[South Africa] Local partner role is critical to cloud success in Africa

While cloud technology presents a significant opportunity for enterprises to innovate as if they were potentially start-ups, the time and approach some are taking to make this decision could ultimately cost them. This is according to Guy Zibi, principal analyst, Xalam Analytics, who was a keynote speaker at Hype, vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider, Routed’s recent event series.

In his sessions in Cape Town and Johannesburg, Zibi says that there is no doubt that the African cloud is here: “While customers are going digital at an alarming rate, competition is increasingly amorphous and more agile. There are also thousands of start-ups looking to disrupt. Traditional rivals are becoming more agile and are leveraging new technologies, making the African cloud complex and varied,” says Zibi.

He says that this has led to many enterprises playing a defensive strategy, now looking at how to leverage technology to grow revenue: “This is predominant in consumer-facing businesses and has led to growth of mobile applications and a rise in the use of analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).”

This, he says, is while data volumes grow, budgets get tighter, economies slow down, and unpredictable power supply, cyber-attacks and a heavier regulatory burden all make the landscape more challenging.

How organisations approach the cloud largely hinges on what and where they are, according to Zibi. Is the market cloud-ready? How important is technology in the production chain? What is the quality and cost of connectivity?

“In Africa we are seeing selective cloud usage, which includes a mix of basic and critical workloads onsite and a mix of full-blown migration. The latter includes lift and shift; re-platform; replace/rebuild and rearchitect,” says Zibi. Interestingly, he says that the financial services sector is the most progressive in Africa, having moved to a combination of off premise and public cloud.”

Migration patterns in cloud-ready markets have been amplified by the arrival of hyperscalers, which is evident in the acceleration of the financial services sector. While rebuild/replace is not seen as a viable option, lift and shift together with rearchitecting seem to be dominating cloud migration.

“Rehosting is growing within financial services as well as in retail, however the public sector and industry are slower. It is this reluctance to consider viable alternatives that could impact the outcome and success of cloud migration across several industries,” says Zibi. 

He says that there is room for locally-attuned platforms in Africa: “While it is good to see global market leading cloud platforms in Africa, it is highly likely that several markets and sectors will be highly-dependent on local providers. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) will play an important role in cloud migration but they must evolve.”

Dave Funnell, VMware Senior Manager: Cloud Provider Business, Sub-Saharan Africa says that the growth of applications is driving Cloud adoption, with a different destination depending upon the lifecycle status of the application. This is leading to a hybrid multi-cloud world, with the requirement for cloud services not just from the hyperscalers, but also hosted private clouds. Having recently presented Routed with Africa’s first VMware Cloud Verified accreditation, he says that these Cloud platforms provide customers with a valuable proposition: the easiest and lowest risk pathway for migration to the cloud.

“The reality is that it’s a hybrid cloud future with multiple cloud providers. The majority of applications being migrated to the cloud are ‘lift and shift’, so why expend the time, cost and energy to migrate over months and years to a hyperscaler, often with unpredictable results. Rather perform a rapid and confident migration to a private cloud, whether delivered by a hyperscaler or a localised provider, such as Routed. This is why all six major hyperscalers, including AWS and Azure, have partnered with VMware and explains the growth of localised cloud provider partners, who deliver services tailored to their client’s requirements. As more enterprises adopt a cloud first strategy, I expect the private cloud market to grow in lockstep with the native hyperscale requirement, making the role of companies like Routed and other MSPs, critical,” says Funnell.

www.routed.co.za

www.xalamanalytics.com

[Column] Jason Penton: Offshore platform development growing as South Africa looks to play cloud catch-up

As cloud entered its teen years in 2019, South Africa remains a late adopter of what is globally an established technology. Jason Penton, co-founder, Jini Guru, a cloud platform builder, says that in the 13 years that cloud has been around, the technology landscape has changed almost beyond recognition.

