In celebrating “Digital Sovereignty”, we will be judged by the quality of the software we produce, not our fine words.
Crust Technology recently had the pleasure of taking part in the Univention Summit in Bremen, Germany. The Univention Corporate Server (UCS) is a leading platform for cost-efficient operation and easy administration of server applications and entire IT infrastructures. It is both self-hosted and open source and is used by many recognisable, brand-name organisations. UCS is an excellent OS base upon which to build your Digital Sovereignty, being practical, feature complete and supportive of multi-vendor environments.
Digital Sovereignty is a complex term, implying unimpeded access to the software code (i.e. 100% open source), default support and promotion of federated architectures, control of data location and consistent cross-jurisdictional regulation. While vendors such Univention point the way at the infrastructural level, software manufacturers at the application layer must pick up the baton with equal enthusiasm and determination.
In practical terms, what might this mean for software application vendors?
- Be 100% open
This means no tricks or games. Every line of code must be available to the using or hosting organisation. But it goes even further than that – application architectures must be clear, well-documented and not a source of data lock-in themselves.
- Easy E-Migration
The cost of migrating away from a solution, self-hosted or otherwise, must be as low as possible. In other words, the software must be built with recognition of the principle that the using organisation has a fundamental and exclusive right to “own” all of their data and that, should they wish, this data can be moved away from the platform easily.
- Embrace Standards
From security to communication to API’s, software must be standards-based and must, in so far as possible, facilitate federation with other software and services. Clouds should be capable of collaborating with eachother, irrespective of the language in which they are coded.
- User Experience (UX) must be excellent
Good UX leads to strong adoption. Failing at this first hurdle is unforgiveable. It has now been proven umpteenth times that solutions with poor UX simply do not get adopted by a population of a meaningful size.
Credibility is key. Businesses and governments pushing for Digital Sovereignty must learn from history. It’s littered with defunct open source providers, who failed to deliver compelling alternatives to components of giant data-harvesting clouds and proprietary software manufacturers. To fail again would be to be laughed off the stage, while the use of data from our corporate champions, mittelstand (mid-sized economic actors) and small businesses drifts further and further from our control. The stakes are that high.
Do you want to take the first step to Digital Sovereignty? Give Univention’s UCS a try and set up Crust using their Univention App Center.
Crust Technology Ltd, headquartered in Ireland, is the driving force behind the open-source Unified Work platform Crust, providing a flexible, self-hosted platform for your organisation to work and communicate internally while engaging with its customers, suppliers, partners and other third parties externally. Its integrated approach to identity, messaging and business logic delivers a simple-to-use yet extensible means for managing users and the applications they require every day, whether in the cloud, behind the firewall or a hybrid of the two. For more information, visit www.planetcrust.com or follow @Crusttech on Twitter.