Ireland improves digitisation ranking
According to the latest Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) report, Ireland ranks sixth in Europe for digitisation.
The index is based on five key parameters:
- Connectivity: Fixed broadband, mobile broadband and prices
- Human Capital: Internet use, basic and advanced digital skills
- Use of Internet Services: Citizens’ use of content, communication and online transactions
- Integration of Digital Technology: Business digitisation and eCommerce
- Digital Public Services: eGovernment and eHealth
The country’s ranking is an improvement over last year, where it ranked ninth.
The index report says that while Ireland performs well in some areas, it still lags in others.
“Whilst outstanding in some areas (with top rankings in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates, the use of online trading by SMEs and Open Data), it lags well behind in others.
“With more than half of the adult population lacking at least basic digital skills, Ireland continues to suffer from ICT skills shortages. Access to fast broadband has improved, but 6% of rural homes still do not have access to even basic fixed broadband and ultrafast broadband coverage remains below the EU average.
“In Digital Public Services, Ireland ranks top for Open Data and is in second place for business services. However, it ranks comparatively low when it comes to the user-friendliness of services and the use of eHealth services. Addressing the gaps in Human Capital and Connectivity would help improve Ireland’s positioning in the remaining dimensions. These two aspects are also critical for individuals, enterprises and public bodies to make the best use of digital technology,” says the index report.
The findings of the index report were welcomed by Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD.
“I’m very pleased to be able to announce that Ireland has moved up three places on the DESI, the EU’s mechanism for tracking the progress made by Member States in terms of their digitisation,” said the minister. “The Report clearly confirms our standing as one of the front-runner EU countries in the digital agenda.”
“The DESI Report for 2018,” said the minister, “shows that Ireland improved our performance in 22 of the 30 comparable indicators within the Index and indicates that we are on the right track in adopting and implementing the initiatives necessary to digitise our economy even further. Nevertheless, we remain focused on maximising the potential of our economy, and want to further enhance our performance across several areas. The aim is to develop the optimal digital ecosystem for SMEs and increase Ireland’s digital competitiveness.”
Ireland’s sixth place ranking puts it ahead of the UK (7th), Spain (10th) and France (19th).
The index report acknowledges efforts underway to address the skill shortages in particular.
“Over the past year, the new government has continued to implement earlier enterprise and skills strategies, including specific digital strategies. In addition, it unveiled its long-term policy on STEM education and a new eGovernment strategy. It has also published a comprehensive plan for public investments (National Development Plan 2018-20275), which reflects the challenges and opportunities of digital transformation,” said the report.