Westcon-Comstor unveils CloudCall to boost business operations

Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa has announced the availability of CloudCall, which integrates the communication and collaboration features of Microsoft Teams with the advanced voice processing of AudioCodes.

 It has been developed in partnership with South African cloud development specialists Argantic. CloudCall removes the need to buy and maintain expensive hardware and software and protects existing investments by integrating with PBX systems.

CloudCall is suitable for companies of any size as it can easily scale according to the number and type of users in the organisation. Partners who sell the service can offer value-added features such as tailored reports with usage, session and device information.

CloudCall can also be deployed as a fully functional IP calling system. It combines the meeting functionality, video recording and conferencing features inherent in Microsoft Teams for improved collaboration in a cloud environment.

www.westconcomstor.com

African cloud market takes off bouyed by demand from public and private sectors, report

The African cloud has arrived. While the cloud services sector is in its early stages of development, the impact of cloud services is already far-reaching according to a new report by Research and Markets.

 African banks are making investments in machine learning and artificial intelligence tools to improve the customer experience and credit risk; new “digital banks” are emerging, that are, at least in part, cloud-based.

Governments are using cloud and virtualized infrastructure to enhance public service delivery. Large retail firms are using compute capabilities and AWS databases to transform how they reach a predominantly mobile and digital customer base.

 And scores of African cloud-native startups are leveraging the cloud to disrupt entire industry sectors.

The African cloud may be small, but it is already here indeed, and it is growing fast. For African markets, cloud, virtualization 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.

The report highlights the near term economic, commercial and investor value opportunity offered by the rise of the African cloud.

Building on the author’s established analysis of African enterprise and digital infrastructure markets, 18 months of research and 100+ interviews and conversations, The Rise of the African Cloud explores the readiness of African markets for thriving private and public cloud services; it analyzes cloud demand and use case patterns, at segment level, from financial services to the public sector and startups; it estimates and projects cloud services market size; it details the competitive strengths of global hyperscale cloud providers and how their battle is translating in the African context; it outlines the impact of cloud services on Africa’s managed service provider ecosystem and telcos’ evolving enterprise businesses; and it breaks down the investment case within the African cloud value chain, from enterprise connectivity to data centers and SaaS.

www.researchandmarkets.com

Increased digitization, investment in cloud-based services drive growth of Africa data center market, report

The Africa data center market is likely to grow at a CAGR of around 14 per cent during the period 2018 – 2024 according to a recent report by Research and Markets.

icolo.io, MainOne (MDXi), Cloud Exchange Datacenter, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Medallion Communications are the prominent investors in the Africa data center market. Digitization is considered an important avenue for the African economy. It is transforming African economies through retail payments systems, financial inclusion, sustainable business models, and revenue administration.

Governments in the region are taking several initiatives to replace legacy systems and migrate to cloud-based services as part of smart city initiatives. IaaS is expected to grow at a CAGR of 40%, followed by SaaS at 30% with enterprises increasingly shifting to the public cloud platform. There has been a surge in colocation data center investment in markets such as Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco, and Senegal in the past two years. Governments are taking initiatives to increase the share of renewable energy in the electricity generation.

Increased digitization in African countries, the adoption of cloud-based services, migration from server rooms to managed, colocation, and hybrid infrastructure services are driving the investment in the Africa data center market. The report provides an in-depth market and segmental analysis of the Africa data center market by electrical infrastructure, mechanical infrastructure, tier standards, general construction, and countries.

www.researchandmarkets.com

Cloud-based services keep global sourcing market on growth trajectory

The global sourcing market maintained its growth trajectory in the second quarter, boosted by growing demand for cloud-based as-a-service solutions, according to the latest state-of-the industry report from Information Services Group (ISG), a global technology research and advisory firm.

Data from the ISG Index™, which measures commercial outsourcing contracts with annual contract value (ACV) of $5 million or more, show second-quarter ACV for the combined global market (both as-a-service and managed services) rose 5 percent, to $13.7 billion.

It was the third consecutive quarter the combined global market surpassed $13 billion in ACV, but the first time in the last three quarters it did not establish a new quarterly ACV record, falling just shy of last quarter’s record $13.9 billion.

