Say goodbye to huge data centres and welcome applications running on the cloud. CIOs in East African countries are now tasked with understanding when and how to embrace cloud computing in their operations.

Cloud computing has slowly evolved from being a "panel discussion topic" to adoption, it has become a legitimate operating platform and forward-looking CIOs have begun to show interest in it. Safaricom Limited recently launched this service in Kenya, since then they have tried to deepen its adoption to local enterprises who are yet to be fully convinced.

Through workshops and media advertising, the company has since then tried to encourage large and small enterprises in Kenya to move their operations into their cloud claiming to be eating their own dog food. Evans Nyaga, Senior Manager Corporate Sales at Safaricom says they have moved Touch Point, 80TB to their cloud so all is well. This is just one application.

"The concept of cloud computing helps a CIO transfer the headache of keeping the lights on in an organization to a secondary provider, then concentrate on higher level values", says George Makori, Senior Manager, Cloud & Managed Service.

Despite all this efforts, security and application latency concerns are two issues most commonly raised by the IT community. In addition, apart from Safaricom Limited, no any other providers have formulated their business and pricing models to offer cloud services at a local level. This doesn't really give enterprises in Kenya an option to compare and choose from different cloud vendors; keeping in mind different vendors will definitely spin cloud computing differently.

The cloud packages all these services, Platform as a Service, Software as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service, being the only localized cloud vendor in the Kenyan ICT industry, Safaricom still has a long way to convince skeptical CIOs who didn't get a ROI from SaaS to move to the cloud and its viability to support enterprise computing needs.

Enterprises in Kenya need to speed with cloud computing skills quickly to keep up with an increasingly diverse set of cloud computing options. Consequently, trust in cloud services may be low before enterprises pick up, vendors should therefore take baby steps as they introduce these services in the market.