Cloud, Italy risks failing EU objectives: “37 percentage points gap”

Cloud, Italy risks failing EU objectives: “37 percentage points gap”

According to a Deloitte-Vodafone study, only 38% of companies use the services. A figure far from the targets of the “Digital Decade”. And the number of ICT specialists must increase by 1.84 million
30 Mar 2022
Federica Meta

Italy risks failing the objectives of the EU Digital Decade on the cloud front. According to the report “Progress towards the ambition of the Digital Decade of the EU”, produced by Deloitte and commissioned by Vodafone, in our country the percentage of companies that use cloud technology must significantly increase by 37 percentage points to achieve the objectives of the plan of the European Commission.
In Italy, in fact, only 38% of companies currently use cloud computing services, with a gap of 37 percentage points compared to the 75% target to be achieved by 2030. Cloud services can help make data more secure, to guide an efficient process, to help companies to grow, to offer new insights and to reduce costs for companies: they are therefore fundamental for the success of companies, for their growth and to support Europe’s competitiveness in general.
And a gap persists in other areas of the digital decade as well. For example, the percentage of households covered by VHCN networks is 34% in 2021, which means that there is still a gap of 66 percentage points. “Closing this gap could prove challenging for most, if not all Member States, due to the high cost and operational challenges of deploying these networks in rural areas,” the report reads.
Index of topics
• The gap in digital skills
• The digitization of SMEs
• The impact of the pandemic on GDP
• The key tools to reach digital targets
The digital skills gap
The lack of ICT specialists is also helping to slow the path towards the goals of the Digital Decade, putting Europe’s ability to scale the technologies needed to be a global leader at risk. In the EU, the number of ICT specialists currently stands at 8.43 million, a number that would need to at least double to reach the target of 20 million ICT specialists envisaged by the Digital Decade.

The digitization of SMEs
Progress in the digitization of SMEs is decreasing for some member states, putting the overall goal of the EU’s Digital Decade at risk. The digital intensity of SMEs has remained relatively flat over the past five years, with an average annual growth rate across the EU between 2016 and 2021 of only 2%. Digital intensity is defined according to the Digital Intensity Index which measures the availability of 12 different digital technologies, including access to fast broadband (30 Mbps or higher) and the availability of ICT specialists. In some cases, Member States are currently lagging further behind their targets than in 2019, such as the Czech Republic (-14 percentage points) or Portugal (-9 percentage points). Italy, on the other hand, is among the countries that experienced growth of 11 percentage points.
“It is essential for Europe to fill the gaps on the objectives of the Digital Decade highlighted in this report – says Joakim Reiter, Chief External Affairs Officer of the Vodafone Group – Without ICT specialists and without digitalized and future-proof SMEs, it will be difficult for Europe compete in global markets and build the digital industrial solutions of tomorrow “.
“All countries must participate in strengthening and improving the digital capabilities of our continent – he continues – Progress involving only a few Member States will not be sufficient to achieve Europe’s digital ambitions. While these gaps remain, our vision of a competitive, greener and more resilient Europe recedes. In fact, the European Parliament has recently estimated that the cost of inaction will be 1.3 trillion euros by 2032 “.
The impact of the pandemic on GDP
Funding for Member States will be subject to further changes following the collapse of GDP during the pandemic. Member States whose GDP has fallen more than expected will have increased funds and grants available to them from the European Commission. Germany, Portugal and Spain could see the largest relative increases in subsidies, while Ireland, Romania and the Netherlands could see the largest relative decreases in subsidies due to better-than-expected GDP increases.
The key tools to reach digital targets
The report highlights four key policy tools, which could help achieve the goals of the Digital Decade:
1. Coordination between governments: Effective collaboration between the governments of the Member States (national, regional and local authorities) could help ensure that digital investments are effectively targeted, synchronized and timely.
1. Connecting digital ecosystems: The emergence of new digital ecosystems will depend on a diverse range of organizations working together, with governments helping to facilitate.
1. Data sharing: Ensuring that data is accessible, reusable and secure will help facilitate sharing and support digital ecosystems, including smart cities, digital health, smart energy and mobility.
1. Demonstrating Digital Value: Demonstrating the value of digital investments through pilot projects and concrete benefit assessments can help unlock further public investment and can help provide useful information for future investment decision making.

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