Cloud technology has delivered $9.4 billion dollars in productivity benefits to the Australian economy in the past five years, according to new research released this week by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Deloitte Access Economics.

The Economic Value of Cloud Services in Australia report, is based on a survey of more than 500 Australian businesses using cloud services and calculates the ratio of business inputs and outputs such as the use of labour and capital resources in producing goods and services to estimate productivity gains.

According to the report, 78 per cent of businesses have already increased their productivity by consolidating IT infrastructure and streamlining processes using cloud services, despite more than half (57 per cent) only adopting the technology recently (between 1 and 3 years at the time of the survey).

Cloud service uptake is growing rapidly, with 42 per cent of businesses currently using at least one paid service, compared with 31 per cent in 2016, but there is still significant room for growth.

The main drivers for cloud adoption in Australian businesses are the improvement of customer service, and the desire to remain competitive, each selected by over a third (38 per cent) of respondents. More broadly, 7 out of 10 businesses have experienced direct benefits from using cloud services such as scalability and achievement of business strategies.

The two biggest barriers to adoption are challenges in educating staff on cloud and migrating from legacy technology, each cited by 37 per cent of respondents.

Deloitte Access Economics partner, and report principal author, John O’Mahony, said the analysis showed there are clear benefits for Australian businesses that use cloud services.

“From a technology perspective, cloud can deliver cost savings, but it also allows businesses to be agile and elastic by accessing and scaling resources up and down as required. This means they can better manage peaks in customer demand, easily expand to new markets, and innovate with new technologies on a small scale before rolling out widely across the business,” O’Mahony said.

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