Paid Cloud Computing On The Rise Across Australian Businesses


by Staff Writer

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released its annual Characteristics of Australian Business Survey results on Friday. Collated from a random sample of approximately 7,000 businesses, the 2019-20 financial year results provide a detailed insight into how Australian businesses use IT and to what extent.

The survey results revealed that 55% of all businesses reported using paid cloud computing in 2019-20. This compares to 42% in 2017-18 and 31% in the 2015-16 financial year. The increase was across all business sizes, from micro-businesses employing up to four people to substantial operations employing 200 or more people.

But it was the smaller businesses that recorded the biggest uses in paid clouding computing. Usage increased from 36% to 49% for businesses employing up to four people. Usage at slightly larger businesses, those employing five to 19 persons, increased from 50% to 65%.

The paid cloud computing industry in Australia is now worth over AU$10 billion annually. One of the biggest paid cloud providers in Australia is Amazon Web Services (AWS). Karl Durrance, AWS Australia-based Director of Enterprise, says in response to the ABS survey results.

“The past year accelerated our shift to a digital world and highlighted an even more urgent recognition of the problems we need to address together to drive our economy and society forward.”

The uptake rate of paid clouding computing in Australia exceeded the uptake rate of cybersecurity software, relationship management computing tools, data analytics, and artificial intelligence in the last financial year.

Driving the switch to paid cloud computing is the decrease in costs compared to on-premises infrastructure and a substantial increase in employee efficiency. The numbers of people working from home full-time or part-time over the last year have also contributed to cloud computing’s rising popularity. Many CIOs who resisted the rollout of cloud computing across their business were forced to adopt it during the pandemic and lockdowns.

Additionally, most cloud computing providers have also demonstrated their reliability and ability to scale up as needed. The industry in Australia is moving from a niche, fragmented one to a more mainstream sector with a consolidating number of major providers holding the lion’s share of the market.

However, the ABS says a lack of skilled IT workers is holding back a faster IT uptake. 13% of business respondents said a shortage of skilled information and communications technology workers was limiting the role of IT in their business.

AWS agrees. They say an additional 6.5 million Australian workers will need to significantly upgrade their IT skills by 2025.

“A significant barrier to continuing to accelerate innovation is finding the digitally skilled workers to keep pace with technology advancements,” says Mr Durrance.

According to research by market intelligence firm IDC, most Australian businesses think working from home or a hybrid of home and office work will become the norm. Nearly half of Australia’s current digital workforce agrees. They think cloud computing will play an increasing role in how they work in the future. For paid cloud providers like AWS, it’s a matter of adapting and meeting changing customer demands.