VOGSY and Incentro partnership to boost productivity and profitability in the services industry in Africa


VOGSY
, the quote-to-cash Professional Services Automation solution built for Google Workspace users, and Incentro Africa, the Nairobi-based branch of the full digital service company called Incentro, announced today their new partnership.

Through VOGSY’s global Partner Program, Incentro Africa will help its customers across Africa harness VOGSY’s unique Google Workspace integrated platform to run their quote-to-cash operations and enhance productivity and profitability. The partnership will also expand VOGSY’s global reach.

A Google Cloud premier partner, Incentro Africa specializes in enterprise work transformation services enhanced by Google Cloud. Incentro Africa is proactive in always looking for new partnerships and solutions to benefit customers and boost their productivity even further. Many of Incentro’s existing customers were looking for a fully integrated solution at an affordable price and Incentro aims to provide this through its partnership with VOGSY. According to Dennis de Weerd, Incentro Africa’s CEO, supplying VOGSY’s ERP system to Incentro Africa’s customers represents a major advantage in transforming their productivity, team collaboration and efficiency. 

“VOGSY gives our customers the ability to streamline and manage their quote-to-cash processes from all sales, operations and accounting sides with a single tool that integrates with Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides, achieving the ultimate real-time collaboration and transparency throughout service delivery,” de Weerd said.

As the only Professional Services Automation platform created for Google Workspace as well as the leading quote-to-cash ERP solution, VOGSY is a singular tool that packs significant value for services firms. Elimination of destructive work silos, intuitive UX, real-time business data including project budgets, margins and financial KPIs as well as built-in scalability and security are some of the main benefits VOGSY’s CEO Mark van Leeuwen aims to bring to Incentro Africa’s professional services customers.

“As professional services firms undertake digital transformations, they require forward-thinking partners and access to tools that provide actionable data and real collaboration whether they’re two feet or continents apart. VOGSY is proud to align with the like-minded professionals at Incentro Africa and work together to ensure the efficiency, profitability and sustainability of services firms in the digital era.”

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With over 10 years of proven expertise in technical consultation and related services, Incentro, the only Google Premier Partner in East, West and Central Africa has become the go-to partner for successful business transformation in the continent.

From Enterprise Collaboration, Cloud Migration and Smart application development, we proudly serve over 26 countries in Africa and are growing. Whatever your ambition is, we’ll aim for maximum impact. We dive deep into your organization, challenge your plans, build solutions swiftly and make sure they work.

Please feel free to visit our website or send an email to Customer Success Manager Elizabeth Akinyi – liz@incentro.com.

www.incentro.com
www.vogsy.com

Siemens and Google Cloud partner on AI-based solutions in manufacturing

Google Cloud and Siemens, an innovation and technology company in industrial automation and software, have announced a new cooperation to optimize factory processes and improve productivity on the shop floor.

 Siemens intends to integrate Google Cloud’s leading data cloud and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) technologies with its factory automation solutions to help manufacturers innovate for the future. 

Data drives today’s industrial processes, but many manufacturers continue to use legacy software and multiple systems to analyze plant information, which is resource-intensive and requires frequent manual updates to ensure accuracy.

 In addition, while AI projects have been deployed by many companies in “islands” across the plant floor, manufacturers have struggled to implement AI at scale across their global operations.

For more than 170 years, Siemens has built its business on pioneering technologies that have led the manufacturing industry forward. By combining Google Cloud’s data cloud and AI/ML capabilities with Siemens’ Digital Industries Factory Automation portfolio, manufacturers will be able to harmonize their factory data, run cloud-based AI/ML models on top of that data, and deploy algorithms at the network edge. This enables applications such as visual inspection of products or predicting the wear-and-tear of machines on the assembly line.

Deploying AI to the shop floor and integrating it into automation and the network is a complex task, requiring highly specialized expertise and innovative products such as Siemens Industrial Edge.

The goal of the cooperation between Google Cloud and Siemens is to make the deployment of AI in connection with the Industrial Edge—and its management at scale— easier, empowering employees as they work on the plant floor, automating mundane tasks, and improving overall quality.

