ICT

East African Businesses Embrace Cloud Computing

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Businesses, governments and tech-based organisations across the East African region are steadily warming up to cloud computing, the practice of using a network of remote servers on the Internet to store, manage, and process data. A new report by SAP Africa, a market leader in enterprise application software, has found that some State bodies, as well as private organisations, are moving away from traditional forms of data storage.

Countries like Kenya, for instance, have made significant progress in cloud adoption, states the report.

An analysis titled the ‘African Digitalisation Maturity Report’ indicates that Kenya has an extensive ICT infrastructure including mobile internet access. The research finds that the country is more diverse and services-centric, which helps drive the expansion of digital services.

Enterprises like the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) have, for instance, automated their business processes, by moving their entire infrastructure transmission projects from manual to SAP HANA, a cloud computing product from SAP.

“The mandate from business to IT has shifted,” explains Gilbert Saggia, Managing Director for the East African region at SAP Africa.

Saggia adds that with the Internet of Things (IoT) disrupting the African market, industry analysts, Frost & Sullivan forecasted significant growth within Kenya’s ICT market in 2017 which would be fueled by connectivity and convergence.

The Internet of Things refers to the ever-growing network of physical objects that feature an IP address for internet connectivity, and the communication that occurs between these objects and other Internet-enabled devices and systems.

Saggia says that IT service providers are expected to take advantage of big data analytics and IoT, while telecommunications providers will continue to establish themselves in the broadcasting, cloud and IoT segments.

Services at the Kenya’s Mombasa port, for instance, are improving following the Kenya Ports Authority’s (KPA’s) switch to a new operational system. The Authority plans to adopt a more paperless system in the years to come.

“Moving to the cloud does not mean breaking off some parts of the business in a piecemeal fashion or taking a rip-and-replace approach,” Saggia explains.

He describes Cloud Computing as one of the key drivers of digital transformation.

He says that despite these clear signs, cloud migration of key business applications is still met with reservations and, often, resistance. Nonconformists have listed concerns such as possible downtime, security, potential loss of control over key business processes and cost.

“Cloud has disrupted the traditional IT model by drastically reducing time to market for innovative solutions. With its ease of use and ubiquitous access, cloud has democratised the decisions about software purchasing, access, and usage. Cloud computing offers immense opportunity for companies to improve their business operations, regardless of sector,” says Saggia.

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