“Globally, cloud will continue to impact the next decade, but with more focus on newer technologies such Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT).  These markets have generally been engaging in cloud for five or more years, which is why they are looking ahead. Cloud is still very much a chosen technology and enterprise companies globally are looking to the next generation cloud model to see what it could bring to the business,” says Penton.

2025 is the year predicted for this new approach, which will essentially give these companies access to new technologies such as AI, blockchain and Internet of Things. But Penton says locally, the landscape is much different. 

“South Africa’s adoption rate is much slower as enterprise businesses remain overly cautious of a full migration to the cloud. Instead, platform technology is bridging this gap. We are seeing increasing interest in developing new platforms while enterprise debate migrating legacy systems,” says Penton.

With an established team in South Africa and a development team in India, Jini Guru’s core business remains at the centre of digital transformation as it takes traditional networks into the cloud: “We are seeing increasing interest in creating new platforms in the cloud. From telephony to Know your Customer (KYC) and RICA implementations, our team of developers are doing some innovative projects in the cloud,” says Penton.

He says that the combined offshore force that Jini Guru offers is compelling to local businesses: “We are able to be very price competitive but also offering exemplary development work. In addition, clients deal with our team in South Africa, while benefiting from an offshore team of developers.

While South Africa is essentially behind the adoption curve, we are still seeing some excellent development work and major innovation taking place. Penton says that he anticipates increasing demand for custom development work as clients either realise the benefits of moving into the cloud or reach end of life and essentially need to make a move.

Jason Penton is the co-founder, Jini Guru, a cloud platform builder.

[South Africa] Bluegrass Digital invests in cloud provider Veeva Systems

Bluegrass Digital has announced that it will continue to invest in its Veeva Systems partnership, the leader in cloud-based software for the global life sciences industry. This forms part of its strategy to develop pharmaceutical and life sciences industry applications.

Veeva Systems is an end-to-end solution delivering life sciences-focused capabilities for the planning and coordination of all resources, across all channels covering face-to-face, email, web and mobile. It ensures companies focus on delivering the right messages at the right time to customers.

Through this partnership, Bluegrass helps clients bring products to market faster and more efficiently, and maintain compliance. Bluegrass is an official Veeva solution partner and recognised as a multichannel Veeva Systems Content Partner.

Bluegrass Digital CEO Nick Durrant says they have a solid history of working in the Healthcare and Life Sciences industry with over 10 years’ experience. “In recent years, much of our work has focused on the technical support and delivery of Veeva solutions.”

“In 2015 we joined the Veeva partnership programme and have maintained our partnership ever since, building on our skills and experience on the Veeva platform. We have worked on a range of digital solutions for clients that include Janssen and Johnson & Johnson, Amgen, Grunenthal, Leo Pharma, Mundipharma, Novartis, Lundbeck Pfizer and many more,” he explains.

Delivering a seamless multichannel customer experience, Veeva is committed to moving the life sciences industry forward with leading technology solutions. Its industry cloud solutions provide data, software, services and an extensive ecosystem of partners to support the most critical functions from R&D through commercial.

Durrant says many of our projects have been delivered to EMEA and North America. “We are often involved in the development of the core solutions which is used as the global build pack for market roll-out. Our main production hub is based in Cape Town and this provides a cost effective solution for our partners in Europe and North America.”

“Our experience includes the Veeva CRM platform which covers Approved email, CLM, Engage and MyInsights. We also work with Veeva Vault covering Veeva PromoMats and Veeva MedComms,” he concludes.

www.bluegrassdigital.com

[Column] David Bunei: Next-generation cloud eliminates pain points for Kenyan business

In addition to experiencing our new brand look in person, business leaders who attended the recent Oracle Modern Cloud Day in Nairobi had the opportunity to experience the full potential unlocked by cloud-embedded technology.

