[Column] Corine Mbiaketcha Nana: Five essential steps to close the cloud skills gap in Kenya

The ability to find and retain cloud-savvy, IT staff continues to be considered as one of the key barriers to cloud adoption according to Oracle’s latest ‘You & IaaS’ survey.

The ability to find and retain cloud-savvy, IT staff continues to be considered as one of the key barriers to cloud adoption according to Oracle’s latest ‘You & IaaS’ survey.

As Infrastructure-as-a-Service adoption grows and the technology matures, the availability of staff with specialist skills is being surpassed by demand. The survey found that more than one-fifth (28 percent) of companies say that IT skills shortages have been one of their top issues in rolling out IaaS.

Closer to home, a research study by RANITP (Research Academic Network on IT Policy), Research ICT Africa and the University of Nairobi on the state of cloud service usage in Kenya, found that businesses highlighted DevOps, software development, system administration and networking skills as crucial for cloud delivery. In addition, they pointed out that information security, as well as contract and project management skills, are essential for migrating, maintaining and supporting cloud services.

No wonder, moving to the cloud is still deemed to be risky by some CIOs; but should it be?

The reality is that the bigger risk is not moving to the cloud, which is rapidly proving itself as easier to manage, maintain and secure than traditional IT environments. In particular, cloud services are vastly more secure than many on-premise alternatives, since leading cloud vendors such as Oracle invest in creating a highly robust security infrastructure that is continually patched and kept up-to-date. This level of investment in security can never be matched in an on-premise environment.

What I see from talking to CIOs across Africa is that the skills gap issue relates less to having cloud-specific skills; it is instead a mindset challenge.

In his Africa blog post, Frank Rizzo, partner, Technology Sector Leader for Africa at KPMG says cloud computing is not driven solely by technical experts any longer, but by business leaders looking to leverage it from an overall business perspective.

So what are the gaps and how can companies overcome them?

1. Hiring for the cloud era

Creating a team for the future will inevitably affect the hiring process. Rather than look for new employees from traditional, external sources – most likely direct competitors – CIOs should aim to recruit from cloud-native companies. These staff are used to handling data in the cloud and with the cloud skills required.

Once onboard, there are two main options for how to make the most of this talent. Use the new hires to fill the gaps and educate the rest of the team, or build a completely new team that’s cloud-first by design. This approach can motivate the business and act as a catalyst for innovation.

2. Internal talent

Don’t forget you already might have internal talent that has the potential to shine in a cloud world.  Holding or attending ‘hackathons’ or offering existing staff the opportunity to volunteer to take part in new cloud projects could give you the opportunity to spot skills you didn’t know the team possessed.

This is an approach that the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is taking. To support its strategic drive to enhance service delivery to taxpayers, KRA deployed a new Customer Relationship Management Solution (CRMS) that provides it with a single platform to better understand customer needs and respond to their demands more quickly and efficiently.

KRA has been undertaking extensive staff training programmes to guarantee superior customer interaction management with taxpayers. Its CRM training is divided into four areas based on the role various groups play, including end-user, back office staff, and administrator training as well as the training of trainers. Change management initiatives and staff sensitization workshops are also carried out to create system awareness.

Another thing to consider is that some of the team’s existing expertise can be transferred to the cloud.  In some cases, new cloud services, in fact, mirror their on-premises counterparts, making the transfer of skills more achievable.

Re-training existing members of staff is also critical. There are a range of options to help organizations upskill their IT teams through training; from government programmes through to vendor academies, such as the Oracle Academy. The latter are useful for providing both the technical skill set required and the necessary security and compliance training.

3. Think big

Infrastructure cloud services enable businesses to operate elastically, at a vastly increased scale. This gives the company an amazing opportunity to change the dynamics of how they operate. Instead of just migrating individual databases, think bigger, consolidating the various data sets you have around the business into a unified dataset. There are multiple benefits of this. At a base level, you can have more applications per server and manage them all as one, and with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning becoming more widespread you can be prepared to take maximum use of these exciting emerging technologies by creating a single data asset.

4. Data orchestration

Businesses are increasingly seeking to become data-driven. IT teams need to stop looking at data and processes as systems issues and instead regard them as profit opportunities. This means thinking about how business information can be turned into actionable insights that lead to customer engagement and profitable growth.

