Tony Blair Institute and Oracle Launch Africa vaccine management in the cloud

The Tony Blair Institute (TBI) and Oracle have brought cloud technology to Africa to manage public health programs.

Initially, Ghana, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone will use the new Oracle Health Management System to create electronic health records for their vaccination programs for yellow fever, HPV, polio, measles, and COVID-19, as soon as that vaccine is distributed to Africa.

 TBI and Oracle are in discussions with more than thirty other countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America that are evaluating using the same cloud system to manage their COVID-19 vaccination programs. 

“Since February of this year, the Africa Union and Member States have worked tirelessly together to address the impact of COVID-19 on the continent,” said Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, partnerships such as this one with Oracle, TBI and various governments are critical to the strengthening of Member State public health institutions, not only to incorporate innovative technology but to proactively and urgently harmonize the collection and sharing of important testing data across the continent.”

TBI has been providing policy advice and hands-on support to African governments as they tackle complex COVID-19 challenges. To address these challenges, TBI partnered with Oracle to deliver cloud technology to digitize and unify national health data starting with the management of vaccinations. The Oracle Health Management System creates an electronic health record in a cloud database for every person as they are vaccinated. This highly-secure system can be quickly configured to interoperate with each country’s existing technology and meet their most stringent data sovereignty requirements. Participating countries will have access and support for the system, free of charge, for the next ten years.

“This is an immensely exciting and potentially ground-breaking initiative for recording information on all disease vaccinations and treatments in African nations,” said Tony Blair, Executive Chairman of TBI and the former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. “Though Africa has coped well with COVID-19, it still needs to be part of international efforts to control the disease, including for international travel. That means vaccination of at least a significant portion of the population, requiring the highest quality data system so that everyone’s vaccine experience is recorded. Oracle can provide that system with data securely stored and owned by each country and is prepared to do so as part of a global philanthropic partnership.

We will be living with COVID-19 for some years, and the recording of data will be vital in managing its impact and spread. And one thing is clear from this crisis: applying new technology solutions has applications for the digitization of the entire economy and is crucial for the acceleration of African development. This initiative is a great test case, and my Institute is proud to be part of it.” 

“The Oracle Health Management System is currently being used by the U.S. government and large healthcare and research organizations to monitor COVID-19 patient symptoms, responses to treatments, and to screen volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials,” said Oracle Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison. “By working with Tony and his team over a period of a few months, we were able to deliver the exact same 21st century cloud technology to Ghana, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone. This is the first time vaccine data has been stored in a cloud database on a national scale. Africa is leading the way.”

Ghana is now using the system to manage its yellow fever vaccine program and will follow with COVID-19 once that vaccine is distributed in Africa.

Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo said, “We have learned many lessons from this pandemic. The most obvious is that we have to urgently fortify our public health systems. This strategic partnership with Oracle and TBI is evidence of our drive to digitalize Ghana’s health systems for our people’s benefit.”

“The move from Ghana’s current paper-based vaccination campaign records to digital data management using the Oracle platform will enable our data to be easily accessible by authorized persons. The data will be more secure, and there will be no worry about lost cards as people travel,” added Dr. Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, Expanded Programme on Immunization, Ghana Health Service.

Rwanda has prepared its system to support its HPV vaccine administration as soon as secondary schools reopen, with plans to support COVID-19 vaccinations and an immunity pass for citizens in the future.

President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame called for a resilient health system as the best defense against future pandemics: “A COVID-19 vaccine will be a critical tool, and Africa must be able to access to its fair share of a vaccine once it is available. This partnership will deliver an innovative digital vaccine e-registry that signals the continent’s readiness to deploy the vaccine and to safely reopen our economies to trade and tourism.”

Sierra Leone is preparing to use the system to create digital vaccination records when its next routine Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) campaign begins. EPI is a global initiative to vaccinate for polio, diphtheria, tuberculosis, pertussis, measles, and tetanus. It is estimated to prevent two to three million childhood deaths globally each year from these diseases. Sierra Leone’s EPI program reportedly covers 95% of eligible children in that country.

