Zenoss launches EMEA cloud zone

Zenoss Inc., the leader in intelligent application and service monitoring, announced it has launched a Zenoss Cloud zone for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

This means all U.S.-based Zenoss Cloud services are now available to the EMEA region from a dedicated instance in Frankfurt, Germany. The Frankfurt site was selected because it offers the highest standards of data protection, complying with the German Bundesdatenschutzgesetz (BDSG), a federal data protection act.

Zenoss Cloud is the first SaaS-based intelligent IT monitoring platform that streams and normalizes all machine data, uniquely enabling the emergence of context for preventing service disruptions in complex, modern IT environments. Zenoss Cloud leverages the most powerful machine learning and real-time analytics of streaming data to deliver full-stack monitoring combined with AIOps, giving companies the ability to scale and adapt to the changing needs of their businesses.

“Zenoss Cloud has taken off domestically, and we’ve been experiencing increased demand for separate instances in other regions,” said Greg Stock, chairman and CEO of Zenoss. “We’re dedicated to serving our customers around the world, and this new zone will provide full-stack monitoring and AIOPs with the highest levels of data protection.”

With the demand for full-stack monitoring and AIOps sharply increasing globally, Zenoss is building out zones in other regions. The Zenoss Cloud EMEA zone is available now and already has customers and partners leveraging the regional instance.

www.zenoss.com

[Column] Rentia Booysen: It is time to adopt multi-cloud

Companies have been preparing for a multi-cloud world for some time, even if they were not aware of doing so.

The arrival of international data centres in South Africa means decision-makers have access to additional cloud options, thereby providing the impetus for multi-cloud to become a more intentional strategy in the months to come.

But what does this equate to?

A multi-cloud environment refers to policy-based and coordinated service provisioning, use, and management across a mixture of internal and external cloud services. Such has been its growth that research shows 81% of public cloud users surveyed are working with two or more providers.

Not only does it provide the means to avoid vendor lock-in, but going this route empowers organisations to select the best environments for specific tasks. Cloud Provider A could be ideal for business continuity and disaster recovery. At the same time, Cloud Provider B provides access to innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) more cost-effectively.

More than hardware

However, a true multi-cloud environment is not about how many service providers a business uses. Instead, it revolves around how to operationally transform the company by integrating all aspects of its cloud offerings, whether these are private, public, or hybrid. The technology, therefore, plays just a part in this approach. More importantly, the extent to which organisations are willing to embrace this new way of thinking becomes a key factor.

In the past, this might have entailed moving just one application to the cloud. Now, the level of sophistication has evolved along with the strategic priorities of the organisation. Therefore, a mix of public and private clouds along with on-premise infrastructure can be considered a standard operating model.

But irrespective of the level of cloud adoption utilised, a company requires unified, automated, and AI-driven management at a software level. This enables the business to create an architecture capable of evolving as companies seek ways to modernise their enterprise networks. Companies can use such a solution to simplify growth throughout their migration from secure routers to software-defined networks (SD-WAN) and, ultimately, to a multi-cloud network automated by AI.

User-focused

An AI environment introduces automation that improves user experiences and simplifies operations, providing reliability and agility while extending visibility across the enterprise, both on-premise and off.

The right software provides the business with a foundation to easily add multi-cloud endpoints, security, monitoring, and third-party network services to its SD-WAN. IT departments can now easily manage this every step of the way using a multi-cloud orchestration solution. It even enables the business to run software and virtual endpoints on its own infrastructure or on that of public cloud service providers such as Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.

Think of this multi-focused environment as part of the process of how the cloud-native technology stack is evolving and becoming more sophisticated.

With data driving all decision-making at a company, irrespective its size and industry, the resources provided by the high-performance computing capabilities of the cloud cannot be ignored. But instead of going the ‘all or nothing’ route, a business can select how to use the cloud services (and providers) that make the most sense at any given point in time. The ability to turn on and off resources as required is a more efficient value proposition that provides complete control over cloud costs.

Furthermore, this dynamic enables the business to still maintain control of sensitive data that can remain on-site while getting the flexibility of AI and ML for data analysis as required. All told, the multi-cloud does present an exciting value proposition to South African organisations as they start competing against others on the continent and beyond.

Rentia Booysen is Collaboration Business Unit Manager at Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa

[Column] Kabelo Makwane: Agriculture and its future on Mars

Cloud computing is the delivery of on-demand computing services, from applications to storage and processing power, which is typically on a pay as you go basis over the internet.

