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How GCC gov­ern­ments can lead the cloud com­put­ing revo­lu­tion

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY - By Charles Na­has

Re­gard­ing cloud com­put­ing, it is not a ques­tion of if. It’s not even a ques­tion of when. It’s a ques­tion of now. Around the world, gov­ern­ments are ac­tively de­vel­op­ing cloud com­put­ing pol­icy frame­works to em­brace this in­evitable shift and en­cour­age lo­cally grown en­trepreneur­ship, job growth and com­pet­i­tive­ness. Gov­ern­ments are tak­ing the lead when it comes to the use of the pub­lic cloud and in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies.

His­tory shows us that em­brac­ing world-class tech­nol­ogy makes a huge dif­fer­ence for the eco­nomic pros­per­ity and well-be­ing of a coun­try. With a le­gacy in­fra­struc­ture gap, coun­tries with en­abling govern­ment poli­cies are set to ben­e­fit the most and will see the big­gest up­take of cloud ser­vices across the world. Ac­cord­ing to BMI Re­search; soft­ware spend­ing in Kuwait is fore­casted to in­crease from KD 57.3 mil­lion in 2016 to KD 62 mil­lion in 2020. The mar­ket is small due to oil dom­i­nat­ing Kuwait’s econ­omy but there are select op­por­tu­ni­ties in en­ter­prise mod­ern­iza­tion ini­tia­tives. More­over, IT ser­vices spend­ing fore­cast is fur­ther es­ti­mated to in­crease from KD 105.7 mil­lion in 2016 to KD 123 mil­lion in 2020, at a CAGR of 3.9 per­cent. The cost sav­ings and in­creased flex­i­bil­ity of­fered by ser­vices such as cloud com­put­ing and out­sourc­ing will sup­port IT ser­vices out­per­for­mance in an en­vi­ron­ment of in­creas­ing eco­nomic un­cer­tainty.

This is the first area in ex­pand­ing af­ford­able ac­cess to In­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity and cloud com­put­ing. In­no­va­tions pro­vid­ing last-mile con­nec­tiv­ity should be ex­ploited, as should com­pe­ti­tion among lo­cal ser­vice providers. TV Whites­paces is a great ex­am­ple of a tech­nol­ogy that ex­pands wire­less In­ter­net ac­cess and cloud com­put­ing ser­vices to some of the most re­mote com­mu­ni­ties.

Gov­ern­ments must work to cre­ate more knowl­edge-based economies. The path­way to new tech­nolo­gies re­quires a par­al­lel in­vest­ment in skills devel­op­ment - hav­ing the req­ui­site tal­ent to par­tic­i­pate in an in­creas­ingly dig­i­tal so­ci­ety and to use smart de­vices and on­line ser­vices. In schools, this re­quires pro­mot­ing dig­i­tal lit­er­acy and mak­ing sure teach­ers and stu­dents have ac­cess to tech­nol­ogy and learn­ing tools at low cost. In the work­place, this re­quires life­long learn­ing with a fo­cus on pro­grams and in­vest­ments that pro­mote up­skilling for the cloud, a more dig­i­tal­ready work­force and a smooth shift to new jobs, as we tran­si­tion to knowl­edge-based economies.

A bal­anced reg­u­la­tory agenda

Reg­u­la­tions are es­sen­tial to cre­ate a reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment that pro­motes in­no­va­tive and con­fi­dent use of tech­nol­ogy. A bal­ance must be struck be­tween the free flow of data and in­for­ma­tion, and pri­vacy poli­cies. This means more for­mal and writ­ten cy­ber-se­cu­rity and pri­vacy poli­cies should be put in place, and coun­tries should cre­ate in­ter­op­er­a­ble frame­works for the free flow of in­for­ma­tion across bor­ders. The pro­cesses for pro­tect­ing in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty like ob­tain­ing trade­marks need to be stream­lined.

Govern­ment lead­ing by ex­am­ple: Govern­ment lead­er­ship is per­haps the most im­por­tant step in the tran­si­tion to a knowl­edge econ­omy. Ev­ery govern­ment has an op­por­tu­nity to lead by ex­am­ple in em­brac­ing tech­nol­ogy to pro­vide ad­vanced ser­vices to cit­i­zens and im­prov­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity in the pub­lic sec­tor. Com­pa­nies can and should work in part­ner­ship with gov­ern­ments to take ad­van­tage of the in­no­va­tive cloud and pro­duc­tiv­ity busi­ness so­lu­tions. Gov­ern­ments in the re­gion can dig­i­tally transform them­selves to em­power their em­ploy­ees, op­ti­mize op­er­a­tions, rein­vent their ser­vices and even­tu­ally en­gage and serve the cit­i­zens on day to day ba­sis, in a much more ef­fi­cient and pro­duc­tive man­ner.

Mi­crosoft’s mis­sion is to em­power ev­ery per­son and ev­ery or­ga­ni­za­tion on the planet to achieve more. As such, we are op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture and the role tech­nol­ogy can play. How­ever, com­put­ing is not the end goal. Em­pow­er­ing peo­ple is, and pub­lic sec­tor sup­port is a vi­tal en­abler for us all. - Charles Na­has is the Gen­eral Man­ager, Mi­crosoft Kuwait

FRANK­FURT: Ger­many’s econ­omy min­istry says it has with­drawn its ap­proval for Chi­nese Grand Chip In­vest­ment’s 670-mil­lion-euro pur­chase of Aix­tron, cit­ing se­cu­rity con­cerns. —AFP

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