Chief Innovation Officer and Minister of Education of Sierra Leone, Dr. David Moinina Sengeh, noted, “The Government of Sierra Leone is committed to utilizing technology and innovation – digitizing services to improve service delivery for its citizens. Using our experience from Ebola, we were able to put together a robust National COVID-19 Response plan, which has technology, data, and innovation as core enablers. This collaboration with Oracle and TBI is significant not only for dealing with COVID-19 and broader health needs, such as EPI vaccinations but will be a key step in our country’s mission of digitization for all.”

As countries begin vaccinating people for COVID-19, the Oracle Health Management System can be used to automatically create an electronic health record for every person vaccinated.  Once the COVID-19 vaccine is available, the Oracle Health Management System will track immunizations and provide recipients with a Digital Quick Response (QR) code. These QR codes will help Africa reopen its borders and economies by providing citizens the proof of immunization needed to move freely for work and travel.

www.institute.global

www.oracle.com

[Column] Mark Bannerman: Cloud and the Need for Agile, Accelerated Implementation

As we’ve seen in the recent stock-market crash, cloud business has a massive impact on the global economy. It is clear from the loss of stock value of a leading software solution provider, as a direct result of the crashing of its cloud business, that cloud plays a large role in the value assigned to the businesses operating in it.

Essentially, cloud solutions provide the opportunity to transform how companies operate, offering increasingly more direct business benefits. These cloud deployment advantages far outweigh applications delivered by traditional on-premises solutions. 

If 2020 has taught the world anything, it’s that the need to digitise will only increase as the globe’s complexities intensify. While many were forced to embrace work from home practices and digitally driven solutions to survive, it is what they do post-Covid that will determine their long-term sustainability. Digital transformation is a large consideration for future success. Through effective automation, business leaders are freed up to focus on wider business opportunities. Today, it is only the fastest, most agile companies that survive and grow. It is evolution at full throttle, and it is relentless and unforgiving.

According to research conducted by Tripathy and Jyotishi in 2020, shared in a Paper titled Macro Factors Affecting Cloud Computing Readiness: A Cross-Country Analysis, cloud readiness falls into two groups: “prerequisite” and “growth-enabler”. A ResearchGate abstract of the Paper confirms that findings suggest “factors like Per capita GDP, Governance, Business Environment, and R&D have significant and positive influences on the prerequisites for cloud computing. Similarly, factors like Governance, Business Environment, and R&D have a significant and positive influence on the growth enablers which affect the cloud computing readiness of the ecosystem.” 

A study released by Research ICT Africa, titled The Cloud Over Africa, looks into the state of cloud computing across Africa. According to this study, most of Africa’s cloud adoption is supply-drive. However, South Africa stands out as an exception. “The growth of cloud-computing services is demand-side driven through the corporate sector; however, there is a preference for private cloud services due to concerns around data protection and security. Nonetheless, it is believed that more companies will be forced to migrate to public cloud services and take advantage of the economies of scale offered, as a cost-cutting measure. The enactment of legislation on data and security in line with global standards will go a long way towards driving the adoption of these services.” 

Taking all of this into consideration – while factoring in the macro-economic factors of a disastrous 2020 – the key to successful cloud implementation is agility, speed, and simplicity. While many traditional organisations are cautious to move to the cloud during a year of uncertainties, making this move will have a positive impact on sustainable business growth. 

One of the greatest barriers to cloud adoption is the time to implement. With modern innovations, the need for agile, streamlined deployments has become the dominant concern.  Business leaders realise that a constantly evolving world demands technology platforms that prioritise agility – the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, embrace simplicity, and innovate faster and better with each iteration. Technology projects must now be focused on accelerating process improvements and Return on Investment. Rapid deployment strategies built on agility are the keys to delivering disruptive innovation. 

Infor’s foresight in terms of Digital Transformation started with by bringing standardised CloudSuites to the market. These industry-specific solutions were built on a refined understanding of what functionality should be included ‘out-of-the-box’. To further speed the process, the company developed industry-focused, pre-configured and flexible Implementation Accelerators (IAs). Delivering application configurations, implementation playbook, tools, and templates, the IAs offer a framework for implementing industry specific business processes, migrating data, establishing workflows, and educating users on the features and functionality of the solution.

