Oracle has announced support of $1 million for tech startups in Africa that will help accelerate their digital initiatives with the latest cloud technologies and business resources. Led by Oracle for Startups, Oracle will provide extra resources and support to technology startups across Africa over the next two years.
Cloud credits of up to $10,000 for 100 startups will be made available as part of this program. Hands-on technical support, executive mentoring, go-to-market resources, and customer engagements will also be offered to startups.
“At Oracle for Startups, we help startups grow from grassroots through scaling. Africa is a hotbed for tech entrepreneurs, and we have witnessed a 91 percent growth in enrolments from South African startups, and 39 percent growth from over 13 other African countries within the last year. The USD one million investment will further boost the efforts of tech entrepreneurs in Africa to utilise the latest digital technologies for the success of their startups,” said Jason Williamson, Vice President, Oracle for Startups.
A recent report from IDC notes the importance of corporations supporting startups to help further spur innovation, and had this to say about Oracle for Startups: “Highly valuable to the startup community. Not only do they provide technology support, but they also provide benefits aligned in business areas such as marketing, market access, business knowledge, and expertise.”
This program follows Oracle’s recent announcement of the opening of its first cloud region in Africa to meet the rapidly growing demand for enterprise cloud services on the continent. The Oracle Cloud Johannesburg Region will boost cloud adoption across Africa while also helping businesses achieve better performance and drive continuous innovation. The opening marks Oracle’s 37th cloud region worldwide with plans to have at least 44 cloud regions by the end of 2022, continuing one of the fastest expansions of any major cloud provider.
Eligible African tech startups can find out more information and apply to this program by visiting the program website.
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%.
‘’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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
“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.
The expansion of Africa’s digital economy is gaining momentum, with the potential to reach US$180 billion by 2025, about 5% of the continent’s gross domestic product, according to a recent report released by the International Finance Corporation and Google. To meet the increasing demand for digital services in Africa, Vodacom Business Africa has expanded its Cloud Connect offering across the continent.
Cloud Connect provides businesses with a secure, private, high performance, high availability connection to leading public cloud service providers, including Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.
“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. Our Cloud Connect services keep businesses securely connected while providing them with operational agility and access to essential data and software applications to enhance their performance now and into the future,” says Wale Odeyemi, Executive Head of Strategic Marketing at Vodacom Business Africa.
Meeting the needs of businesses today As the pandemic has shown, businesses need to be able to adapt to market changes, and with speed, to avoid disruptions to continuity. To help with business agility, Cloud Connect clients are able to experience the same fast switch-on flexibility of public cloud with their own WAN/network. Bandwidth choice ranges from 50Mb to 1G depending on the cloud service provider, so clients can scale network capacity to maintain performance as business needs change.
The high-performance connectivity of Cloud Connect enables periodic data migration and replication for continuity, disaster recovery and retention. The low latency connectivity is also able to support key business applications, including storage, big data, development and interactive applications, fast and in a scalable manner. For example, large data sets are quickly transferable for big data computing applications, and huge media files are streamed in real-time to and from the cloud.
In addition, the consistent performance and reliability of Cloud Connect improves application response times, so businesses can use the cloud as an extension of their data centres. High availability with dual diverse connections to cloud data centres ensures redundancy and protection in the event of a network failure.
Cloud Connect is a managed service, giving businesses more time to focus on important activities, and IT resources can be utilised more effectively, in an organisation.
How does Cloud Connect work? Vodacom Business Africa’s Cloud Connect offers a secure, private connection without the need to redesign existing large corporate networks or experience the traditional delay of dedicated connections to cloud provider data centres. Cloud Connect works seamlessly alongside the IP-VPN and other fixed connectivity products to give organisations a total ‘Ready Network’ solution.
The service directly integrates into the branch sites of a business and is not reliant on the internet. The cloud locations are integrated into the private WAN, effectively seen as another site on the IP-VPN. Different locations in the IP-VPN then share the connectivity to access resources in the cloud.
“We are experiencing an exciting transformational period in the enterprise landscape in Africa. As a leading connectivity provider on the continent, Vodacom Business Africa remains committed in supporting businesses to take advantage of our continent’s growing digital economy and recognise real return on investment on cloud technology. To this end, we continue to leverage our strategic partner networks to provide innovative products and services, affordably, seamlessly and securely to our clients,” concludes Odeyemi.
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.
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.
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.
Cloudmania, an exclusive provider of Cloud Partner Programmes in Africa, has opened its doors in 13 countries across the continent. The indirect provider focuses on partner building and enablement by giving resellers the ability to resell superior solutions by leveraging Cloudmania.
According to Winston Ritson, Chief Business Officer, Cloudmania, “We understand the growing need for cloud services and its vital role to ensure seamless collaboration between employees. Our extensive expertise will ensure that you are provided with the appropriate tools to assist your customers on their cloud migration journeys. Just as customers have transformed their business, partners have to transform and rely on a partner invested in their business “
Cloudmania aims to help businesses keep track of their data, performance and customers, and creates a single-pane view of the entire network. In addition, the programme is designed to increase workflow efficiency, lower operational costs, and most importantly, develop partnerships with resellers.
