National Cloud Computing Strategy: good for business

Digitalbusiness

Are you looking at using cloud computing services in your business but feel like you don’t have enough information? Many business owners may feel this way.

On 29 May 2013 the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, the Hon. Stephen Conroy released the National Cloud Computing Strategy (‘the Strategy’) at the Cloud @ CeBIT Conference in Sydney.

The Strategy outlines the Australian Government’s vision for Australians to create and use world class cloud services to boost innovation and productivity, and recognises the need for government to provide tools to help small businesses make the most of the opportunities available through adoption of cloud computing.

Cloud computing could be very important stuff for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs).

Research from around the globe is linking the adoption of cloud computing with improved business growth.  At the individual firm level, a Microsoft survey of 3000 SMEs found that the SMEs which had embraced cloud services had 40 per cent more revenue growth than those surveyed SMEs that were not using cloud services[i]. In addition, a study by the European Union found that the large majority of businesses using cloud services reduce ICT costs by between 10-20 per cent[ii].

Cloud computing enables ICT services to be delivered over the internet and consumed as a service, on demand, across a range of devices. In terms of pricing you can now pay only for what you use – a bit like renting instead of buying. This may reduce the need to purchase expensive hardware or software that could need to be replaced as technology changes.

The combination of high speed broadband, such as the high speed broadband available through the National Broadband Network (NBN), and the ever increasing range of cloud services may provide opportunities for many small businesses that don’t have access to huge ICT budgets.

The Strategy charts a path for government to help businesses capitalise on the benefits available through cloud computing services. This will involve:

  • promoting the benefits of cloud services to small businesses, not-for-profits and consumers
  • the development of a Cloud Consumer Protocol to promote information disclosure about products and services by cloud providers to help ensure consumers are well informed.

Keep an eye out for the industry specific Digital Business Kits. Up to ten industry peak bodies will be developing tailored ‘how-to’ guides to assist SMEs and not for profit organisations (NFPs) to engage in the digital economy, including cloud computing.

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