Experts within Africa’s burgeoning ICT landscape agree that the business case behind cloud services is clear: it offers flexibility (both in adoption and in terms of pricing), it enables agility within companies that are conscious of liquidity in the business, and, used effectively, will guarantee an increase in productivity and streamlining operations.
As Cloud solutions and services continue to be adopted and continue to have an impact on the continent, it is fitting that ITNewsAfrica identifies key operators in the market.
These have been differentiated according to the size and scope of their offering, the extent to which their expertise in this area of technology is recognised and established, as well as that which is covered by the media.
We have also reviewed offerings to see the level to which products/ solutions cater for key priorities that exist within the market, in terms of the cloud.
SAP Africa is a subsidiary of SAP AG, an established global operator within enterprise application software, began operations in 1982 and is headquartered in Woodmead, Johannesburg.
The Unit has approximately 400 employees incorporating four hub offices. Its footprint covers the Southern African Development Community (SADC), East Africa, West Africa and French-speaking Africa.
Cloud computing and services makes up a strategic component of the company’s value proposition. It has rolled out SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, a cloud-based deployment option for SAP Business Suite, SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse and SAP HANA.
Senior level representatives have gone on record as confirming the objective of using cloud services to attract business and secure growth in Africa – including operators within the small-to-medium market segment.
IBM Southern and Central Africa is focused on the creation, development and manufacture of computer systems, software, network systems, storage devices and microelectronics.
Cloud Computing is a core focus and its SmartCloud Solutions offering is positioned to address the needs of the market, both at enterprise and Small-to-Medium Enterprise Level. The workload solutions are designed to provide superior service management and new options for Cloud deployment.
Part of the reason why Microsoft South Africa features prominently on the list is because the company’s has stated that its entire business model is premised on the cloud. The Company has stated its belief that the full value of its software will be seen and felt in how people use devices and cloud-based services at work, at home and at play.
Its business model is adapted to this objective:
- Outlook.com – focused on providing a web mail service to customers;
- Office 365, which provides cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools for individuals and businesses, is based on a low-cost subscription model;
- Internet Explorer – browser is designed to offer the best-in-class privacy protections;
- Security – in a world where cloud computing and online services are more prevalent, security has never been more important.
At the enterprise level, Microsoft’s Cloud OS is the modern platform for the world’s applications. With it, the Company aims to redefine the server operating system – evolving the OS from managing single servers to managing datacenters as a new unit of compute.
Cloud OS embodies the four essential attributes of the modern platform by transforming the datacenter, enabling modern apps, unlocking insights on any data, and empowering people-centric IT.
At the heart of the Cloud OS is Windows Azure and Windows Server, but the Cloud OS reaches beyond these powerful engines with on-premises complements. It delivers people-centric IT, enabling users with their apps and data by managing systems and services across on-premises, public clouds and devices. It helps users unlock insights on any data, any size, no matter where it lives – quickly extending data across traditional datacenters, private clouds and off-premises clouds
A click on the link to HP’s profile on its corporate website brings up a message from HP President and CEO Meg Whitman which confirms that the Company is on track in terms of growth and the continued focus on product innovation within its core markets – including the Cloud.
The Company has integrated a series of support and drives to compliment its cloud printing portfolio.
Examples of this include the company’s Converged Cloud Portfolio for Hybrid Delivery Environments, the HP StoreAll Storage to manage Big Data growth in the Cloud and Converged Cloud offerings.
Information supplied online covers the Cloud topic extensively, with an emphasis on practical application. There is also a white paper, Build a Cloud within a Day.
Dimension Data South Africa is a specialised local cloud solution provider. Its service portfolio includes a range of cloud services, covering the Public and Private cloud, as well as a Cloud Readiness component and relevant architecture. The Company is able to accommodate customers who want to invest in the Cloud immediately, providing pricing, overview, Service Level Agreement details, as well as Support.
Grant Morgan, General Manager: Cloud, Dimension Data Middle East & Africa, has confirmed that the Company has witnessed a 20% month-on-month compounded growth in terms of cloud solution adoption.
Architecture and automation have been identified as differential qualities of its cloud service offerings. The Company also offers a Cloud Readiness Consulting and Cloud Infrastructure Readiness service.
Integrated solution provider T-Systems has operated in South Africa since 1987. It grew substantially when it acquired arivia.com.
The multinational includes Cloud Readiness Services as part of it Application Services. Research shows that the company strongly endorses a careful, calculated approach to the Cloud.
Their website states: Organisations should not switch to cloud computing overnight. The recommended first step is a thorough analysis of the existing ICT landscape that shows whether it makes economic sense and how to go about it.
Dynamic Services is the name of the Company’s cloud computing offering for businesses. Its technology to support cloud delivery includes a range of business applications, middleware, phases of system integration, amongst others.
Global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company Accenture has a client base that stretches across 120 countries.
The Company views the cloud as the convergence of three worlds – consumers, business and technology. It emphasises the practical benefits associated with Cloud adoption in markets, highlighting banking and eHealth amongst core areas of importance.
Its portfolio of outsourced services to an extensive number of industries is what helps this company to stand out.
Cloud is integrated into its consulting and technology silos.
The South African office of the global vendor of infrastructure software first opened its doors in 2004. Research states that the region has delivered a 600 percent growth in revenue since inception.
Cloud Computing forms a strategic component of the Company’s service portfolio. The tag line used is Adapt the cloud to your business, which reinforces the Company’s approach of what it describes as “unified process design, agile application development and integration.”
A core focus of the Company is to supply software to clients that can be used to help them leverage off the Cloud.
Having launched the MTN Cloud pilot project in December 2012 focussing on the SME segment in several African countries, including Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa, in April the mobile operator went live with its cloud services offering to markets in Africa.
The Company has rolled out MTN Cloud solutions, which, according to research, incorporated anti-virus and anti-spam software Averiware, MozyPro Online Backup and McAfee SaaS.
MTN’s presence in Africa covering key regions including Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, amongst others.
Brighthouse vPS, a Dimension Data Company, is a SAP platform application specialist. Its footprint extends into the East and West Coast of Africa, as well as . It engages the cloud development and application market through Cloudware, which facilitates the delivery of legacy applications to any device. All that is required is Internet connectivity and a screen for user interface. The focus is on virtualising the Application. As a SAP infrastructure specialist, the Company also leverages off take up of solutions and cloud based service within Africa through the enterprise software company.
* Image via Shutterstock
Chris Tredger – Online editor