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Digital adoption boosts GDP, says Accenture

Digital technologies boost a country's competitive advantage and drive up its economic growth, Accenture has found

An increase in digital technology adoption can boost economic growth, research has found.

A study by Oxford Economics and Accenture Strategy has assessed how the use of digital technologies in areas such as embracing new markets, manufacturing, and enabling and running enterprises can drive economic growth by raising productivity.

Greater use of digital technologies could drive up the world’s GDP by $1.36 trillion in 2020, 2.3% more than current forecasts.

“Digital is not just about technology, it’s about progress,” said Gionata Tedeschi, MD Accenture Strategy for Italy and emerging markets.

“What you can achieve in terms of effectiveness and efficiency is because digital is there.”

On Accenture’s digital density index, the UK comes fifth, behind the Netherlands, the US, Sweden and South Korea, showing its strengths in creating digital markets and fostering digital enablers.

Accenture has drawn up a 10-point plan for deepening digital density across the world, as well as a score card that measures a country’s digital density by assessing metrics such as digital tech adoption, digital skills, approaches to working and digital regulatory frameworks.

Indicators of digital density, of which there are 50, include online transactions, automation, cloud applications for streamlining and government, and business acceptance of digital technologies.

If the UK adopted the 10-point plan, its GDP could rise by $57bn by 2020, with developed countries boosting their annual economic growth rates by 0.25%.

But for these growth rates to be achieved a number of factors need to be met, including the adoption of digitally driven business models, legislation, and wider government and business acceptance.

According to Accenture, governments should be viewing disruptive business models in a different way. They should focus on not letting outdated legislation and industry boundaries limit change, while businesses should make more of an effort to engage with governments and use digital technologies to transform business processes, making their use of all resources more effective.

Improving the density of digital adoption is currently high on the UK government agenda, with the aim being to expand the public services available through digital means.

But as 20% of the UK population are still digitally excluded, organisations and the government are putting together initiatives to expand digital reach across the UK and to close the digital skills gap.

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