SMEs in Africa reluctant to launch fully into cloud

Majority of SMEs in Africa are reluctant to launch into cloud computing system even as others continue to reap 80 percent satisfaction from the system.

Ross Thomasson, Regional Director for Africa for Vodafone Global Enterprise, said firms already using cloud applications report 80 percent satisfaction both on security, integration, regulation and infrastructure yet have been reluctant due to the fear of change and misconceptions.

Thomasson said African firms name fear and costly infrastructure as major impediments to launch fully into cloud. The system, he adds, is however secure, reliable, easy to integrate and cost effective.

According the2011 BSA survey, only 10 percent government agencies used cloud services in 2011 with 28 percent of the agencies expecting cloud computing to bring a fundamental change in their operational model hence causing reluctance among the private sector.

Another survey dubbed IP EXPO Corporate Cloud Survey 2011 by World Wide Worx, indicated that by 2013, 60 percent of firms would be in the cloud. However, with African SMEs reluctant to adopt cloud computing option, analysts argue the projection may not be achievable.

“Majority of the firms also do not understand what a cloud computing system is,” added Kageni Wilson, Ionacloud.comCEO.

According to the 2012 Gartner Survey, firms the world over also lack adequate information regarding the service. The study indicated that of the 27 percent of firms that used cloud last year, only 17 percent planned to move their core functions to the cloud. The firms named their major impediment as misinformation.

A KPMG study on Government’s CLoud Uptake shows that governments too leading by example by moving into the clouds slowly. Nearly 56 percent government organisations argue that cloud computing comes with a security threat to their information. However, 80 percent of those interviewed argued that uptake would be high if cloud computing got government certification.

The Insecurity question has also been a hindrance. Kageni said from the early days of the Internet some sort of cloud computing was used, pointing out to emails and international hosting of government websites.

The major problem to cloud adoption, Kageni adds, is the misinformation and lack of it.

Thomasson argued the firms can however have their own private cloud or host it themselves in addition to having a trusted firm provide the cloud.

Cloud computing has been praised for enabling firms to reduce operation costs, includingbuying, installing, maintaining and upgrading hardware and software, with several developing countries looking at the possibilities of adopting it.

According to BSA Global Cloud Computing Scorecard, African countries with developed infrastructure have however taken advantage of the system. The scorecard rankedSouth Africa 18th out of the 24 countries studied — at how government policies influence the growth of Cloud Computing in business use.

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