Improving Ireland’s Digital Competitiveness in 2018

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Ireland's Digital Competitiveness

Ireland’s digital competitiveness was ranked 21st out of 63 countries in the first publication of the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Yearbook. The new ranking scheme measures a country’s ability to adopt and explore digital technologies leading to the transformation of government practices, business models, and society in general. Considering Ireland’s growing reputation as the digital and data capital of Europe, this ranking is worryingly lacklustre.

Room to Improve

The IMD World Competitiveness Centre based in Switzerland released the study alongside their well-established World Competitiveness Rankings, on which Ireland placed 6th. The difference between the two rankings indicates that Ireland’s digital competitiveness has plenty of room for improvement.

The methodology behind the rankings is derived from 3 major criteria:

  • Knowledge – the capacity to understand and learn new technologies, which includes talent, training and education, and scientific performance.
  • Technology – encompassing regulatory and technological frameworks, and capital.
  • Future Readiness – based on adaptive attitudes, business agility and IT integration.

Each one of these factors is further divided into 3 sub-factors. These sub-factors are once again divided into even smaller ‘sub-sub-factors’ where the country’s overall ranking is derived from.

Of the main 3 criteria, Ireland’s poorest scores were registered in both the ‘Technology’ and ‘Knowledge’ categories, both ranking 25th overall. Whereas in relation to ‘Future Readiness’, Ireland ranked 10th.

Where Does Ireland Struggle?

Ireland's Digital Competitiveness

Out of 63 countries examined, Ireland placed 52nd in ‘Total Public Expenditure on Education’ under ‘Knowledge’. While ‘Investment in Telecommunications’ ranked 56th under ‘Technology’. These rankings are extremely disappointing, implying a grave lack of investment from the Irish government in our digital future.

A study in the Harvard Business Review indicated that some major considerations in improving any country’s digital competitiveness are:

“…investments in reskilling workers and teaching students in schools the skills and thinking to thrive in a digital world…improving access to capital and digital infrastructure and reducing the many inequities.”

Required Actions

In order for Ireland to remain competitive in an increasingly digitalised marketplace, some key issues need to be addressed. IBEC’s 2017 paper on accelerating Ireland’s digital competitiveness outlines the key areas for improvement:

  • Implement a comprehensive digital economy agenda through a structured ‘whole of government’ policy focus and engagement at national and EU level.
  • Attract mobile digital talent, encourage digital inclusion and invest in education and skills to enable the digital economy.
  • Enable investment in digital infrastructure.
  • Promote digital innovation.
  • Enable digital entrepreneurship.

Improving Digital Competitiveness in your own Workplace

In order to boost your own digital competitiveness and to navigate the ever-changing digital landscape of your workplace, it’s imperative guarantee the following:

  • Senior managers must have the vision and competence to lead digital transformation in their companies.
  • Ensure everyone in your company has the same basic level of training and skill.
  • Your company must invest in platform services and technology that is flexible and robust enough to be implemented throughout your company.
  • Managers must develop their employee’s ability to effectively use digital information and analytics.
  • Senior managers must lead in understanding the values and behaviours associated with effective information use in a digitally enabled company.
  • Measuring the progress of the journey in digital business capabilities for maintaining momentum and ensuring continuous improvement.

Improving your digital competitiveness begins with smart decision-making a meeting. Check out our blog on organising the perfect decision-making meeting.



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