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Equity bank to lease out data centre

NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 20 – Equity Bank says it intends to lease out part of its data centre to companies in Kenya to serve as their IT platform.

The bank which operates a tier four data centre says sharing of the existing IT infrastructure is an ideal way of bringing down the cost of doing business in the country.

Equity Bank Chief Executive Officer James Mwangi said the system has the capacity to support more than one organisation\’s IT requirements.

"We are currently only using eight percent of the system, so we are talking of 92 percent of the system lying idle and that to me should be a national resource that everyone should have access to," Mr Mwangi said on the sidelines of the Connected Kenya Summit in Diani.

They are currently engaging with companies such as IBM to take over the running over the data centre so that they can outsource the services.

"At the moment we consider our core competence is banking not IT, so we are looking to get a competent person to manage that data centre we would be willing to outsource IT services," Mr Mwangi said.

Equity Bank is said to have spent Sh8 billion in setting up the data centre.

Mr Mwangi said through shared services, the bank intends to bring down the cost of running an IT system in the country.

"We want as many of us to connect so that interoperability in the country becomes a reality and we are able to bring down the costs associated with running the system," he said.

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He however ruled out the outsourcing of the data centre as a new revenue stream for the bank saying; "We are only using eight percent of the system so the cost of running the system would reduce drastically if other companies are able to run the remaining capacity."

At the same time, the CEO revealed the bank was in the process of setting up an Innovation, Incubation and Acceleration centre to nurture innovators in the country.

The centre will join Kenya Kountry business incubator enterprise, Nairobi\’s ihub, Strathmore University\’s iLab Africa and University of Nairobi Fab lab as a centre where developers can be assisted with coming up with innovative solutions.

Mr Mwangi said the financial and telecommunication innovation solutions were fast becoming attractive prospects for companies in the country, adding that such centres help in raising the competence levels of developers.

He said the centre will help the developers commercialize their innovations in turn creating jobs for the youth.

Equity Bank has approached Strathmore University, Kenyatta University, the University of Nairobi and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology to get students who would fit into the programme.

"We have partnered with the University of Waterloo in Canada to come up with a course that will be used at the centre," he said.

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