A new report has revealed micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in education that embrace cloud-enabled technologies in Australia could unlock AU$2.9 billion in annual productivity benefits by 2030.
Through supporting the education industry, cloud-enabled MSMEs are expected to facilitate two million school students and five million Australian adults to receive online learning by 2030.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) commissioned the report, ‘Realising a Cloud-enabled Economy: How Cloud Drives Economic and Societal Impact Through Micro, Small, And Medium-Sized Businesses’, to examine the potential benefits of moving to the cloud for MSMEs (defined as businesses with fewer than 250 employees) addressing societal issues.
Conducted by global professional services firm, Accenture, the report uses the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s definition of cloud adoption levels 1 in 2030, where 90% of all businesses adopt at least a basic level of cloud technology.
The report reveals that Australia’s current rate of basic cloud adoption such as the use of web-based email services or cloud-based storage solutions is at 48%, intermediate adoption such as the use of customer relationship management or enterprise resource planning tools is at 41%, and advanced adoption such as the use of artificial intelligence (AI), including generative AI, and machine learning (ML) tailored for sophisticated tasks including fraud detection or supply chain forecasting is at 15%.
The report covers 12 countries, including Australia, and uses market sizing, responses from quantitative surveys, and a combination of publicly available datasets from the OECD, the World Bank, and the Conference Board Total Economy Database.
Economic and societal impact of cloud-enabled MSMEs
The report reveals that by moving to the cloud, MSMEs can drive tangible benefits to the economy and society, facilitating remote medical consultations, improving access to education, enhancing precision agriculture, and more, all of which contribute to nations meeting the targets included in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
In the education sector, cloud-enabled MSMEs help with addressing the challenge of accessibility and inclusivity of education through digital platforms. The report estimates these MSMEs can help unlock AU$2.9 billion in annual productivity benefits in education and provide seven million students and adults in Australia with e-learning solutions by 2030.
AWS head of strategy and operations in ANZ, Ms Michelle Hardie, said the report highlights that Australia has one of the highest overall cloud adoption rates globally, paving the way for the country to transition to a cloud-enabled economy.
“Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, though often the unsung heroes of innovation, play a crucial role in addressing challenges in Australian society, such as by improving access to digital healthcare and education services,” she said.
For example, Saasyan, an Australian start-up, is using AI to detect online bullying and alerting staff and parents to potential warning signs. The software is currently being used across 600 schools (with 400,000 school students) to alert teachers to potential online incidents.
“To accelerate adoption of advanced cloud technologies such as generative AI and realise economic and social benefits sooner, AWS is working alongside governments, educators, and the industry to help local businesses in Australia create a better future for all.”