Chief Information Officers from leading businesses on the demand-side of Information Technology across Europe, unite under an Association banner to ensure the European Commission’s Consultation on Cloud Computing reflects larger businesses concerns over security, global harmonisation, accountability and vendor behaviour.
A new Association for CIOs across Europe, called the European CIO Association, (AISBL) will be launched formally on February 7th 2012 to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Maastricht Treaty on European Union.
Headquartered in Brussels to increase its access to European institutions, the not-for-profit Association will be operational across seven countries and is designed to support the work of Chief Information Officers in larger international businesses through information exchange, meetings and senior level professional development services. The European CIO Association will also represent the collective views and suggestions of CIOs and large corporate users of IT services to governments and the supply-side vendor communities at EU level.
This new body is the only body with a proven record capable of acting as a single voice of Corporate IT across the whole EU Region.
CIOs from member organisations of the Corporate IT Forum, an independent body that brings together practitioners from over 320 of the UKs leading organisations, will get access to the benefits and services offered by the Association.
The purpose of the Association is to ensure the voice of the demand-side of business is properly balanced against the voices from the supply community. This will ensure businesses and consequently the European economy benefits.
The use and application of Information Technology by businesses is helping reduce costs, maintain competitive advantage and aid economic recovery. Business dependency on IT is now critical for the smooth functioning of ever-more complex processes and meeting customers’ ever-increasing expectations for quality products and instant services.
The Association’s remit was developed from discussions and ideas floated by CIOs at a number of pan-European CIO events where they expressed the desire for a more international and professionally managed service operating in a relaxed and non-competitive environment, created by CIOs for CIOs to enable them to exchange information and ideas about common challenges on a continuing basis.
Generally, European CIOs feel that existing professional networks are US centric and steered by IT vendors’ view of the world. This highlighted the need to develop a forum with a truly European business and vendor independent position on IT issues. A critical issue for European based CIOs and businesses is the requirement for a single powerful voice to Governments about technology and its use to ensure EU governmental developments and legislation properly reflect the views and needs of European business and markets.
Over 400 CIOs will participate as founder members. Essential to the operational structure of The European CIO Association are its seven country based membership service centres responsible for facilitating delivery of materials and collation of comments.
Launching with seven countries will bring the total number of CIO level participants to several hundred more and give the European CIO Association a strong and authoritative voice.
This body will enable the full and proper representation to corporate IT business teams throughout Europe dependant on IT for their commercial success.
Members of the Board include:
Michael Gorritz, Chairman of the Association and Group CIO of Daimler,
Freddy Van den Wyngaert, Group CIO of Agfa-Gevaert (Belgium),
Thomas Endres, Group CIO of Deutsche Lufthansa (Germany),
Gianluigi Castelli, Executive Vice President ICT ENI S.p.A., (Italy),
Maarten Buikhuisen, Director Global Process Management, Heineken International (Netherlands),
Joss Delissen, CIO of PostNord (Sweden),
David Roberts, Executive Director, The Corporate IT Forum (United Kingdom),
Whilst the Association is formally announced in February, its founders have worked hard for over twelve months supporting the European Commission’s Cloud consultation.
As a result, this first public announcement of the Association warns that the much anticipated uptake of Cloud Computing services will be severely limited if the European Commission’s thinking and eventual legislation is dominated by vendor voices and does not take equal notice of the needs of larger businesses, especially those with multi country operations, into consideration.
David Roberts, Executive Director at The Corporate IT Forum says, “We want to make certain that the Commission fully appreciates the scale of user organisations concerns on Cloud Computing. The Commission’s strategy must address members and others businesses’ needs on issues such as security, data protection, licensing and the regulation of cloud service providers. The regulatory framework needs to be global otherwise European businesses will not adopt Cloud computing. Europe already lags behind the US in its adoption of cloud computing and further stalling will reduce Europe’s business competitiveness.”
Peter Hagedoorn, Secretary General for the Association and former CIO at Oce, says, “Members believe that Cloud Computing is a decisive paradigm shift for the IT industry with massive potential for businesses and consumers to increase their access to new applications and reduce costs.
The Association’s primary interest is in the Commission creating the right environment, quickly, to guarantee an uptake of Cloud Computing.
When the European Commission announces its details of Europe’s Cloud Strategy this year there will need to be
1. More protection of business data held by suppliers and
2. Removal of barriers to storing customer data in non-home countries and
3. Clarity on jurisdiction for dealing with cross border litigation.”
To stimulate early and wide adoption of the technology that promises so much in terms of cost reduction and efficiency as well as quick access to new markets for all, but most importantly, to benefit the hundreds of thousands of smaller businesses based in Europe.
Early clarity by the Commission is essential.