New Report Reveals AI and Cloud-Enabled Businesses Addressing Social Challenges

Expected to Unlock NZ$1.5 Billion and Support 300,000 Jobs in New Zealand by 2030

Closer collaboration between the government and the industry needed to accelerate AI and cloud adoption, and unleash the economic and societal benefits for New Zealand
 

Auckland, New Zealand, 9 October 2023—Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon.com company, today released a new report revealing that startups and small and medium sized businesses that embrace cloud-enabled technologies in New Zealand are expected to unlock up to NZ$1.5 billion in annual productivity gains and support 300,000 jobs across the healthcare, education, and agriculture sectors by 2030, representing 9% of total jobs in New Zealand.

AWS commissioned the “Realising a Cloud-enabled Economy: How Cloud Drives Economic and Societal Impact Through Businesses” report to examine the potential benefits of moving to the cloud for businesses addressing societal issues. Conducted by global professional services firm, Accenture, the report looks at New Zealand organisations with fewer than 250 employees, and uses Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s definition of cloud adoption levels to forecast a cloud-enabled economy[1] in 2030, where 90% of all businesses adopt at least a basic level of cloud technology.

The report reveals that New Zealand’s current rate of basic cloud adoption such as the use of web-based email services or cloud-based storage solutions is at 40%.  However, intermediate adoption such as the use of customer relationship management or enterprise resource planning tools is at 28%, 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 13%. There is still a huge opportunity for businesses in New Zealand to advance cloud adoption, in order to fully realise the potential of cloud technologies.

The “Realising a Cloud-enabled Economy: How Cloud Drives Economic and Societal Impact Through Businesses” report covers 12 countries, including New Zealand, and uses market sizing, responses from quantitative surveys, and a combination of publicly available datasets from the OECD, the World Bank, the Conference Board Total Economy Database.
 

Economic and Societal Impact of Cloud-Enabled Businesses

The report reveals that by moving to the cloud, startups and small to medium sized businesses can deliver tangible benefits to the economy and society. The cloud can facilitate remote medical consultations, improve access to education, enhance precision agriculture, and more, which contribute to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

In the healthcare sector, these cloud-enabled businesses help with addressing the challenge of limited access to healthcare faced by underserved communities. The report estimates cloud-enabled businesses can help unlock NZ$600 million in annual productivity benefits in healthcare and support five million virtual health consultations in New Zealand by 2030, a 65% increase on the current usage rate.

In the education sector, cloud-enabled businesses help with addressing the challenge of accessibility and inclusivity of education through digital platforms. The report estimates these can help unlock NZ$430 million in annual productivity benefits in education and provide 400,000 students in New Zealand with e-learning solutions by 2030, which is 33% more than the current usage rate.

In the agriculture sector, cloud-enabled businesses help with addressing food shortage problems, by implementing data-driven practices through cloud technologies such as AI. The report estimates that these businesses in New Zealand can help unlock NZ$430 million in annual productivity benefits in agriculture, and one in three farms will use precision agriculture solutions that enhance productivity by 2030, representing a 190% increase compared to the current usage rate.

“Small and medium-sized New Zealand businesses are the backbone of Aotearoa, and a major contributor to economic performance as well as driving positive societal outcomes, innovating to deliver new services globally, and playing a crucial role in addressing societal challenges such as by improving access to digital healthcare and education services, and supporting local agriculture,” said Tim Dacombe-Bird, Country Manager, Public Sector, AWS New Zealand. “AWS is making significant investments in skills, education, and local infrastructure, including launching an AWS Region in Auckland next year, to accelerate adoption of advanced cloud-enabled technologies such as generative AI to realize economic and social benefits sooner. We will also continue working alongside governments, educators, and the industry to help local businesses in New Zealand create a better future for all.”
 

Closer Collaboration to Realise the Cloud’s Potential

Cybersecurity challenges, organizational culture, lack of access to information technology (IT) infrastructure (software and hardware) and digital skills are the primary barriers to cloud adoption among MSMEs. To help MSMEs accelerate cloud adoption, the report outlines five key recommendations: 1) Identify how the cloud can streamline strategic business needs, 2) evaluate industry and government support, 3) upskill and educate employees in cloud, 4) review data and security policies, and 5) create a whole-of-business cloud migration strategy.

AWS helps businesses to seize opportunities in the digital economy and transform their business models using cloud technologies like generative AI. AWS Activate helps early-stage startups to grow and scale their business. Since 2019, the program has provided more than $2 billion in AWS credits to help startups manage costs, get technical expertise, and access training and business mentorship. AWS has accelerator programs to bolster growth in key sectors, including the AWS Healthcare Accelerators for Health Equity and Workforce Development, which build on the AWS Health Equity Initiative, and the AWS Generative AI Accelerator.  For small to medium sized New Zealand businesses, AWS offers AWS Lift, a package of credits and expertise to get started on the cloud, and earlier this year, AWS launched AWS AgriTech School for Kiwi farmers, producers, and growers to learn more about the cloud and pick up vital skills.  AWS also offers access to over 100,000 AWS Partners in the AWS Partner Network (APN), that can help them to find the tools, resources, and help to create the right solution for their business and customers. Additionally, businesses can use AWS Marketplace to find and deploy pre-configured software solutions through a curated digital catalogue, paying only for what they use.

Clearhead is an Auckland-based AI-powered employee wellbeing program provider offering an AI wellbeing assistant, a global therapist network, and aggregated employee wellbeing data insights to making personalised mental health and wellbeing support accessible for everyone. Using AWS AI and ML technologies, Clearhead supports hundreds of enterprises including nib Health Insurance and Contact Energy across New Zealand and Australia, with plans to expand into other countries in future.

“At Clearhead, our mission is to address the huge unmet need for mental health support that has led to months-long therapy wait times and high levels of employee turnover especially for the younger workforce. Using the broadest and deepest AWS AI and ML and data analytics services, we were able to build our AI-powered employee wellbeing platform that empowers employees to build self-awareness and emotional intelligence through timely and actionable personal insights as well as assist HR with comprehensive data analytics to address the psychosocial hazards in their workplace,” said Dr Angela Lim, CEO and Co-founder of Clearhead. “By scaling our solution on AWS, Clearhead's average wait time to be seen in person by a therapist of choice is two days compared to six months in the public waitlist, and we have seen a 20% reduction in employee turnover as we provide employers with the tools they need to foster mental resilience in the workplace. The AWS ANZ Generative AI Accelerator 2023 also provided us with the knowledge, industry network, and AWS Credits that will help us to develop a digital wellbeing assistant in one’s pocket that will ensure that personalised mental health support is accessible 24/7.”

“While there are significant benefits that are unlocked by startups and small, and medium businesses adopting at least a basic level of cloud technology, there is still a huge opportunity for them to further advance their cloud adoption as this will accelerate their ability to address some of the biggest challenges in society,” said Aaron Hill, Managing Director of Economic Insights, Accenture Strategy and Consulting. “With more support from governments and the industry, these businesses will have greater ability to harness the power of transformative technologies such as generative AI to unleash even more innovation, drive economic productivity, and deliver meaningful change to society.”

For more information, download theRealising a Cloud-enabled Economy in New Zealand: How Cloud Drives Economic and Societal Impact Through Businesses report.


About Amazon Web Services

Since 2006, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud. AWS has been continually expanding its services to support virtually any workload, and it now has more than 240 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 102 Availability Zones within 32 geographic regions, with announced plans for 12 more Availability Zones and four more AWS Regions in Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Thailand. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit aws.amazon.com.
 


[1]  OECD (2017), Enhancing the contributions of SMEs in a global and digitalized economy

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