Africom partners MTN to offer enterprise cloud hosted services

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Africom Holdings Group CEO, Kwanayi kashangura

Africom Holdings Group CEO, Kwanayi Kashangura, speaking at the announcement of a partnership with MTN today in Harare

About two months ago Africom announced that they had partnered MTN purportedly to “to connect Zimbabwe to the rest of Africa and the world” by “delivering leading-edge technology that guarantees exceptional quality of service”. If that’s sounding a bit too vague, it’s ok, you’re not alone. The good news is this though, today Africom held an event to announce the partnership to their business customers. MTN Business Partner Manager Richard Kabeya was present at the launch.

So, yes, this is targeted at enterprise customers. In fact Africom as a whole is enterprise focused as we found out today but more on that in a separate article. The company announced today that MTN will be enhancing and providing some of their cloud capacity. The indication is that the capacity in question is what MTN already provides in other markets as MTN Business.

As for specific services, one spoken about in detail was Hosted Exchange i.e. companies having their email messaging environment in the cloud all hosted at Africom (orMTN in the background most probably).  If you’re an ICT administrator, IT manager, or director this is probably something you have been hoping for. Or not seeing how it disrupts the IT department staffing might leave a few techies out of their jobs.

Another hosted service which Africom Holdings CEO, Kwanayi Kashangura, told us will be available is SAP Business One, the cloud based SAP for small businesses that so far has been offered only by 23rd Century Systems locally as Cumulus.

It’s not clear yet how many other hosted services and applications Africom will provide going forward as they are not going into details for now.  Other non-cloud services spoken of are the usual enterprise voice communication and data they have been selling for a while now albeit not at this new tempo.

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Africom becomes one of the few ICT companies locally to see the opportunity and go into cloud hosted services a deliberate way. The only other company, the one that arguably owns the largest data center in the country is Dandemutande, which this year started hosting a cloud based Sage ERP offering from Chips Computing. We have also been told that it’s Dandemutande that hosts 23rd Century’s Cumulus service.

We’d love to hear from those of you looking to move some ICT business applications to hosted services providers like Africom and Dandemutande. What are some of the challenges you are facing making it happen cost effectively?



6 Comments

  1. net_citizen says:

    All these “follow-the-trend ” offerings in zim do not take into account the fact that the networks are not implemented properly and therefore customers will not be offered world class services but a zim version of them ..I know this for a fact …

  2. Sipho Sibanda says:

    we need more base stations KK to use your services

  3. [email protected] says:

    Good luck getting uptake! Am sure market research was done.

    From a superficial point of view, am yet to meet a local IT guy/girl who has burning need for the cloud. Unless one has huge datasets or some high-end analytical processing requirements or applications that scale beyond internal infrastructure abilities or some much needed application.

    Off my head, what I remember is Econet and its use of Rackspace(SaaS). Currently, it really is more of hype for our Zim environment than it is everywhere else. I could be dead wrong

  4. Chanyane says:

    It is so easy to upscale infrastructure. What is difficult is to think-through a killer cloud based application. Remember when phone based applications where being dismissed due to lack of reach to “rural communities” where the majority of people live. Now with more than 70% teledensity, one can assume that rural access is no longer an issue since the majority of Zims are rural folks, and still no deluge of mobile apps. Start thing cloud based killers now and play around with them and a few months down the line, infrastructure challenges will be a thing of the past, and you will enjoy early mover advantages.

  5. wengai says:

    This is interesting news!! wow!! we really would love to see more investments in telecoms to drive our economy to another level. Without taking the credit away from africom, could it be possible that MTN went into this deal with the view of building the africom infrastructure which at the moment leaves a lot to be desired? Yes, its very possible MTN has just entered the Zim market via the back door. Cloud services need reliable telecoms which MTN could provide and boast africom’s services covereage as well. so here is how this will play out. MTN builds africom 4G network and africom operates the network here in zim “on behalf of MTN”. Of course I am making guess and I hope I am wrong to an extent. It would be good for africom to be as profitable and grow to be a force to recon with.

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