Many of Cisco’s initiatives, from our Internet for the Future strategy to our much-vaunted Country Digital Acceleration Program have a common aim – to expand the benefits of connectivity as far as possible around the world. Better connectivity, as we have seen, goes hand-in-hand with a number of social ‘goods’, such improved economic performance, knowledge sharing, inclusion and opportunity.

But how are countries and regions performing in this journey towards a digitised, connected future? To better-understand the answer to this question, Cisco has recently released its second ‘Digital Readiness’ Index, an annual report that seeks to measure the ‘digital readiness’ of 141 countries across the world.

Cisco’s ‘Digital Readiness’ report benchmarks individual countries’ progress against seven key criteria; ‘Basic Needs’, ‘Business & Government Investment’, ‘Ease of Doing Business’, ‘Human Capital’, ‘Start-Up Environment’, ‘Technology Adoption’ and ‘Technology Infrastructure’. Using Cisco’s report countries can identify areas for improvement and better-foster their own digital development.

The report’s findings within EMEAR vary considerably, as you would expect for such a highly diverse region. It paints a picture of EMEAR as a region that is generally performing well on the global stage. EMEAR performs particularly well in areas such as infrastructure adoption. However, the report also suggests that significant ‘digital divides’ still remain.

The report is, overall, quick to point out that countries’ ‘Digital Readiness’ depends heavily upon three key categories; ‘Basic Needs’, ‘Human Capital’ and Technology Infrastructure’. Also, there is a strong correlation between countries’ digital readiness scores and other performance indicators, such as GDP.

  • Luxembourg is the most ‘digitally ready’ country in the world, scoring at #2 in the overall global rankings for ‘digital readiness’, second only to Singapore.
  • EMEAR as a whole performs particularly well against the ‘Technology Infrastructure’ criteria of the report –a reflection of the advanced state of many Western nations’ infrastructure. Four of the top five scoring countries in this category globally were in EMEAR – Denmark, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Iceland.
  • Similarly, EMEAR countries command eight of the top ten spots for general ‘technology adoption’ – a reflection of their relatively prosperous status. All but one of these nations (The UAE) are situated in The West.
  • Within Europe specifically, Western and Northern European countries generally score much higher than their Eastern and Southern counterparts across all categories. In particular, the marked difference in scores for the ‘Business and Government Investment’ and ‘Start-Up Environment (VC Funding)’ categories suggests that both private and public involvement will be needed to overcome some of the digital divide within Europe.
  • Overall, it seems that the EU could do more to invest in startups, especially when compared to the US. The big difference between the EU’s top 10 and the USA is in the startup environment (e.g. VC capital) and tech adoption (e.g. mobile coverage and internet usage). These categories are 36% and 30% higher in the USA, respectively.
  • The EMEAR region contains three of the five countries that scored highest against the ‘Basic Needs’ category: Spain, Switzerland and Iceland. EMEAR also holds eight of the top ten positions for ‘Ease of doing business’. These findings further suggest the link between social and economic stability and a degree of digital maturity.

To learn more about the Global Digital Readiness Index and to view individual rankings on an interactive website, please visit https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/about/csr/research-resources/digital-readiness.html. You can also read the blogs from Tae Yoo and Jennifer Boynton outlining the importance of ‘Digital Readiness’.