Cloud is ready for your business in 2014, but is your business ready for the cloud? This was the question put to delegates at an information session on the impact of cloud computing as a business differentiator held at Microsoft, Bryanston in March. The session was hosted by Pamoja in association with its network of solution partners and Microsoft South Africa.

Pamoja is the value-added services business entity and strategic arm leading Seacom’s entry into content aggregation and cloud computing services.

The company is using its rich pool of expertise and leveraging off access to Seacom’s established bandwidth connectivity to bring cloud computing to Africa through the creation of market-related cloud services.

Brian Herlihy, founder of SEACOM and Pamoja and current CEO of SEACOM delivered the keynote in which he explained the symbiotic relationship between the two companies. In essence, the cloud requires Internet capacity and SEACOM as an Internet company benefits from the cloud services distributed by Pamoja.

Albie Bester, GM at Pamoja, reiterated the strategic importance of the company in facilitating the transfer of business-building services, including Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service and Platforms as a Service, to the market via its reseller network.

The company is poised to help businesses across the continent take advantage of the shift towards cloud, the impact of the Internet and social networks on the corporate space and the relevance of cloud computing to core operations across most businesses.

Presentations made reference to the significance of this shift, with one statistic, attributed to Forrester Research which forecasts that the global market for cloud computing will grow from $40,7 billion to more than $241 billion in 2020.

A number of Pamoja partners used the opportunity to explain how they have utilised the company’s cloud platforms in Africa to roll out their products, solutions and services to the market.

Representatives from operations across several industries, including HR & payroll, Security and corporate software solution development and integration, offered details of how the cloud has helped to add value to service delivery.

Bester, along with representatives from Seacom and Microsoft, said that cloud has evolved locally to the point where take-up is a reality and there’s a definite advantage that could be attained through strategic acquisition and the right service provider.

“We are very excited about drivers like the Internet and consumerisation … clearly, technology has evolved to the point where it has a real opportunity to stake its claim in a growing market.

“The role of IP and platforms will have a significant impact on overall development locally and our objective is to assist companies in extracting maximum benefit from cloud adoption. Our focus continues to be the SME space with the intention to build this up. We believe this is an effective strategy to successfully build the cloud market in Africa,” says Bester.

The intention going forward is to contribute meaningfully towards the establishment of an aggregated experience in order to bring cloud to the consumer.