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Barclays Africa takes transformative measures to develop Africa teams

Technology disruption is really ripe and businesses must figure out ways to ensure that forces like the cloud do not wipe them out.

This is according to Linda Moreira, head of data centres at Barclays Africa, who spoke at the Datacentrix Showcase 2017 hosted in Johannesburg yesterday.

Moreira said the company has undertaken transformative measures to ensure that it remains relevant and competitive, starting with the development of its Africa-wide teams.

“Two and a half years ago we took a step back to look at how we can start this transformation journey, how we can remain competitive and how we can start delivering services quicker across our African footprint,” she said.

“Our teams in Africa were fairly distant, we didn’t have relationships with them, and we didn’t actually involve them in decision making. We kind of said ‘this is the design, let’s go and implement it so that people can consume it,’ – which is the wrong way of doing things. So we’ve taken a step back and we’ve started to actually upskill, train and develop our community,” she added.

According to Moreira, businesses are constantly looking to do more, faster, flexibly, “so considering all of that and looking at our monolithic designs and a really old legacy ways of doing things and in terms of the technology that we’ve used, we’ve had to inject a certain amount of change, and that change -when it comes to data centres and the legacies of data centres, is significant.”

Moreira said since 2015 the company has made efforts to train, develop and upskill its teams across nine African countries where it operates, as well as implement hyper-converged infrastructure.

Excluding South Africa where the company operates as Absa, the countries include Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, Uganda and Mauritius (all of which have already undergone transformation), to be followed by Seychelles, Mozambique, Botswana, and Tanzania.

“We looked at the facility itself and looked at how we can consolidate as fast as possible to reduce costs, virtualise all of the components that we have, overcome some of the network and bandwidth challenges that we have across Africa. We hope to start engraving autonomy and allow our people in each of these countries to actually be self-sufficient,” she said.

“We’ve actually started to see quite a significant change in what we’ve got in our data centres. We’ve taken out the physical and traditional storage, and consolidated that with some converged technologies.”

According to Moreira, the main thing for her throughout the journey has been the people transformation.

“We’ve got talented people in each of these countries that have really studied hard and have got many degrees, but we just haven’t given them the practical experience and training in order to deliver these technologies … so through this journey that’s what we’ve done.”

Ahmed Mahomed, CEO of Datacentrix said organisations need to formulate new ways of doing business and embrace the impact of robotics and mobility.

“We need to start changing business models. Companies that failed to embrace the development of new technologies have been left behind; businesses need to understand that they’ll be out of the game if they look from the side-lines with this particular landscape,” he said.

Source: ITWeb Africa

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