Bold company Incentro credited for growth in Google Cloud adoption in Africa

DigiCloud Africa has credited Incentro Africa for its role in expanding Google Cloud in Africa and subsequently being recognised as the Google Cloud Expansion Partner of the Year – Europe, Middle East, and Africa. 

The annual award recognises one global partner in the region that has shown outstanding success in helping a large number of customers achieve better results through the Google Cloud Platform and Google Workspace. 

Incentro Africa (founded 2017), announced in 2020 that it had achieved the Work Transformation – Enterprise Partner Specialization in the Google Cloud Partner Specialization Program, becoming the first and only premier partner with this specialization in Africa. 

By earning the Partner Specialization, we proved our expertise and success in deploying Google Workspace to enterprise organizations, which includes providing services across all project work streams – such as technical implementation, change management, training and ongoing premium support.

Our continued collaboration with DigiCloud has yielded many successes with key clients such as Central Bank of West Africa (Google Workspace) , Textbook Center (SAP on Google Cloud) and Britam (Workspace).

“We are proud to have been credited by DigiCloud as one of their key partners in achieving this truly prestigious award – the first for an African organization no less.” said Dennis de Weerd, Sales Director, Incentro Africa. “Our continued partnership is truly a special one and look forward to many more shared successes.” he continued.

“Whilst the complete list of resellers would be too lengthy to mention, three companies were monumental in their efforts through 2020 to drive Google Cloud adoption in Africa, namely: Incentro Africa, for work in Kenya and Senegal specialising in workforce transformation, machine learning and infrastructure…” Gregory MacLennan, CEO, DigiCloud.

About Incentro

Incentro delivers innovative digital solutions, grounded by passion and happiness of employees, Incentronauts. 340 Incentronauts worldwide (The Netherlands, Spain, Kenya) are helping organizations to reach their digital goals.

Based on the maturity of clients, they setup an e-commerce environment which enables customers to deliver an awesome shopping journey and drive growth. They deliver a full range of services from strategy until conversion optimization for B2C and B2B focussed companies

Incentro Africa opened her door in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2017; The takeout on things was special: the company aimed for the delivery of fairtrade software solutions in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Our mission? To positively impact the lives of 10.000 Africans before the year 2022.

We continue to achieve this by bringing quality services and digital solutions to the (East) African market, supported by strong partnerships and growing local talent into product experts. We help organizations in developing their Cloud digital strategies in order to increase productivity and collaboration. We achieve this through our value propositions and expertise in enterprise collaboration, cloud migration, and developing smart applications.

Are you bold enough to step into the unknown? We are… and we dare you to do the same. We will be with you every step of the way. Not by making small changes but to truly do things differently – for a change!

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.digicloud.africa

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud providers are fighting for a share of the growing Africa’s cloud market

From all the previous Africa Cloud Review articles we have published, we have been highlighting how the cloud market in Africa is growing. Cloud-based office applications have increasingly become vital components of the African modern workplace. 

As this market grows, it is generating a lot of interest and deals as cloud players and providers position themselves to take advantage of this boom.   

In May last year, African Data Centre Association (ADCA) predicted that 20 new data centre facilities will come online across Africa by the end of 2020. ADCA in a research paper noted that Africa had entered a phase of “accelerated growth” due to heightened demand for local hosting and cloud services, and that the continued development of carrier-neutral data centres will support the continent to “unleash its potential”.  By the end of that year, more players started setting up data centers across the continent. 

Africa’s data centre market is poised for massive growth this year as internet penetration rates rise and the continent begins to play catch-up with other regionsNina Triantis the Global Head of Telecoms, Media & Technology at Standard Bank, in a column we published here on  Africa Business Communities last week notes that we should expect to see a substantial wave of data centre investments materialise across the continent, led by regional economic powerhouses including South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. For the time being, Africa accounts for less than 1% of the world’s co-location data centre supply, with South Africa accounting for the bulk of the continent’s capacity. 

Last year,  South African data centre company Teraco commenced the construction of its new hyperscale data centre with 38 megawatts (MW) of critical power load. Last month, the company’s  ACE submarine cable went live and is available for interconnection at three of Teraco’s data centres across South Africa, expanding access to broadband connectivity and digital services in Africa. Spanning approximately 17,000 km along the West Coast of Africa, ACE lands in 19 countries before being backhauled by MTN South Africa, the landing partner, into Teraco’s data centre facilities.

These developments are important for Africa because cloud requires no on-premise storage or physical infrastructure that continuously needs to be updated. This lowers the total cost of ownership and IT maintenance costs in the long run, which is very useful for start-up companies with limited initial budgets. 

