Routed appoints Axiz Cloud Technologies to boost South Africa’s cloud market

Cloud infrastructure provider and VMware Principal Partner, Routed, has appointed Axiz Cloud Technologies as a VMware cloud distribution partner.

Andrew Cruise, MD, Routed, says that as a vendor neutral infrastructure provider, Routed has always planned to build a resilient and robust channel. He says the Axiz appointment is not only strategic, but necessary to further enhance a local channel focused on the development of cloud in South Africa.

“We are delighted to be working more closely with Axiz Cloud Technologies. This partnership is key to the success of VMware Cloud uptake and we are excited to work with the local team to build out even more VMware-inspired cloud platforms. Their legacy in distribution is a key advantage in terms of technical ability and reach within the local channel. Our distribution agreement with them will also help ensure that Managed Service Providers (MSP) are given the necessary support and technical assistance when implementing cloud strategies,” says Cruise.

He says that the cloud opportunity is massive across the African continent due to digital transformation and the related cloud/IT spend.  Hastened by the Covid-19 pandemic, Cruise says that Routed anticipates further interest and growth in cloud adoption.

 Research by African Cloud Market 2021, states that cloud-based office applications are increasingly vital components of the African modern workplace. The rise of the cloud in the African market ostensibly goes beyond basic office applications. From banks looking to accelerate the rollout of new applications to startups disrupting entire industries with innovative, cloud-powered models, cloud services are transforming Africa’s productive capacity and emerging as one of the most essential pillars of Africa’s digital transformation.

According to Cruise this paints a picture of why having a robust and agile channel is so important. “This agreement is one way in which to address the growing cloud requirement. In simple terms, we need MSPs who can manage the implementation and rollout of cloud and Axiz Cloud Technologies, as one of the leading distributors, has the depth and breadth to do this successfully.”

He says that Axiz Cloud Technologies will offer the full suite of VMware Cloud solutions offered by Routed, which is the most complete VMware-based cloud infrastructure deployment available locally. Routed’s cloud and infrastructure products address all Enterprise cloud platform, recovery solutions and modern application requirements of business.

The role Routed plays within the VMware cloud ecosystem is key says Cruise. They are not only the first VMware Cloud Verified partner in Africa, but also boast Principal Partner Status, which is the highest tiered recognition within the VMware Partner Connect programme. In addition, Routed is  the first VMware DRaaS Certified Partner in Africa: “This enables us to provide Axiz Cloud Technologies with immense support as well as access to our technical experts, and guidance in terms of better understanding the VMware solutions and services.”

Willie Jansen van Rensburg, executive, Axiz Cloud Technologies, says that this appointment is key to the business’ future as a cloud distributor and solution provider: “We are excited to further develop our role in the local cloud ecosystem. Routed is undoubtedly a market-leading VMware specialist and we are confident that together we can increase VMware’s cloud market share, while developing local skills too.”

www.routed.co.za

www.axizcloud.com

Trends shaping the public cloud market in South Africa are setting the scene for business growth, says IDC

The IDC South African Public Cloud Market study 2021-2025 found that one word defined the future – momentum. Cloud deployments underwent rapid growth in 2020 as enterprises raced to connect geographically dispersed workforces and build digitally robust business processes so they could survive the unexpected uncertainty. For most decision-makers, the past 18 months have been defined by transformed digital roadmaps, reprioritisation of budgets, and cutting CAPEX to embed agility and ensure sustainability. According to Jon Tullett, Senior Research Manager at IDC Sub-Saharan Africa, the next five years will see more workloads move to the public and private clouds as momentum builds towards further adoption, and that this presents opportunities for organisations and service providers alike.

“Service providers need to position themselves to catch customers as they pivot and accelerate, to ensure that they are in a place to take advantage of this momentum,” he adds. “Those that can offer solutions and approaches that fully leverage existing business investment and that allow for companies to better adapt to the short- and long-term changes brought by the pandemic are those that are likely to get the best seats in the house.”

