Cloud Computing – Simplest Explanation on the Web

In our previous article, we looked into brands that have scaled up their businesses leveraging cloud services and promised to do a breakdown of cloud computing in a subsequent piece. Well, this is us keeping that word. Welcome to our 101 on cloud computing.

Through this article, we intend to help you understand the concept of cloud computing, the different cloud environments, and their respective benefits. No narratives today; we’d be jumping right in.

Just to recap, cloud computing is an innovative tech solution that makes computer services like storage, access to software, and analytics available over the internet on a pay-as-you-go basis. It allows you to enjoy the benefits of specific software and hardware without having to incur the cost of maintaining the infrastructure.

Let’s break that down

Think of it like this; (I know I said no narrative but I guess I can’t help myself). Let’s say you need a transport mode to help you get around daily. Now, there are two major options: you can either get a car of your own or use other transport services like Uber or regular buses.

While the first option seems great, it comes with its responsibilities. You’d be responsible for the maintenance of the car which would require both time and money. You’d need to do this on days when the car is in use, and on other days when it’s just sitting in your garage. If you do not want to spend time on maintenance, you’d need to get someone who will, and pay them. Now, that translates to more money out of your pocket.

But, on the other hand, the second option allows you to pay for transportation only when you need the service. The maintenance cost will be borne by Uber’s service managers and you can access the service from anywhere.

This second scenario portrays the benefit of cloud services.

Now let’s relate this same example to one of the services offered on the cloud – data storage.

If you need to store files, you can decide to store them on a local drive and carry it along with you wherever you go. You will be responsible for keeping and maintaining that local drive and will not be able to access the information saved on it when it’s out of sight.

However, with a cloud service like Google drive, you do not need a physical storage device. You can store your files (image, video, or text) on the cloud and access them from anywhere via the web. No cost incurred.

Cloud computing for businesses.

Small storage devices like flash drives or hard drives can easily cater to the storage needs of Individuals. However, organizations tend to need bigger storage facilities to meet their needs. Owning and maintaining these on-premises servers or storage facilities require IT expertise and relative maintenance cost that could cause strains on businesses. More so, as team strength and user base increase, organizations who manage their own data centers will need to invest in more robust infrastructure to accommodate their growing needs. This will result in increased cost of installation and maintenance and could stifle efforts to upscale.

However, with cloud services, small and large organizations can upscale and downscale at will whilst managing operational costs. With this, the organization can focus its effort on providing value to its customers and meeting its set targets.

We hope that through this piece, you’ve gotten a better understanding of what cloud computing entails.

In our next piece, we’d focus on the different cloud environments and types of cloud services.

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Top Companies Using Cloud Technology – Including Netflix

That’s right, Netflix uses cloud technology. This right here should be common knowledge, but you probably just never just gave it a thought. How else do you think they’ve been offering their broad movie collection to over 100 million users across over 190 countries enjoying 125 million hours of TV shows and movies per day? By the way, big ups Netflix, those are pretty huge numbers.

Cloud computing is a very broad subject. While we might not be able to dabble into its concept fully in this article, we’d give you a simple definition of what it entails and expatiate further in our next article. Simply put, cloud computing is an innovative tech solution that makes computer services like storage, access to software, and analytics available on-demand over the internet.

Cloud computing allows businesses to store data on a third-party server, and offer their customers remote access to their services. While all the companies listed below use cloud computing for this function, this is only one of its use cases.

As is swiftly becoming my custom, I’d leave you with a little narrative to give you a nudge if you’re on that crossroad, trying to decide if subscribing to a cloud service is right for you.

Way back in 1997, Netflix started out as a DVD distributor. At the time, they delivered DVDs to customers via emails. 10 years later, after completing 1 billion DVD distribution, Netflix decided to remodel its operations. Hence, they partnered with Amazon who at the time was one year into the deployment of its web service (AWS). Netflix had identified that online video streaming was the next big thing and cloud computing was the key to making such service available to a vast audience.

