From Farmville to the future – where does Europe stand in digital transformation?

It’s 9AM and I’ve already used five apps this morning; I’ve checked the news, the weather, the latest from Serie A, planned my next cycle route – and I’ve even played Farmville with my daughter.

Essentially, the software behind each of these apps is helping me stay ahead or abreast of the things I find important (except in the case of Farmville, where my daughter remains far ahead of me).

While these examples of the impact of digital technology on everyday life are very local and personal to me, they do confirm that software’s influence now goes far beyond the IT sector and the workplace. But, where does Europe as a region stand when it comes to digital growth and innovation?

Estonia has an i-voting system and online metering to monitor how ‘green’ their electricity usage is. France, Spain and a few other European countries have added coding to the national curriculum. But these are just pockets of digital transformation – to really increase technology-led transformation we need a unified European strategy, based on partnerships between private and public sectors.

Last month the European Commission announced the first industry-related initiative of the Digital Single Market (DSM) package. This package addresses various important focus areas, but for me the two most pressing are the skills gap and security.

Here at CA, we’re recruiting up to 130 software developers for our CA EMEA Technology Center in Prague and we will be running a large marketing campaign to support this. Why? Surely, in the application economy we’ve become, there’s a wealth of candidates suitable for the role? Unfortunately not.

As it stands, there could be 825,000 unfilled vacancies for ICT professionals by 2020. That’s not a great outlook for a digitised Europe. The focus areas addressed in the DSM package are a strong foundation for closing the region’s skills gap, and it’s crucial that tech firms support these policies laid out by the European Commission.

At CA, for example, we have set up various programmes such as Create Tomorrow and Thrive at CA, to help expand the available talent pool, and to inspire interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Security is particularly critical in the application economy, and last year Web-based attacks increased by 38%. And with the Internet of Things heralding a world overflowing with connected objects and devices, Europe must act fast to create a secure technology infrastructure.

We see customers from a wide range of industries digitising their processes daily using software – take BT with their new single sign-on experience. Their aim was to create a smooth customer journey, but underneath this, the priority was security.

For the application economy to thrive across all industries, as it is beginning to, we need to reassure the world that Europe is technologically secure.

My daughter’s generation are the leaders of the future (assuming they can eventually grow out of playing Farmville). If we in Europe want a digital market capable of leading the world, then we need to start today so that future generations can reap the benefits.

 


Marco joined CA Technologies in 2011 as President of Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA)…

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