The most stand-out trend shaping the public cloud market today is the extremely rapid adoption of public cloud services thanks to the pandemic. Over the next 6 to 12 months, this is likely to introduce greater complexity such as the widespread adoption of multiple platforms within organisations and the need to mature these platforms and investments to squeeze out their full value. Speed of adoption is unlikely to slow down thanks to the tidal effect – more applications will migrate to the cloud and, as they move, IT will likely move other parts of the ecosystem along with them – and neither will the organisation’s drive to cut costs and get more value for money.

“This movement towards the public cloud is not new, it has been around for years, but the pressure of the past year drove increased speeds to adoption for obvious reasons,” says Tullett. “Companies had to make sudden and sweeping changes to business practices and their infrastructure to ensure they could manage operations effectively in the remote workplace.”

Accelerating public cloud service adoption was an effective way of achieving productivity and collaboration in a shut-down world, and it allowed for the improved management of costs thanks to the usage-based models provided by public cloud services. A win-win. But one that cannot be left to rest on its proverbial laurels. Organisations need to start thinking about their infrastructure in terms of the cloud, regardless of location, and how they can get more from it.

“Instead of asking how the cloud will complement on-premise infrastructure, corporate conversations are now turning to how legacy infrastructure can be aligned with cloud-era applications,” says Tullett. “This isn’t restricted to private or public cloud but is more about adopting a different approach to deployment, scaling, integration, costing, and all the operational considerations that come with managing enterprise applications.”

However, despite the pressures put on companies by the pandemic and the evolving workforce that has emerged from the ashes of this complexity, many companies are still resistant to this change. There are still there are concerns that linger around data governance and compliance, which are security and skills, and the complexities that go hand-in-hand with migrating applications to the cloud.

“It can be daunting for some companies to step into this cloud infrastructure and leave their trusted and traditional systems behind,” says Tullett. “This is once again where service providers can translate the challenges into opportunities. If they collaborate with companies to assuage their concerns, then they can create new ways of working together, such as in delivering hybrid cloud management solutions, or providing security as a managed service.”

For those companies still sitting on that fence, as uncomfortable as that may be in the digital-first world right now, it’s important to unpack the benefits that come with the move to the public cloud. For the service provider, it’s a chance to build new frameworks, deliver new services, and meet customers on the very edge of the digital battlefield. For the business, there is the proven value of agility that comes with cloud – it’s got the flex the enterprise needs to shift strategy in the face of the unexpected or uncertainty.  The ability to make immediate and relevant adjustments to IT and business strategies on demand was underscored over 2020 and 2021, and the cloud was the cornerstone in helping companies to adapt.

“As organisations move out of the pandemic and look to take advantage of new opportunities, their focus will shift from a defensive posture to an expansive one and IT will be expected to support this shift with new capabilities such as automation, analytics, and agile deployment,” concludes Tullett. “And cloud will be an inevitable part of those capabilities.”

www.idc.co.za

[South Africa] Oracle To Build Its First African Data Centre In Joburg

Global software giant Oracle has 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.

Upcoming cloud regions include Milan (Italy), Stockholm (Sweden), Marseille (France), Spain, Singapore (Singapore), Johannesburg (South Africa), Jerusalem (Israel), Mexico, and Colombia. Additional second regions will open in Abu Dhabi (U.A.E.), Saudi Arabia, France, Israel, and Chile.  Oracle plans to have at least 44 cloud regions by the end of 2022, continuing one of the fastest expansions of any major cloud provider. 

Oracle provides a broad and consistent set of cloud services across 30 commercial and government cloud regions in 14 countries on five continents to serve its growing global customer base.  OCI currently operates 23 commercial regions and seven government regions, in addition to multiple dedicated and national security regions.

“Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has seen stellar growth over the past year,” said Clay Magouyrk, executive vice president, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. 

“We’ve introduced several hundred new cloud services and features and are continuing to see organizations from around the world increasingly turn to OCI to run their most mission-critical workloads in the cloud.  With the additional Cloud regions, even more organizations will be able to use our cloud services to support their growth and overall success.”