On a greater societal level, cloud technologies are at the heart of concepts like smart or green cities where available resources are optimized and systems integrated for the benefit of all citizens. Businesses too can achieve unprecedented all-round efficiency enabled by cloud services. The recent Cloud Day event in Kenya was an opportunity for us to showcase Oracle’s latest innovation across cloud applications and cloud infrastructure.

With a 30-year presence in, and commitment to, Africa, Oracle is bringing these, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) enriched innovations to Kenya as part of their global rollout. Companies that have already invested in previous generations of the technology will automatically receive the upgrades through patches. For all Kenyan organisations, though – whether already Oracle customers or not – Oracle’s Generation 2 Cloud infrastructure and the new features that use it as their foundation, will help prepare an agile, secure and cost effective infrastructure that will allow the business to consistently innovate and grow in the digital economy.

Cloud can help reduce costs

One of the key challenges facing Kenyan businesses is the cost of doing business. Although cloud adoption is considered an IT strategy to reduce expenses, it has overarching repercussions for any business, especially in the digital age. A shift to cloud liberates companies from tech refresh cycles and CAPEX investment to support their on-premise systems. Whether transitioning critical or non-essential applications to the cloud, Oracle customers pay only for resources that are consumed.

More importantly, cloud-based systems are especially beneficial for companies operating in, or expanding beyond, Kenyan borders. In the case of Oracle, customers enjoy consistent pricing in all regions, so cross-border expansion does not lead to any cost increases. This way, customers can access world-class cloud services and their own fully integrated enterprise management systems no matter where their market aspirations take them. The expansion of the Oracle Universal Cloud Credits system announced at OpenWorld 2019, also enables businesses to further optimise their operational expenditure.

Organisations are often hesitant to shift to cloud given their use of business systems and technologies from various providers. Apart from the complication of wholesale data transfer, there is the cost associated with such an undertaking. Strategic partnerships are becoming more common as cloud enters its next stage, helping to streamline the process. Having already announced a cloud interoperability partnership with Microsoft in June, three months later, Oracle OpenWorld revealed a partnership with VMware, where customers can now more easily move and run VMware environments on Oracle Cloud.

Creating data-driven customer centricity

As elsewhere, data security remains a key concern for Kenyan businesses, along with the use of data to enhance the customer experience. Embedded in next-generation cloud services, automation, AI and ML can be leveraged to mine insights that will improve time to market and provide greater predictability in delivering the right customer services at the right time. Already, Oracle has partnered with the Kenya Revenue Authority to provide a more responsive and relevant service to their customers, translating into better brand reputation.

One final point to make is that cloud migration is an ongoing journey, for our customers and Oracle itself. One of the major announcements at OpenWorld was Oracle’s plans to build a cloud region in South Africa. New Oracle Cloud regions are continually being launched – one every 23 days over the next 15 months or so – and our relationship with Microsoft opens the door to interconnecting with Azure data centres in more areas too.

Change takes time. While Oracle and other global players increase their investment in Africa, business decision-makers – who have expressed their enthusiasm about cloud’s potential – should seize every refresh opportunity at their organisation to explore what cloud solutions can do to introduce immediate business value.

David Bunei is the Managing Director for Oracle Kenya.

[Kenya] Oracle showcases its Cloud and Artificial Intelligence technology solutions

Oracle recently showcased its latest Cloud led digital solutions to top business and government leaders at the International Modern Business event in Nairobi. This according to the company is in line with its sustained commitment to help Kenya achieve its strategic socio-economic objectives as identified by the country’s Vision 2030 framework,

“Digital transformation is a key priority for Kenya’s public and private sector entities as organisations look to deliver transparent citizen services; drive business growth with high ROI; introduce new products and deliver an exceptional customer experience in a highly mobile and digital economy of the future”, said David Bunei, Managing Director of Oracle Kenya.

“At Oracle, we have delivered an incredible amount of innovation to our customers in Kenya including the Oracle Autonomous Database, AI embedded Business Applications and the Generation 2 cloud infrastructure.”