“The potential for artificial intelligence to radically transform the plant floor is far from being exhausted. Many manufacturers are still stuck in AI ‘pilot projects’ today – we want to change that,” said Axel Lorenz, VP of Control at Factory Automation of Siemens Digital Industries. “Combining AI/ML technology from Google Cloud with Siemens’ solutions for Industrial Edge and industrial operation will be a game changer for the manufacturing industry.”

“Siemens is a leader in advancing industrial automation and software, and Google Cloud is a leader in data analytics and AI/ML. This cooperation will combine the best of both worlds and bring AI/ML to the manufacturing industry at scale. By simplifying the deployment of AI in industrial use cases, we’re helping employees augment their critical work on the shop floor,” said Dominik Wee, Managing Director Manufacturing and Industrial at Google Cloud. 

www.siemens.com

cloud.google.com

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud computing is the technological revolution of the twenty-first century

One of the key drivers of Africa’s cloud computing boom is the unquestionable benefits the technology brings to the ICT sector. 

For some African sub-regions, the cloud computing model has already come to represent a solution to IT under-equipment problems, and the trends indicate that this model is set for major development provided certain accompanying measures are taken in a timely manner. 

Cloud computing, considered by some to be the technological revolution of the twenty-first century, could go a long way towards resolving such issues, provided the corresponding technology is implemented on solid bases that inspire confidence in users both domestic and foreign.  This is according to the cloud computing report by ITU. 

The report notes that the experience of African countries to date points to cloud computing technology being used at different levels according to the institutions concerned.

‘’Indeed, while a given administration may only now be preparing to introduce this new technology, it may well be the case that 50 per cent of the country’s ICT operators have begun to implement or are already using it’’ the report says. 

Nick Treurnicht, the Customer Engineer for Google Workspace at DigiCloud Africa, agrees with this in a recent interview with Africa Business Communities. 

‘’Africa has tremendous skills in IT engineering.  At the start of the pandemic and the lockdown in 2020, we saw many companies running legacy systems rush to deploy Google Workspace.  Most of the companies already running Workspace didn’t have a hard time picking up their laptops and working from home.  We even saw an increase in productivity instead of a decrease, as most business owners and managers feared.’’ Nick says. 

As we have mentioned in a previous cloud review article, in Africa, cloud remains a key part in shaping how Africa will grow when it comes to technological infrastructure.  It has the potential to transform economic activities considering its inherent pay-per usage model, flexibility and scalability features. 

As IDC also notes, cloud adoption is no longer merely an option; indeed, it is a necessity that promises tremendous rewards across entire organizations. As the region’s enterprises dramatically accelerate their digital transformation journeys, they need to embrace the power of cloud computing and its holy grail – frictionless, hybrid multi-cloud that provides infrastructure-agnostic views and unified management capabilities across all clouds and even legacy data centres. 

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa

[Interview] Nick Treurnicht, Customer Engineer for Google Workspace, DigiCloud Africa, South Africa

Nick Treurnicht is the Customer Engineer for Google Workspace at DigiCloud Africa, Africa’s Google Cloud Brokerage, specialising in Google Cloud products – including Google Cloud Platform, G Suite, Google Maps and Chrome.

Kindly introduce yourself and your role at DigiCloud Africa.

I have been working with Google Workspace since 2013 and have sold it, trained on it, deployed it and migrated it.  I started at a Google Partner in South Africa and assisted in them becoming a Premier Google Partner.  I have in depth knowledge of the entire platform and who it best serves customers in adopting the real cloud.  I then moved to Digicloud Africa as Google’s Distributor as I have a passion not just for South Africa, but the whole of Africa.  This continent is where Google and Digicloud can enable the next billion users.  I assist our ecosystem of Partners with technical expertise, customer engagements and solutions validation.  I assist them with deployments and migrations as well.  A happy customer makes for a happy partner.  And the partners are our customers.

Digicloud Africa is Google’s enablement partner in Africa. Tell us about this.