As-a-service sourcing registered its second-best quarterly ACV ever, at $6.7 billion, up 14 percent over the prior year.

 Both Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), at $4.9 billion, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), at $1.8 billion, were up 14 percent. IaaS, long the growth engine of this segment, trailed off sequentially this quarter due to slowness in Asia Pacific, particularly China, while SaaS recorded its fourth consecutive record ACV quarter as it climbs toward the $2 billion mark.

Managed services, at $7 billion of ACV, achieved only the seventh quarter this decade at or above that level, but nonetheless dipped 3 percent versus an exceptionally strong second quarter last year.

The 491 contract awards in the latest quarter, up 1 percent, kept alive a string of six consecutive quarters above 400 awards – a sign of both strong demand and continuing market fragmentation.

Within managed services, IT outsourcing (ITO), at $5.3 billion, was down 7 percent in the second quarter, reflecting the continuing shift of data center infrastructure to the cloud.

Business process outsourcing (BPO), meanwhile, climbed 14 percent, to $1.7 billion, on strong demand for horizontal back-office functions such as finance and accounting and procurement, as well as in the facilities management space.

“The global commercial outsourcing market is stable and healthy,” said Steve Hall, partner and president of ISG. “Despite macro-economic and geopolitical risks, technology spend continues to increase. With the rapid changes in digital business, shifting consumer demands and increased competition, enterprises can’t afford to hit pause. We likely will see some macro-economic headwinds before the year is out, but the technology tailwinds are far stronger.”

For the first half, ISG reported combined market ACV of $27.6 billion, up 10 percent. The growth was driven entirely by as-a-service, which, at $13.7 billion, climbed 23 percent, with IaaS up 28 percent, to $10.1 billion, and SaaS up 9 percent, to $3.6 billion.

Managed services overall was flat, at $14 billion, with ITO also flat at $10.9 billion. BPO was down 1 percent, to $3.1 billion. As-a-service in the first half represented 49 percent of the combined market, versus 44 percent in the same period last year.

Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)

EMEA’s combined market ACV of $5 billion was up 3 percent versus last year. In the managed services segment, ACV was $3.2 billion, about even with the first quarter, but down 1 percent versus a year ago. The two consecutive quarters above $3 billion may signal a return to sourcing levels last seen in 2015. The bulk of managed services ACV came from ITO ($2.7 billion, up 2 percent). Europe continued its shift to as-a-service, now 36 percent of the combined market, with ACV of $1.8 billion, up 9 percent. IaaS, at $1.3 billion, was up 7 percent, while SaaS, at $491million, was up 16 percent. Growth in the Nordics, Benelux and Southern Europe offset slight declines in DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), France and the U.K., as Brexit uncertainty persists.

Americas

In the second quarter, combined ACV in the Americas rose 6 percent, to $6.5 billion, on the strength of robust demand for as-a-service, which now represents a record 57 percent of the market. As-a-service ACV climbed 23 percent in the quarter, to $3.7 billion, including $2.6 billion for IaaS, up 29 percent, and $1.1 billion for SaaS, up 12 percent. Managed services, meanwhile, declined 10 percent, to $2.8 billion, as ITO slumped 22 percent, to $1.8 billion, even as BPO surged 25 percent, to $1 billion.

Asia Pacific

Combined market ACV in Asia Pacific reached a record $2.2 billion, up 6 percent. On the strength of larger awards, managed services produced its best quarter in five years, with ACV of $967 million, up 15 percent. China, South Korea and India had the largest gains, offsetting weakness in Japan and Australia/New Zealand. As-a-service, flat at $1.3 billion, eclipsed the $1 billion ACV level for the sixth straight quarter, amid uneven IaaS results in China, which pushed regional IaaS down 3 percent, to $1.1 billion. SaaS, meanwhile, rose 18 percent, to $206 million.

“We are projecting 22 percent year-on-year revenue growth for the remainder of 2019 in the as-a-service market,” said Hall. “This takes into account a slightly more optimistic view of the SaaS segment and factors in some uncertainty in IaaS, particularly in China and elsewhere in Asia Pacific.

