Ireland has improved its e-readiness score but improvements by other countries mean that it dropped a place in this year’s rankings. The yearly study from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and IBM measures the e-business environment of 68 countries across the public and private sectors.
The findings show that Ireland scored 8.09 out of 10, which is an improvement on last year’s rating of 7.98. However, this was not enough to prevent the country from falling back one place to 16th, having been 15th in 2005.
European countries dominated the top end of the rankings, taking 12 of the top 20 places. Denmark retained first place with a score of 9 out of 10, having improved on its own performance last year when it was rated as 8.74 out of 10.
The US was in second position, followed by Switzerland and Sweden who swapped places compared with last year. The UK was in fifth place. Other countries in the top 20 who fell in the rankings include Sweden, Finland, Hong Kong, Norway and Singapore. However, all but one of these countries actually improved their scores over last year, supporting the EIU’s contention that the gap is narrowing between the top tier of countries and those ranked below them.
Those making the biggest strides include Australia (8th), Canada (9th), Lithuania (38th) and, at the lower end of the scale, Algeria (63rd).
Now in its sixth year, the study noted improvements across the board, with traditionally ‘infrastructure-poor’ countries making progress in e-readiness. Broadband connectivity is becoming less of a distinction among e-readiness leaders with other criteria such as innovation, information security and governments’ commitment to digital development emerging as significant differentiators
The EIU pointed out that even countries with big infrastructural deficits and business environment weaknesses such as Bulgaria (44th), India (53rd) and Vietnam (66th) have managed to enhance their e-readiness in other ways, such as by developing IT outsourcing capabilities. The developing world has also increasingly used open source software to expand business and public sector access to information technology.
Close to 100 quantitative and qualitative criteria, organised into six distinct categories, are used to calculate the e-readiness rankings. The six categories and their respective weightings are: connectivity and technology infrastructure (25pc); business environment (20pc); consumer and business adoption (20pc); social and cultural environment (15pc); legal and policy environment (15pc); and supporting e-services (5pc). The majority of data is sourced from the EIU and Pyramid Research.
By Gordon Smith