Digicloud Africa is the sole distributor in Africa for Google products; Google Workspace as well as Google Cloud Platform.  We function as the enablement and onboarding arm of Google, assisting in growing the Google ecosystem in Africa.  We onboard and train and assist with upskilling the partners on behalf of Google.  We offer our customers sales expertise as well as technical assistance so that they may best serve their customers.  We have experts on all the Google products that have worked at other partners and have gained valuable experience over the years that we now share with our partners, showing them how to become a Premier Partner themselves.

What role is DigiCloud Africa playing in growing African businesses, especially when it comes to cloud adoption?

Digicloud Africa employs a variety of Cloud Architects, Machine Learning specialists, Data Engineers and DevOps Engineers, Security Engineers to name a few.  All skilled and experienced in Google Cloud Platform.  Our partners’ customers benefit from our experience and guidance to assist them in their journey into Google Cloud.  We also assist in marketing the skills of our partners and host webinars online alongside our partners for visibility.  With Google Workspace, we show companies how to run their collaboration platform fully in the cloud.  Use your account from any internet connected device and never lose a document or an email ever again.  Ongoing engagements with the customer ensures that we are there every step of the way to assist the customer in making the right IT decision that supports their cloud strategy.

Why are the solutions you’re providing so important for African businesses?

Now is the best time to adopt the Cloud and with Digicloud Africa and Google’s support it’s easier than ever before to make it happen. If you are building an application or starting a company, you don’t need to and often cannot afford to, start by investing in hardware.  It is costly and requires continual maintenance and upgrades.  This stifles innovation.  Africa has an amazing entrepreneurial spirit that we wish to see growing over the next decade.  The Cloud not only helps you scale up when you need the services, but also scale down when it’s not needed during a lockdown as we saw in 2020.  On a continent where finding the right hardware is often difficult and costly, the Cloud offers you access to state of the art technology.

The demand for cloud services in Africa is growing fast, especially during this pandemic? Do you believe it’s time for every business to move to the cloud?

Yes.  Maintain the servers you have while planning your journey into the cloud.  Stop investing in costly short term solutions (server upgrades).  Modernise your application architecture so that you can run it in the most efficient manner in the Cloud.  Don’t just spin up virtual machines in the Cloud and keep running legacy code in the same old way.  Africa has tremendous skills in IT engineering.  At the start of the pandemic and the lockdown in 2020, we saw many companies running legacy systems rush to deploy Google Workspace.  Most of the companies already running Workspace didn’t have a hard time picking up their laptops and working from home.  We even saw an increase in productivity instead of a decrease, as most business owners and managers feared.

Let’s talk about the future. In Africa, cloud remains a key part in shaping how Africa will grow when it comes to technological infrastructure. What does the future look like?

The future is serverless with a hybrid cloud strategy.  Customers in the cloud should be able to move their applications and workloads between clouds seamlessly.  They will be able to work from anywhere in the world from any type of device; Windows, Macbook, Linux or Chromebook.  Google Workspace for Education is also taking off in Africa in a big way where again Chromebooks are playing an important role.  Kids today entering the workforce tomorrow won’t comprehend why they can’t work remotely or switch devices in the middle of the day and continue working.  Users shouldn’t be bound to their desk, where they can only perform their job function from their device.  Brick and mortar shop fronts will be less prevalent as it’s too costly to maintain and staff.  eCommerce and Logistics is going to play an important role and the cloud will enable that to scale globally.

You are among the speakers an upcoming Google Workspace webinar on April 22nd,  why was it so important to have this webinar?

Post lockdown regulations in South Africa have revealed that users want to continue to work from home.  People are much more productive when given flexibility and the right tools.  This webinar will show you in a very practical way how many Workspace customers did not have a hard time with lockdown or working remotely.  You had access to all of your emails AND files and business tools just like you did in the office.

Still, on the webinar, what should participants expect?

