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Issue Date: April 2008

AnalystWatch: WEF Report on 'Networked Readiness'

April 2008

The World Economic Forum recently released its Global Information Technology Report 2007-2008. According to the organisation's website (www.weforum.org) summarising the report and the associated Network Readiness Index (NRI), Denmark is the most networked economy in the world, followed by Sweden and Switzerland.

The report noted that among the top 10, the Republic of Korea (ninth position) and to a lesser extent, the US (fourth), posted the most notable improvements. The UK, in ninth position in the last report, came in this time at 12th.
The NRI aims to measure economies' capacity to fully leverage ICT for increased competitiveness and development, building on a mixture of hard data collected by organisations such as the International Telecommunication Union, the World Bank, and the United Nations, alongside survey data from the Executive Opinion Survey, conducted annually by the World Economic Forum in each of the economies included in the report.
The NRI 2007-2008 covers 127 developed and developing economies, accounting for in excess of 95% of the world's Gross Domestic Product.
The Networked Readiness Framework, which underlies the NRI, assesses: the presence of an ICT-friendly and conducive environment, by looking at a number of features of the broad business environment, some regulatory aspects, and the soft and hard infrastructure for ICT; the level of ICT readiness and preparation to use ICT of the three main stakeholders: individuals, the business sector, and the government; and the actual use of ICT by these three stakeholders.
All coming before the UK, the top 11 countries in the report are: Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, US, Singapore, Finland, the Netherlands, Iceland, Republic of Korea, Norway, and Hong Kong.
When the first report was published in 2002, the UK was in seventh position on the NRI, dropping to between ninth and 15th during the intervening years, before coming 12th this year. Other countries have done the same, dropping in and out of the top 10, but what are the implications?
The report's co-editor, Irene Mia, commented: "The successful experience of the Nordic countries, Singapore, the US, or Korea shows that a coherent government vision on the importance of ICT, coupled with an early focus on education and innovation, are key."
A recent Butler Group report entitled 'Unified Communications and Collaboration' stated that there is a fundamental shift from one-to-one to many-to-many communication. The integration with the Internet, the increasing mobility of employees, and the move toward virtual organisations, alongside the requirement to always improve profitability and customer service, means that enterprises must embrace the adaptability that services-based communications can provide.
The World Economic Forum's report comments on the ICT readiness of three main stakeholders: individuals, business, and government, and individuals are pushing businesses to improve their communications capabilities. It is time for organisations to listen more to their employees and make their countries more 'networked ready'.


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