[Kenya] KETRACTO digitizes procurement processes with SAP Ariba Cloud

In a bid to improve its operations and in compliance with presidential directive and government requirements, Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Limited, KETRACO, has digitized its procurement processes via an e-procurement platform powered by SAP Ariba Cloud. 

This second phase of an end-to-end automation of tendering, supplier management and contracts process will see tenders and quotations submitted and processed online for efficiency, accountability and transparency. This process is 100% Paperless.

Open and secret tenders, Request for Proposals (RFP) and Request for Quotations (RFQ) will be advertised through the government portals, KETRACO websites and in newspapers. All interested Bidders/ Suppliers will be required to submit their documentation online. The tenders will then be received, evaluated and awarded online.

In the first phase of the implementation that went live in April this year, the company automated ‘procure to pay’ operations by on boarding suppliers to the SAP Ariba network to start transacting electronically. Purchase Requests, Local Purchase Orders, invoices and payment of goods/ services were processed online in the ‘procure to pay’ operation.

Speaking during the go live event, KETRACO’s Managing Director FCPA Fernandes Barasa noted that over 260 suppliers have registered on the Ariba network and continue to transact with KETRACO in a paperless environment for Purchase order and invoice submission and processing and are ready to move the entire tendering process.

‘’Supplier registration and qualification has now been made available online. The youth and the special groups will be submitting their registration applications online and will be on boarded immediately. ‘’ He noted.

This automation has been made possible by SAP Ariba, a leading global provider of collaborative business commerce solutions which allows suppliers to easily extend their back-end systems and processes to benefit from electronic transactions.

Pedro Guerreiro, Managing Director for SAP Central Africa adds, “Two years ago Kenya’s leading electricity transmission company implemented SAP’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System and shortly after, won Gold at the SAP Quality Awards. Today, we are thrilled to yet again be a part of Ketraco’s continued digital transformation journey with the adoption of our Ariba e-procurement software solutions.  By streamlining business operations and connecting to Ariba’s +4.2 million companies, Ketraco has established a solid foundation for tomorrow’s Intelligent Enterprise, pointing to a bright and innovative future for the organisation, its staff and customers.”

www.ketraco.co.ke

www.sap.com

[Column] David Bunei: Next-generation cloud eliminates pain points for Kenyan business

In addition to experiencing our new brand look in person, business leaders who attended the recent Oracle Modern Cloud Day in Nairobi had the opportunity to experience the full potential unlocked by cloud-embedded technology.

On a greater societal level, cloud technologies are at the heart of concepts like smart or green cities where available resources are optimized and systems integrated for the benefit of all citizens. Businesses too can achieve unprecedented all-round efficiency enabled by cloud services. The recent Cloud Day event in Kenya was an opportunity for us to showcase Oracle’s latest innovation across cloud applications and cloud infrastructure.

With a 30-year presence in, and commitment to, Africa, Oracle is bringing these, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) enriched innovations to Kenya as part of their global rollout. Companies that have already invested in previous generations of the technology will automatically receive the upgrades through patches. For all Kenyan organisations, though – whether already Oracle customers or not – Oracle’s Generation 2 Cloud infrastructure and the new features that use it as their foundation, will help prepare an agile, secure and cost effective infrastructure that will allow the business to consistently innovate and grow in the digital economy.

Cloud can help reduce costs

One of the key challenges facing Kenyan businesses is the cost of doing business. Although cloud adoption is considered an IT strategy to reduce expenses, it has overarching repercussions for any business, especially in the digital age. A shift to cloud liberates companies from tech refresh cycles and CAPEX investment to support their on-premise systems. Whether transitioning critical or non-essential applications to the cloud, Oracle customers pay only for resources that are consumed.

More importantly, cloud-based systems are especially beneficial for companies operating in, or expanding beyond, Kenyan borders. In the case of Oracle, customers enjoy consistent pricing in all regions, so cross-border expansion does not lead to any cost increases. This way, customers can access world-class cloud services and their own fully integrated enterprise management systems no matter where their market aspirations take them. The expansion of the Oracle Universal Cloud Credits system announced at OpenWorld 2019, also enables businesses to further optimise their operational expenditure.

