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How to get business value from cloud

It’s a new world out there, and businesses are looking for ways to create value and enable growth. That’s where Google Cloud comes in.

Johannesburg, 01 Aug 2023
Companies are looking to the cloud for ways to do business more smartly.
Companies are looking to the cloud for ways to do business more smartly.

Geopolitical uncertainty, high inflation and low economic growth are shifting corporate priorities, and with them, business’s expectations with regard to cloud: cost optimisation, the ability to scale and all the other rationales for moving to the cloud are no longer relevant.

“Nowadays, companies are looking to the cloud for ways to do business more smartly, to create value for them in an incredibly difficult environment. And the focus on value creation is acting like a pressure test on cloud implementations, showing up the inadequacies that mostly derive from the ‘lift-and-shift’ approach so many companies followed,” says Gregory MacLennan, CEO, Digicloud, Google’s enablement partner in Africa.

Too often, companies simply transferred their existing on-premises IT infrastructure into the cloud, without undertaking the necessary work to modernise their systems to take advantage of what the cloud offers, he adds.

“Even if a company’s business processes are performing brilliantly, to get the benefit of moving to the cloud, the underlying IT needs to be optimised for the new environment. If that doesn’t happen, the company finds it has a sprawling IT estate and is exposed to rapidly increasing dollar costs thanks to the declining rand.”

MacLennan says companies are looking at five levers to accelerate business growth:

Do business smarter via digitalisation.

Companies have realised that their data is a treasure trove that can be mined to gain valuable insights into their customers, supply chains and products. The current hype around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) has led many companies to believe that a “data dividend” can be realised simply by hooking up to these capabilities in the cloud. Not so, argues MacLennan. First, it’s important to modernise the IT systems in order to facilitate the processing of data.

Move to an open architecture.

“Nobody enjoys being locked into a relationship with a vendor and its crazy pricing,” observes MacLennan. “Google is the poster child for open source, not least because it avoids the lock-in trap – users can shift their applications easily between platforms as needs dictate.” He highlights the high levels of support and development rigour that underpin open source.

Enable better collaboration to enhance productivity and creativity.

There’s a reason that digital natives tend to use Google Workspace as a platform, MacLennan says. Because it’s completely cloud-based, it offers a way for teams to work simultaneously on a document or other asset with none of the challenges of version control.

“You cannot underestimate the power of collaboration, but making it happen is hard, especially as the hybrid, anywhere/anytime workplace becomes more popular,” he notes. “Google Cloud has the solution.”

Security remains a key concern.

IT systems and the data they contain now constitute the crown jewels of any company, and they are under attack as never before by highly sophisticated cyber criminals. Google has eight products that have more than a billion users live at any one time – security is core to its business. “There’s a reason people talk about ‘Google-level security’, and that same level of protection is baked into Google Cloud,” MacLennan points out. “No individual company has the capital or expertise to provide that kind of protection.”

Sustainability has become a business issue for CFOs.

Regulators continue to drive the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into the reporting framework, with CFOs now under pressure to quantify the organisation’s ESG performance in the financial statements. Google Cloud is currently the most sustainable cloud, so switching to it should improve a company’s ESG score.

Over and above, Google Cloud is also launching products all the time designed to help companies report on ESG more accurately and easily. An example would be Google Earth Engine, which can be used to measure the change in carbon footprints.

“Google Cloud has solutions that speak to all these levers, making it the platform best suited to today’s companies wanting to do business better and smarter,” says MacLennan. “But you can’t just shift into the cloud and expect that to work; you have to get the basics right. If you do, the rewards can be stunning: we have clients that have seen processes taking 48 hours reduced to 38 seconds, all at the cost of $100. That’s the power of Google Cloud, done properly with the help of one of our certified partners.”

Digicloud Africa

Digicloud Africa is Google’s chosen enablement partner in Africa. Through Digicloud, Google is creating an ecosystem of Google Cloud partners across the continent. Digicloud supports its partner network by providing the necessary training, tools and resources needed to implement cloud solutions and support to their customers successfully. As customer demands for technology intensify, Digicloud is increasing its investment in supporting its partners to achieve sustainable growth. Digicloud’s partner enablement helps organisations build skills around open, advanced technologies to go to market with outcome-based solutions.

Find Digicloud Africa on LinkedIn.

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