“In the overall IT and business services market, we are raising our growth forecast slightly, to 3.5 percent, through the end of the year. However, given some of the macro-level trends, we will remain alert to any negative developments that could signal an overall downward trend.”

www.isg-one.com

afriQloud – Time for more African businesses to move to the cloud

The African cloud has arrived. Yesterday, afriQloud went live in Uganda, with plans to launch in 15  additional African countries in 2020. 

afriQloud will provide, at internationally competitive rates, local and foreign customers with an innovative and secure distributed edge cloud service.  It is a product of pan-African connectivity provider, BringCom, science and technology investor, Imprimatur Capital, and European edge cloud software company GIG Technology.

afriQloud comes at a time when African businesses are making massive investments in things like machine learning and artificial intelligence tools and are using cloud and virtualized infrastructure to enhance service delivery. Large retail firms are using compute capabilities and AWS databases to transform how they reach a predominantly mobile and digital customer base. And scores of African cloud-native startups are leveraging the cloud to disrupt entire industry sectors.

The cloud services sector in the continent might be in its early stages of development, the impact of cloud services is already far-reaching. 

Why is afriQloud important?

Well, as I mentioned earlier African businesses and organisations are making massive investments in cloud services. In fact, for African markets, cloud, virtualization and the broader evolution towards serverless computing are the most disruptive technology developments since the advent of the mobile payment revolution. 

Hans van Linschoten, founding partner of Imprimatur Capital Africa and CEO of afriQloud said in a statement yesterday  “We see significant potential in the growing African cloud market where an estimated $2 billion is being spent in cloud this year’’

Most of Africa’s content on the internet is however hosted on servers outside the continent. afriQloud is bringing those servers to Africa and African businesses need to take advantage of this. Businesses will now be able to access virtual IT technology and infrastructure; streamlined software and applications; and efficient backups and disaster recovery systems. Cloud technology provides access to software that ultimately reduces costs on so many levels, and can be customised to best suit the relevant business, it is the perfect solution for SMEs in Africa to ensure they remain competitive in the global market.

Opening up of the global market according to Fabrice Langreney, CEO of BringCom will require African companies and organizations to be equally competitive in the deployment of e-solutions, scalability, secure data accessibility and connectivity in line with international standards. This will also help them to design their own map to cloud success. By doing so, African businesses have almost limitless paths and roadways that they can draw – and reshape – to help drive their business growth.

Remember the solution for Africa’s challenges will come from within Africa. Technology is the same all over the world; the difference lies in building solutions that answer and address local socio-economic challenges. With afriQloud, companies in Africa can now emerge from a situation where they have had more rudimentary applications and business processes to where they have unleashed the power of cloud technologies which makes it easier and far more efficient to automate services.

‘’…..and we’re excited to bring this service to the continent. By the end of 2019, we will complement the few developed markets clouds with a powerful and local distributed cloud in at least 15 countries. This ensures data sovereignty for institutions and governments within Africa’s shores.”  Hans van Linschoten concluded. 


www.afriqloud.com

[Column] Nixon Kanali: Cloud, an essential component for every African business

Cloud computing has been in existence for almost two decades now helping businesses stay secure from cyber threats. The technology points to business efficiencies, cost benefits and holds a very competitive advantage.

Currently, a large portion of the African business community continues to operate in the cloud. In fact, according to a study by International Data Group, 69% of businesses around the globe are already using cloud technology in one capacity or another, and 18% say they plan to implement cloud-computing solutions at some point.

A previous report by Dell also revealed that companies that invest in big data, cloud, mobility and even security enjoy up to 53% revenue growth than their competitors.

The African cloud has arrived

Why therefore should businesses in Africa take cloud computing seriously? Well, Africa’s cloud and data centre ecosystem will soon become a land of serious opportunity. Bottom line, the African cloud has arrived and more African businesses need to take advantage of this.  The cloud services sector might still be in its early stages of development, but the impact is already far-reaching.

