[Column] Benjamin Coetzer: 2020 – the year containerisation dominates PaaS

How will infrastructure evolve and provide the sourcing, migration and delivery of services for today’s digital migration? According to Benjamin Coetzer, Director, Routed – a vendor neutral cloud infrastructure developer, Platform as a Service in conjunction with the rising trend of containerisation, is busy delivering these answers.

As of 2019, Gartner says that the total Platform as a Service (PaaS) market contains more than 360 vendors, offering more than 550 cloud platform services in 21 categories. Gartner expects that, from 2018 to 2022, the market will double in size and that PaaS will be the prevailing platform delivery model moving forward.

Coetzer says that the adoption of PaaS has boomed leading to an increasing and subsequent uptake of containerisation: “Enterprises are embracing containers at a much faster pace than expected, giving rise to Containerisation as a Service (CaaS). The thriving open source community combined with the availability of mature commercial offerings has given much needed confidence to enterprise customers.”

He says that containers will redefine the hybrid cloud by bridging the gap between legacy and modern applications and on-premises and public cloud infrastructure.

“As software providers become more comfortable with building out containerised applications and consuming PaaS offerings, more and more responsibilities will be moved away from consumers of cloud infrastructure.  What will become vital is workload mobility, the ability to move applications between cloud infrastructure providers, to avoid vendor lock-in scenarios, which is a huge risk currently,” says Coetzer.

Migration from on-premise to cloud, or cloud-to-cloud remains fairly primitive and will become crucial for adoption in the years to come. Coetzer says that VMware is already working towards a multi-cloud management platform to enable this scenario. He expects more vendors to develop competing offerings but says that the VMWare platform is currently leading this race.

“Containers are changing the way resources and services are consumed by developers, from internal or external cloud infrastructure providers. It’s also introducing new networking and security challenges, which are being addressed by NFV solutions. There are some exciting projects that are changing the face of private cloud infrastructure hosting facilities, while the cloud giants Azure and AWS have been feverishly innovating Kubernetes-as-a-Service offerings and expanding on their already vast Platform-as-a-Service offerings,’ says Coetzer.

According to Forbes, Kubernetes has become the front and centre of enterprise container platforms. From traditional OS vendors to modern PaaS providers, every major platform vendor has a commercial Kubernetes offering making it the new operating system of the data centre. Traditional PaaS has gradually transformed into a container management platform. PaaS industry leaders have embraced Kubernetes as the foundation of their platforms and according to Forbes, 2019 will witness the complete transformation of PaaS into CaaS.

Coetzer sees this trend extending locally making 2020 an exciting year for further digital transformation.

Benjamin Coetzer is the Director of cloud service provider Routed.

[South Africa ] Cloud ERP solutions provider One Channel launches new ERP

One Channel, Africa’s leading cloud ERP solutions provider and Acumatica partner, has announced the Acumatica 2019 R2 release. This latest version of cloud ERP contains more than 100 improvements, enhancements and new features.

The new and practical innovations in Acumatica 2019 R2 make Acumatica even easier to use and customise. They really enhance Acumatica’s unique cross-functional workflows, which allow a user to move from CRM to Construction to Manufacturing to Distribution screens seamlessly in real-time, resulting in improved accuracy and productivity.

One Channel CEO Bernard Ford says many of the Acumatica 2019 R2 improvements and new features were the result of community suggestions on the Acumatica Feedback Site subsequently vetted and selected through Focus Groups.

“Product excellence is a key focus of Acumatica. Significant advances have been made across the Acumatica Cloud xRP Platform, further improvements added to Acumatica’s award-winning business functionality, and new capabilities built into the specialised Acumatica Industry Editions,” he explains.

Usability advances include new mobile enabled user-defined fields, conditional formatting, and advanced workflow engine with global messaging capabilities. A new Pivot Table Widget for Dashboards allows users to take actions based on summary information.

Enhanced Power BI and Tableau capabilities are joined by Google G-suite integration to enhance user productivity with third party tools. Predefined User Roles and new data migration templates accelerate implementation and reduce time to value for new customers. Mobile expense management enhancements include addition of Corporate credit card use by multiple resources with automated reconciliation.

Ford says Financial Management now includes the application of payments to particular lines of Accounts Payable Documents, allowing users to assign partial payment to an entire AP document or to individual document lines in various proportions.

“The system also supports tracking retainage by document, approval of AR Invoices, Credit Memos, and Debit Memos for companies requiring advanced approval workflows. Accrual of the Costs for Non-Stock Items provide improved visibility into profitability well in advance of expense recognition of services performed,” he says.

