[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.”

www.idc.com

Cloud security solutions provider Algress Inc expands into South Africa

Allgress, Inc., a global provider of automated next-generation integrated Cloud Security, Compliance and Risk Management Solutions has announced its opening of a new office in Bedfordview, Gauteng, South Africa headed by Country Manager Neeren Ramharakh.

This international expansion will make Allgress’ industry-solutions more widely available in those regions of the world with more geographically located sales and support.

Ramharakh says “Allgress solutions will allow enterprises to achieve risk and compliance maturity at an expedited rate compared to how enterprises are currently deploying via manual process or outdated technology. Allgress is committed to the GRC environment and our investment into South Africa is the first of many global expansion plans we have going into the future. The South African office will support customers within the Middle East Africa region with emphasis on establishing local partnerships.”  The new office will help raise awareness of GRC in the MEA market and aims to collaborate with partners in highly regulated industry sectors, such as financial services, telecom, utilities and healthcare.

Jeff Bennett, Allgress COO believes South African and Middle Eastern enterprises are keen to adopt advanced certification and risk management capabilities, and says “We are excited to offer our solutions to strengthen their risk and compliance postures, we believe that enterprises will achieve substantial cost and time savings as they deploy our solutions.

“The South African market response has been very good since we entered the country. We see a lot of older, established enterprises working to transform themselves and move away from manual processes. Customers today have high expectations of how they should be served, and big firms are stepping up to transform them as quickly as possible.”

www.allgress.com

[South Africa] KiaraHealth taps SAP cloud solution to streamline operations

Companies wishing to transform their operations through digital technologies often face a hard choice: stay with a legacy system and make the best of a legacy investment, or transition to a new digital platform but risk causing disruption in the lives of customers, partners and employees.

For one African pharmaceutical company, neither option was suitable, and so an exemplary digital transformation project was initiated that would completely transform its systems without any disruption to the business or its customers.

Kiara Health (Pty) Ltd is an African pharmaceutical manufacturing and healthcare solutions company headquartered in Johannesburg. It serves as a the local, non-exclusive manufacturing partner for a global top five pharmaceutical company and as a commercial partner for several global pharmaceutical and medical technology companies.

The acquisition by Kiara Health of a multinational pharmaceutical manufacturing facility, sold to fulfil a need for transformation in the local pharmaceutical sector, sees the dawn of a new type of pharmaceutical company that offers an end-to-end solution along the patient journey. Kiara Health, a 100% black-owned company, purchased this plant together with twenty-five marketing authorisations.

Kiara Health’s leadership was left with a vital decision: keep to the highly-customised SAP ECC system of the outgoing multinational company, with cost-prohibitive separation terms, or invest in a standalone cloud-based digital platform to streamline operations. They chose a turn-key ERP system by SAP to support its operations.

Dr Skhumbuzo Ngozwana, CEO and President of Kiara Health, says that the driving force behind the leadership team’s decision was to ensure that their customers do not suffer due to a transition to the new system. “We partnered with Seidor Westrocon and adopted SAP S/4HANA to simplify and automate our end-to-end processes, from product ordering through to production, packaging and distribution. We achieved go-live in four months, and within budget, with no disruption to our business. This implementation is potentially unprecedented in an organisation of similar size and type.”

This decision has proven to be a success story as the transition from the old multinational modified system to the implementation of an off-the-shelf SAP offering ensured that the production facility remained operational throughout the SARS-CoV-2 lockdown period. Without any teething problems that would halt manufacturing, no employee jobs were put at risk due to the lockdown.

“This decision was taken by an extremely agile and highly qualified team of experts within Kiara Health and fully supports President Cyril Ramaphosa’s South African Economic Recovery Plan to generate 800,000 jobs,” says Dr Ngozwana. “Kiara Health sees these executions as part of their mission to progress the health of all on the continent, underpinned by job creation and not ‘job saving’.”

The manufacturing site previously operated on a complex and expensive legacy enterprise resource planning system. However, with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, local manufacturing capability became more important than ever for new owners, Kiara Health. The company needed a system that could increase throughput by streamlining processes across business areas, and which could place greater control in the hands of the leadership team.

