Yesterday, the European Commission announced DESI (Digital Economy and Society Index) an index with the intention of measuring how digital each of the EU's 28 member states are.
I delved into the dataset to compare the Nordic Countries individual performances in the categories that make up the overall score, and to create comparative graphs, as well as pulling the most interesting statistics and findings for each Country in each Category.
(Please note: The majority of text that follows is taken directly from the original report)
So how did The Nordics do?
As you would expect The Nordics measured up pretty well, with Denmark claiming the top spot and the title of 'Europe's Most Digital Country' with Sweden 2nd and Finland 4th. (Norway and Iceland are not in the EU).
The Index is calculated as the weighted average of the five main categories:
(1) Connectivity, (2) Human Capital, (3) Use of Internet, (4) Integration of Digital Technology and (5) Digital Public Services.
And each category is made up of several key criteria:
Analysis per Category
The access and quality of broadband ranked lower in Finland than Sweden and Denmark, with Finland getting a score of 0.6 compared to Sweden's and Denmark's 0.69.
Interestingly though, Finland actually placed first in the sub-category of mobile broadband take-up, and despite the geographical challenges that Finland faces, fixed broadband is available in 97% of the Countries homes.
Denmark's Next Generation Access capable of providing at least 30 Mbps was available to 83% of homes (62% in the EU) which is among the best rates in Europe.
While Sweden impressed with 92% of homes in rural areas having fixed broadband available to them.
Finland takes top spot in the EU for Human Capital with a score of 0.78, followed by Sweden 0.75 and Denmark 0.73 to complete a Nordic 1-2-3.
Finland features one of the highest shares of ICT specialists in the workforce of all EU countries (4.7%). Finnish students are among the most attracted by an ICT career compared to their European peers, with 2.2% of Finns aged 20-29 years old holding a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degree.
Sweden actually claim the highest amount of ICT specialists of all the EU Countries results of a representative Empirica survey of CIO‘s and HR managers in eight European countries in 2012 shows that demand for ICT professionals in Sweden outstrips supply. Relative to its ICT workforce, the excess demand in Sweden is large (one vacancy is reported per 13 existing ICT-jobs).
Use of Internet is the DESI 2015 dimension in which Sweden performs better than any other EU country, with its population actively engaging in a multitude of on-line services.
Denmark follow behind in 2nd with Danes being among the most intensive users of Video on Demand and on-line shopping.
Finns are intensive users of on-line music, video and games, and on-line banking. Finns appear to use less the Internet to make video calls and engage in Social Networks. They also make on-line transactions. The share of Internet users that use online banking (93%) is the highest in the EU.
In Integration of Digital Technology by businesses, Denmark scores 0.52, progressing from last year (0.43) and ranks 1st among EU countries.
Denmark replaced Sweden in the top spot, who have dropped to 2nd overall. Swedish companies are particularly adept at adopting cloud computing, selling online and using electronic invoicing.
Few SMEs in Finland sell online (14%), in line with the EU average, despite their citizens' propensity to purchase online, and even less sell online to other EU Member States (4.8%, below the EU average).
Digital Public Services is the other dimension where Denmark performs best of all DESI 2015 dimensions. With a score of 0.84, Denmark ranks 1st among EU countries.
Denmark is gradually implementing a "digital by default" strategy for the most used citizen’s public services, taking advantage of the high percentage of eGovernment users (69% of Internet users send return filled forms online to the public authorities), the highest in the EU.
Finland has the third highest percentage of eGovernment users (60% of Internet users return filled-in forms) in the EU. There is little doubt that underpinning this performance is also Finland's past and current investment in connectivity and human capital.
Digital Public Services is the dimension where Sweden performs the weakest of all its DESI 2015 dimensions, albeit maintaining the 5th place in the EU.
Sweden is among the top performers in the EU for eHealth. Almost all General Practitioners (97%) digitally transfer prescriptions to pharmacists and slightly more than half of them (56%) use electronic networks to exchange medical data with other health care providers and professionals.
In summary, all three Countries are considered part of the high-performance cluster, and are clearly setting the bar (along with The Netherlands) for the rest of the EU member states to try and reach. In all honesty, the results are not surprising as everybody knows that the Nordic population has good access to the internet and the majority of people are digital savvy, and that their progress in the areas that the study measures have played a big part in their track record of prolifically producing exceptional companies. However, it is still interesting (and valuable) to benchmark this against other European Countries and compare the different areas that some Countries excel in while some struggle in.
If you would like to look a the full report and/or dataset then you can do so here.