In the news

Last week, Zadara announced Africa’s largest network of interconnected, carrier-and cloud-neutral data center facilities, Africa Data Centres, and service provider Global Sense deployed Zadara’s edge cloud services to their marketplace. Zadara products and services are available in Midrand, South Africa with further expansion into all Africa Data Centre locations coming in the not too distant future.

Google also last week named Digicloud Africa the Google Cloud Expansion Partner of the Year for 2020 in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region. DigiCloud is one of several of the tech giant’s reseller enablement partners in the region. Others include Incetro Africa,  an IT service provider delivering custom-built cloud-based software solutions for the European and African market. 

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud is playing a big part in the growth of African enterprises

In our last Africa Cloud Review, we highlighted how Africa needs more cloud skillsdue to the rapidly increasing number of organizations subscribing to integrated cloud services in recent years.

This has especially been accelerated by the pandemic. In fact, analysts predict more and more businesses will be moving to cloud as businesses and their employees worldwide continue to face tremendous challenges in maintaining business continuity.  

For small businesses, cloud usage has now become a necessity. In countries like Kenya, enterprises are set to increase their spend on cloud computing services by 68% in 2021, small businesses and start-ups will likely follow suit, embracing cloud uptake to accelerate digital transformation.

While the advantages offered by cloud services are extensive and differ according to each unique enterprise, Francis Wainaina is a Senior Product Manager at SEACOM East Africa notes that the underlying benefits are the same: strategic value and cost-savings, scalability and flexibility, and innovation and optimisation. 

’Cloud requires no on-premise storage or physical infrastructure that continuously needs to be updated, lowering the total cost of ownership and IT maintenance costs in the long run, which is very useful for start-up companies with limited initial budgets. ‘’

According to the “Africa in the Cloud 2020” study by World Wide Worx conducted among eight African countries, 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 percent with South Africa leading with an 82 percent increase in cloud uptake.

Francis Wainaina notes that the versatility and variety of cloud applications not only allow start-ups to innovate their operations cost-effectively but also to streamline processes, freeing time and resources for these companies to focus on what matters most. 

Last week, 4Sight Dynamics Africa, an indirect cloud solutions provider (CSP) that supports various Microsoft partners in Africa and the Middle East, announced regional support for the Software as a Service (SaaS) version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. Nokia also signed a deal to deploy its comprehensive network technologies to Angola’s new mobile telecommunications operator, Africell. For the new network in the capital, Nokia will deploy its AirScale Single Radio Access Network (S-RAN) across up to 700 sites to support concurrently 2G, 3G and 4G services, and be 5G-ready. Nokia’s AirScale platform can be seamlessly upgraded to support 5G networks through a software update. In addition, the company will deploy Nokia AirFrame data center solution to run any cloud-based application with ease. 

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Africa needs more cloud skills

Africa needs more cloud computing skills. IT professionals in the region need to gain skills in cloud and data architecture due to the rapidly increasing number of organizations subscribing to integrated cloud services in recent years.

This has especially been accelerated by the pandemic. In fact, analysts predict more and more businesses will be moving to cloud as businesses and their employees worldwide continue to face tremendous challenges in maintaining business continuity. 

A recent Veeam Data Protection Report 2021 report also found that 96% of organizations around the world are accelerating cloud usage.

In May this year, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that it will be bringing its re/Start cloud skills training program to Kenya and South Africa this month as part of its rapid expansion plans this year.  AWS re/Start is a free, full-time, 12-week program designed to support people who are unemployed or underemployed, and who have little technology experience, for careers in cloud computing. The program provides participants with new cloud computing skills, career, and resume coaching, and interviews with local employers. Last week the programme kicked off in South Africa in collaboration with Nedbank. 

With this programme, Nedbank is working with AWS re/Start to help learners gain job-specific skills, connect them with employers, and support them as they embark on cloud careers.

Cloud is an exciting industry to be in, with lots of areas of specialization, and more jobs being created each year.  IT News Africa journalist Luis Monzon notes that many companies in countries like South Africa are mature from an information technology (IT) perspective

‘’..but because the hunt for skills is so competitive, with far fewer available skills than there is demand for, often these companies just cannot find the people to build the complex infrastructures they need to take full advantage of cloud computing.’’  Developing such skills, especially for young people, presents an immense potential for the continent’s economic growth. 

In May this year, Google also announced it will be offering Android and cloud development scholarships to developers across  Africa. The tech giant said the new scholarships will be offered to beginner and intermediate developers residents in Africa. A total of 40,000 scholarships will be offered to developers spread across Mobile and Cloud development tracks and, at the end of the training, the top 1,000 students will earn a full scholarship to certify in Android or Cloud development.

