Australia launches National Fog Strategy

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Australia launches National Fog Strategy
Australia's National Cloud Strategy - delayed, and pretty foggy.

Opinion: Memo to policy makers - please go solve some real problems.

Senator Stephen Conroy was late arriving to Sydney to launch Australia’s ‘National Cloud Computing Strategy’ today as he was delayed by fog.

Considering the weightless, immaterial piece of fluffy nonsense launched belatedly at the event, his delay was only fitting.

After several years of being told by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) to be cautious on cloud service adoption while other countries embraced a ‘cloud first’ strategy, Australian Government agencies are now being told they will be “required” to “consider” cloud computing services for any new IT procurement.

Require to consider? What constitutes ‘consideration’?

I’d be interested to know how AGIMO will be asked to enforce such a policy. Will buyers need to demonstrate that they took a demo of Amazon before they bought a server? That they got drunk with a Salesforce rep before they purchased some software?

And will this strategy mean we’ll continue to be plagued with fruitless debates as to what is considered a ‘cloud’ solution and what isn’t? Add a few more pages to those already arduous RFPs.

I have a radical and alternative proposition for the Australian Government when it comes to forming policy around the adoption of ‘cloud computing’ services: Don’t bother.

Cloud services will be adopted by customers that see a good business case to adopt them. Mandating one technology (or delivery model) over another is a foolish enterprise.

If AGIMO’s original cloud services policy was too conservative, maybe it’s because they were being asked to take responsibility for the decisions of others. Naturally they erred on the side of caution.  

Ultimately, cloud services are in use across government, where appropriate, and not because AGIMO gave a green light or Stephen Conroy gave his enthusiastic thumbs up for the cameras today.

Agencies – just like banks – are the guardians of sensitive citizen data and thus, agency CIOs know that they are well and truly in the stink if they choose the wrong product or service and it blows up in their faces. Their career depends on making prudent decisions.

CIOs always welcome good advice from smart folks with deep technical resources (the Defence Signals Directorate on security, for example).

But I’m sure by now they wish policy makers would simply let them get on with their job, and go solve some real problems elsewhere.

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