“We consolidated our operations on a standalone cloud-based digital platform with SAP S/4HANA Cloud,” says Dr Ngozwana. “This off-the-shelf solution gave us a flexible yet standardised system that is adaptable to our needs, allowing us to maintain best-practice. It has also future-proofed the digital foundation of our business, and enables our Industry 4.0 aspirations for the future.”

The implementation involved all Kiara Health stakeholders that are currently still involved in ensuring world-class manufacturing from the site. These experts worked in close collaboration with implementation partner Seidor Westrocon to develop a deep understanding of each department’s responsibilities, and how the SAP processes can support them.

“The transition from working in multinational company silos to operating as a team has improved our internal responsiveness and enabled significant value creation across our supply chain, procurement and manufacturing processes,” says Moosa Areff, Kiara Health Chief Operating Officer.

The implementation team streamlined Kiara Health’s procure-to-pay processes to shorten the time between order placement and goods receipt. Following the implementation, the company has reduced its days to close from eight days to one, greatly improving cash planning.

“We have tightly integrated and simplified on-time delivery processes to enable our team to get through work faster and troubleshoot with full visibility,” says Dr Ngozwana. “Each team member can diagnose any challenge to understand what is impacting production or the release of the end-product. The improved usability and support has helped us reduce the total cost of ownership by 10%, while our on-time and in-full delivery performance has improved from 80-85% to 100% – an outstanding achievement.”

Following the implementation, Kiara Health has enjoyed higher settlement discounts and improved brand reputation thanks to direct payment cycles. Costs are also contained due to greater visibility and through leveraging economies-of-scale in the procurement process.

“Our business is now more responsive as our planning and production teams are connected to our warehouse,” says Conrad Strydom, Kiara Health Head of Site . “We are also enjoying greater end-user sourcing compliance and increased savings in sourcing, in both direct and indirect spend. As a whole, the implementation of SAP S/4HANA has empowered our teams to make better decisions and improve the total performance of our business, setting us up for a bright future.”

On Kiara Health’s role in the implementation, Martin Van Wyk, Managing Director of Seidor Westrocon says the collaboration was first class. “The Kiara Health and Seidor Westrocon teams worked unwaveringly during the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa, and pulled off the project and go-live together. The contribution from the Kiara Health leadership team, with their deep understanding of their business operations, extensive process knowledge and SAP expertise, was a considerable game-changer, making this mammoth task achievable. A big thank you to this team.”

Cameron Beveridge, Regional Director for Southern Africa at SAP, says Kiara Health has reduced complexity in its environment through greater control across its operations. “By building its operations on the powerful S/4HANA digital platform, Kiara Health has achieved immediate business benefits while enabling greater future innovation and easing the process of integrating Industry 4.0 innovations. Transforming its total operations in a mere four months with no impact on product or service delivery is a great accomplishment by Kiara Health and its implementation partner Seidor Westrocon.”

www.kiarahealth.com

www.sap.com

[South Africa] Stanlib enables remote working on Nutanix infrastructure foundation

Nutanix, a company involved in enterprise cloud computing, has announced  that South African financial services company, Stanlib, is working with the company to secure additional nodes that enable the organisation to provide virtual desktops to employees that have been required to work from home during the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in the country.

South Africa saw hard and fast Level Five lockdown restrictions being implemented in late March 2020, leading to all but essential service businesses having to close through to the end of April. However, being in the financial services sector required STANLIB to maintain trading conditions while prioritising the safety of its employees, resulting in the business enabling a host of employees to work from home. With little to no warning of the government’s intentions, STANLIB had to quickly find a practical solution that would support this move and allow employees access to their applications securely.

“Fortunately, having just completed a significant Nutanix roll out, which has seen 95% of STANLIB’s production environment being run on the Nutanix platform. We did not have to reinvent the wheel but rather identify how best to introduce new nodes to expand on our current capability. Ease of use and scalability were key considerations. Additionally, the ability to run Citrix as securely as possible given the governance requirements around data management had to be ensured throughout the process,” said Dipesh Nagar at STANLIB.

