The Norwegian Government pushes for further cloud computing


Two years after launching Cloud Computing strategy for Norway, the Norwegian Government will establish a government marketplace for cloud services. The goal is to increase benefits of the technology in the public sector. Also, big data and artificial intelligence (AI) strategy will be described in upcoming reports.

In April 2016 the Norwegian Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Erna Solberg launched no less than the country’s national cloud computing strategy. The main objective was to provide public and private enterprises with more room for maneuver when deciding which ICT solutions to use.

Has the outcome been as expected? To get a closer view of this, was welcomed by Paul Chaffey (H), state secretary to the Minister of Local Government and Modernization Monica Mæland.

“Cloud computing adopted widely”

Mæland followed Jan Tore Sanner, who presented the strategy and is now Minister of Education and Integration.

“Our main impression is that cloud computing is adopted widely in Norwegian public administration,” State Secretary Paul Chaffey says to

Before being appointed state secretary, Chaffey was CEO of Abelia. Abelia is the business association of Norwegian knowledge and technology based enterprises and associated with Norway’s largest employers’ organization: the NHO (Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry). Several IT and telecommunication companies are Abelia associates.

In the government political platform

“Several governmental organizations were already underway when we presented the strategy and more have joined in. The strategy was also a sequel to the Circular on digitization for 2016 and thus an element in a targeted work,” Chaffey says.

The circular clearly states the Norwegian Government’s command: “Cloud computing shall be assessed on the same basis as other solutions when considering major changes or reorganization of ICT systems or operations.”

In recent years, several political parties have formed a coalition to establish the government in Norway. The Solberg Government is formed by her own Conservative Party (H), the Progress party (FrP) and the Liberal Pary (V).

Their political platform The Jeløya-platform (limited English edition, Editors note) includes “Establish a central marketplace for cloud computing services” as a goal for the coalition.

“As late as April 13, 2018, we arranged the Dialogue conference for procurement/market place for Cloud Computing Services in accordance with the Government’s program statement,” Chaffey says.

Motivate through marketplace

“There are major opportunities. Therefore, we want to create the central marketplace where, for example, suppliers can be pre-approved. We do not do this without further notice, but seek advice from the industry. The Dialogue conference was one listening post where I did see Basefarm on the participant list.”

Earlier this year, the Government announced that it will present its own parliamentary report on innovation in the public sector, also in accordance with the Jeløya-platform.

Big data and AI opportunities

“We have explicitly stated that artificial intelligence and big data should be followed up. These technologies provide many opportunities for the public sector, but also raises ethical and political issues that we must relate to,” he says.

This month a strategy for the use of public data for the transportation sector (Norwegian only, Editors note) was presented by the Ministry of Transport and Communication and clearly shows the Government’s big data dedication. “Data is the fuel of the digital economy and in the increasingly digitized transport sector,” the summary clearly explains.

Based on his Abelia tech association background, Chaffey talks with great insight about cloud computing, big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence. The state secretary has great faith public sector IT professionals are well-informed about the new technology opportunities.

For example, he points out that 119 Norwegian municipalities are in the process of mergers, and will use this as an opportunity to reconsider the operating model for public service delivery and thus also the underlying IT solutions.

“My clear impression is that cloud computing is on the municipalities’ agendas.”

Top management needs insight

Public sector innovation was on the agenda at the annual Senior Public Management Summit 2018.

“My impression is that our top level management is aware of the paradigm shift which is implied by the cloud, big data and AI. After all, the management is starting new IT application development processes. Therefore, they must have this kind of insight,” Chaffey says.

Foto: Torbjørn Tandberg