Organisations are often hesitant to shift to cloud given their use of business systems and technologies from various providers. Apart from the complication of wholesale data transfer, there is the cost associated with such an undertaking. Strategic partnerships are becoming more common as cloud enters its next stage, helping to streamline the process. Having already announced a cloud interoperability partnership with Microsoft in June, three months later, Oracle OpenWorld revealed a partnership with VMware, where customers can now more easily move and run VMware environments on Oracle Cloud.

Creating data-driven customer centricity

As elsewhere, data security remains a key concern for Kenyan businesses, along with the use of data to enhance the customer experience. Embedded in next-generation cloud services, automation, AI and ML can be leveraged to mine insights that will improve time to market and provide greater predictability in delivering the right customer services at the right time. Already, Oracle has partnered with the Kenya Revenue Authority to provide a more responsive and relevant service to their customers, translating into better brand reputation.

One final point to make is that cloud migration is an ongoing journey, for our customers and Oracle itself. One of the major announcements at OpenWorld was Oracle’s plans to build a cloud region in South Africa. New Oracle Cloud regions are continually being launched – one every 23 days over the next 15 months or so – and our relationship with Microsoft opens the door to interconnecting with Azure data centres in more areas too.

Change takes time. While Oracle and other global players increase their investment in Africa, business decision-makers – who have expressed their enthusiasm about cloud’s potential – should seize every refresh opportunity at their organisation to explore what cloud solutions can do to introduce immediate business value.

David Bunei is the Managing Director for Oracle Kenya.

[Kenya] Oracle showcases its Cloud and Artificial Intelligence technology solutions

Oracle recently showcased its latest Cloud led digital solutions to top business and government leaders at the International Modern Business event in Nairobi. This according to the company is in line with its sustained commitment to help Kenya achieve its strategic socio-economic objectives as identified by the country’s Vision 2030 framework,

“Digital transformation is a key priority for Kenya’s public and private sector entities as organisations look to deliver transparent citizen services; drive business growth with high ROI; introduce new products and deliver an exceptional customer experience in a highly mobile and digital economy of the future”, said David Bunei, Managing Director of Oracle Kenya.

“At Oracle, we have delivered an incredible amount of innovation to our customers in Kenya including the Oracle Autonomous Database, AI embedded Business Applications and the Generation 2 cloud infrastructure.”

“The International Modern Business event is an opportunity for us to highlight the true impact of these technologies and showcase how Kenyan organisations can unlock unprecedented growth with cloud led digital transformation”, added David.

Oracle has recently announced plans to launch 20 new Oracle Cloud regions by the end of 2020, for a total of 36 Oracle Cloud Infrastructure regions. South Africa will host one of these cloud regions to support seamless cloud transition for customers across the African continent. Oracle has also recently unveiled the world’s first Autonomous Operating System; AI Voice for the enterprise and the world’s fastest database machine.

www.oracle.com

[South Africa] Routed achieves Africa’s first VMware Cloud verified status

Routed, a vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider has announced that it has achieved VMware Cloud Verified status. As the first company on the African continent to attain this status, Routed is proud to be among an elite group of highly skilled providers with the ability to operate at this high level of cloud certification.

The Cloud Verified badge signals to customers that Routed offers a service running on top of the complete VMware Cloud infrastructure. Through Cloud Verified partner services, customers attain access to the full set of VMware Cloud Infrastructure capabilities including integration and interoperability, cost optimisation and flexibility.

Andrew Cruise, managing director, Routed, says that being cloud verified by one of the global cloud leaders such as VMware is a career highlight: “We have watched as the cloud foundations were being built over the past four years and as we head into 2020, it is clear that the cloud-surge will continue, albeit cautiously, and Africa will continue to be a significant player within the global cloud sector. To work closely with VMware brings significant strength to the Routed offering. We are delighted to reach this milestone first and look forward to being an active participant in the developing cloud sector across the African continent.”

