SAP, Dimension Data launch HANA Enterprise Cloud into Africa

In line with its partner-based strategy in Africa, enterprise software firm SAP has entered into an alliance with Dimension Data to deploy its HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) in-memory platform on the continent.

The platform will be made available on a subscription-based model and is being piloted in South Africa as precursor to further rollout on the continent.

Dimension Data is the first partner in Africa and according to SAP was selected because of its long association with the enterprise software solutions firm and its track record of support for large solutions at enterprise level.

The HEC alliance and formal announcement is the culmination of a two-year engagement process and follows a vigorous process to cement the required certification.

"We are dedicated to providing a technologically advanced, low-risk solution to South African and African businesses," said Paolo Masselli, CEO of Britehouse, a division of Dimension Data specialising in SAP solutions. "Dimension Data is proud to be the first certified SAP partner on the African continent able to provide a complete managed cloud environment to SAP customers. This unique service allows customers to utilise and pay on what is required and consumed at any given time."

Digital journey

HEC is positioned to help clients with issues in hosting data off-shore, as well as with digital transformation - and particularly the requirement for seamless integration and movement of data within the organisation.

Issues like complexities involved in 'keeping the lights on' or the daily operational responsibilities involved in process management – including running reports and applications, reducing cost so that there is more that can be used for innovation.

Guy Armstrong, Vice President of HEC Sales, SAP EMEA said complex software and systems erode agility within businesses and use up 80% of IT budget, leaving little for innovation.

Businesses also have to manage the intricacies of involved in transforming the environment and integrating all platforms, including mobile and cloud – and this is where SAP Hana Cloud is positioned to add value says Brett Parker, MD, SAP Africa.

"Essentially SAP HEC has been introduced because who better than SAP to run your SAP for you as a managed service,' Parker explained. "Harnessing the power of the cloud is a no-brainer ingredient to the growth and success of forward-looking businesses in South Africa and on the rest of the continent. Almost a quarter of local small enterprises already use some type of cloud service, highlighting the growing need for the cost-efficiency and flexibility that only the cloud provides."

At a launch event in Johannesburg, executives from both companies outlined the go-to-market strategy for Africa.

SAP leadership have confirmed the company will not establish and run its own data centres in Africa, the focus is on partnerships and establishing alliances with partners that have volume and can scale.

Other advantages to local partnerships include connectivity and the economic efficiency of integration, speed and data sovereignty.

Clinton Jacobs, Senior Analyst at BMI-TechKnowledge, said based on an overview of the South African Data Centre and Cloud Computing Services market, the cloud services market experienced 29% growth last year and is forecast to reach R6,4 billion by 2020.

Key takeouts from the research indicate that customers are more thoughtful in their approach to- and adoption of cloud, with many opting for exchange and hosted PBX on shared platforms, as well as development and testing as initial exploits into the cloud.

Additionally, the hybrid cloud model seems to be preferred, especially among larger corporates.

Other influences and drivers mentioned include disaster recovery, skills, and challenges to cloud service adoption including maturity of the organisation, economic downturn, understanding of specific responsibilities and data sovereignty.