This was a huge move considering that African businesses are discovering that platforms like Google Cloud are allowing agility and innovation faster and more affordably. Moving to Google Cloud can revolutionize a business in under a month. 

Bottom line, as we have mentioned in our previous Africa Cloud Review article, cloud is accelerating digital change across different industries and transforming the continent’s productive capacity. Investing in cloud skills should there be a top priority.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: There’s an increasing demand for data centers in Africa

As internet penetration in African continues to increase, the demand for data centers is also booming. Customers in Africa are increasingly using data centers to access public cloud-based services from hosts like Google, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and others.

For the time being, Africa accounts for less than 1% of the world’s co-location data centre supply, with South Africa accounting for the bulk of the continent’s capacity. Co-location facilities rent space, power and cooling to enterprise and hyperscale customers; they also offer interconnection enabling businesses to scale at low complexity and cost.

Nina Triantis Global Head of Telecoms, Media & Technology at Standard Bank notes that we expect to see a substantial wave of data centre investments materialise across the continent, led by regional economic powerhouses including South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.  

In South Africa for example, Teraco’s regional interconnection hubs were  further enhanced by the addition of the Africa Coast to Europe Subsea Cable (ACE). The ACE submarine cable is now live and available for interconnection at three of Teraco’s data centres across South Africa, expanding access to broadband connectivity and digital services on the continent.

In February this year,  a new report from The African Data Centres Association (ADCA) and Xalam Analytic revealed that Africa needs 1000MW and 700 facilities to meet growing demand and bring the rest of the continent onto level terms with the capacity and density of South Africa,s claims. 

The reports notes that “At the onset of a new decade, it is increasingly acknowledged that Africa needs a lot more data center capacity than is currently available,”

 “The need for hosting capacity is largely structural; an outgrowth of a host of megatrends that are transforming the region’s economic and social fabric and are putting considerable pressure on existing infrastructure.” 

In 2020, the Africa data center market size by investment was valued at USD 2 billion in 2020 and is expected to USD 5 billion by 2026.  

These data centers are key to the continent achieving its digital potential. Jonathan Duncan, the Secure Power Director, Anglophone Africa at Schneider notes that data centers are the basis for digital transformation

‘’We’re going to need many more data centers everywhere across the continent to power economies, speed up connectivity and reduce the overall costs for server-hosted services,’’ he says in an op-ed published on iAfrikan.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud is empowering African businesses with the certainty of a quicker time-to-value

The speed with which Africa’s business sector has changed over the past year has been nothing short of astonishing. Business leaders across the continent have had their hands full, from enabling remote work on a previously unprecedented scale to adapting to disruptions in the global supply chain, enabling e-learning for millions of youth – not to mention ensuring business continuity in the midst of a once-in-a-generation crisis.

At the foundation of this change is cloud, which gives organisations the ability to simplify and scale their systems landscape without sacrificing performance.

Cloud, according to Pedro Guerreiro is the Managing Director Central Africa at SAP Africa, empowers businesses with the certainty of a quicker time-to-value, without the upfront capital outlays required of on-premise deployments.

With cloud-enabled intelligent enterprise capabilities, organisations can achieve the speed needed to stay ahead of competitors and other disruptors while maintaining the certainty of measured, data-driven decision-making.

In Africa, cloud adoption has reached new heights, driven in part by the pandemic. Increase in cloud computing has also created an increased demand for cloud-related skills and we are currently in a cycle where the global demand for cloud skills outstrips the supply. 

Just last week, The African Telecommunications Union (ATU), a specialized agency of the African Union (AU) and China’s technology firm, Huawei signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to boost capacity for ICT transformation in the continent which includes providing cloud solutions.  AAR Insurance also  inked a deal with telecommunications provider Safaricom to migrate to the cloud. In South Africa, Vox, a market-leading end-to-end integrated ICT and infrastructure provider and telecoms company selected Minim Cloud Software to Deliver Its Next-Gen Home WiFi Experience.

Still, in South Africa, HPE announced that it has brought a new multi-cloud Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) data centre solution to the South African market. This powerful multi-cloud data centre model is all about leveraging the cloud to define the customer experience, while underpinned by HPE’s GreenLake platform.

This plus other cloud news updates from across Africa shows how IT leaders are going all-in on cloud. 

