JOHANNESBURG – Cloud computing played a significant role in helping the government cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the new Cloud in Africa 2020 report.
The study conducted by market research leaders World Wide Worx in partnership with F5, Dell Technologies, Digicloud Africa and Intel, found that 80percent or eight out of ten respondents believed that cloud computing had made a significant contribution to the government’s efforts in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Presenting the findings, Arthur Goldstuck, the managing director of World Wide Worx and lead analyst on the project, said the single biggest benefit from cloud computing for the government had been remote working.
The second benefit was communicating with the public followed by crisis co-ordination.
“A key element was whether the government embraced the cloud. Without the cloud, governments could not have carried on their duties as they did, but not having their systems cloud-ready before the crisis meant that the government systems were not agile enough to cope with the demand,” said Goldstuck.
Findings in the cloud report come as auditor-general Kimi Makwetu yesterday released his report on the multibillion-rand Covid-19 relief funds.
Makwetu’s report found that IT systems used in the government were not agile enough to respond to the changes required to deal with the pandemic.
As part of the research, World Wide Worx interviewed technology decision-makers at more than 400 medium and large businesses across South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, and Malawi, to ascertain current and intended use of cloud technologies in the continent’s major markets.
The report said cloud computing had become the front and centre of operating businesses due to Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns.
Goldstuck said during this time, historic perceptions of cloud being costly and risky had also largely dissipated.
As many as 84 percent of respondents now believed cloud computing was “cost-effective” and only 12 percent regarded it as inherently “risky”.
In terms of investing in the future, the report showed that 38percent of decision-makers increased their cloud services spend last year.
South Africa led the way, with 82percent stating that they had increased cloud spend, followed by 59percent in Zimbabwe, and 50percent in both Nigeria and Botswana.
According to World Wide Worx, cloud investment was also growing as a percentage of overall IT budgets, particularly in less mature IT markets.
For Zambian respondents, 71percent said between a quarter and half of their IT budgets were allocated to the cloud. The same is true for 59percent in Zimbabwe, and 56percent in Malawi. In Namibia, 65percent said more than half of IT budgets were focused on the cloud. In Botswana, 14percent reported that 100percent of budgets went to cloud-related IT.