(L-R) James Byaruhanga, the Raxio Data Centre General Manager and Byron Osiro, the Oracle Senior Cloud Platform Manager, East Africa. Osiro said that there was need for regulatory support so as to encourage businesses in Uganda to quickly adopt and benefit from the immense benefits presented by cloud services.
ICT Industry

Bank of Uganda roots for shared ICT infrastructure for financial services

Dr Tumubweine Twinemanzi, the Executive Director Supervision at Bank of Uganda, has challenged the financial services sector to adopt a shared technology services delivery model, which he says will cut down the cost of doing business.

He says the benefits will be passed on to customers in the form of reduced cost of lending.

“We have reached a stage where financial institutions or financial services should compete based on the quality of services and the appropriateness of their products and not on how beautiful or how brandy-new their infrastructure or systems are,” said Twinemanzi.

“What Raxio is trying to do (shared services) is something that is dear to my heart; something that we have been trying to do in the financial services sector.

“Financial institutions should focus on their core business which is intermediation- mobilising deposits and extending credit,” said Twinemanzi during the first executive roundtable for business and ICT leaders as well as regulators to discuss how enterprises can manage operational costs by leveraging cloud technologies.

The event was organised by Raxio Data Centre and Oracle at Serena Kampala Hotel.

Raxio is developing a state of the art colocation, enterprise-grade and carrier-neutral datacentre at Namanve Industrial Park, on the suburbs of Kampala. The data centre is being developed to tier III grade and is expected to be completed in H2 of 2019.

Oracle, on the other hand, has developed, Cloud at Customer- a cloud-based solution that allows Ugandan based organisations to enjoy cloud services either in a colocation data centre such as Raxio’s or customers’ owned data centres.

“Commercial banks and for that matter financial institutions are not the best at running networks or managing data. Let us leave that to the experts; let’s go back to the economics of division of labour,” he added.

The financial services industry in Uganda has over the last 10 years seen an average cost to income ratios rise to 74.6%, compared to 66.7% in the 10 years to 2008. As a result, average lending rates increased to a 10 year average of 22.16% from 20.39% in the same period.

Twinemanzi challenged Raxio and Oracle to explore by introducing shared software as a service- not just for Oracle but also for other software solutions, such as accounting, core banking solutions and credit analysis modules. “The idea of software as a service is overdue,” he said.

Joachim Steuerwald, the Oracle Cloud Platform Sales Director, said with increased reliance on digital mobile solutions for virtually everything, it was mission critical that service providers invest significantly in reliable systems.

“We are increasingly becoming a digital economy. Customers can’t tolerate our digital services being down for even an hour- it is just not acceptable. This requires the ICT behind those businesses to be available- 24/365. Building these highly reliable systems requires that we have the right environment,” he said.

“Many of the data centres in the region are fairly old. Before Raxio decided to enter the market, we did not have any single Tier III data centre in the region and that has been a significant constraint to achieve the kind of uptimes that a digital economy demands and that is why we’re interested in a partnership with Raxio,” further said Steuerwald.

James Byaruhanga, the Raxio General Manager, however, said that with shared infrastructure and software solutions, the kind that will be ushered in by a Raxio-Oracle partnership most stakeholder fears will be addressed.

“Shared cloud services hosted in a local data centre basically provide enterprises with a scalable model, tailored to your existing computing needs on a pay as you grow basis,” said Byaruhanga.

“What we want to give you is secure shared connectivity with multiple connectivity points that will position your business to look at the future.

“We will give you a more efficient and differentiating service that will make your business stand out. The whole idea about shared infrastructure is to reduce the cost of cost of ownership, reduce operational expenses, allowing you to be more efficient and provide a better service to customers.”