12:00 02.06.2020

Author MAXIM AGEEV

State and Clouds. Why is Ukraine behind again?

6 min read
State and Clouds. Why is Ukraine behind again?

Maxim Ageev, CEO of De Novo

The authorities of Ukraine do not believe in cloud technology. The story of Luddites, who have been fighting the technical progress for 150 years, is really familiar to us. There are the same covenants of antiquity, the old-fashioned foundations, and, of course, everything should be according to the “presidential law” ...

This summer the decision about the Cloud Services  Law will be made. http://w1.c1.rada.gov.ua/pls/zweb2/webproc4_1?pf3511=67744. Although the Law about Cloud Services is not at a particular interest to the general public, it is one of the milestones, where the fight between archaic and innovation will determine our common future.

Background

After having come to power, the new political parties  declared its readiness to quickly modernize the country, the hope arose that this time Ukraine would catch up with the world in recognizing cloud models of IT services.  As a result, the Cloud First initiative appeared, setting the priority of clouds use in the government sector instead of a thoughtless purchase of computer equipment.

The concept, supported with the economic calculations, was presented to the parliamentary digital transformation committee, as well as the to the ministry. https://www.kmu.gov.ua/news/uprodovzh-pyati-rokiv-obsyag-rinku-hmarnih-servisiv-ukrayini-mozhe-zrosti-do-ponad-300-mln.

What is Cloud First

The production of IT services is an extremely complex and costly task. Specialized "factories" also known as Cloud service operators can cope with it the best. Transfer to them the bulk of the tasks of providing consumers with IT services (from computing resources to ready-made application functionality) is the basis of the Cloud First concept.

The idea of switching to cloud models of IT services for the state sector is capable not only to change, but also can boost the digitalization of economies. It is an opportunity for the poorest European country to narrow the digital gap with the first world.

Cloud First is a trigger to forward private investment in critical IT infrastructure and software solutions for Ukraine, rather than in a stream of raw code or exporting specialists to the West. This is the platform for the new technology services economy. And it can cause the reduction of budget expenditures in multiple ways - up to ten billions of UAH in a few years. All the leading (and not only) countries have accepted and are implementing the Cloud First concept long ago, but there are no examples of rejection of this idea due to failure. It would seem, what else is needed? Look at the experience of the pioneers and follow it.

How was  2655 bill created

The team has worked on Cloud Services Law for more than three months. It consisted of representatives of the core business, public organizations and just curious people. During this time, the official position of the state - both the legislative and executive branches of government - was not clearly indicated. What does our state think about data residency? Who and under what conditions can work with state IT systems? What are the prospects for the national system of standards in the field of information security and personal data protection?

The bill in its current form is the result of a compromise between the opposing concepts and their support groups. The first group is small and consists of domestic operators who advocate exactly the same idea as in any other country, namely: the states data should not leave the country, this is a matter of digital sovereignty. The second group is headed by global companies, primarily Microsoft, and requires the full disclosure of the "digital borders" of Ukraine and the right to process state data in other jurisdictions. According to their opinion, the world, is open, and Ukraine does not have its own technologies. Therefore, Ukraine should take ready-made services without prejudices.

Due to the absence of a clearly articulated position of state, the mentioned above parties come to a comprise. Otherwise, a draft of the law would not have been registered at all.

How to the Cloud Services law is being destroyed

Closer to the submission of 2655 bill to the Rada’s hall for the first reading, negative reviews and complaints about the details of the document appeared. The complains take dozens of pages and this is many times more than the text of the law itself. If representatives of the Cabinet and other state authorities spent at least half of this time and effort on professionally finalizing the original text, and not on destroying the Cloud First transformational idea, we would witness a real policy of changes in the innovative sector of the economy.

Does the government need cloud services?

Today, this issue has practically lost relevance, because the state enterprises and authorities stop spending money on equipment and move to the clouds. Ask for the opinion of IT managers from dozens of leading state enterprises, and you will hear that the lack of a legislative framework prevents them from working normally, that the realities of life and fantasies of the Ukrainian officials are different universes.

State consumers have been working with clouds for a long time. And opponents of this idea are similar to the horse-drawn transport guild rally at the gates of General Motors. They would be ridiculous freaks if they had not had such a powerful effect on a country suffocating on the sidelines.

Conclusion

It seems that state does not need a cloud transformation strategy. But since admitting this publicly  means to doom oneself to ridicule, officials are more willing to deal with a stream of bureaucratic nit-picking and reasoning. "Set the fool" - this meme is remembered by those who lived in the USSR.

Most critics do not even know much about the material and live in a distorted world of myths and gossips. But nobody wants to clarify anything.

I would venture to state, that the attitude towards the clouds highlights the level of readiness of the state managers really change something in our economy. Investing, economic nationalism, office simple solutions - these are just words in the body of presentations, if there is no real action.

What to do?

Option one, the best. The Ministry of Digital Affairs should organize a group of representatives of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, LSSA, tax specialists, legal experts and quickly finalize the text of 2655 bill. And submit it to the parliamentary hall for consideration. And push this innovation, publicly articulating its position. Help from the IT business will not be delayed and will be maximized.

Option two and the most likely. The law “Cloud Services” will be destroyed without ever finding an internal customer. Supporters of sales of hardware will breathe a sigh of relief, cloud service drivers will continue the war, relying on their sympathizers from the IT environment. Probably, they will stop even laughing at us, they will simply sympathize.

What are you guys doing?

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