Sponsored: The cloud outlook for Africa is excellent

Digital transformation is being driven by the mass adoption of cloud computing, which has formed the foundation for many transformative technology trends.

25 July 2023

These encompass everything from the Internet of Things (IoT) to artificial intelligence (AI) and even remote and hybrid working.

Thus, we are seeing companies increasingly leveraging the cloud in order to access new and innovative technologies, as well as to drive efficiencies in their own operations and processes.

There are a number of trends driving cloud adoption in today’s world, notes Clinton Jacobs from research firm BMiT, in a presentation made at Huawei’s recent Eco-Connect Day.

“One of the obvious drivers is that of cost optimisation, as cloud adoption reduces the need for on-premises infrastructure, hardware investments, and maintenance costs. In addition, organisations can benefit from the pay-as-you-go model and scale their resources based on demand, resulting in improved cost efficiency,” he says.

“You could say that cloud has democratised technologies that may otherwise have been out of reach of many companies. Thanks to the cloud, these are now available on a peruse basis, without massive up from infrastructure investment.” 

Another issue that is expediting the move to cloud computing in South Africa, is that of Digital Transformation, including remote work and application modernisation. This trend is driven by an increasing need for agility in IT, to rapidly deploy new products and services as well as bug fixes or enhancements, in order for business to address needs and remain competitive.

“Most organisations today also tend to favour a hybrid cloud strategy, leveraging multiple cloud service providers and combining public and private cloud environments. This approach allows organisations to take advantage of the unique offerings of different cloud providers, while maintaining control over critical data and applications,” he continues.

The security challenge

“Naturally, security remains top of mind for most CIOs, with an increasing number of attacks and breaches being recorded in SA, which sits eighth on the list of countries that have experienced the greatest number of ransomware attacks.”

Jacobs indicates that a key security issue is that organisations’ processes and products are increasingly becoming more reliant on external providers. Third party cyber-risk is a growing concern, as organisations open much of their environment to third parties to provide services and support, often due to internal skills shortages.

“The security challenge is driving additional trends in the cloud space, including the adoption of a Zero trust security strategy, based on the principle: never trust, always verify, using analytics to gain visibility, drive threat detection, and improve your defences.”

“Automation and AI is also helping to introducing new approaches to security and providing insights that traditional methods may not have identified. To this end, hyperscalers and major cloud service providers are incorporating AI into most of their cloud solutions.”

Pragasen Kundon, Senior Solution Architecture Manager, at Huawei Cloud South Africa, points to an IDC Report on Cloud Trends that backs up Jacobs’ assertions about security.

“Other challenges African CIOs face include whether to choose public or private cloud for key workloads, and the complexity of supporting multiple generations of infrastructure and applications across bare metal, virtual machines, containers and public clouds,” he says.

“CIOs also face the ongoing challenge of a lack of necessary skills and headcount for the implementation, administration and operation of the cloud. In addition, many are concerned about the high cost of public cloud and the lack of visibility into their return on investment.”

Importance of alignment

Kundon points out that organisations planning a digital transformation strategy should always seek to align with the top cloud trends. 

“By aligning with these trends, companies can improve process automation, re-engineering and productivity. Such alignment will also help a business to achieve operational excellence, enable a hybrid and remote workforce, and deliver insights at scale throughout the organisation by building capabilities in data and enterprise intelligence,” he says.

“Huawei Cloud aims to make the cloud ubiquitous. Huawei’s vision and mission is to bring the digital world to every person, every organisation and to build an intelligent world where everything is connected. With this in mind, Huawei Cloud really expects to help Africa re-prosper and rejuvenate through the technology, products and experience we offer.”

Therefore, he adds, Huawei will continue to release the latest technologies, such as AI and tools for software development, data governance and digital content production, as well as integrated development tools. This will all be openly available on the cloud, so that enterprises can access and leverage them to grow and improve their businesses.

As the uptake grows, suggests Kundon, Huawei Cloud will remain committed to innovation and keeping ahead of the trends in the industry.

“To this end, the company has committed a massive $120 billion in the past decade to research and development, and will invest the same again in the next five years.” 

“With our cloud expertise and vast knowledge base, we are able to stay on top of the changing trends in the cloud space, enabling us to build operational excellence and customer success capabilities, as we assist our clients to move to, manage and leverage the cloud,” he concludes.