Responding to community requests, the restricted use of control accounts prevents otherwise out of balance mistakes. Payment application process has been honed to minimise clicks and improve the speed of processing multiple payments.

Acumatica Manufacturing Edition 2019 R2 enhances Engineering Change Control (ECC), streamlining multiple change requests by optionally grouping them for approval process, and displaying them in bill-of-material comparisons. The Bill of Materials (BOM) has advanced visualisation tools and reports to improve usability. Material Requirements Planning (MRP) has improved forecasting and exception handling.

Acumatica Field Service Edition supports new cross-module workflows with integrated Project Accounting supporting service contracts, project schedules, tasks, and cost codes by service order type. Visual calendar boards feature real-time mapping and travel estimates for service appointments based on current traffic information from Microsoft’s Bing mapping service.

Construction Edition adds tracking of Daily Field Reports to provide all stakeholders visibility to timely information. Users can now use two-tier change management capabilities to effectively manage change workflow. Enhanced lien waiver functionality avoids accidental or premature vendor payments.

www.onechannel.co.za

[South Africa] Kukula.com implements Sabre’s cloud based solution to improve airport experience for customers

As an airline at the forefront of innovation, South African carrier kulula.com is reinventing the airport experience for its customers, with the implementation of Sabre’s new Digital Workspace solution.

Digital Workspace, Sabre’s first completely cloud-based solution, will enable airport agents to deliver a seamless and personalized airport experience to customers. This solution equips agents with workflows that eliminate the traditional linear check-in procedure and improve agent productivity by up to 30 percent compared to current processes. This innovative new technology will be rolled out across all the airports that kulula.com serves, assisting more than 1,200 agents. Travelers on kulula.com can therefore expect shorter queuing times and enjoy a hassle-free check-in experience.

“Investing in new, digital technologies is crucial to our strategy, which centers around improving the travel experience for our passengers,” said Wrenelle Stander, executive director – Airline Division, kulula.com.  “In today’s digital world, our customers expect a reimagined air travel experience, and Sabre’s digital technology will help us achieve our goal of becoming the most visionary and customer-centric carriers on the African continent.  With Sabre’s Digital Workspace, we will transform the airport experience to be more seamless, more personalized and less stressful – moving us a step closer to a fully digital integrated operation.”

Digital Workspace is part of Sabre’s Commercial Platform, an innovative new solution that delivers end-to-end personalized retailing and enables airlines to successfully retail, distribute and fulfil across all customer touchpoints.  Announced last year, the Sabre Commercial Platform is completely transforming airlines into intelligent digital entities – through advanced retailing, dynamic pricing, an open API hub, an ultra-fast shopping engine and a mobile, consumer-grade workspace for airport agents.

“Today’s digitally-savvy travelers are expecting a more seamless experience from their airlines,” said Sabre’s Dino Gelmetti, vice president, sales – Middle East and Africa.  “Passing through the airport is traditionally one of the most stressful aspects of travel, so reducing queuing times and check points will make a huge difference for kulula.com’s customers. kulula.com is one of the most progressive airlines in Africa, and Sabre’s cutting-edge technology will enable it to differentiate itself within a highly competitive and challenging environment – improving efficiencies and creating an unrivaled customer experience.”

Investments in the Sabre Commercial Platform accelerate innovation beyond the core SabreSonic passenger service system to enable airlines to maximize revenue and deliver end-to-end personalized retailing.

www.kulula.com

www.sabre.com

[South Africa] Poor data management costs companies millions each year

Companies are failing to meet user demand for uninterrupted access to applications and data and it is costing them millions each year. They are now looking to embrace Cloud Data Management to better meet protection needs and leverage the power of their data, this is according to the 2019 Veeam Cloud Data Management Report.

The Report surveyed more than 1500 senior business and IT leaders from 13 countries and found that respondents are aware of the importance of data management to their business’ success, pointing to greater productivity today, and the potential to drive business transformation in the future.

The amount of data generated has exploded over the past decade; data growth and sprawl is so rampant that by 2025 more than 175 Zettabytes of data will be generated each year, up almost 75% from 2018.

Troye managing director Helen Kruger says companies need to manage and protect this data, no matter where it resides. “The latest industry survey from Veeam Software, the leader in Backup solutions that enable Cloud Data Management, states that 73% of organisations admit to not being able to meet users’ demands for uninterrupted access to data and services.”

