[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: 2022 will be an interesting year for cloud in Africa

As we come to the end of the year, there is so much to look forward to in 2022 when it comes to cloud adoption in Africa. 2021 was a good year with more African organisations migrating to the cloud, driven mainly by the pandemic. 

According to industry analysts Gartner, Cloud spending rose 37% to $29 billion during the first quarter of 2020. This trend Gartner says is likely to persist, as the exodus to virtual work underscores the urgency for scalable, secure, reliable, cost-effective off-premises technology services. In fact, despite the inevitable economic downturn in the wake of the pandemic, cloud spending is estimated to rise 19% for the full year, even as IT spending as a whole is forecast to fall 8%.

Gartner notes that cloud has proven essential to enterprises’ digital resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Service providers’ ability to capture growth opportunities in a $150.3 billion market by 2024 is contingent on providing the enablement of a secure hybrid workplace and cloud-based services.

At the same time, Big Tech companies will continue to invest heavily in network connectivity and partner with carriers and operators for cloud or last-mile connectivity. Expect Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Meta to diversify their strategies in 2022 as a way to own not just the content and data on the internet, but physical infrastructure and services.  This is according to a report by eMarketer.

Craig Holmes, Technology Executive, IBM Southern Africa in an article published on IT Web Africa notes that as we enter 2022, the case for hybrid cloud has never been clearer. 

‘’First, the cloud is here to stay. It may seem obvious now, but not so long ago, we all hotly debated the nature and impact of the cloud. That is all history now. Adoption rates have increased, and we can look at 2022 as the post cloud adoption year. Now, organisations are planning for the even longer-term future with cloud at the core as they digitalise their operations and prioritise innovation’’ Craig says.

According to IDG Connect, as more organisations move towards a cloud-first strategy, we can expect to see new capabilities, improved efficiencies and scalability and customisation from cloud service providers (CSPs) as they vie for a bigger slice of the pie.

Forrester, for example, predicts that the general-purpose cloud has had its time, and that in 2022 we can expect to see the growth of specialised industry clouds, with solutions tailored for each sector.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Digital Marketers and now taking full advantage of cloud

Most African organizations are turning to the cloud to help them succeed in the face of the growing demand for flexible workplaces. As we mentioned in our previous column in countries like South Africa, although only around 5% of the South African enterprise market is fully on the cloud, many more are now considering this option.

Hybrid work scenarios, e-commerce modernization, distance learning, and online religious services, formerly unthinkable worldwide, are now commonplace thanks to cloud computing. This is according to a recent whitepaper published by Pawa IT Solutions, a Cloud Solutions provider for Africa. 

One other area that is also taking full advantage of the cloud is the digital marketing industry.

According to the Power IT solutions report, integrating emerging technologies, adapting to the shifting work landscape, heightening digital trust, and harnessing the power of the hybrid cloud platforms are just some of the strategies that agencies and advertising firms are utilizing to increase collaboration.

Cloud computing has made it easier for small marketing agencies to get momentum and cooperate, making it easier to compete.

With cloud, digital marketers may employ a wide variety of analytical tools provided by cloud computing in addition to the data of their customers. These tools may help them better understand their customers better and also use them to follow leads, and identify the best marketing channels and approaches for their target demographic.  For example, CRM softwares hosted in the cloud may help companies better understand their customers’ wants and requirements.

According to a report by Research and Markets, the global cloud advertising market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 19.6% during the forecast period, to reach USD 6.7 billion by 2026 from USD 2.7 billion in 2021.

The report notes that marketing has evolved to a great extent in the past decade; new forms of marketing have taken over with continuously upgrading tools. Marketers can target the specific customer they want from the comfort of their homes.

Outdoor marketing is no longer the only medium to reach the targeted audience; nowadays, marketers can market their products and services to the target audience they like. Different forms of marketing can help end users reach the exact kind of customer they want. Different types of marketing, such as social media marketing, email marketing, etc. help end-users analyze the target audience.

Data analytics provide marketers accurate details of their target audience so that advertising can be optimized and lead to efficient results. This increasing demand for targeted marketing and consumer analytics bolsters the growth of the cloud advertising market.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Surge of companies moving to the cloud set to continue throughout 2022

On Monday, we published a column by Andrew Cruise is the managing director at Routed. In the column, Andrew notes that one thing the pandemic taught us is that remote work is a viable alternative to large, expensive offices and IT infrastructure and hardware.

Many African businesses have slashed their office space after realising that they could save money while still being fully operational remotely, and moved everything to the cloud.  

