IT Brief New Zealand - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
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Cloud adoption: How do Australia & New Zealand stack up?
Tue, 16th Oct 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The speed at which businesses are able to adopt cloud, and how they use it, can be impacted by where they're based in the world. Some markets are much more proactive than others when it comes to new technology, and there are clear differences in which solutions are preferred.

In spending time in Australia and New Zealand, I've made the following observations about local cloud adoption trends.   Cloud adoption rates vary   Despite issues with internet infrastructure, some companies based in Australia and New Zealand tend to be faster adopters of cloud technologies compared with their global counterparts. They're not so much "early adopters" but rather "eager adopters" - hungering for information about what they can do to leverage the cloud to make their businesses better.

The Big Four banks in Australia were eager adopters of cloud services, with the Commonwealth Bank being one of the first to publicly acknowledge its alliance with Amazon Web Services six years ago.

Banks in the US are also embracing the cloud - with some business units having higher adoption rates than others.

Other countries, such as Germany, are far more risk-averse. IT managers in such regions tend to be more concerned with the problems that new technology may bring, and want to fully understand its impact before moving forward.   Fixing technology problems   How technology problems are fixed and resolved can also impact cloud adoption. In New Zealand, the country's physical location has historically made it very hard to source replacement parts. Shipments took up to six months, compared to Europe and North America, where parts were readily available. This situation forced New Zealanders to figure out how to fix things themselves, with whatever materials were available. The expression "Number 8 wire" describes this ingenuity, with the wire of this kind commonly used in remote areas to fix machinery.   We see this approach endure through the technology age. Whereas in Europe, problems get fixed using well tested and approved methods, companies in Australia and New Zealand will fix things with whatever is on hand; fixing them to the level that is absolutely required to solve the immediate problem. Today, this results in a different approach to addressing problems across their technology architecture.

Cloud provider preferences   Regions around the world have shown different preferences and adoption of different cloud providers. In the UK and Europe, I've seen that Amazon Web Services (AWS) is popular but Microsoft Azure is also a part of most conversations. In the US, AWS is clearly the dominant cloud provider, but there's increasing interest in Microsoft Azure, and certain offerings from Google Cloud Platform, IBM, and Pivotal.   In Australia and New Zealand, however, AWS is much more ingrained, and Microsoft Azure has not yet made significant headway into the mindset of the market.   Cloud technology priorities   In each geography, different cloud technologies have different levels of importance. For example, companies in Australia and New Zealand show strong interest in DevOps/Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery/Process Improvements. In Germany, these topics are far less pervasive.   Conversely, in Germany, there's much more focus placed on the private cloud, due to the government, business, consumer security, and privacy concerns that still exist with the public cloud. Security was considered the number one issue inhibiting public cloud adoption in the region, whereas in other markets, including Australia and New Zealand, security is mostly considered a known and solvable issue, and private cloud isn't much of a topic of conversation.   While the cloud is now global, cultural differences will always be reflected in even small ways. Working with a global approach in mind, it's always important to consider that technology and processes will be seen differently depending on the vantage point you're looking at it. These differences impact how cloud vendors should talk to customers in different locales.