The Italian Digital Agenda – Business opportunities

ITALY: The European Commission introduced the Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE) in May 2010 with the aim to help Europe’s citizens and businesses benefit from digital technologies in the best way possible, and to reboot Europe’s economy (1).

GroupsIn accordance with this, the Italian Agenda Digitale (ADI) was launched March 2012 by the Monti-Government, with actions from DAE subdivided into six main working groups; Infrastructure and security, E-commerce, E-Government and OpenData, Digital Competences, Research and Innovation and Smart communities. The overall focus of the agenda is to deliver sustainable economic growth, and as described by the former Prime Minister Mario Monti, ADI is “..a first step in the direction of centralizing competences and responsibility, and it is the instrument with which to guide the process of transforming the Public Administration (..)” ( 3).

Concrete initiatives have been developed to implement the ADI, and several of these are in the process of being realized. Within Infrastructure and Security, investments of a total of 900 million euro will secure the implementation of the national broadband plan (ref 4). The same working group also includes the initiative to develop data centers around the country for the development of cloud computing within 2015. Investments of a total of 41 million euro have been and will be made to update existing centers and implement new services (5).
Innovation in public administration, and in particular the E-government, is acknowledged in all industrial countries as a strategic step to recover competitiveness and economic growth (6). Significant sums are being invested in the development of electronic and digital services as part of the implementation of the ADI. The transportation Commission of the Chamber has presented the funding; 50 million euro in 2013, 60 million euro in 2014, and 70 million euro in 2015 (7).

ADIWithin Smart Cities and Communities, ADI aims to offer innovative solutions regarding the reduction of emissions, intelligent infrastructure for mobility and to stimulate the demand for goods and innovative services based on digital technologies through innovative public purchases and procurement. In June 2012 the Italian Ministry of Education decided to invest 660 million euro in Smart Cities through a call for tender open for companies, research centers and organization. The relevant areas were, amongst others, the school and health sector, smart girds and waste management (8).

When commenting on the launch of ADI, the Italian financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore wrote that the Italian Digital Agenda is “..quite an ambitious task to be carried out to achieve strategic development” (9). Also the Cabina di Regia, the operating organ of ADI, states that the realization of the ADI is an ambitious process, and that it requires the participation of both public and private entities. Several initiatives are already in progress, and the results obtained so far have been achieved thanks to the strong synergies between institutions (Government, Regions and Local Entities), citizens and different sectors (10).

The digital agenda is becoming a reality in Italy, and as it is dependent on the market to help achieve the aims within the time limit, it constitutes a huge business opportunity not only for Italian, but also foreign companies, especially within the ICT-industry.


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