[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud is the centrepiece of new digital experiences for African businesses

Cloud technology has helped businesses in sub-Saharan Africa manage the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, something we have extensively spoken about in a previous column. When the pandemic hit, most businesses turned to the cloud to improve operational efficiency.

The pandemic changed the way we work, with businesses having to migrate to the cloud to enable collaborative remote- or hybrid-work environments. 

Analysts predicted more and more businesses will be moving to the cloud as businesses and their employees worldwide continue to face tremendous challenges in maintaining business continuity.

Incentro Africa CEO Dennis De Weerd even confirmed this in a previous interview with Africa Business Communities which was also published here on TechTrendsKE. ‘’ Especially now the pandemic we’ve seen a major uptake in the use of cloud-based solutions, by even the most traditional companies,’’ he said.

The cloud migration market is projected to grow further to reach $1,285 million by 2027 from $799 million in 2020, at a CAGR of 11.1% according to a new report by Market Insights.  The report notes that the growing demand for Cloud Migration Services for industrial applications will accelerate huge market growth. 

Revenue from organizations’ pursuit of a cloud strategy will also surge by $66 billion in 2022 — from $408 billion in 2021 to $474 billion according to Gartner. And within a few years, cloud revenue will eclipse its non-cloud counterparts, the research firm predicts.

Gartner says cloud will be the centrepiece of new digital experiences.

“There is no business strategy without a cloud strategy,” says Milind Govekar, distinguished vice president at Gartner.

“The adoption and interest in public cloud continues unabated as organizations pursue a “cloud first” policy for onboarding new workloads. Cloud has enabled new digital experiences such as mobile payment systems where banks have invested in startups, energy companies using cloud to improve their customers’ retail experiences or car companies launching new personalization services for customer’s safety and infotainment.”

In the news

Last week, Liquid Intelligent Technologies launched OneVoice for Cloud PBX offering in six key African markets. Cloud infrastructure provider and VMware Principal Partner, Routed, also appointed Axiz Cloud Technologies as a VMware cloud distribution partner.

Africa Data Centres (ADC) announced plans for two more data centers in Nairobi, Kenya.

The company said it had begun the development of a second data center of up to 20MW of IT load and is securing land for a third facility. ADC said the two projects amount to an investment of $200 million.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud is essential to modern-day manufacturing

The manufacturing sector in Africa plays a significant role in driving economic growth, job creation, and lifting people out of poverty. When the pandemic hit, the sector, just like all the other sectors recorded a massive decline in output. Manufacturers decided to prioritise cost reduction while at the same time increasing revenue.

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution underway, manufacturers as Francis Wainaina, Senior Product Manager at SEACOM East Africa said in a recent column are being pushed to embrace technological development – or risk losing business to more technologically advanced competitors.

One of these technologies is the cloud. Cloud technologies as Francis noted ‘’offer manufacturers a solution to this, providing speed, agility, cost savings, and innovation advantages that could accelerate the recovery of the manufacturing sector’’

Cloud has an increasing use in manufacturing business operations and production processes. In fact, as far as 2017, 25% of finished product inputs were made using some type of digital technology, such as cloud computing.

Efficient manufacturing Francis notes is about accomplishing more with fewer resources without compromising on quality.

‘’It is also about effectively managing communication between suppliers and distributors, streamlining production schedules through real-time and insight-driven monitoring, and minimising operational costs,’’ he says.

‘’Cloud technologies play directly into all of this, and while some of these capabilities are possible with on-premise systems, cloud-based systems are much faster and more cost-effective to roll out, enable easier customisation and flexibility, allow for scalability, and open the door for innovation’’ he adds.

Relying on the industrial cloud drastically reduces the cost of maintaining on-premise storage and computing resources by half.

According to an article published on Forbes,cloud-based systems are faster to roll out than traditional systems, making it easier for manufacturers to keep up with new developments. They are also easier to customize and scale, and they offer the potential to increase adoption rates across resellers.

The cloud indeed offers manufacturers scalability, operational efficiency, application and partner integration, data storage, management, analytics and enhanced security. At the most foundational level, P van Loggerenberg, Chief Technology Officer, SYSPRO notes that cloud computing influences how manufacturers manage their operations, from ERP and financial management to data analytics and workforce training.

Cloud has become a pillar of the modern business world, and the manufacturing sector is certainly no exception. To accelerate the growth of the continent’s economy through improved manufacturing capabilities, we need to follow international trends and take advantage of all the opportunities that cloud has to offer.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Data centres are a growing investment opportunity in Africa

Last week, Global software giant Oracle announced that it has chosen Johannesburg as the site of its first African data centre. Joburg will be among the 14 locations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Latin America that the company says it plans to open cloud regions to support strong customer demand for Oracle Cloud services.

This announcement came at a time when the demand for data centers in Africa continues to rise.  According to Gartner, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) data centre market, which includes cloud services, will see spending reach US$5.4 billion in 2022, driven by Digital Transformation initiatives across the region as well as growth in Internet penetration. In addition, industry leaders. believe that projected investment growth in data centre projects is influenced by a growing demand for higher-performance networks, increased management efficiency and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, as we have highlighted in a previous column,  Africa is suited to jump to the cloud more than its peersCloud adoption—including hybrid and multi-cloud adoption—is expanding fast among both private and public sector organizations of all sizes.

BitTitan, a provider of cloud migrations and managed services automation solutions, has also noted that there is a massive migration to the cloud by organisations in the Middle East and Africa.

“We have seen a growing trend in mergers and divestments as a result of the changing business dynamics brought about by the pandemic. Our data on migration project types in Americas and Europe have shown that this leads to increased activity and the trend is only growing. This will be a regular scenario soon in the Middle East as migrations do not stop after clients have been moved to the cloud,” said Antti Ålander, Channel Manager – EMEA, BitTitan said in an article published by Intelligent CIO.

Last week, US group Vantage Data Centres also announced that it is investing more than 15 billion rand ($1 billion) in its first African campus in Johannesburg.  Vantage’s carrier‐neutral 80 megawatts-capacity facility will include 60,000 square metres of data space across three facilities in Johannesburg once fully developed, making it the largest in Africa, the company said in a statement.

Teraco Data Environments Proprietary Limited, Africa’s vendor-neutral data centre and interconnection services provider, recently also announced the completion of Phase 1 of CT2, its new hyperscale data centre in Brackenfell, Cape Town – the largest data centre in the Western Cape.

These increased investments in data centers in Africa is a clear indication that cloud adoption in the region has reached new heights.  In 2020, IT spending was hit hard by the pandemic and declined by 4.9% in the META region, according to IDC. The crisis caused by the pandemic, though, appears to have accelerated plans for digital transformation and related projects such as migration to cloud technology.

According to Knight Frank, Africa currently boasts just 140,000 sq m of data centre space, the same as Switzerland. However, rapid digitisation and the roll-out of 4G and 5G infrastructure across the continent means this is set to grow by 50% over the next five years.

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.