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Cloud adoption - Nigeria expected to overtake SA, Kenya in 2018

Cloud adoption - Nigeria expected to overtake SA, Kenya in 2018

Nigeria's SME-dominant market is poised to overtake Kenya and South Africa in terms of cloud adoption in 2018 says Adebayo Sanni, MD at Oracle Nigeria.

The West African country has only recently emerged from its first economic recession in over two decades and the experience has forced businesses to review their IT spending strategies and relevant technologies – and this has set the scene for improved cloud uptake, he says.

The company believes by 2025, 80% of IT budgets will be spent on cloud services, all enterprise data will be stored in the cloud and 100% of application development and testing will be conducted in the cloud.

But the real impact of cloud is a true barometer of success, says Sanni. "Today, the Nigerian economy is bolstered by a thriving small to medium enterprise (SME) community that makes up over 90% of the market, with many engaging in business that can only be made possible through cloud technology."

He adds that the government's vision to be one of the largest economies globally by 2020 is a key driver behind cloud adoption.

Market growth

Regional representatives at market analysis and research firm IDC anticipate growth in cloud services in 2018, driven by issues such as the increase in hardware prices and investment by top tier cloud providers in Africa.

The company has stated that in South Africa up to 93% of companies are developing a cloud strategy and are either in the implementation or planning phase of their cloud journey.

Liquid Telecom's African Cloud Report 2017 states that Cisco's Global Cloud Index, Middle East and Africa puts cloud computing infrastructure growth at 42% per year from 2014 to 2019.

According to Gartner's 2018 CIO Agenda Survey, cloud solutions was identified among the top technologies targeted for new and additional spending by public sector CIOs in 2018.

Nineteen percent of government CIOs mentioned cloud solutions as most crucial to achieving their organisation's mission, and for increased spending.

"Many government CIOs are rebalancing capital expenditure and operating expenditure spending patterns to reduce technical debt, while making the strategic shift to cloud," says Rick Howard, research VP at Gartner. "They should consider cloud as the means to accelerate the digitalisation of their organisations and enable the business optimisation that results."

Blockchain-based solutions

Sanni says business and government have to remain relevant and competitive if they wish to participate on the global stage, and the adoption of cloud and the technologies that surround it are instrumental.

"For example, the Nigerian government has prioritised the need for transparency in both public and private sectors, and one of the technologies set to address these issues is very likely to be blockchain. Blockchain-based solutions can potentially reduce corruption, and improve government operations efficiency and service delivery."

While expectations may be high regarding cloud uptake in the country, the challenge remains to create cloud-based infrastructure that is capable of leveraging game-changing technologies such as IOT, automation and robotics – and meet the demand for customer education.

Sanni believes Nigeria's technical ability and quality of end product is of sufficient standard to meet these challenges.

"A challenge that needs to be addressed is customer education. The concerns that surround cyber-security, data residency and connectivity are valid within this environment, but technology has been paying attention. The solutions in play today are designed to be robust enough to ease these concerns - organisations just need to recognise this and take the bold step of investment," he adds.

The company suggests its Cloud at Customer offering is designed to provide organisations with a choice of where their data and applications reside.

Sanni says that with the cloud, there are no requirements for high-end skills. "After all, the business is not managing the infrastructure. That said, education and training of both IT staff and civil servants remain a priority. This will enable the continent to deploy digital technologies and potentially turn Africa into a service-based economy in the future."

According to Sanni the biggest technology shifts for 2018 will very likely be in the FinTech space followed by the hospitality market, both influenced by the receding recession tide and the rise in tourism.

"Driving the right conversations will also encourage governments to deliver on policies that are in line with the twenty-first century. Nigeria is definitely cloud ready, but there are still some challenges that need to be overcome. The outlook is positive and the uptake of cloud solutions across Nigeria almost boundless."

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