Participants can expect to get a great overview of what Google Workspace is capable of.  They will see the product in action as well and learn how easy it is to use.  They might have heard about ways of using Google Workspace and they might have heard about how other companies are using it successfully, but this webinar will give them a forum to ask questions and ask to see certain features in action and debunk myths about Google Workspace.  They will hopefully be inspired to do things differently and see how MS Office isn’t needed for an organisation at all.  No Office, no servers.

With the webinar happening, what opportunities do you see for DigiCloud in Africa?

We see a big opportunity for all the Africa companies still running legacy email servers on prem to modernise their setup.  All the companies wanting to replace MS Office with something more robust and easy to use where Google Workspace is a natural fit.  Many people have a misconception on what Google Workspace has to offer and only a practical demonstration of “A day in the life of a Workspace user” can really show them how easy IT can be.  The opportunity for Digicloud is really to showcase the strength of our Partner (Incentro) in Africa and how they are supporting their customers and helping them digitally transform.\

Any closing remarks?

This document was edited on a Chromebook (not Windows) using Google Docs (not MS Word) in the Chrome browser.  Every word that I typed was seamlessly saved as I typed without having to activate a certain setting.  The document was automatically saved to Google Drive which means it was backed up to our eDiscovery and Compliance platform (Google Vault) which is built into Google Workspace.  We want to show Africa how easily we do things and solve problems and build workflows without needing to host any servers without any downtime, from anywhere, on any device.

www.digicloud.africa

Absa launches cloud computing skills incubator across its operations in Africa

Absa Group has launched a cloud incubator initiative in collaboration with Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), a leading cloud services provider, to enhance its cloud computing skills across its operations in Africa.

As one of the largest cloud adopters in Africa, Absa says is promoting cloud fluency as part of its broader efforts to promote learning, experimentation and innovation across the organisation to enhance the banking experience for its customers.

By migrating to the cloud, companies can eliminate the expense of building and managing on-site data centres while gaining the ability to reduce infrastructure costs and scale up and down rather than paying for excess on-premises capacity.

“Cloud is rapidly becoming the norm for large companies, a trend that was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted a step-change in digital solutions,” said Andrew Baker, Absa Group Chief Technology Officer. “Using cloud allows us to store much more data cost-efficiently, compared with physical data centres. Cloud has already improved our ability to manage and access data and will enable us to bring products to market faster.”

World Wide Worx’s ‘Cloud in Africa 2020’ report reveals that 84% of African organisations surveyed viewed cloud computing as cost-effective. Cloud investment is expected to increase significantly this year, with 56% of respondents estimating that a quarter of applications will have moved to the cloud by the end 2021, according to the report.

To support its cloud transformation, Absa has launched an internal cloud incubator programme to participate in AWS’s Skills Guild initiative, a comprehensive cloud skills training programme designed to help large enterprise organisations accelerate their cloud adoption journey and build cloud fluency for their employees. The cloud incubator initiative will equip more than 1 500 staff across Absa’s African operations with advanced cloud computing skills this year.

“The AWS Skills Guild offers enterprises a comprehensive approach to organisation-wide cloud enablement, and is designed to not only impart cloud skills, but create excitement, momentum, and accelerate paths to innovation. AWS Skills Guild is based on our experience building enterprise-wide skills transformation plans for our customers across the globe, including National Australia Bank, Deloitte, Kmart Group, and many more,” said Chris Erasmus, Commercial Sector Leader for AWS in South Africa.

A key outcome for Absa’s internal cloud incubator participants is that they will be able to identify cloud opportunities within their businesses, and create more efficient, scalable services and solutions. Employees will have the confidence to innovate faster and experiment more to drive broadscale digital transformation across the business.

“Accelerating cloud adoption will have a significant impact on Absa’s ability to innovate, offer new value propositions, and play a meaningful role in our customers’ and clients’ experiences,” said Baker.

www.absa.africa

[Column] Anthony Njoroge: The importance of flash storage for the cloud

As cynicism about the benefits of the cloud give way to rapidly embracing digital transformation, companies are finding themselves in a position where they must optimise their infrastructure.

