A view of how the cloud-ification of public services can help citizens and small businesses through a success story from a CIP project

This is a guest blog post written by Evagelos Kosmidis, project coordinator of e-Enviper

As owner of a very small size enterprise (v-SME) from Greece and a citizen of Europe, every day in my professional and personal life, I realize the need of better public services (e-government) and how the improvement and the “cloud-ification” of these services can really be a win-win situation for all involved parties.

As coordinator of e-Enviper, a project funded by the PSP-CIP programme and dealing with the improvement of environmental permitting procedures through the deployment of a workflow management software and based on cloud services, I faced a lot of challenges both in managerial and technical issues.

Throughout the course of the project I have learnt a great number of lessons and we have come to realize the necessity of better public services through improved and more efficient pricing models and the minimizing of huge infrastructure that was prevailing till now in the selection of similar platforms for the public sector. When designing a project like that, one pre-assumes the willingness for participation of the involved parties and tends to ignore the bureaucratic mentality that was prevailing till now and which is fortunately starting to change.

After overcoming the most important issues of explaining to people the obvious fact that the new electronic services will be faster and more efficient, one starts to realize how much time both public servants and actual clients (companies and citizens taking advantage of the various services) can save. A very interesting fact, that actually justifies completely the directions set by the digital agenda, is that this situation is not only valid in smaller and specific countries but even in the larger and more developed countries of the central Europe. Nevertheless I witnessed the mentality of all the involved parties, positively changing gradually in the course of the 2.5-year project. This was really impressive and encouraging for me.

As a set of rules of thumb I could say that:

  • Cloud service infrastructure is important but it has to be based on realistic and down to earth legislation that can support the cloud-ification of these services and provide security (legal and physical) for the involved stakeholders.

  • Open Data has to be a basic component of any cloud platform. Not in the form of just providing physical data but as provision of advanced services and metadata supporting the extensive use of open data.

  • Interoperability is something that has to be “imposed” in order to make the whole system of data and services exchange more sustainable. Publishing data under directives or national obligations is not always enough. Interoperable tools must exist to make sure that the data are actually used. I am very confident that these actions are taken seriously by all concerned parties, all over the EU.

It is a true and realistic statement to say that countries around the world are taking on the challenge to revitalize their public administrations and to make them more proactive, efficient, transparent and service oriented. The Commission has already put in place plans for tackling these issues, so I am very confident that these actions are taken seriously by all concerned parties, all over the EU.

Twitter: @evageliskos, Website: www.draxis.gr