The data presented by Digital Evolution Index seems supported by data from the European Commission. The EU defined a Digital Economy and Society Index to support and measure progress on the digital agenda for Europe:
The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) is a composite index that summarises relevant indicators on Europe’s digital performance and tracks the evolution of EU member states in digital competitiveness.
The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) is based on five dimensions:
- Connectivity – The Connectivity dimension measures the deployment of broadband infrastructure and its quality. Access to fast broadband-enabled services is a necessary condition for competitiveness.
- Human Capital – The Human Capital dimension measures the skills needed to take advantage of the possibilities offered by a digital society. Such skills go from basic user skills that enable individuals to interact online and consume digital goods and services, to advanced skills that empower the workforce to take advantage of technology for enhanced productivity and economic growth.
- Use of Internet – The Use of Internet dimension accounts for the variety of activities performed by citizens already online. Such activities range from consumption of online content (videos, music, games, etc.) to modern communication activities or online shopping and banking.
- Integration of Digital Technology – The Integration of Digital Technology dimension measures the digitisation of businesses and their exploitation of the online sales channel. By adopting digital technology businesses can enhance efficiency, reduce costs and better engage customers, collaborators and business partners. Furthermore, the Internet as a sales outlet offers access to wider markets and potential for growth.
- Digital Public Services – The Digital Public Services dimension measures the digitisation of public services, and focuses in particular on eGovernment and eHealth. Modernisation and digitisation of public services, including eHealth, can lead to efficiency gains for the public administration, citizens and businesses alike as well as to the delivery of better services for the citizen.
Note that factors included in the Digital Evolution Index like market supply and demand, and innovation are not included in the DESI.
Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands and Finland are the highest performing countries. They are not only ahead in the EU, but they are world leaders in digital.
DESI shows progress for Europe
The Digital Economy and Society Index improved from 2014 to 2015:
Keep in mind that there is no benchmark to non-European countries! Besides that it is remarkable that all countries improved. Also the Digital Evolution Index didn’t show progress for the highest performing countries. I think there’s a little too much optimism here.
The Digital Economy and Society Index has a more optimistic outlook for the digital economy in Europe compare to what the Digital Evolution Index shows us. However both support the case for a digital agenda for Europe in 2020.
Nevertheless the Washington Post showed in June Europe has an acute need for harmonisation. The article states that it’s easier for Europeans to buy and sell online with non-member countries, especially the United States, which accounts for more than half of all the EU’s digital business. Which is rather unexpected for a union. So there is a lot to do for Europe if the leading countries want to keep playing at the world top level and for the other countries not to fall to far behind.
From that perspective it is remarkable that there seems to be little focus on harmonising laws and bringing down barriers for digital trade in the Digital Single Market initiative.