While the modern cloud environment delivers improved performance and more responsive use of resources, it must be configured properly with the relevant hardware in place. This is where flash storage becomes an enabler to help unlock the business benefits arising from effective digital transformation.

There is no arguing about the speed advantage flash provides over more traditional storage options. But perhaps, more importantly, it results in improved productivity and responsiveness within the organisation. Because of the higher input/output operations per second of flash, it can deliver faster response times for those IT services that support the business. It makes it possible for insights to be extracted in real-time from the data warehouse further aiding the decision-making process.

The resultant enhancements in efficiencies that come from flash storage means companies will use fewer CPU cores and cloud cycles. Given how most cloud providers work on a pay-per-use model, there will be a significant cost savings that can be reinvested in other parts of the business.

According to the rule of thumb, flash storage can deliver approximately 10 times the performance of traditional storage arrays with just one tenth of the power consumption. It is therefore not difficult to understand why companies are increasingly adopting flash in their cloud architecture.

Storage flexibility

IT departments have also been exploring using NVMe to reduce response time and storage latency. For its part, NetApp was the first enterprise storage vendor to deliver NVMe/FC on all midrange and high-end all-flash A-series storage. This innovation allows customers using a 32Gb fibre channel to immediately see latencies drop to under half a millisecond.

All-flash arrays also enable storage tiering capabilities. After all, one of the ways to reduce cloud costs is to tier infrequently used data to less-expensive storage formats. However, the public cloud providers only offer data tiering between classes of their object storage offerings. This means that as storage requirements become more dynamic, companies require options in matching the fastest storage with the most critical applications.

By moving this less critical data to more affordable alternatives using a cloud-agnostic solution, such as the NetApp AFF, companies can tier data more strategically to meet both cost and access requirements.

Modernisation

Combining flash performance and application integration, while leveraging the power of the hybrid cloud, organisations can extend the capabilities of their data centres. These combine to make up part of the data fabric that help users unless the full potential of the data at their disposal.

Consider how consistent and integrated data management services and applications facilitate data visibility and insights, data access and control, and data protection and security. Together, these technologies will accelerate digital transformation and allow the business to address its highest imperatives.

All-flash storage has become a vital component in the cloud migration journey. It is something that companies must consider if they are to be effective in their digital transitions and leverage the agility that come from the high performance computing capabilities delivered through the cloud.

Anthony Njoroge is the Product Manager for NetApp at Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa

[South Africa] Nedbank enables business continuity and employee remote work with Nutanix

Nutanix, a player in private cloud, hybrid and multicloud computing, has announced that Nedbank, one of Africa’s largest financial institutions, is leveraging the Nutanix cloud platform to improve and facilitate the rapid delivery of its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) during the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling employees to work from home.

To ensure that the banking industry was able to provide its services and meet customer needs, Nedbank had to find a way for employees to work safely and productively from home.

When the initial COVID-19 lockdown stages were introduced, South African companies were forced to mobilize quickly with only a one-week period for preparation before a complete country lockdown. With approximately 30,000 employees serving more than 10 million clients, Nedbank needed to quickly scale its end-user computing systems to continue serving customers. With Nutanix already implemented, the IT team was able to seamlessly and rapidly extend its VDI solution.

“During the sudden switch to a work-from-home requirement because of the pandemic, we did not have to increase our infrastructure but rather optimize the way VDI is delivered to new users on the same platform,” said Johan van Tonder, End User Computing Senior Innovation Manager at Nedbank. “Using Nutanix, we can now maintain and upgrade mission-critical infrastructure during business hours without impacting any of our operations as well as enable employees to work from anywhere.”

Prior to deploying the hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI)-powered Nutanix cloud platform, Nedbank had a three-tier infrastructure that was siloed and required dedicated IT teams to solve specific problems when they arose. It would take a significant amount of time to fix or restore functional problems, which resulted in a large amount of downtime that negatively affected their customers’ experience. Nedbank knew it needed an environment that would increase performance speed and simplify infrastructure management.