With these CloudSuites firmly established, delivering the capability and agility for businesses to develop their own innovation became paramount. Enter “60:30:10TM”. The first 60% is easy wins; core industry leading processes that businesses can adopt with little effort (but do not provide differentiation). This allows businesses to adopt technology that delivers industry best practice, as quickly as possible. 

Processes that are differentiators, but still fall within the realm of configuration or small tweaks, make up the next 30%. This ensures the business isn’t starting from zero, but instead is choosing from options that can be tailored and configured quickly to best fit their needs. 

Now that capacity has been freed up, businesses can focus on the last 10%. These processes are highly differentiating and transforming them drives dramatically better decision-making, enhanced customer experiences, and improved performance within a specific supply chain. With this approach, businesses avoid getting lost in theoretical ways of engineering what usually turns out to be only a marginally better solution to a common problem. 

“60:30:10TM” strategy need not be a ‘big bang’ approach, so the technology must support continual innovation. Truly embracing disruption means continually embracing it on a long-term voyage. When it comes to the technology that enables this innovation, the business could plan for multiple go-lives that are often a lot faster than each previous project. Expensive and risky waterfall approaches instead become a strategic, rapid series of incremental improvements that shrink time to market and capital, infrastructure related investment requirements.

The reality is that uncertainty is not a good reason to stay on-prem. This 60:30:10TM approach drives greater certainty with innovative and agile cloud solutions, allowing for accelerated implementation to ensure no gaps in operations. The time is now. 

Mark Bannerman is the Business Unit Executive at EOH Infor Services (formerly Softworx), Infor’s Master Partner in Africa.

Snowflake announces global startup challenge to fuel next generation of apps in the data cloud

Snowflake, creator of the Data Cloud, has announced its first-ever global Startup Challenge.

The Startup Challenge is inviting early stage organizations that are building applications in the Snowflake Data Cloud to showcase their innovations via online submission, for a chance to be one of three finalists that will pitch to an audience of judges at Snowflake Summit in Summer 2021.

The winner of the Startup Challenge may receive up to a $250,000 investment from Snowflake along with access to a global network of resources including venture capitalists and data experts.

Snowflake’s single, integrated platform enables startups to focus on building their data applications, without the burden of managing complex infrastructure.

Software teams in hundreds of startups and enterprises are already innovating in the Data Cloud, leveraging the global network where thousands of organizations mobilize data with near-unlimited scale, concurrency, and performance, to help their customers acquire new users, uncover security threats, build machine learning models, analyze IOT data, and more.

Benoit Dageville, Co-Founder and President of Products, Snowflake: “Snowflake’s architecture makes it an ideal platform for developing data applications and we continue to be impressed with how application builders innovate to launch their own data products in the Data Cloud. This competition will showcase the power of data network effects while also expanding their reach. We look forward to rewarding a top startup who both embodies and employs the Snowflake vision: To mobilize the world’s data.”

Startups that take part in the Snowflake Startup Competition will be evaluated based on a set of criteria, including business potential, level of innovation, and the use of Snowflake’s unique capabilities for their product. The final three competitors will pitch to a live audience (either in-person or virtually) at Snowflake Summit in Summer 2021.

 Snowflake Chief Marketing Officer, Denise Persson, Snowflake Co-Founder and President of Product, Benoit Dageville, and venture capital investors Mike Speiser with Sutter Hill Ventures and Carl Eschenbach with Sequoia Capital will judge the competition and pick a winner.

Snowflake’s platform provides many capabilities for startups–including separation of compute and storage, auto-scaling, per-second pricing, native support for semi-structured data, and secure data sharing–to help build differentiated applications, faster. Additionally, startups can leverage integrations with a broad range of technology partners in the Snowflake ecosystem.

www.snowflake.com

Telekom Networks Malawi selects Canonical’s Charmed OpenStack to modernize its telecommunication infrastructure

Canonical, the publisher of Ubuntu, has announced that its Charmed OpenStack, an open source private cloud solution that allows businesses to control large pools of computer, storage and networking in a datacentre, has been selected by Telekom Networks Malawi Plc (TNM), to modernise and virtualise its entire telecommunications infrastructure.

 TNM is Malawi’s telecoms provider and aims to create faster time to market across its product range through the move.