The aftermath

Today, Netflix can complete 1 billion video streams in a few months, far less than the 10-year period that it took to electronically distribute 1 billion DVDs when it still maintained its traditional mode of operation, prior to its cloud model. Its service delivery is a lot swifter and operations a lot more secure. All of this has been made possible through cloud services.

Here are some other top-tier brands that have become huge successes by leveraging on the limitless promises of cloud computing.

Pinterest

Unlike many other brands that caught the cloud computing wind years after launch, Pinterest is one company that started out with it. Hence, its success in the social media space at an early stage. Today, millions of creators download and upload resources to the platform while it stores its massive bank of data on the cloud.

Arik Air

In 2019, Arik Air decided to move its manual processes and a log of data into the cloud. Descasio was instrumental in helping the company make this transition leveraging Google cloud services. As a result of the shift, Arik was able to reduce the cost of maintaining its own data centers and focus more on its delivery to customers. Thus, maintaining its competitive edge in the market.

In all three examples referenced above, we find one similar result. All three companies have been able to scale up their businesses with the aid of cloud computing.

You can begin your journey today and open your business to new possibilities with cloud computing. It’s more promising, cost-efficient, and a lot more secure.

We can help you get started. Send us a mail at hi@descasio.io

Did you read our last piece on Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR)? Well, if you did, I’m certain that you already understand the basics. But, just in case you missed it, you can catch up on it right here.

We have established that the goal for creating a BCDR plan may be the same in most cases;

  • Reduce loss of data.
  • Ensure quick restoration of vital communication channels and business processes.
  • Reduce financial losses to the barest minimum.

However, the approach may vary from one business to the other. This explains why at Descasio, we take a unique, multi-layer approach towards developing BCDR plans that are air-tight.

Here’s what it entails;

1. Assessment

Our professional service team takes a data-driven approach towards assessing each business environment. They spend long hours studying each business’s unique mode of operation to answer requisite questions like; what are the vital communication channels? Are there software and programs that are crucial to daily operations? What work files contain data that could bring business activities to a halt if lost?

Getting answers to these questions helps us to create an all-encompassing, clear-cut strategy that;

  • Ensures critical information is stored and can be made readily available when disaster strikes.
  • Guarantees that business can continue while recovery takes place.

2. Designing the Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan

Having answered the critical questions, we proceed to create a design document. This document shows our recommended protections for your business. Also, it will contain a proposition of infrastructures to be set up for smooth operations during downtimes. Following this, our cloud consultants will implement the BCDR solution for your business.

3. Implementation

At the final stage, we run all the necessary checks. Here, we optimize the solution based on results and modify anomalies where necessary. This simulation process helps us to ensure that recovery time is reduced to the barest minimum. Also, it helps us verify how back-up applications will perform in the face of a catastrophic outage.

We understand that creating an effective Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan requires period testing just as much as careful planning. Hence, we stay committed to our clients long after deployment and ensure that the plan is updated when necessary.

Are you finally considering working on your BCDR plan? Send us an email at hi@descasio.io and we can help you get started.

If you have any questions or comments, kindly drop them in the comment section below.

It sounds self-explanatory, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Yes, a business continuity and disaster recovery plan – usually referred to as BCDR – is one that helps an organization recover from disasters and keeps it running afterward. But, how do you put that in the context of your business operation?

A little narrative here.

In November 2016, a malware attack was launched at a network of hospitals in the UK. The virus wiped out patients’ data, crippled systems, and halted operations at three separate hospitals for five whole days. As a result, more than 2,800 patient procedures and appointments were canceled. After the event, the hospitals were evaluated and reported to have had no disaster recovery and business continuity plan available.

With a BCDR plan, the hospitals would have been able to restore patient data which is critical to running diagnosis and completing other hospital operations, retain their flow of customers at the time, and reduce financial losses. I guess that puts it in perspective.

Now, here are a few things you should know about business continuity and disaster recovery plans.

You will need them regardless of the size of the disaster.

