Kroes: CIO views matter

EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes last week called on CIOs to help improve Europe's IT infrastructure by together building an EU-wide digital single market.

In a speech on the occasion of the European CIO of the Year award, Kroes said CIOs from both the public and private sector need to contribute their expertise to reduce the complexity of doing business in Europe.

"You no doubt have some experience of the complexity and compliance costs of dealing with multiple regimes in Europe," she said, citingprivacy, interoperability, cloud computing, security, and licensing as issues businesses need to deal with in the 27-nation bloc.

She asked CIOs for help and continued: "No one, least of all me, wants you to deal with the hassle of 27 difference compliance regimes."

The EU commissioner appealed to both private and public-sector CIOs to contribute to her digital agenda. She noted that the US administration has, for the first time, appointed a government CIO, who has pledged to move at least of quarter of annual public IT spending to the Cloud.

"This will shift the market," Kroes said, adding that "concerted efforts in the EU can do the same."

Kroes told CIOs that their views and experience matter more than they may think. "CIOs are shaping the wider business agenda as never before," she said."I certainly want to keep a dialogue open, so that we can make the most of your successes."

CIOs should move forward with user-led initiatives, Kroes said, citing as examples interoperability specifications in procurement and related contractual obligations.

Winner of the CIO of the Year award in the client-driven CIO category was Pascale Avargues, CIO of the city of Bordeaux, France. The winner for business-process driven CIO was Daniel Lebeau, vice president for management and information systems at GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals. And the winner in the technology category was Marcello Cordioli, CIO of Italian building contractor Permasteelisa.

The awards were organized by the INSEAD business school and CIOnet, Europe's largest network for CIOs and IT directors.