There is lot of focus on the opportunities represented by introduction of digital technologies into business and public organisations. Governments are under pressure to ensure the infrastructure and organisations are in place to respond to the challenges.

For the countries in Europe one measure of their status is given by the “Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI)" , which recently had the ranking scored updated for 2018, as shown in this Figure. Sweden, Finland and Norway all still ranked in the top 5 countries, the relative positions have shuffled somewhat.

Relative ranking of countries in Europe with respect to the Digital Economy and Society Index.

All countries are improving their score, so continual improvement is required to maintain a high ranking. While the total rankings are similar for Sweden, Finland and Norway there are differences in the scores of the underlying components, and what areas are identified for improvement. Sweden for example has a higher level of uptake of ultrafast broadband, whereas Finland has a higher take-up of mobile broadband – this also means that the ranking scores are not necessarily apples-apples comparisons. The proportion of enterprises in Finland utilising RFID technology is twice as high as Norway and three times as high as in Sweden. For all countries there are concerns over the human capital – in terms of the proportion of ICT specialists and STEM graduates. There are also identified concerns with achieving penetration of digital technologies into remote regions.

Reflecting the level of attention paid to digitalisation the Norwegian government announced in January 2019 that it was establishing a new Ministerial position to oversee and coordinate the developments in digitalisation in the business and public sectors. It seems likely that this will also reorganisation of existing structures and departments and the announcement commented on a focus on implementation and profit realisation. Sweden made a similar reorganisation in 2018. Comparisons of different countries’ Digital Government status are made regularly by the OECD, and these reviews are also interest sources for input to strategic development planning.

Ross Wakelin
Northern Research Institute Narvik A.S.
(47) 99 252 485

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