One benefit of using cloud computing services is avoiding the upfront cost and complexity of owning and maintaining your own IT infrastructure, and instead simply paying for what you use as and when you use it. 

When thinking about the agricultural industry, there are practical applications for the use of cloud computing that create a whole ecosystem, from sensors and monitoring tools that collect soil data to agricultural field images and observations from human actors on the ground accurately feeding data repositories along with their GPS coordinates.

Agribusiness needs more effective tools to engage with the smallholder farmer. At the same time, the smallholder farmer needs to be empowered with information, access to markets and financial services. To achieve this, mobile phone technology from Vodacom Business can play a game-changing role.

The Vodacom Business technology the Connected Farmer service gives a readily available message functionality allowing for real-time communication with other farmers on the database, transactional capabilities which support electronic vouchers and a companion application called AgriSuite Plus that provides content of practical agricultural value to field workers.

This content includes topics such as crop and livestock production management, crop descriptions, production programs, soil preparation and pest and disease identification (farmers using smartphones are able to download the AgriSuite Plus app.

Vodacom Connected Farmer is a cloud-based web and mobile software solution that links enterprises to smallholder farmers through the transfer of industry-related information, which equips the farmer to make better decisions about crop rotation and improve efficiencies in order to deliver better produce and consistently improve yields 

Farmers can also take advantage of knowledge-based repositories that contain information related to farming practices, agriculture innovations, pesticides, seeds, fertilizers, nutrients and equipment.

However, with the onset of technology, there is the valid fear and resistance that comes with it, especially considering the fact that the agriculture industry is driven by smallholder farmers, who more often than not do not have access to technology. 

Kabelo asserts that Vodacom Business is aware of the fact that rural areas of South Africa are under-serviced with regard to connectivity. This has presented real challenges to not only the farming community, but to their customers, service suppliers and rural communities in general.

Smallholder farmers need to be empowered with information, access to markets and financial services. To achieve this, mobile phone technology from Vodacom Business can play a game-changing role. Vodacom Connected Farmer is a phone enabled enterprise solution. 

Once smallholder farmers are registered mobile enterprise users, such as agronomists, and field officers then profile these farmers and their farms and verify their identity during field visits, using Vodacom Connected Farmer on their mobile devices. The enterprise is now able to communicate with its smallholder farmer base via their mobile phones, whether individually, as a group or across the entire smallholder farming community.

Vodacom is also alive to the risks that come with the internet like breach of privacy. That is why in the Vodacom Business Connected Farmer program, there are a number of security measures which ensure that personal or financial information is protected. There is a secure, role-based authentication and authorisation that allows users to only access to those system functionalities that are relevant to them. Connected farmers also use secure cashless value and transactions through electronic vouchers. 

Potential challenges

While these resources can be used in developed countries with ubiquitous Internet access, this is not as easy to accomplish in developing economies where there may be challenges with internet access, bandwidth and power. However, even in these circumstances, we are seeing technology made available on mobile phones, providing a wealth of services to farmers powered at times by renewable sources of energy and enabled by mobile devices

Three main challenges in Africa include performance, costs and availability. 

Performance: Whether locally- or internationally-hosted, it can be a challenge to deliver reliable Cloud services to certain regions – particularly in smaller towns and rural or remote areas.

Costs: Uncontended, enterprise-grade networks can be extremely expensive, often making it challenging for the cloud business case to be compelling to both small and large enterprise

Availability: For many businesses in outlying areas, the availability of internet connection, in general, is a huge problem. South Africa still has vast patches that are underserved or entirely unserved. Certain agricultural sites for example, experience problems with basic telephonic and crude internet connections – which makes high-powered Cloud services seem like an impossibility. 

Effective adoption and implementation of this technology will encourage other sectors also, which will lead to optimal  benefit of shifting towards cloud. This will definitely have a positive impact in the overall economic development of a nation. Above all, cloud computing is a newly introduced concept and most of the developing nations are not readily willing to accept and implement it. Therefore, it needs a mass awareness and promotion among the prime stakeholders to acquire the full potential of it and have a well established information base for the nation. This will in return lead to a well-connected world.

Kabelo Makwane is the Managing Executive for Cloud, Hosting & Security at Vodacom Business

Alibaba Cloud offers AI, cloud services to help battle COVID-19 globally

Alibaba Cloud, the data intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, says it has offered medical personnel around the world advanced cloud-based technology applications in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The artificial intelligence-enhanced innovations are based on learnings and insights garnered during the initial outbreak of the virus.

