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A New Era for European Public Services: Cloud Computing Changes the Game

Read about the eight key steps Europe’s governments need to take to embrace cloud computing in the delivery of public services in the future.

Overview

Across Europe, people’s lives are becoming increasingly digitized. In addition to interacting with organizations like banks, airlines and retail outlets on the web, European citizens now expect that transactions with their public services should take place online too.

Digital government is on the way—and cloud computing is the next logical step towards it. Before adopting cloud in earnest, however, Europe’s governments will have to overcome a number of barriers, some of which are structural issues at the national level while others are more global in nature.

In this major new piece of thought leadership, Accenture examines the issues, implications, benefits and opportunities facing Europe’s governments as they grapple with integrating cloud computing across the full range of public services they provide.

Learn more about Accenture Cloud Platform.

Background

As European governments actively seek ways to leverage modern technology to serve citizens better, two conflicting demands arise. Governments have to make sure they invest enough to maintain and improve standards, but must work to ever-tighter budgets, finding cost-effective ways to tailor services. It’s the classic dilemma of introducing efficiency while also driving economic growth.

To meet these demands, governments need to start providing services in a new and innovative way. The introduction of cloud computing represents a cost-effective and scalable approach, while also being agile, flexible and secure.

As the Accenture Technology Vision 2013 states, “Every business is a digital business”. So the question is no longer whether organisations are using cloud computing, but how. Cloud is now at the very heart of the private sector, and more and more in public services too.

Analysis

To make the most of cloud, governments need to make some important decisions. One key area is governance: who is in charge of adopting cloud and making sure it has an impact? Another is establishing the business case: governments will need to show the benefits and returns their countries will enjoy.

With systems consolidation, cost savings and greater speed and agility, cloud computing certainly makes a compelling business case. For example, most public-service administrations currently have their own separate IT arrangements, which duplicate resources and push up costs. With cloud, government at every level will benefit from an ecosystem where scalable resources and pay-per-use costs are shared in the cloud.

Cloud also cuts through inefficient segregation across an organisational structure. With reusable components as well as share architectured and

applications, it encourages people to work together. This new way of working delivers convenient and flexible services to end users across any government.

In the final analysis, Accenture believes the move to cloud has four key implications for how governments run their technology organizations in the future:

  • IT will have to evolve to secure its own future.

  • It’s not about building any more, but managing better.

  • IT must become the ‘data custodian’ for the whole government.

  • IT must become a ‘services director and integrator’.

To create these changes, government IT organisations will also have to operate in a completely different way in the future, with less emphasis on pure IT expertise and greater focus on management skills.

Key Findings

Accenture’s analysis reveals nine key findings about cloud computing in European government:

  • European governments are facing conflicting IT challenges.
  • Cloud computing is fragmented across the continent.
  • The current situation is little more than a roadblock.
  • Concerns over data privacy and regulatory issues are a further barrier to cloud adoption.
  • A new landscape for public sector cloud computing is emerging.
  • Cloud computing will usher in a new way to run IT with EU data.
  • Three new types of government are evolving: cutters, builders and enhancers.
  • Cloud-sourcing strategies: develop private, think hybrid—and don’t forget cloud brokering either.
  • Cloud computing brings four key advantages: it cuts costs, it’s scalable, it’s speedy and it’s high performance.

Recommendations

A digital single European market would bring many benefits to European countries and their citizens—and cloud computing is set to play a key role.

To make it happen, Accenture recommends eight key steps that European governments need to take:

  • Proactively adopt a ‘cloud-first’ policy.
  • Develop private, think hybrid – and don’t overlook cloud brokering.
  • Invest in common infrastructure, services and pilot projects.
  • Create a platform to consume government-wide services.
  • Consider individual targets for cloud-enabled government services.
  • Proactively set the style of IT governance: local, regional or city level.
  • Attract and encourage private investment in European cloud-based services.
  • Provide clarity around data privacy and security at a national and EU level.

Now is the perfect time for European governments to plan ahead for cloud, as more and more compelling arguments emerge to explain its potential.

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