TNM has been a pioneer of mobile and data solutions in Malawi, having been the first mobile operator to launch 4G broadband services, while its network is the fastest in the country, covering all cities and major towns. Charmed Openstack will enable TNM to separate network hardware and software, turning legacy components into software based network services . This means they can be updated quicker with continuous integration and development, while ensuring the network is robust and scalable.

The move towards Charmed OpenStack has been driven by TNM’s existing use and advocacy of open source software. The deployment, including two private clouds, will happen immediately and give TNM access to virtual network functions (VNFs), which will open up access to a wide range of network services to build on top of the initial deployment.

Adopting a cloud-based architecture with Charmed OpenStack will accelerate TNM’s ability to develop new technologies and services while benefiting from reduced CAPEX investment. TNM will also adopt Canonical’s Managed OpenStack service, which allows TNM to have a fully managed private cloud on its own servers. The managed service allows TNM to take advantage of Canonical’s open source expertise and allows them to focus on adding business value elsewhere.

Michiel Buitelaar, Chief Executive Officer at TNM, said: “This is a big step in an ongoing programme for us to evolve our infrastructure and deliver the best possible solutions for customers. Utilising Canonical’s expertise via OpenStack was an obvious choice, and by increasing our open source footprint we now have access to a wider range of services, optimising how we will deliver future technologies.”

Nicholas Dimotakis, VP of Field Engineering, Datacentre at Canonical, said: “TNM is joining a wave of telco companies moving to OpenStack, to modernise their infrastructure to software based network services, and it’s fantastic for us to be part of this migration. TNM understands what can be delivered through an open infrastructure and is now able to take advantage of open source technology more broadly, collaborating with the community to improve its offering.”

TNM’s decision represents a bigger trend within the telecoms industry, while in Africa specifically, companies are turning to OpenStack to modernise their network and future proof for the adoption of new technologies such as 5G. Through a long-term investment in the technology, TNM will now have more agility to innovate at scale and consistently meet customer demands.

TNM’s cloud will be built on Canonical’s Charmed OpenStack, and utilise Canonical’s open source tools to automate the deployment and operations of their infrastructure. TNM has adopted Juju – Operator Lifecycle Manager to manage and operate a set of software applications for a model-driven architecture to onboard virtual network functions (VNFs) applications, while MAAS is used as the cloud-provisioning tool. The company will also benefit from Canonical’s Managed OpenStack offering for the ongoing maintenance and support of operations.

www.canonical.com

www.tnm.co.mw

Global cloud-based contact center market poised to reach $36 million by 2025, report

The global cloud-based contact center market size is expected to grow at an annual compounded growth rate of 25.8 per cent to reach $36.1 billion by 2025 from $11.5 billion in 2020 according to the latest report by Research and Markets.

Digital business transformation has entered a more challenging and urgency-driven phase due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Global giants provide customers with cost-effective and productive digital solutions as every industry is economically hard-hit by the pandemic.

The sudden shutdowns of organizations and institutions increased the demand for cloud solutions and other online services. The cloud-based contact center market in industries such as IT and ITeS, telecommunications, BFSI, and media and entertainment, has impacted positively due to the work from the home initiative.

Cloud-based contact centers are independent of the location they are situated, enabling agents, supervisors, and administrators to access them from anywhere through a phone or by an internet connection. Enterprises across the globe are recovering gradually and are expected to get back on gradually by mid of 2021.

The omnichannel routing solutions comprise digital channels, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), ACD, dialer, and virtual agent. COmnichannel solutions empower to designates certain calls to different agents and locations depending on a variety of factors.

 Focusing on call routing enables organizations to manage thousands of calls continuously without compromising with customer satisfaction. Moreover, organizations could easily manage spikes in call volume by intelligently distributing calls among multiple contact centers, including remote centers and home-based agents, with the unique omnichannel technology.

The cloud-based contact center market has been segmented based on organization size into Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and large enterprises. The major benefit large enterprises receive with the implementation of cloud transformation is that the cloud services are maintained and supported by the vendors themselves.

Moreover, firms could thereby engage their employees in more strategic business tasks. The demand for flexible, scalable, and convenient solutions for large enterprises pushes service providers to come up with new technologies and offer innovative solutions. Hence, the cloud-based contact center market for large enterprises is expected to grow at a significant rate.