5. Advanced data management

Data is the new oil for businesses: a huge source of potential wealth if mined, refined and distributed well. A core skill for enterprise IT teams is, therefore, how to store, manage and transport data. This means extending skills beyond technology to include data governance and compliance capabilities.

Any enterprise that’s serious about leveraging the cloud to innovate and grow needs to have these skills entrenched in their IT teams. It is therefore vital that organizations go about building cloud-ready teams in the right way.

If enterprise IT teams can close the cloud skills gap, the rewards will be well worth the effort. The renewed, high-performing team will quickly demonstrate value to the C-suite and other key corporate stakeholders while enabling a core competitive differentiator for the business.


Corine Mbiaketcha Nana, Managing Director Kenya Hub covering East, Central and West Africa at Oracle.

[South Africa] Routed Signs Expansion Agreement for Ubersmith Subscription Business Software

Routed, a vendor-neutral cloud infrastructure provider in South Africa has signed an expansion agreement to take further advantage of subscription business management software from Ubersmith, an INAP (NASDAQ: INAP) company, to further enable its fast-paced growth.

The company is a model of efficiency using the Ubersmith software suite to automate pay-per-use billing to reduce the chance of mistakes in a manual process, as well as centralize customer information including client contracts. It bills clients on a pay-per-use model and sells its solutions through partners, such as internet service providers (ISPs) and managed service providers (MSPs).

Ubersmith provides the flexibility for Routed to efficiently bill large enterprises as well as smaller MSPs. In addition, all of Routed’s customers use the Ubersmith software Client Portal for easy access to information on the services they’re using.

Based in Cape Town with data centres there as well as in Johannesburg, Routed’s vendor-neutral cloud hosting platform is built using VMware technology — specifically vCloud Director stack. The company takes advantage of Ubersmith’s built-in integration with vCloud Director, as well as QuickBooks so that clients’ usage data is pulled into the billing system.

“The Ubersmith software is ideal for the kind of subscription billing we do and the business model we have while integrating well with other applications and infrastructure, and remaining open for the future as needed,” said Andrew Cruise, managing director of Routed. “It makes our lives easier, helping our people in billing, customer service and sales work efficiently to handle the growth today and prepare for the scalability needs of our business tomorrow.”

Future plans at Routed include expansion of the Ubersmith software to include the Sales Manager and Order Manager, which provide workflow tools and automation from the initial quote to account setup, provisioning, billing and more.

“We are pleased to partner more deeply with Routed to help enable its cloud business and its ability to launch and support high-quality services with great efficiency,” said Kurt Daniel, CEO of Ubersmith. “We’re pleased to play a role in Routed’s success in South Africa and beyond as they take further advantage of the full range of turnkey usage-based billing, infrastructure and operations capabilities we offer to their organization and their customers.”

www.routed.co.za

www.ubersmith.com

[Column] Karl Reed: The customer’s journey to the cloud

Migrating to the cloud is no longer the complex process it once was. Thanks to the evolution of technology, moving from an on-premises environment can be done much more efficiently than before.

Migrating to the cloud is no longer the complex process it once was. Thanks to the evolution of technology, moving from an on-premises environment can be done much more efficiently than before. Even attitudes towards this strategic shift have changed, says Karl Reed, Chief Solutions Officer at Elingo.

Going the cloud route does not require a big bang approach. Instead, organisations can phase it in over several months (or years even) as their budget and business processes allow.

In the past few years, accessibility to the cloud from an Internet and capability perspective, as well as the speed to deployment, has changed for the better. In fact, Elingo’s recent experience shows customers are approaching the company wanting to migrate instead of needing the hard sell.

Mindset shift

Contributing to this enabling environment is the upcoming arrival of several multinational data centres in the country. Granted, it might only account for approximately 20% of the reason businesses are considering migrating. But, combined with more user-friendly technology, the market is ripe to start benefiting from this natural technology progression.

Perhaps, most importantly, the business mindset is changing. A year ago, decision-makers were still apprehensive about the cloud. Fast forward to the present and they are less resistant about moving. Now, they are much more open towards cloud discussions reflecting trends elsewhere in the world.

