SAP Africa drives continent's innovation agenda
Leading software solutions provider SAP is to showcase the efforts it is making top reach its goal of training 3,000 students for ICT employment in Africa over the next five years and helping SMEs to foster innovation in their growth and development.
Company representatives were today due to participate in a panel discussion focusing on entrepreneurship and job growth, SMES and fostering innovation at the annual meeting of the African Development Bank in Rwanda.
Alexander Meyer, Vice President, Global Business Development at SAP, said: “It’s no secret; there is an unbelievably high unemployment rate across the continent.
“The 500 million Africans currently of working age are projected to exceed 1.1 billion by 2040, more than India or China,” he said.
“Over the past decade, the IT sector has proven to be the major economic driver in sub-Saharan Africa, with an annual compounded growth rate of 40 percent.
“This is because it is a cross-cutting tool that enables sectors as diverse as agriculture, healthcare, power, water and governance. However, while a critical driver for growth, there is a universal shortage of skilled IT workers - and SAP Africa is going to change this.”
The panel discussion ties in with the Starter Africa programme, which has been designed to address three pillars, namely:Capacity building of entrepreneurs;Visibility or promotion of six selected candidates; andPromotion of entrepreneurship via the Starter Tour.
The programme will follow six new “starters”, candidates via a TV series on VoxAfrica TV, which will enable viewers to watch and learn as these candidates are coached and mentored by business leaders.
It is the hope that these shows will serve to inspire other entrepreneurs and SMEs across the region.
Through focus, collaboration and commitment from partners, to support the African Development Bank’s vision, SAP intends to train 3 000 students for ICT employment in Africa over the next five years, contributing closing the current and projected unemployment gap.
With extensive experience in creating technology solutions that have helped many young students and entrepreneurs across Africa, and a focussed investment in supporting SME growth in Africa, SAP Africa is eager to continue partnering with international funding institutions on the continent.
Meyer said: “More than 80 per cent of SAP’s 176,000 global customers are SMEs, 90 per cent of which are in the lower middle and small enterprise markets.
“Business software solutions are invaluable tools to help SMEs remain lean and efficient companies while supporting business growth with quick and accurate decision making and SAP is introducing alternative business software deployment, packaging and licensing options such as software-as-a-service, cloud computing and pre-built applications to guide them in their growth.
He concluded: “Effective innovation for Africa must be developed in Africa, preferably by Africans.
“SAP’s research centre in Pretoria, its growing ecosystem of local SME partners, distributors and clients, and its collaboration with key universities, have created an ecosystem of shared innovation that will bring about tangible change in Africa.”
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.”