Shaping Europe’s future for software, services and cloud - How CloudWATCH Concertation meetings are shaping the LEIT 2016-2017 Work Programme.
The value of the cloud lies in developing new applications and the agility that comes with that. Cloud computing provides speed to market for businesses. The future is being able to manage diverse platforms. Businesses should not be told that they have to move onto a certain platform. Businesses should be helped to make informed decisions on how to manage diverse platforms. Mobile and social networks are driving this change, drastically shortening the time it takes to develop applications. 
Three core principles influence this move towards a dynamic cloud: potentially disparate cloud offerings should act as one dynamically managed, secure environment; greater flexibility is required in the choice of delivery models; interoperable delivery models can occur through the use of standards.
These are just some of the recommendations which emerged from the second of three Concertation meetings for Unit E4 Software & Services, Cloud Computing which was organised by the CloudWATCH project in September 2014. Over 100 participants from 52 projects came together to take stock of the situation today and identify common priorities for research into the LEIT 2016-2017 Work Programme. Delegates reached consensus on the importance of moving towards a cloud service portfolio that is dynamically managed, with secure and flexible delivery models and interoperable services. 
Another priority moving forward is to increase adoption of cloud computing for SMEs in Europe by creating a trusted cloud environment which responds to the diverse needs of European firms. This is an essential step towards boosting the European economy and creating new jobs.
SMEs present offered practical tips on how European projects can help overcome IT pain points and also create the right support mechanisms, including legal tips, that are essential for the uptake of cloud services by SMEs. A critical success factor for future projects is delivering products and services that can meet demand and where Europe can offer added-value in a highly competitive global marketplace. Construction, healthcare and banking are all markets that should be targeted as they have long tails of missed opportunities for SMEs.
Uncertainty over trust and security of cloud computing is a concern for many European firms. The smaller the business the higher the risk aversion. 90% of SMEs are small and micro-enterprises and are particularly keen to operate on safe grounds. Building a trusted cloud ecosystem for Europe is the only way to overcome barriers for SMEs and start-ups who are often unaware of the security risks they are facing. Concerns also include contracts, vendor lock-in and data location and availability.
Three break-out sessions on cloud computing, software engineering and open source software identified a set of priorities for LEIT 2016-2017 based on an assessment of the current research focus and how European funded projects can build on current strengths through better results and greater uptake in the market. 
Delegates agreed that clustering can help in promoting usability and re-use. A possible approach could be establishing a set of consistent projects that work together on topics such as reference architecture and sharing consistent outputs. Focus should not only be on disruptive innovation but also on a more structured approach to turning partially successful prototypes into European success stories.