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How does Australia rank in its digital readiness?

How does Australia rank in its digital readiness?
Australia has been ranked one of the most digitally-ready nations in the world, but there is a significant ‘digital divide’ across states and territories, new research from Cisco and Gartner has found.
How does Australia rank in its digital readiness? READ FULL ARTICLE

How does Australia rank in its digital readiness?

September 12, 2018
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  • Vision & Strategy, Technology, Innovation, Thought Leadership, Digitization

Australia is amongst the most ‘digitally ready’ countries of the world - but not all Australians will benefit 


Australia has been ranked one of the most digitally-ready nations in the world, but there is a significant ‘digital divide’ across states and territories, new research from Cisco and Gartner has found.


Australian Capital Territory residents live in the most digitally ready part of the country, with a digital readiness score of 21.14, reflective of its compact size and strong skills base in Canberra. However, there is widespread unevenness with Tasmania scoring 9.65 and the Northern Territory scoring just 4.80, for reasons which the report details. 


The Cisco Digital Readiness Index, which examines 118 countries, found that Australia now sits at the forefront of digitally transformed nations with a score of 17.34 out of a possible 25, and is placed amongst global leaders including the United States and European Nations.


For the first time, a local study examines Australia’s states and territories in their digital readiness, revealing deep disparities across the country according to the Cisco Australian Digital Readiness Index


The research determines Digital Readiness by examining seven factors:


  • Human capital: total labour force, adult literacy rate, population and years of schooling 
  • Basic human needs: life expectancy, mortality rate, sanitation, access to electricity
  • Ease of doing business: rule of law, logistics performance, infrastructure rating, time to get electricity
  • Technology infrastructure: availability of internet and networking services, IT spend forecast, and subscriptions to fixed telephone and broadband
  • Technology adoption: mobile device penetration, internet usage, cloud services spend forecast 
  • Start-up environment: strength of legal rights, time to start a business, venture capital availability
  • Business and government investments: foreign direct investment, high-technology exports, government success in ICT promotion 


The uneven results place Australia at risk of becoming a more digitally-divided society, according to Ken Boal, Vice President of Cisco Australia and New Zealand.


“Despite a strong overall score, the benefits of digitisation need to be better shared amongst all Australians - we need to build a more digitally inclusive society. As governments, businesses and citizens increase everyday activity using online platforms, we need to make sure that everyone can participate equally to ensure all segments of society and the economy experience the benefits that digitisation brings - regardless of where they live.”


Boal continues, “In addition, competitor nations in North America and Western Europe are investing heavily in digital networks and skills, so if we don’t invest equally, Australia will run the risk of losing its position near the top of international league tables. Cisco is ready and willing to help Australia keep its place at that top table.”


The report makes seven key recommendations for Australia to retain its position at the digital ‘top table’ and to overcome the digital divide:


1. Digital technologies & solutions should be part of the policy formulation process to ensure Australia both maximises the benefits from the investments made in digital capabilities, while ensuring it is well positioned to continue doing so into the future.


2. Investment in infrastructure: Continued investment in underlying infrastructure such as the National Broadband Network and Black Spot Program will be essential in years to come. 


3. Increase investment in vocational education with a focus on digital skills and knowledge so that digital skills are embedded in all vocationally-oriented training, to ensure the creation of a workforce that are suitably equipped to gain the greatest benefit from digitisation.


4. Find ways to increase interaction between industry and academia to find new ways to bring innovations to market quickly, to ensure that benefits and commercial returns are both maximised and accelerated.


5. Retraining (reskilling) the existing workforce: It is vital that workers in sectors that are being impacted by digitisation receive the training necessary to adapt to this change. 


6. Develop digital skills within the government workforce to ensure Australia maintains a forward path towards digitisation. and provide the basis for rapid adoption of digital technologies and services.


7. Build up digital readiness capability in rural and regional areas: increased investment in capability building in regional Australia is essential to ensuring that all Australians are able to reap the benefits of the digital dividend.


To download a copy of The Cisco Australian Digital Readiness Index, please visit: https://www.cisco.com/c/m/en_au/digital-readiness-index.html

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