Cloudmania will assist partners’ profitability by supporting them with marketing, training and specialist advice. Using the programme’s communication channels, the team will source qualified and unqualified leads to help partners build their businesses. The offering is backed by superior world-class technology, equipping a reseller’s business with innovative cloud technology, enabling them to offer exceptional customer solutions.
All resellers will have access to a suite of solutions tailored to suit customers’ needs. The products include Microsoft 365, One Voice – a unified voice solution, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Azure in a box, Cyber Security, cloud connectivity, cloud infrastructure, Google workspace, Windows virtual desktop and Basekit site builder.
Cloudmania will assist in boosting the performance of a reseller offering while ensuring affordability, scalability, improving uptime, availability and provide seamless integration.
The offerings are supported by partner development managers in each country, a panel of experts and focused training programmes. Resellers engaging with the Cloudmania will also benefit from in-country billing in specific territories and reseller discounts.
Cloudmania and its suite of offerings is currently available in South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Cameroon, Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In simple layman’s terms a customer can now have some Google Cloud services running some certified hardware and software either in their data centers with full autonomy or colocation data centers.
Google Cloud’s simplified preferred definition of Google Distributed Cloud, is a portfolio of solutions consisting of hardware and software that extend Google Cloud infrastructure to the edge and into your data centers.
Where can Google Distributed Cloud be deployed to?
1. Google’s network edge – Allowing customers to leverage over 140+ Google network edge locations around the world.
2. Operator edge – Enabling customers to take advantage of an operator’s edge network and benefit from 5G/LTE services offered by our leading communication service provider (CSP) partners. The operator edge is optimized to support low-latency use cases, running edge applications with stringent latency and bandwidth requirements.
3. Customer edge – Supporting customer-owned edge or remote locations such as retail stores, factory floors, or branch offices, which require localized compute and processing directly in the edge locations.
4. Customer data centers – Supporting customer-owned data centers and colocation facilities to address strict data security and privacy requirements, and to modernize on-premises deployments while meeting regulatory compliance.
What Google Cloud services are running on Google Distributed Cloud?
Google Distributed Cloud is enabled by Anthos. It helps you to build and run applications on GKE clusters and virtual machines anywhere with a Cloud-backed control plane for consistent management at scale.
● Compute Instances
● Serverless Containers
● Kubernetes Engine
● Serverless Functions
● Object Storage
● Istio Service Mesh
Continuous Integration Services:
● Build (from Cloud Build)
● Deploy (from Cloud Deploy)
● Artifact Registry
● IDE plugins
● Cloud SDK
● API Gateway
● Apache Kafka (Partner-provided services)
● Kubernetes Engine
● Serverless Functions
● Key Management Service
● HashiCorp Vault (Partner-provided services)
● Identity Aware Proxy
Data and Analytics Services:
● PostgreSQL Database
● Elasticsearch Service (Partner-provided services)
● MongoDB Database (Partner-provided services)
● Redis Data Store (Partner-provided services)
● Event Streaming
● Data Lake Storage
● Language Translation
● Machine Learning Platform
● Video Content Analysis
● Image Insights
● Prometheus (Partner-provided services)
● Grafana (Partner-provided services)
● Splunk (Partner-provided services)
Will Google Distributed Cloud make management of the hardware and software harder for me and my organization?
No. Google Distributed Cloud is a fully-managed integrated hardware and software solution, meaning you don’t have to worry about the underlying infrastructure and can focus on your application and business initiatives. Google Cloud aims to simplify operations leveraging Google’s expertise and track record in areas like skill deployment fleet management and site reliability engineering. This allows you to focus on your business priorities and leave the complexities to Google Cloud.
Wil this meet our data sovereignty needs?
Yes. Google Distributed Cloud (GDC) enables customers to have a full spectrum of control.
Data Sovereignty (Keep data within the sovereign cloud): Data is allocated on your premise and under the control; No data transferred outside of your isolated environment.
Operational Sovereignty (Fully control your own platform): Operated independently of Google Cloud and global networks.Can be operated by customer directly or a trusted partner, on dedicated networks and with local control plane.
Software Sovereignty (Cloud as a trusted local service): Google Cloud’s open core and open API helps reduce vendor risk and enable operational and software continuity even in black swan events. The benefits of cloud are delivered locally.
Will I need to have my Google Distributed Cloud on premise connected to Google Cloud?
No. Google Distributed Cloud includes a hosted mode to run sensitive workloads. Hosted mode helps you meet sovereignty needs by addressing data residency with strict security and privacy requirements all while providing you with a way to modernize on-premise deployments. Customers can manage this directly or host through a designated and trusted partner. This will not require connectivity to Google Cloud at any time to manage infrastructure and uses a local control plane for operations. Upgrades and patches are offered by Google and verified by the trusted partner.
How to extend Google Cloud services with Google Distributed Cloud – Hosted Mode
Driving transformation with Google’s Distributed Cloud
With over 10 years of proven expertise in technical consultation and related services, Incentro, the only Google Premier Partner in East, West and Central Africa has become the go-to partner for successful business transformation in the continent.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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’’
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.