The inaugural episode of the Connected Government Series aired on 9 March 2022. This thought-provoking discussion focused on the role of cloud technology in the EU Government’s digital modernization, covering how this technology can effectively bring positive change to the lives of citizens.
In his keynote presentation, Manuel Mateo Goyet–the Deputy Head of the Cloud and Software unit at DG CONNECT– addressed the topic of cloud technology from the European Commission’s perspective. He highlighted that market trends, such as the lack of large-scale European cloud offerings, are delaying cloud adoption within EU governments.
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 implication.
Global Consulting Government & Public Services Leader
Manuel Mateo Goyet
Deputy Head of Unit for Cloud and Software
European Commission – DG CONNECT
Carsten Nørgaard Laugesen
Chief Information Officer / Vice President
Capital Region, Denmark
Chief Information Officer
Dutch Central Government, The Netherlands
Former Chief Information Officer
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Estonia
Global Government & Public Services Digital Modernization Leader