“This highlights the devastating impact downtime can have on lost revenue, productivity and customer confidence. However, the study shows that business leaders are acting to combat this, with nearly 72% looking to embrace Cloud Data Management, often by exploiting hybrid cloud capabilities, to ensure success and drive more value from their data,” she explains.

Businesses are looking to embrace the power of technologies such as the cloud, or hybrid cloud, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) to drive business success and will invest heavily on such transformational technologies.

Almost half of respondents admit that data protection is imperative to leverage these investments. Alarmingly, only 37% of businesses are very confident in their current backup solutions, with the majority (73%) admitting that they cannot meet user demands.

This inhibits the adoption of tools and processes that can drive business advantage, but leaders recognise work needs to be done; more than half of those surveyed are looking to deploy Intelligent Data Management and multi-cloud solutions across the business to address this failing.

“In this data-driven age, businesses need to wake up and take action to protect their data. They need to manage their data in a way that always delivers availability and leverage its value to drive performance. This is no longer a luxury, but a business necessity,” she stresses.

There are massive benefits to be gained from the deployment of digital initiatives. However, there is a global disparity in digital adoption. Some of the world’s largest economies are at risk of having to play catch-up when it comes to their investment in digital innovation.

Kruger says there is a significant opportunity and competitive advantage for those who effectively manage their data. “Business leaders need to determine whether their business data will always be available and if they are unsure, it’s time to act. This study shows that many are not acting fast enough.”

Some of the world’s most advanced economies are at risk of being left behind when it comes to their digital adoption. It’s crucial that companies get the right digital foundation in place to intelligently manage their data and safeguard their future. To achieve this, businesses must be united internally, with IT and the business working collaboratively and addressing cultural and skills challenges.

The Report found that companies that are on a journey to become a more intelligent business, meaning they are leveraging technologies such as Cloud Data Management and AI to create a real-time view of the collective business and the ability to act intelligently on that insight.

Amongst the businesses on this journey, the study highlights four common components globally:

Cloud: Cloud Data Management is a key component of delivering Intelligent Data Management. It is evident that leaders are recognising the advantages of a multi-cloud and hybrid-based approach, citing cost, reliability, flexibility and data security of the cloud as their main reasons for choosing it.

About 75% of companies report using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms and many are using the cloud for their backup and recovery services with 51% using Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) and 44% using disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS).

Capabilities: Companies must enhance their capabilities, to ensure employees can draw on data insights and use new technologies as they are deployed, with 9 out of 10 businesses viewing upskilling employees’ digital skills as vital to their digital success.

Culture: Creating a culture that is adaptable and receptive to new technologies so that people can evolve with the organization is essential, with more than two-thirds of respondents believing that company culture needs to become more open and accepting to digital technologies.

Confidence: Companies must create a sense of confidence in the business’ digital capabilities, built on a strong data foundation. Presently, only a quarter of respondents report total confidence in their capability to meet their digital challenges.

What is clear from the 2019 Veeam Cloud Data Management Report is that the time for action is now. This starts with a strong digital foundation, which ensures that data is backed up and always available.

“With this in place, businesses can confidently deploy new digital initiatives, leveraging the business value and competitive advantage for today and in to the future, and harness the potential of Cloud Data Management,” she concludes.

www.troye.co.za

[Column] Bernard Ford: Managing fixed assets efficiently is an art

Modern cloud-based fixed asset management software helps today’s businesses focus on their core competencies rather than complex IT processes. More importantly, it helps them avoid huge costs related to software, storage and technical staff. This is according to One Channel CEO Bernard Ford.

Cloud offers various advantages such as scalability, flexibility in capacity, enhanced collaboration and cost-efficiency. It also offers a centralised way to integrate the system and its components with web and mobile applications and helps businesses with efficient asset management, maintenance and productivity.

Cloud-based deployment is expected to have a significant growth in the fixed asset management software market, research shows that this market size is expected to grow from US$3-billion in 2019 to US$5.2-billion by 2024.

Fixed asset management software empowers businesses with a centralised platform to efficiently manage their assets throughout its lifecycle. This includes asset lifecycle management, asset budgeting, depreciation management, disposal management, document management, barcoding/Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), asset tracking, audit trail, and tax management.

He says businesses across all industries are adopting fixed asset management software as it enables them to monitor their assets and increase operational efficiency. “Maintenance, repair, and operations of assets are of the utmost importance in any asset-intensive industry.”

Preventive maintenance and IoT technology will boost the adoption of fixed asset management solutions. Also, the growing need to reduce operational cost and proliferate profits through efficient management of assets, are the major factors driving the growth of the fixed asset management software market.

