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Current Issues in IT Law - managing the cloud and lessons from Novopay and Queensland Health

Michael Bywell 2014 Graeme Crombie 2014 Matt Vaughan 2014
Michael Bywell
Minter Ellison Rudd Watts
Graeme Crombie
Minter Ellison Rudd Watts
Matt Vaughan
General Counsel

This book is only available in PDF format

Authors: Michael Bywell, Graeme Crombie, Matt Vaughan
Published: 5 November 2014
Pages: 32


On 2 May 2014 there was an article in Computerworld entitled “Afraid of the cloud? How to handle your fears”. The article referred to a study undertaken by German research and consulting company Research in Action for Compuware that showed that 73% of IT executives (they surveyed 740 at various companies around the world) believe cloud providers are hiding performance problems. The study was focused on service levels, but this headline statistic is telling. The article set out comments from various analysts. The key theme of those comments was that IT professionals need (to quote one of the analysts) “to do their homework and ask the right questions before selecting a vendor”.

The first section of this paper takes that theme further, to show that lawyers need to be involved at an early stage of any cloud initiative. It outlines why that is and discusses some of the issues to look out for in a few key areas. It then looks at how Xero approaches the cloud, both in its offering to customers and in procuring solutions from its supplier. 
The final section of this paper seeks to remind lawyers of the lessons and recommendations from recent failed IT projects, Novopay and Queensland Health, both of which were payroll system projects. 

The Novopay Inquiry was led by Sir Maarten Wevers (past Chief Executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet) and Murray Jack of Deloitte. The Queensland Health Inquiry was led by The Hon Richard Chesterman QC, a retired Australian Court of Appeal Judge. In each case the inquiries produced comprehensive reports. The suggestions made in the reports from those project inquiries are for general consumption and so are just as applicable to cloud projects.

This paper summarises the findings from those reports, and outlines those recommendations likely to be of particular relevance to lawyers engaged in relation to cloud projects.

Content outline

  • A different landscape for lawyers
  • Xero - a "case study" in cloud computing
  • How to reduce the risk of IT project failure: case studies and lessons
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