Two weeks ago, we had the pleasure of hosting a TelePresence roundtable for 46 Public Sector CxO-level executives from 20 locations throughout Europe, Middle-East and Africa (see map below). The event was moderated by Jens Mortensen (Director Central Government & Healthcare, Cisco EMEAR) and the main objectives were:

  • To present and debate on 3 perspectives of Government Cloud Governance: Policy, Insourcing Model, Outsourcing Model
  • To share best practices and alternative governance models with peers in different countries
  • To help shape, plan and implement a proven strategy for government cloud

The CTO of a central ICT agency in Europe reported: “I valued the pragmatic approach (presentations from people in the public sector who actually have a service running) and the possibility to ‘network’ with very relevant people for the cloud project [my organization] is working on).”

The CEO of an ICT Provider for Government agencies reported: “I enjoyed the discussion very much. Clearly there are very many different approaches to implementation of domain cloud solutions for both public and private sector needs based on local supply structures and government culture.”

Three world-class leaders (see biographies) articulated their own –and very different – perspectives on Government Cloud Governance, which set the stage for an insightful interactive debate between all attendees. Here below, we provide a summary of some of the salient discussion points (based on the meeting minutes taken by Christopher Gow, Regulatory Affairs Manager, Cisco).

Policy Perspective on Government Cloud:

  • Speaker: Ken Ducatel, Head of Unit, Software and Services, Cloud Computing at DG Connect, European Commission, Belgium
  • The European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes identified cloud as game changer a couple of years ago and has continued to be increasingly convinced by its power.
  • On September 27th, 2012, the EC adopted its Cloud Computing Strategy, covering 3 main areas of action: standardization and certification; contract terms and SLAs; European Cloud Partnership
  • On Standardization: the EC asked ETSI to identify critical standards relevant to cloud computing, in particular regarding SLAs, interoperability/portability and security. A report will be delivered in Q2 2013, and a detailed map of existing standards will be available by end of 2013.
  • On Certification: development of EU-wide certification schemes with ENISA by the end of 2013.
  • On Contracts: establishing a check list of what companies should be asking to cloud providers and how to compare offerings.
  • On European Cloud Partnership (ECP): at the end of 2012, a Steering Board was set up, composed of Public Sectors CEOs/CTOs/CIOs, with the objective to provide strategic advice to VP Kroes and establish joint actions, in particular around joint public procurement. Expect launch of pre-commercial procurement by Q3 2013.
  • The questions to Mr. Ducatel clustered around the topics of the regulatory context for standard implementation; the new data protection rules; national implementation in the face of delayed guidance at the EU level; benchmarking against the US; EU performance metrics and regulatory approaches for an outsourced public cloud model.

Insourcing Perspective on Government Cloud:

  • Speaker: Dr Wilfried Jäger, Head of Infrastructure Services, Bundesrechenzentrum (BRZ), Austria
  • BRZ is a government-owned company with 1200 employees and 50% market share of Austrian federal IT spend. Austria counts 12 federal ministries; 9 provinces; 60.000 civil servants.
  • BRZ intends to extend its current ICT provider role, to become the ICT broker for the Austrian government. While BRZ is in competition with outside commercial providers, the fact that it is government-owned alleviates the regulatory obstacles that emerge when using an outsourced model: security, data protection and sovereignty.
  • Cloud advancement follows natural roadmap – initially ministries have their own IT; this moves to having a shared services provider; then it becomes centralized service provider; which can then decide own sourcing strategy (including the outsourcing of commodity services).
  • The main issue for government cloud is not technology or contracting but government procurement processes. Adapting to shared infrastructure is mainly an organizational and governance issue.
  • Questions focused on whether Dr. Jaeger feared the decreasing significance of the broker role over time and whether broker costs can be justified; whether elasticity requirements can be satisfied; whether only critical data needs to be covered by such a model; adapting to technological changes; pricing and finance model; employee status.
  • The value-add brought by BRZ is the understanding of the government specificities, justifying the broker role and its continuing importance. It can be very painful for governments if certain data enters the public domain.

Outsourcing Perspective on Government Cloud:

  • Speaker: Philip Dawson, Chief Executive Officer, Skyscape Cloud Services, UK
  • The cost benefits of cloud can be found in 3 areas: 1/ supply side – economies of scale in data centre infrastructure: security, energy, admin support, hardware; 2/ demand side – peaks and troughs in demand; 3/ multi-tenancy – support, licence, reduced application overhead.
  • In the UK, the supply structure of ICT services to public sector is broken: the top 7 outsourcers rarely change, and innovation is consequently stifled. UK government want more SMEs involved (25% central government spend by 2015), and 50% of the ICT expenditure should go to the cloud by same date.
  • Benefits for UK public sector cloud: 1/ Disruptive, elastic, best-value, on-demand pricing; 2/ Self-service model – replaces opaque managed service model; 3/ Designs people out of the system, which is also a challenge; 4/ G-Apps marketplace developed by SaaS provider through pay as you go as opposed to going to big system integrators
  • 5 reasons why UK G-Cloud works: 1/ Procurement – compliant with EU regulations; 2/ Technology – proven by public cloud providers; 3/ Assurance – security, confidentiality, integrity – common set of security standards developed by UK government (GCHQ) – 7 levels; 4/ Cloud store – retail site; needs further development; 5/ Cost savings
  • Progress to date: £7m transacted for G-Cloud framework suppliers.
  • Challenges for government agencies: 1/ Procurement – cultural change moving from 2-3 year procurement model and managing risk, rather than eradicating it. 2/ Technical – standardization of technical architecture to minimize costs and enhance agility. 3/ Security – relying on certification from outside agency
  • Challenges for Suppliers: 1/ Business model – moving away from system integrator; 2/ Culture – move from selling people hours to VM/ GB hours; 3/ Transition – migrating to new world with fewer people but existing employment protections
  • Despite the challenges, G-Cloud is working for UK government
  • Questions were put forward on whether a public-private provider model is suitable; the framework for procurement; compliance with EU procurement regulation; incentives for ministries to buy from the cloud; and mutual recognition of accreditation.

Please contact me if you are interested in any of the following:

  • Download the presentation material and other collaterals.
  • Get more details on the content of the debate (full meeting minutes are available under confidence).
  • Participate to a future Public Sector IT Executive roundtable.
  • Understand how other countries are modernizing their ICT, and discuss recommendations from Cisco experts on how to implement a Government Cloud strategy.

Picture Gallery:

46 CxO-level Executives, 20 locations, 656 Mbps streaming video for 3 hours, 887 GB of data in transit… and with a minimized carbon footprint!


Lisbon, Portugal


Brussels, Belgium



Madrid, Spain


Barcelona, Spain


Rome, Italy



Patrick Bikar

Global Systems Engineer Transformation Programs Lead

Global Systems Engineering