Over 50% of local tech businesses plan to expand beyond Nigeria, Equinix finds – Businessamlive – BusinessAMLive

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By Onome Amuge 

Over 50 per cent of Nigerian business owners in the technology sector are planning to expand beyond Nigeria despite supply chain,cyber-security and recruitment challenges that have hindered development of the sector, according to a report by digital infrastructure company Equinix.
As part of the Equinox 2022 Global Tech Trends Survey, 100 business leaders in Nigeria were interviewed about the opportunities and challenges their organisations are facing and their plans for the future.
The Nigerian survey data showed that 34 per cent of IT decision makers in Nigeria are planning to move to a new region and 33 per cent into a new country.  The survey in Nigeria also showed that 54 per cent of respondents are planning on expanding into an existing country in the next 12 months, while 34 per cent consider moving into a new region within the same period.
However, a number of potentially limiting factors were identified by businesses when it came to global growth including concerns and challenges in supply chain, cyber security, and staff retention and recruitment.
58 per cent  of IT decision makers interviewed view a shortage of personnel with IT skills as one of the main threats to their business,
55 per cent said their business was plagued by global supply chain issues and shortages, while 50 per cent specified the global microchip shortage as a threat to their business.
The business owners also raised concerns around cybersecurity in Nigeria. According to the IT specialists interviewed, the most feared threats were cyberattacks which stood at 73 per cent,while  security breaches and data leaks stood at 68 per cent.
Despite having one of the youngest populations and workforces in the world, 58 per cent of the IT decision makers  view a shortage of personnel with IT skills as one of the main threats to their business.  The survey showed that among the most common concerns for businesses in Nigeria are candidates with the wrong skill sets applying for jobs at 56 per cent, pay and compensation at 49 per cent, changing expectations around ways of working at 41 per cent, and the retention of current talent at 38 per cent.
Over 50% of local tech businesses plan to expand beyond Nigeria, Equinix findsThe study also found that most in-demand tech employees are those with skills in areas such as AI/machine learning, data analysis, cloud computing specialists, data protection, security software development, IT technicians and security analysis.
According to the Equinix survey data, there are huge opportunities for Nigeria’s businesses to successfully expand into new markets and reach new customers. The report explained that this can be achieved by ensuring expansions are supported by resilient digital models considered to be business-critical, particularly at a time of increasing volatility and emerging global threats.
As part of their digital-first strategies, 85 per cent of the Nigerian respondents confirmed a key priority is improving cybersecurity. 88 per cent said complying with local market data regulations is critical, 85 per cent highlighted the need to futureproof their businesses, while 93 per cent of IT leaders said enhancing customer experience is a priority.
To help grow their businesses, 77 per cent of IT leaders in Nigeria said they plan to move more business functions to the cloud including business-critical applications and security functions.
“Hybrid cloud models were the preferred approach for 36 per cent of respondents in Nigeria, although 18 per cent still rely on a single cloud provider and 2 percent not using the cloud at all.
40% in Nigeria said they plan to facilitate global expansion plans by deploying virtually via the cloud, with over a quarter (26%) – 21% among IT decision-makers in Nigeria – doing so using a bare metal solution,” the report stated.
Meanwhile, 46 per cent of respondents said they expect increased spending on carrier-neutral colocation solutions to facilitate the planned rise in digital deployments, while 70 per cent said they intend to increase investment in interconnection services as they plan to progress digital transformation and build resilience.
Commenting on the report, Funke Opeke, managing director, MainOne, an Equinix Company, noted that the acceleration in digital transformation in Nigeria reinforces the need for businesses to have access to single points to interconnect locally.
“Increased speed of connectivity, increased flexibility of connectivity, and reduced cost of connectivity were identified by IT decision-makers in Nigeria as the most beneficial aspects of interconnection.  MainOne provides a rich interconnection ecosystem that allows customers to connect to each other multiple telecoms networks, and Cloud, Payment and Content Providers in a single location,’’ Opeke said.
As part of its commitments towards an improved digital economy, Equinix, Inc., expanded into Africa through the $320m acquisition of MainOne, a leading West African data center and connectivity solutions provider, with presence in Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

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