Incentro Africa, a cloud service provider which works exclusively with Google Cloud, most African businesses are moving to the cloud because it is more secure, scalable, and more affordable. Large enterprises unburden their IT department from maintaining infrastructure and enable them to contribute to business goals. For startups, it’s a cheap and convenient way to get started and use amazing technology that is only available on the Cloud.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Businesses in Africa are increasing their cloud spending in 2021

In our previous Africa Cloud Review article, we highlighted how Cloud is driving change and accelerating digital transformation across multiple industries across the continent. 

This comes at a time when cloud spending among businesses continues to grow. In fact, according to data presented by TradingPlatforms.com, global public IT cloud services market revenue for 2020 was at $312.4B – a 34% Increase from 2019.

In 2016, global spending on public IT cloud services was just under $100B. In 2021 that figure has ballooned to a healthy $312.4B after experiencing a 34% increase from 2019’s $233.4B revenue. In the 4 year period from 2016-2020 the data reveals that revenue from spending on cloud services grew at an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36.31%.

In countries like Kenya, businesses are also increasing their cloud expenditure. The “Africa in the Cloud 2020” study by World Wide Worx conducted among eight African countries released in November last year noted that Kenyan firms are set to increase their expenditure on cloud computing services by 68 per cent in 2021 up from 38 per cent in 2020. 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.

Of the three main types of cloud services, the TradingPlatforms.com data shows that Software as a Service (SaaS) still accounts for the largest share of total revenue with a 63% share. In 2020 SaaS revenue amounted to $197.6B which is a 33% increase from 2019’s $148.5. S From 2016-2020 SaaS revenue grew at a CAGR of 34.1%.

In countries like South Africa, 51% of the public sector segment are already using cloud in production. This is according to a recent survey conducted by ITWeb and AWS on the state of cloud adoption in South Africa.

The future is in the cloud

As Patrick Ndegwa, the Business Sales Lead for SEACOM East Africa, cloud adoption is becoming increasingly important for both innovation and operational continuity.

‘’Businesses can take advantage of cloud-based applications or hosted servers for enhanced mobility, or enable remote teams to connect with each other more effectively through cloud communications. ‘’ Ndegwa says in an article published on Africa Business Communities. 

The best way for businesses to take advantage of cloud is by partnering with a reliable cloud and connectivity provider that can offer high-quality and scalable services to meet their unique business requirements. 

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud is accelerating digital change across different industries

Cloud technology is driving change and accelerating digital transformation across multiple industries simultaneously. According to Marilyn Moodley, the South African Country Leader for SoftwareONENot only is cloud technology itself evolving at pace in Africa, but the way organisations buy and manage software is having to adapt as well. 

In our previous Africa cloud review article, we highlighted how cloud services have certainly revolutionized the way African enterprises conduct their businesses, offering various benefits such as cost-effective access to computing power, on-demand applications, and services among others.

Recent data presented by TradingPlatforms.com, global public IT cloud services market revenue for 2020 also shows how the cloud industry earned an estimated revenue of over $300 billion globally. To be precise, the revenue was at $312.4B – a 34% Increase from 2019.

In 2016, the data shows that global spending on public IT cloud services was just under $100B. In 2021 that figure has ballooned to a healthy $312.4B after experiencing a 34% increase from 2019’s $233.4B revenue. In the 4 year period from 2016-2020 revenue from spending on cloud services grew at an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36.31%.

The data shows how big the cloud market is. In continents like Africa for example, Hybrid cloud is providing enterprises with a trusted and capable foundation to adapt to changing market needs. As Tonny Tugee the MD at SEACOMEast Africa notes, today, businesses around the world are relying increasingly on connectivity for conducting business transactions and payments, running apps and services in cloud environments, marketing, or simply sharing information with each other.

This also explains why companies like Google are going big on cloud in Africa with Google cloud. With 24 regions and 73 zones in 17 countries, Google Cloud delivers high-performance, low-latency cloud services to customers with partners like Incentro Africa. A couple of weeks ago, Google announced it will be offering Android and cloud development scholarships to developers across  Africa. Last week, it also announced a new partnership with Shopify, a global commerce company to enable Shopify’s more than 1.7 million merchants to have access to Google Cloud’s technology across a broader set of regions.

With increasing connectivity and availability of reliable and cheap internet across Africa, it has changed the way people work. Cloud is a leapfrog technology, comparable to the introduction of the mobile phone and we are just at the beginning of it.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Migrating to the cloud is the most effective route to digital transformation

For African businesses that are still at the start of their digital transformation, migrating to the cloud might seem like a very daunting task. This is according to an article by Francis Wainaina is a Senior Product Manager at SEACOM East Africa where he talks about the four steps to successful cloud migration. 

