Nov 21, 2016 BIH Articles, BIH News

Cloud Innovation is here….Are you ready?

By: Thato M Jordan

There has been a significant adoption and growth of cloud computing in Botswana and the world at large. This adoption is embraced by all business sectors from Small and Medium Enterprises to giants of the industry. According to Doherty and Conway (2014) in their research titled “The adoption of cloud computing by Irish SMES – an exploratory study” they advise that cloud technology market has been estimated to significantly grow in the next coming years with financial growth projection of up to $241 billion by 2020. This market growth findings concurs with other IT research institutes such as the Gartner and the 451 group. Each organization has different reasons for this adoption ranging from the perceived cost reduction, speed to market, workers mobility, consolidation, business continuity and outsourcing of services just to name a few. In order to effectively and efficiently adopt cloud services each organization needs to access its readiness.

Before progressing any further into the organizational assessment needs and how to prepare for the cloud adoption we need to touch base on the services offered on this magnificent technology. We have two main types or options of the cloud, being public and private cloud. Private cloud is built exclusively for an individual organization and remains in the control of that organization while the public clouds is owned and operated by cloud service providers mainly outside the premises of the organization with less or no control of the individual or organization. Organizations using public cloud share the resources (servers, storage, applications etc.) with others while private cloud resources are dedicated to individual organizations.

Notwithstanding this, private cloud services might be offered centrally in the organization’s premises or they may be externally hosted. Adoption of either of the two is always driven by different reasons ranging from security to cost considerations and business continuity as mentioned earlier.  Most organizations prefer the private cloud approach built centrally on their premises be it in-country or regionally with some organizations deploying a hybrid of the two. Both private and public cloud offer three main services, Platform-as-a-service (PaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and Software-as-service (SaaS).

PaaS refers to the cloud service provider rendering rented service platform that encompasses both hardware and software tools mostly to aid the needs of developing and hosting application. As for the IaaS, only the infrastructure equipment or hardware is rented and hosted from cloud service providers and organizations application installed and hosted in them. For the SaaS, the software or applications are rented or licensed on pay per use basis and these are centrally hosted in the public or private cloud.

In an article that appeared in the press last week the decision points in adoption of the cloud technology was advised with focus placed on the organizational readiness and its environment as well as the role of Information Technology Department in this transition. Change is inevitable and it invariably presents challenges and opportunities. The IT Department must transform its role in line with the trending cloud technology and its development in order to remain relevant in a fast changing IT environment.

It is incumbent upon each IT professional to keep abreast with the ever changing technology if they are to remain relevant. These ethos are inherent to the professional code of conduct of IT practitioners and professionals as technological change in IT is constantly and rapidly evolving. It is a fallacy that an increasing number of organizations believe that the more they outsource their IT services or adopt cloud technologies the less they will be dependent on the enterprise of an IT Department. Many practitioners have been laid off at the behest of these misconceptions. However contrary to this believe more specialized roles and realignment is required with more emphasis on the security and governance.  The role of the IT Department in this realignment can never be underestimated.

From a legislative point of view, Botswana has progressed significantly well in aligning its laws to the changing technology as evidenced by the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, Cybercrime and Computer Related Act as well as the Electronic Records (Evidence) Act. The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act recognizes and validates electronic commercial transactions, while the Electronic Records (Evidence) Act recognizes and regulates electronic evidence and the Cybercrime and Computer Related Crimes deals specifically with crime related to the misuse of technology and its use outside the precincts of the law.

Botswana is part of the global community and must continuously work towards being at par with developments in the rest of the world. Technological issues are not peculiar to individual countries and it is imperative that Botswana’s IT legal framework must be aligned to those of the rest of the world to ensure that it remains relevant and fit for purpose.

Just this week we woke up to news that UK has committed £1.9 Billion to National Cyber Security Strategy for the next five years. Such huge expenditure is disproportionate to what Botswana spends in such matters and indicative of the massive spadework we still have to put in to raise our bar as a country. In short, companies have their work cut out for them to develop their policies, procedures and standards with regard to cloud adoption. These must be advised by the organizational strategy and the legislative framework for IT services.

The Head of Information Technology sometimes regarded as the Chief Information Officer should be at the forefront of emerging trends in cloud computing and advocating for the development of these policies and procedures as well as soliciting buy-in from other executives to ensure full implementation of these within an organization.

Cloud technology and other agile technology changes have changed the roles and duties of IT personnel significantly therefore individuals working in this department must be alive to the evolving terrain in the sector and continuously upskill themselves to remain relevant. Changes in this sector are rapid and gone are the days where one could assume they are a guru in this or that application.

Gone too are the days where one considered themselves the know-it-all wise guy in the field who impeded any change that threatened to displace him or her from their comfort zone. In a rapidly changing world, IT professionals must adapt or either swim or sink. IT practitioners must assume their rightful role at the forefront of technological change as facilitators of new technologies such as cloud computing. Failure to do so renders them redundant.

Gone too are the days where one considered themselves the know-it-all wise guy in the field who impeded any change that threatened to displace him or her from their comfort zone. In a rapidly changing world, IT professionals must adapt or either swim or sink. IT practitioners must assume their rightful role at the forefront of technological change as facilitators of new technologies such as cloud computing. Failure to do so renders them redundant.

Gone too are the days where one considered themselves the know-it-all wise guy in the field who impeded any change that threatened to displace him or her from their comfort zone. In a rapidly changing world, IT professionals must adapt or either swim or sink. IT practitioners must assume their rightful role at the forefront of technological change as facilitators of new technologies such as cloud computing. Failure to do so renders them redundant.

In conclusion I would like to state that cloud innovation is here, are you ready? Please also know that adoption of cloud technology is not an individual decision but an organizational one. It is important for organisations to develop policies, standards, procedures and strategies for this adoption. Once these are in place the organization can successfully implement and reap the fruits of the cloud.

At Botswana Innovation Hub we advocate for the adoption of technologies that improve output and enhance the quality of life and as a parting shot I would like to once again say, cloud innovation is here, are you ready? This is synonymous with our motto at Botswana Innovation Hub, Innovation is here….. Come and join us.