miércoles, 25 de enero de 2017

Three digital gaps to be filled in Europe

What should be the pillars of a successful policy for digital transformation? Maybe this is the question more hear in the management rooms of public and private sector. The digital basis set now will have a definite impact on the country or company for many years to come, so it is needed to identify a limited set of key projects which their development should be specially monitored. The approach to their identification can be more or less complex, a simple one could be the need to deploy the right infrastructures, set the conditions for a smart use of the available data and endow the population with the skills to use both.

Although it is not explicitly described in this manner, the above three pillars approach it is been followed by the European Commission in the development of its Digital Single Market strategy, the roadmap for Europe´s digital transformation.    Europe has major deficits in the three pillars that should be filled in order to ensure growth and jobs in the forthcoming years. The digital skills agenda, the roadmap for the Gigabit Society and the free flow of data initiative are the three levers that we should not failed to built up.

To begin with, it would be extremely difficult to take advantage of digital services and infrastructures without enough IT professionals and the population are not able to use the digital tools. The pool of digital talent will be irreparably empty if four of the major economies (France, Spain, Italy and Poland) are below the EU average percentage of IT professionals or if 40% of the EU population lacked the needed digital skills and 22% have no digital skills at all.

Regarding the network infrastructure, it looks that the deployment of NGA is steeping up in the last two years. However, there is still a major problem of adoption in an important group of economies and only 12 Member States are above the average. Among the laggers in the adoption of NGA we find again three major EU economies (Poland, Spain and Italy). Without the adoption of the current infrastructure no future jump to the Gigabit networks will be possible.

Last but not least, there is the question of data. The benefits from having quality network infrastructure and the people with enough digital skills is reaping from the smart exploitation of data. But taken advantage of the data pool of an organisation or country is based in its free flow and established rules for its access and sharing, as well of its usage as a currency in transactions.

Infrastructure, data and skills make a virtuous circle for the development of the digital economy. Other factors as cybersecurity or applications are important, but there are not as critically essential to set the wheels of growth and jobs in motion.

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