“Work from home mandated as a result of the pandemic proved to many organisations that the need for physical hardware and infrastructure is fading as fast as the idea that everyone has to work from an office,” says Cruise.

In countries like South Africa, although only around 5% of the South African enterprise market is fully on the cloud, according to Cruise, many more are now considering this option.

The pandemic as we have highlighted in a previous column has accelerated the move to the cloud.  According to data from Synergy,Cloud spend reportedly increased by 37% to $29 billion during the first quarter of 2020. Companies  Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure also saw unprecedented demand during the early stage of the pandemic.

This surge of companies moving to the cloud is set to continue throughout 2021 as we navigate the future of work in a post-pandemic worldGartner forecasts public cloud services will grow 18.4% in 2021.

“The pandemic validated cloud’s value proposition,” says Sid Nag, research vice president at Gartner. “The ability to use on-demand, scalable cloud models to achieve cost efficiency and business continuity is providing the impetus for organizations to rapidly accelerate their digital business transformation plans. The increased use of public cloud services has reinforced cloud adoption to be the ‘new normal,’ now more than ever.”

In sub-Saharan Africa, Cloud technology has helped business manage the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The third edition of the Cloud in Africa report, released last year notes that most of these businesses are increasingly turning to cloud to improve operational efficiency and COVID-19 has added fuel to the fire.

Moving to the cloud means you’re effectively renting hardware, which removes the hidden costs of mitigating against failures, disaster recovery and maintenance when you run your own hardware. 

Last week, Vodacom Business Africa announced that it’s expanding its Cloud Connect offering across the continent.

“Africa is experiencing a boom in digitalisation. Combined with the disruptions of COVID-19, this is driving many organisations on the continent to seek out the benefits of cloud services. says Wale Odeyemi, Executive Head of Strategic Marketing at Vodacom Business Africa.

Africa Data Centres also officially opened its new 10MW data centre facility in Lagos, Nigeria. The facility is a key part of this expansion as Nigeria is a critical African market in terms of leading the charge for hyperscale customers to deploy cloud solutions to West Africa.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

[Column] Simon Ngunjiri: The public cloud market is getting bigger in Africa

Despite the growth of cloud over the past decade, for most organizations, only 20 per cent of workloads have made their way to the public cloud according to an IBM report

Public cloud is the most popular model of cloud computing where computing services and infrastructure are managed by a third-party provider and shared with multiple organizations using the public Internet. It makes computing resources available to anyone for purchase. 

Globally public cloud services market is forecast to grow 6.3 per cent in 2020 to a total $257.9 billion, up from $242.7 billion in 2019, according to Gartner, Inc., Public cloud services serve as the one bright spot in the outlook for IT spending in 2020.

Africa currently accounts for less than 1% of the global public cloud services revenue according to a Xalam report despite accounting for 5% of the world’s GDP and 17% of its population. However, the report notes that its capacity has doubled in the past three years. Despite this, Winston Ritson, the Group Head for Cloud Services at  Liquid Intelligent Technologies says there’s always a but.

‘Africa does lag as one would expect as we are still talking about a Cloud penetration rate of around 15%, but a forecasted public growth rate of between 17 and 20 CAGR’’ he says. 

Public Cloud has its advantages, including almost infinite scalability and an unbeatable breadth of independent service vendor (ISV) offerings. Another key benefit is an extremely flexible pricing structure that helps businesses, especially the small and medium-size, to tightly control their costs by paying for the infrastructure only based on their needs.

The establishment of cloud data centres has positioned a number of companies as public cloud providers offering cloud services on the continent. On Monday, Africa Data Centres officially opened its new 10MW data centre facility in Lagos, Nigeria. The new facility, the company says, will pave the way for Africa Data Centres hyperscale customers to deploy digitisation solutions to West Africa. 

This latest announcement follows hard on the heels of Africa Data Centres recently announced, major data centre expansion plans that will see the company building hyperscale data centres throughout Africa. 

Oracle also announced that its launching a series of new cloud regions using Orange’s infrastructure in Senegal and Ivory Coast. In October,  the company announced that it has chosen Johannesburg as the site of its first African data centre.

The shift to public cloud computing is the dominant trend in the industry and it’s only going to get bigger going forward. Mainstream enterprise and government use – represented as pragmatists and conservatives in the above chart – now accept public cloud computing as a viable choice: capable, secure, and cost-effective. 

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud is the centrepiece of new digital experiences for African businesses

Cloud technology has helped businesses in sub-Saharan Africa manage the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, something we have extensively spoken about in a previous column. When the pandemic hit, most businesses turned to the cloud to improve operational efficiency.