Events as huge and unsettling as the pandemic or other natural disasters can cause several disruptions to business operations. However, there are other seemingly smaller events that could also have surprisingly massive and depleting impacts on businesses. These events could range from service downtimes to cyber-attacks, IT system crashes, and other interruptions.

In the event of such disasters, – however big or small – a BCDR plan considers the importance of protecting financial, customer, and product/service data as well as applications and systems that need to be up to ensure smooth business operations and reduce losses of all kinds.

It cushions the effect of planned and unanticipated outages.

Whether an outage is anticipated or unexpected, the BC/DR plan plays a major role in cushioning its effect and improving recovery time.

There is no one-size-fits-all BCDR plan.

A BCDR plan is a detailed fail-safe strategy that is designed to fit into the unique operation module of a business. The details can vary greatly depending on the size and scope of the business. Hence, it is important to speak to disaster recovery experts when attempting to develop a BCDR plan for your business.

Need a BCDR plan, we can fix you up. Send a request to hi@descasio.io.

The fascinating advent of digital transformation represents a seismic shift that will impact companies, business paths, and entire economic structures.

The fascinating advent of digital transformation represents a seismic shift that will impact companies, business paths, and entire economic structures.

The question today is, what digital tools should you start diving into in order to get fully prepared to master this incredibly powerful transformation, hone new skills, and boost your digital swagger? By reading this article on the best digital transformation tools, you will get access to the top 5 best tools you should explore to ride the digital transformation wave in style.

What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is the brand-new utilisation of digital tech to deal with typically complex problems. This series of digital solutions can actually craft whole new types of creative innovation, instead of just serving as an enhancement or an add-on to what already exists. This change represents the integration of immensely complex digital technologies into all the different arenas of a corporation.

The expected result? To ensure there will be crucial changes in terms of how businesses effectively operate and how they can ultimately boost the value they give the end-customer.

Digital transformation can also be seen as a cultural change. Why? Because it will consistently require that all businesses challenge their own perceptions and ideas, putting the status quo to test every single day.

What is the aim of Digital Transformation?
This cultural shape-shifting phenomenon has one goal: to ensure digitized information creates methods that let organizations become more efficient. It’s really all about allowing companies to understand that – in order for them to stay relevant and still have a business in the next 5 years – they need to up the ante, become faster, better, more tech-oriented, and more knowledgeable of the power of data.

What are the biggest challenges facing Digital Transformation?
There are many challenges when it comes to digital transformation. The most important one is what is known as employee pushback. What’s this all about? It’s about understanding human beings like routine and structure and that this type of change will obviously impact that tried-and-tested method. What to do? Businesses should ensure they keep their employees informed of all the different changes that will impact their day-to-day.

Here’s a list of other digital transformation challenges that are sure to take a lot of hours of sleep from some of the world’s most forward-thinking CEOs:

  • Difficulty to find expertise to lead the digital boom.
  • Resistance from top brass (usually more conservative and resilient in their ways)
  • Lack of a budget assigned to digital transformation.
  • Lack of full-blown visibility when it comes to the end user experience.
  • Highly-complexified IT infrastructure that makes it impossible to perform needed changes.
  • Budgetary restrictions that make companies lag behind.

An easy choice
As technology change increases, industries will continue to be forced to change. Corporations that regard and pursue digital transformation in a multi-dimensional way will find greater success than those that don’t.

Ready to find out more?- Sign up to use our proprietary Digital Assessment Tool and assess your company’s digital readiness to transform its business model, operational processes, products and services, and customer experience. Have questions? Contact us

For over a decade, Unity Bank Plc has served individuals, businesses, and the public sector of Nigeria’s economy in the areas of investment, savings, and other retail banking operations, from over 200 locations within the country and with its team of more than 2,000 employees.

In delivering optimal service to its customers, the bank has the obligation to ensure that responses to customer demands are right on time. This, to a large extent, helps to guarantee customer retention and secure word of mouth publicity which has proven to be the best form of advertisement, having the ability to increase customer loyalty by 16 to 24% according to the Wharton School of Business.

