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Roughly 1 month ago I read a Roel Castelein’s post about the problem of Cloud Computing in Europe. I copy the first lines of it because I think it’s a good explanation and pretty ingenious metaphor about what it is happening:

When shopping on a fruits and vegetables market, we take many things for granted; like all stall holders speak the same language, we can pay for the goods with the same currency for a fixed price by a standardized measurement and ordering what we want is straight forward. But what would happen if all these conventions were absent? Like when asking for an apple with one stall holder, we need sign language, to point out apples with a stick (sold only by crate), pay in bags of salt. His neighboring stall holder offers apples only by piece, measured by weight, and payable by copper coins, and ordered by crayon drawings. This would be confusing for the consumer, and market growth would be hindered by a lack of standardization and transparency. This is what the Cloud Services Industry resembles at the moment.

It’s a clear evidence of the cloud industry is still in its infancy, and that post follows analyzing the EU Commission policy based on a IDC survey (conducted in behalf of EU Commission and that you can get it here) that I also analyzed so months ago (¿Tienen futuro los servicios Cloud europeos?, ¿y los españoles? and in the post titled “Cloud Computing and the EU Digital Agenda: A step in the right way“).

But the above Roel’s simile, in my opinion, also reflects what is happening in the area of Consulting companies when they analyze the Cloud market. To explain my point, let me summarize some ideas  that I’ve already showed in previous posts analyzing the opinion of DC and Gartner, and contrasting them against the recent ones of BSA:

1) On September, the 25th, the EU Commissioner for Digital Agenda (Ms. Neelie 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”. And those words were based in IDC report that analyses the business barriers for adopting the Cloud in Europe: These barriers have not stopped public cloud adoption so far, but have limited the number of cloud solutions adopted.

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) were:

  • 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

2) Besides of the IDC report, I also analyzed (just a couple of months before the IDC report) a Gartner report titled “Europe behind the US on cloud”, according to Gartner. It  stated that “The opportunities for cloud computing value are valid all over the world, and the same is true for some of the risks and costs. However, some of cloud computing’s potential risks and costs – namely security, transparency and integration – which are generally applicable worldwide, take on a different meaning in Europe”. And they present the 4 main problems to justify its statement:

First, the Europe’s diverse and ever-changing data privacy regulations inhibit the movement of personal data to the cloud.

Second, the complexity of business-to-business multi-enterprise integration and processes.

Third, EU policy-making processes and practices can hinder business.

Fourth, the effect on investment of the debt crisis in the eurozone.


3) And, finally, a few days ago I read the Business Software Alliance (BSA) report about the best 24 countries prepared for the Cloud; first of all, I must be honest and recognize that BSA is not my favorite because of the way they use to get its goals, but they have a lot of media and they use to do good market analysis (disregarding the final goal of them):

Surprise!, the top ten that have more robust policies for business in the cloud are Japan, Australia, Germany, United States, France, Italy, UK, Korea, Spain, and Singapore. (Note at the bottom of this post you’ll find the complete ranking).

OK, as a Spanish technician, I’m proud to be in the ninth place, if it would be correct).  Moreover, as European, I’m also happy when I see German in the 3rd place, and France in the 5th, Italy in the 6th and United Kingdom in the 7th (by thaw way, let me say it again, Spain in the 9th) … and according that study the US is behind Germany in the 4th place, and tightly, as aforesaid, followed by France, Italy and UK. According to the BSA market analyses the main cuties of EU economy seam to do, all together, the things better than others …so, what does it happen with the Gartner’s Analyses?.

First of all (disregarding the final goals of BSA, that I don’t want to analyze because probably I won’t be fair) we should to quote its words and we can summarize them in that the countries were scored, taking into account their laws and regulations for provision of cloud watching seven areas: data privacy, cyber security, cyber crime control, preservation of intellectual property, technology interoperability and legal harmonization, free trade, and infrastructure IT”. Quoting again BSA, Japan, the first country in the raking,  has a comprehensive suite of modern laws that support and facilitate the digital economy and cloud computing — from comprehensive privacy legislation that avoids burdens on data transfers and data controllers to a full range of criminal and IP law protections. Further, Japan is a leader in the Japan has a comprehensive suite of modern laws that support and facilitate the digital economy and cloud computing — from comprehensive privacy legislation that avoids burdens on data transfers and data controllers to a full range of criminal and IP law protections”. Therefore, BSA proposes seven policies that Governments should strengthen to expand economic opportunities in the cloud computing solutions, and in fact its analysis is based in the following that “seven policy categories that measure the countries’ preparedness to support the growth of cloud computing”:

1 – Protecting the privacy of users by allowing the free flow of information and commerce.

2 – Promote advanced cybersecurity practices without requiring the use of specific technologies.

3 – Fighting cybercrime with clear measures and actions against the perpetrators.

4 – Provide protection strengthened against the misappropriation and breach of cloud technologies.

5 – Encourage openness and interoperability between cloud providers.

6 – To promote free trade, reducing barriers and eliminate preferences for certain products or companies.

7 – Provide incentives for private sector to invest in broadband infrastructure and promote digital inclusion.

Well, in you’ve compared what any report say, you probably understand my point: there’s cloud confusion even among the Consulting companies.

About that kind of governmental policies, let me state my very particular opinion: disregarding what other important laws (as the ones stated in the BSA report or in the European Digital Agenda recommendations) and governmental policies (also analyzed by the great Consulting companies), the US Government with its “First Cloud” policy and the UK Convergent with its “UK Cloud Store” that pursue to foster the Cloud market in the US or UK Administration organisms are quite incentive and will help to foster the private Cloud market too. Of course the private initiative is important, but some kind of public incentive will accelerate it specially in Europe (where public sector influence in IT business is more important than in USA. ); indeed, the US government is practising that policy, may be for different reasons, or for that ones and others.

Let me finalize quoting the whole ranking and the scores of 24 countries surveyed by BSA: 

01 – Japan – 83.3
02 – Australia – 79 2
03 – Germany – 79.0
04 – United States – 78.6
05 – France – 78.4
06 – Italy – 76.6
07 – United Kingdom – 76.6
08 – Korea – 76.0
09 – Spain – 73.9
10 – Singapore – 72.2
11 – Poland – 70.7
12 – Canada – 70.4
13 – Malaysia – 59.2
14 – Mexico – 56.4
15 – Argentina – 55.0
16 – Russia-52.3
17 – Turkey – 52.1
18 – South Africa – 50.4
19 – India – 50.0
20 – Indonesia – 49.7
21 – China – 47.5
22 – Thailand – 42.6
23 – Vietnam – 39.5
24 – Brazil- 35.1

Here you can find the full BSA report