According to The “The Rise of the African Cloud: Azure, AWS, Vmware and the Battle to Transform African Enterprise Markets” report African banks for example are making investments in machine learning and artificial intelligence tools to improve the customer experience and credit risk; new “digital banks” are emerging, that are, at least in part, cloud-based. Governments are also using cloud and virtualized infrastructure to enhance public service delivery. Large retail firms are using compute capabilities and AWS databases to transform how they reach a predominantly mobile and digital customer base – and scores of African cloud-native startups are leveraging the cloud to disrupt entire industry sectors.

‘’The African cloud may be small, but it is already here indeed, and it is growing fast.’’ the report notes.

CEOs and CIOs in Africa should now have cloud at the centre of their digital transformation strategies if they want to stay in business. The ability to harvest, store and sort big data is a critical element of business competitiveness and according to a recent column by Avinash Ramtohul, the Managing Director, Mauritius and Cloud Architect Leader, Sub-Saharan Africa at Oracle published on African Business Communities, the higher the use of autonomous technologies, the more the competitive edge!

A recent report by Xalam Analytics predicted that top line annual cloud services revenue in Africa is set to double between now and 2023, and public cloud services revenue to triple in that time.

“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,” the report noted. “But the broader upside is unmistakable, and the battle for the African cloud is only beginning.”

Cloud computing leads to faster development and quicker learning within organisations, therefore accelerates innovation as it drastically removes costly overheads when it comes to maintenance and updates. It should, therefore, become an essential component of every African business transformation.

Nixon Kanali is the Tech Editor for the Africa Business Communities

[Column] Andrew Sordam: The huge opportunity for consolidation and cloud in Africa

It is only 100 days since I took up the post of VP for Africa at Oracle, but already it is clear why the continent is such a priority for the company, and why it is considered a land of opportunity in the tech space.

Consolidation of modernisation

Africa is seeing huge population growth, and a marked increase in consumer spending, resulting in a big demand for 24/7 service. The much-discussed leapfrogging effect, which we have seen in areas like power and telecommunications, has helped the continent develop at speed, but it has also placed huge demands on modern businesses.

Companies of various shapes and sizes are taking advantage of the newest tech to improve the way they do business, but a major, more recent trend is that many are now looking at the consolidation of this modernisation. These are companies that are growing very quickly, and they want seamless and complete integration between the front and back office.

This is happening across the board – major corporates, SMEs, financial services companies, those in retail, in financial services, for example, East and West African banks are beginning to merge, with such mergers requiring new strategies.

Adoption of technology is not just for the commercial sector, however. In the public sector, greater efficiencies are also being sought. Each government department used to have its own IT department, but that is now changing, and we are seeing convergence into one service centre. This is a big trend across the continent. The public sector, like the private sector, is looking for integrated technologies to help it become more effective and keep up with demand.

Vertical strategies

Herein lies the opportunity for a company like Oracle. We help private, public sector organisations develop and improve processes and more, and more we are looking at complete solutions.

The opportunity is massive in Africa in this regard. We see the impact of our organisation in every line of business. We are able to give customers choice to either go in with the entire stack – from apps, to infrastructure, to vertical solutions or multiple modular journeys to the cloud. In each instance, this is based on business needs and can be either private or public cloud. And that impact is set to be further scaled with our new approach on the continent.

Our CEO Mark Hurd spoke recently about our plans for leveraging our leading Software-as-a-service (SaaS) business to seize business-to-business (B2B) market share. Africa is no different to anywhere else in this regard, though we see a particular opportunity in increasing our cloud business here, and will focus on this more and more.

Oracle’s model encourages the adoption of cloud particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, giving businesses the benefit of flexibility. Because we invest so much in innovation, it is easy for customers to manage, and we embed more optimisation than anyone else. Apps and databases are embedded with artificial intelligence (AI), making our services easy to adopt – a major benefit. Our solutions can basically run your business, saving you money on human capital.

Yet where we truly stand out at Oracle is our cloud autonomous play. We have an advantage here, with the autonomous category being our own invention, and believe customers in Africa will adopt this technology and improve their businesses as a result.

The Oracle Autonomous Database, for example, completely reshapes our customer’s approach to IT, helping them free their budgets and resources to focus on business growth while reducing risk.

