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Cloud service competition for Africa – bring it on says Microsoft

Cloud service competition for Africa – bring it on says Microsoft

The opportunity to exploit data and human resources to digitally transform a business and fundamentally change the way it is run, including the level of service to customers and support for employees, is way too attractive to pass up. That is the value proposition associated with cloud services, irrespective of what kind of solution is in place or what it is designed to do says Corey Sanders, corporate vice president for Microsoft solutions.

Sanders is upbeat about the growth of cloud services and rate of adoption in Africa, along with the increasing level of competition.

"What an amazing and exciting opportunity! We welcome additional solutions and cloud offerings, and I think it's exciting to see the area grow and continue to expand, because it will drive the businesses of the future. From an Africa perspective, and obviously being the first of the hyperscalers here offering the complete solution, when I think about our competitive position, the full spectrum of our offering is really what makes us unique."

At the heart of Microsoft's core cloud strategy is the desire that customers get more out of their investment in services and solutions to enable this business transformation.

He believes the establishment of Azure datacentres in South Africa, in Johannesburg and Cape Town, offers Microsoft a chance to aggressively drive this strategy across the continent.

In March 2019 ITWeb reported that Microsoft SA's newly-appointed MD, Lillian Barnard, unveiled the newly established datacentres at the company's Johannesburg offices.

Microsoft LSP

ITWeb added that several local organisations had already started to connect with the Azure datacentres, including JSE-listed Altron.

Most recently Microsoft named Altron as a Licensing Solution Provider (LSP) in South Africa.

Altron Group Chief Executive Mteto Nyati said the agreement comes as it is positioning its recently acquired subsidiary, Altron Karabina, to be the go-to partner for everything Microsoft.

"This LSP contract will position Altron Karabina as partners to customers that embark on digital transformation. Customers invest in technology to increase sales; improve operational efficiencies; transform customer and employee experience; and drive innovation. Altron Karabina will help them extract business value quicker."

Being appointed as an LSP also ushers in an exciting time for Altron Karabina, said Grant van der Wal, Altron Karabina Managing Director. "The LSP licence allows us to launch our software services division, adding to our Microsoft competencies in data and analytics, artificial intelligence, customer relationship management, ERP, modern workplace, Azure, and DevOps."

The software services division includes LSP, direct CSP and software asset management services and is launched at a time when there is a significant shift to cloud-based services.

"We will offer consumption billing to our customers as they unlock the strategic value delivered through the cloud. The new software services team will work closely with the consulting services team to serve customers in the best way possible," concluded van der Wal.

According to Sanders there is a buzz around cloud that one sense in Africa and right up to the Middle East. "Across the rest of the continent and even into the Middle East, that excitement has spread, absolutely. I think the opportunity to have the local proximity with our deployment here in South Africa and our deployments in the UAE... just the energy and passion across the entire region to be able to grow and expand and learn. I think this is one of the big things is inspiring a bunch of new education and skilling that I think will enable fundamental changes in the way people work and create significant amounts of new jobs and opportunities."

Microsoft cites IDC research which predicts cloud computing could potentially generate more than 14 million jobs across the globe in the next three years.

Today, the biggest inhibitor of this opportunity, is skills, they claim.

Sanders' advice to businesses across Africa is to 'always be learning', adding that the cornerstone of digital transformation is the ability and willingness to learn about new things and then apply that new learning to practice.

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