|By Roger Strukhoff||
|March 3, 2013 05:34 PM EST||
The roles of information technology in economic and societal development are clear. Better use of IT (or ICT as it's called in much of the world) increases productivity, which increases economic growth. This holds true whether in manufacturing, along supply chains, throughout research & development, or in office environments.
Additionally, the increased presence and usage of social media transform IT into a disruptive force, whether playing a role in the Arab Spring or simply showing the peoples of the world how people in other countries live.
IT is also a key factor in measuring a country's competitiveness. In fact, at the Tau Institute we believe that IT underlies competitiveness, as it aids gains in education, social services, and innovation.
Level the Playing Field
But we've found that most measurements of IT and competitiveness, in the end, simply show wealthy nations on top and developing nations on the bottom. How can we level the playing field and conduct research on a relative basis that provides a more realistic picture of how all the nations of the world are coming along with technology and its benefits?
The Tau Index is our answer. We announced our initial, rough results in late 2010. More than two years later, we now have a more nuanced overall ranking that integrates technology and social factors, along with a "raw" raking that focuses solely on technology. Our main ingredients are bandwidth, access to the Internet, and the presence of data servers. We feel these key factors drive other technology measures. We balance them with social factors such as income disparity, corruption, and human development.
Our final tweak adjusts the numbers for local cost-of-living, reflecting the reality that technology costs about the same in absolute costs everywhere.
Our original insights for this research came from a career of business travel to all regions of the world, then living for three years in Southeast Asia. I personally like to roam the streets of the world, perhaps because I'm cheap, seeking local foods and experiences. I've had a few shiny toys stolen over the years, primarily because of my stupidity, and more than my share of close calls in traffic - but nothing worse than that.
This travel has not only broadened horizons, but led to a quest for translating the contrasts in energy and dynamism I've seen. There's a palpable electricity in some places, a dispiriting torpor in others. There's the maddening, slack mediocrity that seems to have taken over much of my beloved United States. There's a sense I've gotten in the BRIC nations, unique in each case, that they're not all they may be cracked up to be.
Where are the world's true treasures? Its diamonds in the rough? Is the US really floundering? How do we go beyond the BRICs?
Get the Answers
We feel the answer to these and innumerable other questions lie in the guts of our research. We've now engaged clients in more than two dozen countries with our research, and are preparing to expand further.
We operate on a former college campus a couple hours west of the Chicago area, with an additional office at Computerworld Philippines in Metro Manila. Our advisory board comes from all regions of the world.
You can find a lot of information on our rankings simply googling (or binging) "strukhoff tau."
Meanwhile, if you're a company looking for new markets, partners, or locations, contact us. If you're with a government or NGO looking to allocate scarce resources, contact us. If you simply want a conversation on the topic of global IT and its role in development, then by all means contact us.