Using machine learning and AI-driven technology, our cloud services can be upgraded, optimised, secured, patched and tuned automatically, without human intervention. Easy management encourages adoption, which speeds business growth, vital to economic development in emerging economies such as those in Africa.

A full ecosystem

For all the exciting trends and opportunities I have spotted in my first 100 days, however, there are also a myriad of challenges.

At the heart of it all are skills. The tech may be there, but you still need the knowledge from within each industry and within each country to maintain a certain level of service. That is why Oracle does not just sell products but also invests in capacity. The growth of Africa as a business hub – and therefore the success of our business on the continent – depends on building a self-sustaining ecosystem.

That is why we focus on developing digital skills across the continent. Our open platform for developers works with local coding communities to build developer skills, while we also partner with development agencies, NGOs, NPOs, and educational institutions, among others, to address ICT skills shortages.

That is also why we look at accelerating startups and entrepreneurs, and building skill sets across many countries. We recently announced, for example, the Ghana-Oracle Digital Enterprise Programme, a collaborative effort that will support 500 technology-enabled startups and entrepreneurs across Ghana through access to Oracle Cloud technology, mentoring and workshops, and business-enablement and support resources. SMEs are the backbone of emerging market economies, and it is vital we support them.

We want to run initiatives like this in other countries too. Tech is key, but we feel knowledge needs to be nurtured as well.

A bright future

Oracle has been present in Africa for nearly three decades, but never before have we been as excited for the future here as we are now. This is demonstrated by the launch of our first Oracle Innovation Hub on the continent, located in South Africa, to help drive the implementation of emerging technologies across the country’s businesses, public sector and academia.

Andrew Sordam is the Vice President for sub-Saharan Africa at Oracle

[Column] Avinash Ramtohul: 5 key considerations for your journey to cloud

CEOs and CIOs on the continent have cloud at the centre of their digital transformation strategies, knowing fully well that without automation they will either be out of business or be steering an organisation towards undesired directions.

According to the IDC’s Kenya Enterprise ICT Market 2019 Outlook, 1,9 million USD is predicted to be spent on ICT in Kenya this year alone. The Kenyan government is prioritising it’s Big Four Agenda; which spans investment and development in manufacturing, food security, healthcare and housing. In order to achieve these objectives, the Government will focus on emerging technologies such as blockchain, IoT, cloud and data analytics.

CEOs and CIOs on the continent have cloud at the centre of their digital transformation strategies, knowing fully well that without automation they will either be out of business or be steering an organisation towards undesired directions. The ability to harvest, store and sort big data is a critical element of business competitiveness. The higher the use of autonomous technologies, the more the competitive edge!

In the process of devising a cloud adoption strategy, most companies realise that they can’t transition all workloads or business processes at once; considerations span Service Level Agreements, Data sensitivity and security, business continuity, cost and legislations/regulations. The challenge, then, is to carve out a transition plan that supports co-existence of on-premise and cloud based applications – hence ensuring minimal disruption when migrating pieces of software to the cloud in a chronological fashion.

There are 5 key considerations to take into account when carving out this transition plan; we explore these below.

Mapping your cloud-ready journey

Understanding how to achieve results that impact, not only the organisation, but the greater economy is crucial. Building a pathway to becoming cloud-ready should be an integrated approach, one driven by cloud strategy, policy and an innovative culture. Planning and preparation with the right cloud strategy are imperative to achieve the desired success

The path forward will vary, depending on where the organisation is starting. Each organisation will take a unique journey, following its own timeline. That said, most organisations could follow one or more of five use cases that describe the requirements they face on their journey:

  1. Streamline and modernise

If your enterprise does not have immediate plans to move to the cloud in a big way but does want to streamline its infrastructure. This kind of enterprise should work towards reducing technological complexity by replacing older servers, storage and backup systems with modern systems that are architecturally compatible with systems powering private and public cloud services.

  1. Accelerate time to value

With the aim of maintaining and growing its competitive edge, most innovative organisations need to do more with less, and faster – a necessary ingredient to live up to the rising expectations of both, the shareholders and customers, alike. In such a situation, an appliance strategy can provide great benefit. Today’s modern appliances come preconfigured to serve different purposes, such as to support a database, a private cloud environment, UNIX, or big-data applications. Because appliances are easy to deploy and operate, requiring less time and fewer specialised skills, IT departments are able to implement and manage them quickly, with a reduced learning curve, avoiding the hassles of testing and integration.