The impact of delays in service delivery goes beyond affecting public reputation but can also lead to loss of revenue, which was the case for Unity Bank. “Whenever there is downtime from our datacenter, there is always a major impact on the business group services running on the server. This directly impacts the delivery timelines of our services to our customers and invariably translates to a loss of revenue of over $10,000 per hour when the recovery process is not managed effectively.” said, Ugochukwu Aku, Head, IT Infrastructure, Unity Bank.

Although a lot of manual work was put into managing our applications at every event of downtimes, it wasn’t enough to meet the business objective.
In addition to this, the bank spent a lot of time and money on the procurement of additional hardware to meet the demands for hosting new products and services geared towards catering to the needs of its customers.

The problems encountered by Unity Bank pointed clearly to the need of hosting its core critical application on a cloud-based solution, one that Descasio had the requisite competency for providing.

Unity bank came to learn of this competency when Descasio approached them with an Application Modernization workshop which was set up in collaboration with Microsoft.

“During the online workshop, Descasio showcased the value of having a seamless solution that requires less human input and delivers in a timely fashion. Descasio also showed the flexibility and reliability of hosting our application on Microsoft Azure.”
“We reviewed Descasio’s proposition of migrating our application to Azure alongside other business continuity processes at the time and came to a conclusion that Azure presented more value.” Explained Ugochukwu.

The Result

Since the migration to Microsoft Azure App Services, Unity Bank has been able to meet several of its objectives. Primarily, they have been able to overcome the management burden that previously existed when the app was hosted in their on-premise infrastructure. This has translated to the provision of a more solidified service experience to customers and a huge reduction in losses as a result of downtimes.

Speaking on other benefits of Microsoft Azure app services to the financial institution, Ugochukwu said, “This solution really helped us in having successful app deployments. Unity Bank has also enjoyed easy scalability as they can now develop new applications and scale resources to meet the demands with ease and in no time. Ultimately the solution has helped us to improve our overall business performance at a reduced cost.

“Today, our IT team has more time to focus on other directly related bank projects as most of the previous issues we have had as regards applications sitting on physical infrastructures are now being taken care of.”

Commenting on the bank’s experience with Descasio, Ugochukwu said “Descasio was not picked based on preference or relationship, they were picked by the bank based on competency shown with the deployment of app services. We as an organization ensure to work with competent partners as this directly translates to the quality of service delivered to our client.”

“We have enjoyed great customer experience, an excellent display of product knowledge, and an utterly reliable service delivery from Descasio and will recommend both Descasio and Microsoft to all organizations looking to implement an effective, secure, and reliable IT solution as we have,” he added.

With over 15 years of expertise, Trustfund Pensions has been the leading Pension Fund Administrator in Nigeria. The essence of Trustfund Pensions Limited goes beyond administering and managing pension funds, but also to improving the overall net worth of the average employee and providing a stable means of sustenance after retirement.

 To achieve its vision of scale and market dominance, Trustfund Pensions Limited delivers world-class, innovative, quality pension management products and services at low cost, through technology-enabled channels and highly skilled professionals, combined with an aggressive marketing strategy.

To sustain their dominance in the market, they partnered with Descasio, a leading technology solutions company in Nigeria, in order to deploy Microsoft Azure cloud solutions to host the company’s online assets which have greatly increased delivery speed and efficiency. 

Loss of Revenue

Prior to partnering with Descasio a year ago, Trustfund faced a lot of downtimes which caused a lot of strain on workers who had to work overtime to resolve the issues.  This translated to a huge loss of time and revenue as the prolonged system lags negatively impacted service rendered to customers. 

The pension company tried to solve the problem by moving to an open-source hosting platform, but due to regulation, they needed a more secured and structured cloud solution platform.

