Technology: We Need To Embrace Cloud Computing


With all the hype surrounding Cloud and the endless possibilities it offers to businesses, there is the reputable belief and proof that Cloud computing is making a vast difference in the world. However, while cloud is becoming an established concept, certain challenges remain. Many things are still unknown about the Cloud; factors like the rise of well-funded hacking groups, security and data privacy are more important than ever.

This, however doesn’t change the fact that global and local trends are driving the approach of governments – including ours – to improve infrastructure, education and access to employment for the youth.

The Africa Cloud Summit, which was organized last week by CIO East Africa in partnership with Microsoft and other partners, brought together executives and partners in the IT industry to better understand the capabilities of cloud computing and the transformation opportunities it can bring.

The emerging truth is that Africa is aspiring to have more data driven economies and our technology so far is ready for Cloud transformation. With Internet of Things devices estimated to account for 83% of internet traffic by 2020, the cloud disruption is inevitable, we just have to align ourselves to this inescapable change. Vimal Shah, CEO of Bidco Africa, explained how the players in the industry needed to move by example. The private sector is the one most looked up to and if the private sector is to fully move to the cloud, then others will follow suite. As for governments, Vimal stressed on the need for developing countries to jump on cloud-based operations. He threw a challenge to CEOs and other executives to have their dashboards live to show real time performance and real time data to enhance the productivity of their companies.

But the truth of the matter is, African businesses have still been relatively slow in adopting cloud-based services, especially in developing areas with limited access to infrastructure. Companies like to feel in control of their services, applications and data and there is always a huge feeling of unease when a company lets its data reside in an off-premise solution or public-cloud environment. Adding on to the issue of data security and the rise of high profile hacks taking precedence, there is the underlying question; how is Cloud Computing addressing the issue of unemployment in African countries?

The opportunities for driving job creation, contribution to national development and driving economic dynamism are enormous. Speaking at the summit, John Galligan, Senior Director, Global Government Affairs at Microsoft said that Africa would stand to greatly gain from embracing digital transformation. Already, there has been significant change in the country with the launch of the Huduma Kenya Programme and E-Citizen platforms which were launched in 2013 and 2014 respectively and the government tends to gain more from such moves in digital transformation of services.

“Technology shouldn’t just benefit the wealthy and Kenya has been at the forefront of establishing this.” said Mr. Galligan. An example of how M-Kopa, Kenya’s leading solar home system provider, has been able to create over 700 full time jobs while selling over 300,000 systems is a small leap in how technological disruption has been able to serve & better the lives thousands of people.

The true power of cloud computing lies in the way it changes economies and many sectors in our economy stand to change greatly from the benefits of the Cloud. It is upon us to accept the benefits of Cloud computing instead of always comparing it to the backwards thinking of traditional and on-premise solutions. Only then can African governments experience faster & better connectivity, secure cloud offerings and a robust rise in the infrastructure of our businesses, both regionally and internationally.

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