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SA’s $2,3bn cloud opportunity

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A move to more integrated cloud-based systems over the next three years is set to be a game-changer for businesses seeking a reduction in capital costs, efficiencies, more flexibility and accelerated innovation.
Cheaper data and more accessible connectivity will also drive the growth of the cloud infrastructure and professional services market in South Africa – which has the potential to become a $2,3-billion market over the next three years.
Kabelo Makwane, newly-appointed MD of Cloud First business at Accenture in Sub-Saharan Africa, says enterprises across several industries throughout the world are rapidly migrating from traditional on-premise IT infrastructures to new orchestrated cloud platforms that allow the pooling of several cloud-based systems to provide an agile, cost-effective, flexible and more automated solution for a company’s IT requirements.
The global cloud market is estimated to be worth $224-billion, according to industry research. Over the past few years, the market has seen compound annual growth of between 16% and 27%.
“The cloud market opportunity is significant. In South Africa, if the growth momentum continues above 16% for cloud infrastructure and above 40% for professional services, this market has the potential to become a $2.3bn over the next three years. The bulk of this will come from the private sector,” says Makwane, adding that the increase in the uptake is across many industries. Some are more pressed to find cost effective new solutions that others.
For instance, manufacturing has shown the highest demand for cloud because these companies want to focus on their core business rather than run IT shops. They have a need for agile infrastructure that will enable them to manage demand spikes without the need to overinvest and ensure more predictable IT services operating costs using a utility consumption based model. This in turn would afford them the ability to innovate more in production and manufacture but also in how they deliver these products to market in retailing, distribution, logistics and supply chain – the net effect of which would be higher margins,” Makwane says.
“Nowadays, it is no longer about buying the latest and greatest IT equipment. Businesses want to understand how the service is going to contribute to the top line and their business transformation as well as enable them to innovate in how they access existing and new market opportunities. IT is no longer in the back-end just supporting business strategy but has in itself become business strategy for many organisations,” says Makwane.
Cloud computing, as an enabling platform and IT service delivery mechanism is allowing organisations and business to rotate and lead in the new as well as rapidly embrace emerging technologies such as the social media, digital, Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in South Africa and across the world.
Cloud computing, in its simplest form, allows companies to access IT-based services, including infrastructure, applications, platforms and business processes, via the internet. A cloud-based model provides rapid acquisition, low to no capital investment, relatively low operating costs and variable pricing tied directly to use. “The advantages of taking away the nightmare of having to manage different disparate systems such as servers, storage, networks, security and the many applications in a typical enterprise are immense,” concludes Makwane.
The Accenture Cloud Platform enables hyper-scale cloud computing, letting companies combine more than one cloud infrastructure and benefit by pooling multiple cloud infrastructures from various cloud solution providers.