  1. Optimise and extend private cloud

Many organisations first implement private cloud to achieve lower costs and greater agility for generic, non-critical workloads. Most self-assembled generic private clouds take months to build out, resulting in decreased agility and expensive personnel to build, tune and manage. They typically require expensive licenses and support contract to run generic workloads. The recommended way forward therefore, is to adopt platforms that are optimised for cost and/or performance. Generic workloads can run on the Oracle Private Cloud Appliance, optimised to deliver low-cost computing for Linux, Solaris, and Windows applications while more-demanding applications operate better on purpose-built engineered systems. 

This provides an easy path to public or hybrid cloud, with unified management across environments.

  1. Optimise and secure critical applications

Business-critical applications require peak performance and security. However, in many organisations, the infrastructure supporting these applications has been built over time and is lagging in modernisation, and is now inconsistent with currently available mix of platforms. The result is an overly complex environment that does not always deliver the required performance or security.

Enterprises, here, would be better off identifying applications that manage data of low sensitivity to move them to the cloud. Back-ups, learning and test & dev environments would easily fit into Oracle’s IaaS offerings with a reduction in cost (eradicating cost of hardware, cooling, data centre space, labour). For the residual applications, high-end SPARC-based servers will optimise performance while improving efficiency with the highest security, whether implemented on-premises or on the cloud. Moving to a single platform will also bring cost savings and unified and simplified infrastructure management.

  1. Consolidate and protect data with advanced storage solutions

Every company is facing data storage and protection challenges. With the ever-increasing explosion of data volumes, simply adding to an existing storage infrastructure is no longer affordable nor effective. The better approach is to implement modern storage solutions that are built to eliminate data loss and cut recovery times. Voluminous data can be off-loaded to the cloud which offers ample security and ease of access management. Same data can be accessed from any authentic IP source, rendering the data loading and access process more streamlined and less costly.  

Take control of your future

For each of the considerations, Oracle delivers cloud-ready systems that have precise equivalents in Oracle’s own public cloud. In this way, the public cloud appears as a compatible extension of what already runs in your data centre, making it easier to move when you are ready. Even if you have no immediate plans to move to the cloud, it is a nice option to have. In the meantime, you are able to bring many benefits of the public cloud into your on-premises infrastructure and accelerate the process of innovation.

Avinash Ramtohul is the Managing Director, Mauritius and Cloud Architect Leader, Sub-Saharan Africa at Oracle.

[Column] Nixon Kanali: Moving to the cloud can help African business stay secure from cyber threats

A few years back I got the chance to attend the East African Cloud Summit organized by the University of Nairobi’s C4DLab in collaboration with Microsoft. The summit was on Cloud Computing and how it can be used to improve societal growth and transformation.

One of the panellists present during the summit was Dr.Bitange Ndemo, a former Permanent Secretary in the ministry of ICT who is currently heading a 10-member taskforce on blockchain and artificial intelligence in Kenya. Dr. Ndemo spoke widely on Cloud and why most African organisations and even SMEs are still scared of moving into Cloud. He said most of these companies feel unsafe with their data being in the Cloud since they believe that with the data being in the Cloud they will be sharing it with other people.

Dr.Ndemo also noted that most of these organizations lack information about the importance of moving to the cloud. I remember asking the panel what needs to be done to convince these organizations or SMEs that the cloud is an indeed a safe place store their data, and Dr.Ndemo joked that the only thing that can be done is pray for them. Well, one thing was clear though, more awareness and facts need to be given to these organisations. One thing they emphasized on is that moving into the Cloud is not about sharing, it’s about accessibility.

Moving to the cloud can help businesses secure from cybercrime threats. In an interview I once had with Kaspersky Lab Channel Sales Manager for East Africa, Bethwel Opil, on the State of cybersecurity in the country, it was evident that there were so many gaps to be filled. Most organizations are not investing in this sector. Its either they don’t have the personnel or don’t even care at all. The cloud could help them fill these gaps and stay secure from online threats.

