IBM recently today announced it is further expanding its operations across Africa with the opening of an IBM Client Centre in Lagos, Nigeria. Co-located with an IBM Innovation Centre, the new facility is designed to accelerate innovation for Nigerian and West African business and IT skills. Using the centre, clients, IT partners, developers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academics can now access enhanced cloud capabilities and extensive big data and analytics resources.
Adoption of cloud technology in Africa has reached a tipping point and in Nigeria alone, cloud usage is expected to more than double to 80 percent of businesses in the next year. In addition, the growing proliferation of mobile phones and tablets is accelerating the opportunity to interpret data patterns to anticipate needs and deliver improved services.
As the local demand for these types of technologies and skills increases, Africa is quickly moving to the center of global attention as the last big emerging market of the current economic era. According to the IMF, Sub Saharan Africa is set to be the world’s second fastest growing region with projected economic growth of over five percent this year.
To take advantage of this explosive growth, the new centre will focus on providing solutions that use Big Data & Analytics and cloud technologies to solve key local challenges such as improving government services, digitising banking services and enhancing customer centricity in telecommunications. Clients will be able to participate in virtual and in-person training, test out new products, network with peers from around the world, and receive mentoring and guidance from IT and business experts. For example, the centre will provide clients hands-on access to cloud-based industry solutions such as IBM Intelligent Operations designed to provide cities, governments and utilities with a central command center for the use of predictive analytics to enhance efficiency and manage all their operations.
“Our investment in this centre is in line with our strategy to help fuel growth in Nigeria’s IT sector and to support the use of advanced technology service delivery for the public sector and commercial business growth, particularly expansion in West Africa,” says Taiwo Otiti, IBM West Africa Country General Manager. “IBM Client Centres are designed to help clients envisage their future, illustrated using IBM Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud solutions, combined with industry focused experience and expertise. Through this centre, we will bring the reach of IBM’s global capabilities and thought leadership closer to local and regional clients.”
IBM believes its new test and demonstration environment will serve to cut the costs and complexity of assessing IT solutions, but will also assist CIOs in presenting strong business cases for advanced technology adoption.
The company is already working with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to create the world’s largest and most comprehensive clinical dataset on cancer patients by building cancer registries in developing nations, beginning in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Innovation has become a key driver of positive change in developed economies, and IBM has blazed the trail once again in this market with its new Innovation and Client center,” says Mr Victor Hammond, managing director of Lagos-based Bankers Warehouse Ltd, a non-bank financial services institution and Nigeria’s leading cash management and cash-in-transit service provider. “I foresee this facility becoming a key driver of technology innovation in Nigeria, helping to promote the culture of knowledge incubation and scientific enquiry in all sectors of the national economy.”
IBM has been operating in Africa since the 1930’s, and today has a direct presence in more than 20 African countries, including: Nigeria, Tanzania, Senegal, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and Mauritius. IBM plans to continue strengthening this network with more new facilities, offerings and partnerships in the next few years.
The new Centre joins a worldwide network of over 41 other IBM Innovation Centers in 33 countries including South Africa and Kenya. Through this network, IBM connects local companies and entrepreneurs with technical and industry experts around the world and can support growth with introductions into new markets.
In addition, the new Client Centers will be connected to over 200 IBM client hubs globally, and IBM’s network of nine Big Data & Analytics Solution Centers with expertise in financial risk management, and the specific needs of government organizations