The IT Leaders African Summit
The IT Leaders African Summit is around the corner just in time for businesses to find new ways to better utilise its IT infrastructure to the maximum. The event will host a number of respected global leaders in the IT sector. It has been designed for knowledge sharing, networking and deal making within the African IT industry.
IT on the agenda
With the importance of IT in business firmly on the agenda, it is perhaps the right time to take a closer look at IT departments within companies. Whether done intentionally or not, many times IT departments find themselves isolated from other organisational departments that run the company such as sales, production and operations.
In the past it was an accepted way to do business, as long as the emails get delivered and the LAN stays up, although most of the office probably did not even know what LAN is.
But businesses looking to survive in the 21st century cannot afford such ignorance as with each year that passes the importance of information technology becomes greater.
Information technology is a wide field that has enabled organisations across the world to work in an efficient manner and maximise its returns. It plays a vital role in the effective management and running of a business.
Scale of businesses
Small scale businesses need to buy packages that will cater to their specific management, operational and functional needs. For this reason companies need to approach IT manufacturers who deal in the correct software, including internet marketing, email marketing, web hosting and promotions.
While on the other hand large corporations have their own operational and functional employees who develop software applications and work on several IT needs of the business. They usually purchase enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to co-ordinate different processes and functions into a single application, which is actually more convenient.
Manufacturing businesses may also make use of servers and databases to store their vast data regarding inventory, business-to-business (B2B) and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) in the retail business sector.
Automobile manufacturers can also find good use for IT. They use computers to guide the manufacturing process and design tools to function in an accurate manner, ruling out any possibilities of human error.
Businesses all around the globe have to take the aid of information technology in some way or other to keep themselves in sync with the market and the world. Vital departments such as human resources, finance, payroll, administration and security are all dependant on IT to carry out their respective operations in a productive and efficient manner.
In today’s hyper competitive environment, a business is either part of the core team or becomes a candidate to be outsourced, off shored or offloaded.
The problem remains that IT departments realise they need to be a part of the company’s business but do not know how to make this happen.
The importance of IT becomes even clearer in a continent such as Africa, with different cultures and language, where the ability to recruit and retain talented employees becomes the order of the day.
Accessible technology empowers employees to share documents, collaborate on projects and communicate among team members. Once all employees have the power to customise their computers to meet their individual needs, they can communicate easier with each other.
The upcoming summit has been held in high esteem by former delegates who have attended say it has allowed them to position their company brand as a leader and run their businesses with information technology in a smarter and cost cutting manner.
Organisers of the summit say it will allow businesses to explore how IT can attract new customers by exploring markets. But will also re-educate them on industry trends and developments.
One fan of the event is South African Minister of Science & Technology Naledi Pandor, who attended last year. She said it is pleasing to see that education and the development of African ICT is on the agenda, adding that discussion and reflection on how to stimulate positive growth of African IT infrastructure is unique and timely.
The summit will take place in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa from the 10-11 March 2011.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
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.”