The series of cloud-native anti-coronavirus solutions stem from joint efforts of Alibaba Cloud’s solution experts, scientists and researchers from Alibaba DAMO Academy and the technical team at DingTalk, one of the platforms UNESCO has tabbed as facilitating distance learning during the coronavirus outbreak.

While DingTalk might be better-known for supporting more than 120 million students across China with their live-streamed online classes, the team has taken it up a notch to launch DingTalk’s International Medical Expert Communication Platform, hosted on Alibaba Cloud.

 It provides a means of free communication for medical workers all over the world to directly contact doctors from medical institutions such as the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University and others in China, who have been on the frontline of the COVID-19 battle.

Through video conferencing and real-time AI translation into 11 languages (Arabic, Bahasa, Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, and Vietnamese), Alibaba Cloud aims to build a virtual community, inviting Chinese doctors to share their experiences and answer questions from global peers.

From Alibaba DAMO Academy, a global research initiative by Alibaba, three proven solutions are being made available via free trial for medical professionals and research institutes worldwide. Alibaba Cloud will work with local partners to deploy relevant services and solutions in accordance with local laws and regulations.

Epidemic Prediction Solution models epidemic characteristics of COVID-19 in a particular region, providing estimates of size, peak time and duration of the epidemic, as well as the spreading trends under three conditions – optimistic, neutral, and pessimistic.

Based on machine learning, the algorithm was already tested on 31 provincial data in China and averaged 98% accuracy. It can serve as a reference to policymakers and medical researchers on prevention and control measures, medical resource allocation and travel advisories.

CT Image Analytics Solution is a CT image analytics technology service that can significantly improve testing accuracy and detection efficiency for diagnosing COVID-19. With deep-learning algorithms trained by data in China, the trained model can predict the probability of different pneumonia types, including the variety associated with COVID-19.

It also performs computations of the proportion of lesions and the affected volume ratio to the entire lungs, by using the lung segmentation method. The whole test takes about 3 to 4 seconds to run and 15 to 16 seconds of transmission time, making it nearly 60 times faster than human detection. More than 160 hospitals in China are currently using the solution.

Genome Sequencing for Coronavirus Diagnostic Solution, an AI algorithm from Alibaba DAMO Academy and running on Alibaba Cloud, is a virus genome sequencing solution for coronavirus analytics, including viral genetic data screening, evolutionary analysis, protein structure analysis, and diagnostic reporting. It can complete the diagnosis of new coronavirus within 14 hours, which is five times faster than other available sequencing solutions in China.

 It can screen more than 20 people simultaneously, making the averaged time for each sample just around half an hour, much shorter than the normal two hours with the PCR method. The solution helps disease control centers, hospitals and clinics, and laboratories to address challenges such as insufficient nucleic acid detection capacity, high false-negative rates of the PCR method, and possible virus mutations.

Supporting advanced innovations during emergencies like COVID-19 requires extremely scalable supercomputing power. For this, Alibaba Cloud offers Elastic High-Performance Computing (E-HPC) Solution for Life Sciences, a cloud-native high-performance computing cluster solution designed for researchers working on life sciences applications, especially for Computational-Driven-Drug-Design (CDDD) and AI-Driven-Drug-Design (AIDDD).

The solution already supports 20 research groups in China. For example, the intelligent CT diagnostic system on COVID-19 pneumonia developed by Tsinghua University can complete diagnosing in 10 seconds, and the performance of gene assembly by Sun Yat-sen University is accelerated by 25% utilizing the solution. Alibaba Cloud has also partnered with Global Health Drug Discovery Institute (GHDDI) in Beijing to launch an AI-driven-drug-discovery platform based on E-HPC.

www.alibabacloud.com

[South Africa] SA Taxi adopts FICO’s cloud-based solutions to drive lending growth

SA Taxi, a financier of over 10 percent of South Africa’s minibus taxi fleet – the nation’s most affordable public transport used by 15 million people daily – has introduced FICO’s cloud-based decision management solution to drive lending growth of 25 percent. The FICO® Blaze Advisor® Decision Rules Management System has also reduced decision time on applications from two hours down to 10 minutes, while improving controls, capturing rules and creating an audit trail.

Rapid growth had meant the company’s manual processing system was becoming overwhelmed – with a lack of consistent and timely decisions adversely affecting business growth.