Flexibility and Reliability

Trustfund quickly sought for a more reliable and effective cloud solution platform to stem these incalculable losses. In stepped Descasio, in collaboration with Microsoft, to deploy a seamless Azure service that requires no manual process while delivering maximum business value, showcasing the flexibility and reliability of the cloud offering.

More Time to Focus on Other Aspects of the Business

The adoption of Azure by Trustfund through Descasio has helped the team to focus solely on other profitable aspects of the business as the technical team at Descasio continues to oversee the hosting infrastructure and resolve support requests that would have usually taken a lot of time.

According to Ndubisi Agba, the Head of Information Technology at Trustfund, the most positive experience of the solution is how efficient Azure is in meeting regulatory objectives, 

“Microsoft Azure through Descasio has helped the Technical team at Trustfund in having a successful IT audit with external auditors as it checks all the requirements and helps meet most of the standards in having a secure and reliable website hosting solution.” 

                                                                  Ndubisi Agba – Head of Information Technology

No doubt, it’s obvious the Pension Company has experienced a transformation with the use of Azure which has shore up revenue leaks before their partnership with Descasio.

Digital transformation is the use of a number of digital technologies to enable an organization to improve or evolve their business process, culture and customer experiences to meet today’s rapidly changing business environment.

This is achieved through a smart integration of digital technologies, processes and competencies across all levels and functions in a staged and strategic way.
The key thing to remember is that digital transformation will look different for every company, simply because each company structure and operation are different.

This means companies will require different levels of digital and software integration which will change day-to-day operations and how they deliver value to customers.

Why does digital transformation matter?
A business may take on digital transformation for several reasons. But by far, the most likely reason is that they have to: It’s a survival issue for many. According to the American Enterprise foundation in 1958, U.S. corporations remained on the stock market index for an average of 61 years, by 2011, it had dropped to 18 years. Today, companies are being replaced on the index approximately every two weeks. Technology has driven this shift, and companies that want to succeed must understand how to merge technology with strategy.

To make our definitions tangible, it will help to understand that there are three major types of digital transformation:

Internal Digital Transformation
As the organization grows, and the data that you store also grows, so too should your systems. If you add new products or expand your client portfolio, then this necessitates the expansion of your data warehousing system. In turn, the reporting functionality within your software must be dynamic and keep up with the pace of your past changing and vibrant business.
The first type of digital transformation is what goes on inside of a business. Internal digital transformation is any sort of technology that employees use to work with each other and business partners. Streamlining all interactions and creating central locations for work and files.
This leads to several things:
1. Increased workplace productivity
2. Better customer experience
3. Better time management as tasks take less time.
4. Automated systems that can reduce overhead.

External Digital Transformation
The next form of digital transformation is external transformation. This focuses on the organization’s relationships with its customers, suppliers, employees, and partners. E-commerce is the most obvious example. E-commerce not only improves the business processes between trading partners, whether B2C or B2B, but it can also improve the nature of the business relationship, from one that is largely transactional to one that is more strategic. Netflix for example runs an algorithm that selects films according to the users viewing history and will suggest content that the user is more likely to watch. This allows Netflix to gain a deeper understanding of customers both online and offline.

Data-driven Transformation
As Africa becomes more digitized, data-driven decisions will make or break organizations. Digital transformation will help businesses future proof by using data and analytics to study information gathered. This will help companies interpret customer decisions, make better marketing and sales decisions while giving the ability to provide quick and timely solutions to customers.

Gone are the days of going by your gut, in an economic reality where entire industries are changing, actionable intelligence is the new currency. Data and information have become core business assets, sources of revenue, and critical enablers in the information age.

Final note:
As technology change increases, industries will continue to be forced to change. Gone are the days of making decisions by gut instinct. We are in an economic reality where entire industries are changing and actionable intelligence is the new currency. The corporations that regard and pursue digital transformation in a multi-dimensional way will find greater success than those that don’t. For small businesses just getting started, the advantage you have today is that you can digitize your processes and future-proof from the word go. Talk to the experts now and find out how you can begin the transformation process for your business