The country is basically there; we are fast approaching a time where every organisation will be connected to cloud in some form or another. Just consider how all your personal information is already stored in the cloud. It is only natural that this will start extending to business data as well.

Regulatory needs

Furthermore, the regulatory environment is also playing its part in getting companies to migrate. The likes of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) create complex environments. Fortunately, the cloud fully supports it and provides local businesses with a significantly more secure environment than if they had to build it themselves.

Given how the compliance requirements for cloud service providers are significantly more complicated than for ‘standard’ businesses, they do everything in their power to ensure the safety, reliability, availability, and accessibility of cloud-based offerings, systems and data.

Unique approach

With every customer environment and requirement unique when it comes to the cloud, service providers must be able to adapt their processes to accommodate. For example, expectations from an insurance company will be different to that from a courier business in terms of cloud migration and offerings. So, even though there is still complexity involved in making the transition, it is not insurmountable.

One of the most appealing things for any business when it comes to the cloud is the return on investment that is on offer. For one, the cloud enables the company to manage spend on a monthly basis instead of a massive upfront payment.

Secondly, there are the savings that companies do not even realise they are getting. Just like every computer in the business needs power, software licences, access to the Internet, and so on, so too do on-premises servers. Furthermore, these servers need to be maintained and upgraded every few years. Even the air-conditioning units in the server room need power, maintenance, and so on, continually adding to the cost of on-premises solutions. With the cloud, there is none of that.

Given the ease of use and speed of deployment, the cloud will soon become the default approach for many local organisations. The cloud is already everywhere. Now is the time to capitalise on it.

Karl Reed is the Chief Solutions Officer at Elingo.

Public cloud services will enable organisations to accelerate digital transformation in South Africa

The increased utilisation of public cloud services and the additional investments into private and hybrid cloud solutions will enable organisations in South Africa to focus on innovation and accelerate the pace of digital business transformation. This is according to the IDC report, Economic Impact of IT & Microsoft in South Africa. In turn, the report says this will help businesses generate close to R81 billion in net revenue over the next four years.

The Intelligent Cloud is the enabler of true digital transformation, enabling businesses to transform their existing business models into digital business models, thereby improving operational efficiency, empowering employees, enabling richer customer engagements, and transforming and innovative products and services.

According to Ashleigh Fenwick, Head of Communications at Microsoft, the IT the IT sector in South Africa is expected to grow at a five-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.25% to reach R175 billion by 2022.

‘’This growth is fuelled by public cloud growth – the cloud market is expected to reach R11.53 billion by 2022, representing a CAGR of a whopping 21.9%. This could potentially lead to 119k nett new job opportunities,”  he said.

Fenwick was speaking when he announced that Microsoft had pushed the launch of its two data centres in South Africa to 2019. Located in Johannesburg and Cape Town, said it is targeting cloud services growth on the continent. These data centres are expected to deliver the Microsoft Cloud, including Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365 to Africa. They had initially been set to be launched in 2018.

While the software market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 2.9% over the next 5 years, the cloud market in South Africa is expected to grow at 21.9% to reach R11.53 billion. The increased adoption of cloud services in the country will create 112,000 net new job opportunities in the economy by 2022, driven by the benefits of cloud computing, such as lower capex, efficiency, scale, and flexibility.

Cloud computing has taken off dramatically across Africa’s major markets. Its benefits are however being experienced very differently in each region – as are its budget allocations.

www.microsoft.com

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Xalam Analytics: Can Data Localization Laws Boost African Cloud and Colocation Markets?

On the surface, requiring companies to host data locally would seem an attractive option to foster local industry and data sovereignty. The question is whether it ultimately does more harm than good.

Last August, an Indian expert panel committee released its initial recommendations for the country’s upcoming privacy law, including a requirement for companies to store Indian user data in servers physically located in the country. The committee’s recommendations have touched off a fierce debate on the future of India’s digital ecosystem. As more African countries push to adapt their legal frameworks to the Internet age, the same debates are intensifying here.

Kenya’s proposed Data Protection Bill, for example, would require companies to store user data in servers physically located in Kenya, and hire local IT professionals to monitor how the data is managed. In South Africa, the POPI Act (which becomes effective next year) includes some data localization requirements. In Cote-d’Ivoire, the launch of Orange’s Personal Cloud service ignited a public debate on data privacy and the need for localization requirements.