To help customers build true business continuity and disaster protection, while helping them address their in-country data residence requirements, Oracle plans to establish at least two cloud regions in almost every country where it operates.  The U.S., Canada, U.K., South Korea, Japan, Brazil, India, and Australia already have two cloud regions.

Oracle says its strategy is to meet customers where they are, enabling customers to keep data and services where they need it.  Customers can deploy Oracle Cloud completely within their own data centers with Dedicated Region and Exadata Cloud@Customer, deploy cloud services locally with public cloud-based management, or deploy cloud services remotely on the edge with Roving Edge Infrastructure.

www.oracle.com

[South Africa] Google Cloud and Cybereason Join Forces to Drive XDR Innovation

Cybereason, a leader in operation-centric cyber attack protection, and Google Cloud have announced a joint collaboration between the two companies to create and bring to market unprecedented Extended Detection and Response (XDR) across endpoints, networks, cloud and workspaces at record-setting speed.
 
Cybereason delivers the most comprehensive protection available on the market today, analysing more than 23 trillion security-related events per week — five times the volume of any other solution in the market. Using its patented Malicious Operations (MalOps™) engine, Cybereason reveals the full attack story across every device, user identity, application and cloud deployment.
 
Meanwhile Google Cloud’s cybersecurity analytics platform Chronicle ingests, normalises, and analyses petabytes of data from the complete IT environment on planetary-scale infrastructure.
 
The combination of these capabilities delivers a cloud-native XDR solution, Cybereason XDR powered by Chronicle, that automates prevention for common attacks, guides analysts through security operations and incident response, and enables threat hunting with precision at a pace never before achieved.
 
“Google Cloud’s ability to hunt through petabytes of data at the speed of search, combined with Cybereason’s revolutionary correlation capabilities and behavior-based detections delivers unparalleled speed and accuracy in the prevention, detection, and response of advanced attacks,” said Cybereason CEO and co-founder Lior Div.
 
“We founded Cybereason with a mission to reverse the attacker’s advantage and return the high ground to the defender, and we are excited to have Google Cloud partner with us in furthering the success of this mission.”
 
Cybereason has succeeded in protecting customers and experienced impressive growth over the last year, being recognised as a leading innovator by respected third-party organisations.

Where many solutions failed, Cybereason protected customers from headline-making attacks like SolarWinds, the Microsoft Exchange Server attacks, and crippling ransomware attacks from DarkSide, REvil and other ransomware gangs.
 
That level of protection is why Cybereason was recognised on the CNBC 2021 Disruptor 50 list, and received top scores across every aspect of testing in the MITRE Engenuity ATT&CK Evaluations.
 
“Google Cloud is dedicated to delivering the industry’s most trusted cloud to accelerate customers’ digital transformation efforts with security products that meet them wherever they are. Cybereason continues to disrupt the market and deliver on their vision for a future-ready extended detection and response defense platform,” said Thomas Kurian, CEO, Google Cloud.
 
“We’re excited to partner with Cybereason to help customers quickly secure their hybrid and cloud environments with the combined capabilities of Google Cloud and Cybereason’s XDR services.”

www.cybereason.com

Standard bank selects TCS BaNCS cloud for digital claims transformation in short term insurance

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a global IT services, consulting and business solutions organization, announced that Standard Bank’s short-term insurance business in South Africa has selected TCS BaNCS™ Cloud for Insurance to power its digital claims transformation and reaffirm its leadership in the region.

TCS BaNCS Cloud for Insurance will be offered on a SaaS model on AWS Cloud and will help the insurer harmonize more than 60 products spread across four claims administration platforms, enabling faster and accurate claims processing. The solution will also integrate with 16 different downstream applications including the enterprise GL system, payment gateway, CRM, business intelligence solutions, as well as all other peripheral systems identified in Standard Bank Insurance’s technology roadmap.

