Google’s new way to cloud advances better business for SA customers

Johannesburg, 01 Feb 2024
The new era of cloud is fuelled by generative AI.
The new era of cloud is fuelled by generative AI.

Google Cloud’s focus on a ‘new way to cloud’ is bringing to market yet more tools and features to help South African businesses do business better.

So says Gregory MacLennan, CEO of Digicloud Africa, Google’s chosen reseller enablement partner in Africa.

In launching the ‘new way to cloud’ this year, Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian noted that the new era of cloud is fuelled by generative AI.

AI, data analytics, proactive security and advanced architecture that supports ongoing innovation are at the heart of Google Cloud’s ‘new way to cloud’, to enable faster and smarter business. Google’s AI, ML and generative AI products include Vertex AI, a comprehensive platform for rapidly prototyping and testing generative AI models, with Vertex AI Search and Conversation, Natural Language AI and Vision AI and Video AI to detect and understand images and video. Duet AI in Workspace and Google Cloud is using AI to enhance features and make users more productive – even serving as a coding assistant for developers. Duet AI also assists data engineers and data analysts across BigQuery, Looker, Spanner, Dataplex and Google Cloud's database migration tools.

SA focuses on better business

MacLennan believes there is growing interest in generative AI in local businesses; however, he notes that the bigger focus right now is on analytics and achieving efficiencies.

“Locally, we see a big push for using the cloud, and access to best-of-breed tools, to do better business,” he says.

He notes: “The global economy is essentially a wartime economy, and South Africa is feeling the effects of global developments on top of all our other challenges. What local businesses need right now is efficient IT and cost-effective access to best-of-breed digital tools. They need to operate as sustainably and cost-effectively as possible, with infrastructure optimised for the best possible cost-benefit ratio, so they can keep business running in a sustainable way. It’s about doing the best you can for your business and your people by using the best technology available.”

Best-of-breed tools deliver on the promise of cloud

MacLennan says Google Cloud offers the key technologies organisations need, delivered in a true cloud model. “Google delivers on the original promise of the cloud – the tools are quick to spin up, quick to spin down and you only pay for what you use. A market-leading product like BiqQuery speaks to that – you only pay for the query. With Vertex AI, you can build a generative AI model, train it quickly on available data and deploy it, and you pay per use,” he says.

He adds that spinning up more capacity over major traffic events such as Black Friday does mean users will pay more; however, it also means ultimately, they will be able to achieve a higher sales value. “Major clients such as e-tailers depend on Google Cloud infrastructure – it may cost more over events like Black Friday, but it brings in sales, and this is where the cloud shows value,” he says.

Expert partners to optimise cloud

MacLennan says achieving the optimal cost-benefit ratios and ensuring access to transformative tools requires the support of trained specialists. “It’s very easy to turn things on, play around and get a big invoice. Our partners help our customers get the most value for the least cost by architecting the right solutions for each business – from a small project to a full modernisation complete with cost-benefit analysis,” he says.

Through Digicloud, Google is creating an ecosystem of Google Cloud partners across Africa. Digicloud’s partner network across the continent powers meaningful business transformation in Africa, helping businesses drive significant gains with the adoption of Google Cloud. Partners are Google Certified professionals with demonstrated customer success, with experience in a wide range of industries and solutions.

MacLennan says Digicloud’s partner network is helping customers harness Google’s best-of-breed tools to optimise their businesses and control costs. “The tech skills shortage is a significant problem for many organisations, but our partners have them. We are stringent about partner selection, and we’ve aligned with the best specialists in their field, with all partner specialisations validated by Google in the US. Because of the growth in demand and the prestige associated with Google Cloud specialisations, our partners are also working hard to expand their Google specialisations,” he says.