Oct 29, 2015 - 1:15pm

Getting Down to Business: Perspectives on Europe’s Digital Single Market

NOTE: The European Commission in May launched a strategy entitled the Digital Single Market (DSM) – a plan to create “better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe,” along with leveling the playing field in the digital economy and maximizing its growth potential.

There’s plenty of consensus when it comes to Europe’s Digital Single Market plans: It is the ticket to growth.

“U.S. and EU firms already support hundreds of thousands of jobs in one another’s markets and are poised for more growth,” says Myron Brilliant, Chamber executive vice president and head of International Affairs. “For most companies, the transatlantic market represents a natural place to do business due to our shared values. This is why American companies have long supported the European goal of a single-market.”

But what are the next steps as the DSM strategy moves forward. The Chamber is running a series of guest commentaries to take a closer look at the initiative. Here are some excerpts:

Google

The Digital Single Market Strategy sets out a clear agenda for Europe to ensure that companies here can take advantage of the 500 million consumers in Europe. A key aspect of this agenda is boosting the digital skills of Europeans who want to take a larger part in the Internet economy.

New digital opportunities need new kinds of workers with the rights skills to help these businesses grow. At current rates, the EU predicts a shortfall of 900,000 jobs by 2020 due to a lack of digital skills. This skills gap slows growth in startups and scale-ups, dampens the pace of innovation and hurts business. The risk is that Europe misses out on the potential boom in digital technology as other regions of the world educate talented young people with these skills.

At Google, we believe we can make a real contribution to helping fill this gap. Earlier this year we pledged to provide 1 million Europeans with digital skills by 2016. We know we can meet this goal because we have a track record of helping to boost these skills all across Europe. We support teachers delivering coding and computer science in the classroom, encourage more young people to pursue these academic degrees and support small and medium sized businesses in getting the necessary digital skills to grow their business online. We also have a long track record of supporting the advertising industry and our brand partners in building up the digital skills base of their employees.

Read more from Google.

Microsoft

The past few years have been transformative in technology.  Cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and Big Data are either entrenched or fast arriving, and already helping economies in Europe and beyond become stronger, more agile, and more productive, all while empowering users to better work and play.  As the European Commission put it in the Digital Single Market (DSM) Communication, this particular trio of new technologies “are central to the EU’s competitiveness.” …

These technologies support the free movement of services, by providing the means to deliver services cross-border at a high level of quality and competitiveness.  Instead of focusing on where to locate offices and stores, a company can focus on its offering for Europe’s 500 million consumers, wherever they happen to be and whatever devices they happen to be using.  They support free movement of people, by divorcing their location from their productivity, enabling them to participate in the digital economy wherever they may be.  And they help drive European economic growth by enabling businesses to gain insights through intelligent systems and data analytics, maintain their own infrastructure whilst avoiding the capital costs of buying own servers.  Last but not least, they benefit from enhanced security and functionality from sophisticated tech companies so they can concentrate on their core competencies.

Read more from Microsoft.

UPS

With over 500 million consumers and over 20 million small and medium sized business, there is a great potential in the European Union for boosting economic growth and making the EU more competitive. The challenge is creating a connection between consumers with SMEs, which has yet to be fully realized. The Internet and digitalization of traditional economic and commercial processes are helping to move this process in the right direction. However a number of practical, legal and technological barriers remain as obstacles to creating a truly single market in Europe that relies on digitalization for further economic growth and integration.

The European Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy has identified a number of policy initiatives and actions that will remove these barriers. The DSM strategy comprises three key elements: better access for consumers and business to online goods and services; creating the conditions for digital networks and services to flourish; and maximizing the growth potential of the European digital economy. …

The Digital Single Market has the potential to unlock the full e-commerce potential, but SMEs need to ensure that they are equipped with seamless logistics to win customers and keep them. In fact, choice and control are not really options any more, but rather necessities for any SME that aims to survive and prosper in the online marketplace.

Read more from UPS.

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