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Executive summary

On 5 October 2012 the Prime Minister announced that the Australian Government would develop a National Cloud Computing Strategy. This announcement recognised the synergies between the National Broadband Network (NBN) and cloud computing, but also the important role for government in providing the tools that small business, individuals and government agencies need to realise the promise of cloud computing. This strategy has been developed in a partnership between government, industry and consumer groups and outlines a vision for cloud computing in Australia:

Australians will create and use world-class cloud services to boost innovation and productivity across the digital economy.

When organisations adopt cloud services, they are generally more productive, innovate better and operate with greater agility. As a nation, Australia is well placed to take advantage of cloud computing for a range of reasons—including a stable socio-economic system, a strong rule of law, and a highly diverse and skilled Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.

At the individual level there are many organisations across the economy that have implemented innovative cloud computing services that have transformed the way they operate. However, as a group, Australian small business and not-for-profit organisations lag behind their counterparts in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in the use of online technology. This places these organisations at a competitive disadvantage, which could be overcome through the use of cloud computing services.

One reason for this has been insufficient access to the necessary infrastructure to support sophisticated cloud services—the relatively slow download or upload speeds in many parts of Australia have limited the adoption of cloud services. The NBN is changing this and is a key enabler of the digital economy more broadly. There are other reasons that cloud computing has not been adopted more generally in Australia, including a lack of awareness of how to make best use of cloud computing and a lack of confidence that some organisations and individuals have in adopting cloud computing services.

This strategy has identified three core goals and a set of actions to achieve the government’s vision. However, as the cloud services market continues to evolve, users and providers of cloud services must remain responsive to change. Likewise, the government will continue to adapt its strategy in response to market and technological changes.

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