Although cloud computing is touted as being one of if not the most disruptive technology of the information age, it has yet to hit mainstream enterprise and SME adoption within Africa.
According to Richard Edet, Managing Director, SAP West Africa, the African market is still in the Slope of Enlightenment phase of Gartner’s Hype Cycle that describes the phases of adoption for an emerging technology.
“The root of this myth lies in the fact that early SaaS (software as a service) vendors opted to focus their sales efforts upon smaller companies. This was because smaller firms are often less complex than large organisations. However, some industries are also often more complex than others, irrespective of the company size.” Richard Edet, Managing Director, SAP West Africa
Amongst other indicators, the Slope of Enlightenment phase is characterised by more enterprises funding pilot cloud projects, while conservative companies remaining cautious about the cloud. For the African market to catch up to other regions such as the US and Europe and reach the Plateau of Productivity phase, which is characterised by cloud technology’s broad market
applicability and relevance clearly paying off, certain misconceptions and falsehoods about the technology have to be disproven.
Cloud is only for small businesses
The root of this myth lies in the fact that early SaaS (software as a service) vendors opted to focus their sales efforts upon smaller
companies. This was because smaller firms are often less complex than large organisations. However, some industries are also often more complex than others, irrespective of the company size. These differences have led to differentiated deployment footprints between On-Premise, Cloud, Managed Cloud as well as Hybrid landscapes.
The entire SAP cloud portfolio has been designed to serve small to medium businesses and large enterprises. Moreover, this portfolio is designed to enable SAP to serve large customers in the cloud with the same completeness and sustainability as clients making use of On-Premise solutions. This has resulted in a more than 70 000 customer cloud installed base, of which around 60% are classified as large enterprise.
Companies have to stay on premise OR move to the cloud
In the modern business world, companies need a clear strategy that encompasses cloud as well as other solutions such as on premise or mobile and landscapes. To arrive at that juncture with the least amount of disruption to its operations, businesses expect the freedom of choice from a single provider. SAP is the only vendor today that delivers cloud (SaaS) solutions plus integration tools along with integration content and an extensibility platform (PaaS – platform as a service) as a unified solution approach.
“SAP’s cloud portfolio has been designed to serve the hybrid cloud reality, as we bring SaaS, PaaS and integration content together to ensure interoperability for our customers. This helps deliver the freedom to pick and choose whatever creates value for the customer, independent of the technology stack. Cloud computing will simply become an additional option in a heterogeneous, but integrated landscape,” explains Edet.
Running mission critical systems in the cloud is not secure
SAP ensures that it handles data with the utmost discretion and continually strives to deliver services and support that allow business critical processes to run securely. The company has been used to work with sensitive customer data for more than four decades now.
“Data security and data privacy stays part of our DNA. We protect our customer data with an in depth strategy where all layers are secured,” adds Edet.
Cloud is hype within consumer-oriented industries only
In order to bring the pace back to business that is required to stay competitive, SAP provides a simplified consumption model that comes with a great user experience. The organisation understands that each industry possesses its own business priorities and moves at its own pace when it comes to the adoption of new, innovative technologies.
Based on public cloud and managed cloud environments, SAP is discovering that companies of any size and within any industry are moving their differentiating and non-differentiating processes to the cloud. These businesses also gain individual advantages with a significantly simplified consumption of services.
“True choice in where and how to adopt cloud based solutions that compliment new processes or innovate existing processes is what separates SAP from competing cloud players. We offer customers the freedom to do this in a non-disruptive way, which creates new opportunities for all our customers and helps grow our cloud community every day,” Edet says.