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Interview: How ready is the Nigerian market for cloud?

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Olebogeng Glad Dibetso
Olebogeng Glad Dibetso, Managing Director: Dimension Data West Africa.

Olebogeng Glad Dibetso, Managing Director: Dimension Data West Africa – relocated from Johannesburg to Lagos when he was appointed General Manager Sales: West Africa in May 2013.

In the few months since the start of his tenure in the region, Glad’s presence and initiatives have had a significant and visible positive impact both internally and with clients and vendors, and over his 12 years with the Dimension Data, Glad has had a diverse and successful career, holding a number of key client- facing positions in South Africa, and most recently in Nigeria thus fostering his appointment as the Managing Director: West Africa, effective from 1st October 2013.

Glad’s strengths include strategy development and alignment across emerging markets, ensuring set targets are realized. His ability to influence new business initiatives while working with collaborators and high level clients has helped to position Dimension Data optimally within the market, with all these ensuring focus on providing strategic leadership for the commercial and operational management of the organization in Nigeria, Ghana and some other West African countries.

Glad graduated with a B Comm. majoring in information systems & Economics from the University of the Cape Town. He also had an MBA from the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (Cum Laude, 2012).Being a stellar student, of 40,000 graduating students from 204 accredited Business Schools in 70 countries worldwide, Olebogeng Glad Dibetso was nominated amongst the six best students and on the 6th November 2013, He won the most coveted MBA student of the year award; the most respected Business Leadership qualification in the world.

Coming from humble beginnings, and raised in Rustenburg; South Africa, Glad has used education as a stepping stone to advance and ultimately see himself in top business echelons, little wonder about his ideology and quotes “it is possible to succeed against all the odds” as quality education increases those odds significantly. Glad values a balanced life, and for this reason he is also an active swimmer, runner, and cyclist and gives back to his community.

IT News Africa caught up with Olebogeng Glad Dibetso in order to find out what the technology sector is like in Nigeria as well as if Nigeria is ready for the Cloud?

Join Dimension Data at the next Innovation Dinner, which will be held at the Wheatbaker Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria on September 2015 – with the theme Transform to Better Perform: Information Technology’s role in driving competitive advantage, customer value and business growth in an uncertain economic environment.

1. Tell us more about Dimension Data?

Dimension Data accelerates clients’ ambitions by delivering ICT solutions and services that enable, operate, and transform their businesses. Focus areas include IT-as-a-service, IT outsourcing, Systems integration services, Communications, End-user computing, the network as the platform, next generation data centre and applications services.

The company was founded in 1983, in Johannesburg, South Africa. With revenues of USD 6 billion, Dimension Data serves 73% of the Fortune 100 and 59% of the Fortune 500 companies.
Dimension Data employs over 28,000 highly skilled employees and has over 6,000 clients in 58 countries. The company delivers services in a further 114 countries through our Preferred Partner Programme. Dimension Data’s headquarters are located in Johannesburg, South Africa. Dimension Data is a wholly owned subsidiary of the NTT Group.

2. What is the technology sector like in Nigeria… What are companies doing, and are they innovating?

The current state of the Nigerian economy has brought about significant change in the behaviour of technology companies in our market. The major factor being organisations across the main four industry verticals have cut their Capital and Operational expenses significantly, hence this has had a huge impact on the spend and budget allocated to technology.

The ripple effect of this reality, has taken a toll on the profitability of most technology companies.
A number of these companies have had to downsize their operations and focus on the profitable parts of their businesses.

This has necessitated the following trends where we see these technology companies innovating and transforming their businesses in the pursuit of profitability:

Focus on providing only support services and implementing annuity based projects
Exploring and investing into other emerging sectors (such as agriculture, healthcare, construction, etc.) outside the typical four main verticals ( Telecoms, Oil & Gas, Banking & Government)
We also see these companies evolving their businesses into other areas like e-commerce, electronic payments, cloud provision and DC Hosting
Innovation with regards to new business models like Public, Private Partnerships (PPP) on technology solutions especially in the public sector targeted at automating the Government.

3. Are there any Nigerian tech innovators that you have taken a keen interest in?

Yes certainly, Andela and SureGift. Andela is a new technology company formed by some of the best engineers and technology entrepreneurs in Nigeria, the United States and Canada. They hire and train Africa’s brightest and most driven young people so that in just a few years, they can become world-class software engineers.

SureGift is a new Internet based start-up platform with the intention to stimulate the gifting culture in Nigeria with the introduction of gift cards. It is the first coordinated effort towards providing a gift card solution that is truly simple, intuitive and customized to the Nigerian Market.

Over and above these two companies I am fascinated by the growing tech community in Lagos and mainly in YABA.

4. How is Dimension Data transforming businesses?

Dimension Data is leading the Cloud transformation in MEA and mainly the overall manner in which technology is being consumed. We are adamant that Technology conversations are business conversations and that IT departments need to tie their success to business outcomes and specifically revenue generation. We have done this by enabling companies to be more agile to market changes and increase the time to market for products and services.

5. Is it important that business and IT become more aligned, and if so, why?

It is crucial. An IT department that does not understand business imperatives will remain a cost centre.

