Microsoft has said that it will build its first data centers in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa by 2018.
According to the business technology giant, the new plan is a means to deliver its various services such as cloud services, and Office 365 to users in the region.
“We’re excited by the growing demand for cloud services in Africa and their ability to be a catalyst for new economic opportunities,” Microsoft’s Cloud and enterprise executive vice president, Scott Guthrie said in a statement.
Other products in Microsoft’s portfolio that will be rolled out to Africans include database services and business software.
Africa’s growing economic development is attracting big tech companies looking to provide solutions and make profits. Earlier this year, Facebook entered into a partnership with local telecom companies to set up 500 miles of fiber optic cable in Uganda to improve internet connectivity in the country. In 2016, IBM announced it had partnered with Vodacom and an IT firm to build a data center in Johannesburg
With such tech development on the continent, African entrepreneurs who have had challenges in storing and managing data among other issues will find these new developments exciting.
Here are ways through which entrepreneurs can benefit from the strategic data centers.
One of the many challenges experienced by most entrepreneurs across the globe and especially in Africa is a shortage of time. Entrepreneurs are always searching for ways to run businesses more cost-effectively.
IT tend to take a lot of entrepreneurs’ time- whether it is meeting internal needs or those of outsourced service providers- creating immense delays, draining precious time and consequently money and other resources.
Luckily, businesses don’t have to struggle with IT challenges alone. There’s a shift in the technology industry that can eliminate many of the challenges highlighted above, and transform the traditional way of handling business into a competitive advantage. In turn, this saves time and generates more revenue for businesses.
Turning to Cloud services can ease some of these challenges that have become a headache for many entrepreneurs. Cloud services can resolve storage, bandwidth and compute power challenges that are paid on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Employing Cloud services in businesses could vary from simple storage services, provided by infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) providers, to full blown development environments which leave IT infrastructure (hardware and software) entirely to be done by the provider, provided by platform-as-a-service (PaaS) providers.
Saving money is as a result of saved time, and that is good for business. Cloud services make employing technology faster, easier and cheaper. It means that businesses will no longer need to worry about IT infrastructure (including software, hardware, upgrades, and maintenance) or people to manage and support it.
With sound solutions, entrepreneurs are able to gather information about the business much faster. Patterns in the data collected over time can be used to transform the business to respond to customers’ needs.
When businesses no longer have to waste time gathering data from multiple sources because it’s centrally stored in the Cloud, it means that business owners can focus their efforts on other important aspects of the business.
In addition to saving time and money, the Cloud delivers other benefits which include:
(i) Scalability: The Cloud automatically scales to meet business needs ensuring that entrepreneurs don’t pay for what they don’t need. If a business needs more storage, computing power, or bandwidth, it takes a few minutes to configure when using the Cloud compared to days, weeks or months elsewhere.
(ii) Accessibility: Cloud-based systems and applications are accessible from anywhere in the world.
(iii) Security: Although there are security issues relating to the Cloud, the data companies (Microsoft, Amazon, and Google) are much better placed to deal with the matter than businesses ever will be.
(iv) Market expansion: Developing new applications on the Cloud is faster and easier. It reduces development and testing time by up to fifty percent.
(v) Reduction on capital expenditure: The Cloud utilizes pay-as-you-go method, reducing capital used to acquire IT infrastructure.