What will it take for Africa to drive US$5-trillion digital economy?

Africa's digital
opportunity

Continent's progress
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Tuesday, Nov 19th

Cloud reimagined

Thanks to the more widespread availability of fibre and faster mobile connectivity offerings such as 4G (and soon 5G), usage patterns have seen a significant shift in the past two years. Add to this the increased affordability of smart devices, and South Africans are more mobile than ever. Even downloading large file sizes have become less of an issue. This has propelled the likes of the global players Azure, Amazon, and Google with the ability to deliver more services to South Africans at a faster rate than anticipated.

Of course, having a local presence does provide lower latency and address any data sovereignty concerns, but these have not been inhibiting local companies who have been using cloud services in data centres based in other geographical locations.

However, what it has done is drive exponential growth to the cloud environment. Companies want to migrate as fast as possible to unlock its business benefits. In fact, if an organisation has not already embraced cloud or at least looking to do so soon, it will lose out to its competitors that have done so. In our experience, out of every 10 customers, nine are moving to or have chosen cloud services.

Cloud first

This change in thinking requires a total approach. From customer relationship management to financial systems, ticketing solutions to contact centre offerings, telephony, process automation, and even security-as-a-service – these are all proving popular areas where the cloud is growing locally. Data warehousing offerings are also gaining momentum.

The cloud can provide all these services more cost effectively and efficiently than any on-premise solution can. But this does not mean a company has to completely rip and replace (or lift and shift as is the popular term today) what they have already done. Instead, decision-makers need to review what are the areas where they can get the best return and prioritise those for the cloud. The rest can follow as more capacity and budget allows.

There is even potential in building a hyperscale approach into their strategic planning. But while this will certainly have a positive impact, it is not necessary to do so immediately. Without it, the business will be okay, and with it, it will do even better. It provides for a greater reach and offers better flexibility, but it certainly is not a showstopper when it comes to cloud migration.

The critical thing is for businesses to integrate a cloud-centric approach into their existing operational processes. Sitting on the fence is no longer good enough. Those who have been undecided need to make the move sooner rather than later or risk being left behind.

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