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Cloud computing the way to go for business in Africa

08 April 2013, 11:00

Accra - African businesses should take advantage of the numerous benefits of cloud computing to enhance, Google Ghana country manager Estelle Akofio-Sowah has said.

The term cloud computing refers to use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet).

The name comes from the use of a cloud-shaped symbol as an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it contains in system diagrams. Cloud computing entrusts remote services with a user's data, software and computation.

End users access cloud-based applications through a web browser or a light-weight desktop or mobile app while the business software and user's data are stored on servers at a remote location.

Google+ which is the business enterprise wing of Google is championing
cloud computing worldwide.

She said benefits from cloud computing include collaboration, efficiency, teamwork, and cost saving to the firms.

Akofio-Sowah argued that using cloud computing would give firms a competitive edge by generating ideas, increasing efficiency and productivity and building strong teams.

"Just as social technology has transformed the way we communicate and interact in our personal lives, online collaboration will disrupt traditional ways of working in ways that we are only just beginning to realize," Akofio-Sowah told the CAJ News in an interview.

"The cloud will fundamentally alter the workplace of the future ­ making it a more exciting, stimulating and inspiring place to for us all to be."

She appealed to businesses to join the cloud computing craze to able them integrate their businesses or brands with other companies in some parts of the world.

Akofio-Sowah explained: "In an increasingly globalised world, the benefits of cloud-based working are clear. Companies in one country with offices in other regions can take advantage of Google's email translation service, which translates into many languages with one click of a mouse."

She added that the fact that cloud services were accessed through the Internet also brings greater freedom to staff about when and where they carry out their work, which in turn drives increased productivity.

For companies with staff permanently based in the field, they can collaborate more effectively with office based colleagues and each other following their move to cloud computing, as staff can access Google Apps from anywhere, on any device, which is invaluable when they are in a remote or isolated environment, the Google chief explained.

She added: "An additional attraction of using cloud technologies to enhance collaboration is that you don¹t have to spend months adapting to complex new technologies or spend time and effort changing existing practices to accommodate them."

For instance, she noted while dispersed teams are increasingly the norm in companies of all sizes, face-to-face meetings will always be one of the most effective ways of collaborating and achieving results.

"However, we all know how difficult it can be to schedule a meeting for 10 busy people with numerous phone calls, emails or meeting invites flying around until you finally find a time everyone can do.

"Cloud computing can make even simple collaborative tasks such as this painless, by offering web-based shared calendars which allow you to search colleague calendars online to find a free slot," Akofio-Sowah said.

- CAJ News


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