• Mon. May 29th, 2023

Nigerian Startups: Scaling Up When Cloud Adoption is Cloudy


Feb 10, 2022

Article by: Uche Nwaukwa

Nigeria has a vibrant startup environment with many cutting-edge businesses in a range of industries. Many Nigerian startups have difficulty adopting the cloud for a variety of reasons: Restricted access to dependable internet infrastructure worries about data privacy and security, data sovereignty and residency requirements, and hugely, knowledge gap in the face of inadequate and massive cloud ‘brain drain’.

Having worked as a Cloud Solutions Architect enabling startups globally, I have firsthand experience with the impact cloud technologies have on startups.  For startup entrepreneurs who are developing lean, the cloud is a crucial tool that enables financial intelligence, enhances scalability, and maintains industry leadership. Let’s look at how startup founders might adopt the cloud to their benefit.

A recent Deloitte analysis reveals that startups who employ cloud computing expand 26% faster than those that do not. Also, a recent study reveals cloud users have a 3 time higher likelihood of exceeding sales targets than non-users.

These figures show how crucial cloud technology gets, especially for budding startups, and even with grown digital natives.

The cloud’s potential to cut CAPEX is one of its over-emphasised benefits for startup entrepreneurs. Metered usage per workload per time ensures startups not only thrive but scale their innovation. Beyond CAPEX, finOps is ever critical to cloud cost optimisation.

Cost optimisation is the top cloud initiative up until 2021 for the 5th year in a row* as 61% or organisations plan to optimise cost use of cloud with a whooping USD10M waste on unnecessary cloud spend.

Monetisation and time to value can both be enhanced via the cloud. Startups can easily create new environments for testing, development, and deployment using cloud-based tools and services. A quick win here is monetising quickly through API solutions, commercialising data, paid embedded solutions to customer apps etc.

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Funding gets easier too. Cloud marketplace and extended partnerships, especially with public cloud giants like Google, provide a quick springboard to global visibility, support from the best hands in the world and even funding.

Cybersecurity, a board-level bug, has become better in the cloud.  We have moved from the days when CISO’s question the security, privacy, and compliance of the cloud to a dawn of automated detection and response to emerging threats, vulnerabilities, and malignant cybersecurity issues.

Google’s Autonomic Security Operations for instance, provides a stack of products, blueprints, accelerator programmes, technical content, that has transited cloud security from shared responsibility to shared fate.  Security does not have to be a nightmare!

Reliability is another emergent benefit.  A recent research ended up with: reliability is everything.  Clients and/or customers would move on with the next vendor if services do not meet user expectations.  The cloud re-defined this and provides the right SLA’s, SLO’s etc. per service without unnecessary spend. SLO-based monitoring and automated response is the order of day now with cloud services.

Performance ties to reliability in some sort of way.  If services are not performant, then their reliability is doubtful.  Performance, on the other hand, has to be measurable and empirical.

The startup innovator most times, has to leverage bits of solutions (in modules) that can be sold in bits or in whole.  This is the brain behind microservices which ensures the blast radius of a performance, security, etc., bottleneck is not as holistic as the old-school monoliths.  The cloud fosters microservice architectures, multi-tenant designs etc.

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In spite of the fact that these advantages are there, legislative demands like data residency affect cloud adoption in Nigeria.  This is so as many cloud giants – do not have datacenters located in-country.

A hybrid cloud architecture in this case becomes handy where tiers of the startup’s solution stack are distributed on-prem, leased datacenters and/or on extended cloud-type services while other tiers sit on the public cloud.

Understanding the decision pillars above is great for a start.  Moreso, please follow us on LinkedIn, #techie, to join a free online community of global experts providing cloud best practices and monthly digital transformation events leveraging the cloud. Uche is also one of the founding members of Cloud Techie – a digital community that helps businesses grow using the cloud.

About the author – Uche Nwaukwa is a DevOps, SRE, and Senior Cloud Architect with 15+ years of experience having played strategic roles in global fintech, banks, ISVs, telecommunications, and OEMs including IBM, Microsoft and Google. He has been privileged to advise execs and techies alike on architecture best practices in the financial services industry, dominantly.  He has served as an Enterprise Architect and also, a CTO driving bespoke architectures to meet stringent SLOs and SLAs. Uche is an avid learner, a father, and a husband, and likes to relax with a good chess game and cycling.

*Flexera 2021 State of the Cloud Report.



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