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Cloud research reveals different priorities across Africa

Cloud research reveals different priorities across Africa.

Although computing has taken off dramatically across Africa’s key markets, its benefits and even budget allocations are experienced very differently in each region according to Cloud Africa 2018, a research project conducted by World Wide Worx and F5 Networks in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa earlier this year.

Matthew Barker, Divisional sales manager for Sub-Saharan Africa at F5 Networks a shift has been found by the on whether to move to the cloud according to decision-makers at the 300 medium and large organisations interviewed about cloud computing usage, benefits and intentions.

“It is no longer about whether to use the cloud, but what benefits are being gained from the cloud. These depend heavily on the dynamics of each market, so we were not surprised to see that businesses in each country emphasised different benefits.“

Respondents in Nigeria and Kenya named business efficiency and scalability by far the most important benefit of cloud computing, with 80% and 75%, respectively, selecting it as an advantage, compared to 61% of South African respondents. For South Africans on the other hand, time-to-market or speed of deployment came in as the most prominent benefit, as cited by 68% of respondents while in contrast, only 48% of companies in Kenya and 28% in Nigeria named this as a key benefit.

Barker believes this is a result of the infrastructure challenges in developing information technology markets like Nigeria and Kenya, where the cloud is used to overcome the obstacles that get in the way of efficiency.

“In South Africa, with a more mature IT landscape, the focus is on the competition rather than the business itself,”

Almost a quarter (23%) of South African respondents see the cloud as a platform for international expansion, whereas this figure drops below one in five in Kenya (17%) and below one in ten in Nigeria (6%). The one area where all three countries are level – using the cloud as a platform for service innovation – is ranked exceptionally low, at around 15% across these markets.

Arthur Goldstuck, Managing Director at World Wide Worx use of the cloud among medium and large organisations has more than doubled over the five years since World Wide Worx conducted equivalent research, from less than 50% in 2013 to pervasive use in 2018.

“Internationally, it is taken for granted that the cloud is an ideal platform for both innovation and for establishing a global footprint. In these three markets, these are benefits that are only now beginning to be recognised, but are still a long way from being a priority. The cloud is here but its full benefits have not yet arrived.”

Nine out of ten (90%) companies in South Africa said they had increased spending on cloud computing last year, and 83% said they would increase these budgets in 2018. In Nigeria, 78% said they had increased budgets last year, and 94% said they would increase their spending this year. The biggest increase comes from Kenya, however, with 74% of companies having increased cloud budgets in 2017, rising to a massive 98% in 2018.

Other key findings from the research include that a minimal proportion of respondents – not more than 2% in any of the countries surveyed – said they had decreased cloud spending last year.

For 2018, no companies in Kenya or Nigeria said they would decrease spending, although 5% of South African respondents said they would.

“Ultimately, the cloud is about better ways of doing business. That is reflected in cloud priorities and budgets across Africa.” summed Goldstuck.

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