In a new, far-reaching study by BSA The Software Alliance that assessed cloud computing policies around the globe, South Africa ranks 14th out of 24 leading IT economies, compared to its ranking of 20th in 2013.
This is a sign that the legal and regulatory environment for cloud computing in the country is encouraging cloud innovation. In terms of overall ranking, South Africa was the biggest improver (moving up six places), followed by Canada (moving up five places).
The 2016 BSA Global Cloud Computing Scorecard ranks the cloud computing readiness of 24 countries that account for 80% of the world’s IT markets. Each country is graded on its strengths and weaknesses in seven key policy areas.
“We are excited to see South Africa leading the way when it comes to cloud computing readiness,” says Billa Coetsee, chairman of the BSA South Africa. “The shift up to 14th place signifies that as a country we are embracing technology that helps to build our emerging economy at a most pertinent time.
“Cloud computing has the potential to open up opportunities for a much larger proportion of our society thanks to its cost effectiveness, and we are hopeful that the improvement we have seen this year will continue as we move into the future.”
Cloud computing allows anyone — a start-up, an individual consumer, a government or a small business — to quickly and efficiently access technology in a cost-effective way. These services in return open the door to unprecedented connectivity, productivity and competitiveness.
This year’s results reveal that almost all countries have made healthy improvements in their policy environments since the release of BSA’s previous Scorecard in 2013. But the stratification among high-, middle- and low-achieving country groups has widened, with the middle-ranking countries stagnating even as the high achievers continue to refine their policy environments.
“It is promising that South Africa has moved up in the rankings, and shows that since 2013 the country has strengthened its commitment to cloud innovation policies. However, there is still work to be done,” says Victoria Espinel, President and CEO of BSA The Software Alliance. “Countries around the globe must recognise their policies affect the global cloud marketplace. The report is a wakeup call for all governments to work together to ensure the benefits of the cloud around the globe.”
The top five countries in the rankings are: Japan, the US, Germany, Canada and France.
Notably, three of the countries that have trailed in the rankings — Thailand, Brazil and Vietnam — continue to make significant and consistent gains and are closing their gap with mid-tier countries. The world’s major IT markets remained stable with modest gains.
Negative trends emerged as well. For example, few countries are promoting policies of free trade or harmonisation of cloud computing policies. Russia and China, in particular, have imposed new policies that will hinder cloud computing by limiting the ability of cloud computing service providers to adequately move data across borders.