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2019 - The year of the cloud in South Africa

2019 - The year of the cloud in South Africa

By Karl Reed, Chief Solutions Officer: Executive at Elingo.

The past few months have seen local organisations migrate towards the cloud and its usage / consumption model. While part of this can be attributed to the need for continued innovation, a major factor has been the difficult economic times. Companies can no longer afford to do business in the traditional way. Instead, they are turning to the cloud to reinvent themselves for a digital environment.

Irrespective of industry or whether it is public, private or government sector, the cloud delivers significant value. It provides the vast computational resources necessary to effectively leverage sophisticated technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), real-time data analytics and so much more. These are all things that cannot fully be harnessed using on-premise servers and technology.

Consumers have also become more digital-savvy and expect their service providers to follow suit. They look for companies that delivers the products and services according to their current needs. And, as with many things, this often comes down to a cost decision. Even though the most affordable option might not always be the best offering, people are willing to make the sacrifice to save a few Rands. The same holds true in the approach of many organisations towards cloud services.

Differentiation vital

This has seen it become increasingly difficult to differentiate products and services. Most providers are offering similar things at similar price points. It really is much of a muchness. However, a critical area where value can be offered is through the services (implementation, support, maintenance, managed services, etc) given.

Companies who ensure they provide the best service will be the ones to set themselves apart from their competition. But the reverse is also true. The pressure on maintaining high service levels is immense. Even the smallest mistake can quickly turn into an excuse for a customer to migrate to a competitor.

In the past, few companies seemed to be too concerned about basic service issues. Today, it is where most of their focus should be with the added pressure of delivering it around the clock. Customers do not care whether they send through a service request in the morning, afternoon, or evening. For them, it is something that must be resolved as quickly as possible.

Changing focus

Companies must therefore change focus, especially those in the service industry. They must look at new ways to be innovative and make money. This is where the cloud has a role to play as an enabler that can facilitate the delivery of improved insights based on the data at hand. The economy is hitting every person and business hard.

This past year has seen a massive downturn in customer orders and enhancements. With people's attention turning to the cloud and away from on-premise, it will be the little things giving the most value that will prove to be the building blocks for future growth. The business environment has been so focused on surviving and cutting costs, that it will require some impetus to move into an innovation-centric way of thinking.

But because of this, there are those companies looking to leverage new ideas to target markets that they previously might not have considered. It really boils down to the fact that if a company is not going to be leading-edge, then it will fast become irrelevant.

The focus has turned into becoming real-time service providers. Incumbents will eventually give way to more agile operators willing to embrace this change. The seeds for this radical evolution have been planted in 2019. What happens next is up to the decision-makers themselves.

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