Combined with a cloud-first approach, a faster claims processing engine and high configurability, the solution will help Standard Bank Insurance improve operational efficiency and streamline claims management. TCS BaNCS APIs will help Standard Bank Insurance connect to ancillary systems easily and offer personalized experiences to their customers. Additionally, TCS’ analytics and data-driven insights tool will help in decreasing customer churn and speed up decision-making related to claims settlements.

Dr Nolwandle Mqoqi, Head of Insurance, Standard Bank South Africa, said, “Customer satisfaction and loyalty are of utmost importance to us and with TCS BaNCS Cloud for Insurance’s SaaS-based solution, we expect to vastly improve policy holder claims experiences, deliver superior performance in a secure environment and benefit from the scale that a highly configurable solution offers. We have been a leading cloud adopter in the region and selecting TCS BaNCS Cloud as one of the partners is the next step in this journey. Availing TCS’ analytics tool for intelligent insights, we will approach product innovation differently, take advantage of new opportunities and deliver differentiated customer experiences.”
R Vivekanand, Co-Head, TCS Financial Solutions. TCS cherishes the over 20-year relationship with the Standard Bank Group and our long-standing commitment to the South African financial services industry. We are pleased to be selected as the strategic partner to the company for this engagement. TCS BaNCS Cloud for Insurance will help Standard Bank’s short-term insurance enhance customer experience, reduce operational risk, improve claims efficiencies, and take advantage of emerging opportunities by seamlessly collaborating with an extended innovation ecosystem of insurtechs. This claims transformation sets up Standard Bank well for its next leg of thought leadership and client-centered delivery in the South African market.”

TCS BaNCS Cloud for Insurance is an end-to-end rules-driven core insurance platform spanning capabilities in underwriting, customer policy servicing, claim processing, co-insurance, finance, reporting and branch operations across P&C, Health and Life insurance businesses.
This SaaS offering has been adopted by banks and financial institutions of varying sizes across the globe for its future-ready digital architecture, functionality, business agility and operational efficiency.

Its proven application architecture ensures anytime, anywhere digital access, scalability, resilience, high performance, and compliance. Cloud agnostic, it ensures that customers gain from a standardized and consistent platform.

With a predictable and committed roadmap, systematic regulatory updates, and a complete operational model it provides customers with the reassurance to concentrate on their core competencies rather than on building and maintaining costly IT infrastructure. TCS BaNCS Cloud handles over 100 million transactions per month for more than 220 customers across the world.

www.tcs.com

www.standardbank.com

[Column] Marilyn Moodley: A digitised supply chain has become a necessity for building business efficiency

Cloud technology is driving change and accelerating digital transformation across multiple industries simultaneously. Not only is cloud technology itself evolving at pace, but the way organisations buy and manage software is having to adapt as well.

Marilyn Moodley, Country Leader for South Africa and WECA (West, East, Central Africa) at SoftwareONE, says navigating multiple systems, processes, and software licence agreements presents a significant challenge. “Software is one of the largest expenses for many organisations. But the buying, optimising and management of that software requires the right balance between tools and digitisation, processes and expertise that work together to reduce costs and the administrative burden on IT and procurement teams.”

She says the bourgeoning number of enterprise applications means IT procurement and asset managers are under increasing pressure to deliver efficiencies and cost savings while improving user experience through faster response times and automation strategies. “Taking into account the resources required to manage licenses and user requests, ensure compliance, and manage spend, organisations are constantly looking for ways to eliminate unnecessary IT costs and optimise contracts across their software and cloud portfolios.”

Moodley explains that IT Procurement functions need to evolve into connected, efficient and digitised operations to address business demands more rapidly and effectively. A software Digital Supply Chain (DSC) is created through a seamless, integrated set of systems and activities across the software lifecycle to support these goals through automating and expediting the purchase of approved products in a portfolio while streamlining the process of requesting and acquiring new software products and services, via the right channels.