The costs of delaying this migration, however, Francis says, can be far greater than the initial challenges of cloud adoption. 

In a survey by World Wide Worx, 31% of Kenyan businesses reported spending between 51% and 75% of their IT budgets on cloud services in 2020, and 68% intend to increase their cloud spend in 2021. With so many businesses moving to the cloud, you can’t afford to be left behind.

The pandemic has doubtlessly accelerated this shift toward cloud environments as we have mentioned before. More organizations are beginning to capitalize on the various innovations that cloud can offer. 

According to industry analysts Gartner, Cloud spending rose 37% to $29 billion during the first quarter of 2020. This trend Gartner says is likely to persist, as the exodus to virtual work underscores the urgency for scalable, secure, reliable, cost-effective off-premises technology services. In fact, despite the inevitable economic downturn in the wake of the pandemic, cloud spending is estimated to rise 19% for the full year, even as IT spending as a whole is forecast to fall 8%. 

In countries like South Africa, 51% of the public sector segment are already using cloud in production. This is according to a recent survey conducted by ITWeb and AWS on the state of cloud adoption in South Africa

Migrating to the cloud is the most effective route to public sector transformation for African businesses. Just recently, Google announced a new programme to offer new scholarships for Android, Web and Google Cloud development to developers across Africa. The programme will be offered in partnership with tech talent companies Pluralsight and Andela

Cloud services have certainly revolutionized the way we do business, offering various benefits such as cost-effective access to computing power, on-demand applications, and services among others. African businesses are moving faster and cheaper especially with platforms like Google Cloud.  With 24 regions and 73 zones in 17 countries, Google Cloud delivers high-performance, low-latency cloud services to customers.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) also recently announced that it is bringing its re/Start cloud skills training program to Kenya and South Africa this month as part of its rapid expansion plans this year. 

AWS re/Start is a free, full-time, 12-week program designed to support people who are unemployed or underemployed, and who have little technology experience, for careers in cloud computing. The program provides participants with new cloud computing skills, career, and resume coaching, and interviews with local employers.

Bottom line, migrating to the cloud is the most effective route to digital transformation and IS ultimately essential for African businesses that wish to thrive in today’s digital age.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.

[Column] Simon Ngunjiri: South Africa is one of the biggest cloud markets in Africa

South Africa has been described as one of the biggest cloud markets in Africa. The country is also Africa’s largest data center market, accounting for ~60% of the continent’s available MTDC power supply. 

South Africa has seen a rapid introduction of new CSPs, with Microsoft Azure Cloud and AWS entering the market as a gateway for the rest of Africa.  Businesses are also taking advantage of Google cloud as they try to revolutionize their businesses. 

South Africa is witnessing increased adoption of cloud-based solutions among enterprises and is rapidly emerging as a center for public and private cloud hosting, which will encourage more data center developments in the country. Cape Town and Johannesburg are the major preferred locations for data center development. The manufacturing, financial services, and healthcare sectors are among the major contributors to data center investments as these sectors are rapidly adopting cloud computing. The South African data center market is also increasingly adopting cloud technology.

Companies like The Argility Technology Group (ATG),  a fast-growing, South African enterprise software company are capitalizing on this opportunity. The company recently opted to stop running its own data centers and instead move its entire infrastructure to the public cloud.

A report released by cloud software provider, Nutanix, recently also revealed that in 2020, 50% of businesses in South Africa moved with speed to adopt hybrid cloud. According to the report, Hybrid cloud is the ideal IT operating model for most respondents in South Africa and elsewhere, with most IT respondents (88%) locally and globally (87%) reporting that the hybrid cloud is the ideal infrastructure model for their organization.

While there is an increase in the African market, South Africa in particular, it’s a strong hybrid cloud trend. 

Last month, Chinese tech giant also announced that it will be expanding its cloud computing presence in South Africa, with a new “availability zone” to be built in Cape Town in the next year or two. The company sees massive opportunities in the country. Recently, it announced that its cloud business has generated more than $5 million in revenue over the past year and garnered more than 1 000 partner organizations in Africa.

Stone He, president of Huawei Cloud in Southern Africa,  said South Africa, is “quite important” for Huawei’s global cloud computing road map as it eyes grabbing market share from “hyperscale” cloud market leaders Amazon Web Services and Microsoft.

Cloud computing is viewed as having the potential to significantly bolster economic growththrough the provisionof costsavings and efficiencies, including the cost of management of data and security. In Africa, South Africa ishas been described as an exceptional case, as the growth of cloud-computing services is demand-side driven through the corporate sector.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa


www.incentro.com