ICT sector analysts believe service delivery through the cloud will become increasingly popular among African enterprises as economic growth slows in some countries and the cost of hardware continues to rise as a direct result.
Claude Schuck, Regional Manager for Africa at Veeam Software said the economic challenges that impacted parts of the continent over the past year (and those that may come in 2018) present an opportunity for businesses to review their modus operandi and adapt accordingly.
“We are in a fortunate space where the environment (and the economy) is so competitive and the growth rates are so small that businesses need to ensure that they maximise every single cent. Your competition is fighting just as hard for your business as you are. This creates a kind of environment that works well for us because enterprises need to be more agile.”
He explains that the desire for agility in struggling economies has led to more procurement of IT services and products, with cloud leading the pack.
According to Veeam Africa has dominated as far as the demand for cloud services in the Middle East & Africa (MEA) region is concerned, and the company has measured this at approximately 85%.
To meet this demand, Veeam plans to recruit five new members to bolster its senior regional staff, including a dedicated head for cloud.
Mark Walker, Associate Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa at International Data Corporation (IDC) agrees that ailing economies bring about interesting market dynamics, exacerbated by the increasing expense of imported equipment.
“We should see acceleration into cloud-based computing because of the increased hardware prices, as this allows companies to offset their CAPEX cost,” said Walker.
Jon Tullett, Research Manager of IT Services at IDC Africa believes cloud services will grow in popularity in 2018.
“Microsoft was the first to break cover, announcing that they will build out infrastructure in Johannesburg and Cape Town to establish a new Africa region, which is due to go live next year. Amazon has subsequently announced that they will deploy infrastructure in the Middle East to service MEA and that will include South Africa. So, we now have two of the top-tier cloud providers actively investing in the region.”
Ben Roberts, CTO of Liquid Telecom added that the construction of African data centres represents an opportunity to position essential business services in the cloud.
“There has already been a huge amount of discussion about Africa’s journey to the cloud, much of it focused on when the move will finally happen. It is already happening. From Whatsapp to Uber, many of the most popular apps in the region operate entirely on cloud platforms. As more African countries aspire for data driven economies – and leverage new opportunities presented by Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data analytics, and Smart Cities new applications and services will further harness the power of cloud.”