“Ineffective software procurement processes pose compliance challenges as businesses don’t have on-demand access to the right information regarding their license entitlements and contract use rights, such as any applicable geographic restrictions or their renewal options that would let them make the right buying decisions,” says Moodley.

“Establishing a system of records, that holds trustworthy software entitlements and contracts data, combined with insights & analytics is one of the largest challenges facing organisations today, and a lack of an effective digital supply chain makes that even harder to accomplish. Missing renewal deadlines due to lack of visibility and monitoring is not only detrimental to productivity, it leaves little time to prepare for contract negotiations,” says Moodley.

She adds that because cloud and software are often some of the largest investments a company makes, it makes sense to take digital supply chain management seriously as a means of improving an organisation’s bottom line. 

In addition to improved efficiencies, cost savings, and overall end-user experience, an effective digital supply chain embeds automation by eliminating time-consuming manual tasks and ensuring the right software is in the hands of the right user at the right time.

“Despite this, very few businesses have the tools to ensure that this spend is continuously cost-optimised and aligned with business objectives,” says Moodley.

SoftwareONE’s Digital Supply Chain (DSC) service, powered by the PyraCloud platform, solves a multitude of challenges by providing organisations with the right mix of tools, automated workflows and experts to more closely align software purchases to business requirements. The service allows customers to easily and effectively transact software licenses and cloud subscriptions; view the entire on-premises and cloud software estate; manage contracts; track, control and predict cloud spend across multiple providers; and identify cost saving opportunities across the entire software estate.

Moodley says there is a growing interest in this area. “As South African organisations mature their cloud strategies, business leaders are seeing the inherent value and importance of streamlining their supply chains. International examples are very instructive, as Omnico, a leading global guest engagement technology company headquartered in the UK, halved its cloud spend costs using SoftwareONE’s PyraCloud and managed cloud services. South African organisations who want to remain competitive should be putting a digital supply chain in place if they haven’t already.”

Marilyn Moodley is the South African Country Leader for SoftwareONE.

South Africa liquor company DGB taps clouds solution to bolster sales

In the highly competitive wine industry, producing great-tasting wines is not enough to ensure success. Without a super-charged sales team, even the best vintage runs the risk of gathering dust in a cellar. For DGB, a timely technology intervention has empowered a high-performance sales team with real-time insights into sales, orders and retail execution.

DGB is one of South Africa’s largest independent wine and spirit producers and distributors, operating out of the Western Cape. The company was formally established in 1990, although its roots stretch back more than 300 years when winemaking commenced at the historic Boschendal and Bellingham farms in the Cape Winelands.

Pieter Steyn, Commercial Manager at DGB, says the business faced several challenges that were undermining its sales efforts. These ranged from a lack of accurate reporting integration of master data across platforms, to timely placing of orders and missing data from surveys.

“It was also taking too long to add new customers to our database,” adds Steyn. “We needed a solution that would help improve product visibility in stores and ensure perfect store execution by sales representatives.”

DGB chose the SAP Sales Cloud Retail Execution (ReX) solution and worked with implementation partner Consnet to design and introduce the solution into the business. Despite the implementation of the solution being the first of its kind in South Africa, the implementation team managed to finish the high-level design, application setup, solution build and user acceptance testing within a mere three months.

According to Steyn, it was essential that the system could integrate all business functions and processes in real time to help manage the large team of salespeople effectively.

“By turning data into actionable insights, we increase our team’s productivity while also enabling better business decision-making based on accurate and real-time reporting data,” explains Steyn. “Within a few days of go-live, more than 1000 visits were completed, of which 946 were recorded as Perfect Score visits based on KPIs and store performance. This has enabled us to bring to life our core value of achieving excellence in every aspect of the business.”

Since the implementation of SAP Sales Cloud Retail Execution, DGB has been able to capture a multitude of orders via sales representatives and routed to the call centre via the new solution. “Sales managers also now have a view of their sales representatives’ movements for a day, and can track their visits and perfect store execution,” says Steyn. “This has helped drive the desired behaviour within our sales department and bring to life the benefits of the solution.”