Fixed assets include everything from laptops to printers, furniture, machinery, vehicles and buildings. They need to be managed effectively, regardless of whether it’s a few devices or thousands deployed across multiple locations.

“Traditional fixed asset software typically used spreadsheets whilst modern products enable business owners to use bar code technology to manage off-premise assets including laptops, equipment and machinery. Modern software makes it much easier to track asset location, its usage and even the condition of any asset. Some applications also offer maintenance schedules for these assets,” he explains.

Modern cloud applications like Acumatica allow business owners to track maintenance schedules, location of the asset, current condition and depreciation. It also allows for better asset management, having all asset data stored in a single application eliminates the need for multiple spreadsheets that track multiple assets.

“More accurate reporting is crucial, so instead of using spreadsheets, business owners can now manage their assets right along with their other accounting tasks, saving time by reducing duplicate data entry and eliminates the potential for human error,” he concludes

Bernard Ford is the CEO of One Channel, South Africa. 

[Column] Kree Govender: Why cloud hasn’t had a big impact on Business Intelligence

Although the notion of network-based computing stems right back to the 1960s, the modern term “cloud computing” arose in the 2000s. Yet, almost two decades later, South Africa still lags in both its adoption, and its use for critical functions like business intelligence (BI). 

While many believe that this is largely due to a lack of local data centre infrastructure, the landing of the Azure data centres in Africa will drastically change the Cloud landscape across the continent. “This effectively eradicates the fear of shifting massive datasets offshore to global data centres,” confirms Kree Govender, Managing Director of South Africa Qlik Master Reseller (SAQMR). 

The current hesitance towards Cloud adoption in Africa is illustrated by the Qlik implementations across the continent. Statistics show that as much as 95% of Qlik’s customers in Africa are on premise. 

“Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80 percent of enterprises will migrate entirely away from on-premises data centres with the current trend of moving workloads to colocation, hosting and the cloud leading them to shut down their traditional data centre,” adds Govender. “If these predictions prove accurate, the new data centres will mean there’s no longer anything holding Africa back from catching up with the rest of the world.” 

Adam Barrie-Smith, Chief Technology Officer at SAQMR, believes that the Qlik platform is perfectly positioned to capitalise on the benefits that these data centres will offer. “This will complement extensive mobile analysis testing using Qlik’s SaaS and Cloud business, leveraging Qlik Senses’ multi-Cloud capabilities. The first advantage is the data centre, the next will be the containerised cloud environment which is set to follow soon.”  

To Barrie-Smith, one of the greatest benefits of local data centres is enhanced identity management. “Let’s consider the impact on the banking industry, for example. Most African banks still hold on-premise hardware, which is now reaching retirement age. The question now becomes, should they invest in more hardware or virutalise? With the new data centres, our banking customers will find it much simpler and more cost-effective to embrace the Cloud, through a hosted layer within Azure.” 

While making Cloud adoption easier, the new data centres also offer rich integration capabilities, enhanced virtualisation opportunities, a more elastic environment and greater security. “With the local Azure data centres, African organisations will be empowered to embrace hybrid cloud, and we predict a much greater cloud drive,” concludes Govender.  

 Kree Govender is the Managing Director of South Africa Qlik Master Reseller (SAQMR). 

[Column] Andrew Cruise: Two years until Infrastructure as a Service boom hits South Africa

Routed, a leading vendor neutral provider of cloud infrastructure, says that the predicted growth of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is in line with the increasing growth forecasts for cloud computing. Andrew Cruise, managing director, Routed, says that while IaaS is seen as an emerging opportunity in Africa, the work has already started locally with demand increasing as awareness of cloud capabilities increase.

“Since launching three years ago, we have seen a steady increase in both interest and deployment of cloud infrastructure services. As cloud computing grows, so too does the need for cloud-based infrastructure resources,” says Cruise. “Without IaaS there is no Cloud: IaaS is the foundation for all Cloud services. Now that connectivity is fast, cheap and reliable we have reached the tipping point in South Africa where general interest in Cloud has switched into action.”

According to The Xalam Rise of Cloud Report 2019, South Africa is the largest cloud market on the continent. The country accounts for 75% of Africa’s total cloud revenue and Xalam says that this is unsurprising as around 60% of the continent’s enterprise ICT services revenues are generated in South Africa. Routed, which featured in the report as a leading provider of cloud infrastructure resources, says that IaaS is the fastest growing category in the African cloud space, averaging around 120% annually over the three years at 2018.