“When credit changes were required, they were simply added to the queue with the rest of our IT changes – which always had a higher priority,” said Itumeleng Nomlomo, senior credit analyst at SA Taxi. “This left the business with no option but to resort to manual decisioning, which really constrained our agility and created a number of issues such as inconsistent credit decisions.”

SA Taxi implemented FICO’s Blaze Advisor solution to integrate automated decision-making into its origination process. The decision management solution ensured reliable and consistent credit decisions that were in line with its strategy and business rules. Its cloud-based application lifted the infrastructure burden being placed on the business, which had become considerable. And its flexibility allowed SA Taxi’s business managers to configure rules without development/technical support from FICO, as and when its strategy changed.

“SA Taxi has embraced the power of a cloud deployed solution and reaped the rewards through incredible improvements in agility and efficiency,” said Michelle Beetar, managing director for sub-Saharan Africa at FICO.  “By automating the decisioning element, the team has been able to spend more time on strategy, analytics and enhancing the current process.”

For its achievements, SA Taxi won a 2019 FICO® Decisions Award for Cloud Deployment.

“SA Taxi has overcome the challenge of translating what seems to be a simple idea into a workable solution,” said Denise Sleem, functional specialist Afrocentric Technologies, one of the FICO Decisions Awards judges. “SA Taxi has really impressed by building a flexible solution to support the growth needs of their business and their clients through their digital transformation project.”

www.sataxi.co.za

www.fico.com

[South Africa] Cloud platform builder Jini Guru partners with Azilen to build advanced payment and banking solutions

Local cloud platform builder, Jini Guru, has partnered with Azilen Technologies, a product engineering company, to build innovative fintech solutions for emerging markets.

Mike Smits, co-founder, Jini Guru, says that the collaboration between the two companies brings immense skills to the local fintech market.

“Azilen has over a decade of lean product engineering experience across a variety of vertical sectors. Together with Jini Guru’s local fintech knowledge and experience, we are excited to build solutions that extend across payment and banking applications,” says Smits.

The South African financial service industry is in a disruptive phase with many new market entrants challenging traditional business models: “Servicing the unbanked is one of many significant market opportunities. There are many market players attempting to gain access to this R23B cash economy within the fintech space,” says Smits.

“Azilen is proud to collaborate with Jini Guru. Working closely together will open up avenues to successfully leverage and exchange our fintech industry knowledge and capabilities to build robust digital payment solutions,” says Naresh Prajapati, CEO of Azilen Technologies.

Extending across payment, banking and wallet applications; integration services, payment gateway services and location-based security systems, the Jini Guru and Azilen partnership will bring additional scale and cost savings for the South African fintech space as well as the technical expertise needed to assist clients to meet the digitally evolving needs of their customer-base.

“We were looking for a product development partner that has solid user experience and the technology expertise to digitise our fintech product ideas and business concepts. Azilen Technologies impressed us with their domain expertise during the product visioning process and we are ready to extend these services to the broader market,” says Smits.

www.jini.guru

www.azilen.com

[Column] Andrew Skudder: Digital trends that will shape the construction industry in 2020

From cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI), to 5G and mobility, a key trend in 2020 is the accelerated digitization of construction companies.

This is critical for future proofing their businesses and maximizing efficiency and profitability.

As one of the least digitized industries in the world, with about 1.5% of revenue spent on IT compared to an average spend of about 3% across all industries, the construction industry has suffered a notable lack of growth in productivity. This is in contrast to the manufacturing industry, which has embraced technology significantly – relative to construction – and recorded a consequent increase in productivity.

By embracing digital technology, construction companies will have more efficient control over their costs and be able to collaborate more effectively on projects, especially mega projects.

The power of cloud computing

Digitisation requires an enormous amount of computing power. A good example of this is the design phase of a project. Over the years, the design process has evolved from designs being created on paper, to the use of CAD tools and, today, through 5D BIM modelling.

Now, with virtual reality, the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) also coming into play, the design aspect requires vast computing capacity. Setting the computing infrastructure up and employing the right skills to maintain it would be an expensive – and unnecessary – exercise for a single company.

The likes of Azure, AWS and Google Cloud have made large amounts of computing power easily accessible to companies around the globe. It is accessible, safe, relatively cheap and maintained by experts.

