A central topic of discussion in this session was the role of the cloud in EU Government Digital Modernization, as well as how this technology can effectively bring positive change to citizens.
In his keynote presentation, Manuel Mateo Goyet–the Deputy Head of the Cloud and Software unit at DG CONNECT–addressed the topic from the European Commission’s perspective and alerted to the way market trends in Europe are delaying cloud adoption in governments, namely the lack of large-scale European cloud offering.
European Commission’s action toward a cloud-enabled Europe, which began in 2014 with a “cloud-first” principle, has now evolved into an all-encompassing data strategy, complemented by the 2030 Digital Compass objectives. While the cloud market is fairly complicated, creating the European Alliance for Industrial Data, Edge and Cloud, and an informal Member States Cloud Cooperation Group are two key actions the European Commission is taking to streamline cloud adoption across European public entities.
While the experiences vary from country to country, the panel unanimously agreed that technological cloud readiness and talent acquisition are the major challenges for cloud adoption in Europe. From a technological perspective, non-native cloud systems often translate into not only a lack of capacity but also an overall difficult technical transition to cloud-enabled solutions. By the same token, the search for talent tends to hinder the process, as both attracting and retaining qualified professionals in tech in the public sector is a herculean task in today’s hyper-competitive labor market. All-in-all, panelists agreed that moving to a “thinking cloud” mindset and assessing the appropriateness of cloud solutions on a case-by-case basis, as opposed to approaching the change from a “cloud-first” perspective can be the key to a big paradigm shift for cloud in governments across Europe.
The regulatory specificities in Europe, namely the security concerns and GDPR, yet another transversal challenge of the journey to the cloud, were also a central theme of the discussion. Panelists emphasized that moving forward vendors should adapt to the EU regulatory reality, agreeing that data sovereignty—although a concern—is not a blockage to cloud initiatives in Europe as much as it is a limitation for implementation. Taking this into account, European Governments should, nonetheless, focus on understanding true data security and risk to evaluate the implications of cloud solutions provided by suppliers based outside of the European Union.
Agenda and speakers:
- 2:00pm (GMT) Welcome Address
- 2:05pm (GMT) A Digital Decade for EU: why Governments should embrace the cloud revolution
Keynote address by Manuel Mateo Goyet, Deputy Head of Unit for Cloud and Software at European Commission - DG CONNECT
- 2:20pm (GMT) How can Cloud accelerate a digital government: unlocking a new era of citizen experience
Roundtable discussion moderated by Jean Barroca, Global GPS Digital Modernization Leader, featuring guest speakers from different European countries and public institutions:
‒ Carsten Nørgaard Laugesen, Chief Information Officer/Vice President of the Capital Region, Denmark
‒ Lourens Visser, Chief Information Officer of Dutch Central Government, The Netherlands
‒ Siim Sikkut, Former Chief Information Officer of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Estonia
- 2:50pm (GMT) Q&A
- 2:55pm (GMT) Closing Remarks