“The International Modern Business event is an opportunity for us to highlight the true impact of these technologies and showcase how Kenyan organisations can unlock unprecedented growth with cloud led digital transformation”, added David.

Oracle has recently announced plans to launch 20 new Oracle Cloud regions by the end of 2020, for a total of 36 Oracle Cloud Infrastructure regions. South Africa will host one of these cloud regions to support seamless cloud transition for customers across the African continent. Oracle has also recently unveiled the world’s first Autonomous Operating System; AI Voice for the enterprise and the world’s fastest database machine.

www.oracle.com

[South Africa] Routed achieves Africa’s first VMware Cloud verified status

Routed, a vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider has announced that it has achieved VMware Cloud Verified status. As the first company on the African continent to attain this status, Routed is proud to be among an elite group of highly skilled providers with the ability to operate at this high level of cloud certification.

The Cloud Verified badge signals to customers that Routed offers a service running on top of the complete VMware Cloud infrastructure. Through Cloud Verified partner services, customers attain access to the full set of VMware Cloud Infrastructure capabilities including integration and interoperability, cost optimisation and flexibility.

Andrew Cruise, managing director, Routed, says that being cloud verified by one of the global cloud leaders such as VMware is a career highlight: “We have watched as the cloud foundations were being built over the past four years and as we head into 2020, it is clear that the cloud-surge will continue, albeit cautiously, and Africa will continue to be a significant player within the global cloud sector. To work closely with VMware brings significant strength to the Routed offering. We are delighted to reach this milestone first and look forward to being an active participant in the developing cloud sector across the African continent.”

“Partners that are VMware Cloud Verified provide organisations with complete and advanced VMware Cloud technologies, along with interoperability across clouds for greater advantage for their customers’ businesses,” said Dave Funnell, VMware Senior Manager: Cloud Provider Business. “Cloud Verified services delivered by VMware Cloud Providers can provide the efficiency, agility, and reliability inherent in cloud computing. We look forward to supporting Routed as it empowers organisations with a simple and flexible path to the cloud.”

VMware’s global network of more than 4,000 VMware Cloud Providers leverage VMware’s consistent cloud infrastructure to offer a wide array of services, provide geographic and industry specialisation, and help customers meet complex regulatory requirements. Cloud Providers operating under the VMware Cloud Provider Program deliver individually tailored cloud solutions and services in more than 120 countries.

www.routed.co.za

[Column] Syed Asad Abbas: We need to embrace the Cloud

There’s a lot of hype about the Cloud, however what comes to mind when you hear that your software will sit in the cloud, it sounds positively intangible and  like a cloud it can fall apart anytime. Making it seem like something you have no control over, it may just disappear like smoke. Many people think this, but it is misconception. We the ICT industry should have used another word to describe as the name Cloud certainly created misunderstandings and the intangible nature of clouds created a negative perception when it came to ‘Cloud Technology, ‘however the name stuck and we’ve been playing catch-up as a sector ever since.

The Cloud is actually a set of technologies which are rented out to multiple tenants, anywhere in the world and at a low cost, hosted by a company which specialize in hosting, managing and delivering them. Keeping them operational 24/7 and 365 days a year. Some servers use computing power to run applications or “deliver a service”. Almost everyone that uses any form of tech, already uses Cloud Services, often without knowing it. If you use any services of Google or Apple, you are using and accessing Cloud technology.

With examples, implementation and case studies regarding the use of Cloud Technology, companies and organisations started to become convinced. If we take an example of data security, who will have better measures in place to secure data, you an accounting firm or any other business or a firm specialising in nothing but Information Technology and security?

