Analytics key to Africa’s data revolution

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Data-driven research and practices will play a defining role in the future of African business, says Dan Kwach, General Manager at East Africa Data Centre.

“Business data has grown exponentially in recent years, but its usage in driving forward
businesses had been relatively limited, until now. More companies are moving to analyse
the data they collect – be it on what we buy in the supermarket, or where or how often
we park in the city, or how many times we research flight prices before we book, or even
what age group is most likely to load phone credit at 3am either to buy an internet data
package, bulk SMS package or for calling.

The power of all this data can enable better product creation, more accurate business
forecasting, mitigate business risks, and develop more efficient and streamlined marketing
and business systems.

According to market research company Dresner Advisory Services, 53% of companies used Big Data Analytics in 2017, with telecoms and financial services industries leading
the way, at 87% and 76% respectively.

The need to analyse huge volumes of data is prompting the creation of new facilities and
tools in Kenya. In January, for example, Liquid Telecom Kenya partnered with Strathmore
Business School (SBS) to launch a new data analytics centre focused on data-driven
research and practices for African businesses.

Liquid Telecom Kenya is providing the analytics centre with dedicated rack space and
colocation services at the East Africa Data Centre (EADC), which is the region’s largest
and only Tier III-certified data centre. It is also establishing a direct fibre link between the
SBS campus and EADC in Nairobi, to enable swift handling of the huge volumes of data
needed in data analytic services.

However, such huge data flows can present enormous storage and processing challenges. To meet this demand, Africa Data Centres, part of the Liquid Telecom Group, has established state-of-the-art data centres in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Harare and Nairobi,
with a combined 6,800 square metres of rack space.

Liquid Telecom is helping to drive the adoption and uptake of Big Data Analytics as the next ‘must have’ strategy for any business to run smoothly and smartly, enabling users to
increase sales and beat the competition in a new era of multiple tools and methods for the
extraction, analysis and presentation of data.

The ultimate winners will be businesses, consumers and start-ups, as well as millennials
and Gen Zs that are pursuing computer systems and related courses – with software
coding, statistics and data analytics increasingly becoming lucrative disciplines, especially
when combined with machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) knowledge.

Ultimately, the future workforce will be able to create applications in real-time that facilitate the creation of ground-breaking products and services.”