The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) swept the globe, sending people scurrying off the streets, and rushing onto laptops and smart phones, scrambling to get online for work, education, entertainment and socialisation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation globally, as the world quickly adapted to the new change and every fabric of our lives moved online. The demand for online services skyrocketed as the globe moved onto Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube and Netflix in record numbers. According to McKinsey’s survey, the pandemic has accelerated the digitisation of customer interactions by several years, with a global adoption acceleration of three years.
Today virtual engagement is the new normal. Experts believe that cloud computing played a crucial role in migrating our processes online quickly, easily and conveniently at the peak of the pandemic.
Delivering his keynote address at Cloud Services Webinar For Business Growth today (July 27) with the theme – ‘Cloud services and the journey towards a digital economy’ jointly organised by Galaxy Backbone Limited (GBB), and its cloud services and storage partner, Zadara, the director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, said cloud computing has become an essential part of our business continuity, describing it as a key to unlocking growth in the digital economy.
Quoting a report by Gartner, the NITDA boss said in 2020, the combined end-user spending on cloud services was about $270 billion and was expected to increase by 23.1 per cent this year to reach $332.3 billion and $397.5 billion by next year, 2022, adding enterprises and organisations depended on the effective use of cloud technology to enhance existing business processes and deploy new business value propositions in and post COVID periods.
According to him, the adoption of cloud services provides numerous benefits to the growth of businesses in the digital economy, which include reduced IT costs; scalability; flexibility; better security; and less time to market.
Abdullahi lauded Galaxy Backbone for its efforts in providing reliable, efficient, and robust cloud services to ministries departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as the private sector, saying the effort would accelerate Nigeria’s journey to the digital economy and create opportunities for growth in the digital economy.
He further said the agency would align the implementation of the Nigeria Cloud Computing Policy (NCCP) with the guidelines for Nigerian content development in ICT to support GBB’s partnership with Zadara.
“The Nigeria Cloud Computing Policy encourages a cloud-first strategy in government. Its goals are to ensure a significant increase in the adoption of Cloud Computing among ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by 2024. It will also provide digital-enabled services to the government and ignite growth in cloud computing investments.
“At the same time, the guidelines for Nigerian content development in ICT offers guidelines for the hosting of all sovereign data within Nigeria. It aims to drive the required investments and build capacities for indigenous providers to thrive. Aligning your initiatives with these two essential regulatory instruments will enable you to create and capture tremendous value in cloud computing services,” he said.
In his welcome address, the GBB managing director, Prof. Muhammad Abubakar, pointed out that the limited liability company, also an agency under the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, was set up with clear objectives to deliver state of the art and world class digital and network communications services to both public and private sector organsations in the most efficient and cost-effective way.
To achieve this feat, he said the agency had invested a lot in building a digital technology services infrastructure that was adaptable to the changes happening around us, adding it had laid high speed fibre connectivity infrastructure across 13 states of the country under the first phase of the National Information Communications Technology Infrastructure Backbone (NICTIB) project in an attempt to connect the whole country.
He said 19 more states would be added to the number to complete the objective of connecting the whole country to intensify its value at providing connectivity and cloud services across board in the coming two years.
“Our state-of-the-art Tier III Data Centre, Network Management Centre and Security Operations Centre all come together as investments we have made in ensuring that as we help our growing number of clients adopt a cloud environment that is custom fit for them, they are rest assured that they are working with an organization committed to helping them deliver great services to their own customers in a safe and secure environment.
“We have evolved greatly in the last two years. We have re-engineered our operations to deliver a more efficient and effective service. We are also consistently investing in our people so that they are motivated to put out their best foot forward when engaging with you. Above all, we are closely listening to our customers and forming partnerships and collaborations like you see here today with Zadara in other to meet the changing needs of our clients and consistently remain relevant to you,” he added.
In his presentation, the head, enterprise business group (EBG), GBB, Baffajo Beita, said Galaxy Backbone and the Federal Government had made large and long-term investments in infrastructure and people, hence the imperative to explore other markets in an attempt to further generate more revenue, create social impact and outreach to businesses and individuals in the country.
“Galaxy Backbone has now created an ecosystem of symbiotic relationships consisting of actors that will help leverage Galaxy Backbone’s Enterprise Business Model to achieve shared success together. These partnerships consist of two extremes. On the left-hand side of the platform, we have partners feeding into it their products and services that fill in the gaps in capabilities desired by Galaxy Backbone.
“These adequately address the major paradigms of cloud computing, cyber security, and connectivity services. This has further led us to partner with original equipment manufacturers, service providers, systems integrators, and consulting companies. And on the right-hand side of the platform, we have our managed service providers or MSPs, who take services from our in-house and partner leveraged services portfolio and resell them to their customers. Basically, If the MSP does not grow, we don’t grow.
“As a requirement for our cloud platform, we desired to provide our customers with all the essential characteristics of a cloud computing platform which are broad network access, rapid elasticity, measured service, on-demand self-service,multi-tenancy all without making any significant capital expenditure. This led us to the partnership that we have now with Zadara. Zadara has filled-in certain areas we desire in our existing cloud platforms and has given us the ability to reach customers on a global scale,” he added.
In his remarks, the executive director, corporate services, GBB, Owoicho Igoji, listed the objectives of the webinar to include raising the awareness of adopting cloud services as a key element towards taking advantage of the huge potentials of a digital economy; the importance of getting their customers and prospective clients from the public and private sectors to start thinking of moving the applications to a cloud environment to optimize their businesses and create more value.
Others, according to him, include to expose their guests to the opportunities of adopting the Galaxy Backbone and Zadara cloud services offering in a secure environment powered by Galaxy Backbone’s digital services infrastructure; and to recommit themselves to providing excellent services to their growing customer and partner community as their continue to establish and strengthen more public/private partnerships that would help them raise the bar in terms of service delivery and customer satisfaction.