Azzi: Effective Data Storage, Key to Business Transformation

Ghassan Azzi

Senior Manager, Sales, Africa Business at Western Digital, Mr. Ghassan Azzi, spoke with Emma Okonji on the company’s plan to transform data storage business in Nigeria through its latest devices. Excerpts:

Technology evolution in Nigeria has led to big data analytics, where data is generated and analysed to make informed decision. How well will Western Digital use its storage solutions to further drive technology transformation in the country?
With technology evolution, storage is becoming a necessity for all users. With the new development, all users do not need to purchase storage devices from stores each time they are in need. They should be thinking of how best to install the latest data storage devices around their premises because the demand for storage is on the increase, which has been propelled by technology evolution. The demand for data is huge, which calls for increased demand for storage of data and other essentials, and we have the latest storage devices to address the increasing demand for data and storage solutions. We have our storage devices in USB, SD, Micro SD and Hard drive and these devices are readily available.

Western Digital is making in-road into the Nigerian market space with its latest data storage devices. What must have informed this move?
We are new entrant into the Nigerian market, trying to penetrate the market through our distributors to gain significant share in the Nigerian technology market. As a business organisation, our decision to penetrate the Nigerian market was informed by our desire to transform data storage business in Nigeria and at the same time, grow our market share as quickly as possible. We have commenced business through our distribution structure, which we have put in place and we hope to grow the market fast as technology evolves. We are beginning with Lagos from where we will cover other parts of Nigeria.

Mobile phone penetration is on the increase in Nigeria, which calls for increased storage facilities for data. How will Western Digital help to address this need?
We are delighted that mobile phone penetration is on the increase in Nigeria and we can see most individuals carrying more than one mobile devices with dual SIMs. So our product is best suitable for the Nigerian market, where mobile phone penetration growth rate is high. As people browse the internet with their mobile phones, they need storage solutions as backups and that is what we provide at Western Digital. We have 2 types of storage solutions, hard drives and flash. For microSD and USBs, storage capacity starts from 8GB and goes all the way up to 400GB. While SD cards, we offer storage capacity from 8GB up to 512GB.

For the Hard drive storage solutions, we cater to the needs of the simple end user, to the enthusiastic one looking for a more advanced solution, all the way upto the big coporations looking for a more sophisticated storage solution.

In your view, what is the importance of storage facilities to organisations?

The importance of storage solutions cannot be overemphasised, because of its critical role in organisational growth. Data is key to any organisation, and the effective storage of the data will give organisations the full assurance that their data is secured. Data must be stored as backup and ready for retrieval at any point in time. Any organisation without effective data storage devices is still far from the realities of digital transformation business, and there is need to store every data for business continuity and for future reference. Data is about information and information is key to organisations, which means that proper storage of information is also key to organisational growth. So it gives an organisation peace of mind when they know that their data and information are in a safe place where no one can tamper with them.

For how long can information be stored in your storage devices?
Information stored in our storage devices can remain there for several years without getting damaged before it can be retrieved at any point in time.

What are the security features that keep data secured in your storage devices?
Technology is in stages and also evolving fast. Based on this fact, it becomes very obvious that nothing or rather no solutions has 100 per cent security, which of course is a factor of management and usage as well as exposure to vulnerability. But with our products, customers are rest assured that their data is secured if properly stored in our storage solutions, and properly managed as well. We consider security key to any business and we take security issues very seriously.

What are the benefits of Western Digital solutions to organisations operating in Nigeria?
The benefits are numerous. Western Digital is the number one brand in storage facilities globally and organisations in Nigeria will have the opportunity to experience quality and durable products from our company. Solutions from SanDisk and WD, which we are introducing to the Nigerian market, are flagship solutions that will make business experience a whole lot of fun, with the potential to drive growth and sustain competition. We have the best cutting-edge technology in the world and our products are tested and accepted globally.

Despite the global acceptability of your solutions, how affordable are the solutions for Nigerian businesses?
Our products are not only affordable, but also pocket friendly. What is important to Western Digital, is the value add that we bring to any business, through our solutions. So SanDisk and WDC are brands of Western Digital that attach value to all our products. Yes, we are not the cheapest, but we are not the most expensive. What matters to us is the value and our products are pocket friendly, considering the value we are bringing to the storage business.

What are your plans to have office in Nigeria to further drive the data storage business in the country?
For now, we have no office in Nigeria, but we plan to have offices in Nigeria as the business grows. So the setting up of offices in Nigeria will largely depend on the growth of our storage business in the country.

How do you perceive the Nigerian market in terms of growth and adoption of new solutions, vis-a-vis the solution you are bringing to the Nigerian market?
The Nigerian market is a place to do good business because of the massive population of the market and technology is evolving fast in the Nigerian market. In terms of technology evolution, I think Nigeria is next to South Africa within the African markets. Today the demand for technology solutions is on the increase in Nigeria and this shows the growth rate of technology adoption and usage in Nigeria.

Aside the big enterprise business, do you have solution for the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), that are seen as engine growth of any economy?
In designing and manufacturing of our solutions, we do not focus only on the enterprise business, but also on SMEs who are significant factor for rapid economic growth of a nation.

Do you have plans to partner government on your products drive in Nigeria?
At the moment, our focus is on private sector development and partnership, not on government, but with time, that can be extended to government for partnership. We are establishing our consumer business in Nigeria with chain of distributors at the moment.