A report unveiled by Amazon Web Services (AWS) today provides insightful projections concerning micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) within Australia that are integrating cloud-enabled technologies. According to the study, these businesses are poised to unlock an estimated AU$9.3 billion in annual productivity gains and support approximately 1.4 million jobs in sectors like healthcare, education, and agriculture by 2030. This employment figure signifies a substantial 10% of all jobs within the country.
Cloud Adoption and Economic Impact
The report, titled “Realising a Cloud-enabled Economy: How Cloud Drives Economic and Societal Impact Through Micro, Small, And Medium-Sized Businesses”, was commissioned by AWS and executed by Accenture. It explores the potential advantages for MSMEs (those with under 250 employees) in adopting cloud technology, considering the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s projections for cloud adoption levels in 2030. It forecasts that 90% of all businesses will have embraced at least a basic level of cloud technology by this date.
Current data reveals that Australia’s rate of basic cloud adoption stands at 48%. Intermediate adoption, which encompasses the utilization of tools like customer relationship management or enterprise resource planning, is at 41%. Advanced adoption, involving sophisticated AI and machine learning applications for tasks like fraud detection or supply chain forecasting, is currently at 15%.
The study analyses data from 12 countries, including Australia, and uses market sizing, quantitative survey responses, and various datasets from reputable sources like the OECD, the World Bank, and the Conference Board Total Economy Database.
Societal Benefits Through Cloud Technology
According to the report, MSMEs that transition to the cloud can provide considerable economic and societal benefits. These include facilitating remote medical consultations, enhancing access to education through digital platforms, and implementing precision agriculture practices that address food shortage issues, aligning with targets set by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
In the healthcare sector, the study estimates that cloud-enabled MSMEs could unlock AU$4.7 billion in annual productivity while supporting 17 million telehealth consultations in Australia by 2030. This represents a significant 145% increase from the current usage rate.
In education, cloud adoption is expected to unlock AU$2.9 billion in annual productivity, providing e-learning solutions to seven million students and adults by 2030, thereby addressing issues related to accessibility and inclusivity in education.
For the agriculture sector, the report projects that cloud-enabled MSMEs will unlock AU$1.7 billion in annual productivity benefits. It also predicts that one in three farms will utilize precision agriculture solutions by 2030, marking a 190% increase compared to current usage rates, aiding in addressing food shortage challenges.
AWS and MSME Collaboration
Michelle Hardie, Head of Strategy and Operations, ANZ, AWS, highlighted the significant role played by MSMEs in addressing societal challenges in Australia, such as improving access to digital healthcare and education services. AWS is actively collaborating with governments, educators, and the industry to support the acceleration of advanced cloud technologies adoption among MSMEs, fostering economic and social benefits in the process.
Accelerating Cloud Adoption
The report also identified challenges MSMEs face in adopting cloud technology, including cybersecurity issues, organizational culture barriers, and a lack of access to IT infrastructure and digital skills. To overcome these challenges, the report recommends identifying strategic business needs that can be streamlined through the cloud, evaluating support from the industry and government, upskilling employees, reviewing data and security policies, and creating comprehensive cloud migration strategies.
Luke Acherstraat, CEO of COSBOA, expressed commitment to supporting small businesses in accelerating their digital transformation journey. He acknowledged the vital role of small businesses as innovators and their importance in addressing Australia’s productivity challenges through the adoption of digital tools and technologies.
AWS offers various programs tailored to assist MSMEs at different stages of their digital transformation. These initiatives are designed to help these enterprises capitalize on opportunities in the digital economy and transform their business models using advanced cloud technologies, including AI.
Case Studies: Cloud Technology in Action
One noteworthy example is exci, a Queensland-based AI-powered startup specializing in early bushfire detection. Utilizing AWS’s AI and ML technologies, exci developed a wildfire detection platform that processes millions of camera images and significant amounts of satellite data daily. This innovation has allowed for the detection of approximately 30,000 bushfires in Australia since 2021, significantly mitigating economic, environmental, and social impacts on local communities.
Another example is Osara Health, a digital health small business in New South Wales. By scaling their application on AWS, they’ve managed to support thousands of patients worldwide through their cancer diagnoses, connecting them to dedicated health coaches and providing access to digital resources and personalized guidance.
Aaron Hill, Managing Director of Economic Insights, Accenture Strategy and Consulting, emphasized the substantial benefits unlocked by MSMEs through adopting at least basic cloud technology. He stressed the importance of support from government and industry to enable these businesses to harness transformative technologies and drive innovation, economic productivity, and societal change.
For those interested in further details, the complete report, “Realising a Cloud-enabled Economy in Australia: How Cloud Drives Economic and Societal Impact Through Micro, Small, And Medium-Sized Businesses”, is available for download.