“Partners that are VMware Cloud Verified provide organisations with complete and advanced VMware Cloud technologies, along with interoperability across clouds for greater advantage for their customers’ businesses,” said Dave Funnell, VMware Senior Manager: Cloud Provider Business. “Cloud Verified services delivered by VMware Cloud Providers can provide the efficiency, agility, and reliability inherent in cloud computing. We look forward to supporting Routed as it empowers organisations with a simple and flexible path to the cloud.”

VMware’s global network of more than 4,000 VMware Cloud Providers leverage VMware’s consistent cloud infrastructure to offer a wide array of services, provide geographic and industry specialisation, and help customers meet complex regulatory requirements. Cloud Providers operating under the VMware Cloud Provider Program deliver individually tailored cloud solutions and services in more than 120 countries.

www.routed.co.za

[Column] Syed Asad Abbas: We need to embrace the Cloud

There’s a lot of hype about the Cloud, however what comes to mind when you hear that your software will sit in the cloud, it sounds positively intangible and  like a cloud it can fall apart anytime. Making it seem like something you have no control over, it may just disappear like smoke. Many people think this, but it is misconception. We the ICT industry should have used another word to describe as the name Cloud certainly created misunderstandings and the intangible nature of clouds created a negative perception when it came to ‘Cloud Technology, ‘however the name stuck and we’ve been playing catch-up as a sector ever since.

The Cloud is actually a set of technologies which are rented out to multiple tenants, anywhere in the world and at a low cost, hosted by a company which specialize in hosting, managing and delivering them. Keeping them operational 24/7 and 365 days a year. Some servers use computing power to run applications or “deliver a service”. Almost everyone that uses any form of tech, already uses Cloud Services, often without knowing it. If you use any services of Google or Apple, you are using and accessing Cloud technology.

With examples, implementation and case studies regarding the use of Cloud Technology, companies and organisations started to become convinced. If we take an example of data security, who will have better measures in place to secure data, you an accounting firm or any other business or a firm specialising in nothing but Information Technology and security?

Cloud as we know it is not something new, it existed as far back as the first industrial revolution. Cloud was there when people started depositing their monies in a bank instead of their personal vaults, money is valued above all else, and yet we don’t even know where exactly our money is stored, we just access it via an ATM, online, or via a speedpoint. You could call utility companies such as electricity or water companies Cloud technology. People started using electricity brought to their homes from a power station instead of using their own generators. Water pipelines to bring water to the tap from a river, a dam or a centralized water source instead of digging their own boreholes and wells. Why install an expensive infrastructure at your own premises when you can just use and pay only for the service that you need. Imagine every needing their own water company to access clean and potable water.

When it comes to selecting a cloud based solution, more often than not we think about where our data will be stored, but actually what’s important is who will have access to our data, will it be available to us whenever we need it? So it does not matter where our data sits, what matters is how secure is the access and how durable is the service availability.

Next time when you are offered a solution which sits in the Cloud, think about the more important factors, i.e. Security and Availability. Whether it is a software application, data that needs to be stored or software programmes (Software as a Service), it’s all possible and at the organisation’s fingertips with the Cloud. The services are available anywhere and anytime through any enabled devices and are totally secure and with an exponentially increased efficiency. Most organisations and companies across the globe have already embraced completely secure cloud service based solutions.

Cloud-based solutions and Software as a Service are almost without exception part of every country’s overall development plan in terms of public service infrastructure, economic outlook and investment environment. Developing ICT-infrastructure in both the public and private sectors.

If we do nothing as Namibia, but just stand by and watch this new revolution pass us by, it will cause long-term damage and will create an unbridgeable digital divide compared to other nations which are adapting to this trend proactively. It really makes sense for every business and organisation to use Cloud Services. So what do we do? There’s no need to be cautious or doubtful regarding Cloud technology, the tech is proven. We need to adopt and embrace strategies which enable us to utilize cloud computing and deliver effective and efficient e-Governance and Cloud Services and software to companies and organisations, no matter their size.

