Google Cloud has seen that smaller businesses in South Africa are integrating cloud computing into their strategies faster than their larger counterparts.

There are a number of reasons for this, including SMEs’ smaller infrastructure and the limited teams of people that need to be convinced to make the move.

In an interview with ITWeb, Shai Morgan, head of Google Cloud for Africa, said cloud computing in SA is still in the early stages, and its level of adoption and maturity varies between small  and corporates.

“Small businesses are rapidly adopting cloud technologies almost end-to-end because, for them, there is almost no need for adaptation, major customisation or change management.

“Migrating to the cloud is simply another phase in their tech . In this regard, small businesses act almost as individuals; consuming technology as their requirements grow,” noted Morgan.

“Corporates are very different. Cloud adoption there is slow, sometimes painful and is challenging the status quo. Some are embracing cloud as a means to drive costs down, others for better analytics and real-time data-driven decisions. Few are actually taking advantage of this revolution to fully challenge, transform and innovate, however.”

For the last decade, Google Cloud services and support have been provided through its partner network, which includes Siatik, Opennetworks and Dotmodus in SA.

Morgan said Google does not break out customer numbers by country, but: “I can tell you that we are working with some exciting businesses, such as Tencent Africa, Harambee, Tiso Blackstar, OLX and Virgin Active.

“Google Cloud offers a set of tools and technology across Google Cloud Platform and G Suite that is used by customers in more than 150 countries.”

Google Cloud is considered one of the top three players in public cloud storage, along with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, according to the Gartner 2018 Magic Quadrant.

Amazon Web Services and Microsoft both have a large footprint in SA already, with Microsoft Azure data centres launching in the country later this year.

Microsoft cloud developer lead Asif Valley recently said at an ITWeb data centre event that while the technology giant’s investment in the local data centres aims to address business and regulatory requirements across many markets, the project will also drive massive growth in the ICT sector through creating thousands of new job opportunities.

Morgan said Google Cloud has not built any data centres in the country or on the African continent yet. It has data centres in Asia, Europe and the Americas.

However, at the European leg of the Google Cloud Next 2018 conference which took place in London earlier this month and at which ITWeb was in attendance, the company said the African region is an important market for Google. It said local data centres were on the roadmap, although it would not comment on when or where.

This article was first published by ITWeb on 23 October 2018.