The Computer Cloud

3 ways Kenyan companies are utilizing the Cloud

“If someone asks me what cloud computing is, I try not to get bogged down with definitions. I tell them that, simply put, cloud computing is a better way to run your business.” -Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO

Still, what is the Cloud? The Cloud refers to software and services provided to you by another company and accessed over the Internet instead of your computer hard disk.

We have all been using cloud services for years. They include Gmail, Dropbox and Facebook among others.

Here is how Kenyan companies are enhancing service delivery by harnessing cloud services

1. Email Hosting

Nothing says bad week ahead than getting to the office Monday morning to send out emails you procrastinated on last Friday only to discover the in-house email server has a problem, yet again. Naturally the consultant will be unavailable till Tuesday evening. The storm clouds gather – bounced emails, lost business and the inevitable migraine.

Spare yourself this agony by migrating your email to a cloud service such as Microsoft Office 365 or Google Apps. The benefits are many – Guaranteed 99.9% uptime; send and receive your emails via smartphone; tablet; laptop or any other smart device; elastic storage that you can expand in the unlikely event that you fill up your mailbox; say goodbye to spam and email bounce backs. Concentrate on serving your customers and getting a good night’s sleep, afterwards!

2. Leasing Servers

Computer servers are not cheap. A good entry level one costs at least KES 200,000. In addition it is prudent to buy a UPS and a server cabinet. With time you will require to purchase additional space (hard disks) and memory, to boost performance.

Then there are the downtimes when the hard disk inevitably gets full catching everyone by surprise, components will fail.

Cloud storage providers enable you to custom-make your ideal server and allow you to grow as your requirements grow. If all you require is a basic server, start at the bottom of the pyramid with low computing power and storage space  and gradually move up as your needs grow. You can pay as little as KES 1000 per month. This means KES 200,000 will pay for 200 months (16 years) subscription! All this is done from the comfort of your favorite web browser. The capital cost that would have been invested acquiring and maintaining servers can be redirected where it’s needed most.

Some of Kenya’s cloud storage providers include Kili and Node Africa

3. Web Portals

On your laptop is a folder, aptly named WORK, that lives on the desktop. It is home to 200 spreadsheets at last count. This is where you keep track of inventory, sales, payroll, growth forecast, car insurance, office supplies, assets, clearance form and any other important business items that needs tracking. A backup copy is saved in My Documents folder and a third one on the USB flash disk, which also contains Season 1 and 2 of The real housewives of Riyadh (sigh). It is a pain to retrieve any information that is more than 1 month old!

What is across the fence?

As with email on Cloud, many software vendors are now offering Cloud-based software services that help to automate the day-to-day running of businesses. This is referred to as Software as a Service or SaaS in short.

For instance Logical Crest’s CeRaMix is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) service that helps businesses to record their leads and follow ups, basic accounting, quotes and invoice creation and sending via email, managing documents, tracking issues/tickets and reporting among other day-to-day business tasks.

Another example of SaaS that Kenyan organizations are utilizing is Logical Crest’s HR Management service, LogicalHRM in short. It helps organizations to maintain their employee database, manage leave days, process payroll and send payslips among other tasks. Employees have their own self-service page to generate and view their payslips, apply for advances and loans among other light tasks.

The reliability of the Cloud has enabled Kenyan businesses and organizations to truly focus on their core competencies.

Customers  are enjoying the experience of accessing services and products, increasingly consuming them via mobile devices.

What services or products do you provide and how easy is it for your clients (employees and customers) to access them?

Wondering how you can deliver a great experience to your staff and customers by harnessing the power of the Cloud? Talk to us today!