The telecommunications industry in East Africa needs to embrace the cloud to transform its HR and procurement practices for the better.

East African telcos are operating within an increasingly dynamic business environment. In order to maintain their success in the region, they must respond to the needs of a constantly shifting marketplace. Kenya in particular faces a unique set of obstacles; an incredibly competitive market, high operational costs, inflation and diminished revenues due to the effects of the “commoditisaton” of the voice product. Price cuts have long been seen as a reliable way to compete but these are simply not sustainable in the long-run.

To surge ahead in such a market requires a bold approach. Kenyan telcos need to rethink their data management practices and abandon traditional processing applications in favour of cloud-based big data platforms. These technologies offer a range of benefits that can allow companies to streamline their operations like never before.

The ways in which this could transform a company’s internal organisation are manifold. Cloud computing frees companies from the shackles of slow, inefficient on-premise infrastructure and allows for improved flexibility and accessibility, a smaller, more connected workforce, streamlined processes and reduced operational costs.

Aligning an organisation’s talent management with its business objectives can be a notoriously difficult aspect to get right. The right cloud-based enterprise management software can allow for a people-centric organisation that addresses the unique needs of its workforce and thus maximises its productivity.

By investing in cloud based HR management solutions, companies can automate and simplify processes such as payroll, time and attendance monitoring, performance appraisal, absence management, to name a few. This allows for a much more efficient and empowered workforce that is both easier to manage and more productive. Businesses can similarly boost their recruitment and training practices, ensuring skilled and informed employees who excel at their jobs.

The incredible level of employee engagement that cloud solutions enable cannot be underestimated, but a more productive workforce is not the only way in which companies can see real positive change within their internal organisation. Cloud-based procurement software that incorporates analytics and mobility is another blessing for telcos.

Such solutions can accelerate procurement processes and cut costs at the same time by streamlining spend analysis, source-to-contract, and procure-to-pay processes while improving cash management and allowing for comprehensive financial analysis.

Companies can then join cloud-based trading networks that allow for unprecedented access to and connection with suppliers and trading partners from around the world. By doing so, they can reduce supply costs, simplify transactions, automate procure-to-pay processes, identify new strategic trading partnerships and much more.

This level of cloud-based management software is not widely used in the East African region as many companies are not aware that it is already available in their respective countries through global ERP providers such as SAP. Hence early adopters of this technology will find themselves with a pronounced competitive edge over their rivals.

It is clear that East Africa stands at a technological watershed. Cloud computing is an exciting and lucrative way forward, and those who take advantage will reap its greatest rewards.

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