2017 was a challenging year for many IT companies in South Africa, who battled a sluggish economy and a tough political environment.
2018 looks much better so far, with business and consumer confidence returning to the market, and companies looking to invest in their IT and telecoms systems.
MyBroadband spoke to Mpumi Nhlapo, head of marketing and demand management at T-Systems South Africa, who shared his views on the local ICT market and T-Systems SA’s plans for the year.
What were T-Systems SA’s highlights in 2017?
A big highlight for me was the announcement that Microsoft would be bringing the Azure cloud to South Africa, hosting the environment locally.
T-Systems is partnering with Microsoft to leverage Azure to assist South African customers to maximise their Microsoft investments within the hyperscale cloud environment.
Another highlight was the annual T-Systems INTOUCH TECHNOLOGY 2017 event, where key customers and partners were able to spend a day talking about the future of digitisation and the way in which it is shaping various industries such as retail, manufacturing, and automotive.
The ability to see the changes that digital transformation is bringing about, as well as the chance to help organisations who are embarking on their transformation journey is truly inspiring.
Finally, last year brought about a greater awareness of the importance of connectivity for businesses and society on the whole.
In response, civil society began putting pressure on corporates and government to lower the price of data – a pressure that will continue to grow with a greater voice and sense of cohesion.
What trends do you expect to see this year?
I expect that there will be increased competition between telecoms providers, especially around mobile data and broadband services.
While there is a strong hope that this will help drive down data costs, I do believe that we will also see some exciting, innovative new product and service offerings that will add value and make access to connectivity easier.
IoT gained a lot of traction last year, with many conversations entering around use cases for this technology.
As organisations gear up to invest in rolling out IoT projects, I believe there will be significant investments made by major players as well as new players, in network infrastructure dedicated to IoT.
The cost of running IoT over existing mobile networks is too high for practicality, so we will see an increase in the deployment of lower cost, low frequency, high range networks.
There will also be a stronger focus on cyber security, specifically around identity and access management.
Last year saw a surge in cyber-attacks, many of which were highly publicised.
This year, especially with PoPI and GDPR coming into play, data privacy and security will become of paramount importance.
What can people expect from T-Systems in 2018?
Last year, T-Systems grew its security customer portfolio by over 50%, making it a leading security provider both globally and locally.
The advent of “connected everything” makes it vital to ensure devices are secure and access is strictly controlled, and there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure this is happening.
Our plan for this year is to expand on our security offering, with an emphasis on identity and access management solutions.
We will be refreshing our new cyber security operations centre to support this and keep pace with cyber security developments as they happen.
We will continue to drive our partnership with Microsoft Azure, assisting customers to move their workloads to the cloud.
We intend to focus strongly on migration of SAP workloads, where hyperscale cloud offers many benefits for customers who rely on SAP for their operations.
We are seeing an ever-increasing demand for connectivity, particularly for customers who are expanding out of our borders and into the continent.
Many organisations are already into their digital transformation journeys, however they need reliable infrastructure to support the various applications and technologies in which they are investing.
We will be looking to improve connectivity to verticals that have typically been reliant on manual systems and are looking to automate and/or leverage cloud environments, such as mining and manufacturing.