Cloud infrastructure has become the foundation on which to build the solutions every business needs to be competitive in today’s connected environment. Digital transformation and modernisation are more than buzz words, they are organisational imperatives regardless of company size or industry sector. It is in this space where the VMware Cloud Verified Partner (VCVP) programme comes in.
Aki Anastasiou, an award-winning radio and TV personality and technology market watcher, believes the market is poised for a massive shift.
“Today, there is a massive digital adoption happening. Companies are accelerating what they have been planning to do and are focused on extracting value from the cloud in ways that make business sense,” says Anastasiou.
According to Sumeeth Singh, the Cloud Provider Business Head Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) at VMware, the past two years have been a rollercoaster ride in terms of cloud adoption.
“The pandemic has been a catalyst for the cloud. Even though there are different maturity levels when it comes to migrating to the cloud, every company needs access to rapidly available infrastructure whether that is to enable distributed work or accelerate its digital transformation journey,” he says.
Lee Syse, Cloud Technology Lead for SSA at VMware, believes that Africa provides VMware and its channel base with significant opportunities in this regard.
“We have seen the adoption of technology accelerate. Customers require innovative solutions with VMware investing significantly with cloud service providers to help modernise their platforms to enable this,” he says.
A partner ecosystem
As such, the VCVP has 60 partners across SSA to provide cloud services to the channel.
“Backed by VMware technology, providers have built their localised private cloud platform for a differentiated customer service offering. Our cloud providers understand the unique local needs of end customers and we provide them with the technology support to address those requirements,” adds Singh.
“VMware fulfils the role of business modeler in this regard. We work with our partners, support them, and assist them to build a cloud-hosted platform while giving them the ability to productise their solutions. Our partners are an extension of us and enable us to fill the gap of delivering cloud services to the SSA market,” says Syse.
Making sense of cloud
According to Arthur Goldstuck, MD of independent technology market research organisation World Wide Worx, it is imperative for the IT sector to find ways for the cloud to be relevant for those outside of IT.
“There must be an understanding of the cloud beyond traditional IT clients. As such, companies must find ways for the cloud to make sense for business users who are the true end users of cloud services,” says Goldstuck.
Singh echoes this sentiment and says this is where the VCVP comes in, highlighting the work done with one such partner, Strategix.
“Strategix was a natural choice for us as they provide the core skill set required to deliver VMware solutions to the market. As a VMware Cloud Verified Partner, they can provide their customers with a true hybrid cloud feel with our technologies which are backed up by their own managed service provider competencies. Strategix is therefore the ideal fit for the VCVP programme as they understand business in Africa from an IT perspective,” says Singh.
Cloud for all seasons
Singh says that VMware has recognised that even if it is a multi-cloud world, the private cloud still plays an important function.
“VMware offers the private cloud in a consumptive manner. Through the VCVP and partners like Strategix, end customers can transact and get the cloud feel in a strategic environment without needing to own and manage their own infrastructure.”
Goldstuck says that the VMware ecosystem is essential to accomplish this.
“VMware is the conduit from the hyperscaler to the channel. And then Strategix becomes the conduit to the customer at the end. Both the cloud and the channel are evolving rapidly, and customers need trusted partners to navigate this journey,” adds Goldstuck.
Time for change
Abdul Moosa, the CTO of technology solutions specialists CoCre8, says this has created a sizeable market for companies to deliver local-relevant cloud solutions to SSA.
“If a business is not digitally transformed or leading with digital transformation, it will soon become irrelevant. We are looking at the channel to harness the global backing of companies like VMware and partnerships with Strategix to co-create solutions that help customers digitally transform,” he says.
This has seen Strategix and CoCre8 enter a strategic partnership.
“It is about delivering localised economic value through solutions based on on-premises and cloud services to boost the local economy. And while SMEs do not have the same wallet share as large corporates, they are a critical market to transform through having access to flexible cloud solutions married to the best skills and technology available,” says van Staden.
Syse says that this strategic initiative between the three organisations reinforce the potential of the VCVP programme.
“Strategix is our local cloud partner who operates as a representative of the VMware cloud. CoCre8 has the end-customer relationships in place with Strategix providing the back-end platform. This means CoCre8 becomes an extension of our partner ecosystem to provide tremendous value to customers,” says Syse.
Jeff Jack, Principal Practice Head for Cloud at Dimension Data, believes that it is exciting times when looking at the potential for digital transformation.
“Companies have had to change quickly. Our clients need to make decisions rapidly and get infrastructure in place to operate quickly. The cloud is the answer. Customer demand for the cloud will continue to grow as companies look for increased flexibility in their infrastructure. As a long-standing partner of ours, VMware is associated with significant trust for our customers. For us to offer VMware-based services give them the comfort that they are getting world-class infrastructure with truly local expertise,” says Jack.