The BFSI industry is adopting cloud services as it helps save operational costs and offers high business continuity. Banks’ customer information is stored across a variety of systems. Having this information readily available for customer service channels is crucial to meet stated objectives and provide seamless customer experiences.

With the help of cloud-based solutions, contact center agents can enhance customer experiences through increased speed and better quality of call resolution. Moreover, a cloud-based contact center ensures business continuity by focusing on issues such as manageability, scalability, and higher efficiency.

North America is estimated to capture the largest market share in 2020, and the trend is expected to continue during the forecast period. Growth in the adoption of cloud-based services in SMEs and large enterprises is expected to drive revenue growth in this region.

On the other hand, the cloud-based contact center market in the Asia Pacific (APAC) is expected to witness exponential growth and is projected to be one of the fastest-growing regions in the global cloud-based contact center market. This is attributed to the large-scale adoption of cost-effective cloud-based solutions in these regions.

www.researchandmarkets.com

[Column] Francis Wainaina: Africa, Kenya and the Cloud – The Numbers You Need to Know

As a unified online platform for communication and collaboration, the cloud is now widely considered to be one of the most valuable resources we have at our disposal.

It’s reported that by the end of 2020, 82% of workloads globally will reside on the cloud and more than 40 zettabytes of data will be flowing through cloud servers and networks.

If African businesses are to take advantage of the opportunities that the cloud will present in the next decade, there are some key numbers we should all be paying attention to.

402.5 GB

That’s how much data European and American broadband subscribers used on average every month during the first quarter of 2020. This reflects an increase of 47% in broadband data usage from the first quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020. Of course, some of this can be attributed to global lockdowns increasing data usage for entertainment, work or online learning arrangements. 

This increase has been mirrored on our continent – with SEACOM recently doubling the capacity of its fibre optic network to meet the growing demand for bandwidth in Africa. It’s almost certain that these numbers will continue to increase, enabling cloud-based tech like the Internet of Things and AI-driven automation.

23 335%

In Kenya, we’ve seen our Internet use grow by 23 335% over the last two decades, with our Internet penetration at approximately 87%. The subsequent shifts in consumer needs and expectations caused by increasing demand for Internet access has led to aggressive network roll out and infrastructure upgrades using technologies that support high capacity services. As our Internet capacity continues to grow, so do the opportunities for businesses to use cloud technologies to realise efficiencies and reach new markets.

$331 billion

It’s reported that the average person uses 36 cloud-based services every single day with global cloud revenue estimated to grow to $331 billion by 2022.   

But what does this mean for Africa? If this continent is to generate and keep part of that cloud-revenue pie, governments and businesses need to do what they can to invest in, support and increase access to cloud technology. The cloud has the potential to have a profound impact on organisations’ abilities to innovate and compete on both a regional and global level, making infrastructure a priority.

7 123.36 GB per second

Trends show that Kenya is on its way to being able to embrace the cloud. This year, total undersea bandwidth capacity increased by 14% from the last quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020. The latest report shows that it is at 7 123.36 GB per second; this increased demand for bandwidth capacity is what will enable Africans to access all of the potential benefits of the cloud, and we are likely to see greater demand for additional IT infrastructure to accommodate the uptake. 

38%

According to the “Cloud in Africa 2020” report, 38% of decision makers across Africa increased their spend on cloud services in 2019. This is good news for Africa! It shows that African business leaders realise how important the cloud is going to be for the future of their companies and they are investing in the technology now so that they will be ready to meet demand for and provide innovative cloud-enabled services. Because the cloud also enables resource and process efficiencies, more businesses investing in the cloud also means that we can look forward to more competitive African organisations in the future.

6 in 10

That’s how many South African companies experienced a public cloud security incident in the past 12 months, based on survey data from cyber security company Sophos. On home soil, the National KE-CIRT/CC detected 34.6 million cyber threat events during the first quarter of 2020. This reinforces the need for well-secured cloud services in Africa. With so much at stake, business owners cannot afford mission-critical company information to fall into the wrong hands. What’s needed is better education around online security and cloud partners with the skills to guide businesses on best practice. 