Syed Asad Abbas is the Head of Division, Software Services at Green Enterprise Solutions (Pty) Ltd.

Workonline launches Remote Cloud Connect services in Africa

Global network service provider, Workonline Communications, has launched Remote Cloud Connect, facilitating access to cloud services for Workonline customers over a dedicated Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL) service. This low latency cloud solution enables customers to connect to leading cloud services such as AWS Direct Connect, Microsoft Azure Express Route, Google Cloud, Oracle and IBM cloud platforms more securely and transparently from any country where Workonline has a presence.

Benjamin Deveaux, Head of Business Development at Workonline Communications, says that the aim is to empower customers by enabling them to connect to the cloud through their use of the high performance Workonline backbone: “As a wholesale provider of IP transit services across Africa, we are continuously innovating to provide our ISP clients with more stable and reliable Internet services in Africa. By leveraging global cloud exchange platforms like Teraco’s Africa Cloud Exchange we can offer our ISP customers a more secure remote connection to a cloud provider of their choice. Through Remote Cloud Connect, clients will benefit from a low cost, high performance connection with excellent local support.”

In line with the predicted growth of cloud across the continent, Xalam Analytics recently published its report ‘The rise of the African cloud’, and says that for African markets, cloud, virtualisation and the broader evolution towards serverless computing are the most disruptive technology developments since the advent of the mobile payment revolution. Few other segments in the African ICT space are as likely to generate an incremental $2bn in top line revenue over the next five years, and at least as much in adjacent enabling ecosystem revenue.

Deveaux says that Workonline sees immense potential across East and West Africa within the remote connectivity to cloud services space in particular: “Initially our efforts will focus on Kenya and Ghana, where remote connectivity to cloud services is growing fast.”

Through Remote Cloud Connect, Workonline will deliver far more predictable latency connections by taking the shortest route from Kenya or Ghana back to its South African or European Points of Presence where the Cloud provider in question is present. Workonline will also provide secondary failover links for protection when possible, with transparency in terms of the paths which the traffic will take in various failure scenarios. These services can be provided at 1Mbps to multiples of 10Gbps.

Andrew Owens, Teraco peering and interconnection specialist, says that cloud growth is a reality across the continent and the ability for established networks to provide an on-ramp to cloud is essential: “The Africa Cloud Exchange not only enables networks to provide this connection, but also encourages the growth and development of cloud-based solutions. By providing a direct and secure connection, the platform provides a better cloud experience for end users and as a result, empowers the growth and success of African cloud providers.”

www.workonline.africa

[Column] Toney Wabela: Technological disruption looming for Africa’s data network market

Sometimes a disruptive technology can loiter for a while, before it changes everything. Yet change it will bring, because nothing and no one can defy gravity. So it is, I believe, with the new generation of open compute infrastructure.

For, as the world creates data, there’s an equal demand for resources to store, process and make sense from this data to drive business value. 

All the thousands of ledgers that used to be created manually now generate legions of data threads, expanded by ever more automation and cross-relationships, driving further data and data processes. Our data revolution has created new data flows, again, from our communication, seeing global hyperscale companies create hundreds of thousands of square metres of data centres to hold and process their millions of users’ data.

These data centres need power to run the servers, cooling systems and security systems, maintain an optimal ambient temperature, and keep the air dust-free. And this power has been creating a galloping electricity bill in recent years, to such an extent that hyperscalers started investing in R&D to design more energy efficient computing infrastructure. 

Two years of design engineering gave birth to the Open Compute Project (OCP), a radical and bold move by leading hyperscalers to create non-proprietary data centre hardware that achieved a significant milestone in energy efficiency and reduced total cost of ownership. This move has been well received by other players in the technology innovation space, with leading chip and switch makers joining OCP. More than 1,000 globally leading hardware engineers have since contributed to and continue to make improvements to these free, state-of-the-art blueprints for data centre infrastructure. 

