Successfully using advanced cloud computing services is the crucial step that must be taken in order to access the technology’s far-reaching benefits — including enabling greater innovation and expediting business growth — while at the same time bolstering digital resilience, security, and data protection across Europe’s public and private sectors.
In 2020, the European Commission announced its vision for Europe’s Digital Transformation by 2030, naming it the ‘Digital Decade’. Covering skills, government, infrastructure and business, the extensive strategy outlined priorities and plans for Europe to enhance its digital readiness and, ultimately, grow its economy.
Looking deeper at the goals presented by the European Commission, a recent study by Public First, commissioned by Amazon Web Services (AWS), found that the Digital Decade could unlock over €2.8 trillion in economic value — equivalent to 21 percent of the EU’s current economy — via a ‘sustained, collective focus’ on digital transformation across the public and private sectors.
Businesses and public bodies alike must unlock the speed, scale and efficiency of existing digital tools, primarily, capitalizing on the sizeable power of cloud computing.
What this looks like in practice, according to the report, is that businesses and public bodies alike must unlock the speed, scale and efficiency of existing digital tools, primarily, capitalizing on the sizeable power of cloud computing. It’s anticipated that, following the Path to the Digital Decade proposal, at least 75 percent of companies will take up AI, cloud and big data technologies by 2030. In fact, Public First’s study estimates that over half (55 percent) of the potential impact of the Digital Decade agenda relies solely on driving further adoption and use of cloud computing.
The starting point for the wider deployment and use of the cloud is honoring long-standing European business values, at the center of which is the fundamental right to privacy. Data protection lies at the heart of this, and it is what creates the foundations and desire of building in the cloud.
Cloud adoption and the importance of data protection
Increasing cloud adoption is key for the next generation of innovations in Europe. Cloud computing offers benefits such as accelerated innovation, better security, cost efficiencies, and the ability to build applications with the most advanced technologies such as machine learning, IoT, and next-generation databases, more easily. It also brings sustainability benefits: 451 Research, an S&P company, found that European businesses could reduce energy usage by nearly 80 percent if they ran applications on AWS as opposed to their own data centers.
An International Data Corporation (IDC) white paper commissioned by AWS, Trusted Cloud: Overcoming the Tension Between Data Sovereignty and Accelerated Digital Transformation, examines the importance of the cloud in building the future of digital EU organizations, and found that 40 percent of revenues reported by large European organizations will be accounted for by digital technology by 2025.
It’s clear to see that there’s a fine balancing act to be struck between improving operational effectiveness, investing in digital innovation and focusing on business growth, especially amid increasingly-important data sovereignty requirements.
40 percent of revenues reported by large European organizations will be accounted for by digital technology by 2025.
As companies look to accelerate their adoption of cloud technologies, treating information securely within the cloud has become a critically-important focus area for many business leaders — from privacy to data protection to compliance. AWS has comprehensive services that can all be used in compliance with GDPR, adheres closely to EU-recognized third-party privacy standards such as ISO 27701 and the CISPE data protection code of conduct. This provides reassurance to firms of all sizes that AWS is committed to ensuring that firms can control the privacy of all entrusted data, how this data is used and who has access to it. Industry collaboration is also providing more ways to empower organizations to have control over their data. For example, AWS is collaborating with Salesforce to provide organizations with more choice of where to locate encryption keys to help them address European regulator recommendations for government jurisdiction needs.
Organizations can choose to store their data in any one or more of AWS’s European Regions across France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, giving European organizations the ability to store their data in Europe and meet data sovereignty needs within the AWS Global Infrastructure. With AWS Local Zones set to launch in Amsterdam and Brussels, organizations now have even greater ability to build applications with even lower latency while retaining data residency.
Organizations can choose to store their data in any one or more of AWS’s seven European regions across Dublin, Frankfurt, London, Milan, Paris, Stockholm, and, newly, Zurich, giving European organizations the ability to store their data in Europe and meet data sovereignty needs.
The European public and private sectors are reaping the benefits of cloud
There are a multitude of reasons why European customers are migrating or modernizing on AWS. Aside from cutting operational costs, they can move faster and transform customer experiences, drive new innovations and business models, or deliver on their digital transformation plans.
The Flemish Road Agency has cut costs in half, reduced infrastructure management time by 67 percent, and is now testing and developing new solutions three times faster by moving to AWS. Dutch health care organization Zuidzorg has seen operational costs reduced by 50 percent after migrating to AWS. PostNL cut costs by 80 percent and delivery times from months to minutes, Philips built its HealthSuite Platform on AWS to allow for regulatory-compliant, secure and connected technology for electronic health care data, and Wehkamp deployed a new eCommerce platform when expanding into Belgium, in just six months.
It’s not just large corporations and public bodies turning to AWS for growth — many start-ups are cloud-based from the start, due to the demand for, and benefits of, the technology for their customers.
And it’s not just large corporations and public bodies turning to AWS for growth — many start-ups are cloud-based from the start, due to the demand for, and benefits of, the technology for their customers. In Benelux, AWS works with high-growth companies such as Bynder, Collibra, Travelbird, Growy and Picnic — all of which are reinventing industries in their own ways while relying on cloud technology for scale, security and speed.
Unlocking the future of Europe through cloud
With only 26 percent of European companies currently taking up key technologies such as the cloud, 25 percent AI, and 14 percent big data — according to the aforementioned Public First survey — harnessing the power of advanced technologies will be crucial to accelerating Europe’s ambitions for the Digital Decade and fully unlocking its digital potential.