Organizations across the African continent have been increasingly moving their applications to AWS.
Enterprises such as Absa, Investec, MedScheme, MiX Telematics, Old Mutual, Pick n Pay, Standard Bank, Travelstart, and many more are using AWS to drive cost savings, accelerate innovation, and speed up time-to-market.
African startups choosing AWS as the foundation for their businesses include Aerobotics, Apex Innovation, Asoriba, BusinessOptics, ColonyHQ, Custos Media, DPO PayGate, EMS Invirotel, Entersekt, graylink, HealthQ, JourneyApps, JUMO, Luno, Mukuru, NicheStreem, Parcelninja, Simfy Africa, Zanibal, Zapper, and Zoona.
The African Public Sector, including researchers, museums, and health sciences organizations, are also choosing AWS.
For example, The National Museums of Kenya (NMK), is using AWS to digitize their most precious and valuable artifacts, which make up one of the largest collections of archaeology and paleontology in the world.
Absa, one of the largest and most innovative banks in Africa, welcomes the news of an AWS Region. “AWS has been Absa’s primary cloud provider for the past three years.
The reduction in latencies that will accompany their expansion to South Africa will further enable us to scale our cloud consumption,” said Andy Baker, CIO at Absa. “We no longer deploy bespoke hardware, SAN storage, or high-cost proprietary database solutions. Instead, our new tech stack utilizes low cost, fully automated, logically partitioned, open source software, with real-time security and application monitoring.
AWS’s track record of delivering enterprise ready and South African regulator-approved services to Absa has given us confidence to deploy services aimed at further reducing our operational costs and improving our cyber risk profile.”
Another well-known South African enterprise using AWS for their mission critical workloads is MiX Telematics, a global provider of fleet management, driver safety, and vehicle tracking services and solutions.
“We started working with AWS in 2015 and decided to go ‘all-in,’ including migrating our full fleet and mobile asset management stack to AWS and shutting down our on-premises data centres over a period of 18 months,” said Catherine Lewis, Executive VP (Technology) at MiX Telematics.
“Through moving to AWS, we have been able to speed up innovation and increase system reliability, while reducing the time to get new ideas into production from months to minutes. While we already use AWS globally in Ireland, Australia, and the U.S., an AWS infrastructure region in Africa will accelerate our innovation even further, improve our service, and ultimately reduce the costs of supporting our base of over 700,000 vehicles. We are also in the process of migrating over 7,000 costly Microsoft SQL Server databases to Amazon Aurora and Amazon RDS PostgreSQL, and adopting new technologies, such as AWS’s Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning services, to help more intelligently manage vehicle efficiency, improve driver safety, and ultimately enable us to drive greater value for our customers.”
Pick n Pay is one of the largest retailers in Africa, with over 80,000 staff across 1,560 stores, and is moving their eCommerce and data analytics systems to AWS.
“By moving our eCommerce and mobile customer application to AWS, from our previous managed services model, we estimate we have saved significantly on our total cost of ownership over the past year,” said Chris Shortt, General Manager of Information Services, Pick n Pay.
“The relationship, performance, reliability, and cost savings has been positive and has led us to move our SAP Business Warehouse systems to certified AWS X1 instances. Selecting AWS highlights the differentiated, cloud-first thinking they bring to us as opposed to more traditional, and less agile, service providers. The scale, security, speed, and customer focused nature of AWS is something we’ve become accustomed to and look forward to expanding our use of their services as the South African Region becomes a reality.”
In the startup space, Entersekt, an authentication and mobile application security company, is leveraging the scalability of AWS to support world-renowned financial services organizations including Absa, Capitec Bank, Nedbank, Swisscard, and more. The company is using AWS to send fully encrypted data from their banking customer’s on-premises environments to the cloud. This high level of security helps Entersekt’s customers across 45 countries to secure over 150 million transactions per month, drastically reducing online and mobile banking and payment fraud rates.
“As a South African headquartered company and long-term customer, we are proud to be among the first to welcome the news of an AWS Region,” said Schalk Nolte, CEO of Entersekt.
“Our customers are large financial institutions for whom even minutes of downtime are unacceptable. They experience significant spikes in transaction volumes during the course of a month and AWS provides the elasticity and availability they demand, without having to build, operate, and protect a system of this kind themselves. AWS has ensured extremely high service levels even as transactions continue to double every six months. An AWS infrastructure region in South Africa is great news as it will give us the opportunity to continue this rapid growth and offer South African financial institutes localised data control and protection with increased system performance and reduced latency.”
Another startup using AWS to speed up their work is South African-based Hyrax Biosciences. Originating from the South African National Bioinformatics Institute at the University of the Western Cape, Hyrax Biosciences has developed a technology on AWS called Exatype that rapidly and accurately tests HIV and tuberculosis drug resistance.
“When we were developing Exatype, we naturally turned to AWS because it allows us to provide patients with secure, timely, and reliable results. We knew that with the ability to quickly scale up our technology on AWS, our solution had the potential to influence the lives of millions of people,” said Professor Simon Travers, Co-Founder and CEO of Hyrax Biosciences.
“Currently 10 percent of patients on HIV antiretroviral treatment do not respond to the drugs provided to them because of drug resistance. The Exatype system solves this problem by showing clinicians which drugs would be most effective for each individual patient in order to increase their response and improve treatment. Traditionally, it can cost as much as $300 to $500 to do a single resistance test. Now, thanks to AWS, Exatype can do this at a fraction of the cost. HIV still affects millions of people, so knowing an AWS Region is coming to South Africa is great news as it will help us to speed up research and take us a step nearer to ensuring all HIV positive people get the standard of care they need.”
AWS also has a vibrant ecosystem in South Africa, including AWS Partner Network (APN) Partners that have built cloud practices and innovative technology solutions on AWS. APN Consulting and Technology Partners in South Africa helping customers to migrate to the cloud include Autumn Leaf, BBD, Dimension Data, EOH, First Distribution, Silicon Overdrive, Servol Software, Symbiotics, Synthesis Software Technologies, and others.