Low cloud readiness in Ugandan firms

December 14, 2014

A new research conducted by an American company has revealed that less than five per cent use private cloud in Uganda, while greater proportion of SMEs plan to do so than large companies, according to the finds.Results of a recent “Cloud Computing Readiness in Uganda 2014” survey show that enterprises in Uganda have a “lower level of readiness” when it comes to the cloud.The research was conducted between June and November among small and medium-sized enterprises and large businesses, as well as public-sector organizations.Cloud computing is able to change the information and communications technology industry, and it will be one of the factors in creating the digital economy, since it will enable business to reduce operational investment costs. Moreover, Uganda digital economy will encourage small and medium-sized enterprises to use the public cloud, which also help them reduce costs for investment.The survey used online questionnaires and interviewed executives, directors, managers and employees in IT and other fields in both the public and private sectors.thirty- large enterprises, which employ more than 500 people, accounted for 48 per cent of the business sample, with 90 SMEs making up the remainder. Those involved in IT business made up 12 per cent of the overall sample while other businesses such as department stores, energy, construction and printing accounted, finance and banking, manufacturing, and government agencies.The survey on private-cloud access found that 75 of the business sample already have their own servers in their organisations, and that among them, only 22 organisations already use the private cloud.

Meanwhile, 41 per cent plan to install it in the future, while the majority have no plans whatsoever for private-cloud usage.An interesting trend discovered by the survey is that even now, large enterprises already use the private cloud in a higher proportion than that of SMEs, due to the fact that they have more complex data in their operations and seek to keep their trade secrets confidential. A higher proportion of SMEs, on the contrary, plan to use the private cloud in the future than that of the large enterprises surveyed – an important trend that the cloud industry in Uganda should not overlook.In regard to the use of public-cloud service among organisations mainly in Kampala, the survey found that its popularity is increasing, and especially for Infrastructure as a Service and Software as a Service, due partly to the increasing number of service providers in the country. There is no information on any provider of Platform as a Service in Uganda.It is no surprise that the survey found that a higher proportion of SMEs plan to use the public cloud than among large businesses, as a specific study into SMEs indicated that more half of SMEs plan to do so in the form of Infrastructure as a Service, which accounted for 34 per cent of the three types of service.There were 11 large companies that plan to use the public cloud, mostly in a form of Infrastructure as a Service.

Among the providers of Infrastructure as a Service public cloud in Uganda and providers from other countries, the survey found that Microsoft Azure has the highest number of users, followed by Amazon Web Services. Although Microsoft Azure dominates the market right now, the survey found an increasing number of Uganda organisations focusing on cloud computing that comes in a form of open source. Infrastructure as a Service providers that the organizations plan to use in the future are Red Hat’s Openshift, Google App Engine and Amazon Web Services.For Infrastructure as a Service cloud-computing services, the survey found that most organisations choose providers from other countries, with Google App the most popular, followed by Office 365 and Dropbox Enterprise.Besides these three service providers, Uganda enterprises plan to use the services of Salesforce, OpenERP, Smartsheet and Amazon in the future. Moreover, the survey found that the types of software that Uganda businesses want to use for Infrastructure as a Service public cloud the most are e-mail, followed by Office 365 document-management software, Dropbox cloud-storage software, customer-relationship management software and enterprise-resource-planning software.Overall, the large enterprises will need to invest much more in the private cloud.Local software companies have the opportunity to provide cloud-computing software in terms of Software as a Service to the wider East African market.

Contador Harrison