Cameron Beveridge, Regional Director for Southern Africa at SAP, believes the implementation of the new solution has come at a vital time. “In light of the events of the past year and the ongoing disruption to business-as-usual, the ability to harness an effective sales team to build close relationships with customers has never been more important. The new solution, combined with the continued support of our partner, Consnet, will empower DGB with improved sales efficiency and, ultimately, deliver benefits to the business that will extend for years to come.”

www.dgb.co.za

www.sap.com

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[South Africa] Building a successful multicloud strategy unlocks IT business value, Routed

South Africa’s cloud market is showing good signs of growth and development as enterprise customers begin to take serious notice of multicloud and its benefits. As a result, it is imperative to develop and maintain a robust mutlicloud strategy that meets continuously evolving business demands.

Andrew Cruise, managing director, Routed, a neutral cloud infrastructure provider, notes there are clear business benefits of pursuing a multicloud approach, including having a choice of best-in-class platforms to match a variety of business requirements and the ability to efficiently allocate scarce capital by utilising the operating cost model of cloud consumption. “However, some other no less important advantages of mutlicloud involve its potential to drive innovation, flexibility, and scalability of new apps in hyperscale public clouds. Multicloud can also ameliorate risks of failure and vendor lock-in by load balancing across multiple cloud platforms. In addition, multicloud really enables IT to meet business needs by freeing up time to focus on where value is added.”

Considering the sheer number of options available, the task of building a successful strategy should inevitably begin with a clear decision on where an enterprise’s efforts and resources should be focused. “In other words, where does IT bring business value? Use cloud infrastructure to free up internal resources and scarce capital to facilitate investment in these areas,” he adds.

Cruise says it is also advisable to build out from familiar areas of expertise incrementally. “A ‘big bang’ re-platforming approach, especially involving multiple unfamiliar hyperscale environments, is fraught with risk. Instead, base digital transformation strategy on current expertise, use industry-standard virtualisation platforms like VMware both on-premise and in local clouds for core business critical foundational workloads, and then add cloud native apps in global hyperscalers in stages.”

Successfully managing a multicloud environment is another understandable area of concern for enterprises, especially where security and regularity compliance are non-negotiable. “A proper assessment of peopleprocesses and control can provide a bird’s eye view of all IT and from there what is required to apply policies and procedures coherently together with a security strategy across all platforms,” says Cruise.

As digital transformation and cloud migration are now fully understood as business imperatives, choosing the right provider should be a carefully considered decision. Cruise explains that it’s vital to understand that no two cloud providers are the same, and that each market and sell on what they do differently. “Each provider has their own unique set of services and tools, which paradoxically, is where their value lies, but the drawback is that it also creates a barrier to multi-cloud due to incompatibilities. Enterprises should be circumspect in targeting these specific USPs in each provider as they will enforce a level of vendor lock-in and base their multicloud strategy on which providers will give them a consistent user experience across all platforms.”

As enterprise demands shift, how cloud is deployed will adapt in tandem. Cruise believes the future is likely to be a pragmatic cloud or dirty cloud. “This is the path of least resistance as it leads to what works most easily. This is mixture of onsite; private-style cloud like local VMware VPC; and public cloud from global hyperscalers.”

www.routed.co.za

Isuzu Motors South Africa extends SAP landscape to drive sales and customer experience

In today’s Age of the Customer, companies that can offer a consistent, positive customer experience will often outperform their less agile peers.

For one of South Africa’s motoring brands, a divestment by a global parent company sparked a digital transformation process that has helped it break down internal silos and gain a real-time view over each customer to help it deliver a consistently superior customer experience.

“We had been reliant on the systems and processes of our US-based parent company until they divested in 2017,” says Loren Meyer, Department Executive for Information Technology at Isuzu Motors South Africa. “We had to build local capabilities, and since it’s our aspiration to be a leader in the manufacture and supply of vehicles, and to exceed customer expectations, we needed a technology solution that would support our growth plans. We chose SAP technology and Dimension Data as our implementation partner, and have achieved outstanding results to date.”

