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What Microsoft Cloud Growth in Africa and the Middle East Means for AvePoint

As a newly public company traded on NASDAQ, AvePoint is committed to growing our business. This expansion includes developing new solutions, more channel partnerships, and a stronger presence in underserved markets worldwide.

I am pleased and excited to join AvePoint as a sales director in Dubai to better serve our customers in the Middle East and Africa (MENA) — and to accelerate digital transformation in a region that has often lagged when it comes to cloud adoption and related tools for secure, confident collaboration.

In my former channel- and sales-focused roles with other cloud and security leaders, I saw the gap firsthand. About five years ago, when it seemed like everyone was talking about the cloud and how it could elevate their business goals, most Middle East organizations remained loyal to on-premises storage.

But times are quickly changing here, and that has big implications for the MENA region amid a tremendous wave of digital transformation that includes elaborate smart city projects, internet of things devices, and hybrid workplaces.

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I’m encouraged by the arrival of supporting infrastructure in my own backyard. Most notably, the 2019 launch of two Microsoft Cloud datacenter regions here in the United Arab Emirates — in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, respectively — has brought massive potential to the region via scalable, highly available cloud services that meet data residency, security, and compliance needs. Microsoft has also opened cloud regions in South Africa, and in Qatar three more are expected next year.

Microsoft is the first cloud service provider to construct physical facilities in the MENA region, and it’s also the first to achieve the Dubai Electronic Security Center’s Cloud Service Provider certification.

Keeping cloud-hosted data in the country or region of origin, as Microsoft notes, will help enable government organizations and enterprises to comply with in-country regulatory frameworks and decrease the obstacles for cloud adoption. This agility and oversight benefits private enterprises too.

And the growth is just getting started: revenue from public cloud services such as Microsoft Azure is predicted to hit $3.5 billion this year in the MENA region — an increase of nearly 20% from estimates for 2020, a Gartner study published last year found. Meanwhile, IDC says that the region will be worth approximately $5 billion to cloud vendors by 2022.

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Big Growth Demands Robust Data Governance and Protection Solutions

The rapid advancement of cloud adoption and support in MENA underscores the importance of solutions that help Microsoft users leverage and secure their data.

Microsoft 365 can bring big productivity gains, and the resulting collaboration can be further secured with extended backup, granular recovery, and robust governance settings to ensure sensitive data isn’t overshared or compromised.

This is where AvePoint can come in as a trusted partner — either directly or via a managed service provider — to take organizations to the next level no matter where they might be at on their journey to the cloud.

READ MORE: How Managed Service Providers Can Grow Their Business with AvePoint

AvePoint is the largest Microsoft 365 data management solutions provider, and we serve more than 8 million cloud users. By offering a full suite of SaaS solutions to migrate, manage, and protect data, we’re able to deliver a full collaboration security platform — not just “a la carte” services. Our capabilities include:

Like countless others globally, many MENA organizations turned to solutions such as Microsoft Teams to facilitate remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic. But 75% of organizations did so without proper protections in place, unique research commissioned by AvePoint has found.

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During this time, nearly one million people in this region took advantage of digital skills training from Microsoft, an effort designed to address pandemic-related unemployment and help fill the 500,000-plus new jobs expected to come to the Middle East due to the growth in cloud computing and the Microsoft ecosystem.

So as organizations bring more people on staff and increasingly leverage business analytics and artificial intelligence tools — the top growth drivers for public cloud in the MENA region, Gartner notes — they can’t ignore third-party tools that deliver security and reduce sprawl.

There is abundant opportunity across the MENA region for AvePoint and our channel partners to help.

We’re Committed to Our Customers’ Needs and Continued Success

The massive cloud-forward shift — as well as Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to open new data centers — affirms our confidence that this is the time for AvePoint to expand. Microsoft is a Goliath in MENA, so everyone is closely following their moves and advice (the financial and government sectors, in particular).

With 20 years in the business, AvePoint knows the needs of customers in the cloud are more complex than ever before. As an established cloud platform, we want to be able to support those needs in as many places as possible with personalized service that’s close to home, available 24/7, and offered in the most common languages of each country.

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We’ve already done exceptional work for our existing MENA customers. Now, we truly want to elevate our reach by investing in local talent to better service those partners. Our SaaS solutions are available to MSPs via more than 100 cloud marketplaces so they can support and manage small and mid-sized customers.

As new and transformational cloud growth continues, I know this is the right time to invest in onboarding and education with our MENA channel partners to ensure that they have the right capabilities and knowledge to deliver AvePoint technology. After all, just like data residency is important, so is a local presence. I am truly excited for the journey ahead.


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