Cloud Computing

Research: Pan African Cloud Expansion

New research IDG Connect conducted on behalf of SAP looks at cloud expansion in Algeria, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa

A couple of years back, IBM launched a cloud-based plan to help Moroccan farmers, whilst earlier this month, Microsoft 4Afrika launched a Cloud Startup Academy in Morocco, in association with Women Entrepreneurs in Morocco (AFEM), and local telco, INWI. Like anywhere else in the world, there is certainly nothing new about the cloud in North Africa or sub-Saharan Africa; the simple truth is, it has just tended to lag behind a bit.

New research we conducted on behalf of SAP supports other recent regional research into the topic and provides a bit more information on what is really happening on the ground. This is based on evidence from large companies across Morocco, Algeria, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa and highlights both similarities and differences through the space.

Nigeria and South Africa: highest cloud adoption across markets surveyed

Overall, 30% of those surveyed described their organisation’s approach to cloud computing in terms of “little or no activity.” This figure is already fairly high, but rose steeply to 42% in Kenya.

Nigeria and South Africa, emerged as the furthest advanced in terms of current adoption, with 35% and 30% saying they had already made significant progress. It is interesting that, like Big Data adoption in this region (based on IBM research), North Africa actually remained behind other, supposedly ‘less advanced’, markets.

Just under half (47%) anticipate that they will ramp up their cloud migration strategy in 2014 and 2015.  And once again, respondents from Algeria and Morocco were less confident than their sub-Saharan counterparts.

Security and bankruptcy: endemic fears surrounding the cloud

The reasons for cloud adoption proved consistent across Africa and in line with similar feedback from Europe and North America. This was, most obviously, the desire for “access from anywhere”. Yet some of the barriers to cloud adoption were clearly different from elsewhere in the world.

Fear that a cloud service provider may go bankrupt was listed as the biggest obstacle in Nigeria (35%) and second biggest in South Africa (35%). Although across the continent, concerns around security and data protection proved the most significant barrier (listed at 71% in Kenya).

Not surprisingly, the state of the existing infrastructure was also listed as a massive problem. In fact, 39% of respondents across all five regions highlighted this.

Cloud delivery: confusion and IT left in the dark

The findings revealed “unfamiliarity with the cloud delivery model within the region” and 43% reported they were using public cloud services without the “knowledge or approval” of IT.  

There is also some evidence to suggest that most IT managers in Algeria, Morocco, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa feel that cloud computing services are most suitable for larger, rather than smaller enterprises. Those in Kenya were least likely (29%) to see cloud as suitable for SME customers.

Overall, what emerges is a loose portrait of cloud adoption, across the African continent. This does not necessarily fit the pattern you might expect. North Africa may have long been considered far more advanced than sub-Saharan Africa. Yet now it seems, despite ongoing issues, this region is beginning to emerge as technologically advanced in its own right; at least in those principle markets of Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

Do these findings fit your own experiences?                                       


Download the full report, “Africa Set for Cloud Market Expansion” here.


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