Western Australia will borrow heavily from the experiences of other jurisdictions as it develops its own cloud-first policy.
The State, which currently has no ICT strategy or cloud-related directives, is now in the “process of developing a Cloud 1st Policy and related supporting documents that will provide pragmatic assistance to agencies considering the cloud”.
Director, Strategic Issues at the WA Department of Finance Pippa McIntosh said no timeline for the release of the cloud policy has been set, but the “process is underway”.
The aim of the policy is to improve “the efficiency of information communication technology (ICT) through new technologies, including cloud based ICT services”, said McIntosh.
“This includes investigating the experience of other jurisdictions from cloud adoption.”
The WA Government has previously outlined the “potential benefits including cost savings and improved business outcomes” of cloud computing for its agencies, directing them to the Australian Government Cloud Computing Policy and other AGIMO guides for risk assessment advice.
The decision to develop its own cloud policy is partially driven by “the reported benefits from the adoption of cloud based services in other jurisdictions”, McIntosh said.
“Cloud services offer the potential to reduce government exposure from at-risk ICT hardware investments, reduce the demand on data centres and agency resources.
“Cloud is being considered as an alternative to traditional information technology where the service is fit for purpose, represents value for money and provides adequate security of data.”
Despite lacking a formal cloud policy, WA agencies have access to a number of panels facilitating cloud services, including the mandatory whole-of-government Finance, HR and Payroll Solutions panel and the Data Centre Facilities and Associated Management Services panel.
Last year, the Attorney General’s Department signed a $7.4 million contract with Talent2 for a software as-a-service HR and payroll system. The three-year contract is due to initially expire in January 2017.
Provided the final policy maintains its current direction, WA will become the fifth jurisdiction to adopt a cloud-first approach to ICT procurement.
The Queensland Government’s 2014 Cloud Computing Strategy identified “cloud-based ICT services as the default option for [agency] ICT requirements unless a sound business case exists for a contrary solution”.
The 2014 Australian Government Cloud Computing Policy introduced a requirement for Federal Governmentdepartments and agencies to “consider cloud first where it is appropriate”.
The Victorian Government’s ICT Strategy 2014-15 also mandated that “cloud-based ICT services will be evaluated first for new and renewed systems”, and the NSW Government introduced a similar requirement for agencies “to evaluate cloud-based services when undertaking ICT procurements” in its 2013 Cloud Policy.
The South Australian Government is also currently in the process of developing its first cloud policy, and entered the consultation stage in late-2014. It has not yet revealed whether it is evaluating a cloud-first approach.