Oloruntimehin: Digital Transformation, Key to Business Growth


The General Country Manager, Cisco Nigeria, Mr. Olakunle Oloruntimehin, spoke with Emma Okonji on the importance of data centres to organisations and the need to embrace digital transformation for faster business growth. Excerpts:

Cisco has been operating in Nigerian for several years. How has its service offering impacted businesses in the country?

Cisco is focused on helping customers modernise their data centre and legacy information technology (IT) infrastructure with a hybrid-IT solution that maximises application performance, mitigates risk, and increases operational agility in order to guide their digital transformation journeys. Cisco empowers customers with the choice and flexibility to run any of their traditional and cloud-native applications using converged and hyper-converged infrastructure solutions that can be deployed across on-premise, managed, and public clouds. This architectural approach ties analytics, simplicity, automation, and protection, with a consistent policy across a hybrid-cloud built with industry-leading data centre networking, security, converged infrastructure, and software-defined solutions.

To what extent will the current digital transformation drive impact businesses in the country?

Digital transformation is forcing enterprises to adapt to the accelerated pace and the increased diversity in the types of users, apps, and locations that their IT organisations have to manage to support their business. Digital transformation will result in the creation of thousands of new enterprise applications that will increase the primary interface between the customer and the enterprise, especially for digital transactions. Hundreds of thousands of private and public-sector enterprises are well underway with digital transformation projects in order to revamp their customer experience, create new revenue streams, and modernise their business processes. This is a do-or-die proposition for IT organisations as more than half of all IT budgets will be invested in digital transformation by 2020.

What enterprise packages are accessible to startups? 

Cisco DC architecture offers tailor made packages for companies at all sizes and business focus within their locations and in the cloud.


How important are these enterprises packages to businesses? 

Very much, it allows businesses to choose what works and suite there needs with pay as you grow options.


Are the services affordable?

Cisco offers DC solutions that allow enterprises of all sizes make the best of technology while offering the best total cost of ownership market-wide. So the services are quite affordable.

What security measure lies for customers that use Cisco data centre? 

Cisco pays lot of attention to security, the portfolio is rich and give answers to modern threats. Security is embedded in the DNA of every product and solution we offer, on-prem and in the cloud.

How do you manage the enterprise solutions you provide, is it done remotely or do you have hands on technical support? 

Both, because Cisco offers on premise support and deployment services through business partners or Cisco advance services. Customers have also the option to choose variety of services packages on site service.

What is the impact of datacentres to already established brands as opposed to emerging brands?

Cisco is the only true vendor with E2E DC offering. Cisco has its own flavour for service plan regardless of the type of organiation.

Do you offer any training on Cisco datacentre and what does it entails?

Yes we do. We also offer industry-leading cerfications that help enterprises invest in its people.

What type of innovations have you brought to your datacentre in the past three to five years?


It’s such a long answer. If it’s for specific case I can come up with a long list. But just to mention Hyperconverge solution, the first to combine storage, compute and networking in an easy to scale platform ready for business critical applications. Our hybrid cloud management platform allows companies manage application lifecycles across multiple cloud. Our Tetration platform as another example, helps customers analyse every packet and every flow in their DC and cloud and has multiple use cases around application dependency mapping, application segmentation, application forensics, among others.

How popular are cloud datacentre services in the Africa market? 

Datacentre and cloud service proliferation is growing in the African market at a very fast pace. We will see adoption at an even higher pace as more enterprises embrace digital-first strategies.

What will you say are the value proposition and return on investment when data are stored in the cloud?


The value proposition and return on investment (ROI) of running certain applications in the cloud is well understood today as it provides higher agility, lowered operational costs and meets unpredictable demand. However, each single-vendor cloud offering has pros and cons such as challenges related to data sovereignty, compliance and the inability of moving core intellectual property or sensitive data outside the confines of the enterprise.

Are there business risks in managing apps on-premise?

Until now, IT organisations have had to make binary decisions between managing their apps on-premise or ceding control of the apps to end-users who are choosing cloud-native deployments. This can result in increased security risks and management/operational challenges such as “Shadow IT”.

What should organisations do to support their data applications with less risk?

To support modern applications and the explosion in end points and data, enterprises will require modernisation of their IT infrastructure and operations that leverage the best aspects of on-premise and cloud deployment models to support both traditional and cloud-native applications. Hybrid IT is no longer a theory, it will be the de facto operational model for private and public sector enterprises globally.

What are the benefits of cloud to businesses and IT transformation?

The cloud journey and infrastructure modernisation will be an integral part of IT transformation. The solution is to openly embrace the benefits of the cloud as part of the overarching goal to enable IT to deploy modern apps in the most efficient ways possible with the performance, reliability, and security requirements of traditional, business-critical data centre apps.

Internal IT end-users who are customers, such as lines of business and application developers are constantly seeking alternative ways to procure the necessary infrastructure to support their digital projects.