With Citrix being a group standard across STANLIB, the Nutanix environment had to enable users to have millisecond access to their applications. The guaranteed performance was a business priority. One of the advantages of the Nutanix infrastructure is that STANLIB can expand on its existing enterprise cloud environment, which it uses for crucial business applications to deliver these to its work from home users. The scaling out of STANLIB’s existing private Nutanix cloud was a straightforward process, didn’t require a significant investment of resources on new equipment, and it repurposed the hardware it already had in place for Citrix Hosted Shared Desktops and a remote work offering.

Subsequently, STANLIB has grown its 20 node Nutanix environment to now encompass 26 nodes still running Acropolis Ultimate Edition including Prism Central while now also having Citrix solutions in place. The advantages of being able to access VDI infrastructure are significant. Not only does this result in a simplified IT environment, but it also increases security that is mission-critical for STANLIB. Employees can remain productive wherever they are and can still access essential information, products, and services from the datacentre just as if they were sitting in the office.

“Nutanix has positioned us strongly to evolve as the world changes and to be able to meet any changes in an agile manner. This enables STANLIB to deliver high-quality customer service irrespective of what is happening in terms of the lockdown. While it is difficult to predict what the future work environment will look like once we have moved past the COVID-19 pandemic, using Nutanix has given STANLIB the peace of mind we need that we can reliably and securely meet any requirement. The scalability of the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform makes future growth virtually limitless, and we can plan for any scenario while still delivering the business continuity and disaster recovery aspects so essential for the financial services market,” added Nagar.

“As a longstanding customer and early adopter of Nutanix, STANLIB has always set the bar in embracing change and being able to adapt their systems to the needs of the business,” stated Paul Ruinaard, Regional Sales Director at Nutanix Sub-Saharan Africa. “The speed of completion and the agility with which it was done stands as a testament to the importance STANLIB place on IT functioning as a business enabler. They are one of only a few financial services companies that were able to effect this change as quickly as they did and as a result, ensure business continuity throughout the lockdown.”

Considering how access to sensitive data has become a target for increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, being able to leverage Citrix in a high available Nutanix environment enables STANLIB to provide the right level of access based on each employee’s location, device, and several other factors. Today, irrespective of whether a remote worker accesses the STANLIB environment from a desktop, laptop or tablet, Nutanix and Citrix deliver the response times required to remain as productive as possible with no impact on the employee experience.

www.nutanix.com

www.stanlib.com

[South Africa] Teraco endorses Routed move to join African Cloud Exchange

South Africa Vendor-neutral data centre, Teraco, has welcomed Routed, a cloud infrastructure provider and VMware Cloud Verified partner, as a local cloud provider to join the African Cloud Exchange (ACX).

Created to improve enterprise hybrid and multi-cloud performance through direct interconnection, Teraco’s African Cloud Exchange provides secure, direct, flexible network connections to a wide range of local and global cloud service providers.

As Africa’s first VMware Cloud Verified partner and one of the biggest, Routed now offers a VMWare cloud platform for clients seeking access to multiple cloud environments.  Routed has also recorded four years of 100% uptime and has achieved notable market share within the ISP sector.

Andrew Cruise, Managing Director, Routed, says that the company is also the only African provider of Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) within VMware’s vSphere 7 client software and that bringing the VMware cloud platform to ACX is another key milestone: “Multi-cloud strategies are growing in adoption as they mitigate service disruption and also reduce vendor lock-in. Routed, as a member of ACX, strengthens the ecosystem and will undoubtedly help in driving businesses to the cloud, which is one of the fastest-growing segments of IT spend.”

Andrew Owens, Manager of Interconnection & Peering at Teraco, says that the premise of ACX is to assist in the local drive towards the cloud, but in a secure and correct way: “While there was no time-pressure for businesses to adopt a cloud methodology, it is rapidly evolving, and the cloud is becoming a vital tool for any business wanting to succeed. ACX is a technology-neutral and growing ecosystem, and we are excited to welcome a local cloud provider such as Routed and its VMware platform.”

Teraco’s Owens says that ACX was developed to fully integrate with all cloud providers, adopting a modular, template-driven approach. “ACX will accommodate any cloud provider’s API: ultimately, we want to make it easy for the providers and clients to sell their products. By simply logging onto a portal, ACX enables provisioning of network circuits to any cloud provider, immediately reducing the administrative headaches of getting people connected.”

