Liquid Telecom is the leading independent data, voice and IP provider in eastern, central and southern Africa. It supplies fibre optic, satellite and international carrier services to Africa’s largest mobile network operators, ISPs and businesses of all sizes. It also provides payment solutions to financial institutions and retailers, as well as award-winning data storage and communication solutions to businesses across Africa and beyond.
Liquid Telecom has stepped up efforts to sign on more businesses to adopt Microsoft’s cloud services following a partnership with the tech giant early last year. Cloud services is cloud computing, that is, a delivery of computing services — servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and more — over the internet. Liquid Telecom group chief technology and innovation officer, Ben Roberts revealed that they were direct and indirect partners of Microsoft allowing them to offer cloud services.
“We are partners with Microsoft, a cloud service provider partner, so this means we sell all of their cloud services across all of Africa. We started by having a direct cloud services partnership, which also means we can sell cloud services to our customers, but we are now working with them and have an indirect partnership, which means we can sell those cloud services to other system integrators, other ICT dealers, maybe around Harare or elsewhere in Africa,” he said.
“They (customers) can buy from us these cloud services and we sell them again, so we are mass distributing the software. We are putting in place an enablement platform, which will enable them to do that so it is really going to help.”
Roberts said as Microsoft is one of the big three global cloud providers they process large volumes of computing making their services cheaper. “These are mega massive data centres just full of their servers and using that hyper-scale are able to bring down that cost of computing. If you go and buy one server to put in your office, there is a cost to that and running it, whereas using this hyper-scale cloud, you really get the efficiency of knowing the power consumption of the mass scale of computing bringing down the cost per month,” he said.
The cloud is a combination of networks and data services, where a company can store its data, networking, software and analytics via the internet using cloud service providers. These online hosting services or cloud is backed by huge data centres located across the world, which a cloud service provider maintains. The partnership between Liquid Telecom and Microsoft was entered into in early 2017 and allows local companies to store their computing activities onto Microsoft’s cloud services through a virtual private network since the tech giant has no data centres in Africa.
Since September 2017, Liquid Telecom has signed on 70 businesses in Zimbabwe, as it seeks to improve data capturing among different businesses. Liquid group solution provider product manager, John Shoko, said they have been selling Microsoft 365 cloud services and are now offering Microsoft Azure. “Basically, Azure is coming through with all the cloud computing categories, infrastructure as a service, platform as a service even Microsoft 365 is also running off Azure.”
Microsoft 365 is basically your desktop licensing that comes with different workloads, emails, share point it is quite a lot of things under your Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365 refers to subscription plans that include access to office applications plus other productivity services that are enabled over the internet. Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service created for building, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centres.