Spotlight on Digital Economy

May 19, 2014 by 2 Comments | Category Digital Economy

The Scottish Government has a vision for Scotland to be a world-leading digital nation by 2020. Our vision is underpinned by the need to ensure Scotland’s businesses; public services; and citizens have the confidence, capability and skills to take full advantage of the benefits the digital economy can bring.

The term ‘digital’ in this context is used to refer to those activities that involve internet or web-based technologies.  This includes digital infrastructure (fibre, wireless etc), digital platforms (websites, mobile etc) and digital content (information, entertainment etc).

Digital technologies are widely recognised as enablers of productivity and drivers of innovation and international trade.  They underpin business growth across every sector of the economy and help to boost jobs and generate export income.

There is currently a limited number of sources that contribute to our understanding of the performance of the digital economy in Scotland. The sources available adopt a range of methodologies and reporting frequencies and do not offer a sufficiently comprehensive picture of Scotland’s overall performance and how it compares to the world stage. The Digital Economy Strategy sets out the need to establish a measurement framework which will allow:

  • The tracking of Scotland’s progress in the digital economy and in comparison to competitor nations;
  • The ability to inform targeted policy initiatives to help accelerate both adoption and exploitation of economic potential; and
  • The tracking of usage and exploitation linked to the investment in the roll-out of next generation broadband.

Work is currently on-going to establish this measurement framework, and a set of high level indicators have been developed against which the progress of the Digital Economy in Scotland will be measured. As part of this work the Scottish Government is undertaking a Digital Economy Business Survey together with Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland. The survey results will feed into the measurement framework.

Broadly, the survey aims to measure the extent to which Scotland’s businesses have adopted and exploited digital technologies; the extent to which these technologies are bringing benefits to the business; and whether the digital skills demanded by Scotland’s businesses are readily available in the workforce. The survey fieldwork is going to be carried out in June and results are expected to be published in the end of 2014.

In addition to this we are working with the European Policy Centre, Central Denmark and Google on the ‘Measuring the Impact of ongoing Digital for Regions’ project.  This project will enable European Regions to share best practice, available indicators for benchmarking, monitoring and evaluation and case studies. It is anticipated that the final report will be published in the autumn.


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