And thus, in one step, hardware has been added to the open source revolution that brought the world software from Joomla to Sugar and Linux to Steam as ever-expanding communities of technical contributors.

The chase could not be more timely, with OCP evolving just as cloud computing has been moving into a new gear. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market has been rising for the last 20 years, beginning with customer relationship management services, and steadily claiming ever more software space, from mailing lists to payroll, book-keeping to word processing.

With each new SaaS offering, the cloud grows bigger, and the need for data centres greater. 

Yet as a next wave of disruptive technology, OCP has barely appeared on the radar.

Using OCP equipment, versus the kit available from the world’s top brand names, has thus far demonstrated a significant reduction in the total cost of ownership and maintenance of data centre infrastructure. We have been able to register savings of over 40 per cent in implementation as well as licensing costs. 

Now that’s a big enough difference to change equations everywhere, but for companies like ours, working to effect a technology revolution in Africa, that’s akin to a beacon in the dark. The costs of equipping data centres have almost been halved, putting these centres within the reach of many small and medium sized businesses, as well as offering our nations’ largest companies and government, an opportunity to significantly reduce their operating expenditures attributed to data centre maintenance.

At my own company, we have seized this opportunity, becoming the first Cloud services provider in Africa to introduce OCP hardware at the East Africa Data Centre, one of the largest data centres in the continent which has been set up in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. 

This OCP infrastructure is currently the backbone of our innovative SaaS solutions which includes iLearn, a learning management system for state primary schools that has been designed, developed and tested in collaboration with professional Kenyan teachers, with the digital learning content vetted and approved by the government. This interactive learner centred platform can be accessed by teachers and pupils from any part of the country through a smartphone, tablet or laptop, thereby proliferating digital literacy in the country. 

We are also using this OCP infrastructure to power our private, public and hybrid cloud services. 

Thus, by using data centre infrastructure that is cost efficient all the time as our foundation, we have created an entire pyramid of more accessible and locally relevant services and software for our African clients.

In short, from the Open Compute Project we have initiated a programme to open computing services to businesses throughout Africa, encompassing organisations that could never have stepped so quickly or so lightly into the cloud were it’s still on offer only at more than double the price.

We believe that the capacity for OCP to play its part in bridging the digital divide has been remarkably overlooked until now.

But we also see this technology as a disruptor that the hardware industry and the global cloud services providers have barely understood, as yet. For, with hundreds of our finest hardware engineers engaged in constantly upgrading OCP designs, and the resulting infrastructure out-competing proprietary infrastructure at a fraction of the price, it can only be so long before data centres make OCP the global standard, forcing proprietary brands to reassess their unique selling points.

For Africa, the move to OCP and the opening of the cloud to hundreds of thousands of companies and millions of citizens, cannot come soon enough. That’s why we have made it begin. OCP is no doubt the future in data centre infrastructure, just as SaaS became the present in software.

Toney Webala is the Co-Founder and CTO at Atlancis Technologies 

DR Congo government partners with New Cloud Technologies to boost cloud infrastructure

The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Russian company New Cloud Technologies has entered into a partnership.

The agreement was signed with the backing of the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation represented by Minister Konstantin Noskov and deputy minister Mikhail Mamonov.

Under the agreement licenses are to be made available for the productivity suite MyOffice support is to be provided to develop state and corporate cloud infrastructure in the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and support is to be provided for education initiatives.

MyOffice is a Russian productivity software suite for communication and shared editing of documents on any technology platform which also offers full control over data by the business and government organizations using it.

The MyOffice ecosystem comprises:

  • cross-platform text editing, spreadsheet and presentation, email, calendar and contacts applications
  • a cloud-based data storage solution that allows the sharing of documents by multiple users
  • mobile applications allowing users to use the solution on their smartphones
  • a special free version for use in schools and pre-schools.

MyOffice offers secure data processing within state and corporate clouds. MyOffice technologies easily integrate with third party software on any devices and can be used to automate business processes within companies of any size. Users can access the solution from desktops and laptops as well as smartphones and tablet PCs. All the popular operating systems are supported.