Increased Internet infrastructure, increased demand for bandwidth, and increased Internet penetration in Kenya are signs that the future could be bright for the cloud in Africa. Not much is certain in the current economic climate, but trends show that these numbers will continue to increase in Africa and across the globe. If the right investments are made to bolster infrastructure and bandwidth over the next 5 years, Africa will be in a prime position to extract efficiencies and realise the innovation that the cloud enables.

Francis Wainaina is a Senior Product Manager at SEACOM East Africa.

Cloud4C and SNP Ink global deal on simplified digital transformation

Cloud4C Services Pte. Ltd, a global cloud managed services provider based in Singapore, has signed a global Silver Partnership agreement with the SNP Group, a player in data transformation, to simplify the complex digital transformation of data and processes.

This alliance will offer attractive packages for the accelerated adoption of SAP® S/4HANA in the cloud bundled with one-stop shop end-to-end software solutions to reduce enterprises’ total cost of ownership (TCO) and capital expenditure (CAPEX).

The partnership brings the dual advantage of Cloud4C’s AIOPs and DevOps-driven Managed Services expertise in SAP S/4HANA along with SNP’s BLUEFIELD™ approach powered by CrystalBridge® automation software.

With this, enterprises can launch multiple projects and migrate selective data in one go, on any cloud environment – public, private or hybrid. Cloud4C brings in global best practices in comprehensive cloud readiness assessment, security and regulatory compliance adherence, and cost optimization. The minimum duration of the contract is until the end of 2023.

Michael Eberhardt, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at SNP, commented, “Cloud-based modernization of SAP environments is a cornerstone of digital transformation, forming the basis for economic success on an unprecedented, accelerated path of business agility, continuity and innovation. A move to the cloud is increasingly becoming an integral consideration for strategic business- and technology-critical scenarios like SAP S/4HANA, mergers, acquisitions, carve-outs and infrastructure costs. We are pleased to partner with Cloud4C, taking our core capability in SAP landscape transformations to a new level globally. With our joint proposition, enterprises can rely on our selective data and process harmonization ability to minimize their cloud data footprint, thus delivering customer value through high-performance software for maximum project speed, accuracy and efficiency with minimal disruption and risk.”

Sridhar Pinnapureddy, Founder and CEO, Cloud4C, said “We are delighted to partner with SNP as their cloud evolution partner providing end to end cloud managed services for enterprises. Our customers will now have a viable alternative to transform their most complex SAP deployments into next-generation integrated environments with Cloud4C migration factory framework, SNP’s advanced software and global talent pool. Together, we will be able to help our customers embark on a cloud transformation journey through SAP Cloud Managed services, SAP S/4HANA transformation, Application Management Services (AMS) with reduced TCO powered by AIOps, Single interface for Platform Management.” He further added, “With our Cloud value assessment including TCO analysis, compliance/regulatory and security assessment, special attention to the availability of key services, enterprises will be able to achieve their business/technology objectives through our innovative cost models and gain Total Cloud Control.”

www.cloud4c.com

www.snpgroup.com

[South Africa] Stanlib enables remote working on Nutanix infrastructure foundation

Nutanix, a company involved in enterprise cloud computing, has announced  that South African financial services company, Stanlib, is working with the company to secure additional nodes that enable the organisation to provide virtual desktops to employees that have been required to work from home during the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in the country.

South Africa saw hard and fast Level Five lockdown restrictions being implemented in late March 2020, leading to all but essential service businesses having to close through to the end of April. However, being in the financial services sector required STANLIB to maintain trading conditions while prioritising the safety of its employees, resulting in the business enabling a host of employees to work from home. With little to no warning of the government’s intentions, STANLIB had to quickly find a practical solution that would support this move and allow employees access to their applications securely.

“Fortunately, having just completed a significant Nutanix roll out, which has seen 95% of STANLIB’s production environment being run on the Nutanix platform. We did not have to reinvent the wheel but rather identify how best to introduce new nodes to expand on our current capability. Ease of use and scalability were key considerations. Additionally, the ability to run Citrix as securely as possible given the governance requirements around data management had to be ensured throughout the process,” said Dipesh Nagar at STANLIB.

