Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (MSME) owners in Nigeria have been advised to adopt cloud services to drive efficiency, agility, and innovation in their businesses.
This was the position held by IT experts at the webinar series organized by Rack Centre on Thursday, June 22, 2023, titled “Promoting Cloud Neutrality: Cloud adoption as a cost-effective and efficient direction for MSMEs”.
In his opening remarks, Senior Sales Manager, Rack Centre, Kelechukwu Nsofor, who moderated the session, explained that the discussion around cloud adoption by businesses in Nigeria had become necessary in view of the transformation being witnessed in the digital space.
Leading the conversation, Senior Account Cloud Engineer, Oracle, Ismaila Salami, analyzed the transition in the digital space over the last two decades. He disclosed that 50 per cent of in-house applications deployed in organizations are still on-premises. He added that there is a need for medium enterprises, in particular, to adopt the cloud for their infrastructure, especially at a time when data is getting more proliferated.
Highlighting the benefits of cloud services, Ismaila noted that business owners stand to gain a lot by building their infrastructure on the cloud as it offers flexibility, choices, and big accomplishments with less effort while navigating uncertainty and building security. Allaying the concerns of MSMEs on vendor locking, he stated that the cloud providers now have the flexibility to migrate within different platforms without any data breach using either a multi-cloud strategy or leveraging open standards.
Speaking during the panel session, Assistant General Manager Cyber Cloud, Laurel Onumonu stated that a large percentage of digitized SMEs do not require cloud computing services, noting that it is the nature of the business or capacity that determines whether cloud services would be required.
Onumonu charged the cloud service providers to take up the responsibility of mobilizing and encouraging middle-scale enterprises for cloud adoption, identified low level of awareness, capital flight, high pricing, absence of government support, and poor technical expertise as some of the issues affecting MSMEs in managing the cloud-based ecosystem.
Also speaking at the panel session, Chief Technology Officer, INQ Digital Nigeria, Stephen Okoye, stated that cloud providers or connectivity players are gradually stepping up to provide the needed infrastructure for users to access the content they usually source abroad. There is now low latency and ease of access to content with the entrance of ISPON, Google, Microsoft, and other cloud providers.
“If the economies are right, there is high connectivity and good IT infrastructure. You will most likely see Rack Centre and other cloud providers have footprints in Kano, Akure, and other semi-urban cities in Nigeria. I believe that with the maturity of infrastructure, high cloud penetration, the efficiency of many organizations will improve,” he said.
On his part, Azure Go-To-Market Lead, Africa, Microsoft, Chuks Okpaka, explained that the fear of multiple tenants in a data collocation centre experiencing data breaches does not arise as cloud service providers now have several measures in place to prevent unauthorized access or data leakage.
Sharing his experience as a business user, Vice President of infrastructure, Qore, Okey Chimeh noted that leveraging cloud services has helped a great deal in saving costs and enhancing speed in financial institutions. Citing the case of debit card issuance, which now takes less than 24 hours, Chimeh stated that with cloud services, businesses now enjoy greater efficiency.
The Rack Centre webinar is held quarterly, and it has become a knowledge-sharing platform for data experts to lead conversations on happenings within the ICT industry and how Africa can leverage the digital revolution to drive economic growth and development.