Business and industry within the African context continues to boom. Markets are opening up, industry is developing and a growing desire by countries to become globally competitive, are all factors that are creating a favourable investment platform for many big businesses, says Mark Reynolds, partner and General Business lead at VMware Sub-Saharan Africa. 
But now we need to take the next step. How do we use this to our advantage and become competitive in the global marketplace? For many the answer is through investing in systems and technologies that can help them better service customers all the while heightening the productivity of employees.

While all of these trends can be evidenced through the continent, we are seeing solid growth in Kenya and the rest of East Africa, which has prompted VMware to launch its Kenyan office. This coupled with the appointment of a new team, will in my opinion, provide the “on the ground” support required by our customers and channel partners in the East African region.

Why Kenya? African businesses as a whole are hungry for technology to assist them to reduce overhead and infrastructure costs; that also minimise their reliance on exhaustive and extensive skills sets that are not always present in country; as well as solutions that can help them cut back on resources such as power and even water; and technology that can act as a catalyst to fuel and aid market differentiation, innovation and business agility.

These factors are underpinning a piqued interest in, and a growth in demand for, traditional virtualization, Software-Defined Data Centre (SDDC) and more recently business mobility and even software-defined networking solutions.

We believe that by having a local team on the ground, customers and partners in the region will be able to garner a more inclusive understanding of how VMware can help their business, from people who understand regional specific business, cultural and environmental challenges, as well as the IT knowledge.

Our East Africa team is currently made up of Mary Ndirangu who is the Territory Manager, Daniel Ndirangu (no relation) in the role of Systems Engineer, and Everline Kamau as the region’s Strategic Partner Business Manager. I believe that these individuals will be able to provide the first line skills and resources needed by customers and partners.

At VMware we talk about Brave IT where IT departments need to take bold steps in order to transform to the new era of business. This era which is what we term a liquid world, is constantly changing and evolving and creating new business models. I think that as Africans this view of business really sums up exactly how we approach everything. In a continent where doing business can be tough, we need to be brave and embrace new technologies if we want to mobilise our businesses and if anyone understands change, its us, as we know that what is true for today, isn’t always true for tomorrow (its always changing).

So how do we believe that VMware can make a difference for our customers in East Africa? We see that as a software-driven world, replacing the brittle, inflexible hardware-driven world of yesterday. Today we deliver the industry’s first unified platform of virtualized compute, networking and storage for the hybrid cloud. Defined in software, VMware’s solutions enables customers to create one consistent environment across the private and public cloud to rapidly develop and deliver any cloud-native or traditional application. This and the fact that the platform also offers customers openness and choice in how to build and manage their applications and cloud environments based on their specific needs.

Furthermore, in 2012 we took a strategic decision to expand into the West East and Central Africa (WECA) region. This commitment was later followed with the opening of an office in Nigeria and now more recently Kenya. We also boast an eco-system of over 700 partners across South Africa and WECA, partners who are our sole and direct contact with end-customer who continue to be the critical link between VMware and those African customers who elect to change their business and lead through innovation all while being brave in their IT, virtualization and cloud choices.