East Africa cloud computing service providers set out to educate market
Various Internet service providers and telecom operators have launched cloud-computing services in East Africa, with the aim of helping small and medium-sized enterprises to adopt technology at a lower cost. Even though cloud-computing technology has existed in the region for several years, the services are just starting to be widely available, following the entry of more companies into the new market. The new entrants have provided cloud-computing services for the past few years offering clients server-log management and end-point protection solutions but that is changing. Cloud computing service providers are forming partnerships with software firms in order to provide their software applications to its clients under a software-as-a-service model, enabling the clients to use the software at a lower cost. While having a chat with an executive for one of the cloud computing service providers, cloud computing services have accelerated integrating security applications, but they haven’t aggressively put the service to the market. The benefit of cloud computing is that it offers users flexibility and lower costs and helps SMEs to start adopting IT and software systems easier and faster. Instead of paying huge amounts of investment up front, they just pay a monthly fee according to their usage.Currently, service providers for cloud-computing service have more than 5,000 licensed users in east African region with majority of them being small companies. The beauty of cloud-computing services is that they help users to save the initial heavy investment in software and allow them to focus on their core business.
In East African region, the service provider takes care of IT system, which is automatically updated by the software firm. This year, MTN group has become more aggressive in marketing its cloud-computing service, with plans for additional services. In their marketing campaigns, the group believes that time was right for cloud-computing services to “take off”, due to a number of factors. Users are ready for it, the economic growth is promising with the regional growth expected to hit more than 6% by end of 2014, the Internet infrastructure was ready, and software firms were ready to offer software-as-a-service rather than selling it across the counter. This market is emerging in East Africa and It is going to take off. But service providers have to help educate the market to be aware of cloud computing and recognize its benefits. An expert I sought views from believe that cloud computing will fully take off this year and within a few years, it will account for around 30 per cent of total revenues in cloud computing service providers most of them telecom companies. Due to the trends in both global and local markets, the service providers believes cloud-computing services could become their flagship products on a long term, not only helping the companies to generate more revenue, but also helping small and medium-sized companies to be more flexible in their investments in technology. MTN business in East Africa is expecting only small revenue figures from its cloud-computing service this year as it, too, understands the need to educate the wider East African market. However, it aims to make significant revenue growth from its cloud-computing service starting from next year. Market research firms have forecast that cloud computing will enjoy wider deployment in the East African market starting next year, especially private cloud services. Two of them says the consumer-product sector is expected to pioneer the adoption of cloud computing. The move has created a new trend known as security as a service, which telecom service providers are offering on a pay per use basis.