Cloud as we know it is not something new, it existed as far back as the first industrial revolution. Cloud was there when people started depositing their monies in a bank instead of their personal vaults, money is valued above all else, and yet we don’t even know where exactly our money is stored, we just access it via an ATM, online, or via a speedpoint. You could call utility companies such as electricity or water companies Cloud technology. People started using electricity brought to their homes from a power station instead of using their own generators. Water pipelines to bring water to the tap from a river, a dam or a centralized water source instead of digging their own boreholes and wells. Why install an expensive infrastructure at your own premises when you can just use and pay only for the service that you need. Imagine every needing their own water company to access clean and potable water.

When it comes to selecting a cloud based solution, more often than not we think about where our data will be stored, but actually what’s important is who will have access to our data, will it be available to us whenever we need it? So it does not matter where our data sits, what matters is how secure is the access and how durable is the service availability.

Next time when you are offered a solution which sits in the Cloud, think about the more important factors, i.e. Security and Availability. Whether it is a software application, data that needs to be stored or software programmes (Software as a Service), it’s all possible and at the organisation’s fingertips with the Cloud. The services are available anywhere and anytime through any enabled devices and are totally secure and with an exponentially increased efficiency. Most organisations and companies across the globe have already embraced completely secure cloud service based solutions.

Cloud-based solutions and Software as a Service are almost without exception part of every country’s overall development plan in terms of public service infrastructure, economic outlook and investment environment. Developing ICT-infrastructure in both the public and private sectors.

If we do nothing as Namibia, but just stand by and watch this new revolution pass us by, it will cause long-term damage and will create an unbridgeable digital divide compared to other nations which are adapting to this trend proactively. It really makes sense for every business and organisation to use Cloud Services. So what do we do? There’s no need to be cautious or doubtful regarding Cloud technology, the tech is proven. We need to adopt and embrace strategies which enable us to utilize cloud computing and deliver effective and efficient e-Governance and Cloud Services and software to companies and organisations, no matter their size.

Syed Asad Abbas is the Head of Division, Software Services at Green Enterprise Solutions (Pty) Ltd.

Workonline launches Remote Cloud Connect services in Africa

Global network service provider, Workonline Communications, has launched Remote Cloud Connect, facilitating access to cloud services for Workonline customers over a dedicated Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL) service. This low latency cloud solution enables customers to connect to leading cloud services such as AWS Direct Connect, Microsoft Azure Express Route, Google Cloud, Oracle and IBM cloud platforms more securely and transparently from any country where Workonline has a presence.

Benjamin Deveaux, Head of Business Development at Workonline Communications, says that the aim is to empower customers by enabling them to connect to the cloud through their use of the high performance Workonline backbone: “As a wholesale provider of IP transit services across Africa, we are continuously innovating to provide our ISP clients with more stable and reliable Internet services in Africa. By leveraging global cloud exchange platforms like Teraco’s Africa Cloud Exchange we can offer our ISP customers a more secure remote connection to a cloud provider of their choice. Through Remote Cloud Connect, clients will benefit from a low cost, high performance connection with excellent local support.”

In line with the predicted growth of cloud across the continent, Xalam Analytics recently published its report ‘The rise of the African cloud’, and says that for African markets, cloud, virtualisation and the broader evolution towards serverless computing are the most disruptive technology developments since the advent of the mobile payment revolution. Few other segments in the African ICT space are as likely to generate an incremental $2bn in top line revenue over the next five years, and at least as much in adjacent enabling ecosystem revenue.

Deveaux says that Workonline sees immense potential across East and West Africa within the remote connectivity to cloud services space in particular: “Initially our efforts will focus on Kenya and Ghana, where remote connectivity to cloud services is growing fast.”

Through Remote Cloud Connect, Workonline will deliver far more predictable latency connections by taking the shortest route from Kenya or Ghana back to its South African or European Points of Presence where the Cloud provider in question is present. Workonline will also provide secondary failover links for protection when possible, with transparency in terms of the paths which the traffic will take in various failure scenarios. These services can be provided at 1Mbps to multiples of 10Gbps.