In the past, the IT team would have to schedule overtime on the weekend when no users would be accessing the system to complete updates. Now, the IT team can perform firmware updates during peak office hours with minimal disruptions, if any, to the VDI environment or client systems. Additionally, Nedbank was able to simplify the management of its different clusters across separate physical locations, all from a single management console.

With more than 8,500 virtual desktops in its 160-node environment, it is crucial that Nedbank has an infrastructure in place that can enable employees to continue to work even during a pandemic.

“The method and speed at which Nedbank approached these challenges is a testament to the team’s understanding of the power of a hyperconverged infrastructure software and the downstream operational impact it can have on a business,” said Dom Poloniecki, General Manager, Sales, Western Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa at Nutanix. “Today’s clients don’t want their technology partners to approach their problems with a basket full of new technologies. They want to leverage their existing investments to find incremental value and leverage they are looking for. By leveraging its Nutanix solution, Nedbank is doing just that, stretching and truly deriving value from an existing investment.”

www.nedbank.co.za

www.nutanix.com

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud Infrastructure Spending in Africa is on the rise

Enterprises have been moving to the cloud as more increasingly rely on it other than on-premise data centres. While the trend continues to grow day by day, it is not until last year that spending on cloud infrastructure surpassed on-premise data centres — and by a large margin. This is according to a new report from Synergy Research Group.

Spending on cloud infrastructure grew by 35 per cent to reach almost $130 billion in 2020. At the same time, enterprises reduced spending on data centre hardware and software by 6 per cent to $89 billion.

The report indicates how enterprises are increasingly depending on cloud infrastructure, as spending has been on an uptrend since 2010. By 2019, the spending almost equalled enterprise spending on data centres, but the pandemic has helped catapult the cloud shift.

In Africa, cloud remains a key part in shaping how Africa will grow when it comes to technological infrastructure and ostensibly goes beyond basic office applications. From banks looking to accelerate the rollout of new applications to startups disrupting entire industries with innovative, cloud-powered models, cloud services are transforming Africa’s productive capacity and emerging as one of the most essential pillars of Africa’s digital transformation.

Recently, Incentro Africa, an IT service provider became the first in Africa to achieve the Google Cloud Partner “Work Transformation” Specialization, in the Google Cloud Partner Specialization Program. French-based technology firm, Fieldcloud also joined the Smart Africa Alliance. Smart Africa is an alliance of 31 African countries, international organisations and global private sector players tasked with Africa’s digital agenda. Box, Inc., the Content Cloud, announced that Sebastien Marotte will be joining the Box Executive team as President of Box Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), effective June 7, 2021.

This and all other news around cloud in Africa shows a clear direction Africa is taking with cloud.  In fact, market research company IDC says investments in digital transformation and cloud technology will help drive a 2.8% increase in spending on IT this year in the META market (Middle East, Turkey and Africa), to a total of $77.5 billion, after a decline in 2020.

Moving to the cloud as Shanon Ramdaw, the Business Development Manager – Infor Services at iOCO, Infor’s Gold Partner in Africa notes, allows organisations to dedicate their time and energy into their area of speciality. Utilising on-site EAM solutions, he says means time and money spent on updating and managing this system. With a cloud-based system, this management time is practically erased, allowing for more time to focus on pivotal business processes that generate revenue for the organisation. 

Bottom line, as we highlighted in our Africa Cloud Review column last week, cloud computing remains a key part in shaping how Africa will grow when it comes to technological infrastructure.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa



www.incentro.com

[Column] Shanon Ramdaw: Nine reasons to move asset management to the cloud

Moving Asset Management processes to the cloud has become an ever-increasing necessary step. However, many organisations seem to struggle with the idea of moving away from their known systems, however outdated and ineffective these systems may be. In exploring the benefits of moving Asset Management systems to the cloud Shanon Ramdaw, Business Development Manager at iOCO, within iOCO Software Distribution, the local Infor Master Reseller, outlined Infor’s nine essential reasons for moving to the cloud.  

