Cloud computing is transforming the way companies interact with their customers, with 93 percent of South African companies currently either implementing or planning the initial phase of their cloud strategy.
Whether we know it or not, we are already reliant on the cloud. Simply put, the cloud is an evolution of what most organisations already have – the ability to run software solutions that customers can access via the web or their phones e.g. a website. The cloud also ensures that all work from emails to backups are not lost. Yet cloud computing solutions can do much more than allow us to access our emails from anywhere.
BBD is creating a solution to provide transactional capabilities for clients to use the cloud to set up sophisticated point-of-sale devices for informal shops. Dieter Rosch, BBD Executive, explains the solution has been designed for Selpal and is targeted at the South African mass market. “It allows customers to purchase goods with money kept in a cloud vault (or with cash) while earning loyalty points. Customers can also buy electricity, airtime and even pay for their DSTV subscriptions.”
South Africa has typically underinvested in IT but that is changing. Gartner reported in their Worldwide IT Spending Forecast that IT spending in South Africa could total R266 billion in 2017, increasing by 2.4 percent from 2016. Software development spending is predicted to be the best-performing segment, with a 13.2 percent increase year-on-year.
“With connectivity no longer a restrictor and market expansion and data centre infrastructure creeping into rural South Africa, companies need to be working in the cloud. Below are three easy steps in getting your organisation working in the cloud.”
1. Migrate your essential consumer software solutions into the cloud
Long gone are the days when financial directors had to be coerced into making buying decisions. Small companies can now run complex server solutions such as corporate grade email without their IT teams needing to know about installing, supporting or backing these technologies up. It can all be easily done with the cloud, along with a 50 gig or more cloud mailbox and an even larger archive mailbox.
2. Use cloud based solutions for the likes of CRM and HR
Migrating or switching your CRM, HR and time sheets to cloud based solutions is a great way for SMEs to push above their weight class. Many low-cost IT solutions that require no upfront capital expense exist.
SMEs should also consider moving their website (often their most critical digital asset) into the cloud or to a cloud provider instead of self-hosting or paying a rack provider for space that their IT department needs to maintain. The cloud can provide a lower total cost of ownership, while also providing higher availability and better protection against threats such as distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks.
3. Build new solutions in the cloud to run on Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS)
SMEs are often forced to have an ever-increasing human back-office. Cloud-based services will allow you to have a test and production environment with a server, uptime support and some elasticity for a low monthly cost. You won’t need to install software updates or worry about anything other than your next great business idea.
In today’s highly digitalised work, no organisation can afford to not be in the cloud.
By Dieter Rosch, BBD executive