The continent of Africa keeps getting smaller. Whether it’s designing a mobile app in Nairobi that targets rest of African countries consumers, or finding premium wines and foods in high-end South Africa supermarkets, it’s clear that where you live in Africa is becoming less of a barrier for access to whatever goods and services you desire. A recent study estimated that globalisation contributes US$4 billion to Africa growth each year, and with so many opportunities available it’s likely to keep growing. As well as bringing direct economic benefits, this expands competition in markets across the continent, providing more options for consumers and creating more dynamic local and regional markets. However, that doesn’t mean to say that all African markets have the same look and feel. Successfully crossing new frontiers in commerce needs people who understand local preferences as well as regional drivers. In addition, technology has also been a great enabler of regionalisation, so the right balance between people and tech is key to success.From my experience in Africa, cloud computing has created unprecedented market advantages in reach, access and customer engagement.Whether it’s the latest e-commerce platform that lets businesses expand into East African markets, or innovative digital services that let organisations engage consumers directly, Africa has never been so connected. Through the power of cloud platforms, businesses can now launch into new African markets in weeks instead of months. The cloud also mitigates financial and technical risks by allowing brands to scale IT capabilities as needed.
Organisations in the continent have the flexibility to deploy cloud in different ways, from public clouds to private clouds, depending on requirements.As cloud computing supports operations across borders and time zones, mobile access becomes the key to opening up those services, enabling business users and consumers to tap into them from any device at any time, allowing users to not only chat with friends around Africa, but also to pay bills and buy directly from brands.Having integrated systems and applications in the cloud brings the benefit of seamless business processes, making it possible to get a centralised view of the entire business for better decision, making and competitive action, ultimately improving business results.People with broad vision coupled with local insights and connections are optimally positioned to bring the latest innovations and international best practices to their African customers.I do recognise that as businesses expand their African horizons, great businesses rely on great people. This is why I recently embarked on a major drive to recruit talented tech specialists who can work effectively in a multinational environment for a mobile robotics project.I was looking for people who can help customers succeed in reaching their business objectives, while at the same time contributing to Africa’s vision for the future. The talented people add unrivalled breadth to the services and technologies African companies provide and help make Africa technologies even better and more useful to the more than 1Billion people living in the continent.It’s through this combination of innovative technology platforms and talented, uncompromising people that African businesses of all sizes can become competitive, multinational organisations that think globally and act regionally.