This allows users to handle much more data, more efficiently and more securely. Once construction companies have garnered big data in the cloud, it can be converted to smart data, allowing them to access comprehensive analytics and use these to make informed and more real-time decisions about current and future projects.

Artificial intelligence and leveraging big data

AI allows construction companies to harness big data and make sense of it. New algorithms are written every day to analyse big data and leverage it in an effective and productive way.

There are numerous use cases for AI in construction. For example, CCS has initiated a proof of concept (POC), using robotic process automation (RPA), to design and build a software robot that is able to read an organisation’s mobile phone statement and process it in conjunction with the invoices in its ERP solution, BuildSmart.

Previously, this process could take an accountant up to two days to complete. The robot, however, is able to read the statement and invoices, extract all the required data and process the purchase order along with various Excel reports in just over eight minutes, with a 100% accuracy every time. This allows the accounting team to focus on work that adds more value to the business.

In the construction industry, hundreds of deliveries from multiple suppliers are made to construction sites every day. Traditionally, a clerk would capture every delivery note manually, a labour-intensive and time-consuming process. AI allows this to be done rapidly and accurately, freeing employees up to interrogate the quality, quantity and relevance of the products ordered.

AI is also highly effective in interrogating past projects. One of the big opportunities in the industry is for estimators and project managers to learn from past projects. Much of the knowledge rests in their heads, which is then used to improve the scheduling and costing and estimated for upcoming projects. If all historical data is stored on a database, AI will be able to prepare more accurate predictive models, making future projects more productive and predictable.

Another higher use case for AI is in 3D modelling. A big issue in planning and designing projects relates to design clashes between different engineers or stakeholders. When something is being built, there will typically be several designs for different aspects of the project – architectural, mechanical, electrical, amongst others. Often, when they are overlaid, there are clashes. AI has the ability to help detect these clashes and adjust designs quickly.

The holy grail of construction is to have 100% design before construction commences, that is, no changes during the course of a project. Of course, this rarely happens, but it’s what everyone strives for. AI enables users to simulate a 3D model to determine whether it is constructible and can be constructed cost effectively and within the clients construction deadlines. By exploring different scenarios, in terms of what happens first, second or third, AI can help optimise the construction process. This saves time and money, something that can have far-reaching benefits for a country like South Africa where changes to projects such as Medupi and Kusile have resulted in an enormous amount of cost and time overruns.

Yet another use case for AI is risk management. By harnessing historical data, it allows for greater understanding of project complexity. It can analyse complexity factors around issues such as design complexity, labour availability and weather patterns and place them into risk management models, allowing for greater risk mitigation.

Greater connectivity with 5G

5G gives everyone access to greater connectivity. It offers higher speeds and a more reliable and bigger capacity, which ties in with construction companies’ need to harness big data. Once they start digitising their business processes, construction companies will create huge amounts of data.

One of the major constraints for site-based solutions has been a lack of connectivity to construction sites. 5G will take it to the next level in terms of reliability, speed and capacity. This will allow for more data collection, data management and data analysis on site, which will allow project managers to make informed decisions, more quickly.

Mobility

Mobility has already taken hold on construction sites, with laptops, smart phones and tablets allowing people to conduct work in remote areas, capture data and complete tasks that were ordinarily paper based.

One example is clock carding or time and attendance-type systems. In the past and at many sites today, attendance at construction sites is recorded on paper, which then gets captured into some system. Today, this can be done more accurately and effectively via mobile phones or tablets.

The next level of mobility relates to wearable technology. Think Microsoft’s HoloLens, which offers the ability to mix virtual reality with reality on the construction site. With the lenses, users are able to see the design and if they look into a room, they are able to see how it is meant to be constructed. It allows users to detect defects and pull up diagrams showing the correct design. While it may not manifest in the construction industry in 2020, wearable technology is definitely the next big leap forward.

3D scanners are another form of mobile technology that are invaluable for the construction industry. When a building is being constructed, 3D scanners can be used to scan rooms, measure them and create as-built drawings.

Drones are becoming increasingly popular for various construction projects, especially roads. By flying a drone over a construction site every day, users can see what progress has been made in every phase of a project and deliver progress reports to relatively accurate tolerances.

Virtual and physical, side by side

Ultimately, the increased use of digitisation will mean construction companies can create virtual projects alongside their physical projects, allowing them to be more efficient in the way they construct their projects. This is because they will be able to build their construction projects in the virtual world up front, ensuring they are well planned when they begin construction in the physical world. It also allows them to monitor their progress against the virtual plan every step of the way and address issues as soon as they crop up.