The pandemic changed the way we work, with businesses having to migrate to the cloud to enable collaborative remote- or hybrid-work environments. 

Analysts predicted more and more businesses will be moving to the cloud as businesses and their employees worldwide continue to face tremendous challenges in maintaining business continuity.

Incentro Africa CEO Dennis De Weerd even confirmed this in a previous interview with Africa Business Communities which was also published here on TechTrendsKE. ‘’ Especially now the pandemic we’ve seen a major uptake in the use of cloud-based solutions, by even the most traditional companies,’’ he said.

The cloud migration market is projected to grow further to reach $1,285 million by 2027 from $799 million in 2020, at a CAGR of 11.1% according to a new report by Market Insights.  The report notes that the growing demand for Cloud Migration Services for industrial applications will accelerate huge market growth. 

Revenue from organizations’ pursuit of a cloud strategy will also surge by $66 billion in 2022 — from $408 billion in 2021 to $474 billion according to Gartner. And within a few years, cloud revenue will eclipse its non-cloud counterparts, the research firm predicts.

Gartner says cloud will be the centrepiece of new digital experiences.

“There is no business strategy without a cloud strategy,” says Milind Govekar, distinguished vice president at Gartner.

“The adoption and interest in public cloud continues unabated as organizations pursue a “cloud first” policy for onboarding new workloads. Cloud has enabled new digital experiences such as mobile payment systems where banks have invested in startups, energy companies using cloud to improve their customers’ retail experiences or car companies launching new personalization services for customer’s safety and infotainment.”

In the news

Last week, Liquid Intelligent Technologies launched OneVoice for Cloud PBX offering in six key African markets. Cloud infrastructure provider and VMware Principal Partner, Routed, also appointed Axiz Cloud Technologies as a VMware cloud distribution partner.

Africa Data Centres (ADC) announced plans for two more data centers in Nairobi, Kenya.

The company said it had begun the development of a second data center of up to 20MW of IT load and is securing land for a third facility. ADC said the two projects amount to an investment of $200 million.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

[Rwanda] Samsung Partners With Government To Equip Coding Academy

Samsung Electronics has announced a new partnership with the Government of Rwanda through the Ministry of ICT and the Ministry of Education to equip the Rwanda Coding Academy.

Samsung will be supporting the Rwanda Coding Academy by equipping a 30 seater innovation lab with its innovative technology in the form of 24 inch Samsung computer monitors, Keyboards and mouse’s, routers, an interactive e-board, state of the art air-conditioning for the lab as well as the server room and the cabling for the entire set-up. This will go towards equipping students from the academy with the latest knowledge in terms of coding and software development.

Speaking during the launch of this new partnership held at the Coding Academy located in Nyabihu District, Samsung’s Head of Corporate Affairs Mr. Shivanda said is looking forward to many years of partnership with the Rwanda Coding Academy.

“At Samsung we are really excited about this project because the potential is immeasurable, the impact on the community and the leaders of tomorrow is astonishing. It is a project that we are proud to be associated with and is the beginning of many many years of partnership”.

“Together for Tomorrow” is Samsung Electronics global CSR vision focused on enabling people through leveraging strategic, local partnerships and sharing its resources directly benefiting communities.

In East Africa Samsung has partnered with different organizations in Kenya and Ethiopia to execute similar projects with a focus on technology. The company will also be executing the same in other East African markets that they operate in.

This donation supports Rwanda’s Education Sector Strategic Plan 2018 – 2024. The plan seeks to ensure that TVET programs are responsive to both labor market needs and the social and economic development of Rwanda. More focus has been directed towards increased use of ICT in all TVET programs, which has contributed to the preparation of young people for the labour market by enhancing their employability and thereby providing a skilled workforce for the economy.

“We cannot build this country alone, we can only do it through strategic partnerships with socially responsible corporates like Samsung. The Rwanda Coding Academy was developed with the intention of equipping our students with skills that will propel them towards success in the future and with the support that we have received from Samsung today, we are definitely a step ahead” Ms. Claudette Irere, Rwanda’s Minister of State, ICT said.

The launch was also attended by the Vice-Chancellor, Rwanda Polytechnic, Dr. James Gashumba, as well as other leaders from the region.

www.samsung.com

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud is essential to modern-day manufacturing

The manufacturing sector in Africa plays a significant role in driving economic growth, job creation, and lifting people out of poverty. When the pandemic hit, the sector, just like all the other sectors recorded a massive decline in output. Manufacturers decided to prioritise cost reduction while at the same time increasing revenue.

