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A few days ago, once again a Santiago Bonet’s twit (@sbonet) warns me about recent declaration of Neelie Kroes, the EU Commissioner for Digital Agenda, about the new European Strategy for Cloud Computing. On September, the 25th, Ms. Kroes said “Today we launch a significant package of measures to build that trust and boost our economic future. Today we make Europe not just cloud-friendly: but cloud active. And we offer our economy a160 billion-euro boost”.

I’ve already spoken about this subject in some previous posts (for example the post Europe behind the US on Cloud, or the recent one written in Spanish: ¿Tienen futuro los servicios Cloud europeos?, ¿y los españoles? ), and also in the prologue I wrote for the Spanish book “Análisis de la oferta y la demanda de los servicios Cloud Computing” (ISBN / EAN13:1478313854 / 9781478313854).

I do not believe at all that Ms. Kroes read my blog, but fortunately she and her team have taken advice what other important and clever stakeholders opine about and also from the analysis the EU Commission commend to IT consulting companies (see the IDC document I talk about further on).

After reading the news, I’ve been looking for what are the measures and actions that Mr. Kroes announced for fostering this 160 bn€ worth market, and I only find out only two paper“COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS, about Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europes:

The IDC’s document is the result of a study carried out by IDC EMEA in the period October 2011-June 2012 on behalf of DG Connect of the European Commission. It analyses the business barriers for adopting the Cloud in Europe: this barriers have not stopped public cloud adoption so far, but have limited the number of cloud solutions adopted. (Note: At the moment I’m going to forget the analyses of those barriers in this post; by the way something about was focused in previous posts, and I’ll come back in the future). IDC also studied two opposite scenarios to resolve that barriers: the “No Intervention” scenario and the “Policy-driven” scenario (where cloud barriers were removed with a set of coordinated actions). According to this study, and copying from it, policy actions aimed at removing barriers to cloud can have a relevant impact on its adoption, increasing the value of spending on public clouds from €35 billion (No Intervention scenario) to almost €80 billion (Policy-driven scenario) by 2020. Moreover, keeping copying from the report, the diffusion of cloud computing is expected to generate substantial direct and indirect impacts on economic and employment growth in the EU, thanks to the migration to a new IT paradigm enabling greater innovation and productivity. According to the model developed by IDC, the “No Intervention” scenario” of cloud adoption could generate up to €88 billion of contribution to the EU GDP in 2020. The “Policy-driven scenario”, instead, could generate up to €250 billion GDP in 2020, corresponding to an increase of €162 billion over the first scenario. Cumulative impacts would of course be even stronger. IDC estimates a cumulative impact for the period 2015-2020 of some €940 billion in the “Policy-driven” scenario, compared to €357 billion in the “No Intervention” one.

The IDC recommendations for the most relevant policy actions (which should be included in the European Cloud Computing Strategy to create a “cloud friendly and proactive environment” in the EU and maximize the chances of achieving the benefits identified in the “Policy-driven” scenario) are:

  • Removing Regulatory Barriers
  • Building Trust in the Market
  • Protect Consumers’ Rights to Control Their Data and to Be Forgotten
  • Promoting Standardisation and Interoperability
  • Building the Business Case for Cloud Adoption
  • Contributing to the Business Case for High-speed Broadband Infrastructures

Coming back to the first document, the Commission analyzes the already ongoing policy initiatives such as the data protection reform and the Common European Sales law that will lower barriers to the uptake of cloud computing in the EU should be adopted quickly.

Besides, and specifically for the Cloud, there are also concerns that the economic impact of cloud computing will not reach its full potential unless the technology is adopted by both public authorities and small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs). In both cases adoption so far is marginal due to the difficulty of assessing the risks of cloud adoption. To deliver on these goals therefore the European Commission will launch three cloud-specific actions:

  • Key Action 1: Cutting through the Jungle of Standards
  • Key Action 2: Safe and Fair Contract Terms and Conditions
  • Key Action 3: Establishing a European Cloud Partnership (ECP) to drive innovation and growth from the public sector.

The Commission will also implement a series of flanking actions to support the three key actions: International Dialogue and Stimulation Measures (but when I read the latter it I miss real incentive actions or anything that really motivates or fosters cloud business).

Copying again the Commission words The next two years, during which the actions outlined above, will be developed and put into place will lay the foundation for Europe to become a world cloud computing powerhouse. The right progress during this preparation phase will provide a stable basis for a rapid take-off phase from 2014-2020 during which use of publicly available cloud computing offerings could achieve a 38% compound annual growth rate (around double the rate that would be achieved if the decisive policy steps are not implemented).”

Well, we have a plan and actions to be taken in a short time, but are they enough? Are the timing as fast as needed? In my opinion, no, they aren’t, because I’m afraid we need more and urgent stimulation actions.

As Ms. Kroes says Cloud computing is an opportunity our economy cannot miss. Let’s seize it, with an approach that is ambitious, effective, and European”. So what I suggest? Yes, I know, I going to repeat myself and I say nothing new, but I think again in actions and policies like the U.S. First Cloud Policy and their companying measures (the “Federal Risk Assessment Program” FedRAMP, and so on).

Finally, I sincerely hope I am wrong about this subject.