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Boosting Cloud Maturity in France: Challenges and Opportunities

Fri 12 May 2023

Cloud computing has emerged as a catalyst for digital transformation worldwide, and France is no exception. As digital transformation initiatives continue to rise across France, the cloud will become an increasingly essential service for businesses of all sizes and sectors.

With the French government’s substantial investments in the cloud sector, it’s clear that the growth of cloud technology is pivotal for the country’s digital economy. Yet, France’s cloud maturity level still has room for improvement.

Government Initiatives in Cloud Computing

The French Government has invested heavily in building the cloud sector in the country in recent years. The state announced a €1.8 billion plan in 2021 to foster competitive French firms in the global cloud ecosystem.

“Today we implement a long-held ambition: to bring about the emergence of French and European industrial champions. The battle for the cloud is not lost. 23 research and development projects have already been selected by the state, for public funding of more than €421 million,” said Cedric O, Minister for Digital Affairs.

Alongside this, the Government created a ‘Trusted Cloud’ label awarded to companies that prioritise data security in their cloud infrastructure. Receiving the label requires companies to obtain the SecNumCloud certification from French cybersecurity watchdog ANSSI, ensure severs are located in France, maintain that the companies are European and owned by Europeans, as well as secure legal protection.

The State of Cloud Maturity in France

Despite Government support, France’s cloud maturity level is lagging. According to a survey by Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC) tracking the evolution of cloud computing in France, the industry maturity scored 443 out of a possible 1000.

Research by Eurostat revealed that 29% of enterprises use cloud computing, primarily for email (67%) and data storage (76%), with only half employing cloud security software. Meanwhile, ISG in a 2021 report expected cloud contract value in France to increase by 21%. This is bolstered by recent developments such as HCL Digital Workplace Services’ agreement with Airbus, BMW Group migrating workloads to AWS, and Digital Realty opening its third Paris-based data center, among others.

With this in mind, there is a clear opportunity to elevate France’s cloud maturity level.

The Role of Cloud Providers and Partnerships

Regional cloud infrastructure providers like Equinix, OVHcloud, and Dassault Systèmes have partnered with international hyperscalers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure to enhance France’s cloud infrastructure and enable a stable future. Europe-based global service providers like Capgemini, Orange, Atos, and Sopra Steria are also investing in similar partnerships.

International players like Accenture and HCL have also introduced European natives into their leadership, opened local offices, and acquired French companies like Gekko, Cirruseo, and Sentelis.

Understanding the Benefits of Cloud Computing

To seize the opportunities to advance cloud infrastructures, a better understanding of the real impact and benefits of cloud tools is required.

The PAC survey found that only 16% of French firms believe that cloud computing will drive innovative business models. Additionally, just 35% of companies express confidence that cloud adoption will lead to the creation of efficient solutions.

Ensuring businesses understand the transformative potential of cloud technology is critical for a successful cloud strategy.

Security Concerns Hampering Cloud Adoption

A significant obstacle that French companies face when considering cloud adoption is the perceived security risk. The PAC survey revealed that 44% of businesses that have not migrated to the cloud cite security as their primary concern.

By addressing these security issues and educating businesses on creating secure cloud strategies, an increase in cloud adoption rates and better preparation for a cloud-driven future can be possible.

The ‘Trusted Cloud’ security label may alleviate some hesitations around cloud solutions. While some critics argue the label may not sufficiently protect data, it could be considered a step in the right direction.

To allow companies to compare against benchmarks, PAC is planning to launch a self-assessment app, which could encourage healthy competition and greater adoption of cloud services.

> Read more: Cybersecurity in France: Recent incidents and how to manage them

The Roadmap to Cloud Maturity

To accelerate cloud adoption and maturity, enterprises should collaborate with technology providers, service providers, regulators, compliance consultants, and auditors to draft a robust cloud adoption roadmap. A mindset shift favoring new technology adoption is crucial, with leadership spearheading these initiatives and achieving internal alignment. Furthermore, upskilling employees and on the latest trends can instill confidence and ease the transition, while careful outsourcing can speed up processes.

France stands at a crucial juncture in its cloud computing journey and bolstering maturity. Despite the existing challenges, with concerted effort from the government, cybersecurity watchdogs, and businesses themselves, the country can navigate towards a more cloud-mature future. The road ahead may be complex, but with a combined effort from all stakeholders, France’s cloud future looks promising.

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