Johannesburg, 01 Sep 2023
Digital business transformation specialist Yazi is leveraging Google Cloud to help its customers across Africa evolve and grow into data-driven businesses – faster and at lower cost.
Yazi, a partner of Digicloud Africa, Google's chosen reseller enablement partner in Africa, grew out of an edtech firm and is now using Google Cloud tools to help customers migrate, secure and manage their environments.
Yazi co-founders CEO Rama Zomaletho and Chief Business Officer Andrew Nagengast say the tools and features in the Google Cloud ecosystem are enabling their business to help customers migrate to the cloud and transform their businesses.
Zomaletho explains that Yazi, based in Ghana with several satellite offices, has seen a growing demand for cloud migration and digital transformation support in Africa. “There is a strong interest in cloud – largely to harness data and accelerate business. Factors influencing this are ChatGPT and generative AI making waves across Africa, plus the diaspora is coming back to work in Africa and has a requirement for data and AI in their technology mix. There is a new breed of CTOs and IT managers wanting to use the cloud, optimise data and use the new tools that are available,” he says.
With extensive experience in the cloud world, Zomaletho and Nagengast selected Google Cloud as the ideal platform on which to build their business.
Zomaletho says: “Google Cloud is innately user-friendly and built around what customers need. Instead of just launching a plethora of new tools, Google engineers look at how people would use the tool and try to help them get the most out of it. This means young engineers and companies new to the cloud find it easier to customise and innovate.”
Yazi adds value to the Google Cloud value proposition by ensuring that customers get the solutions they need to achieve their goals, without overspending or over-provisioning.
Nagengast says: “Companies planning a cloud migration don’t always get a detailed analysis of costs of existing infrastructure versus the costs of migrating to cloud. We look at what they want to accomplish, then design a cloud solution that meets their needs and gives them the flexibility they need. Optimisation is important to avoid cloud costs from scaling unexpectedly. We help customers rightsize with Google so they only pay for the capacity they need, when they need it.”
A crucial Google Cloud tool Yazi uses to help make migration faster and reduce any risks during the move is the Google StratoZone assessment.
Zomaletho says: “StratoZone is an amazing tool that helps us discover all the customer’s physical and virtual assets and resources, as well as dependencies. In cloud migrations – particularly in companies with silos of data scattered everywhere – there’s always an outlier, VM or data centre nobody talked about. Discovering this after the migration project has started slows progress and adds to costs. It might take engineers months to understand all the tools and resources a company has, whereas with StratoZone, this can be achieved in a matter of weeks. StratoZone helps us understand high risk and low risk workloads, and we often run the two simultaneously before shutting down old production to mitigate risk.”
He notes, however, that any migration involves people, process and technology. “Google and Digicloud offer a tremendous amount of support across the technology and process parts. The people piece can be the challenge and this requires careful change management.”
Building customer business
Google Cloud tools have helped several Yazi customers quickly improve their businesses. One, Adansi Travels, is a leading travel agency based in Ghana. The company outgrew Google Sheets as a means to service and support its expanding customer base, and it aspired to call centre functionality to support customers while they travelled. However, the cost of a call centre proved prohibitive for the travel agency.
Yazi has deployed a chatbot and CRM system for the agency and is now rolling out the Google Contact Center platform with AI Insights, which will give the travel agency contact centre functionality on staff computers. “They didn’t need to install an entire call centre, they could do it in seconds – with no capex – at a significantly lower cost.
"This offers giant benefits for the business. The chatbot we designed for them helps on social media, migrates the discussion into the CRM, and if it can’t help, it transfers the caller to an agent. The agent will already know who they are talking to and what the call is about and can use Insight to see the recommendations provided by the AI. It saves them money and evolves their offering,” says Zomaletho.
Another customer is Universal Engineering & Consultancy Services, one of the largest independent petroleum service providers in Ghana, with solutions including fuel management systems and fuel dispensers. The company needed a better way to track and manage fuel supplies to fishermen, to ensure that its wells never ran out of fuel. Using Google Cloud, Yazi enabled the company to connect receivers and user cards, reducing the risk of fraud and ensuring a constant feed of data on the fuel supplies in its well.
Gregory MacLennan, CEO of Digicloud Africa, notes: “Google’s extensive portfolio of products enables customers to modernise their operations for today’s digital world. Google Cloud touches every layer of the business, including the Google Cloud Platform, with offerings that span storage, infrastructure, networking, data, analytics, app development, machine learning tools and APIs, and Google Workspace’s collaboration and productivity tools, enterprise Maps APIs and more.”