The Australian Government Information Management Office (AMIGO) has urged caution on cloud adoption, saying that it doesn't want to be on the leading edge. IT departments that wait too long and get left behind might find themselves redundant, according to one industry analyst.
Speaking at the Trend Micro Evolve.Cloud conference in Sydney today, AGIMO first assistant secretary of agency services, John Sheridan, said that there are many considerations when adopting cloud, warning that adoption isn't as simple as "ticking the iCloud box on your iPad".
"We have a range of international treaties that affect how we use IT ...We've got issues of Australian industry development to take into account," he said.
Sheridan indicated that there could be an entire industry in Australia that will potentially miss out if the government jumps the gun and, in a panic to get on the cloud bandwagon, outsources the work offshore.
"If IT is the new economic driver for the world, why would we necessarily want to export that economic driver overseas? Aren't there opportunities in Australia [to deliver the service] if it provides value for money for the government? And that's the important driver."
Sheridan said that the industry would be better served by first examining what other governments were doing for data storage and cloud.
"What the government should naturally do for its IT is look for applied innovation. There are some things in which it is important for us to be a 'Type A' organisation; to take the leading edge of technology. But there's a lot of things that don't require us to take the leading edge. We don't want to be the 'Type C' organisation that's following on behind in the wake of other companies or other organisations. We want to be, I think, at the front edge of a 'Type B' organisation.
"We want to be the first to be second for these things, so that we understand the risk, we take into account what's occurring, we take into account what can be done and then we move."
However, Forrester vice president and principal analyst for Asia Pacific, Michael Barnes, who spoke earlier in the day, said that there is an air of urgency to cloud adoption, as there are external organisations out there that may represent a credible threat to internal IT departments.
"Internal IT has competition. Cloud providers and even traditional hosting service providers and other folks who have been in this space, who are now embracing cloud approaches — they are legitimate competition to us," Barnes said.
"The economies of scale are improving dramatically. The ability to provision and de-provision in a timely fashion, are improving. As these improve, the resistance to leveraging an external provider drops steadily — [it] drops to the point that IT at some point gets cut out of the decision. It becomes a decision that the CFO makes. It's not a decision that IT makes.
"If IT doesn't adapt and adopt these approaches, we will find the business simply going around us. They will find a way to get the services they need."