,” explained Medhat ElAraby. “Since the deployment, Elaraby has reduced data transmission between sites by 60% with, on average, 900GB less data per day. We are now far more efficient in the way data is consumed which is delivering significant cost savings and improving connectivity and collaboration between sites and teams. Riverbed has also helped us improve our data management. The encryption of data is very important to us because all the data transferred in our organization has value, whether it’s sales figures, product designs, or customer insights. Securing our data has helped us maintain our competitive advantage.”

“With its workforce spread across such a vast geography, and its focus on having a cloud-first IT strategy, Elaraby has benefited greatly from the joint value proposition of the Microsoft Office 365 suite and the Riverbed acceleration solutions,” said Mirna Arif, Country General Manager, Microsoft Egypt. “Microsoft and Riverbed have a long-standing partnership globally, and at a regional level this has meant a strong collaboration between our local sales and technical teams. This has ultimately translated to a robust solution that enables Elaraby to offer its employees a consistent and impressive user experience across their collaboration and productivity applications.”

“Cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools such as those in the Office 365 suite are becoming increasingly fundamental to the modern business. The effectiveness of these solutions and their adoption by the workforce ultimately depends on end-user experience which can be easily impacted by poor performance,” said Mena Migally, Regional Vice President, META at Riverbed. “Elaraby ‘s success with Riverbed underpins the value that our solutions bring to the new breed of cloud-first organizations who are looking to enjoy the flexibility and scalability that cloud offers, while ensuring performance remains unaffected by the network latency, irrespective of where applications are hosted and how they are accessed. Elaraby is an innovative enterprise that continuously adopts and implements the latest technologies to accelerate and maintain their leadership regionally. As one of our first customers in Egypt, with a strong decade-long relationship, we are proud to continue to partner and support them on their digital journey.”

www.elarabygroup.com

Fieldcloud SAS joins the Smart Africa Alliance

French-based technology firm, Fieldcloud has 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. The alliance is empowered by a bold and innovative commitment by African Heads of State to accelerate sustainable socioeconomic development on the continent and usher Africa into the knowledge economy through affordable access to broadband and use of ICTs.

“An essential part of how we work is that we seek to put the private sector first. We believe that our partnerships with companies like Fieldcloud are essential in ensuring that we deliver cutting edge technologies in Africa and move toward creating a single digital market. ”, said Mr Lacina Koné, Smart Africa’s Director General / CEO.

Founded in 2009, Fieldcloud is an edge computing, network connectivity and Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure solutions specialist systems integrator focused on energy, resources and telecom market sectors. Fieldcloud SAS works with enterprises to deal with the challenges of moving data between the field, legacy devices, factory floor and the cloud.

Today, fieldcloud’s activities are in IoT hardware design, systems integration, legacy systems digitization, embedded software applications, connectivity solutions, strategic business advisory and consulting. Fieldcloud continues to develop competencies in cutting edge technologies in global satellite IoT communications, IoT systems integration and LPWAN solutions to support projects in energy, telecommunications and resources sectors.

“Multistakeholder collaboration is essential to enable Africa’s single digital market, sustainably. The Smart Africa Alliance fosters a powerful and growing ecosystem of public and private members and fieldcloud is delighted to be of service as we partner together to build capacity, connect people and digitize industry.”, said Mr Matthew D. Smith, CEO fieldcloud SAS.  

With a vision to create a single digital market in Africa by 2030, the Smart Africa Alliance brings together Heads of State who seek to accelerate the digitalization of the continent and create a common market. Launched in 2013 by seven (7) African Heads of State, the Alliance now has 30 member countries, representing over 750 million people and over 40 Private Sector members committed to the vision and the advancement of Africa.

Other private sector members of the Smart Africa Alliance include Facebook, Intel, Orange, Ericsson, Econet, Microsoft, Inmarsat and Huawei among others.

www.fieldcloud.com

www.smartafrica.org

Box appoints former Google Cloud Executive Sebastien Marotte as President of Box EMEA

Box, Inc., the Content Cloud, has 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.

The appointment underscores Box’s continued commitment to the region where the Company recently announced a new office opening in Warsaw, Poland, and its recent acquisition of SignRequest, a European electronic signature company.

“Sebastien is joining at an exciting time for Box, as we’re continuing to grow our international presence and amplify the power of the Content Cloud,” said Stephanie Carullo, COO of Box. “Sebastien has comprehensive knowledge of the EMEA business landscape, and extensive experience leading in multiple markets. We’re thrilled to welcome him to lead our EMEA operations.”

Over a 30+ year career, Sebastien has held executive roles at some of the world’s highest-profile software companies including Google, Hyperion, and Oracle. He most recently led Google Cloud’s EMEA Channels as Vice President, having previously served as Vice President of Google Cloud EMEA for eight years. As an early leader at Google Cloud, Sebastien was responsible for much of the foundational growth and development across EMEA, including the launch of G Suite (now Google Workspace).

“The pandemic has accelerated the pace of change for just about every company on the planet, and the move to the cloud has never been more urgent,” said Sebastien Marotte, incoming President of Box EMEA. “As more companies realize that their businesses run on content, the demand for a secure platform for managing all of that content in the cloud will continue to grow. I strongly believe that Box has the strategy and team in place to capture this amazing opportunity, and I’m incredibly excited to join at this important part of the journey.”

Sebastien holds a Master’s degree in Finance and Business from ESLSCA Business School Paris. He also serves as a board member at Temporall.

www.box.com