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Vodacom Partners Microsoft to Enable more Agile Businesses

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L-R: Solomon Ogufere, Commercial Director, Vodacom Business Nigeria; Soromfe Uzomah, Head, Strategic Partnerships, Microsoft 4Afrika; Nehita Fashe, Sales Director, Descasio Limited; and Wale Odeyemi , Managing Director, Vodacom Business Nigeria, at the recently concluded Breakfast meeting held to launch the partnership between Vodacom and Microsoft on the Azure Cloud Platform in Lagos.

Vodacom Business Nigeria has entered into a strategic partnership with Microsoft (through its 4Afrika initiative) and Descasio to build capacity and help improve operational efficiency among its customers using the suite of Microsoft Azure Cloud platform services.

Microsoft Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform which will enable customers to rapidly build, deploy and manage its applications, data, runtime and more in the cloud.

The platform allows users to leverage existing skills using the world’s most popular languages, tools, and frameworks in a resilient, scalable and reliable global datacenter network.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting which took place at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Victoria Island Lagos, Managing Director for Vodacom Business Nigeria, Wale Odeyemi said: “Our vision is to be a leading digital company that empowers a connected society and we have realized the benefits that strategic collaborations with key stakeholders within our ecosystem can bring to helping us realize this vision faster.

“Vodacom actively pursues a collaborative approach that leverages the combination of core competencies of its partners to increase customer value that complement our already rich products and services in addressing our customers’ needs to optimize their operations through increased flexibility, agility and resiliency.

“ In addition to our secure connectivity services, this collaboration with Microsoft and Descasio ensures our customers can move data and applications from their intelligent edges to Microsoft’s intelligent cloud, while accelerating their cloud adoption journeys.”

Odeyemi further added: “As organizations re-invent themselves in response to ongoing digital disruptions, the appetite for cloud service adoption is also increasing as businesses seek to improve agility. Microsoft Azure addresses this need by providing diverse services under one platform, thereby creating more streamlined workflows and driving business efficiency.”

Through the 4Afrika initiative, Microsoft aims to bring smart devices, connectivity and technology training to African entrepreneurs, youth, developers and graduates by focusing on three critical areas – World-class skills, Access and Innovation.

Speaking at the event, Head, Strategic Partnerships for Microsoft 4Afrika, Soromfe Uzomah said: ‘Through these partnerships, Microsoft aims to empower businesses, across different verticals, with the tools they need to succeed in a technology driven world and the platforms they require to create breakthrough innovations and accelerate Africa’s digital transformation.

To successfully achieve  this transformation journey that enables business growth on the African continent, we need to depend not just on what we do in our own capacities but on the capabilities, functions, channels, and insights we all can tap into through partnering with others.

Uzomah further adds: “We are pleased to be a part of this initiative working in collaboration with Descasio to provide Cloud services to Vodacom customers. We look forward to working with Vodacom to help their customers optimize operations, extract insights from the data they generate and improve their decision-making capabilities to maintain a competitive advantage.”

Vodacom Business Nigeria will host services enabled by these intelligent Microsoft technologies to ensure that your business gains access to the latest software and business applications with state-of-the-art security for your company’s network, systems and applications at reduced prices, from anywhere and at any time.

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E-Business

Check Point Details Fortnite Flaw that Left Players Open to Account Takeover

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A recent discovery by Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. serves as a reminder that just one small, careless oversight can give hackers all the opening they need to victimize millions and damage a valuable brand.

The company wrote in a blog post that it had identified a vulnerability in the enormously popular Fortnite video game that represented a considerable threat to the video game’s 80 million registered players.

A vulnerability linked to the game’s unvalidated login page “could have allowed a threat actor to take over the account of any user, view their personal account information, purchase virtual in-game currency and eavesdrop on in-game chatter as well as home conversations,” the blog said.

Though this vulnerability was identified and addressed before a hack could occur, the Check Point blog said that Fortnite players have been targeted before by scammers posing as discount sellers of in-game currency, V-bucks.

As the blog pointed out, “With such a meteoric rise in fortune, it is no surprise the popular game has already attracted the attention of cybercriminals set on conning unsuspecting players.”

 

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Expert Identifies Reason Cyber Hackers Pursue Financial Data of Banks

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Ronke Okeremi, managing director and CEO of Arit of Africa, an information communications and technology [ICT] firms in Nigeria, has advanced reasons why financial data of banks is the most prone to cyber-attacks in the world.

She said financial data is the most attractive and hence financial institutions are more likely to be attacked. She therefore asked business owners to execute regular vulnerability assessment to determine areas of threat.

She implored managers of financial and non-financial organisations to improve the levels of cyber security awareness as any organisation can be attacked at some point in time.

While describing cyberattack as any risk of financial loss, disruption or damage to the reputation of an organisation that may arise from some failures of its information technology systems, she said that identity theft has become rampant, as such, she warned financial institutions and banks to be watchful.

