Amazon CTO Predicts African SMMEs Will Lead the Way in 2021 Cloud Adoption

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Amazon CTO Werner Vogels recently issued his tech-related predictions for 2021. One prediction in particular caught our attention. 

His sixth prediction called for a rapid shift to the cloud among small businesses. And in particular, he said Sub-Saharan Africa, along with Southeast Asia, will lead this movement to the cloud. 

Here is what Vogels writes

"In a massive shift, small businesses will begin to make use of advanced cloud technology to reach their customers. We’ll see an explosion of higher-level technologies and service providers that cater to these small businesses. In turn, this will help small business do everything—from spinning up a chatbot to help answer frequently asked questions, to getting a customer relationship management system in place and running within minutes. Small businesses get the benefits of sophisticated architectures and applications without having to invest the time and expense of building it themselves.


"The 'cloud everywhere' trend described above is enabling this shift alongside the experience that most small businesses faced this past year. In many cases, the difference between surviving—or not—was an ability to leverage technology. Only 47% of small and medium businesses in the U.S. have their own website. Expect this number to grow in 2021. As this trend expands globally, we should look to nations in Southeast Asia—like Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Africa, like Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa—to lead the way."

At the recent BigFive Virtual Summit, we interviewed Xero South Africa Country Manager Colin Timmis about small business adoption of cloud technology. His view was that many SMMEs, in South Africa and elsewhere in the region, still harbour misconceptions about cloud software. 

“Traditionally, I think people think there has to be a huge capital investment. There have to be contracts that are signed, and they need an expert to upgrade their infrastructure, and to do all the training and education,” Colin explains.

“Whereas, you don't do that when you download an app on your phone. An expert doesn't come in and say, ‘This is how you use the app’. That's what all good technology does. Whether it's accounting software, eCommerce technology, or blog writing tools. It's intuitive and it's easy to use. And if it's not, it doesn't grow and become popular.”


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