May 19, 2020

Digital payments to Ebola response workers saved lives and $10 million

Sierra Leone Ebola
Sierra Leone ebola strikes
ebola digital payments
payments emergency workers
Polycarp Kazaresam
2 min
Digital payments to Ebola response workers saved lives and $10 million

A new study from the UN found that mobile phones used to pay response workers strengthened Sierra Leone’s response to the Ebola crisis.

The United Nations-based Better Than Cash Alliance released a report on mobile phone payment ahead of next week’s United Nations World Humanitarian summit. The study showed that by using digital payments to recompense Ebola workers, Sierra Leone massively cut payment times. Prompt payments avoided large-scale strikes and ensured a stable workforce.

Better Than Cash is a partnership of governments, companies and international organisations. It promotes the move from cash to digital payments, in order to reduce poverty and drive inclusive growth. According to Better than Cash, its research offers valuable lessons on how to harness the power of technology to help emergency workers reach more people.

Along with neighboring countries Liberia and Guinea, Sierra Leone was severely afflicted by the Ebola epidemic. The country reported more than 14,000 reported cases of the 28,000 total cases in West Africa. The outbreak was identified in 2014 and Sierra Leone was declared Ebola free in November 2015.

"Sierra Leone's firsthand experience with digital payments and its impact on Ebola response and control taught us that governments like ours must take this growing payment system seriously as it can significantly contribute to inclusive growth and transparency,” said H.E. Momodu L. Kargbo, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development.  “In developing the partnership with private sector, development organizations, the Central Bank, financial institutions, network providers; and building the foundation for an inclusive digital payment system, Government must take the lead."
 

Delayed or incorrect cash payments to response workers frequently led to strikes during past emergencies and at the beginning of the Ebola crisis, before digital payments were implemented. In Sierra Leone, digital payments reduced these strikes from an average of eight per month (causing the loss of approximately 800 working days per month) to practically zero.
 

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Jun 18, 2021

GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud

GfK
VMware
3 min
VMware has been walking GfK along its path through digital transformation to the cloud for over a decade.

GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.  

In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade. 

“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.

Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.

By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.

One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.

“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.

Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs. 

“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.

The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment. 

The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.

One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.

“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.

“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client. 

“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”

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