SA loses ground in IT innovation

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SA has slipped four places in the Business Software Alliance's (BSA's) IT Industry Competitiveness Index since the 2010 ranking, and is now placed 47th out of 66 benchmarked countries.

This is according to a report published by the BSA, in conjunction with the Economist Intelligence Unit. According to the report, SA scores the lowest for IT infrastructure (17.5) and research and development (R&D) environment (18.4), where IT infrastructure accounts for a 20% score, and R&D environment 25%.

The Index benchmarked the countries on a series of indicators covering IT innovation, overall business environment, IT infrastructure, human capital, research and development, legal environment, and public support for industry development.

Topping the overall rankings for 2011 are the US, Finland, Singapore, Sweden and the UK. BSA says countries traditionally strong in IT are maintaining their leadership positions because they have built up solid foundations for technology innovation through years of investment, and they are still reaping the benefits.

However, the BSA notes global competition is intensifying as new challengers, especially in developing economies, raise their games to meet the standards the leaders have set.

“It is abundantly clear from this year's IT Industry Competitiveness Index that investing in the fundamentals of technology innovation will pay huge dividends over the long term,” says BSA president and CEO Robert Holleyman.

“It is also clear that no country holds a monopoly in IT. There is a proven formula for success, and everyone is free to take advantage of it. Because of that, we are moving to a world with many centres of IT power.”

The biggest movers in this year's Index, compared to the previous edition in 2009, include Malaysia, which vaulted 11 spots in the overall rankings because of a surge in R&D activity; and India, which leapt 10 spots on the strength of its robust R&D and dynamic human capital environment.

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