AUSTRALIA'S IT sector can be a global leader in developing cloud computing to drive innovation and national productivity gains, a report from an information technology (IT) industry advisory body has told the Government.
The report says cloud computing is a rapidly emerging area with immense potential to help Australian business transform: but it also presents challenges.
Releasing the report by the Australian Government's Information Technology Industry Innovation Council (ITIIC), Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said the report highlights Australia's strengths.
"Australia has an opportunity here, to develop a strong local capability in cloud computing. We are a safe, secure destination for hosting cloud data applications, and offer political stability, and a stable and transparent regulatory environment," Senator Carr said.
Australian-based cloud services may also have an edge in relation to critical issues raised in the report, such as risk management, sovereignty, data security, privacy and service quality.
"These issues should be thoroughly debated. A local cloud capability will give us a say in these issues," Senator Carr said.
Cloud computing is growing in Australia, with more than 71 per cent of Australian firms in this country using a form of cloud service, a 31 per cent increase over the last two years.
"Innovative Australian IT firms with leading-edge cloud technologies can cash in on the projected rapid growth in the global market for cloud products and services, with an estimated global value of over US$55 billion in 2014," Senator Carr said.
"But the report also suggests that some IT firms will need to change the way they do business. Those providing software solutions and services will need to adapt to cloud-based infrastructure and those providing on-premise services and infrastructure will need to enhance their offerings to become part of a cloud provider marketplace."
Some of the business benefits of cloud adoption include operational efficiencies, greater reach into markets, cost reduction, reduced risk of IT investment with pay-as-you-go pricing, and greater flexibility to handle changes in business conditions.
Senator Carr said the newly formed Global Access Partners (GAP) National Standing Committee on Cloud Computing - comprising Federal and State government agencies, industry leaders, the research community and advocacy groups - will discuss issues raised by the ITIIC further.
"I have also shared the report with my Ministerial colleagues with responsibility for the digital economy, whole of government ICT procurement and cyber-security issues," Senator Carr said.
A copy of the report can be found at http://www.innovation.gov.au/itiic.
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