Nkosi Kumalo, Vodacom: partnerships crucial in the cloud

Partnerships are the key to harnessing the power of cloud computing, says Nkosi Kumalo, Executive Head of Vodacom’s Cloud Computing division.

According to a recent Gardner study, up to 67% of the average Chief Information Officer's time is spent managing IT delivery. Last month, Kumalo told the delegates at MyBroadband's inaugural Cloud & Hosting Conference at Gallagher Estate in Midrand that these C-suite executives face a number of challenges in an evolving market, including how to handle the data explosion and business growth prospects, the legacy of old applications, the specific needs of Generation Y and the rise of cloud computing.

He maintained that only those industry leaders who could be counted as "trusted allies", understood the business as a whole and did not let IT infrastructure dictate their strategies would be successful in the long term.

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He added the cloud offered numerous opportunities to make a "difference on the ground" in terms of corporate social initiatives. "Vodacom has been harnessing the cloud for eHealth, eEducation and eCommerce purposes. Our IT facilities have been used in the distribution of antiretrovirals and malaria medicine and for stock inventory management. We have an online platform and central repository of materials for learners and teachers that has been used to great effect. Our Electronic Data Interchange platform allows clients using different software packages to see the status of orders and credit standing."

Kumalo spoke at length about Vodacom's hosting facilities, its cloud services, and the solutions available to companies that are looking at cloud services. He said the telecommunications giant's focus going forward would not be on be on specific services, but on building a comprehensive IT roadmap for clients. He insisted that the proposition did not just include the machines, but also the human resources and expertise that enhanced the value proposition.

"We will put our heads on the block to deliver. Even if we don't have the capability to offer a service, we will leverage from our partners to provide it. We put service level agreements with penalties in place to mitigate risk. Cloud is the answer and Vodacom has the capabilities to take CIOs on a journey to the clouds on their own terms."

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