Data localization requirements have far-reaching ramifications, mixing issues around end-user privacy, security, data sovereignty, cloud network architecture and infrastructure, and market player behavior.

Consistent with the Xalam research focus, this Market Brief is primarily concerned with the potential economic impact of such measures, specifically on African cloud and data center colocation markets.

Can data localization boost African cloud service adoption?

There is no clear precedent for the impact data localization laws might have in African markets. To this point, the main markets to have implemented, or strongly considered pervasive data localization requirements have been relatively large economies: China, Russia, India. As a block, African markets would undoubtedly carry similar weight. But Africa is not a block, and the relatively small size of most markets makes the consequences (intended, and unintended) of data localization obligations difficult to read.

Building on data and insights from our data center research and ongoing analysis of African public cloud markets, we ran some impact simulations for several markets and attempted some educated speculation on the potential impact of localization requirements. A summary of our initial conclusions follows.

www.xalamanalytics.com

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[South Africa] SAP unveils the first sports-specific cloud solution, SAP Sports One

SAP has launched SAP Sports One, the first sports-specific cloud solution powered by SAP’s celebrated HANA platform. The solution which was launched Johannesburg provides teams and administrators with a single unified platform for the efficient management of teams and players and delivers powerful analytical insights for performance optimisation.

The solution was born out of a partnership between SAP and the German football team. Following the team’s victory at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, SAP was heralded as the team’s “12th Man” by the Wall Street Journal and credited with a significant contribution to the famous win.

The launch was attended by delegates from many of South Africa’s top sports bodies, including the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), Federation International of Football Association (FIFA), Gauteng Sports Confederation and other key members of the sporting industry.

Commenting on the launch, Bernhard Escherich, Global Head of New Markets & Strategic Customers: Sport & Entertainment at SAP, said this experience prompted SAP to expand the scope and functionality of Sports One and release it as a single product for sports teams. “SAP Sports One provides team management, training planning, player fitness, performance insights, scouting and penalty insights functionality to some of the world’s leading high-performance sports teams. While it was initially designed to support football teams, today Sports One has been adopted by a range of other sports disciplines, including rugby, basketball, skiing and ice hockey.”

Deployed in the cloud, SAP Sports One helps clubs and organisations digitalise sports performance management by coordinating all administrative, training and team management, scouting and medical processes. “The solution is built on SAP HANA, so data analysis and processing take place in real time to equip coaching, medical and administrative staff with in-the-moment insight into various performance areas relating to the team or organisation,” said Escherich. “Most sports already generate a wealth of data from video feeds and equipment sensors, and we have partnered with a number of sports companies to generate player data via their wearable devices: our platform integrates all the data sources and enables real-time management of teams.”

Escherich added that many of the company’s innovations in other industries have been incorporated in the Sports One platform. “We have embedded powerful tools to understand the relationships between data sets, apply geospatial analysis of data, and present the findings in new and interesting ways that are relevant to the person consuming the data. For example, the coach will have a very different interface when using Sports One than what the physiotherapist will experience. This ensures each user gets the information most important to them and their job functions.”

According to Simon Carpenter, Chief Technology Advisor at SAP Africa, the company’s rich history in developing ERP solutions for large, complex industries has opened the door to developing solutions for the media, sports and entertainment industries. “Modern sports teams are huge, multi-billion-dollar businesses with millions of fans, extensive facilities, thousands of employees, and of course the sports stars themselves. As the sports industry is increasingly professionalised, administrators face many of the same challenges other industries encounter: procurement, talent management and retention, performance management, marketing, and CRM. Attempting to manage all these disparate elements manually while still ensuring peak team performance is nigh-impossible. That’s where Sports One comes in.”

Carpenter says there is a global war for talent, and this is even more closely fought in the sports industries. “Social listening integrated into Sports One can pick up fan conversations about which players are perceived to be performing well, pointing talent scouts to potential future superstars. The ability to identify talent at an earlier stage further enables better talent development, helping grow and develop promising players. Through the deep analytics embedded in the platform, team managers can also start identifying patterns that point to exhaustion or excessive workload, which may be precursors to injury. With this insight at hand, sports teams can make more informed decisions over how players are managed for optimal performance.”

