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Report Outlines Priorities for Industry and Governments to Advance Cloud Computing

  • World Economic Forum and Accenture conclude a two-year study on the Future of Cloud Computing
  • Phase I report, Exploring the Future of Cloud Computing: Riding the Next Wave of Technology-driven Transformation, was published in the spring of 2010
  • Phase II report, Advancing Cloud Computing: What to Do Now? Priorities for Industry and Governments, outlines eight action areas for cloud computing providers and government agencies to ensure the cloud ecosystem lives up to its expectations
  • Learn more about the report

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – A new report produced by the World Economic Forum with the support of Accenture, Advancing Cloud Computing: What to Do Now? Priorities for Industry and Governments, was launched today at the World Economic Forum on Latin America during a session on cloud computing, which was moderated by Accenture’s chairman, Bill Green. The report outlines eight action areas that leading cloud service providers and government representatives agreed to focus on to ensure the positive development of the cloud ecosystem. 

In 2010, the World Economic Forum and its Partners completed the first phase of a two-year project on the Future of Cloud Computing. The resulting report, Exploring the Future of Cloud Computing: Riding the Next Wave of Technology-driven Transformation, focused on evaluating the impact of public cloud computing technologies and highlighted the large potential benefits of cloud adoption, ranging from economic and social growth (including potentially sizeable improvements in employment) to step-change improvements in innovation and collaboration. However, the report also highlighted very significant issues that could limit the ability to benefit from cloud computing. A key issue is that public clouds are used across national borders, and thus their deployment faces unique and possibly increasingly significant challenges. “We see a ‘cloud paradox’ – the more benefits cloud technologies offer, the more geopolitical challenges they face,” said Dan Elron, Managing Partner, Strategy and Corporate Development at Accenture, who helped drive the study.

Over the past year, the World Economic Forum focused on identifying specific action areas for addressing the issues that could impact the adoption and deployment of cloud technologies. The report highlights that only concerted collaborative actions by technology providers and governments can make the hopes of cloud users and the promises made by the IT industry a reality.“The journey to cloud computing will not happen overnight, but in the months and years ahead we have the opportunity, as a global community, to shape the future of cloud computing and take the first steps together towards a new, more interconnected world,” said Vivek Kundra, Chief Information Officer, Office of Management and Budget, USA.

The report Advancing Cloud Computing: What to Do Now? Priorities for Industry and Governments highlights eight action areas that industry and governments need to address: 

  1. Explore and Facilitate the Realization of the Benefits of Cloud
  2. Advance the Understanding and Management of Cloud-related Risks
  3. Promote Service Transparency
  4. Enhance Accountability across all Relevant Parties
  5. Ensure Data Portability
  6. Facilitate Interoperability
  7. Accelerate the Adaptation and Harmonization of Regulatory Frameworks Related to Cloud
  8. Provide Sufficient Network Connectivity to Cloud Services

The recommended action areas will be used to set the context for a high-level initiative to be initiated next month by Neelie Kroes of the European Commission.“Now is the time to bring it all together. As foreseen in the Digital Agenda for Europe, I have started work on an EU-wide cloud computing strategy. This goes beyond a policy framework. I want to make Europe not just ‘cloud-friendly’, but ‘cloud-active’,” said Neelie Kroes Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda.

The Forum invites industry, government, academia and anyone who has an interest in the topic to use this report for further discussions, and hopes that the framework described in the report will provide a common language and a shared set of priorities for industry and governments. Guidance was provided by an actively involved steering board of experts, which included senior representatives from Akamai Technologies, BT Group, CA Technologies, Google, Microsoft Corporation and Salesforce.com. More than 40 companies in the IT and telecom industries and more than 20 organizations from government and academia participated in the research. Accenture served as a key facilitator of the project and a contributor to this report.

For more information about the World Economic Forum’s work on cloud computing, please visit the Forum’s website at http://www.weforum.org/industry-partners/groups/information-technology/index.html.

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