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SAP reveals African data centre plans

SAP reveals African data centre plans.

Business software firm SAP is certifying partners to have its first ever data centre presence in Africa.

This is according to Björn Goerke, executive vice president of SAP HANA enterprise and the business software firm’s cloud and chief information officer (CIO).

Goerke, who visited South Africa this week to speak to local CIOs, told ITWeb Africa in an interview on Wednesday that SAP is working to build out data centres across the globe.

SAP has data centres in Europe and the North Americas, while the company is also building out in China and Russia, said Goerke. The executive added that SAP is also set to announce the opening of data centres soon in Japan and Australia.

Goerke explained to ITWeb Africa that SAP has a global strategy to partner with data centres that provide a full-stack of end-to-end services, such as infrastructure and application management.

“This is also the approach that we’re looking for to come into Africa as a larger region and market. So, we’re working with partners on this one,” Goerke told ITWeb Africa.

“I cannot go into details right now, but that’s what we’re working on,” said Goerke.

SAP Africa’s chief customer officer, Simon Carpenter, elaborated further on the company’s African data centre plans, saying an announcement regarding local facilities is planned to be made within months.

“We’ve already got a couple of local players in the process of certifying their data centres, because obviously from a SAP standpoint you want to make sure that they meet all the criteria for reliability, availability, security etc,” Carpenter told ITWeb Africa.

“We have, I think, three large organisations in that process at the moment,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter said SAP’s lack of a data centre presence in Africa has not been a disadvantage thus far, as it hasn’t ended the company’s ability to offer a software as a service (SaaS) model locally.

Carpenter further told ITWeb Africa that SAP has 3,000 customers in Africa, most of which fall into the small to medium enterprise (SME) segment. Globally, SAP has 250,000 customers, according to Goerke.

North-South cloud adoption gap closing?

Talking more broadly about the cloud market in Africa, Goerke told ITWeb Africa that he does not think there is as big a lag between ‘north and south’.

“I don’t think there’s much of a difference.

“There might be a different twist with what technologies there might be deployed: if you look at smartphones versus feature phones in the countryside. Whether it’s broadband or lower bandwidth capabilities. So, I think you have to be creative in a different way to find solutions.

“There’s super creative solutions out here like with what Standard Bank has been doing with banking the unbanked.

“That’s a great thing,” Goerke told ITWeb Africa.

Goerke’s stopover in South Africa lasted four days. His next stops include Japan, South Korea and Australia where he plans to talk to more CIOs.

SAP appointed Goerke as its CIO and head of its HANA enterprise cloud organisation in October 2013.

Goerke joined SAP in 1995 and has held multiple executive positions, including head of research and development for the SAP NetWeaver platform and the SAP HANA cloud platform.

He has a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Karlsruhe.

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