Cloud technology is the future of businesses

A woman uses Internet in Uganda. PHOTO/EDGAR R. BATTE

What you need to know:

Cloud is the answer to cutting costs and increasing efficiencies as businesses move away from the requirement of hardware and installation.

Tech experts believe local enterprises should opt for cloud technology to match the demands of the evolving business environment.

Cloud technology makes everything from apps to documents available on the Internet.

 It is where most of our data, information and infrastructure are run by third parties in a way to offer us a service. A day to day example of cloud is; Google Drive which stores our data such as documents and photos.

Cloud provides on-demand access, via the Internet, to applications, servers, and data storage, networking capabilities, hosted to a remote data centre and managed by service providers. 

Cloud computing technologies, according to Farouk Semambya, an information technology architect at MTN, allows enterprises to introduce new ways of working, and cost saving while eliminating the inefficiencies created by traditional automation.

 “All businesses need to be connected to the Internet because it is now a necessity. With the Internet, you access everything. Get out of the mindset of having physical meetings by using the available tools,” Semambya says.

He made the remarks last Tuesday during a roundtable discussion held by Liquid Intelligent Technologies and The Innovation Village under the theme, “What Next: Technology’s response through cloud and cybersecurity?”

Enterprises that embrace cloud computing services have the capability of lowering the cost of doing business as regards to IT costs especially at a time when startups are rising out of the distress caused by the pandemic.

Grace Kamulegeya, a software solutions consultant at Makerere University, says start ups need to associate with cloud to manage cash flow.

“The biggest challenges startups face is capital and for them to grow, they need to make sure the cash flow is there and can be managed,” she says.

“One of the solutions is to have some of their innovations being hosted around the cloud environment,” she notes. 

Almost two-thirds, or 65 percent of spending on application and infrastructure software will be directed toward cloud technologies by 2025, which is an increase from 58 percent in 2022, according to a report by Gartner Inc.

 This is a clear indication that businesses are quickly moving to cloud computing and failure to adopt increases the business risk of becoming obsolete.

 Dennis Keko Kahindi, chief executive at Liquid Intelligent Technologies, explains that the discussion explored major changes within the cloud economy and demystified factors driving today’s private cloud valuations, the new cloud frameworks, and emerging strategies to help entrepreneurs measure growth and drive go-to-market momentum.

Although Africa accounts for only 1 per cent of the global public cloud market, the market continues to grow exponentially and has doubled in the past three years.

The technology sector in Uganda continues to rapidly grow, with ongoing expansion and improvement of data infrastructure a crucial aspect in pushing the country towards economic growth.

As Uganda and the rest of Africa look towards economic recovery and growth, Kahindi says cloud is the answer to cutting costs and increasing efficiencies as businesses move away from the requirement of hardware and installation.

“This is a must in the new era where office-bound working is becoming less of a priority and, in some instances, obsolete altogether,” he says. 

“To enhance our value proposition on technology development, we have partnered with entities like Microsoft through the Go-Cloud initiative to raise awareness, adoption and usage of Azure Cloud across Africa. This programme provides connectivity and cloud-based services tailored to start-ups at different gestation stages, enabling them to grow and scale their businesses,” Kahindi added.

Even as enterprises integrate these technologies within their operations, challenges including a poor mindset towards adoption as well as the technical deficit to deploy applications on the cloud, stand in the way.

But an even more concerning issue at the back of all people’s minds is the security of data shared over the cloud.

The question to ask is how prepared the economy is to address challenges of cybersecurity arising from the growing number of hackers, increasing malware attacks and thriving black market for stolen data.

Cyber space has become very competitive but a risky place for organisations who are losing lots of data, information and money to cybercrime.

Duncan-Allan Byamukama, IT Systems & Networks Supervisor at The Innovation Village, says cyber security is very important given that most company work is done via the Internet and awareness of the risks involved is a good place to start.

“Cloud allows entrepreneurs to expand their business portfolio and information infrastructure. So, as we aggressively take on digital technologies, let us develop the local tech talent to ensure that they provide customised software skills to manage the cyber-attacks,” he shares. He notes that digital infrastructure will foster growth of digital technology.