Special MyOffice Education versions are available for educational institutions. These versions include an additional module that teachers can set up in accordance with the topic of a specific class. This version is offered free of charge to schools and pre-schools. Higher education institutions can buy all the products of the company with large discounts of up to 93% the business price of MyOffice.

“The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the first governments in Africa to begin a digital transformation of the government agencies and to start buying new hardware and software for them. We’re also making every effort to develop our education system. We’re interested in using the secure Russian MyOffice software package for shared access to documents. It offers very good protection against unauthorized access to data as well as flexible integration capabilities,” said Vidiye Tshipanda Tshimanga, Strategy Advisor to the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a country with great potential. The bulk of its population is made up of active young people aged 13 to 25 who need to get a good education and are willing to put in serious effort to further develop their country. Experts estimate that by 2025 there are going to be over 200 million computers and over 300 million smartphones in Africa. This means that the foundations of a safe digital infrastructure need to be laid down today and digital sovereignty of the country and its business needs to be developed now, efforts also need to be directed at educating the population in computer literacy. My Office allows these processes to begin now,” said Dmitry Komissarov, New Cloud Technologies CEO.

“Africa is one of the most promising destinations for the export of Russian technologies. Our ministry is making every effort to create conditions conducive to the development of Russian business in Africa and we support private business initiatives. Our cooperation with the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a clear confirmation of that. We hope that users like the quality of Russian IT solutions,” said Konstantin Noskov, Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the fastest growing countries in Africa. The country’s GDP has seen sustained growth over the past 10 years, reaching USD 47.23 billion in 2018 when it was up 5.82% on 2017. In the past 30 years the population of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has doubled, reaching 92 million people. Meanwhile 65.5% of the population are younger than 24 and the median age in the country is just 18.

www.ncloudtech.com

[South Africa] Euphoria Telecom launches cloud based telephone management system to boost business efficiency

Euphoria Telecom has launched the latest version of its market leading cloud-based business Telephone Management System (TMS).

The new TMS version 3 is packed with easy-to-use features and is capable of significantly improving business efficiency whilst delivering powerful reporting and workforce management capabilities.

Designed specifically for the South African market and using international best practice development methodologies, the Euphoria TMS is at the cutting edge of new technology.

Euphoria Telecom CEO John Woollam says the system empowers businesses to control, manage, automate, personalise and analyse every aspect of a company’s phone system from one central point. “You simply log-in to the TMS, from anywhere, make any change you require and it’s done. It’s as simple as that. “

“The new TMS is the result of nine years of building, learning and developing – and the end product is incredible. All the basics that our customers love are still available, but they are now even easier to use. And there is a host of additional features that are accessible through an upgraded web interface which is faster and better than ever before,” he explains.

Version 3 functionality offers multiple features such as per-extension based budgeting, mobile device applications (for both Android and IOS) that ensure full landline mobility and remote office deployment. Customers can also access browser phone applications, POPIA compliant call recording, global contact manager and extremely rich reporting tools.

Furthermore, overseeing team members is simplified with the new ‘User Manager’ feature that provides business owners with the freedom to give team leaders and managers access to specific sections of the TMS. By setting permissions for certain users, managers can easily control access to sensitive team data.

He says the real differences are the security layers. “Our TMS user interface allows full PBX control of every aspect, enabling management to restrict and secure their business phone system data and user functionality as required.”

“Reporting is a dream with Euphoria’s proactive scheduled reporting feature. One can now schedule reports to be delivered directly into your inbox hourly, daily, weekly or monthly. Version 3 also offers our customers the opportunity to design their own personalised reports,” he adds.

Woollam says customer satisfaction is the name of the game. “The customer experience can easily be managed with our SLA answer time adherence feature that provides you with a better understanding of your customer wait-to-answer times and overall experience.”

Management features include detailed drilldown functionality as well as great workforce management control in being able to create company specific pause and unpause codes, providing greater control of user productivity.

