Radovan Richta, a Czech philosopher, describes technological evolution as “The radical transformation of society through technological development.” Not only do we see this theory of innovation materialize in our personal lives, but businesses both medium and large enterprises are utilizing all aspects of technology to improve their daily functions and assist in fast and efficient processes. It is because of this transformation that we see the rise and increased spend on cloud computing infrastructure globally, but most importantly in Africa.
Cloud computing can be described as a conglomerate network of remote servers that work together to assist in on-demand computing services needed from these businesses that choose to migrate to the cloud. Cloud computing provides applications, storage, and processing power capabilities that are all hosted online and are normally available on a pay-as-you-use basis and is able to store, manage, and process rich and complex shared data in one place. Cloud computing allows businesses to access their data at any time from any place.
Why the Cloud?
The viable business environment in Africa forces companies to search for practical avenues that can assist, grow and strengthen its position in the market. By moving applications or processes to a cloud service provider that offers a significant platform capacity and specialist IT skills, that will streamline the operational side of any business. This should release portions of its capital margin to invest in its core business and own products.
Vic Brits, Head of Commercial at Acer Africa says, “Cloud computing is especially attractive to knowledge-based start-ups and SMB businesses as it lowers initial cost outlay. Larger corporates usually start by moving their commodity applications like mail and CRM, to cloud providers first, and then follow with other critical business systems later.”
Migrating to cloud computing as a business is an integral component of any company's digital transformation strategy. According to The Cloud Africa 2018 report, a research project conducted by Arthur Goldstuck’s World Wide Worx for F5 Networks, it states that the use of the cloud is experienced and used differently in the major market regions in Africa.
The research project conducted mined information from 550 IT influencers and decision makers from the industry in South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya. The results revealed that the use of the cloud by medium and large organizations has more than doubled in five years. The spending forecast in these regions remains high with further growth of cloud providers expected.
The fundamental reason why businesses are turning its head in the way of cloud computing is the ease of using an operating system that doesn’t require ownership maintenance and upgrades or operational management of hardware and software applications. Businesses are able to rent specific IT services based on the operational requirements of its business on a monthly or quarterly basis. It’s as easy as renting a house.
Using or renting the cloud
Absorbing the cloud function into a business can be a tedious process but does not have to be. “Transitioning to the cloud from on-premise equipment must be approached like any major IT project. It requires a deep understanding of its current internal IT systems and the interdependency of applications and data sources. All target applications and functions to migrate to the cloud and security considerations need to be mitigated before establishing a structured phase approach,” says Brits.
“We have made it easy for companies to migrate to the cloud by incorporating very little legacy equipment in our devices via focused rental options that move their access costs to OPEX as well, further cutting down on CAPEX spend,” adds Brits.
Brits further explain that the benefits of moving to a Software as a Service [SaaS] model, can help companies achieve objectives such as:
- Reducing CAPEX and the requirement for in-house specialist IT skills
- Achieving cost-effective Business Continuity
- Increase scalability and business agility
- More seamless collaboration with suppliers and customers
The transition of using the cloud in your day-to-day business functions can be risky in the initial stages. Brits offer the below advice ahead of beginning your cloud computing journey. Some important considerations for cloud transitions are:
- Allow for extra time and budget allocation if any existing applications are custom written or very complex
- Confirm software database costs and ensure licensing supports the migration
- Plan for an app by app approach, or small batches of related apps
- Ensure the correct skills are available for the duration of the project
- Avoid the “Big-Bang” approach at all costs as the risk outweighs the anticipated return in 95% of transitions
“Factors such as data sovereignty, latency, security and privacy concerns deserve serious consideration in digital transformation strategies being developed and implemented in big corporates. SMB’s are inherently nimbler and can embrace the digital transformation with less internal barriers. We, therefore, expect SMB’s to lead the adoption of Cloud in South Africa,” concludes Brits.
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