Cloud strategy

The NSW Government is making the strategic shift to cloud consumption through the use of public and private cloud services. The purpose of the NSW Government Cloud Strategy is to provide all NSW Government agencies with a common vision, direction, and approach for consuming cloud services to enable agencies to transform and accelerate digital service delivery. 
The NSW Government Cloud Strategy has been developed with inputs from all NSW Government clusters and in partnership with industry. The strategy has provided an understanding of the common challenges that are getting in the way of agencies achieving their cloud aspirations and has been developed to help guide agencies past these to make the most of the cloud opportunity. 
The vision for cloud consumption across NSW Government is ‘Enable government-wide adoption of public cloud services in an aligned and secure manner, to accelerate innovation, modernise service delivery and drive better outcomes for the citizens of NSW’. 

What is it?

The NSW Government Cloud Strategy was developed in collaboration with all NSW Government Clusters. It takes into account historic iterations of various digital and cloud strategies and policies, including the NSW Digital Strategy, ‘Beyond Digital Strategy’, Federal Secure Cloud Strategy, and the Federal Digital Transformation Strategy. The NSW Government Cloud Strategy further evolves and aligns the thinking within these strategies to provide cetralised guidance and direction to enable a consistent, scalable, and aligned  approach to the consumption of cloud. 


The NSW Government Cloud Strategy applies to all NSW Government clusters and agencies. It does not apply to State Owned Corporations, but it is recommended for their adoption.


All NSW public sector Secretaries and Chief Executives are responsible for ensuring that this strategy is applied within their clusters and/or agencies. The NSW Government ICT and Digital Leadership Group (IDLG) provides oversight for this strategy. 

What does it cover?

The NSW Government Cloud Strategy is presented in five sections: 

  1. Executive Summary: outlines background and context, introduces what the strategy is, the outcomes to be achieved by following this strategy, the scope of the strategy and NSW Government agency responsibilities in following and executing the strategy. 
  2. The Cloud Opportunity: provides a common definition for cloud services and presents the case for why NSW Government is making the strategic shift to consume services through public cloud.
  3. Where we are: outlines the current position of NSW Government cloud consumption and challenges experienced across the sector.
  4. Public Cloud First Strategy: sets the vision, direction, and principles for the consumption of public cloud services across NSW Government.
  5. Roadmap: outlines the mechanisms that will be developed to make it easier for agencies to access and consume cloud services, as well as the immediate steps being actioned.

Strategy outcomes

  • Security – adhering to this strategy guidance, regarding usage of cloud services will ensure NSW Government agency assets and data are secured. 
  • Consistency – NSW Government agencies receive common direction in the consumption of cloud services, allowing them to make consistent usage of the public and private cloud services.
  • Modernisation – the NSW Government Cloud Strategy guides NSW Government agencies in consuming cloud services to modernise their ICT and Digital service delivery. The strategy enables modernisation through lineage to updated business processes for procurement, security, and consumption of cloud services. 
  • Alignment – By defining and guiding the direction of the adoption and implementation of cloud services, this strategy ensures alignment of cloud implementation across the NSW Government in accordance with NSW Government strategic objectives and priorities set in the Beyond Digital strategy. 
  • Innovation – enables NSW Government agencies to consume new cloud capabilities such as AI, machine learning, data analytics etc. By leveraging cloud services, the NSW Government will be able to keep up with services released by industry, without having to build and maintain each capability. 
  • Optimal Commercial Outcomes – NSW Government agencies will contribute to optimising NSW Government commercial outcomes by using strategic partnerships with public cloud services providers, whole of government agreements and purchasing arrangements that have been established and referred to in this strategy. 

The cloud opportunity

Cloud has been identified as an enabler of the ‘Beyond Digital’ Strategy, supporting the outcomes of two of the five strategic directions, namely ‘Deliver Better Frontline Technology’ and ‘Invest for Customer Outcomes’. The diagram below summarises the five strategic directions and the outcomes which underpin these. 

The 5 strategic direction sand the outcomes which underpin these (will be made accessible soon)

Cloud supports the ‘Beyond Digital’ Strategy, by enabling the responsive delivery of more innovative services to meet the growing and changing needs of the people of NSW. Cloud enables two significant shifts for Government to achieve this: 


1. Focus on Differentiating Services - Cloud allows government to transition from the undifferentiated activities of managing infrastructure, to consumption of ICT as a service, allowing greater focus on differentiating services.

graph displaying differntiating services (will be made accessible soon)

2. Deploy and Leverage Innovative and Native Services - Cloud provides the foundational infrastructure upon which to rapidly deploy more advanced services. This empowers the government to keep up with the most innovative services in industry, without having to build and maintain each capability.

graph displaying cloud adoption (will be made accessible soon)

These two major shifts are also further reinforced by a series of benefits which can be achieved through the consumption of public cloud services. 

