Rise of the Machines: Preparing the NZ ICT Industry for Cloud (Part III)

new zealandThe Cloud is here. As organisations in New Zealand over 40% of us are already using it and over 75% of our staff are using it with our data. Globally, we are a year behind the wholesale uptake of Cloud with the exceptions of our SMB’s who are taking to the service wholeheartedly.

The last two blogs have been about the impact of Cloud on our industry and our roles as ICT professionals. This blog looks at how we can prepare for it.

Just get over the FUD

I talk to a lot of people who are still stuck on the “Security”, “Privacy”, and “Patriot Act” arguments. Cloud is more secure, privacy is a business problem that they need to sort out (increased security in the Cloud will help that), and the Patriot Act is a silly argument.

Don’t believe me? As I’ve mentioned before; the CIA just bought $650m of Amazon Cloud and if you do an audit of your security, versus any major Cloud provider, I’d be willing to bet money your security is worse.

Stop investing in dinosaurs

The days of having your own data centre are pretty much over. It is only a matter of time before Legacy Systems can be ported to the Cloud, granted they will be last on the list of ICT Services to do so, but it’s coming. So is the conversation with your CEO that goes along the lines of “Can you tell me why you need a ten million dollar infrastructure refresh when I can buy that from the Cloud for a million a year?”

Someone let the Educators know that they training new ICT recruits wrong

The IITP have released a consultation document today that highlights the fact that, in my opinion, we are not putting investment into the right places in education. The consultation lists at least three roles that won’t around in five years; “Computer Technician” (the death of the PC is well underway), “Helpdesk and Tech Support” (progressively being replaced by automated systems), and “Systems Administrator” (high on the list of at risk roles given automation).

Why are we wasting our time training people in dying skill sets? Stop it and start to think about teaching skills that are better aligned with Cloud structures; Systems Thinking (architecture), anything network, security, business intelligence, to name a few.

Form industry groups with an agenda to protect and evolve onshore Cloud services

I have friend in business who’s favourite quote is “do it to them before they do it you.”

We have a fledgling Cloud service industry in New Zealand that needs to be supported, exploited, and marketed in the same way that we have our “100% Pure New Zealand brand”. Within a few years, maybe two to three, one of the global Cloud Providers will land in Auckland and any local providers will be in a very bad position.

We already have our marketing brand name “New Zealand – Land of the Long White Cloud.” New Zealand is easy to do business with, is cheap, is seen as the Switzerland of the Southern Hemisphere, and as a deep storage location for Northern Hemisphere corporate data, is damn near perfect.

Couple that with our greatest export strength, IT Consulting, design, and development, and you have a great marketing proposition.

If we can get that up and running before someone else figures it out and takes the cash offshore, it could be a great export for New Zealand.

Stand up industry leaders and lead

We need some of our stronger, higher profile leaders, to start blogging, agitating, and evangelising the need for change and how we can get it after it. Of course they’ll be shot out, tall poppy chopping is a national pastime, but the haters will simply be left behind fixing their elderly parent’s laptops.

Government needs to join the 21st Century

In general, there has been very little change in ICT in the government area in the last few years.

Government could benefit hugely from actually adopting Cloud rather than talking about it. Again, leadership is key (pardon the pun).

It could transform not only government, but also the ICT industry as a whole as the transition would take some years.

The end result is better for citizens, better for government, and can be exported.

Stop talking, start doing.

Legalise Crowdfunding

Kickstarter is an excellent innovation engine but we aren’t allowed, apparently, in New Zealand to support the same model legally.

Change it. The ability for innovators to crowd source funding will significantly advance starts up and plays to a core national strength.

Fix the network

The latest rollout figures for UFB came out a few weeks back and they are horrible. At the current rate of progress it will be over two hundred years before they hit their targets. In the US we are now seeing entire cities wired in three years, with fibre, at 1GB, with entry level free connections.

UFB must be kicked along faster with cities taking direct responsibility to also build smart network grids. It needs to start now, because in two years, we will be using twelve times the amount of bandwidth that we currently use today. If we don’t get this moving, we’ll create a network traffic jam that will grind us all into the dark ages.

While we’re at it, let’s break the stranglehold on the international cable and open it up faster. If we want data down here, and access to the rest of the world, we need more bandwidth. It’s all there, its just locked up to give the maximum cash return to the owners. That short thinking approach could cause other initiatives to fail.

Stop seeing Cloud as a cost saving

Cloud will definitely save you money, but does that mean you should get rid of your ICT organisation and staff? Short term thinking says yes, strategic thinking says leverage Cloud in order to free up those resources to research, innovate, and create technology differentiators.

Short term thinking, that focus on quarterly results, is being rapidly abandoned as a business model.


We tend to treat new technology with great suspicion. It’s rather like standing at the low tide mark on the beach and berating the fact the tide is coming in, how terrible it is, then finding ourselves drowning. Embracing Cloud now will allow the industry to adapt and increase its export base. Unfortunately, Cloud takes mass, so we need a lot of industry players to band together to make that happen.

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