The Global Information Technology Report was first published in 2001, out of recognition that information and communication technologies (ICT) were increasingly driving economic growth. In the form of an index, the report series provides an annual overview of the readiness of countries to leverage ICT for growth and presents the key trends emerging in the industry and associated policy areas. The report has established itself as an authoritative benchmarking tool, a unique information source and an important platform for private-public dialogue. It allows policy-makers to identify comparative strengths and weaknesses and evaluate progress on a continual basis.
However, recognition is growing that the role of ICT in society is reaching a second inflection point. As more and more people, processes and things are connected in exponentially growing networks, ICT is no longer viewed merely as a means of making existing processes more efficient, but as a transformer of those very processes. We are all familiar with how digital technologies have shaken up the music industry, or the book industry, but more and more industries are realizing that such tidal waves of change are coming their way too – bringing huge new market opportunities to those that can adapt and threatening those that cannot. In our public life, the Arab Spring and the London Summer presented us with two very different glimpses of what such hyperconnectivity means for the public domain. With micro-funding initiatives offering charity givers the choice to fund specific local projects on the other side of the world that appeal to their own interests, even large NGOs are being forced to reconsider – how do we do what we do?
The Global Information Technology Report acknowledged some of these changes in its choice of theme for this year’s release: Living in a Hyperconnected World. New measurement techniques are being included, and others are being tested and developed to account for these changes. Increasingly, the report’s audience comprises not only ICT ministries, but also professionals and policy-makers from other domains – health, education, social inclusion. As public service domains, industries and entire economies work through this substantial transformation to a digitally hyperconnected society, the report will monitor the pulse of change to provide a growing audience with critical insights to guide strategic decision-making.
The Global Information Technology Report 2012 will be published 4 April 2012 at 17.00 CEST.
The GITR is the most comprehensive and authoritative international assessment of the impact of ICT on competitiveness and the well-being of nations.
Alan Marcus, Senior Director, Head of Information Technology and Telecommunications Industries, World Economic Forum