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By 5 December 2011 | Categories: news

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South African companies are showing greater receptivity than before to moving at least some of their business activities to the cloud. This according to Frank Rizzo, managing partner: IT advisory at KPMG Services.

Rizzo reported that, with the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablet devices in South Africa, the company was witnessing consumers driving demand for cloud computing.

“One only needs to look at how people are uploading their family photographs and holiday videos to sites such as Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and Zoopy to see the cloud in action in this South Africa,” he added.
 
Rizzo believes that the cloud is moving beyond IT and is widely starting to impact on business operations. While this has the potential to deliver significant cost savings, more intriguing benefits exist, such as the ways in which the cloud may lead to fundamental innovations and process breakthroughs.
 
“The cellphone is a powerful business tool not only in South Africa but in the rest of Africa. Entrepreneurs are driving their businesses through their phones whether it is with voice, text, or social media. Mobile data also plays an integral part in this. These mobile entrepreneurs are leveraging off the power of the internet for research on best practice, marketing their business, and interacting with potential clients from around the world,” continued Rizzo.

Connectivity is key
 
However, he points out that for a cloud model to work effectively, connectivity issues in South Africa need to be resolved, explaining that businesses require stable and resilient bandwidth. To this end, cloud service providers still need to be assessed on integrity, reputation, and trust just like any other service provider.
 
Rizzo elaborated that in the country’s favour, a vast amount of bandwidth is coming into Africa thanks to undersea cables, while cellphone networks boasted some of the best telecommunications operators in the world with regards to high speed mobile networks and penetration.
 
Additionally, African companies would not need to build data centres or go the traditional IT implementation route. Instead, they could outsource to other markets and focus on their core business.
 
“Nothing stops South Africa from becoming the cloud computing hub for the rest of Africa. We can outsource to other markets and be the central point for this new landscape. Government therefore has an important role to play in driving this potential employment boom. We need those visionaries in government and their partners to start running with this,” he continued.
 
Security essentials
 
Beyond connectivity, the issue of security remained at the forefront, with many IT executives citing security as the most important challenge when it came to the adoption of cloud services.
 
“South Africans are more aware of security issues than many other markets. This applies to both the physical world and that of the digital one. It comes down to cloud service providers needing to assure their clients that the necessary security is in place,” stated Rizzo.

Business case
 
Additionally, Rizzo pointed out that the move to the cloud was not a technology issue but a business one, with the chief executive officer and chief financial officer becoming more actively involved in the decision-making process due to the potential business benefits of migrating to the cloud.
 
He also urged businesses to focus on the business value and potential of cloud over its technical capabilities or merits.
 
“One thing is certain – 2012 will see a shift in the way companies approach cloud computing thanks to the consumer growth in the market over the past 18 months,” concluded Rizzo.

As proof of the variety of interest being taken by numerous businesses in the cloud already, one only need to look at recent news, with Microsoft launching its Microsoft Office 365 cloud trial in South African, Internet Solutions implementing its cloud desktop solution, while Adobe announced the Creative Cloud.

  

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