With stricter governance and data protection laws, it is important for every business to understand how long they need to keep customer data. Euphoria has made this extremely easy because business owners can now choose how long they want to keep their data, when it must be deleted and who exactly has access to that data.

Euphoria ensures that all data is safe and securely backed up, it is stored in top data centres across South Africa and Europe.

“We know that collaboration with other platforms through our integration technology is a critical component of our latest version. We have worked extremely hard to develop advanced Webhook features that make it possible for customers to integrate with other platforms that allow for API integration,” he explains.

Euphoria Telecom has always strived to give the power back to its customers. With over 4000 happy customers migrating to the new version, the company aims to improve the user experience while simultaneously enabling businesses to improve their general operational efficiency.

“We offer so much more than a just a phone system, we provide a game changing business tool that can take companies of all sizes to the next level,” he concludes.

www.euphoria.co.za

[Column] Sandra Crous: Cloud is the future of payroll

Cloud technologies are becoming more popular than ever before, with research from RightScale revealing that some 94% of organisations are using the cloud in some capacity within their businesses.

“This is seeing many businesses adopting a strategy where they consider operating a process, workflow, or similar in the cloud before looking at on-premise alternatives,” says Sandra Crous, Managing Director of cloud-based payroll and human capital management software, PaySpace.

She says they are doing this to take advantage of the many benefits that cloud offers, such as cost efficiencies, streamlined operations, and automatic updates among many others. “A cloud strategy has the potential to save a lot of time and money for businesses, and nowhere is this truer than with payroll and HR solutions.”

There are many benefits of going the cloud route, adds Crous. “Firstly, the need for less hardware. Going the cloud route means that corporates have to spend far less on maintaining legacy hardware and infrastructure, and the space needed to house it all. Maintenance costs are built into service provider contracts, eliminating the need for in-house support staff in the event that something goes wrong.”

In addition, businesses don’t need to worry about the technology, as they will automatically have access to the latest and best software, without having to physically install it, or worry about the ongoing maintenance and upgrades needed to keep it up to date, because these are done regularly and automatically, says Crous.

There is no large capital outlay, she explains. “With any ‘pay-as-you-use’ model, companies can benefit from economies of scale, as pricing is flexible, with packages to suit companies of every size. There is also far greater flexibility, as businesses can instantly scale up or down according to their needs, with no manual intervention. And with an increasingly mobile workforce, having a cloud solution enables employees to work more easily on the go. As long as they have an internet connection and a mobile device they can work from anywhere, at any time.”

Most cloud-based payroll software solutions, for example, will also calculate the correct amount each employee should be paid, and helps keep track of each staff member’s work records, including leave, benefits, taxes and overtime which not only saves a lot of payroll processing time by removing the need for manual input, it also offers real-time information for the business.

However, Crous says perhaps the most compelling benefits, are the increased security and compliance that cloud solutions can offer. “Automatic software upgrades mean that your provider takes care of installing security updates, which means that remaining secure is hassle-free.”

In terms of compliance, she says keeping up to date with staff contract changes, as well as governance can be a very onerous task because payroll and HR processing is complex and governed by numerous sets of regulations at different levels. “This complexity is  increased when a business has offices all over the world, but a good cloud solution will automatically update information concerning new regulations, and ensure your business remains compliant at all times, and in all of its offices.”

This is particularly important when you are dealing with personal data, such as payroll information, she says. “Loss or theft of this data could result in hefty fines being levied against your organisation, not to mention a loss of customer confidence which can prove to be catastrophic.”

“Take a look at PaySpace’s cloud-based payroll and HR solution. Usually, when you buy a payroll or HR package, it needs to be configured from scratch. It is like a book with blank pages, all your data needs to be captured, and all your settings configured to ensure your business remains compliant. However, PaySpace takes all the information and configures the earnings, deductions such as UIF, and handles compliance in the background, ensuring not only a seamless start but taking the hassle out of ensuring your business remains fully compliant.” 

Sandra Crous is the Managing Director of cloud-based payroll and human capital management software, PaySpace.