Andrew Skudder is the CEO of Construction Computer Software

Data management, security driving global healthcare cloud market, report

Global healthcare cloud market revenue is expected to surge at a compound annual growth rate of 25.1 per cent from 2018 to 2023 according to a recent report by Research and Markets.

Cloud computing in healthcare is gaining momentum as a variety of factors create a significant need for the value propositions that a successful cloud implementation promises to offer.

Cloud computing involves the use of external suppliers of infrastructure, platforms, and software. As a result, former capital expenses or owned software systems are transitioned to a service offered by a cloud provider or participants within a cloud service provider’s ecosystem.

The study focuses on cloud services that are used by providers and other healthcare stakeholders seeking to manage clinical and business workflows and reduce certain costs associated with the data-rich global healthcare environment.

The study reviewed the significant drivers that are propelling cloud computing in healthcare. For example, the data flow resulting from digital health systems will transform healthcare into a Big Data environment. This trend will include data from telehealth and increasingly from consumer-generated remote monitoring systems. There is a consistent view across the industry that healthcare providers are eager to take advantage of the cloud, but this is offset by the reality that careful planning and diligence must be performed in order to ensure that the configuration of the selected cloud implementation is the correct path forward.

 Also challenging is the fact that providers are finding it difficult to staff the IT cloud management experts needed to ensure a smooth transition from in-house systems. The transition to usage-based cloud services must be well planned to avoid the potential for higher-than-anticipated costs.

For example, the migration of data from internal data centers to cloud services can be complicated, depending on the systems involved. There is also the ever-present need to maintain data security and patient privacy.

Cloud computing offers a compelling financial proposition for healthcare providers. By utilizing the infrastructure of a cloud service provider, healthcare providers should be able to achieve increased scalability and reduce their IT costs. In addition, the use of software-as-a-service will relieve medical staff from time-intensive management of various software-related maintenance and update functions.

The study also reviews the potential for the healthcare cloud to accelerate the deployment of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and advanced data analytics.

The evolving healthcare cloud will increase the potential for data system interoperability across the healthcare industry. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the cloud will be the growth of a new generation of ecosystems that will revolutionize the way that clinical and operational data can be used to support improved patient outcomes and customer relationship management.

 Although a great deal of media attention is devoted to tracking familiar cloud market leaders such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, this report will identify and summarize the activities of key participants of the emerging healthcare cloud ecosystem.

This dynamic ecosystem will be the catalyst of new growth opportunities for specialized service suppliers across the global healthcare industry.

www.researchandmarkets.com

Dimension Data to implement SAP Solutions on Microsoft Azure in MEA

NTT Ltd., a global technology services company, has announced it has earned the SAP on Microsoft Azure advanced specialisation, a validation of a solution partner’s capability to deliver high-quality services in a specific solution area.

Representing NTT Ltd. in the Middle East and African territory is Dimension Data, who has been named as the preferred partner for the region due to their breadth of cloud, application, migration and integration skills and expertise enabling effective execution and enabling clients to leverage the full value of the SAP ecosystem.

The SAP on Microsoft Azure advanced specialisation demonstrates NTT and Dimension Data’s deep knowledge, extensive experience and proven success at implementing SAP solutions on Microsoft Azure.

As mainstream support for the SAP ECC platform ends in 2027, and as core SAP products are being re-optimised for the SAP HANA database, many enterprises are looking for a partner with advanced skills to migrate their existing SAP environment to the cloud. There are currently only eight companies in the world to have obtained SAP on Azure Advanced Specialisation accreditation.

“Organisations that harness the true power of cloud and effectively leverage its capabilities to become intelligent enterprises are able to realise tangible financial, operational and customer experience benefits,” said Jay Reddy, CTO, Dimension Data. “We understand that organisations have different cloud strategies with regards to infrastructure, platforms, applications, and security requirements and have an intensity of skills and intelligent technologies to meet their strategic and operational needs across the entire cloud ecosystem and value chain. This recognition of our SAP and Microsoft Azure skills and expertise is great news for enterprises across the region looking for a partner that understands and is highly skilled in ensuring that their cloud strategy delivers the required business outcomes. Adding this certification to all our globally recognised skills certifications from all major cloud and business application providers, gives organisations choice, flexibility and confidence that we can execute their cloud strategy with the right combination of infrastructure, platform and applications for their business.”

Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner (OCP) at Microsoft Corp. added, “The SAP on Microsoft Azure advanced specialisation highlights the partners who can be viewed as most capable when it comes to migrating enterprise SAP applications over to Microsoft Azure. NTT clearly demonstrated that they have both the skills and the experience to offer clients a comprehensive and professional SAP to cloud managed service.”

www.sap.com

www.dimensiondata.com

Standard Bank South Africa migrates SAP cloud platform to Microsoft Azure to boost efficiency

Standard Bank South Africa is moving its core SAP Cloud Platform services to Microsoft Azure to significantly improve the experience customers have with the bank, while enabling it to introduce new solutions to market more efficiently.

This accelerates the digital transformation of SAP customers to S/4HANA by partnering with Microsoft and using jointly developed reference architectures, roadmaps, and industry best practices. Many enterprises are looking to reduce their reliance on their own datacentres and moving more of their core workloads to the cloud.

Sabelo Nkwanyana, Standard Bank’s CIO for Personal and Business Banking SA, says leveraging the computing power of Microsoft and the product innovation capability of SAP demonstrates how Standard Bank is embracing partnerships and ecosystems to develop customized solutions for its clients.

“SAP has a deep understanding of our business requirements and how we want to ensure our customers are happy with our service offering. This partnership continues our focus on innovation by leveraging the respective skills of SAP and Microsoft to transform the digitization and personalization journey for our customers,” says Nkwanyana.

Lillian Barnard, Managing Director, Microsoft South Africa says, “The Project Embrace initiative between Microsoft and SAP announced globally last year is centred around the customer journey to SAP S/4HANA and SAP Cloud Platform on Microsoft Azure. The work that we are doing with Standard Bank is the first local demonstration of this partnership, and another milestone in the journey Microsoft is on with Standard Bank, to bring innovation into every aspect of the bank’s IT system and enable enriched interactions with the bank’s customers.”

The partnership brings together SAP and Microsoft, along with a global network of selected system integrators, to move on-premise SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA customers to the cloud through industry-specific best practices, reference architectures and cloud-delivered services.

Barnard continues, “Enterprises are migrating to cloud providers at an accelerated rate. This makes it critical for our customers to have the right cloud infrastructure in place, enabling them to unlock the power of innovation. Microsoft’s significant investment on the African continent, with our first hyperscale datacentre regions in Johannesburg and Cape Town, means many more partners and customers are enjoying the benefits of our intelligent cloud platform.”

Speaking on the SAP partnership specifically, Barnard adds, “Project Embrace has three tenets at its heart: simplify, accelerate and innovate. By accelerating our customers’ digital transformation journey, we are enabling them to become agile, efficient digital enterprises on Microsoft Azure – with a cloud platform optimised for SAP – leveraging best practice and specialist expertise.”

“Today’s announcement is the biggest partnership centred on SAP implementation in Africa. With client experience a key strategic pillar for Standard Bank, Project Embrace reflects the shared commitment of both SAP and Microsoft to accelerate our customers’ journey to the cloud,” says Cathy Smith, Managing Director at SAP Africa.

This project will deliver a unified approach to how Standard Bank runs SAP S/4HANA in Microsoft Azure. Ultimately, this will help the bank deliver a faster time-to-market on products and services, while ensuring its IT infrastructure is optimised. By moving workloads to the cloud, Standard Bank will be able to access a range of features that it can deploy instantly and scale according to demand. This will result in cost reductions, improved system performance, and access to innovation.

“This will empower the bank to create new business models and deliver more personalised outcomes in today’s dynamic business environment. By providing Standard Bank with consistent engagement and delivery models, SAP and Microsoft bring both industry-specific best practices and deep local insight to deliver a compelling value proposition for their clients,” says Smith.

“Through Project Embrace, we are now able to better identify our business pain points and effectively address them through technologies that deliver a demonstratable return on investment. Having the ability to more accurately predict where customer challenges and dissatisfaction will occur enables a more flexible enterprise environment. We can help our customers transform their businesses and their lives in a secure way. This is much more than SAP and Microsoft supplying us with products. This is about fundamentally enhancing our digital journey for the future,” concludes Nkwanyana of Standard Bank SA.

In addition to the work done with Standard Bank, the Microsoft and SAP initiative is assisting customers around the world, and in a variety of industries, accelerate their journey to becoming digital, intelligent enterprises.

www.standardbank.co.za

www.sap.com