The first reason as indicated by Ramdaw is that moving to the cloud allows organisations to dedicate their time and energy into their area of speciality. Utilising on-site EAM solutions means time and money spent on updating and managing this system. With a cloud-based system this management time is practically erased, allowing for more time to focus on pivotal business processes that generate revenue for the organisation. 

Secondly, adopting a modern software as a service (SaaS) solution means that payments are based on a monthly or annual fee based on consumption. This means that unlike capital investments in software

licenses, hardware, and IT support, payments are not done upfront with SaaS. This contractually agreed predictability allows organisations to better manage and maintain their budgets and make effective investments in business growth. 

The third benefit is that businesses can exponentially increase their ability for agility. This is due to cloud-based EAM services offering the option to instantly offer new services such as opening new plants, expanding into new areas, adding additional application functionality, and onboarding new enterprise assets.  “Additionally, Cloud vendors allow for the ability to automatically give subscribers monthly and quarterly updates. These updates include releases of new capabilities, allowing clients access to these features as soon as they are released.” Continues Ramdaw.  

Fourthly, Utilising the most up-to-date Cloud-based EAM solution is imperative as organisations often have difficulties when utilising transactional relational database management (RDBMS) systems as EAM services, as they are unable to store all the necessary data. Whereas, advanced cloud-based EAM solutions allow for the storage of large amounts of data from various streams of input. This allows organisations instant access to their entire ecosystem. This accessibility and increased manageability enable businesses to capture and deliver big data to power their analytics and machine-learning strategies.

The fifth benefit indicated is the ability to leverage greater scalability. Businesses have the opportunity to scale their capacity up or down depending on the current need.  Storage is a scalable element with cloud-based EAM as well, enabling for the capacity to store large amounts of data collected from equipment sensors and IoT applications, and this data capacity can be increased at any time. 

The sixth benefit is that cloud-based EAM solutions offer organisations enhanced reliability, availability, and disaster recovery.  In comparison to on-site EAM solutions, organisations utilising cloud-based solutions do not need to worry about the effectiveness of their back systems should an error occur after hours. Ramdaw advises “The best EAM solution must function in a multi-tenant cloud environment and must be advanced enough to ensure business continuity This means that it must offer copies of critical applications and that all data are backed up and mirrored globally. Further, disaster recovery must be effective and efficient should the primary system go down.” These cloud-based solutions should also offer upgrades that have zero downtime so organisations do not have to deal with unscheduled time loss. 

The seventh benefit indicated by Ramdaw is that cloud-based EAM solutions assist in keeping organisations secure. This is achieved through availability to greater resources for a higher level of security, as well as taking on the various security-related tasks that are demanded by various regulations. 

The eighth benefit is the wider range of accessibility provided to organisations through cloud-based solutions. Managers and technicians are able to better function in their roles through being afforded continuous access to EAM data. Cloud-based EAM also allows for data to be easily exchanged between EAM and other enterprise applications. 

Finally, Cloud-based EAM allows businesses to easily adapt and comply with regulatory demands and data sovereignty requirements. Cloud-based EAM solutions are updated on a monthly or quarterly basis to accommodate the continuous regulatory changes for FDA Title 21 CFR Part 11 for life sciences, the Joint Commission for healthcare, State of Good Repair for transportation, and others. Further, these solutions allow organisations to stay up to date with the sovereignty requirements. 

Utilising advanced and state-of-the-art Cloud-based EAM solutions allows organisations the opportunity to move their businesses to the next level. Procedures and processes are easily accessible, reliable and efficient. This allows for better organisational asset management, which means better functionality, potential for increased performance and thus revenue. 

Shanon Ramdaw is the Business Development Manager – Infor Services at iOCO, Infor’s Gold Partner in Africa.

Elaraby leverages cloud to deliver efficiency across businesses in Egypt, Africa and Middle East

Riverbed has announced that Elaraby Group, an Egyptian manufacturer and retailer of home electronics, has maximized the value of its Microsoft Office 365 investment by deploying Riverbed® SaaS Accelerator.

