Experts in the technology sector have asked local enterprises to opt for advanced systems to match the demands of the evolving business environment.

Farouk Semambya, an Information Technology (IT) Architect at MTN Uganda says cloud computing technologies allows enterprises to introduce new ways of working, and cost saving while eliminating the inefficiencies created by traditional automation.

Cloud-computing is on-demand access, via the internet, to applications, servers, data storage, networking capabilities, hosted to a remote data centre and managed by service providers. In essence, cloud computing makes everything from apps to documents available on the internet.

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“All businesses need to be connected to the internet because it is now a necessity. With the internet, you can access everything. You need to be cloud-ready by surrounding yourself with tools that do the work. Get out of the mindset of having physical meetings by using the available tools, if you have a project, use trello. The cloud is not sophisticated, so it is for everyone,” Semambya said.

He made the remarks on 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 lower the cost of doing business as regards IT costs especially at a time when startups are rising out of the distress caused by the pandemic.

“You bring in value by associating your enterprise with the cloud. 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. One of the solutions is to have some of their innovations being hosted around the cloud environment. The opportunities are there. As an enterprise, you can easily scale with a cloud offering, you can easily manage cash flow when you pay for what you need rather than what you think you may need,” Grace Kamulegeya, a software solutions architect and consultant at Makerere University said.

A report by Gartner Inc shows almost two-thirds (65.9%) of spending on application and infrastructure software will be directed toward cloud technologies by 2025, which is an increase from 57.7% in 2022. This is a clear indication that businesses are quickly moving to cloud computing and failure to adopt increases the business risk of becoming obsolete.

This discussion comes at the backdrop of the effects of the pandemic on companies. Dennis KekoKahindi, Chief Executive Officer at Liquid Intelligent Technologies Uganda said the roundtable discussion intends to explore the major changes within the cloud economy and demystify 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 is 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.

“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. Cyberspace has become very competitive but a risky place for organizations who are losing lots of data, information and money to cybercrime.

Duncan-Allan Byamukama, IT Systems & Networks Supervisor at The Innovation Village said 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.

“The move to cloud allows entrepreneurs to expand their business portfolio and information infrastructure. So, as we aggressively take on digital technologies, let’s develop the local tech talent to ensure that the provide customized software skills to manage the cyber-attacks, deploy digital infrastructure to facilitate access to digital tools and build and enabling environment that fosters the growth and penetration of the digital across all regions of the country,” he said before advising on practical steps towards reducing cyber attacks on one’s enterprise.

“To require safety, we need to work in collaboration with IT computing, risk and threat intelligence and cloud security companies to combat the issues of cybercrime. Also, monitoring systems can help organizations identify a malware threat and combat any information,” he said.