Liquid Telecom Rwanda, a subsidiary of African telecommunications giant, Liquid Telecom, yesterday unveiled its new partnership with Microsoft Corporation that will see the former’s customers access Office 365 products.
Office 365 is a set of cloud-based products and services provided by Microsoft Corporation, an American multinational technology company.
Liquid Telecom targets to drive the African Cloud revolution to promote transformation by enabling individuals and businesses to do their work by tapping into Liquid’s cloud services.
Speaking to the media at Liquid Telecom Rwanda offices in Kigali, Alex Kabeja, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, said the firm will leverage Microsoft’s cloud prowess to improve its lineup of services and products.
“We signed a partnership last year with Microsoft to give cloud services. Some of these services are services that we often use, although many people are not aware. Gmail account is one of these services. But we want to make them more easily and securely accessible by more Rwandans,” he noted.
Customers of Liquid Telecom, one of Africa’s leading internet service providers, will now access business-class emails, shared calendars, instant messaging, web conferencing, team sites, file storage in the cloud, and private social networking.
Kabeja highlighted the importance of locally providing such services, saying that it enables businesses to develop and build solutions, as well as deploy and test them on the cloud.
“Initially, IT developers were required to have their setup such as server rooms and deploy complex equipment which were costly and would take time to build. With the Cloud solutions, they are able to deploy IT solutions on the cloud with platforms already built, and be able to test these solutions,” he said.
Currently, there are millions of people and businesses across the world that use Microsoft cloud services. If you already use an email address and password to sign into Microsoft devices and services like Windows, Skype, Outlook, and Xbox, then you already have a Microsoft account. You are one of the millions of people that use such services.
Cloud computing is an emerging technology that enables delivery of services across the internet. Startups and big businesses all over are switching from traditional infrastructure to cloud, which you would otherwise call digital infrastructure.
Future of Cloud computing
Kabeja believes that cloud computing will accelerate every aspect of business, especially startups, surpassing the challenges of traditional infrastructure.
Previously, people would buy software products on compact disks (CDs) which would then be installed on computers to be able to use some services. Some would have to give money to someone going abroad to get the right software.
“Upgrading these software was even harder. In addition, those with computers with low storage capacities were limited to use some services. But with the age of cloud computing, this is completely changing,” he explains.
Today, starting out as a startup is pretty much expensive as you have to spend more, more that you sometimes don’t even have. With the internet age, there is more value in tapping into emerging technologies like cloud computing.
“For instance, not every startup has the capacity to acquire complex machines with high capacity. Not many companies can afford to have server rooms. With cloud computing, however, startups can store their information on the cloud, exchange documents easily, and do many more other activities over the internet,” Kabeja said.
It is solutions like Liquid Telecom’s that have supported startups to thrive. An example that testifies to this is the story of Facebook and Netflix.
When Amazon changed the way infrastructure and software are deployed and distributed, ushering the world into cloud computing through Amazon Web Services, they used the game plan that Liquid Telecom is using in Africa right now.
When startups like Facebook and Netflix launched they didn’t have too much money for servers and stuff. Amazon had the right kind of product orientation for that type of business. They could afford to be Amazon’s customers from where they were and as they expanded the service.