Sport’s mass appeal and global reach make the fan experience essential to the growth and success of sports disciplines and teams. Large sports events can draw billions of viewers – the FIFA World Cup attracts on average 3.5 billion viewers, with 1 billion watching the 2014 final alone – and technology has emerged as a vital component to improving the viewing experience for fans. “The explosion in data use in sports has created compelling new opportunities to provide fans with deeper levels of insight and engagement,” says Carpenter. “In a long-standing project with Sailing Team Germany, we applied our data analytics and planning expertise to reduce the complexity of sailing and make what is happening on the water more compelling for crews and sailing fans. The solutions focused on the team and the events, with event solutions using live streams, real-time and post-race analyses, and data analytics of wind and water conditions to make the races more comprehensible and hands-on for spectators and fans. In another example, our work with Formula 1 teams has given viewers unprecedented access to data relating to trackside conditions, including the temperature of the tyres, the G-force experienced by drivers at different stages of the race, and more, to give fans exciting new data points to interact and engage with.”

Carpenter said he  believes the sports industry is moving away from ‘gut feel’ to a more science-based approach built on accurate data. “The world is evolving to the point where we can generate deep, accurate insights about anything happening in the physical world. This was evident in a recent project with the Volvo Ocean Race, where we used our SAP Leonardo IoT Edge technology to track sailors’ fitness levels and exhaustion during the race, so that the crew can optimise their performance based on the data collected. Physical and mental exhaustion are the biggest threats to crews during the eight-month race – considered to be one of the toughest of any sports event in the world – and by using technology we take the guesswork out of the crew’s fatigue, reaction to weather conditions, stress levels and other biometric measurement data.”

He adds that the pace of change is simply too fast for so-called ‘shooting from the hip’. “Successful sports teams will increasingly use technology and data to understand how to improve performance. European and US sports teams already make great use of data; with the introduction of SAP Sports One here on our continent, African teams have access to a powerful platform that can improve and optimise every aspect of their operations, training and performance.”

www.sap.com

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HealthCarePoint establishes BlueCloud Africa to improve research using smart city approach

BlueCloud by HealthCarePoint (HCP), a Texas-based healthcare and clinical research networking technology company founded by patient survivors, has established BlueCloud Africa to work with local organizations to improve the healthcare and clinical research ecosystem using smart city development approaches.

A “smart city” is commonly known as, “an area where information and communication technology, and various physical devices are connected to networks to optimize the efficiency of city operations and services and connect to citizens.”

BlueCloud will be working with local African based organizations who will now be empowered to use BlueCloud’s delivery, distribution and implementation (DDI) strategies and technology mechanisms to deliver, distribute and properly implement initiatives to help organizations establish sustainable business models and regulatory processes in African nations.

BlueCloud’s globally proven business model known as Connector Service Provider (CSP) and its DDI mechanisms offers an innovative solution for industry stakeholders.

Operating within the model, providers are directly connected to consumers for business and compliance purposes. Participating organizations can now distribute their products, services and specialties to consumer institutions to streamline the local healthcare and clinical research ecosystem.

Global sponsors and CROs, governments and regulatory agencies can ensure transparency, site quality assurance, and identification of competent clinical trial operations locally.

By providing real time connectivity between sites and sponsors, CROs and other stakeholders, local hospitals and sites can improve local sustainability by building study pipelines, while enabling sponsors to quickly identify competent sites based on geographical location and other inclusion/exclusion criteria while improving the process of developing products.

“By organizing African industry stakeholders into connected networks, BlueCloud Africa can pave the way to greater efficiencies as a member of the global healthcare and clinical research ecosystem – essential for improving the healthcare and clinical research industry so no patient is left behind’ – Stated Al O. Pacino, President BlueCloud by HealthCarePoint.

The BlueCloud Africa (DDI) strategy includes but is not limited to: Delivery of smart city-based technology infrastructure to qualified healthcare and clinical research organizations, distribution of industry accepted guidelines, best practices and standards of care to providers and investigative sites to help streamline clinical trials regulatory process, distribution of basic healthcare and clinical research courses to local organizations to improve human subject protection and patient safety, distribute knowledge of patient populations based on limited data sets by using the BlueCloud Patient Mapping application, implement proper mechanisms that maintain “real-time” Professional Experience and Training Records 24/7 from opt-in connections to pre-qualify sites, implement proper mechanisms to improve transparency between qualified healthcare professionals, investigator sites, healthcare and clinical research sponsors and international institutions and provide DDI support infrastructure to maximize grants, university and government initiatives.

