The Federal Government should follow other sectors like banking and adopt a ‘cloud first’ policy for all low risk, generic IT services.
This was the first of two cloud-related recommendations made by the National Commission of Audit today. The commission said this policy could help reduce IT costs over the next three to five years as cloud computing becomes the default option.
“The Commonwealth Government has been slow to adopt cloud computing. A reliance on bespoke, legacy systems, concerns about security and privacy of placing public data in the cloud, and general risk aversion all impede progress,” the commission said.
The second recommendation was to establish a whole-of-government cloud computing provider panel. This should sit under the Department of Finance and be responsible for confirming the viability, capability and costs of large-scale cloud computing providers.
“Agencies could then obtain quotes for such services as the need arises,” the commission said.
The commission made several other IT-related recommendations, including improving the use of data for policy development, fraud detection and service delivery. This could be achieved by requiring major departments and agencies to develop plans to maximise use of their own source data, as well as extending and accelerating publication of anonymised administrative data, it said.
It also recommended the government make several ‘big data’ projects in major service delivery agencies a priority; and have the Australian statistician prepare a data strategy on the quality, timeliness and availability of data suitable for public release.
Meanwhile, the commission recommended speeding up efforts to place various services online and make myGov the default way to engage with government (with opt-out provisions). This requires set savings targets, and removing legislative barriers.
It also advocated consolidating the e-government effort with a single team led by a chief digital officer, and the appointment of a senior minister to ‘champion the digital by default agenda.’
Finally, it recommended the government review IT systems procurement to improve efficiency of corporate services, and adopt a staged implementation of shared corporate services for agencies and departments.