With the threat of cyber-crime and insider fraud on the rise, Kenyan companies should be looking towards cloud applications as one means of improving the security of their IT environments. In their experience, Bethwel Opil said CIOs and/or CISOs are starting to understand how serious cybercrime is becoming in Kenya, and the realities around cybercrime and the impact it can have on a business – not only from a data loss point of view but also from a reputational one. Kenyan organizations are wrestling with the growing danger posed by threats such as malware, hackers, and theft of computing devices.

The cost of cybercrimes is mounting, Cloud computing improves IT security and security professionals and African organisations need as much help as possible. Cloud helps security operations respond quicker to threats helping organisations to focus on business risk as opposed to spending thousands of hours researching threats.

Cybercriminals are becoming very skilled and are placing a strong focus on the business market, given the financial gain it can offer them. Ransomware that targets businesses, for example, is becoming more widespread and more sophisticated. Cybersecurity is therefore not an issue that only IT people should take into consideration. The reality is that it concerns everyone – consumers, home users and their families, small businesses and large organisations, including governments.

Moving to the cloud should, therefore, be a top priority for African organisations.

Nixon Kanali is the Tech Editor for the African Business Communities

Managed services model accelerates in Africa

No longer just a buzzword, cloud has become a hot commodity and organisations are migrating based on the benefits.

More and more businesses across Africa are making the move towards cloud and subsequently, managed services. No longer just a buzzword, the cloud has become a hot commodity and organisations are migrating based on the benefits. In fact, according to Pieter Potgieter, Senior Manager: Commercial Operations at Britehouse, the African market is at a point where there is no hesitation and uncertainty around cloud, rather businesses are embracing its adoption to help them grow.

“This is driving businesses to adopt more of a menu-focused model – using and paying for only what they need – and adopting a managed service approach to bring everything together,” says Potgieter. “As a specialist IT consultancy that focuses on the implementation, development, hosting and management of SAP software-based solutions, Britehouse have created a flexible, secure, high performance platform for delivering hosted SAP applications as a managed service to businesses throughout Africa, using SUSE.” 

Open source has become an integral part of the technology strategy of any business. The rise of cloud computing, big data, and even social networking has seen open source being recognised as the way of the future. Potgieter agrees: “We are certainly seeing a positive construct when it comes to open source and SUSE. The adoption market has matured quite a bit and businesses are less worried about previous perceived open source pitfalls and rather see it now as a robust, secure and cost-effective hosting platform – especially when packaged into an enterprise solution.”

Business are also looking to modernize their application infrastructure and traditional monolithic platforms are not part of digital transformation and as a result, many businesses are re-evaluating their infrastructure priorities. “Clients are looking for stability, performance, service and security – and we believe SUSE meets these requirements,” adds Potgieter.

SUSE offers far higher performance and lower total cost of ownership. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, a leading Linux platform, optimised and resilient for SAP applications and databases, also uses less system resources and is more stable – keeping hardware costs low, while enabling high availability. Customers also benefit from economies of scale, getting a solution that would cost them much more to set up and run themselves.

“Better stability, peace of mind and improved service level are just some of the benefits African businesses are reaping from a managed service offering,” says Potgieter. “Additionally, with the skills gap hitting businesses hard, businesses want to be able to use the skills they have and apply them to more strategic areas of the business and this allows them to do exactly that. We see a very real merger of software and infrastructure as a service and a desperate need for the successful collaboration of these elements at a managed service level.”

“The current siloed-approach to infrastructure slows innovation and hinders go-to market strategies for companies, and this negatively impacts growth plans. As a result, companies are increasingly turning to solution providers to manage infrastructure, software and all things cloud related. However, to thrive in the digital era, businesses must act on opportunities and solve problems more quickly than ever before. They must innovate relentlessly and respond to customers, partners, and employees at light speed. Agility is the name of the game and SUSE allows business to unlock data intelligence, drive innovation and run with the best,” concludes Grant Bennett, Country Manager for SUSE South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa.

www.suse.com

www.britehouse.co.za