Cloud services dominate 2018
By Karl Reed, Chief Solutions Officer at Elingo.
Even though many organisations have discussed migrating to the cloud for the past several years, 2018 has seen a significant push towards these services. Part of this can be attributed to wanting to see whether the hype is justified, while another part has been waiting for technology to be available that makes the transition as cost-effective as possible.
The cloud environment brings with it many opportunities across industry sectors. It provides businesses with the flexibility they did not previously have to be more agile in their strategic approaches, while still ticking all the security and regulatory boxes. Cloud providers bring with them massive data centres that offer better security and technology innovation than customers can do if they are trying to build their own on-premises environments.
With the Microsoft Azure data centres expected to launch soon and the recent announcement that Amazon will also be introducing its data centres in South Africa by 2020, decision-makers are sitting up and taking notice and relooking their previous sceptical views of the cloud, says Karl Reed, Chief Solutions Officer at Elingo.
A new world
The past few months have seen a change in the local landscape as businesses start moving towards the cloud. We have finally reached the point where the technology is available today to do what analysts were promising five years ago. While the seeds have been planted this year, 2019 is going to be an exciting one for the cloud in South Africa and the African continent.
Contributing to this enabling environment is the fact that more use cases exist across industry sectors. From our side, we have also been having discussions with clients that previously only wanted on-premises solutions but now want to migrate to the cloud. Contributing to this is how cloud services support the likes of GDPR and POPI while still meeting security requirements and provide a 'pay-as-you-use' model.
Today, executives are asking whether the cloud is right for their business as opposed to simply chasing service providers out of the room. They now understand the importance of the cloud and how it can be customised to very specific requirements. In my experience, 90% of customers are perfect for the cloud, where previously it might have been around 10%.
One of the most significant benefits the cloud provides is the fact that companies do not have to adopt a big bang approach towards migration. Instead, it can move portions of its infrastructure, processes and services over a period of time. The cloud does not have to happen overnight, unlike on-premises installations.
This phased approach opens the door for implementing innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the resulting chatbots to assist with customer interactions. Because the cloud provides significant computing resources, enabling more effective data analysis to drive AI and other innovations, companies who rely solely on on-premises solutions will quickly be left behind.
Even though some customers may still use premises-based systems for the next few years, they will start moving more of their solutions to the cloud. Discussions around digital transformation are certainly aiding with this transition as executives are looking beyond 'the box' and starting to interrogate the benefits of analysing data and using cloud-based solutions to do so.
The likes of data analytics and data mining require a cloud environment to really provide the insights required for a digital landscape. This analysis is the key to creating a more customised experience for customers. And the cloud is the ingredient needed to make this happen. Businesses are finally embracing the cloud, and this can only be a good thing for how data will be leveraged in the months and years to come.