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution underway, manufacturers as Francis Wainaina, Senior Product Manager at SEACOM East Africa said in a recent column are being pushed to embrace technological development – or risk losing business to more technologically advanced competitors.

One of these technologies is the cloud. Cloud technologies as Francis noted ‘’offer manufacturers a solution to this, providing speed, agility, cost savings, and innovation advantages that could accelerate the recovery of the manufacturing sector’’

Cloud has an increasing use in manufacturing business operations and production processes. In fact, as far as 2017, 25% of finished product inputs were made using some type of digital technology, such as cloud computing.

Efficient manufacturing Francis notes is about accomplishing more with fewer resources without compromising on quality.

‘’It is also about effectively managing communication between suppliers and distributors, streamlining production schedules through real-time and insight-driven monitoring, and minimising operational costs,’’ he says.

‘’Cloud technologies play directly into all of this, and while some of these capabilities are possible with on-premise systems, cloud-based systems are much faster and more cost-effective to roll out, enable easier customisation and flexibility, allow for scalability, and open the door for innovation’’ he adds.

Relying on the industrial cloud drastically reduces the cost of maintaining on-premise storage and computing resources by half.

According to an article published on Forbes,cloud-based systems are faster to roll out than traditional systems, making it easier for manufacturers to keep up with new developments. They are also easier to customize and scale, and they offer the potential to increase adoption rates across resellers.

The cloud indeed offers manufacturers scalability, operational efficiency, application and partner integration, data storage, management, analytics and enhanced security. At the most foundational level, P van Loggerenberg, Chief Technology Officer, SYSPRO notes that cloud computing influences how manufacturers manage their operations, from ERP and financial management to data analytics and workforce training.

Cloud has become a pillar of the modern business world, and the manufacturing sector is certainly no exception. To accelerate the growth of the continent’s economy through improved manufacturing capabilities, we need to follow international trends and take advantage of all the opportunities that cloud has to offer.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Investments in data centers in boosting the continents’ digital economy

In a previous column, we highlighted how Africa is an emerging data center market and witnessed around 15 data center investments in 2020.  The region is experiencing growth in internet penetration, which can be a major driver for data center investors.

This trend continues to grow as move investments in data centers continue to be announced. International investors are rushing to fund a boom in the African cloud computing market investing in new data centers across Africa.  

Last week, Digital Realty announced plans to acquire Medallion Data Centres, Nigeria’s leading colocation and interconnection provider. The global provider of cloud- and carrier-neutral data center, colocation, and interconnection solutions will aquire Medallion through a joint venture with Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund. Oracle and Orange also signed a collaboration agreement as part of a joint plan to accelerate cloud-led digital transformation in West Africa. Under the agreement, the two companies will assess plans to build Oracle Cloud regions using Orange’s infrastructure in Senegal and Ivory Coast.

Ikechukwu Nnamani the Chief Executive Officer of Medallion Data Centre Limited, in an article published on This Day Live, investments in African data centres will boost the digital economy of countries like Nigeria.

Oracle has previously also announced that it has chosen Johannesburg as the site of its first African data centre. Joburg will be among the 14 locations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Latin America that the company says it plans to open cloud regions to support strong customer demand for Oracle Cloud services.

Vantage Data Centers announced plans to expand into Africa. The company said it had broken ground on a new 80MW campus in Johannesburg, South Africa. The first 16MW phase of development is due to be completed by the summer of 2022. Wingu.Africa partnered with Djibouti ISP TO7 Network to develop a carrier-neutral data center and carrier-neutral cable landing station. West African data center firm MDXi also announced plans to expand its Lekki Data Center in Lagos, Nigeria.The MainOne subsidiary said the Lekki II facility will be deployed on “a very aggressive timeline” and will launch the new data center in Q1 2022

Data center spending is indeed going up with research firm Gartner estimating that end-user spending on global data center infrastructure is projected to reach US$200 billion in 2021, up 6% from 2020. In Africa, the continent requires a 1000 megawatts and 700 data centers facilities according to reports.

In countries like Kenya, the market is set to grow at a CAGR of 12.36% during 2021-2026. This is according to the “Kenya Data Center – Investment Analysis & Growth Opportunities 2021-2026” report released recently.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud is transforming healthcare in Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that many healthcare organizations do not have the necessary agility and business continuity programs or technologies to support them during crises. It is forcing businesses to act on cloud and digital transformation strategies that they had been delaying until now.