“We are leveraging BlueCloud’s DDI innovations to help Africa modernize its local health systems for the benefit of sponsor/CRO’s hospitals, sites, investigators, common and rare disease patient networks among other local industry stakeholders. BlueCloud ensures continual site optimization and transparency that is essential to the clinical research verification processes in the eyes of regulators.” – Stated Yonnie Otieno, Manager BlueCloud Africa.

“BlueCloud’s mission has always been to leave no patient behind by using implementation of guidelines, best practices and globally accepted standards. This process has been proven to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in order to improve human subject protection and patient safety.” President of BlueCloud, Al O. Pacino explains, after 16 years in development, BlueCloud has evolved into a globally accepted DDI innovation desperately needed by organizations to promote and ultimately create smart cities with a sustainable infrastructure, helping create long-term sustainability for underdeveloped and developed countries alike.”

www.healthcarepoint.com

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Huawei Cloud launches in South Africa

Huawei Cloud, the cloud-computing services of Huawei, has unveiled a new region in South Africa, making the company the world’s first cloud service provider that operates a local data center to provide cloud services in Africa.

Huawei Cloud South Africa region will start providing cloud services at the end of this year, allowing organizations operating inside South Africa and its neighboring countries to access lower-latency, reliable, and secure cloud services, such as Elastic Cloud Server (ECS), Elastic Volume Service (EVS), and Object Storage Service (OBS). Huawei Cloud also indicated a plan to unveil more new regions in Africa.

Director-General, National Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services, South Africa Mr. Robert Nkuna said: “Huawei has been a great technology partner to our country and they have regularly brought cutting edge technologies to our shores.

The launch of the Huawei Cloud is taking place in an exciting period in our country. For an example we are investing in skills development with numerous partners. We’ll engage Huawei to transfer cloud technology skills to SA and the continent. We are convinced that we can fast track our development if we work in partnership with other stakeholders.”

Li Peng, President of Huawei Southern Africa Region, said:” Huawei has been operating in Africa for 20 years, contributing to social and economic development and enriching African people’s lives with its ICT solutions and services. We have in-depth understanding of African market and is capable of better meeting customers’ current and potential needs. South Africa is one of the most diverse and promising emerging markets globally with tremendous potential. With cloud services, we are aiming to unleash the latent capacity by introducing cloud computing, one of key engines drive the growth in this era.”

Edward Deng, Vice President of Huawei Cloud Business Unit, commented, “With over 30 years of technical accumulation in ICT infrastructure and products, Huawei provides reliable, secure, and sustainable cloud services to customers worldwide. Looking forward, Huawei Cloud’s innovative technologies and services, such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence, will help African governments, carriers, and enterprises in a variety of industries such as finance, energy, agriculture, to leapfrog to a fully-connected, intelligent era.”

In the event, Huawei Cloud released the Africa Partnership Program with local channel partners, such as Altron, ATOS, BCX, Datacentrix, EOH, Gijima, StorTech, TCM, Tech Mahindra, T-systems and XON.

In additional, Huawei also launched InTouch Aggregator, a PaaS platform powered on HUAWEI CLOUD, which helps connect carriers, open up telecom capabilities, enable OTT, and build up the cloud ecosystem.

With over 30 years of technical accumulation in ICT infrastructure and products, Huawei provides reliable, secure, and sustainable cloud services to customers worldwide.

Huawei Cloud and its partners’ global reach cover Southeast Asia, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Africa, and China, with 22 regions and 37 availability zones.

A growing number of organizations, such as Groupe PSA, Santander Bank, European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Falabella, and Andreani, have chosen Huawei Cloud and partners, thanks to their cutting-edge technologies and professional local technical support.

www.huawei.com

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Cloudleaf, Bahwan CyberTek to expand digital supply chain solutions in North Africa

Cloudleaf, Inc., an emerging leader in digital supply chain solutions, has announced a partnership with global technology innovator Bahwan CyberTek (BCT) to expand Cloudleaf’s Digital Supply Chain and Edge Solutions in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region.

