The Australian government has thrown its weight behind the cloud, proposing in its National Cloud Computing Strategy that federal agencies scale up their use of cloud services.
The strategy says that government has an important role in providing the tools that small business, individuals and government agencies need to realise the promise of cloud computing. The strategy was developed in a partnership between government, industry and consumer groups.
It notes that, as a group, Australian small business and not-for-profit organisations lag behind their counterparts in OECD countries in the use of online technology. Cloud computing services could overcome this competitive disadvantage.
"The relatively slow download or upload speeds in many parts of Australia have limited the adoption of cloud services," the strategy says. "The NBN is changing this and is a key enabler of the digital economy more broadly.
The government is to develop a business case by the end of 2013 to analyse the benefits and drawbacks of a more centralised approach to the provision of cloud services to government agencies.
Procurement practices are to be enhanced to ensure agencies are required to consider public cloud services as their refresh cycle allows, where those services represent the best value for money.
Information sharing between agencies and collaboration with industry and tertiary institutions are among key actions.
The strategy references an Ovum Research report that forecasts that the global cloud services market will reach revenues of $A66 billion ($NZ 79 billion) in 2016, with an annual growth rate of nearly 30 percent.
In a section devoted to benefits to the economy as a whole, the strategy says there is a stream of evidence highlighting the economic growth that cloud services promote. This includes modeling by KPMG, which shows the increased adoption of cloud services across the Australian economy would grow annual GDP by $A3.3 billion by 2020.
"Many stakeholders have identified the importance of the government's own adoption of cloud services as central to encouraging informed adoption more broadly," the strategy says.
Long-term, the government is keen to test whether it should become an operator of private cloud services in its own right.
NZ code for cloud computing
Meanwhile, Institute of IT Professionals CEO Paul Matthews says a Register of Signatories for a CloudCode developed in consultation with New Zealand businesses, will be launched shortly.
"The current phase of the project provides the document for cloud providers and customers to use as a guide, so had no way of companies formally signing up for it -- that's coming with the launch of the Register. However we know of a number of companies using it," he says.
"From the previous consultation (where we asked respondents if they intend to sign up) it's fair to say we're expecting dozens to become formal signatories once the Register is available."