With Citrix being a group standard across STANLIB, the Nutanix environment had to enable users to have millisecond access to their applications. The guaranteed performance was a business priority. One of the advantages of the Nutanix infrastructure is that STANLIB can expand on its existing enterprise cloud environment, which it uses for crucial business applications to deliver these to its work from home users. The scaling out of STANLIB’s existing private Nutanix cloud was a straightforward process, didn’t require a significant investment of resources on new equipment, and it repurposed the hardware it already had in place for Citrix Hosted Shared Desktops and a remote work offering.

Subsequently, STANLIB has grown its 20 node Nutanix environment to now encompass 26 nodes still running Acropolis Ultimate Edition including Prism Central while now also having Citrix solutions in place. The advantages of being able to access VDI infrastructure are significant. Not only does this result in a simplified IT environment, but it also increases security that is mission-critical for STANLIB. Employees can remain productive wherever they are and can still access essential information, products, and services from the datacentre just as if they were sitting in the office.

“Nutanix has positioned us strongly to evolve as the world changes and to be able to meet any changes in an agile manner. This enables STANLIB to deliver high-quality customer service irrespective of what is happening in terms of the lockdown. While it is difficult to predict what the future work environment will look like once we have moved past the COVID-19 pandemic, using Nutanix has given STANLIB the peace of mind we need that we can reliably and securely meet any requirement. The scalability of the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform makes future growth virtually limitless, and we can plan for any scenario while still delivering the business continuity and disaster recovery aspects so essential for the financial services market,” added Nagar.

“As a longstanding customer and early adopter of Nutanix, STANLIB has always set the bar in embracing change and being able to adapt their systems to the needs of the business,” stated Paul Ruinaard, Regional Sales Director at Nutanix Sub-Saharan Africa. “The speed of completion and the agility with which it was done stands as a testament to the importance STANLIB place on IT functioning as a business enabler. They are one of only a few financial services companies that were able to effect this change as quickly as they did and as a result, ensure business continuity throughout the lockdown.”

Considering how access to sensitive data has become a target for increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, being able to leverage Citrix in a high available Nutanix environment enables STANLIB to provide the right level of access based on each employee’s location, device, and several other factors. Today, irrespective of whether a remote worker accesses the STANLIB environment from a desktop, laptop or tablet, Nutanix and Citrix deliver the response times required to remain as productive as possible with no impact on the employee experience.

www.nutanix.com

www.stanlib.com

[Kenya] Businesses to increase spending on cloud services by over 50% in 2021

Enterprises in Kenya are set to increase their expenditure on cloud computing services by 68 per cent in 2021 up from 38 per cent in 2020. This is according to the “Africa in the Cloud 2020” study by World Wide Worx conducted among eight African countries.

The study notes that there has been an increased spend on cloud services. The big shift in spending is accredited to an increase in hyper-scale data centres within the continent. Kenya for instance increased its cloud spend by 38 per cent with South Africa leading with an 82 per cent increase in cloud uptake.

“Businesses that had digitally transformed their operations recorded a 71 per cent increase in productivity, compared to their counterparts who had not done so and only achieved 21 per cent increase in productivity,” stated Arthur Goldstruck, a media analyst and commentator on ICT, mobile communications and technologies.

The Banking and Manufacturing sectors, recorded the highest spend on cloud services adoption with 53 per cent and 46 per cent respectively. Mr. Goldstruck added that going by the data from the study, it is evident that digital transformation in Africa is on the rise and organizations’ priority on cloud spend, is proof of it. 63% of the companies interviewed in the study indicated their top reasons for cloud adoption as driving business efficiency followed by operational flexibility and customer service which averaged at 53 per cent and 45 per cent respectively. Additionally, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of things and Big Data were noted as other business trends of priority to organizations in various sectors in the next three years. Their significance, ranked 80 per cent and above in the majority of the countries in the study. The key industry sectors keen on adopting the tech trends highlighted were Manufacturing, Insurance and Financial Services, Information Technology, Non-Governmental and Non-Profit Organizations and Banking.

“Digital awakening is no longer a choice but a necessity for the new future,” added Mr. Goldstruck.