 In an effort to enhance user experience and employee collaboration as it advances its cloud-first strategy throughout its vast geographic operations, Elaraby has enabled a faster, more responsive Office 365 experience for its employees by reducing network latency and empowered its teams to be more productive and better equipped to serve customers by deploying Riverbed SaaS Accelerator.

Elaraby has also invested in Riverbed® Cloud Accelerator to speed migration and access to workloads on Microsoft Azure. As a long-standing customer of Riverbed® SteelHead™, the market-leading WAN optimization solution worldwide, Elaraby is now accelerating applications from on-prem to cloud to the client and end-user.

Elaraby is a player in developing and manufacturing consumer electronics and home appliances in Egypt, the Middle East and Africa and the company’s products are widely accepted in more than 60 countries.

The Elaraby business has more than 40,000 employees, 16 commercial and industrial enterprises, over 3,000 sales partners, 17 trade stores across Egypt and approximately 600 after-sales service centers.

Elaraby is leveraging the cloud to deliver the efficiency, agility, and scalability its business demands. To ensure all locations and all employees are seamlessly connected, the company has migrated to Office 365. “Our use of the cloud is significantly growing,” said Medhat ElAraby, Vice President of Elaraby Group. “We have already migrated one of our data centers to Azure, and we are leveraging both PaaS and SaaS.”

While the company had successfully implemented Office 365, issues with network latency, congestion, and last-mile delays were restricting Elaraby ‘s ability to realize the full potential of its investment. As latency could potentially impact many aspects of the business – from direct sales and production, to store management and marketing – Elaraby turned to Riverbed to reduce data transfer costs and optimize speed across the enterprise, compressing data before sending it between sites.

With the support and expertise of Riverbed’s local partner, Global Brands Group, a leading provider of Consulting, Technology and Outsourcing services, the IT team recently extended its Riverbed SteelHead solution with the addition of six new appliances and one software instance in Azure.

 In addition, the company has deployed 3,500 licenses of Riverbed SaaS Accelerator, which accelerates popular SaaS apps up to 10x, as well as Riverbed Cloud Accelerator. In total, 6,000 users at Elaraby now have access to Office 365 and the improved performance across email, Dynamics 365 for Customer Service and Field Service, and SAP, and it has had a direct and very positive impact on retail and production.

“We could immediately see with Riverbed how we could address network latency,” explained Medhat ElAraby. “Since the deployment, Elaraby has reduced data transmission between sites by 60% with, on average, 900GB less data per day. We are now far more efficient in the way data is consumed which is delivering significant cost savings and improving connectivity and collaboration between sites and teams. Riverbed has also helped us improve our data management. The encryption of data is very important to us because all the data transferred in our organization has value, whether it’s sales figures, product designs, or customer insights. Securing our data has helped us maintain our competitive advantage.”

“With its workforce spread across such a vast geography, and its focus on having a cloud-first IT strategy, Elaraby has benefited greatly from the joint value proposition of the Microsoft Office 365 suite and the Riverbed acceleration solutions,” said Mirna Arif, Country General Manager, Microsoft Egypt. “Microsoft and Riverbed have a long-standing partnership globally, and at a regional level this has meant a strong collaboration between our local sales and technical teams. This has ultimately translated to a robust solution that enables Elaraby to offer its employees a consistent and impressive user experience across their collaboration and productivity applications.”

“Cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools such as those in the Office 365 suite are becoming increasingly fundamental to the modern business. The effectiveness of these solutions and their adoption by the workforce ultimately depends on end-user experience which can be easily impacted by poor performance,” said Mena Migally, Regional Vice President, META at Riverbed. “Elaraby ‘s success with Riverbed underpins the value that our solutions bring to the new breed of cloud-first organizations who are looking to enjoy the flexibility and scalability that cloud offers, while ensuring performance remains unaffected by the network latency, irrespective of where applications are hosted and how they are accessed. Elaraby is an innovative enterprise that continuously adopts and implements the latest technologies to accelerate and maintain their leadership regionally. As one of our first customers in Egypt, with a strong decade-long relationship, we are proud to continue to partner and support them on their digital journey.”

www.elarabygroup.com