[Column] Karl Reed: The customer’s journey to the cloud

Migrating to the cloud is no longer the complex process it once was. Thanks to the evolution of technology, moving from an on-premises environment can be done much more efficiently than before.

Migrating to the cloud is no longer the complex process it once was. Thanks to the evolution of technology, moving from an on-premises environment can be done much more efficiently than before. Even attitudes towards this strategic shift have changed, says Karl Reed, Chief Solutions Officer at Elingo.

Going the cloud route does not require a big bang approach. Instead, organisations can phase it in over several months (or years even) as their budget and business processes allow.

In the past few years, accessibility to the cloud from an Internet and capability perspective, as well as the speed to deployment, has changed for the better. In fact, Elingo’s recent experience shows customers are approaching the company wanting to migrate instead of needing the hard sell.

Mindset shift

Contributing to this enabling environment is the upcoming arrival of several multinational data centres in the country. Granted, it might only account for approximately 20% of the reason businesses are considering migrating. But, combined with more user-friendly technology, the market is ripe to start benefiting from this natural technology progression.

Perhaps, most importantly, the business mindset is changing. A year ago, decision-makers were still apprehensive about the cloud. Fast forward to the present and they are less resistant about moving. Now, they are much more open towards cloud discussions reflecting trends elsewhere in the world.

The country is basically there; we are fast approaching a time where every organisation will be connected to cloud in some form or another. Just consider how all your personal information is already stored in the cloud. It is only natural that this will start extending to business data as well.

Regulatory needs

Furthermore, the regulatory environment is also playing its part in getting companies to migrate. The likes of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) create complex environments. Fortunately, the cloud fully supports it and provides local businesses with a significantly more secure environment than if they had to build it themselves.

Given how the compliance requirements for cloud service providers are significantly more complicated than for ‘standard’ businesses, they do everything in their power to ensure the safety, reliability, availability, and accessibility of cloud-based offerings, systems and data.

Unique approach

With every customer environment and requirement unique when it comes to the cloud, service providers must be able to adapt their processes to accommodate. For example, expectations from an insurance company will be different to that from a courier business in terms of cloud migration and offerings. So, even though there is still complexity involved in making the transition, it is not insurmountable.

One of the most appealing things for any business when it comes to the cloud is the return on investment that is on offer. For one, the cloud enables the company to manage spend on a monthly basis instead of a massive upfront payment.

Secondly, there are the savings that companies do not even realise they are getting. Just like every computer in the business needs power, software licences, access to the Internet, and so on, so too do on-premises servers. Furthermore, these servers need to be maintained and upgraded every few years. Even the air-conditioning units in the server room need power, maintenance, and so on, continually adding to the cost of on-premises solutions. With the cloud, there is none of that.

Given the ease of use and speed of deployment, the cloud will soon become the default approach for many local organisations. The cloud is already everywhere. Now is the time to capitalise on it.

Karl Reed is the Chief Solutions Officer at Elingo.

Public cloud services will enable organisations to accelerate digital transformation in South Africa

The increased utilisation of public cloud services and the additional investments into private and hybrid cloud solutions will enable organisations in South Africa to focus on innovation and accelerate the pace of digital business transformation. This is according to the IDC report, Economic Impact of IT & Microsoft in South Africa. In turn, the report says this will help businesses generate close to R81 billion in net revenue over the next four years.

The Intelligent Cloud is the enabler of true digital transformation, enabling businesses to transform their existing business models into digital business models, thereby improving operational efficiency, empowering employees, enabling richer customer engagements, and transforming and innovative products and services.

According to Ashleigh Fenwick, Head of Communications at Microsoft, the IT the IT sector in South Africa is expected to grow at a five-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.25% to reach R175 billion by 2022.

‘’This growth is fuelled by public cloud growth – the cloud market is expected to reach R11.53 billion by 2022, representing a CAGR of a whopping 21.9%. This could potentially lead to 119k nett new job opportunities,”  he said.

Fenwick was speaking when he announced that Microsoft had pushed the launch of its two data centres in South Africa to 2019. Located in Johannesburg and Cape Town, said it is targeting cloud services growth on the continent. These data centres are expected to deliver the Microsoft Cloud, including Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365 to Africa. They had initially been set to be launched in 2018.

While the software market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 2.9% over the next 5 years, the cloud market in South Africa is expected to grow at 21.9% to reach R11.53 billion. The increased adoption of cloud services in the country will create 112,000 net new job opportunities in the economy by 2022, driven by the benefits of cloud computing, such as lower capex, efficiency, scale, and flexibility.

Cloud computing has taken off dramatically across Africa’s major markets. Its benefits are however being experienced very differently in each region – as are its budget allocations.

www.microsoft.com

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