For all the write-ups cloud computing has been receiving over the past few years, it might seem that businesses which haven’t implemented this solution yet are missing out on the biggest innovation since Wi-Fi. In part, the above statement is true, as the cloud stands to bring a lot of perks for companies: from lower costs on overheads, to increased collaboration among departments, enhanced communication, more efficient technologies, and, ultimately, more profitability. But what are the numbers actually showing? According to at least one recent survey, as well as to several public debates, it looks like Australia is leading the way at global level, in terms of the rate of cloud adoption by small businesses.
Oz-based SMEs are embracing the cloud
They might not all be there just yet, but it looks like Australia’s small businesses are becoming more and more fond of the cloud and the benefits it comes with – or, at the very least, that’s the conclusion one can draw based on the results of a recent survey. The poll was undertaken by a company that specializes in producing virtualization software and saw some 400 Australian companies with under 250 employees answer questions regarding their cloud service budgets. The poll points to the importance of the SaaS segment of cloud computing. Businesses have finally understood that it is important to use them in order to maximize their potential for growth. Along with finding cost-efficient solutions in terms of office space to rent, companies are now choosing to invest in SaaS since, costly as it may seem on first glance, it allows for far more flexibility than traditional business apps.
According to the same poll, by the end of 2013, these companies will have spent $1.2 billion on cloud services, of which $343 million will have been allotted to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), $430 million for Software as a Service (SaaS), $275 million for web presence and apps, and $134 million on hosted solutions for collaboration and communication.Data revealed by the survey indicates that the budget allotted by small and medium businesses for SaaS is bound to grow by 63 per cent by the end of this calendar year. Communication and collaboration hosting, albeit currently representing a small fraction of the cloud service spend, is bound to double by the end of 2013.
Government debates on cloud computing
Though Labor did launch an updated Digital Economy strategy, many were critical at the time of their vague approach in what regards the cloud, as well as big data storage. Now comes the Coalition’s turn to make a stand on the issue, and it looks like their opinions on the cloud are much more firm and well-defined. Before the Federal election, the now ruling party launched ‘The Coalition’s Policy for E-Government and the Digital Economy’. In their own words, the Coalition is aiming to implement “an aggressive reform agenda” in this field, which would make sure that the current Government cloud budget, of $6 billion per year, is being spent well. Among the proposed measures for reform, Malcolm Turnbull included:
– Digital availability of almost all Government services and public interactions;
– An online platform for Government ICT spending made available to the public;
– A free digital inbox from 2014, for Australians who want to receive Government communication via email;
– Cloud service-based activities for Government agencies.
It will be interesting to see how these proposed measures pan out in time, especially since, as some commenters have already noted, the Coalition hasn’t doubled its strategy with policy initiatives toward the ampler goal of a digital economy. In contrast, Labor had come up with the Australia 2020 National Digital Economy, which aimed to turn Australia into one of the world’s leading digital economy by the end of the century’s second decade.