IT Brief New Zealand - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
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Cloud technology's potential impact on New Zealand economy
Tue, 10th Oct 2023

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has today released new research pointing to the profound economic and societal impact small to medium-sized Kiwi enterprises utilising cloud technology could make. According to their findings, businesses with up to 250 employees that adopt cloud technology will generate NZ$1.5 billion in productivity gains and support 300,000 jobs in New Zealand by 2030.

In healthcare, cloud-enabled businesses stand to significantly address the issue of limited access to healthcare. It is projected that NZ$600 million in annual productivity benefits could be unlocked in this sector through an increase in virtual health consultations, estimating five million such consultations by 2030 – a 65% rise on the current rate of usage.

Similar effects are forecasted for the education sector, wherein cloud-enabled businesses could make education more broadly accessible and inclusive. They could unlock NZ$430 million in annual productivity benefits and provide e-learning solutions to 400,000 NZ students by 2030.

In the agriculture industry, cloud technology could help tackle food shortages by aiding in the implementation of data-driven practices and AI, unlocking yet another NZ$430 million in annual productivity benefits. By 2030, as much as one in three NZ farms will likely use precision agriculture solutions, further enhancing productivity.

The revelations are part of the “Realising a Cloud-enabled Economy: How Cloud Drives Economic and Societal Impact Through Businesses” report commission by AWS and conducted by Accenture. It examined New Zealand organisations with under 250 employees, using the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s definition of cloud adoption levels to predict a future where 90% of all businesses adopt at least a basic level of cloud technology by 2030.

“Small and medium-sized New Zealand businesses are the backbone of Aotearoa, and a major contributor to economic performance as well as driving positive societal outcomes, innovating to deliver new services globally,” said Tim Dacombe-Bird, Country Manager, Public Sector, AWS New Zealand. “AWS is making significant investments in skills, education, and local infrastructure, including launching an AWS Region in Auckland next year, to accelerate adoption of advanced cloud-enabled technologies such as generative AI to realise economic and social benefits sooner.”

To maximise the benefits of cloud technology, the report proposes closer collaboration between the government and industry. It pinpointed various challenges such as cybersecurity, organisational culture, and digital skills as barriers preventing broad cloud adoption. The report also provided five recommendations: identifying how the cloud can streamline strategic business needs, evaluating industry and government support, upskilling employees in the cloud, reviewing data and security policies, and creating a whole-of-business cloud migration strategy.

Auckland-based Clearhead, an AI-powered employee wellbeing programme provider, exemplifies the productive use of AWS AI and ML technologies. “Using the broadest and deepest AWS AI and ML and data analytics services, we were able to build our AI-powered employee wellbeing platform that empowers employees to build self-awareness and emotional intelligence through timely and actionable personal insights as well as assist HR with comprehensive data analytics to address the psychosocial hazards in their workplace,” said Dr Angela Lim, CEO and Co-founder of Clearhead.

The premise of widespread cloud adoption still boasts large room for growth. “While there is still a huge opportunity for startups and small and medium-sized businesses to further advance their cloud adoption, this will accelerate their ability to address some of the biggest challenges in society,” commented Aaron Hill, Managing Director of Economic Insights, Accenture Strategy and Consulting. Therefore, increased support from governmental and industrial entities is crucial for businesses to harness transformative technologies such as generative AI, driving economic productivity while delivering societal impact.