How Cloud Computing Can Boost Businesses in Africa

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Africa has been largely left behind when it comes to cloud technology, compared to the rest of the world. Bearing in mind the benefits of cloud computing – dramatically reduced costs, accessing state-of-the-art technology and IT infrastructure, improved productivity and access to global markets, to name a few – one has to ask “why?”.

One of the main reasons is the lack or low quality of broadband connectivity experienced in many countries. It is also very expensive – all factors that limits the use of cloud technology.

It will take a concerted effort by service providers and strong government support to get a start on rolling out better bandwidth, but once this is done the sky is the limit for cloud computing in Africa.

South Africa is lucky in this regard. According to research done by local firm World Wide Worx, the use of cloud technology by SMEs rose by 10% from 2015, from 29% to 39%. This means that nearly half the SMEs in the country are embracing the advantages of online storage and backups, cost-effective business solutions, streamlining their businesses and the accompanying reduced costs and time saved.

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Strategix cloud hosting solutions provides several attractive benefits for your company by enabling you to consume computer resources as a utility – just like electricity – rather than having to build and maintain IT infrastructures on-premise.  Extending into the cloud should expand your options without adding complexity allowing you to meet changing business needs with greater flexibility.

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Other cloud benefits being mined includes accessing virtual IT technology and infrastructure; streamlined software such as accounting software, CRM solutions and HR applications; and efficient backups and disaster recovery systems.

Because cloud technology provides access to software that ultimately reduces costs on so many levels, and can be customised to best suit the relevant business, it is the perfect solution for SMEs, especially in developing areas like Africa, where there is less access to upfront capital and technology infrastructure.

Generally, IT skills are expensive and in short supply, a disadvantage that can be solved in an instant since cloud computing eliminates the need for an IT technician to install, manage and maintain server room infrastructure. The ability to pay upfront on a month by month basis also eliminates the need for large amounts of start-up capital for IT infrastructure – another plus for African SMEs.

Ultimately, the drive to improve connectivity and thereby cloud access in Africa lies in the hands of governments and service providers, who can work together to their mutual benefit. Should bandwidth and internet access in Africa improve, a huge market for cloud services will open up for service providers, while governments will benefit from the economic growth and job creation caused by an expanding, more productive SME sector.

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