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BCX, Alibaba Cloud unveil go-to-market strategy in SA

ICT systems integrator and Telkom subsidiary BCX today launched its exclusive South Africa go-to-market alliance with Alibaba Cloud at a Cloud Summit in Centurion.

In September, the companies signed a deal in Thailand, which empowers BCX with exclusive rights to distribute Alibaba Cloud’s products and services in South Africa.

At the event, BCX CEO Jonas Bogoshi said the cloud services market is growing and cloud is becoming an integral element of digital-first strategies, with a significant increase in investment in public cloud software-as-a-service.

He referenced the IDC Cloud Survey 2022, Sub-Saharan Africa, which states that 94% of CIOs anticipate multicloud deployment within 12 to 18 months.

Bogoshi also pointed to growing interest by hyperscalers in the South African and African market.

“We can all agree that cloud computing has become mainstream. This was not the case a few years ago. You can see this with the entrance of large hyperscalers in the country.”

Service-centric cloud experience

BCX and Alibaba Cloud are looking to create a new service-centric cloud experience for Africa and intend to directly address challenges that enterprises are experiencing with their cloud journeys.

Jonas Bogoshi, CEO of BCX.
Jonas Bogoshi, CEO of BCX.

Bogoshi said the biggest gripe from business leaders is cost. While there are various factors linked to this, including deployment misjudgement, misunderstanding and inaccurate information, the issue of cost is real, he noted.

“Other challenges include execution, deployment, shortage of relevant skills and data sovereignty.

“Only 25% of the typical apps of enterprise are easy to move into the cloud. The remaining percentage is too complex…and they either have to be placed in a container or be re-platformed, and this is cost-prohibitive. Our enterprise clients are not seeing the benefits that we’ve promised them.”

He said customers have complained that in migrating to the cloud, they lose a reliable, central point of contact and support to help deal with issues as they arise.

With Alibaba Cloud, the intention is to provide the solutions and service to address these issues, he added.

Bogoshi said the business wants to establish a cloud academy in Africa to try to narrow the skills gap.

“Not only do we not have enough skills, with OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] moving software to the cloud, we have to build the capability to handle that.”

In detailing the business strategy with the partnership, Bogoshi said one of the main reasons for partnering with Alibaba was because the Chinese company makes the applications it uses for its own retail and fintech business available to customers.

“It also has a robust IaaS [infrastructure-as-a-service] capability,” said Bogashi.

The partnership will avail over 200 modular apps to the local market.

Daniel Jiang, general manager of Alibaba Cloud, EMEA, said the partnership with BCX “opens the door” to the Africa market.

He said Alibaba Cloud is ranked third globally and first in Asia, and the desire is to leverage demand for cloud play in South Africa and Africa.

“Alibaba wants to do business together…we don’t just want to sell product, we want to use our exclusive partnership with BCX to create new business models for Africa. We want to help businesses to set up their private clouds, those who may not want to use public cloud or want to use multiple cloud models.”

Jiang added that Alibaba’s strength is that it understands customers. “Together with BCX, we want to create a new cloud story in Africa.” 

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