Speaking during the session, Ms. Deirdre Fryer, Head of Solutions Engineering- SYSPRO Africa indicated that creating competitive advantage, creating new business models and improving customer experience are the 3 focus areas businesses should take into consideration when determining what they want to achieve from their digital transformation journey.  “We have seen a substantial digital awakening in Africa and if businesses adopt digital transformation in the mentioned focus areas, they are bound to greatly benefit and remain competitive in their respective sectors, stated Ms. Fryer.

Organizations such as Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS) and Synresins, whose CEOs Jane Masiga and Mira Shah were present at the meeting, use SYSPRO’s ERP solution and other cloud business solutions to automate the majority of their operations, ranging from supply chain management to customer care. They both indicated that despite the perceived high cost of digitization, the cost benefits outweigh the initial cost of adoption.

www.syspro.com

Cisco delivers new platform solutions to drive workload agility across public and private clouds

Cisco has announced new software-delivered solutions designed to simplify IT operations across on-premise data centers and multicloud environments.

With this milestone, Cisco is enabling greater business agility for its customers and empowering developers to deliver and scale innovative application experiences faster.

Today’s business environment is changing faster than ever. Applications have become more distributed, workforces are more mobile, and the demands on our systems are greater than ever. In order to face these challenges, IT teams need greater insights and automation to deliver true technology agility. Cisco is unveiling agile IT platforms to help technology groups respond to these market transitions.

“Complexity can paralyze our teams. Our systems can no longer be powerful, but brittle. For IT to be as agile as their businesses require, they need solutions obsessed with simplicity,” said Todd Nightingale, SVP and GM, Cisco Enterprise Networking and Cloud. “This year, technology groups around the globe were tested by unprecedented change. This fundamental shift in how businesses, schools and governments operate requires IT teams to transform how they function. Today, Cisco is announcing IT platforms for multicloud operations that provide advanced insights and automation to help organizations transform faster.”

Cisco is bringing a never-before-experienced level of efficiency to cloud, application, SecOps, NetOps and DevOps teams. As a cloud-neutral vendor, only Cisco allows customers to maintain choice and control across their full IT stack with simplified and consistent operations. Cisco provides unrivaled visibility from the application to the infrastructure, allowing customers to deliver the best application experiences. New solutions include:

Cisco Intersight: Building on its foundation as a leading systems management platform, Cisco Intersight’s mission is to become the world’s simplest hybrid cloud platform that connects private data centers to private clouds. With the new Intersight Kubernetes Service, infrastructure teams can now automate the lifecycle management of Kubernetes and containerized applications across any environment. This represents a major leap forward in the container ecosystem by driving rapid and consistent application innovation. Intersight Workload Optimizer significantly simplifies application resources management. With a single tool that provides real-time, full-stack visibility and insights, customers can balance application performance and cost. Intersight integration with AppDynamics provides IT teams with visibility to improve management across infrastructure and applications and stay ahead of problems that can impact user experience.

Cisco Nexus Dashboard: The Cisco Nexus Dashboard is a single insights and automation platform to operate multicloud data center networks spanning on-premise, virtual edge and cloud sites. Consolidating Cisco’s industry-leading portfolio of operational services and critical third-party services, Nexus Dashboard provides one simple interface to manage application lifecycles from set-up to maintenance and optimization. The Nexus Dashboard drives the adoption of cloud-native application practices leading to a faster path to return on infrastructure investment. 

Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE): Cisco ISE now simplifies secure network access across all domains, extending the zero-trust workplace to anywhere and on anything. With the latest innovations, customers can use ISE to intelligently identify a variety of IoT endpoints to enforce consistent policies from the cloud to give teams the agility and flexibility they need to secure their organizations.

“Cisco’s new solutions are part of an overall effort to transform how customers connect people, secure their organization, and automate their processes,” said analyst Will Townsend, Networking Practice Head, Moor Insights & Strategy. “It is designed to bring together platforms and portfolios to help customers respond and adapt to business disruptions, accelerate cloud adoption and transform IT operating models.”

The new Cisco Intersight innovations and the Cisco Nexus Dashboard will be available by the end of the calendar year. Cisco Intersight Kubernetes Service will be made available in the first half of 2021. 

www.cisco.com