6. How ready is the Nigerian market for cloud?

Market activity across Africa appears supply-side driven rather than demand-side driven. Cloud providers are mostly global US-based players with some local presence. A number of global players like Dimension Data and Internet Solutions are competing aggressively by providing services on the continent. Local IT providers and telcos typically compete with global brands within the cloud market. Many private organisations are looking to either partner with these global players or build their own public cloud platforms. Public sector usage is limited, although the Nigerian government is beginning to explore cloud-computing architecture to deliver public services.

Early investigations into the cloud readiness of countries in sub-Saharan Africa by Laverty (2011) showed that there is the potential for growth of at least one form of the cloud technology in the future. We view Nigeria as an early adopter in sub-Saharan Africa. Consequently, examining SMEs in Nigeria will indicate future adoption trajectory in the region. The market is in early growth stages, driven by global IT companies offering IaaS, SaaS and PaaS; larger corporations, and to some extent, the public sector implementing variants of the private cloud; telecom operators also launching cloud offerings targeted at the SME/end-user market as they are not heavily affected by data sovereignty issues.

The major barriers to market growth include the lack of competitive or affordable backbone infrastructure/ bandwidth, high costs of access to communications, effective regulation and frequent optic fibre cuts arising mainly from vandalism and unplanned road construction. At present there is also no clear framework governing e-commerce within Nigeria. There are no data protection and privacy laws as well as criminal sanctions or civil damages available to pursue whenever user rights are breached. The trend shows that eventually, many third party organisations will emerge to provide regulatory services/compliance guidance to companies and individuals when these policies are in place.

By 2018, Nigeria and other countries in the continent, as well as Middle Eastern countries will have the second highest cloud workload growth rate in the world, with a CAGR of 39 per cent, and will see data centre traffic reach 366 exabytes per year compared to 68 exabytes per year in 2013. [4th Cisco Global Cloud Index (2013-2018)]. Contrary to global perspectives, SMEs in Nigeria are less concerned with issues termed as challenges, such as security, privacy and data loss and continue to show optimism in leveraging the potential opportunities that cloud computing presents.

7. Dimension Data will be present at the next Innovation Dinner, which will be held in Lagos, what can attendees expect when attending the dinner?

They can expect to hear from international speakers who are passionate about what technology can do to improve the lives of many in a continent that is desperately in need of solutions. Every attendee with take back something practical that can be implemented in their work environment, and that will resonate with the CEO and the business owners.

8. What will Dimension Data be discussing at the Innovation Dinner?
The Innovation Dinner is designed for senior ICT executives. We will be discussing innovations in technology and how this translates to sound, measurable outcomes in business. Focus will be on how Dimension Data and VCE have changed the face of IT by providing outstanding value-added consulting and professional services.

9. Why should people attend the next Innovation Dinner?
The Innovation Dinner is strictly being organised for CIOs and IT Directors, from various industries. This event will provide thought leadership, and extract valuable opinions from a vast array of subject matter experts across multiple industry sectors. These experts will be sharing their experiences on how IT has been a transformation tool in their businesses. Participants will go home with a clearer understanding of how to channel their resources towards transforming their businesses to better perform.

10. Tell us about any upcoming events that Dimension Data will be a part of during the course of 2015?
Dimension Data’s purpose is to accelerate the ambitions of our clients, our people, our shareholders, and our society. Through our corporate social responsibility programme, Heads, Hearts and Hands, we give our employees the opportunity to make a real difference by giving of their time, creativity, and talent. We want to invest in our future and make a lasting impact − as part of these activities, in West Africa, Dimension Data is sponsoring the Angel Africa Fair in Ghana in November this year. This fair gives young entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors in the hope of securing deals.

This Innovation Dinner will address the many challenges faced by today’s IT leaders in Nigeria, and provide a roadmap towards delivering sustainable business.

Details of the event:
16 September 2015
Venue: The Wheatbaker, 4 Onitolo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria
Time: 17:00

To Book:
Contact: Tinashe Noel Tafira
[f] 0866 130 386 [c] +27 79 182 5084 [t] +27 11 026 0981
Alternatively visit to book:

About Dimension Data:
Founded in 1983, Dimension Data plc is an ICT services and solutions provider that uses its technology expertise, global service delivery capability, and entrepreneurial spirit to accelerate the business ambitions of its clients. Dimension Data is a member of the NTT Group.

About VCE:
VCE, an EMC Federation Company, is the world market leader in converged infrastructure and converged solutions. VCE accelerates the adoption of converged infrastructure and cloud-based computing models that reduce IT costs while improving time to market. VCE delivers the industry’s only fully integrated and virtualized cloud infrastructure systems, allowing customers to focus on business innovation instead of integrating, validating, and managing IT infrastructure. VCE solutions are available through an extensive partner network.

About the Innovation Dinner Series:
The Innovation Dinner series is a premier gathering for IT Executives across all industries in Africa. Designed for Africa’s IT professionals, entrepreneurs and senior business people, the event provides a great opportunity for networking, acquiring information and strategic planning.

At the next Innovation Dinner, ICT business leaders will meet to create new relationships and promote their organisation’s.

Corporations that associate themselves with the Innovation Dinner series experience multi-faceted benefits that directly impact their bottom line by allowing them to bond closely with key customer groups that conventional marketing channels cannot offer.

Darryl Linington

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