Kenya has surely established herself as a technology hotbed full of innovative and creative individuals taking advantage of the advancements in technology. Cloud computing has surely changed the way we live, work and play.

Early adopters of the cloud solutions like the FinTech and retail Industries are reaping the benefits and it shows on the balance sheet in terms of cost savings and ballooning profits. The ability to consume IT resources i.e compute, networking and storage solutions as a utility, just like electricity, is a huge advantage to businesses. This enables them to focus resources on their core business function rather than having to build and maintain their own infrastructure. Projects that took months or years to implement can now be done in weeks or days and in some cases, a few hours. Additionally, the cloud has allowed such projects to have predictable budgets that make planning and implementation a lot easier.

The benefits are clear for all to see however the question remains, how can we have more industries join the early adopters into the cloud space? How can the medical, transport, agricultural and other industries leverage on these technological innovations to drive development for Africa as a whole?

The Cloud’s biggest advantage is the dramatic reduction to the cost of access which is a big factor to any business irrespective of the industry. Traditionally, the IT department in any business did not generate any income. They were business enablers that allow the company to operate its core business efficiently by integrating technology into their day to day functions. However, the cloud has allowed the IT department to not only be a business enabler or facilitator but now can be the core business driver. The best example being Uber which has been a major disruptor turning the transport industry it on its head. Without the cloud, the service simply cannot exist.

Africa’s biggest problem, in a nutshell, is the lack of infrastructure primarily due to lack of financial resources to put them in place. Adopting cloud solutions will accelerate the levels of innovation within the business allowing them to take advantage of the scalability capabilities of the cloud and essentially jumping over the lack of infrastructure hurdle. Cloud solutions will enable any business from any industry have broader reach to potential customers in ways traditional business models could not.

Cloud computing has presented a unique opportunity for businesses in Africa to overcome challenges that previously inhibited their growth and development. Business and government leaders should now focus on using it in a manner that can have an impact in the development of the industries and regions in which they operate. The onus is on the African cloud service providers to ensure that the platform is available and educate the decision makers on how cloud solutions can drive their businesses forward. This will in turn spark an innovation wave that will propel individual businesses and eventually the continent forward.

Article by Kenneth Odera, Pre- Sales Engineer at MTN Business Kenya.

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