The launch of the European cloud-computing strategy last week was a good day for European small and medium-sized businesses for a number of reasons (“Kroes unveils cloud computing plan”, 27 September-3 October).
The use of cloud-computing services will lower start-up and running costs for nearly every SME. In practical terms, ICT entrepreneurs will benefit from far lower costs for software (eg, software as a service) and hardware (flexible processing capacity). For some businesses, we believe that the Commission's 10%-20% savings estimate is on the low side. Indeed, for certain online products and services, particularly cyclical ones with activity spikes, savings could be as high as 80%.
As such, the strategy, viewed by many as a ‘game-changer' for the European economy, is a very encouraging step. The onus for the European Commission is now to make sure that regulatory creep does not restrict the benefits of cloud computing. Any legislation that stands in the way of harmonising Europe's digital single market, that makes privacy compliance too complicated or too expensive, or that fails to break down artificial national barriers to the cloud will certainly need to be addressed.
In this debate, there is no room for national differences. What matters for SMEs is having access to cloud computing, so that they can tap the potential for growth that it offers.
Jonathan Zuck President, Association for Competitive TechnologyBrussels