Firstly, the floods that hit Queensland most destructively, but also the rest of the country have been a national tragedy. Conversely, the response of people both directly and indirectly has been quite amazing and inspiring.
Growing up in, and having my parents still living, in a flood affected town in Northern NSW as well as many friends in South East Queensland and Northern NSW, I felt very fortunate that people close to me may have had some close calls, but all escaped basically unscathed.
Now the attention is to the clean up and re-establishment of towns, villages, business, homes and community facilities. The bill was at last call over $20B. This is an amazing number and puts a financial cost on what was both a financial and emotional disaster of unprecedented scale.
Clearly IT is going to benefit from the clean up. Front and centre, I hope that if any IT companies deliberately profiteer and look to benefit selfishly they should be dealt with in one sense or another. It is a time for enterprises large and small to act in the national interest, not to meet selfish short term objectives.
The clean up does represent a large opportunity. If the total bill is $20B, then it is fair to assume that approximately 5% of this bill will be technology related. On its own this represents $1 Billion across consumer and enterprise IT. There will be further indirect technology investments no doubt, with Australian organisations finally realising that they need to undertake appropriate investments in Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity.
I hope that the IT industry work with enterprises across the mining, transport, public, retail and other significantly impacted industries to not spend the money in the way that it was spent, rather to spend it to provide a real upwards shift in technology driven enterprise capability as a result of the floods. If it helps enterprises become more effective and learn from previous challenges, then at a business level, some positives can be drawn from the floods.