Telstra joins Optus on government's cloud services panel

Australia's two largest telecommunications providers are now claiming membership to the government's cloud services panel, with Telstra joining Optus on the list this week.

Australia's largest telco Telstra was added to the Department of Finance's whole-of-government cloud services panel this week, along with fellow telco, and Vocus acquisition, Amcom.

The two companies on Tuesday joined Australia's second-largest telco, Singtel subsidiary Optus Networks, and IT services provider Empired Limited, both of which were added to the panel just a week prior to Telstra's addition.

Telstra and Optus have arrived relatively late to the cloud service panel list. In February, Microsoft, Datacom, IBM, and Macquarie Telecom were among the first 49 companies to be included in the panel, which went to tender in September last year.

The first additions to the panel, announced by Finance Minister Mathias Cormann on February 13, also included NEC IT Services Australia, F1 Solutions, Fuji Xerox, Redcore, Zettagrid, and Anchor Systems.

Just days after the initial 49 companies on the panel were announced, the Department of Finance -- under which the cloud services panel is nestled -- revealed a further nine additions, including iiNet, Dimension Data Australia, and SMS Consulting Group.

Since then, more than 20 other companies have been added, including Dell Australia, Oakton Services, Technology One, Bulletproof Networks, Hitachi Data Systems Australia, Cloud Central, and CSC Australia.

The whole-of-government cloud services panel, which is a result of the federal government's cloud strategy, was designed to be a non-mandatory procurement mechanism for agencies to access and procure cloud services without the need for a full approach to market.

Last year, the Australian government set out new rules for its agencies to consider cloud first in procurement, and to begin moving websites into the public cloud as part of its National Strategy for Cloud Computing released in May.

The government's move to drive up agency usage of cloud services comes 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.