Vodacom Business Fast Tracks Enterprise Strategy
Vodacom Business has stepped up its ongoing total ICT service provider strategy, with the opening of another cutting edge data centre and the launch of a new set of services in its cloud and security portfolio.
Enterprise partners and top CIOs gathered at Vodaworld in Midrand last week for the official opening of Data Park, Vodacom’s eighth data centre in South Africa. The centre is an advanced and environmentally-friendly 3000 metre-squared facility, set to underpin Vodacom’s ambitious enterprise goals and cloud strategy, the company said.
The event marked a milestone for Vodacom Business, said Vuyani Jarana, Chief Officer of the Vodacom Enterprise Unit. “Vodacom is investing R9 billion in underlying ICT infrastructure this year alone, to ensure that initiatives such as this one, aimed at enabling South African businesses, and government become agile and highly effective in servicing their customers.”
Ermano Quartero, Managing Executive at Vodacom Business South Africa, said: “With this, and our cloud strategy, we have entered the next phase of our evolution towards becoming a total ICT services provider. Cloud services sit at the top of a pyramid of services and solutions we are now able to offer our enterprise customers.”
Vodacom Business’s cloud portfolio now includes the entire range of cloud services, including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS), and is reinforced through an offsite disaster recovery agreement with IBM, and partnerships with several multinational vendors.
Among them is SAP, enabling Vodacom Business to offer the first SAP Hana cloud platform available from a service provider other than SAP itself. Vodacom Business also has a new go to market strategy for its cloud portfolio, said Quartero, with upskilled and specialised pre-sales and business development teams addressing the cloud requirements of specific industry verticals and a professional services team to drive high-end engagements.
Michelle Senecal de Fonseca, Managing Director of Cloud and Hosting Services at Vodafone, said: “Africa is an important and growing market for Vodafone’s enterprise business and a key element of our growth strategy for cloud and hosting.
“We are committed to supporting Vodacom deliver enterprise-grade cloud services to both pan-African and Multi-National businesses. The combination of mobile, fixed and cloud services means Vodacom is well placed to help customers meet their IT needs both today and in the future.”
The move is a timely one, said veteran CIO and CEO of Jika Africa, Ken Jarvis, who noted that top telcos around the world were now bringing to market cloud services and solutions. Jarvis said cloud had been hype for some time, but that it was set to become mainstream as CIOs became challenged in delivering innovation while still ‘keeping the lights on’.
Jarvis said: “In South Africa, CIOs are increasingly disillusioned with the software supplier community, they are challenged by the way licensing is managed, and they are seeing security eating more and more of their IT budget. Meanwhile, their business units are already moving to cloud applications without consulting the CIO. This environment paved the way for cloud.
“Telcos have the reach, infrastructure, ability and capital to play in this cloud environment. With this move by Vodacom, we have arrived.”
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.”