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G-Cloud Innovation for Europe

70whitehallThe Cloud for Europe program represents the EU’s ambitions for adopting Cloud Computing, and their best route to success is simply to emulate and replicate the existing work of member countries, most notably the UK.

Not only does the UK have the Cloudstore, a fully operational catalogue ordering system for Cloud services that UK agencies are starting to use for their adoption of Government Cloud services, but this is part of an overall context of economic stimulus through better opportunities for local SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises).

Open Access for SMEs

As their press release describes:

“More than a third of companies on a new procurement framework for building digital public services have never worked with government before.

The 183 suppliers that have won the opportunity to secure contracts with central government also include a high proportion – 84% – of SMEs. Of the 70 suppliers new to government, 94% are SMEs.”

Given the economic crisis and the failed attempts to stimulate the economy and create jobs, new innovative models of this nature are tremendously important, able to scale sustainable innovation models simply through more efficient procurement.

That’s right, more and better local innovation support, as a result of procurement that saves more money. It’s like eating chocolate cake that makes you thin.

There is often lots of talk about government “buying local” more for economic stimulation but this an ideal that often falls at the early big fences of how risk averse and bureaucratic the government procurement engine actually is, resulting in an irony where it is actually more difficult for local SMEs to win their own government business.

In the case of ICT this is especially true, where customer needs like those for government can only be met by the largest of the system integrators, like IBM, BT et al, and with this complaints of supplier lock-ins, hugely expensive and failure-prone projects, and so on.

The open catalogue model of the G-Cloud not only makes the playing field level but also removes any ticketing barriers where you have to be 100 ft tall to get on the ride. As described below it’s now also an open playing field where any one can wander on and have a kick at the ball.

What is most important about what benefit this brings is described in this Diginomica article and this graph from it:

Unleashing EU Web Entrepreneurs

This is especially important to the European program, because i) it calls for the same procurement standardization as the G-Cloud, and ii) also calls for the same economic innovation benefits, through ICT Action 128, which calls for growing a culture of ‘Web Entrepreneurs‘, fast moving tech startups who are producing new social media and mobile apps, aka “the next Facebook”.

The opportunity is to create a €63 billion app boom and 5 million new jobs, by “working with stakeholders to develop a new generation of web-based applications and services”, through:

“EU level action is essential, as a complement to existing initiatives at local, or national level. The issues identified, such as the need for a stronger culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, or insufficient access to financial resources and human capital, extend well beyond the borders of individual EU member states.

There is a lot of talent in Europe and great resources for innovative and disruptive business ideas based on the latest ICT technologies. Unleashing the full potential can enable Europe to catch-up and become a leader in this area also.”

The UK’s G-Cloud program is the most innovative government ICT procurement function in the world, and the EU’s Horizon 2020 research initiative is the largest ICT innovation investment fund in the world.

When combined this way they will provide a fusion to establish Europe as the world’s leading “startup zone”, creating massive scale procurement efficiencies in such a way as to produce web entrepreneurship financing as a by product.

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