Where are we now?

Private cloud consumption

The NSW Government consume private cloud services through the Government Data Centres (GovDC). In 2009, the NSW Government launched the ‘Data Centre Reform’ to support the Government’s ICT strategy by consolidating 130 disparate data centres into two purpose built facilities (GovDC). GovDC opened for business in 2013 with offerings centred on secure data storage, network services and internet gateway services. 
Agency demand has historically focussed on private cloud services within GovDC. However, this demand growth is starting to taper, as more agencies explore public cloud services. The graph below summarises the growing consumption of GovDC from 2014 through to 2020. This demand is expected to flatten, as agencies consume more public cloud services.

Gov DC Load Summary (will be made accessible soon)

Public cloud consumption

The increase in NSW Government public cloud use is summarised in the graph below. Between 2016 and 2019, public cloud spend has doubled, with some volatility. Spend has been largely focused on software as a service consumption rather than infrastructure or platform as a service usage. 

Public cloud spend (will be made accessible soon)

Future NSW Government cloud use cases centre on Software as a Service (SaaS) consumption as well as more contemporary services such as mobile services, content delivery, artificial intelligence, machine learning, language processing and the internet of things.  

Challenges to address

NSW Government agencies aspire to make greater use of cloud services, however there are several challenges across the sector hindering adoption and consumption of public cloud. 


Discovery workshops and interviews with NSW Government agency representatives highlighted that existing process and mechanism challenges are hindering cloud uptake, highlighting the need for mechanisms to enable frictionless supply.


The four key challenge themes that were identified are: 

  1. Procurement: existing procurement processes are limiting the Government’s adoption of cloud and outcome realisation;
  2. Security: expanding security boundaries and increasing service complexity could leave the Government vulnerable in their move to cloud;
  3. Funding: Growth in ICT funding has not been accompanied by changes to the financial operating model needed to enable cloud; and
  4. Talent: Cloud further exacerbates ICT talent challenges as cloud skills are less defined, in higher demand and in short supply.

Cloud strategy

The vision for NSW Government is to ‘Enable government-wide adoption of public cloud services in an aligned and secure manner, to accelerate innovation, modernise service delivery and drive better outcomes for the citizens of NSW’. The key tenants of this vision are explained below: 

  • Government-wide adoption – achieved by developing the supporting mechanisms to enable all agencies to consume cloud. 
  • Public cloud services – agencies will build and operate their ICT using industry leading public cloud services, to remove the undifferentiated heavy lifting of managing ICT and take advantage of innovative services from industry.
  • Aligned – NSW Government will use a consistent set of cloud design and architecture principles, the NSW Government Cloud Policy, and the NSW Government Cloud Adoption Framework to make the best use of cloud services. 
  • Secure – Agencies will secure and protect citizen data by applying appropriate security controls. 
  • Drive better outcomes for the citizens of NSW – by using public cloud services to accelerate digital service delivery to meet the growing and changing needs of the people of NSW. 

The success measures of the NSW Government Cloud Strategy are to ensure the following by 2023: 

  1. All NSW Government agencies using public cloud, for a minimum of 25% of their ICT services, by 2023. The Delivery and Performance Architecture checklist (DAPA) has been developed in line with this strategic goal. 
  2. Less than 5% of requests for ICT services funding, require exception from the NSW Government Cloud Policy
  3. 25% reduction on ICT infrastructure procured by NSW Government agencies with capital expenditure.

Strategic principles


Cloud provides the opportunity for agencies to leverage new technology and services to achieve their business outcomes. As such agencies should not seek to replicate existing ICT services from their data centres to the cloud. A series of strategic principles have been defined to guide agencies in making the right decisions and consuming appropriate services.

  1. Use public cloud services as the default

  2. Automate infrastructure where possible

  3. Modernise applications to make use of cloud-native services

  4. Optimise operations to reduce manual toil and operational burdens

  5. Measure services and use data to optimise

  6. Configure services as the preference to customisation

Our strategic roadmap

The pathway to deliver the NSW Government Cloud Strategy have been designed over two stages with opportunities for optimisation identified in the future. Recommendations across the four prioritised themes need to be implemented to support the NSW Government vision for cloud and wider adoption. These will be underpinned by ancillary recommendations to be implemented in tandem.
The implementation of mechanisms to support cloud adoption across NSW Government are summarised in the roadmap below.
 

image displaying future roadmap (will be made accessible soon)

Further information

For further information, you can refer to the NSW Government Cloud Strategy.

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