Dave Funnell, Senior Cloud Provider Manager, VMware Sub-Saharan Africa, says that in reality cloud is an operating model, not just a destination, and as such will often require a collaborative solution: “The inclusion of Routed in the Africa Cloud Exchange is a great example of collaboration in the cloud market. The benefit to customers is the availability of a fully verified VMware Private Cloud, delivered from a secure multi-tenanted platform with all the benefits expected from a cloud solution. Its location is also a major drawcard, with direct network connectivity to the public hyperscale clouds in the leading data centre provider in Africa.”

Funnell says that importantly, this will allow customers to accelerate the adoption of cloud services in the knowledge that their applications will run predictably in a robust, highly available environment, with the flexibility required for a successful business to adapt and grow: “Working with both Routed and Teraco on this initiative has been a rewarding experience. I look forward to engaging with VMware customers of all sizes, as they take advantage of the enterprise-grade cloud services being brought to market by Routed and Teraco.”

www.teraco.co.za

www.routed.co.za

ContinuitySA launches cloud-based backup and replication solution for SMEs

ContinuitySA, Africa’s provider of business resilience services and a Veeam Platinum Partner, is launching Cloud Connect, a cloud-based backup and replication service for the small and medium enterprise (SME).

 The offering is particularly relevant now as companies of all sizes move aggressively onto digital platforms to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis, according to Renier du Plessis, Cloud Manager at ContinuitySA.

“The current emergency demonstrates graphically just how important a company’s ICT systems are in giving it the flexibility to adapt to today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world. The shift to digital is now irreversible,” he says. “Now, more than ever, it is vital that, in the event of a disaster, companies can recover their systems and data in the shortest space of time, or risk losing customer confidence, revenue and even brand equity.

“The cloud has emerged as a key platform not only for ICT systems but for their recovery. However, SMEs have typically lacked a genuinely easy-to-use solution that will not commit them to high management costs—until now.”

Mr Du Plessis says that ContinuitySA Cloud Connect is an unmanaged service, which keeps costs to a minimum. No upfront capital needs to be committed as payment is based on a monthly fee depending on usage. This fee includes the necessary Veeam licence, unless the client already has one, plus the storage space for the backups on ContinuitySA’s world-class cloud infrastructure.

 “The Veeam console is extraordinarily well-designed and easy-to-use, so companies have full control of the backup process, from configuration through to reporting, scaling up or down, restores, failovers and configuration changes. It’s literally a point-and-click environment. This reduces costs considerably but also means that everything happens very quickly—there’s no waiting for a third party to get things done,” he points out. “And because it’s an OPEX model, it’s easy to manage costs.”

Veeam Cloud Connect thus provides a cost-effective way to tailor an effective, safe and reliable way to mitigate risks in line with the company’s risk profile and appetite. It makes it possible for an SME to follow the 3-2-1 rule for data backups: three copies on two different media, one offsite.

All data is encrypted from the moment the backup process is initiated until it’s safely in ContinuitySA’s cloud repository. As a leading provider of business continuity services, ContinuitySA’s data centres are maintained to world-class standards, with 24/7 monitoring, backup power, UPS systems, backup diesel and water, and fully redundant communications links.

With more than three decades of experience in business continuity experience across the continent, ContinuitySA has the know-how to help clients build resilience into their operations, providing executives, directors, suppliers, clients and regulators with peace of mind. ContinuitySA will help with scoping the solution and provide training on the Veeam console as needed.

ContinuitySA’s skilled and experienced support staff is available for any post-implementation help that is required—again on a pay-as-you-use basis. The company has a name for the quality and responsiveness of its support.

“Cloud Connect finally gives SMEs a way to create and manage their own, individually tailored, cloud-based backup and replication solution easily and cost-effectively, while also gaining the peace of mind of a trusted partner in ContinuitySA,” he concludes. “This is the backup solution the SME market has been waiting for.”

www.continuitysa.com

[South Africa] SA Taxi adopts FICO’s cloud-based solutions to drive lending growth

SA Taxi, a financier of over 10 percent of South Africa’s minibus taxi fleet – the nation’s most affordable public transport used by 15 million people daily – has introduced FICO’s cloud-based decision management solution to drive lending growth of 25 percent. The FICO® Blaze Advisor® Decision Rules Management System has also reduced decision time on applications from two hours down to 10 minutes, while improving controls, capturing rules and creating an audit trail.