In healthcare, cloud computing is applied to overcome two major industry challenges: increasing cost-effectiveness and building a self-sufficient health ecosystem.

Cloud computing, along with increasingly ubiquitous digital tools for collection, aggregation, and analysis of health data, according to Christopher A. LeGrand, CEO, BroadReach Group, offers substantial potential to help the African continent leapfrog many more mature systems in transforming healthcare and improving health outcomes. 

Findings from a study on Leveraging cloud computing for improved health service delivery conducted in Kisumu County in Kenya revealed that cloud computing had been adopted by 42 (53%) while Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service implementations were at 100%, 0% and 5% among adopters, respectively.

‘’Overall, those who had adopted cloud computing realized a significantly higher number of benefits to health service delivery compared to those who had not’’ the study notes.

Cloud computing has enabled the development of various e-healthcare platforms. The best examples, Kevin Rombosia, a healthcare leader and geospatial epidemiologist, says in an article published on Business Daily are the development of applications that enable a patient using a smartphone to access clinic consultation, laboratory services, diagnostics, and pharmacy services from the comfort of their homes. ‘’These platforms enable the storage of patient’s medical records such as past medical histories in the cloud and can be retrieved on demand. This is critical for the continuity of clinical care.’’ He says.

The continent has one of the greatest healthcare challenges in the world. Integrating cloud technology in current health care strategies, therefore, provides new ways of healthcare in Africa. This facilitates and engages the system, the health care professionals, and the patients.

According to a recent report by market research solution Reportlinker, the revenue of the global healthcare cloud computing market is expected to reach $52.30 billion by 2026 up from $11.59 billion in 2020, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 28.5 percent during the period. The main growth factors till 2026 the report says include increased adoption of Software as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud service, with a market share of 63.7% in 2020, owing to the increasing number of providers and payors migrating toward more SaaS healthcare computing services to manage the growth inpatient data.

The bottom line, the cloud is more critical than ever in helping healthcare providers respond to the pandemic and prepare for future disruptions.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Data centres are a growing investment opportunity in Africa

Last week, Global software giant Oracle announced that it has chosen Johannesburg as the site of its first African data centre. Joburg will be among the 14 locations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Latin America that the company says it plans to open cloud regions to support strong customer demand for Oracle Cloud services.

This announcement came at a time when the demand for data centers in Africa continues to rise.  According to Gartner, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) data centre market, which includes cloud services, will see spending reach US$5.4 billion in 2022, driven by Digital Transformation initiatives across the region as well as growth in Internet penetration. In addition, industry leaders. believe that projected investment growth in data centre projects is influenced by a growing demand for higher-performance networks, increased management efficiency and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, as we have highlighted in a previous column,  Africa is suited to jump to the cloud more than its peersCloud adoption—including hybrid and multi-cloud adoption—is expanding fast among both private and public sector organizations of all sizes.

BitTitan, a provider of cloud migrations and managed services automation solutions, has also noted that there is a massive migration to the cloud by organisations in the Middle East and Africa.

“We have seen a growing trend in mergers and divestments as a result of the changing business dynamics brought about by the pandemic. Our data on migration project types in Americas and Europe have shown that this leads to increased activity and the trend is only growing. This will be a regular scenario soon in the Middle East as migrations do not stop after clients have been moved to the cloud,” said Antti Ålander, Channel Manager – EMEA, BitTitan said in an article published by Intelligent CIO.

Last week, US group Vantage Data Centres also announced that it is investing more than 15 billion rand ($1 billion) in its first African campus in Johannesburg.  Vantage’s carrier‐neutral 80 megawatts-capacity facility will include 60,000 square metres of data space across three facilities in Johannesburg once fully developed, making it the largest in Africa, the company said in a statement.

Teraco Data Environments Proprietary Limited, Africa’s vendor-neutral data centre and interconnection services provider, recently also announced the completion of Phase 1 of CT2, its new hyperscale data centre in Brackenfell, Cape Town – the largest data centre in the Western Cape.

These increased investments in data centers in Africa is a clear indication that cloud adoption in the region has reached new heights.  In 2020, IT spending was hit hard by the pandemic and declined by 4.9% in the META region, according to IDC. The crisis caused by the pandemic, though, appears to have accelerated plans for digital transformation and related projects such as migration to cloud technology.

According to Knight Frank, Africa currently boasts just 140,000 sq m of data centre space, the same as Switzerland. However, rapid digitisation and the roll-out of 4G and 5G infrastructure across the continent means this is set to grow by 50% over the next five years.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.