IBM Expands Cloud Push in Emerging Markets
"The IBM initiative is an important step towards stimulating the growth of cloud computing applications, expertise, knowhow, promoting the culture, and use of 'Applications as a Service (AAS)' in the market, particularly in the Middle East and Africa," said Hussein El Gereitly, CEO of ITIDA, in a statement. While current spending on public cloud services in the country is lower than its regional peers, Egypt represents the fastest growing market across the Middle East and Africa, with 67 percent growth expected for 2014 alone, according to IDC. The agreement is in line with ITIDA's strategy to provide support for small and medium-size IT companies to be able to expand their offerings to new markets and help grow the Egyptian economy based on the proliferation of technology trends such as big data. The first 20 companies to benefit from this collaboration were announced at a June 17 ceremony in Cairo. IBM will enable the creation and testing of cloud solutions in a faster and more cost-effective way. The ISVs will provide their solutions on the cloud, reaching a wider audience of clients and users with minimal capital expenditure. ITIDA will choose the remaining ISVs in groups of 20, every three months.With the ability to easily combine a variety of services and APIs from across the industry to compose, test and scale custom applications, developers will be able to cut deployment time from months to minutes, IBM said. New applications and cloud services ISVs developed on Bluemix can give Egyptian ISVs the opportunity to expand their business globally by offering their applications on the IBM Cloud Marketplace. "This project is part of our ongoing commitment to the local market," said Amr Talaat, country general manager for IBM Egypt, in a statement. "It will enable these companies to grow without large capital costs. This is a real bonus for Egypt's fast-growing entrepreneurial clusters, which often lack funding or physical IT infrastructure." These programs are examples of a set of investments that IBM is making to support IT skills development in Africa. Earlier this year, IBM announced several IT initiatives across the continent to enable the existing and future workforce to develop new analytics, cloud and data skills to enhance the continent's economic growth and social development. IBM also announced a $100 million investment to bring Watson and other cognitive systems to Africa to fuel development across the continent in an ambitious 10-year project.
As part of the agreement, IBM also will train the participating software developers on how to develop and port their solutions to different IBM cloud computing platforms such as SoftLayer infrastructure and Bluemix. Bluemix is IBM's platform as a service (PaaS) development environment built on SoftLayer to help developers quickly integrate applications and speed deployment of new cloud services, and access IBM's developer ecosystem.