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There is some way to go

Posted on Friday, June 03, 2011 | 2 Comments

A quick little rant on an article I read this morning, "Interview: Wadeson opens up on Government IT". The lead of the article describes who Wadeson is

The Australian Government's longest-serving, most influential CIO reveals all on his retirement.

John Wadeson, one of the longest-serving CIOs in the Australian Government, will retire on September 9 after 40 years of public service.

The day he started, Bill McMahon was Australia’s Prime Minister. He’ll finish up just after his 61st birthday, and midway through one of the largest IT challenges an Australian Government agency has ever faced.
Given that Wadeson is no light weight so I was really interested to his comments on Cloud. They were brief;
Wadeson has followed with interest discussions on cloud computing in government, but feels it offers little to advance Centrelink – and now Department of Human Services.

“No one is ready to put customer data offshore,” he noted. “Not yet. It won’t happen in my time.

“The trouble is that you split our architecture and then nothing connects,” he said.

“Our staff want it all to work in a whole system that integrates. So there’s not a lot in it, for us.”
Really. They are certainly brief statements and he may have said a lot more and often people can be quoted out of context ... but even so.

Do we still need to live with the perception that utilising Cloud means to "put customer data offshore"? Sure, Australia does not yet have the diversity and scale of Cloud services that exist in other countries but there are services and more are being delivered every month.

Why does Cloud adoption mean you "split ... architecture and then nothing connects"? With the growing capability of hybrid models, storage tiering and other architectures there is no split or loss of connection. How Cloud utilisation results in not having "whole" or "integrated" systems is a wonder. Is the perception that Enterprise Architecture and Cloud are incompatible?

The only way I can may any sense of this is that the definition of Cloud being referred to is a narrow alignment with specific and standalone SaaS offerings, for example the adoption of Google Mail to replace or augment a departments existing mail systems. But Cloud is so much more than that!

Is this really the depth of innovative thinking that exists within IT leadership in this country? Maybe its a good thing that Mr Wadeson is retiring in September. If Cloud is not going to happen "in my time" at least that time is short!

This speaks to show just how much work there is to do in education, discussion and working through the models and use cases for the ever increasing expanse of what Cloud means and what Cloud can deliver.


P.S. The views expressed as usual are my own and my own madness and not related to anything or anyone else.

UPDATE : Here is a video from ZDNet with John that's interesting to watch.


  1. I think you have misinterpreted his comment “The trouble is that you split our architecture and then nothing connects,” I believe he is expressing a valid concern that starting to using cloud services increases your reliance on third party networks and infrastructure which usually results in a loss of transparency and control. These concerns can be addressed by working closely with the provider but they are still valid.

    Likewise his comment "whole system that integrates" is about no longer having "soup to nuts" responsibility. It's not that external services can't replace in-house components but that doing so alters the responsibilities and required skills of in-house staff. This might require upfront changes before introducing cloud becomes an option so perhaps his statement "So there’s not a lot in it, for us" needs a "...yet." on the end.

  2. Martin, really appreciate the comment. It would be great to think I have misinterpreted the splitting of architecture and the connectivity. If that was the case I suspect it would be more common to say "split our architecture which increases reliance on connectivity ...". The phrase "nothing connects" to me sounds like an integration issue.

    As I mentioned with such a short quote its hear to know what he really meant and appreciate your ideas of how we might understand them better.

    Cheers Rodos


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