The United States remains the world’s dominant information economy, but smaller nations, such as Singapore, are progressing more quickly than traditional industrial countries such as the United Kingdom, France, and Japan, according to the 1999 IDC/World Times Information Society Index (ISI).
The study tracked data from 55 countries that collectively account for 97% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and 99% of information technology (IT) expenditures. The data sets were drawn from sources including IDC, UNESCO, ITU, World Bank, and Freedom House.
Matt Toolan, program manager of Global Research Services at International Data Corporation (IDC), stated, “For policy makers, effective legislation promoting IT use and telecom deregulation can make an immediate difference in the information wealth of countries — the Singapore example shows just how quickly.”
According to IDC, the Information Society Index has emerged as a critical global strategic planning tool, and just as GDP measures economic wealth, the Information Society Index measures information capacity and wealth across the world. This report is updated annually for government planners and global IT and telecommunications corporations seeking to assess market opportunities around the globe.
E-Commerce Leads Growth
The overall score in this year’s Information Society Index increased by more than 8% worldwide versus last year. Internet infrastructure growth averaged 103%, with e-commerce showing the most dramatic increase. Computer and information infrastructures grew solidly at 10% and 9%, respectively.
The gap between the highest scores and the lowest scores grew significantly in the 1999 study. Stephanie Hutchison, senior research analyst at IDC, noted the long-term implications of this worrisome trend: “With so many countries improving their ability to create, manage, and use digital information so quickly, the pressure on the more slowly moving countries is intensifying. The very real threat is [that] countries that do not create a national information policy and make the attainment of this policy a priority will fall further and further behind.”
International Data Corporation (IDC) provides data, analysis, and advisory services to IT suppliers and IS professionals in finance, insurance, entertainment, advertising, consumer goods, and publishing. The company provides competitive analysis and technology coverage, as well as strategic analysis.