Australian government unveils cloud services panel

Australian Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has announced the first 49 companies to be included on the whole-of-government cloud services panel.

Microsoft, Datacom, IBM, and Macquarie Telecom are among the first to be included in the Australian government's new whole-of-government cloud services panel.

As part of the Abbott government's digital strategy, the Department of Finance went to tender in September last year for a whole-of-government cloud services panel to provide software, platform, and infrastructure as a service to the government.

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Finance Minister Mathias Cormann on Friday announced the first 49 companies to be added to the panel, including F1 Solutions, Fuji Xerox, Redcore, and Zettagrid.

The government had originally targeted finalising the panel at the end of 2014.

Under the revised cloud policy released in October, government agencies must adopt cloud where it is fit for purpose, provides adequate protection of data, and delivers value for money.

The commonwealth is attempting to drive up agency usage of cloud services after it was revealed that despite the government spending nearly AU$6 billion per year on IT, total procurement of cloud services by federal agencies since July 2010 added up to just AU$4.7 million.

Now that the cloud panel is in place, the government is likely to begin examining the possibility of moving to a whole-of-government arrangement for desktop services and email.

"We're closing at the moment a scoping study on what we're calling GovDesk and GovMail, which are similar infrastructure-level offerings for agencies to provide office automation services for a subscription price they can use and provide it centrally, and potentially the same thing for email," federal government chief technology officer John Sheridan said in November.

Sheridan indicated that the services could be put to the market later this year or in 2016.