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INFOTECH: Why the Cloud Makes So Much Sense in Africa

 





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With flexibility, rapid deployment and low cost, cloud computing continues to take the world by storm. These are also all very good reasons why cloud computing is ideal for those companies which are expanding into Africa (and, of course, for domestic African businesses). But while the concept of cloud is as good here as it is anywhere, the make or break comes down to good governance in service specification, implementation, management and support, says Oliver Potgieter, director Alto Africa.

While there are a lot of unique factors in African business, none of them make for any excuse not to consider cloud. That may come as a surprise to some, and the usual immediate objection is this: what about connectivity?

This isn’t necessarily a big deal; while it has to be approached on a case by case basis, there is a progressively good situation in an increasingly wide range of territories as far as primary and secondary connectivity is concerned.

In many locations across Africa, moving to the cloud is becoming possible thanks to improved connectivity situations. Certainly, the high growth areas of countries like Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana have good connectivity in all major centres.

Moreover, in addition to the improving access to broadband (including fibre) more options are available, crucial to establish the redundant connections which are indispensable for mission-critical services.

For multi-national businesses looking to expand and open new or additional branches in Africa, cloud offers opportunities for easy implementation. With remotely hosted, centrally-managed applications, data storage and security services, new branches can be provisioned and delivered without the need for significant local resources or skills.

As a result, those companies which choose a cloud strategy can sidestep many of the headaches usually associated with starting a new office from scratch in Africa – headaches which can include difficulty in finding suppliers, personnel and support.

For fast-expanding companies, the ease with which business services can be rolled out is unheard of, removing what was once a major inhibitor to growth. Furthermore, the cost of providing a consistent set of services regardless of location is considerably reduced for those companies using the cloud. That adds up to the ability to execute growth strategies seamlessly and far more rapidly than ever before possible.

Africa remains an exciting prospect for a great many businesses, offering largely untapped potential. For those which have recognised the advantages of the cloud, expanding into new markets has become a great deal more feasible.

Cloud services are absolutely ideal for Africa. They offer the ability to get new premises up and running in an almost ridiculously short timeframe (generally, faster than it takes to get the necessary connectivity sorted out), reduces overheads for existing offices and closely matches business requirements.

But the kicker is that whether providing cloud services to a multinational in New York, Tokyo, Johannesburg or Nairobi, it is experience that counts. Like other areas of information technology, cloud services have to be delivered with a level of discipline if true value is to be achieved.




 
 
 
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