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New Cisco GM to strengthen relationship with MS, AWS

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Smangele Nkosi, Cisco GM for South Africa.
Smangele Nkosi, Cisco GM for South Africa.

Newly-appointed Cisco GM for South Africa Smangele Nkosi is on a mission to bolster the networking company’s partnerships with hyperscalers Microsoft and Amazon, to “build a bridge to the future” for local SMEs.

In February, the IT and networking giant announced the appointment of Nkosi, who took over from Garsen Naidu, who served as country manager for South Africa from 2019.

Cisco offers cloud and software-as-a service solutions made available through its partnerships with Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) and other select partners.

These range from virtual appliances for SDWAN, data centre networking services, wireless and security services available through Cisco’s Full Stack Observability offerings.

In an e-mail interview with ITWeb, Nkosi explained that as a new route to market, Cisco is working closely with AWS and Azure to realise value for customers within their joint existing customer base.

The company has also set its sights on new “born in the cloud/digital native” customers, which Cisco has not traditionally been exposed to, she noted.

“Cisco’s cloud portfolio offers customers an enhanced capability to migrate to a multi-cloud environment and provide seamless manageability to customers, no matter where they are in their cloud journey,” said Nkosi.

“Our purpose is to power an inclusive future for all by closing the digital divide. Our intention is to build a bridge to the future of financial services, as this industry is facing dramatic changes in implementing the appropriate mix between brick-and-mortar, bank branches and digital platforms.

“We are also targeting midsize and small businesses by providing simple solutions to help solve complex IT problems.”

Cisco offers a portfolio of financial services and products to help banks and financial services firms modernise their customer journeys and enable the workforce to seamlessly collaborate through its hybrid workforce solutions.

Digitising communities

The networking company also provides safety, security, networking and connectivity services to government departments and the retail, mining and manufacturing industries.

In 2019, the Cisco Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) programme signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with SA’s government to contribute to the National Development Plan 2030.

The Cisco CDA is a global initiative aimed at accelerating national digitisation agendas to support job creation and innovation, and help drive economic growth and sustainable and equitable communities.

As part of the MOU, Cisco committed a R140 million investment to support the digitisation of SA.

“We have since stayed true to this commitment by upskilling and digitising communities through Cisco Networking Academy, Cisco EDGE Centres, digital learning hubs, and more. Our priority is to get those underserved communities connected to the internet, in many cases for the first time,” Nkosi pointed out.

Sub-Saharan Africa continues to experience a shortage of skills in the engineering and ICT fields – a challenge that endangers the country’s fourth industrial revolution progress, according to professional skills development firm Skills Development Corporation.

To help bridge this gap, Cisco is on a mission to rollout more EDGE Centres across the country, in addition to the existing three centres in Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban., she continued.

The EDGE Centres, which are equipped with ICT, are aimed at upskilling SMEs in digital skills and connect them with global Cisco experts who can help them develop business ideas and concepts that tackle the most pressing challenges of today’s digital world.

They also offer programmes from the Cisco Networking Academy.

“Cisco Networking Academy’s 775 hubs across Africa have reached almost 300 000 students through various universities, TVET colleges, and public benefit organisations like the digital libraries. Our goal is to reach an additional one million students over the next five years through our networking academies,” Nkosi concluded.

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10 Aug
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