Although business leaders and analysts within Africa’s growing ICT sector agree that a sense of hesitancy hovers over the increased adoption of cloud solutions, there is consensus that there is benefit in the application of the technology.
At ITNewsAfrica’s Innovation Dinner on the topic of Real-world Cloud Adoption, hosted on Thursday 05 September in Johannesburg, experts acknowledged that issues like security, cost of investment and control over data has hampered the uptake of cloud – at the same time they urged the market to ‘try it out’.
“Try it out… try it in a non-mission critical production-type environment, in those grudge purchase areas like disaster recovery, like test and development. You will soon realise that the cash injection to your budget becomes so much more compelling to then have freedom to try other things. It is about putting money back into your budget, rather than taking out constantly on simple operations. So it is about working strategically,” said Avi Mistry, Head Commercial & Government, Intel Corporation.
According to Mistry Africa is the ideal platform for cloud adoption because there is a lot less legacy in place … “and Africa, being green fields in many regards, does not have the baggage of having to pay off those investments. So, the ability to quickly jump onto agile, elastic and scalable solutions is very easy and compelling. Africa can play catch-up and, of course, exceed a lot quicker.”
In his presentation entitled Africa, adopting cloud on its own terms, Ian Duvenage, Head of Information and Communication Technologies, Frost & Sullivan Africa, said mobile apps, economic aid and tech development ecosystems will drive cloud in Africa.
“In Africa we come from a place where it is cheaper to move data to centres in Europe via undersea cables, than it is to move it a couple blocks down the road. Technology has been on the radar for African governments and cloud is a high priority … there are quite a few governments that will recognise the value the technology brings to countries and to the way they function. There is a nice equation that goes something along the lines of for every tentative increase in connectivity, there is an increase in productivity. Cloud makes it so much easier to get services up and running.”
Advantages associated with cloud solution adoption include flexibility, productivity, agility, capacity and resource capability, as well as opportunities to extend the use of bandwidth, amongst others.
However, realising these advantages and positioning the business to the point of being ready to take on the cloud requires a change in mindset – something that Grant Morgan, General Manager: Cloud, Dimension Data Middle East & Africa referred to.
“I think South Africa has been pretty reserved when it comes to cloud. I think what has been encouraging for us is that over the last six months adoption has really started to take off. The minute that we can start to see and harness what the potential is, rather than think about the fears and uncertainties that we have – rather say ‘what happens if I had infinite computing resources tomorrow and I could use it for one hour?, or ‘if I had a huge amount of bandwidth available to me, what could I do? We have a constraints-based mindset that needs to be broken,” he said.
Customers who make use of cloud can grow their businesses quickly he added.
Chris Tredger – Online Editor