Cloud adoption in South Africa and many other African countries is accelerating, helped by COVID-19's workplace disruption and the need to reduce costs, manage risk and scale, and become more competitive.
There are many drivers behind digital transformation strategies and many decisions that need to be made, such as which public cloud to consume. However, this should be less urgent than dealing with security issues.
As we continue to work with organizations in different sectors across our diverse continent, cyber security and cyber risk are increasingly important considerations for the C-suite.
Against the backdrop of high-profile security breaches and ransomware, addressing security weaknesses is a key part of the success of digital transformation initiatives. An organization needs to digitally transform itself to protect itself from threats.
Safety should be an important consideration.
In this context, security is ahead of function and location in the hierarchy of considerations. Organizations have an urgent need to protect themselves as the long-term consequences of not doing so are devastating.
Here, managing and updating the infrastructure is of vital importance, as is building a careful strategy to manage legacy applications and the risks inherent in them. A robust modern data protection strategy, ensuring uninterrupted backup and recovery, is a vital cog in this wheel.
In addition to the additional pressures to deal with security, which is a global challenge, cloud adoption in Africa presents additional challenges, with some countries being more affected.
Hybrid Work vs. remote work
Let's start with the actual physical organization. From a global perspective, we're seeing a trend where many companies are asking their workforce to return to the office – even if only for a certain percentage of the time.
The feeling is that while a lot can be accomplished virtually, certain functions, such as skills transfer, have been hampered by the work-at-home culture. For example, if an IT employee accompanies someone in person, there are some skills and nuances that cannot be transferred virtually.
The future of the work will therefore be a hybrid model, where functions that can be performed remotely are done from anywhere, but areas that need personal collaboration, skills transfer and body language reading at key meetings will take place on site. .
Three Biggest Challenges for Africa's Digital Transformation
The three biggest challenges in Africa are bandwidth, connectivity and infrastructure. While South Africa, Egypt and Rwanda have made impressive strides in these three areas, they remain a greater challenge elsewhere.
By analogy, imagine a bank that needs to handle hundreds of transactions every second or millisecond, which is fed into a database. To transfer this to a public cloud that is hosted in another country, or a data center that is physically some distance away you need fast, reliable and stable connectivity. If a transaction takes a millisecond longer than it would if it were on-premises, the customer experience will suffer.
Much of the roadmap we will follow on this continent is being mapped out by developed markets and gives us a clear sense of where and how cloud strategies in Africa will evolve.