Andrew Owens, Teraco peering and interconnection specialist, says that cloud growth is a reality across the continent and the ability for established networks to provide an on-ramp to cloud is essential: “The Africa Cloud Exchange not only enables networks to provide this connection, but also encourages the growth and development of cloud-based solutions. By providing a direct and secure connection, the platform provides a better cloud experience for end users and as a result, empowers the growth and success of African cloud providers.”

www.workonline.africa

[Column] Toney Wabela: Technological disruption looming for Africa’s data network market

Sometimes a disruptive technology can loiter for a while, before it changes everything. Yet change it will bring, because nothing and no one can defy gravity. So it is, I believe, with the new generation of open compute infrastructure.

For, as the world creates data, there’s an equal demand for resources to store, process and make sense from this data to drive business value. 

All the thousands of ledgers that used to be created manually now generate legions of data threads, expanded by ever more automation and cross-relationships, driving further data and data processes. Our data revolution has created new data flows, again, from our communication, seeing global hyperscale companies create hundreds of thousands of square metres of data centres to hold and process their millions of users’ data.

These data centres need power to run the servers, cooling systems and security systems, maintain an optimal ambient temperature, and keep the air dust-free. And this power has been creating a galloping electricity bill in recent years, to such an extent that hyperscalers started investing in R&D to design more energy efficient computing infrastructure. 

Two years of design engineering gave birth to the Open Compute Project (OCP), a radical and bold move by leading hyperscalers to create non-proprietary data centre hardware that achieved a significant milestone in energy efficiency and reduced total cost of ownership. This move has been well received by other players in the technology innovation space, with leading chip and switch makers joining OCP. More than 1,000 globally leading hardware engineers have since contributed to and continue to make improvements to these free, state-of-the-art blueprints for data centre infrastructure. 

And thus, in one step, hardware has been added to the open source revolution that brought the world software from Joomla to Sugar and Linux to Steam as ever-expanding communities of technical contributors.

The chase could not be more timely, with OCP evolving just as cloud computing has been moving into a new gear. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market has been rising for the last 20 years, beginning with customer relationship management services, and steadily claiming ever more software space, from mailing lists to payroll, book-keeping to word processing.

With each new SaaS offering, the cloud grows bigger, and the need for data centres greater. 

Yet as a next wave of disruptive technology, OCP has barely appeared on the radar.

Using OCP equipment, versus the kit available from the world’s top brand names, has thus far demonstrated a significant reduction in the total cost of ownership and maintenance of data centre infrastructure. We have been able to register savings of over 40 per cent in implementation as well as licensing costs. 

Now that’s a big enough difference to change equations everywhere, but for companies like ours, working to effect a technology revolution in Africa, that’s akin to a beacon in the dark. The costs of equipping data centres have almost been halved, putting these centres within the reach of many small and medium sized businesses, as well as offering our nations’ largest companies and government, an opportunity to significantly reduce their operating expenditures attributed to data centre maintenance.

At my own company, we have seized this opportunity, becoming the first Cloud services provider in Africa to introduce OCP hardware at the East Africa Data Centre, one of the largest data centres in the continent which has been set up in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. 

This OCP infrastructure is currently the backbone of our innovative SaaS solutions which includes iLearn, a learning management system for state primary schools that has been designed, developed and tested in collaboration with professional Kenyan teachers, with the digital learning content vetted and approved by the government. This interactive learner centred platform can be accessed by teachers and pupils from any part of the country through a smartphone, tablet or laptop, thereby proliferating digital literacy in the country. 

We are also using this OCP infrastructure to power our private, public and hybrid cloud services. 

Thus, by using data centre infrastructure that is cost efficient all the time as our foundation, we have created an entire pyramid of more accessible and locally relevant services and software for our African clients.

In short, from the Open Compute Project we have initiated a programme to open computing services to businesses throughout Africa, encompassing organisations that could never have stepped so quickly or so lightly into the cloud were it’s still on offer only at more than double the price.

We believe that the capacity for OCP to play its part in bridging the digital divide has been remarkably overlooked until now.

