MTN Business today launched a pilot project for its MTN Cloud bouquet of services, becoming the first mobile network operator in Africa to adopt the Cloud Service Brokerage model.
A recent innovation in the IT space, cloud computing is the delivery of hosted services over the Internet. This enables the delivery of communication services, remotely enabling users to access services virtually anywhere, at any time.
The Cloud Service Brokerage model centralises access to services, where a third party, in this case MTN, acts as the single point of contact for customers. This eases the administrative burden for companies, where instead of dealing with multiple service providers, they now deal with one.
Executive for Enterprise Business at MTN Group, Farhad Khan, says the pilot project will be carried out in six of MTN’s key markets in Africa. These are Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa.
MTN Business has identified a number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in these markets to trial its cloud services and product. MTN Cloud will be targeted at SMEs in Africa to assist customers to reduce the cost of doing business by offering bespoke ICT solutions.
Khan says the world of business is changing, and so should the way enterprises operate. “A particular challenge facing small and medium-sized businesses in Africa is the high cost of IT software and hardware. This includes the licence fees. What MTN Cloud services seek to do is enable SMEs to minimise these costs, and at the same time improve productivity and efficiency.”
The trial period with selected customers will commence tomorrow and run until the end of January 2013. Participating companies will automatically gain access to a variety of MTN Cloud services. These include Office Desktop, a cost-effective email and collaborative software, Mozypro, a back-up service for the effective management of files and servers, and Dialcom, an on-demand video conferencing offering.
Also on the catalogue is McAfee, a popular anti-virus and anti-spam security software, Averiware, catering for companies’ HR, accounting, finance and sales force automation needs, and Microsoft SharePoint, a staff and cross functional collaborative tool. Also available will be Microsoft Dynamics CRM, a customer relations management tool.
To make the services even more accessible, users will be able to pay for MTN’s cloud offering using their airtime or MTN Mobile Money. Payment for the services will be in the local currency of the different markets.
Khan says the overarching objective of MTN Cloud services is to provide customers in the selected markets with peace of mind, as well as affordable business management tools at reasonable price.
“We want our enterprise customers to focus on running their businesses knowing that their data is kept safely and securely.”