The inaugural board meeting of Europe’s new “Cloud Partnership” met this week, with the brief to kick-start Neelie Kroes’ cloud initiative. Guy Daniels reports.
What do you mean you didn’t get the invite? LinkedIn offline? Twitter down? Facebook frozen? If you’re not on the European Commission’s new Cloud computing board, then you’re not as connected as you think you are.
There are 18 members of the Steering Board of the new European Cloud Partnership (ECP), all personally selected by European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes, who will meet two or three times each year. Chaired by Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia, the board will report directly to Vice President Kroes.
Its main mission is to provide strategic advice to the ECP and directions for new initiatives. Board members will review and advise on implementation issues and provide recommendations for future implementation, uptake and research actions.
The board may also express views and recommendations on other policies and actions put forward in the EC’s Cloud Computing Strategy. Said Neelie Kroes:
“I need this top-level input so that all of Europe can see the full benefits of cloud computing, and quickly. President Ilves and all Board members are going to give no-nonsense, action-oriented advice to get the European Cloud Partnership moving.”
Kroes wants the ECP to help bring public authorities together with the ICT industry to create a European “Digital Single Market” for cloud computing. She wants to leverage the public sector’s buying power to shape the growing market for cloud services.
So other than the President of Estonia (whose biography is strangely lacking in ICT experience, let alone Cloud knowledge… but you never know, it might be a hobby of his), who else is on Kroes’ BFF list?
Well, there’s Leo Apotheker, the former CEO of HP, who steered that company to the dizzy heights of success (er, surely some mistake, Ed?) and who is more preoccupied today denying that there was anything wrong with his purchase of Autonomy... Okay, so we’re being a little flippant here.
There are actually some ICT heavyweights on this board – Thierry Breton, former CEO of France Telecom; Matthew Key CEO of Telefonica Digital; Pierre Nanterme, CEO of Accenture; Hans Vestberg CEO of Ericsson; Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon; Bernard Charles, CEO of Dassault Systemes; Michael Gorriz, CIO of Daimler AG and President of EuroCIO; Jim Hagemann-Snabe, Co-CEO of SAP, Karl-Heinz Streibich, CEO of Software AG; and Christian Fredrikson, CEO of F-Secure Corporation.
Then of course we have various government and policy advisors, including representatives from Norway, Spain, France, the UK, Austria and Poland. A pretty good geographic cross section. So all in all, it’s a BFF list to die for, and one that would put most serial social networkers to shame.
The Board issued a public statement after its first meeting, which is a little formal but you can read it here if you’re interested in the finer details.
“Cloud computing is a game changer the ICT sector, for consumers and users in organisations of all sizes, and will give a much needed boost to productivity, innovation and growth in Europe. In order to facilitate these positive changes, we need to focus on a set of ambitious, but concrete and achievable goals.”
There are two basic objectives to be achieved over two years: to adopt a common framework for cloud computing across Europe, and to stimulate the migration of public IT use to the cloud.
Priority actions for a common framework are: to work with standards body ETSI to create a suite of interoperable standards; to recommend voluntary certification schemes for cloud providers; to have these schemes recognised by public authorities; to identify three cross-border and interoperable cloud pilot projects to be set in motion by 2014; and for the board members themselves to participate in this work.
As for the migration of public IT use to the cloud, the steering board will: undertake public awareness actions; work to make cloud readiness and adoption a political priority; promote the development of common user requirements; and map out practical solutions to barriers to cloud computing adoption. The Board concluded its statement with:
“These initial priorities will be developed into a road map for moving Europe into the cloud quickly and safely. The main beneficiaries of our actions will be European citizens, small and medium sized enterprises and national, regional and local authorities. Other stakeholders will also benefit from the creation of a vibrant and self-sustaining ecosystem.”
The Board is one of the key actions of the European Cloud Computing Strategy adopted by the European Commission earlier this year. An initial budget of €10m has already been earmarked for an as-yet unnamed pre-commercial procurement project.
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