But we also see this technology as a disruptor that the hardware industry and the global cloud services providers have barely understood, as yet. For, with hundreds of our finest hardware engineers engaged in constantly upgrading OCP designs, and the resulting infrastructure out-competing proprietary infrastructure at a fraction of the price, it can only be so long before data centres make OCP the global standard, forcing proprietary brands to reassess their unique selling points.

For Africa, the move to OCP and the opening of the cloud to hundreds of thousands of companies and millions of citizens, cannot come soon enough. That’s why we have made it begin. OCP is no doubt the future in data centre infrastructure, just as SaaS became the present in software.

Toney Webala is the Co-Founder and CTO at Atlancis Technologies 

[Column] Sandra Crous: Cloud is the future of payroll

Cloud technologies are becoming more popular than ever before, with research from RightScale revealing that some 94% of organisations are using the cloud in some capacity within their businesses.

“This is seeing many businesses adopting a strategy where they consider operating a process, workflow, or similar in the cloud before looking at on-premise alternatives,” says Sandra Crous, Managing Director of cloud-based payroll and human capital management software, PaySpace.

She says they are doing this to take advantage of the many benefits that cloud offers, such as cost efficiencies, streamlined operations, and automatic updates among many others. “A cloud strategy has the potential to save a lot of time and money for businesses, and nowhere is this truer than with payroll and HR solutions.”

There are many benefits of going the cloud route, adds Crous. “Firstly, the need for less hardware. Going the cloud route means that corporates have to spend far less on maintaining legacy hardware and infrastructure, and the space needed to house it all. Maintenance costs are built into service provider contracts, eliminating the need for in-house support staff in the event that something goes wrong.”

In addition, businesses don’t need to worry about the technology, as they will automatically have access to the latest and best software, without having to physically install it, or worry about the ongoing maintenance and upgrades needed to keep it up to date, because these are done regularly and automatically, says Crous.

There is no large capital outlay, she explains. “With any ‘pay-as-you-use’ model, companies can benefit from economies of scale, as pricing is flexible, with packages to suit companies of every size. There is also far greater flexibility, as businesses can instantly scale up or down according to their needs, with no manual intervention. And with an increasingly mobile workforce, having a cloud solution enables employees to work more easily on the go. As long as they have an internet connection and a mobile device they can work from anywhere, at any time.”

Most cloud-based payroll software solutions, for example, will also calculate the correct amount each employee should be paid, and helps keep track of each staff member’s work records, including leave, benefits, taxes and overtime which not only saves a lot of payroll processing time by removing the need for manual input, it also offers real-time information for the business.

However, Crous says perhaps the most compelling benefits, are the increased security and compliance that cloud solutions can offer. “Automatic software upgrades mean that your provider takes care of installing security updates, which means that remaining secure is hassle-free.”

In terms of compliance, she says keeping up to date with staff contract changes, as well as governance can be a very onerous task because payroll and HR processing is complex and governed by numerous sets of regulations at different levels. “This complexity is  increased when a business has offices all over the world, but a good cloud solution will automatically update information concerning new regulations, and ensure your business remains compliant at all times, and in all of its offices.”

This is particularly important when you are dealing with personal data, such as payroll information, she says. “Loss or theft of this data could result in hefty fines being levied against your organisation, not to mention a loss of customer confidence which can prove to be catastrophic.”

“Take a look at PaySpace’s cloud-based payroll and HR solution. Usually, when you buy a payroll or HR package, it needs to be configured from scratch. It is like a book with blank pages, all your data needs to be captured, and all your settings configured to ensure your business remains compliant. However, PaySpace takes all the information and configures the earnings, deductions such as UIF, and handles compliance in the background, ensuring not only a seamless start but taking the hassle out of ensuring your business remains fully compliant.” 

Sandra Crous is the Managing Director of cloud-based payroll and human capital management software, PaySpace.