She implored organizations to be aware of real and perceived cyber threats and that financial institutions should put in place measures that would allow them to swiftly deal with all or any potential attacks.

“There are solutions that offer early warning threat signals which aims to provide alerts on incoming threats, shutdown and remediate for prevention. These solutions come at a cost to implement but would however prevent firms to a large extent from cyber-attacks.”

She added that the importance of information security is to protect the companies’ ability to function, enable the safe operation of applications implemented on the organisation’s IT systems, protect the data that establishments’ collect and use, and to safeguard the technology assets in the organisation.

“Information security is crucial to all organizations as it will protect their information and assist them to adequately conduct their businesses. Information security is defined as the protection of information and the system as well as hardware that use, store and transmit that information.

“Businesses should carry out frequent and proactive vulnerability assessment on their infrastructure in order to determine threat areas. There are solutions that offer early warning threat signals which aims to provide alerts on incoming threats, shutdown and remediate for prevention. These come at a cost to implement but would however prevent organisations to a large extent from cyber-attacks.

“It is important for businesses to safeguard sensitive financial information, services and products. This further protects their internal and third-party customers from theft, email-borne viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, malware and phishing attacks”, she advised.

 

 

 

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Nigeria’s Online Travel Booking Space in Search of Real Value

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Although boasting a lot of potential, Nigeria’s travel and tourism industry has remained in a state of near-misses and failed projections occasioned by the glaring gap and huge vacuum in the online travel booking space.

 

According to available statistics, the direct contribution of Travel and Tourism to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was N2,29bn, approximately 1.9% of total GDP in 2017 –  a figure that is expected to rise by 2.9% in 2018 and 4.3% per annum from 2018-2028, to N3,605.7bn, effectively representing 1.9% of total GDP in 2028.

 

On the other hand, the total contribution of Travel and Tourism to GDP was N6,205.8bn representing 5.1% of GDP in 2017 and is forecast to rise by 1.6% in 2018 and 4.8% per annum to N10,094.5bn from 2018-2018, representing 5.4% of GDP in 2028.

 

While the figures appear promising, it is worth considering where the Nigerian travel industry stands in the global scheme of things.

 

Ranked on a global list of 185 countries, Nigeria presently stands at positions 48 in total contribution and 163 in relative contribution respectively to GDP from the Travel and Tourism sector. In terms of expected real growth in the sector, Nigeria stands at a poorly 168 position and 59 in long-term growth forecast (2018-2028) in the sector.

 

Compared with global indices, Travel and Tourism represents 10.4% of global GDP while one-tenth of jobs worldwide are supported by the industry, representing 9.9% of global employment. Furthermore, one-fifth of all of all global net jobs created in the last decade have been within the Travel and Tourism sector.

 

It is an open secret that travel and tourism is an important global economic activity, with the potential to contribute significantly to a nation’s GDP.

 

Added to this is the immense employment-generation opportunity it holds when harnessed efficiently – a point aptly embellished by Gloria Guevara Manzo, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council when she enthused that “inclusive growth and ensuring a future with quality jobs are the concerns of governments everywhere. Travel & Tourism, which already supports one in every ten jobs on the planet, is a dynamic engine of employment opportunity.”

 

Here in Nigeria, the engine of economic prosperity inherent in the Travel and Tourism is yet to be unleashed, owing predominantly to the vacuum in the online travel booking space which holds the key to transforming the sector.4

 

In real terms, only a small proportion (about 13%) of Nigerian air travelers currently book travel products online – a damning statistic for a country boasting a population grossing over 190 million.

 

For the four components of the Travel and Tourism sector which include Leisure travel (inbound and domestic), Business travel, Domestic travel and Foreign travel, the outlook remains the same: total contribution of the sector to GDP is nearly three times greater than its direct contribution.

 

Aligned to this is the poor experience of most Nigerians, many of whom have expressed their dissatisfaction with the level of service in the online travel booking space, despite the existence of a glut of players. For many corporate travelers, a segment that represents the overwhelming majority of online travel service consumers, the prevailing opinion is a glaring lack of real value. Same sentiment dominates among leisure travelers – many of whom are frustrated by sub-standard service and the limited choices of packages/offers available among current players – two of the most recurring pain-points that have drained confidence among customers in the sector.

 

Considering the nexus between technology and value-offerings in the online travel booking space, there is a growing need for a strong player backed by cutting-edge technology to fill the vacuum in the sector and take the industry to the next level. Further justifying this need is the undoubted influence of a world-class online platform and innovation in service delivery which has transformed the entire value chain of an allied sector such as e-Commerce in Nigeria, as seen in the rise and dominance of strong local players such as Konga which has re-defined the scope of offerings and customer experience in the industry.

 

The global travel and tourism industry is a multi-billion-dollar establishment which relies heavily on innovative technology and world-class customer experience in delivering a wide range of value offerings to all classes of travelers.

 

Nigeria is due for this disruption which has the potential of growing the sector’s contribution to GDP. Digital innovation is the way forward.

 

 

 

 

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