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Cloud for Europe – The race for global Digital Economy leadership

h-2020For me the most fascinating aspect of the Cloud trend was not so much the technology or suppliers like Amazon, but rather an associated focus on innovation that grew among the CIO community, and as a subset of this the role public sector CIO’s can play in driving economic innovation through their procurement.

Vivek Kundra, the previous American CIO headlined this idea, pioneering the adoption of Cloud computing via a ‘Cloud First’ policy to more directly and forcefully drive adoption of this new mode of technology.

The reality was it’s difficult for large agencies to quickly make such sweeping changes to their practices, however the actual $$ procurement was not an absolute necessity anyway.

Simply the idea of it acted as such a lure to the commercial sector it acted to ‘fake it till you make it’, spurring an actual innovation the sector that drove deal flow, new products and other economy-expanding activities. It was very much one of the kick starters to the global Cloud industry.

However to some degree this momentum has died away, highlighting that the idea needs the substance too to be sustainable. Kundra is now repping for Salesforce.com and there have been no new initiatives of the same urgency or scale to add to the process, so somewhat of a gap has been left for this role.

Cloud for Europe

This sets the scene for this article, which will be a first of many with an ongoing focus on ‘Cloud for Europe’.

Announced as the equivalent program for Europe this is noteworthy for a number of reasons, the first of which is that with the above in mind it’s the only real contender to take the place of the missing USA leadership, mainly because of:

  • A modern agenda - Cloud First was three years ago so announcing the same basic idea now is like trumpeting your arrival at the already finished party, your TA DA! heard only by the cleaners. The world has now ‘Gone Digital’ and the IoT has emerged as the headline technology architecture, an r&D agenda which the EU reflects via their Horizon 2020 program, and that we are therefore reflecting in our content.
  • Program maturity – In organizational maturity terms low scores are when progress is made due to the ‘heroic’ efforts of one individual, rather than as a result of the effectiveness of the organization as a whole. The drop-away in interest in the USA initiative is an example, and the comparison to the EU best seen in these terms; the EU has ‘institutionalized’ their ambitions.
  • $$ action - We think of the USA being the most ‘gung ho’ when it comes to taking direct action, like investing $$ ‘where your mouth is’, however again the reality was Cloud First was a ‘firm ask’ rather than a $ backed program. In contrast via their Horizon 2020 ICT Call alone the EU is pumping over $ 1 billion into IoT Cloud research, commercialization and public sector adoption.

In short if we categorize the USA as the current ’800 lb Gorilla’ in the room, then to accurately map to scale the entrance of the EU we would have to describe it as the ’8,000 lb Gorilla’.

Not only the sheer size of the research $$ programs and the fact this is wholly integrated across their academic landscape as well, not just a public sector only initiative, but most importantly it is the linkage to a Digital Economy strategy, the EU Digital Agenda in this case.

From the ‘Smart Everywhere Society‘ enabled by the Internet of Things to the ’Futurium‘, there is a wide spectrum of creative ideas that make up the EU’s vision for what role all this technology will play in shaping their citizens future, and actively transform their policies and cities accordingly.

Without this broader Digital Economy vision any Cloud First type initiative becomes a somewhat dull procurement-centric initiative and hence why it fails to gain traction and generate any real economic impact.

In contrast with such a broad academic remit and then also such a deep social insight and strong Digital Economy vision, we can expect to see the EU carry on where the USA left off so to speak and indeed step progress from first to second gear.

The post Cloud for Europe – The race for global Digital Economy leadership appeared first on Cloud Computing Best Practices.

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