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The benefits of cloud computing ━ Scaling digital transformation (DX) initiatives is a pressing challenge for many Australian organisations, and cloud technologies play a key role in achieving this. Cloud technologies, alone represent a significant opportunity for many businesses to unlock future growth potential. This is particularly so in key industries such as farming, healthcare and construction – industries that are often challenged when it comes to digital advancements.
According to a recent IDC report, Breaking the Digital Deadlock to Thrive in the Australian Market, the majority of Australian organisations have yet to fully leverage cloud, however it is said that this year (2018) is the year of the multi-cloud. More than 60 percent of Australian enterprise IT organisations will commit to multi-cloud architecture before the year’s end, driving up the rate and pace of change in their ICT architectures. The cloud conversation has evolved from “whether or not to cloud” to “how many clouds”. And 66 percent of Australian enterprises see cloud technology as a tool to drive competitive advantage, a critical component of their DX journey.
The benefits of cloud computing are undoubtedly a very important piece of the digital transformation puzzle and a key enabler for some of our most traditional sectors that can now make a tech comeback using cloud technology. Here we explore how cloud technology is enabling three key sectors to digitally transform.
The benefits of cloud computing in transforming Australian farms
The agricultural industry is one of Australia’s most important sectors. It contributes 3% to Australia’s total GDP and the gross value of Australian farm production in 2016-17 was $60 billion.
Historically, technology has helped boost efficiency on Australian farms, with machinery and other breakthroughs helping to revolutionise the sector. However, farmers have been slow to adopt cloud technology. In fact, ABS figures revealed the take up of cloud technology in the agricultural sector was fewer than any other industry. That is, until recently where the tide is turning and farmers are realising that utilising technology is critical to their business success and competitiveness. Additionally, with more reliable broadband and increased access, farmers can achieve more with technology.
Today, cloud technology is being used throughout the supply chain creating visibility and a seamless process, where agricultural goods are tracked and paid for all the way from paddock to plate. Further, cloud computing is being used in combination with other technologies to boost efficiency on farms. For example, by integrating digital equipment such as environmental sensors and GPS with data analytics, farmers have access to better quality data which enables a boost in productivity, environmental sustainability, safety and workflow.
The financial side of agriculture is complex. Cloud-based accounting software enables farmers as well as their multiple stakeholders (bankers, accountants etc.) to have up to date access to crucial financial information for timely decision-making. Cloud based infrastructure is also used to store inventory information, manage livestock effectively, track markets to reduce volatility and enhance return on investment.
Cloud heats up in Healthcare
The healthcare industry is plagued with cumbersome, legacy systems. This, combined with the amount of highly sensitive, personalised information, makes it one of the most challenging sectors to transform. Yet it is also the sector that demands digital transformation as doctors, nurses, clinics and hospitals strive to deliver quality cost-effective services to their patients.
Historically, healthcare organisations have kept centralised records, and therefore had to acquire and maintain all the required hardware, software, and relevant staff (regardless of whether or not these resources were used at full capacity). This is where the power of cloud comes in – by providing a more efficient, decentralised approach, and improving patient experience, at significantly lower costs.
By using cloud services, healthcare organisation only pay for what they use, for example storage, applications, and infrastructure service. Additionally, cloud technology provides flexibility so users can scale resources up or down as needed.
However, for the cloud to truly deliver in this sector, the underlying network infrastructure must be secure and fit-for-purpose. You only have to look at the current debate over My Health Record to understand the importance of having a secure, up-to-date network infrastructure underpinning the technology.
Cloud builds a future in construction
Despite its size, or perhaps due to its size, construction is another industry that has been slow to innovate. However, digitisation is coming fast and the industry is on the verge of widespread adoption of a range of new technologies.
More and more construction firms are looking for digital solutions and technological additions that help improve existing businesses and provide them with a competitive advantage. Cloud technology prioritises user experience, offers flexible payment options, promotes collaboration and integrates with other software. It can also help contractors manage their workforce, assets and equipment, safety, quality and compliance, and supply chain.
While there is palpable excitement around cloud technology and digital transformation in the sector, construction firms using legacy systems wanting to embrace change will recognise that a digital strategy is integral to the overall business plan.
While these more traditional industries are only starting to realise the benefits of cloud technology, the financial sector has already adopted cloud-based platforms and is reaping the benefits of agility, improved efficiency and cost savings.
As always, with great power comes great responsibility and all sectors, traditional or otherwise must address security and compliance as part of their digital transformation strategy. If this is done properly, the opportunities for growth and change are endless.