BCT is a technology services leader and prominent innovator in the USA, APAC, Middle East and North Africa for two decades and is a preferred partner for some of the regions’ largest private and public sector companies.

With digitization as a priority, these companies are partnering to deploy new and innovative technologies to manage large numbers of heavy capital assets and related workflows.

Cloudleaf is partnering with BCT-Group to bring its patented IoT solution to the MENA market, delivering end-to-end digital supply chain visibility to BCT’s growing customer base in the region.

This strategic partnership also enables Cloudleaf to develop targeted solutions for the region with BCT’s deep expertise in supply chain, transportation, enterprise software and product engineering.

The combined offering – comprised of technology, services and industry best practices geared to the region’s unique enterprise needs – is designed to be the MENA market’s most powerful Edge IoT solution set.

The two companies’ initial market focus is on sectors represented by BCT’s 200+ corporate customers in the region, particularly in Oil & Gas, Energy, Utilities, Transportation and Distribution. Cloudleaf’s patented and cost-effective low-power engineering technology enables three-to-seven-year battery life on sensors, making it operationally viable to deploy at scale. Utilizing a cloud-native technology stack and purpose-built applications, Cloudleaf is able to deliver robust and scalable solutions for “Digital Asset Management” and “Digital Workflow Management” to globally distributed supply chains.

Cloudleaf solutions process more than 100 Million location, condition and path-flow data points per day, generating over 70 Million predictive insights per week. The result is unprecedented efficiencies in operations, costs and bottom-line financial performance for corporate customers.

“This synergistic partnership combines Cloudleaf’s unmatched platform for the supply chain of the future with BCT’s twenty-year track record of innovation in the USA, APAC & the MENA,” said BCT’s Co-Founder & Group Chief Executive Officer S. Durgaprasad. “Throughout the region, BCT is known for ‘Connected Innovation.’ Cloudleaf fits that theme perfectly.”

“The combined strength of our two companies extends from software and hardware to data and analytics,” said Cloudleaf Chief Executive Officer Mahesh Veerina. “We could not ask for a better partner to expand the market for the Cloudleaf platform than BCT, whose name has long been synonymous with supply-chain innovation throughout the entire region.”

www.cloudleaf.com

www.bahwancybertek.com

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[Column] Andrew Cruise: South African cloud adoption curve increases its trajectory

The cloud adoption curve should plateau in South Africa. As a result of the rapid digital transformation taking place, cloud engagement is on the increase. IDC research also states that 93% of South African companies are developing cloud strategies, and are either in the implementation phase or planning implementation in the near future. 

There is a clear shift towards more agile platforms and the establishment of South Africa as a natural hub for regional expansion. The establishment of two Microsoft Azure cloud data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town is clear evidence of this transformation. The emergence of companies like Microsoft, into the local market, is likely to see a move away from personal clouds, favoured by business, to more powerful and reliable public clouds.

Having adopted a new mindset, local organisations have started to address the three main stumbling blocks for cloud adoption: cloud infrastructure, data protection concerns and conservative financing structures. Digital transformation and its sub-sets such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine Learning (ML) are all increasing the pressure on local organisations to more quickly adopt a cloud strategy. Mobility will also continue to play a role in the overall cloud-effectiveness of organisations.

Having addressed security concerns, cloud providers have strengthened their platforms, easing the potential cloud-adoption burden for organisations. The next shift will come as workloads are migrated to the cloud. We anticipate this shift to take place in the fintech space as well as in the manufacturing sector over the next five years. There is a belief that this will assist with accelerating time-to-market and reinvigorate new business models.

The increasing competition between cloud vendors such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Amazon’s AWS will assist in further developing the local cloud market. Not only is competition healthy, but this brings further investment and development, all of which bodes well for South Africa.

The burgeoning SME sector will also increase its use of cloud technology in an effort to better compete and achieve long-term success. Local cloud vendors will need to continue to find ways to address this growing market and assist in serving the needs of entrepreneurs. Cloud strategies can assist to redefine business models and business boundaries; ultimately helping SMEs compete more effectively.

Andrew Cruise is Managing Director of Routed South Africa, a vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider.

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