The report also estimated that around 80% of Africa’s public cloud revenue is generated from SaaS applications. To a large extent this reflects the embryonic nature of this market; SaaS is a cloud starting platform for most businesses according to Xalam.

Guy Zibi, managing director, Xalam Analytics, says IaaS is seen as more of a long-term player, estimating that South Africa is two years away from a true boom: “From a low base – IaaS is the fastest-growing cloud services segment across our cloud value chain.”

Cruise says that one factor influencing the growth and potential of IaaS is what Xalam refers to as the VMWare factor. The availability of VMWare virtualisation solutions is providing African MSPs with a platform to compete with hyperscale providers on IaaS; while they can’t match the capabilities of AWS or Azure, MSPs have increasingly been able to offer local-centric IaaS services, with support and other benefits not offered by global cloud providers.

“For more than a decade, VMware’s solutions have been the go-to virtualisation and management platform for enterprises requiring uptime, security and performance on-premise. Now enterprises can be reassured that the same outcome can be delivered using specialist, certified VMware Cloud Providers, without internalising risk, or investing in facilities, hardware, software and engineering resources,” says Cruise.

Andrew Cruise is the managing director at Routed.

Johannesburg Stock Exchange starts offering historical tick data in the cloud

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), Africa’s largest, multi-asset class stock exchange, now offers historical equity; equity derivatives and currency derivatives tick data in the cloud, meaning that clients, data vendors, investors and traders will now be able to access historical data more swiftly.

The JSE has partnered with CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, to house its first cloud solution offering.

The move modernises the JSE’s market data offering and strengthens the exchanges position as a global market player.  

The historical tick data will enable clients, traders and investors to assess trading opportunities, strengthen their market insights and improve risk mitigation intelligence based on both the market and various individual stocks’ past performance, support compliance reporting with more extensive data and conduct other valuable trading-related analyses.

“Traders, investors and our clients require tick data all the time in order to make informed decisions and we are pleased to offer them swifter access to information that can enable them to make these decisions.  As the JSE we constantly aim to provide our clients with the right solutions to meet their needs,” says Mark Randall, Director of Information Services at the JSE. 

www.jse.co.za

SEACOM upgrades CloudWorx for public cloud networks and data centres in South Africa

Moving to meet the requirements of an evolving corporate ICT marketplace, Pan-African Internet and connectivity service provider SEACOM is expanding its CloudWorx cloud connectivity solutions. 

CloudWorx is a versatile, private connectivity service for businesses that connects corporate customers directly to the leading cloud-service providers like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform.

Until now, SEACOM’s CloudWorx was primarily provisioned through the provider’s network interconnections with data centres in Europe and was exclusive to companies in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The revised and upgraded CloudWorx continues to provide low latency and secure access when connecting to cloud providers overseas, but now also includes access to public cloud networks and data centres located in South Africa – accomplished via SEACOM’s presence in open-access Teraco Data Environments.

In addition, as SEACOM extends its South African national network, CloudWorx will increasingly be available to corporate customers outside the country’s major metros.

The shift in scale of CloudWorx availability reflects SEACOM’s growth as a connectivity and business solutions provider.

Approved by regulatory authorities on 1 March, SEACOM has acquired 100% of FibreCo Telecommunications, a national fibre network with infrastructure, connectivity services and over 60 Points of Presence across South Africa.

This ever-expanding footprint will bring SEACOM cloud connectivity solutions, like CloudWorx, to businesses in hitherto neglected economic centres such as Bloemfontein and East London.

Whether your requirements are to connect to the newly-launched Azure or AWS data centres in South Africa or Google and Oracle based out of Amsterdam, SEACOM has the presence, infrastructure and scalability to help South African (and East African) businesses fast-track and support their cloud migration strategy.

The FibreCo acquisition introduces over 4700km of national fibre, in addition to SEACOM’s pioneering subsea cable system connecting East Africa to South Africa, Europe and Asia.

This robust network lets SEACOM customers take advantage of a high-speed, flexible and resilient backbone from an end-to-end perspective. International capacity on the SEACOM network is currently lit at 1.5 Tbps and the South African national backbone is being upgraded to 1 Tbps.

Across the board, fibre access is uncontended and unshared to provide corporates with carrier-grade, scalable connectivity.

Scalability and general fluidity are key considerations for South African businesses to future-proof their cloud migration strategy. Cloud provider requirements may switch between public Internet access and dedicated private connectivity.

