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Value of moving to the cloud not always a certainty

Value of moving to the cloud not always a certainty

Accessing the benefits of cloud computing is not uncomplicated for businesses in Africa, but migrating to the cloud definitely requires careful consideration.

This is according to Kabelo Makwane, Managing Director for Accenture's Cloud First business in Sub-Saharan Africa, who spoke to ITWeb Africa on the sidelines of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Summit hosted in Cape Town this week.

Makwane says the financial implications of making a journey to the cloud mean that the process needs to be thought through and managed carefully in order for the value of such a move to be realised.

"Sometimes it may happen that moving to the cloud becomes more expensive if the necessary framework, the governance and the operating model has not been properly thought through. If it becomes easier to start creating instantiation of virtual machines in an instant and the services that would have typically taken a longer lead time to be set up happen in minutes and people create those frequently without proper governance structures in place those costs can spiral out of control. There needs to be some level of thinking around driving down costs. The other aspect of it is optimising how you deliver application services."

Makwane says while Accenture does not build infrastructure or data centres like cloud providers such as AWS, they have dedicated themselves to helping enterprises manage multiple cloud services and tailor them to their needs.

"We do this for the pure purpose that the client gets the best bang for their buck. It is important to address the impact on people processes, governance but also to think about how we continuously optimise from a cost versus benefit perspective. There is a need to achieve a good balance between all these business imperatives."

He adds that while the cloud is useful to African businesses, they need to have a more "holistic view".

"I spent the last four years in West Africa and I would classify those economies as truly cloud first, mobile first businesses because they have missed a significant portion of the industrial revolution. Within this fourth revolution they are using opportunities to leapfrog instead of playing catchup. That is why you see services like Konga, Jumia and even M-Pesa taking off."

Makwane says the cloud makes up almost a third of total IT spend for businesses in Africa and spending on SaaS is higher than PaaS across the continent.

David de Villiers, Worldwide CEO of e-commerce company Zapper attests to the benefit of cloud for enterprises and startups.

"We convince consumers that there is a new way of paying by becoming fast, reliable and secure and this is where Amazon comes into the fold. We use the Amazon platform to be highly responsive and agile. We use the products available to connect to multiple gateways and banks. We also use the storage to grow our business and provide insights, we use big data to understand those insights to provide our merchants with the information that helps them to behave differently. We are basically taking the power of e-commerce to the physical world. We also move money between merchants and consumers and we need to comply with laws and Amazon help with that. We also scale up and scale down when it is necessary to save some money."

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