EMC anticipates growth in Africa


EMC expects to grow its local and regional operations, in spite of the worsening economic crisis. “We want to grow the region [Southern, Central and East Africa] into a $1 billion organisation by the end of 2009,” says Gerhard van der Merwe, country manager for EMC SA.

The company's African operations are spread across 66 countries, with 22 of those in the Southern, Central and East Africa region. Van der Merwe says, despite an anticipated tough 18-24 months locally, the company still expects a good performance. “We anticipate growth for EMC locally. But it is going to be tough and we are going to have to innovate.”

He adds the company is spurred on by new ideas in the market and excitement over cloud computing and increasing requirements for backup and demand services. Another area that is promising is the outsourcing and solution providers, and the change in the way they will use certain products, he notes.

EMC will prioritise four themes in 2009 to achieve its goals. Reducing cost, complying with governance and regulations, reducing complexity and preparing itself for next-generation networks will form the key drivers for the year.

In line with its themes, the company will focus on producing strong financial results and having world-class partners, increasing and strengthening its portfolio, he explains.

The key to strong financial results lies in investing and innovating, Van der Merwe adds. Research and development has always been key but is even more important in these times, he points out.

Van der Merwe says consumer trends are driving increasing demands for storage solutions. He states that despite 70% of digital content produced by individuals, 85% of this data remains the responsibility of organisations.

“There is more digital information coming through in each year. We are having to manage and secure this information and provide security, privacy, reliability and compliance, while managing information risk.”

Storage in 2009 will continue to provide storage consolidation, business continuity, compression and efficiency for the data centre.

SSD Tuned arrays will also change the market this year, Van der Merwe states. He adds these solutions which combine SATA drives with SSD allow information to be positioned according to the value a customer places on it - and it's cost-effective, making it a key solution for this year.

Broadband will also make life easier for EMC and its customers. “There have been important changes in the last two years. As costs go down, connections to data centres will decrease and customers who were previously reluctant are becoming more comfortable with our data centres.”

In November, the country expanded its operations in Kenya, which it says is the hub of East Africa. Now the company is looking at other countries, such as Angola.