Isuzu develops, produces and sells commercial vehicles, light commercial vehicles and diesel engines, of which it is the world’s largest producer, having sold more than 85 million diesel engines in the year to date. Isuzu sells vehicles in more than 120 markets and has manufacturing facilities in 30 countries.

Following General Motors’ (GM) divestment from South Africa in 2017, Isuzu was restructured, with Isuzu Japan buying out GM’s production facilities. A new company, Isuzu Motors South Africa (IMSAf) was formed, which today employs 1000 people locally and boasts a network of more than 115 dealers across Africa.

“During the GM divestment in 2017, an agreement was signed to allow Isuzu Motors South Africa to utilise certain GM systems for a period of time,” says Meyer. “However, as part of our localisation we had to develop our own local systems and in-source our resources. We had been working on a locally hosted Isuzu enterprise SAP system that incorporates both the commercial vehicle and light commercial vehicle business processes, and wanted to complement this with an extended landscape that includes a unified SAP Service and Sales cloud solution.”

Previously, Isuzu’s sales team were relying on Excel spreadsheets, CRM tools, emails and portals to log, track and manage customer enquiries. This left them without a complete view over each customer and unable to accurately track the progress of the sales pipeline.

“We wanted an integrated service solution with a single point of reference to create, update and track a customer enquiry,” says Meyer. “We chose to implement SAP Service Cloud, which helped us reduce the number of systems an agent has to use to resolve a call, and enables our teams to resolve customer enquiries more quickly. The built-in analytics tool has empowered our managers to get a real-time view of each call to allow for personalisation according to each user’s preferences or role.”

The project was not without its challenges. The previous system that GM used was isolated outside of South Africa, and the local teams had little control over the data. “We consolidated all our data in an SAP master database that is applied through to the call centre,” says Meyer. “Working off our own data set that we control and can access in real time has been one of the great outcomes of this project.”

Isuzu chose the cloud solution as it forms part of the business’ longer-term hybrid cloud journey. This provides the benefit of automated upgrades and patching provided by SAP. The full integration into the existing SAP system also gives call centre agents real-time access to accurate customer data.

“From a sales point-of-view, SAP Sales Cloud has given us up-to-the-minute information about each customer as well as insights into their preferences,” explains Meyer. “We now have full visibility over private buyers as well as our direct customers, and can take a closer look at precisely who is in our system and who is interacting with the business.”

The Isuzu team were supported throughout by implementation partner Dimension Data. Natasha Govender, SAP CX Manager at Dimension Data, says the implementation has enabled Isuzu to reduce the number of legacy systems and improve the overall customer experience. “By empowering users with a 360-degree view of each customer across both the sales and service teams, Isuzu is now better placed to deliver a seamless and consistent customer experience.”

Meyer says the support from Dimension Data has been invaluable. “Having partners that understand our landscape, business challenges and pain points has been hugely beneficial, as we can collectively discuss, analyse and take action on any changes, allowing us to make more efficient decisions while minimising risk to the business.”

Enabling business continuity in ‘new normal’

While there are still further developments and innovations planned, the implementation has already produced outstanding business results.

“Our implementation coincided with the global COVID-19 outbreak and South Africa’s first lockdown, which meant our user community were required to work remotely,” says Meyer. “Call centre agents could access the SAP Cloud Service solution from their offsite working locations and seamlessly continue to provide the high levels of service and support to our valued customers.”

 Other benefits provided by the SAP Service Cloud module included:

·      The ability to effectively manage increased activity and numbers of customers showing online interest in Isuzu products and aftersales services;

·      The ability to offer financial relief options as well as introduce several service support campaigns relating to vehicle warranties, roadside assistance and other technical services;

·      The ability to route all enquiries and requests directly from the website into the Service module where each lead and service request could be recorded, qualified by a customer care agent, and sent through to the nearest or most convenient dealer.