Meanwhile, individual businesses may see their cloud usage change in line with their growth strategy, using office software-as-a-service today and data-intensive AI analytics tomorrow.

As Robert Marston, Global Head of Product at SEACOM, explains, “Through SEACOM’s investments in undersea & terrestrial fibre, coupled with its interconnections with the major Cloud Providers both locally and internationally, SEACOM has the highest-speed bandwidth, low-latency routing, and a comprehensive set of options to ensure its clients can make effective use of the Cloud services in their businesses.”

Although it has benefits for medium to large businesses in all sectors, SEACOM CloudWorx is versatile enough to cater for industries such as the Mining Sector who may have limited requirements for cloud connectivity, to the Financial Services Sector, which has strict security and throughput requirements driven by their day to day operational needs.

 In these applications, utilising software-as-a-service platforms, hosted in a cloud environment, results in increased speed, security and application efficiency.

With CloudWorx users experience higher security, lower latency, increased reliability and greater speed in comparison to public Internet connectivity to cloud platforms.

In line with SEACOM’s commitment to growing business in Africa, CloudWorx is a specialist approach to cloud connectivity that prioritises flexibility and scalability for customers. Local organisations can leverage it to improve their efficiency and competitiveness as the wholesale digitisation of work takes hold.

www.seacom.com

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[Column] Doug Woolley: How to save cloud from complexity

Ten years ago, business technologies had saturated to breaking point. The potential they offered were diminished by their deployment and maintenance costs.

 Then virtualisation, cloud and similar technologies emerged to offer new capacities and optimisation. Companies were able to vastly simplify their technology stacks, as is evident by even large enterprises moving wholesale to service-centric models where you own less and get more.

But that pendulum was going to change direction eventually. The arrival of the cloud world wasn’t just about creating efficiencies.

 It introduced radical new ways of creating applications and deploying services. The initial gains in terms of efficiency were just the start – once the cloud engine started firing on more cylinders, its true potential came to light.

Artificial intelligence, real-time data, IoT infrastructure and other cutting edge services became widely feasible and affordable.

The modern technology era is powerful because of its modularity, but this creates a new type of complexity headache.

Several reports have highlighted concerns among modern CIOs that complexity is getting out of hand again.

One study found that a single web transaction used to interact with around 22 technology systems a few years ago, whereas today the number is more than 35. That’s a 59 percent increase in complexity.

The major bite is coming from managing multi-cloud environments. Today’s organisation is spoilt for choice. It can juggle hyperscale environments, co-location arrangements, private clouds, application containers and straight service pipes to create the best combination of technologies that enable its desires.

 But the simple beauty of grabbing an iPad for a performance dashboard belies the agile and complex relationships making that happen behind the scenes.

I can tell you that Dell EMC has been mulling this long before it became a clear challenge. Even before the successful merger that created Dell Technologies, we already pursued ways to better manage the complexity created by cloud environments.

 I don’t say this to advertise our services, but to point out that we never bought into a blue-skies view of cloud. The complexity was bound to return. If it isn’t contained and disciplined, then the promise of cloud would soon devolve into the familiar muck everyone’s trying to break free from.

We’re not alone: the market has been reaching this conclusion as well. A recent VMWare survey found that 83 percent of cloud adopters are seeking consistent infrastructure and operations from the data centre to the cloud.

In other words, they want as seamless an experience as possible between the various moving parts of their technology investments.

Digital maturity isn’t a single curve. It’s more akin to a radar chart, with different indicators spreading outwards to complete the picture.

 The ability to curtail multi-cloud complexity is increasingly a dominant indicator of digital proficiency. But the means to create that control will depend heavily on the partner of choice.

Reining in cloud isn’t just about a nice management suite. It has to cover a powerful integration of hardware, software, services and consumption options. It also can’t exist to try and cap your cloud capabilities for the sake of stability.

Cloud management has to remain dynamic to allow for the agility, accelerated innovation, improved economics and reduced risk that are the promises of the cloud era.

This requires a multidisciplinary approach that no single vendor can comprehensively provide. It needs a stable of different capabilities, such as virtualisation, infrastructure management and mature business thinking.

When a company wants to avoid or untangle the new complexities wrought by cloud, the solutions don’t lie in services but how rich the partner landscape is that provides the management services.

Multi-cloud environments are delivering both expected and unbelievable gains, often as smooth interactions for end-users. But the background complexity can diminish returns very quickly and erode digitisation gains. This is the technology conversation of the year and foreseeable future, so let’s start talking.

Doug Woolley is the General Manager of Dell Technologies South Africa