11 April 2014

Kenya: Cloud Uptake On the Rise Despite Challenges

The uptake of Cloud solutions is on the rise with latest research indicating that 70 per cent of organisations in Kenya are utilizing these solutions.

This is according to a study conducted by Microsoft and University of Nairobi on cloud computing in Kenya whose findings were released yesterday.

The results of the study were presented by Prof Timothy Mwololo Waema, a lecturer of Information Systems at the School of Computing and Informatics, University of Nairobi and Tonny Kerage Omwansa who lectures at the School of Computing and Informatics at the same institution.

The aim of the research project was to study and engage stakeholders in Kenya to understand the status of cloud computing and it's supporting technologies with an intention of learning more about the future of the technology in Kenya.

According to the study, Cloud computing is fairly new in Kenya with most organisations still having adopted it in either 2010 or 2011, implying that the impact of technology is limited. More organisations utilize pure private cloud (39%) compared to public cloud (22%), a choice primarily driven by perceived security concerns.

The study was the first done in Kenya on cloud computing. It was carried out in 60 organisations, a total of 54 respondents took part in the survey with 7 taking part in-depth interviews. Targeting policy makers, opinion leaders and large organisations involved in cloud computing, the research revealed that 75% of the organisations were not aware of any cloud computing standards while another 80% are not aware of policy and legal frameworks. From the study, 90% of the respondents thought the cloud services market was ready but there was a lot of misunderstandings about the technology.

According to Kunle Awosike, country manager, Microsoft Kenya, who was present during the launch of the study said: "An increasing number of companies and government organizations are turning to cloud services to increase the productivity of their workforce. For example, we're seeing widespread adoption of cloud-based email services and productivity tools like Office 365, which enable "always-on" access to emails and files from virtually anywhere. Businesses are also running CRM, HR, accounting and custom enterprise applications in the cloud. Cloud computing can benefit governments in three areas: increasing national competitiveness, enhancing citizen services and driving down costs."

Cloud computing has emerged in recent years as a technology that can help developing countries leap frog in certain areas such as cost cutting and speed processing .For cloud technologies to be implemented, appropriately and adopted, several critical elements must be in place and governments must put in place supportive legal and regulatory frameworks suppliers must make the technology available, technical people must have the right skills and consumers must have the right knowledge attitude.

Brown Otuya, deputy Principal Secretary, Ministry of ICT, who represented the Principal Secretary said: "The diffusion for mobile phones and apps demonstrate that the future of data will be hosted in cloud thus more need to create awareness on cloud computing through research. However there seems to be low but there is growth in awareness creation."

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