Cloudonomics: Improving Canada’s digital advantage

In a time of sustained and depressing economic crunch one of the most important factors about Cloud Computing is not technological, but more importantly what potential the industry sector offers for accelerating economic development: Cloudonomics.

This is especially important in countries like Canada where for various reasons the ICT industry is under-developed, and this has knock-on consequences.

There is an infamous ‘D for Innovation‘ scorecard, and an ongoing decline.

Since 2001 the country has slipped from third to 13th on the Global Competitiveness Index, from second to 10th in the OECD’s broadband ranking, and from fourth to 13th in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s e-readiness ranking. The Word Economic Forum just dropped them from their top ten too.

Digital Economy Advantage

These are dire stats indeed but thankfully the solution is identified in strategy if not yet in execution.

In this analysis white paper, Improving Canada’s Digital Advantage, the Canadian Government identifies three essential facts that can turn the situation around:

  1. Academic research has highlighted Canada lacks a culture of innovation, and as a result Canadian businesses invest less in new technologies than their counterparts in other countries, especially the USA. The average ICT investment per worker in Canada is only 60% that of the USA, and this underinvestment in IT has been linked to Canada’s weak productivity growth over the last several years, a rate of 1.8% compared to 2.9% in the USA.
  2. Cloud Computing has been identified as the type of new technology that can address this situation, overcoming obstacles such as cost and lack of small business solutions.
  3. The Government themselves can directly accelerate this adoption:
  • “Governments can play an important role in acting as model users of ICT and leading by example.”
  • “Public procurement can help drive smart ICT adoption in the private sector.”
  • “Cloud computing solutions could further improve government operations and public service delivery”.

These insights are all perfectly correct, and so now the challenge is one of turning theory into execution. We need to see Government agencies publishing case studies of their innovative use and adoption of Cloud Computing, with a view to leading by example and encouraging the private sector to follow suit.

Recently we formed the Canadian Cloud Best Practices Council to provide the vehicle for this execution, and will be following up shortly with a program of activities to help begin achieving this.

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