Head in the cloud: is government ICT capable of delivering?

A new Commonwealth strategy on cloud computing enforces the take-up of cloud services. But does the bureaucracy have the skills — and will — to implement it?

Canberra will be forced to get its head in the cloud under a new Commonwealth technology strategy. But the savings identified might be pie in the sky without leadership and more specific targets.

The new policy statement from the Department of Finance on the adoption of cloud computing services across government is the most unequivocal yet, according to Gov 2.0 advocate Craig Thomler. “[It] certainly makes the federal government’s position on cloud computing far stronger and more directive than previous versions of the policy,” he told The Mandarin.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull launched the policy and toolkit for bureaucrats on Wednesday. The joint foreword reads: “Under the Government’s Cloud Policy agencies now must adopt cloud where it is fit for purpose, provides adequate protection of data and delivers value for money.”

The italics are the government’s. “By making this a must — not a ‘consider’ as per the previous version of the policy — this lifts cloud to a central consideration in all ICT sourcing, rather than an optional consideration that may be ignored by some agencies,” Thomler, who heads the Delib Australia consultancy, said.

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