“This proved invaluable to our national dealer network, who were able to cotact and continue to service our customers during a challenging time when normal business was regulated by the national lockdown protocols,” says Meyer. “The solution also afforded our fleet sales department the ability to continue engaging and building key relationships with. Our direct customers remotely during what is now a completely different – and very challenging – business environment.”

Meyer adds that flexible accessibility and the abilty to work off a centralised customer and product platform has greatly benefited the operational teams. “As a company we are pleased that our business operations have been able to continue uninterrupted during these extraordinary times, resulting in a strong finish to the year.”

Cameron Beveridge, Regional Director for Southern Africa at SAP, points to Isuzu’s ability to understand each customer at an individual level and in real time as a true differentiator. “In today’s Experience Economy, companies that can consistently meet and exceed individual customer expectations will outperform their less agile peers. The outstanding implementation achieved by Isuzu and their implementation partners Dimension Data will serve the business well as it looks to build on its proud legacy in South Africa and beyond.”

www.isuzu.co.za

www.sap.com

Hyperscaler, Neutral Carrier, Cloud Player, the 2021 Datacentre Trends, IDC

Datacentres will undergo significant change in 2021. There has been a revolution in behaviours and approaches that is shifting investment and innovation, and how datacentres provide services and provision for data and compliance.

According to Sabelo Dlamini, Senior Research and Consulting Manager, IDC Sub-Saharan Africa, some of the trends include the growth of the hyperscaler, continued reliance on the carrier-neutral datacentre, and a focus on performance and quality as data becomes increasingly invaluable.

“In addition to the introduction and expansion of hyperscalers such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, there will also be growth in the carrier-neutral datacentre for cross-connect services, meet-me rooms, and internet exchange points,” he adds. “This is because we are expecting a growth in traffic volumes due to changes in enterprise processes and consumer behaviour because of COVID-19.”

The carrier-neutral datacentre is likely to become key in developing fair playing fields, particularly for smaller internet service providers (ISPs), to have access to different interconnection points and internet exchange points. As emergent technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and robot process automation (RPA) continue to cement their scope and capability, demand for datacentres will increase, as will the volumes of data generated by the enterprise.  Cloud computing demand will continue to rise, as will the adoption of AI and IoT services that are hosted in the cloud, and this will put a heavy reliance on datacentre capability and ubiquity.

“Mostly everyone will be moving to the cloud so it is critical for every organisation, especially larger enterprises, to see how these changes can impact their business process in the near future, and start to prepare for it,” says Dlamini. “Even if your business is not planning to move, or you think your organisation won’t be affected, your key clients might be moving, and they may expect your processes to be cloud-ready. This is the right time to develop a cloud-ready or digital strategy that ensures the company can survive this transition.”

Everybody is transforming. Competitors, clients, and governments. It is time to ensure that the organisation has the right tools in place to fully leverage the potential of cloud, technologies such as AI or RPA.  This trend towards cloud-ready, digital-native organisation reliant on robust datacentre capabilities, will be further influenced by an increased demand for improved performance and quality of service that will push the datacentre further into the spotlight, and into the critical heart of the organisation.

“There will be a growing need for distributed content delivery networks, and these need to be hosted in regional or local datacentres that are closer to end-users,” says Dlamini. “Additionally, we will see an increased expansion of existing datacentres locally to cater for the growing legal requirements for data to exist within the country.”

On the hyperscaler frontier, the growth and expansion of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft is likely to remain a key driver impacting all these trends. These giants of cloud will continue to evolve their services and reach, allowing for the organisation to reach deeper into its cloud investment and squeeze out every last virtual drop of potential.

“The datacentre trends of 2021 are driven by the need to ensure that organisations have systems and processes in place that are cloud-ready, that can cover both on-prem and off-prem cloud investment, and that can fully support the hybrid cloud model that many sectors require,” concludes Dlamini. “These factors will shape how the datacentre evolves over the next 12 months and it is very likely that continued innovation and investment will further shift the capabilities of the datacentre and how the organisation can benefit from them.”

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