Rapid growth had meant the company’s manual processing system was becoming overwhelmed – with a lack of consistent and timely decisions adversely affecting business growth.

“When credit changes were required, they were simply added to the queue with the rest of our IT changes – which always had a higher priority,” said Itumeleng Nomlomo, senior credit analyst at SA Taxi. “This left the business with no option but to resort to manual decisioning, which really constrained our agility and created a number of issues such as inconsistent credit decisions.”

SA Taxi implemented FICO’s Blaze Advisor solution to integrate automated decision-making into its origination process. The decision management solution ensured reliable and consistent credit decisions that were in line with its strategy and business rules. Its cloud-based application lifted the infrastructure burden being placed on the business, which had become considerable. And its flexibility allowed SA Taxi’s business managers to configure rules without development/technical support from FICO, as and when its strategy changed.

“SA Taxi has embraced the power of a cloud deployed solution and reaped the rewards through incredible improvements in agility and efficiency,” said Michelle Beetar, managing director for sub-Saharan Africa at FICO.  “By automating the decisioning element, the team has been able to spend more time on strategy, analytics and enhancing the current process.”

For its achievements, SA Taxi won a 2019 FICO® Decisions Award for Cloud Deployment.

“SA Taxi has overcome the challenge of translating what seems to be a simple idea into a workable solution,” said Denise Sleem, functional specialist Afrocentric Technologies, one of the FICO Decisions Awards judges. “SA Taxi has really impressed by building a flexible solution to support the growth needs of their business and their clients through their digital transformation project.”

www.sataxi.co.za

www.fico.com

[Nigeria] Actis acquires majority stake in Rack Centre, announces plans to build a $250 million African data centre platform

Leading investor of private capital into global emerging markets, Actis has acquired a majority stake in Nigeria’s leading, independent, co-location business, Rack Centre. 

Rack Centre owns and operates a certified Tier III data centre in Lagos. It has the largest installed capacity in West Africa hosting over 80 international, regional and local clients. With over 35 carriers connecting to the facility, as well as hosting Nigeria’s internet exchange, Rack Centre is the most connected facility in the region and links every country on Africa’s Atlantic coast.

The investment into Rack Centre will fund a rapid expansion of the data centre, doubling the existing modular capacity and developing a traditional-build scale data centre on the same premises. This will create the largest data centre outside South Africa with hosting capacity in excess of 10MW over the near term.

Actis is already one of the largest real estate and power generation investors in Africa. The firm has also created a Chinese data centre platform, Chayora Holdings, to develop hyperscale data centre facilities in Tianjin and is exploring other Asian markets.

 “We have been tracking the data centre market in Africa closely, building relationships with key operators and customers. Africa is at an inflection point and we expect to see an explosion in growth of demand for hosting capacity in independently owned data centres across the continent.” David Morley, Head of Real Estate at Actis, said:

“We are excited about this new partnership with Rack Centre and its promoter Jagal Investments.  Together they have built a strong business of international repute, hosting a compelling mix of customers ranging from leading Nigerian corporates to global cloud majors.” he added. 

Ayotunde Coker, Managing Director of Rack Centre said “It has been a great honour to lead the growth of Rack Centre to become one of the most respected carrier neutral data centre brands in West Africa. Rack Centre is now at a key juncture and my team and I are excited with being part of the future growth. With over 750kW of installed capacity, it is now doubling capacity to 1.5MW of IT power at the currently location on a trajectory to 10MW”

 “Jagal is excited with its new partnership with Actis. Rack Centre has developed into a leading and respected African brand and it is now at a critical stage for investment and growth. Actis understands global and emerging markets and will be a fantastic partner for the next phase of the Rack Centre journey” Maher Jarmakani, CEO of Jagal added. 

Actis is the largest private equity GP in Africa having committed US$4.5bn to the region over the last 15 years.

Actis has also announced plans to establish a US$250 million pan-African data centre platform. The buy and build platform according to the company will comprise of independently owned, carrier neutral, data centres across key African markets.

www.act.is

www.rack-centre.com