Cloud, Windows 8 may sneak into Canberra through Tourism Australia



blog Those of you who keep your eye on interesting enterprise IT deployments in Australia will be aware that cloud computing hasn’t precisely set the world on fire when it comes to the Federal Government, which remains quite leery of committing its data to other people’s datacentres — at least, datacentres which may feature multi-tenanted infrastructure or services, or may be offshore. The same can be said of Windows 8; with most departments and agencies still conducting the upgrade to Windows 7, Microsoft’s newest red-headed stepchild hasn’t found the most welcome reception. However, if a story published by ZDNet this week is to be believed (we recommend you click here for the full article), at least one agency, Tourism Australia, may be on the verge of taking the plunge on multiple fronts. The site reports:

“Tourism Australia is seeking to replace a number of internal IT systems in November, with the potential to move to Windows 8 and adopt more cloud-based services, including Office 365 … The systems that require replacement include finance, budget, procurement, human resources, and payroll.”

I have to say, this move looks pretty ideal for Tourism Australia. The agency is quite unique amongst Federal Government agencies (apart from DFAT, for example) in that it actually has offices located in quite a few countries around the world, in locations as dispersed as China, Canada and Brazil. With this in mind, it makes complete sense for Tourism Australia’s IT department to offer key services through a web browser on a software as a service model, because this would allow its far-flung staff to access them easily, no matter where they are. The Office 365 model makes particular sense in this vein. It’s precisely this kind of situation that cloud computing services are perfect for.

In addition, it’s unlikely that Tourism Australia will run afoul of the Federal Government’s new restrictive policies on offshore data storage. The agency is unlikely to be keeping any data that is highly sensitive in terms of Australia’s security; it’s primarily a marketing branch of the government, after all, which aims to promote Australia internationally. I wonder whether this deployment will go ahead quickly and serve as a useful case study for other departments and agencies looking for reasons to deploy cloud technologies in Canberra. It seems likely.

Image credit: Dell, Creative Commons