Transitioning to the Cloud: is the public sector buying in? - 24 October 2014

 

Only one week left to the 9th workshop of the ‘Unleashing the potential of the Cloud Computing in Europe’ series which will be held in DIGITALEUROPE’s offices:

 

“Transitioning to the Cloud: is the public sector buying in? ”

 

24 October 2014, 08.30 – 10.00, Brussels

 

The public sector is one of the three pillars of the European cloud strategy. The European Commission has spared no effort to spur governments on to become thoroughly cloud-active - including across borders - in the best interest of their citizens and businesses. Our distinguished panel will provide a state of play in this respect. They will share their perspective on how effective the various instruments developed by the Commission have proven and on a possible way forward. 

 

Speakers:  

- Francisco Medeiros, Acting Deputy Head of Unit, DG CONNECT, European Commission

- Luukas Ilves, Counsellor for Digital Affairs, Permanent Representation of Estonia to the EU

- Nicky Stewart, Commercial Director, Skyscape Cloud Services Ltd.

- Linda Strick, Business developer, Fraunhofer FOKUS - Institute for Open Communication Systems

 

Moderator : John Higgins, Director General, DIGITALEUROPE

 

When: 24 October, 08:30 - 10:00. Breakfast will be provided

 

Where: DIGITALEUROPE premises: Rue de la Science 14, 1040 Brussels

 

Registration: The number of seats is limited. Please register online here before 20 October.

 

BACKGROUND

 

DIGITALEUROPE will demonstrate industry’s activities in this domain and the solid and positive impact Cloud Computing can make on the European economy. These workshops will demonstrate best practice and deep dive into the issues providing a powerful education platform for industry and political stakeholders to share information and discuss opportunities relating to the Cloud in Europe.

For more information on the Cloud in Practice Programme, do not hesitate to get in touch with us or visit our website:

http://www.digitaleurope.org/Ourwork/BoostingDigitalGrowth/Cloudcomputin...


 

Cloud in Practice Programme: workshop on 24 October 2014

“Transitioning to the Cloud: is the public sector buying in? ”

 

Speakers:  

- Francisco Medeiros, Acting Deputy Head of Unit, DG CONNECT, European Commission

- Luukas Ilves, Counsellor for Digital Affairs, Permanent Representation of Estonia to the EU

- Nicky Stewart, Commercial Director, Skyscape Cloud Services Ltd.

- Linda Strick, Business developer, Fraunhofer FOKUS - Institute for Open Communication Systems

 

Moderator : John Higgins, Director General, DIGITALEUROPE

 

On setting the scene, the moderator observed that ICT-led disruption spreads well beyond adjacent industries to culture or education, two examples of activities that bear the hallmark of government and that have been enhanced by the Italian presidency lately.

 

The Commission praised the support given by industry to its EU strategy and shared a detailed report of it. The public sector has a potent reason to transition to the cloud, a proven enabler of growth and jobs. The European Cloud Partnership - one of the three pillars of the EU strategy - released ‘Trusted Cloud Europe’, a set of recommendations that include cloud-active procurement policies. See the letters of mission to VP Ansip: 

 

http://ec.europa.eu/about/juncker-commission/docs/ansip_en.pdf

 

and Commissioner Oettinger

 

http://ec.europa.eu/about/juncker-commission/docs/oettinger_en.pdf

 

Estonia’s cloud policy builds on the premise that the cost rationale is not enough to attract the public sector. It works better to paint the cloud as enabler of a wealth of new services such as health, e-ID (to generate trust), real time savings (through instant VAT refunds between Estonia and Finland, for instance) and security. Indeed, governments, like people, ultimately buy services, not technology.

 

In keeping with a comment that location is more often an issue among Member States (France and Germany for example) than one pitting EU against non-EU suppliers, Estonia would like to come to a point where location is no longer an issue.

 

In the UK, patchy consolidation and consistency of government services provided the perfect storm when the current coalition started. ‘Cloud-first’ policy whereby explanations are in order whenever cloud is not the preferred solution acted as a powerful lever. The UK has definitely adopted the cloud, included local authorities (10%). Security concerns – obviously heightened by Prism developments – are partly fixed through GCHQ certification.

 

This good start is not enough though. In a fast-moving market, leadership is needed which combines vision and passion. All too often civil servants prove overly risk-averse. Incidentally a call for public cloud bids was withdrawn following Prism revelations. Commonly understood standards go a long way to allay fear. Likewise less constrained systems are attractive to those seeking simplicity. Like all customers, public departments and agencies need education: for example, you need to shed the ‘always-on’ habit if you are to benefit fully from hourly charges. So far Skyscape is focused on domestic needs. It will expand abroad only when all homegrown issues have been addressed successfully. Foreign expansion will be driven by opportunity and target those countries (Australia, New Zealand, etc) where commonality of operations makes it easier to start, even before turning to other EU Member States.

 

Indeed the EU looks very much like a patchwork of various public sector cultures. The UK government still spends more in consultancy that in IaaS, PaaS and SaaS combined. This being said, most suppliers of the UK government have only a limited visibility on what’s happening in Brussels.

 

In conclusion, the Commission invited all those who believe in a cloud-active DSM to send emails documenting barriers possibly encountered on operating in some Member States. This informal intelligence gathering will allow the Commission to ascertain whether member States are over-regulating. These findings will inform the briefs to be sent urgently to Vice President Ansip and Commissioner Oettinger. DIGITALEUROPE committed to share papers underway with member national trade associations and aimed at paving the way towards a cloud-active DSM.

 

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net