Angelucci: “The implementation of the Digital Agenda in Italy is a priority to foster ICT demand and improve three fundamental factors for growth and modernization in our Country: development and efficiency of public services, business innovation and development of broadband infrastructures.”
Milan, June 20, 2011– “In the first Quarter of 2011, Information Technology in Italy recorded a setback compared to the upward trend in 2010. A negative growth rate was recoded (-1.3%), thus failing to confirm the recovery forecast for 2011. Our data confirm the major uncertainty faced by the IT sector; the national economic scenario is not providing the necessary driving force for the IT sector to overcome the difficulties faced due to the global crisis. The survey performed by Assinform at the end of April shows that IT companies’ orders have worsened compared to February, as confirmed by a sharply decreased propensity to invest in new IT projects by client businesses. This worryingly confirms the difficulties faced by Italian businesses, especially small and medium-size companies, to innovate and increase their competitiveness”. This is what Mr. Paolo Angelucci, Chairman of Assinform, said today in Milanwhen presenting the 2011 Assinform Report, developed in cooperation with NetConsulting.
“However the IT sector in Italy is showing signs indicating an increase in innovation demand” said Angelucci; he was referring to the “software segment, which recorded a + 0.4% growth as of the end of March, the only IT segment showing a positive growth. The innovative segment of telecommunication services, which now accounts for 30% of the total, is supporting demand for new information technologies. And finally cloud computing, which is now worth 130 million Euro and that is expected to triple in the next two years”.
“This is the result of a deep technological change affecting the entire digital world, increasingly based on the integration between advanced telecommunications infrastructures and IT innovation; unfortunately the new opportunities deriving from such integration are perceived by too small a segment of Italian businesses and society. Therefore the digitalization process in Italy is taking place at different paces in the various Regions, thus creating digital divides that exclude large territories and population brackets, thus increasing delays compared to the rest of Europe”, said Assinform’s Chairman.
Data speak for themselves. Italy as a whole is lagging behind in the digitalization process compared to Eu27 averages, but major differences can be observed within the Country. As for companies using broadband, the Italian average is 83%, in the middle of the European ranking.But it should be pointed out thatCalabria, Sardinia, Basilicata, Puglia, Molise and Trentino arein the lower part of the ranking, with77%, together with the Czech Republic, Ireland and Hungary, while Piedmont, Liguria and Val d’Aosta are in the upper part of the ranking, with over 86%, with counties such as Germany, the UK and Sweden.
As a whole, digital Italy is below Eu27 averages.
Small and medium-size companies selling online
Companies purchasing online
Population frequently using the Internet
Population using online banking services
Citizens using eGovernment services
Households having broadband access
Households having access to the Internet
Population purchasing online
Business revenues from eCommerce
Source: EC, Digital Agenda Scoreboard (May 31, 2011)
“The implementation of the European Digital Agenda at national level can no longer be delayed – said Mr. Angelucci–Regional agendas are being implemented in some regions in Italy, but other regions are not taking any steps. It is of paramount importance to enhance the Regions’ role in the digitalization process by implementing a national Agenda that can make regional strategies consistent and homogeneous on three key factors for our Country: development and efficiency of public services, innovation of small and medium-size companies and development of broadband infrastructure. At the moment our forecasts for 2011 go from a pessimistic estimate of a -0.8% growth trend in the IT sector, to an optimistic estimate of +1.3% growth. The first estimate is based on no structural change; the second estimate is based on changed conditions, with a reliable regulatory framework that provides incentives to innovation, that sets forth a limited number of priority actions which can produce a fast and positive evolution throughout the Country”.
The presentation of the Assinform Report, explained in detail by Giancarlo Capitani, Managing Director of Netconsulting, provided a good opportunity for those responsible for digitalization at regional government level in Emilia Romagna, Lombardy and Sardinia, to discuss “ICT and local innovation”. Then the floor was taken by Lucia Pasetti, Vice President of Cisis (Inter-regional Centre for Information Systems) and Carlo Maccari, Regional Councillor for Digitalization and Simplification in Lombardy.
The ICT market in Italy in the first Quarter of 2011 and year-end forecasts
2011 is still a difficult year for the Italian economy. Results in the Telecommunications Sector are still affected by delays in investment in new infrastructures and, above all, by dropping prices due to an increasingly fierce competition among operators. A 4.2% drop was recorded by the TLC market in the first Quarter of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010.
The situation in the IT market is different. An interest in renewing ICT equipment and in new services can be observed, but the interrelation with GDP is slowing down recovery. In fact GDP at national level increased by 1% in the first Quarter, below the European average and below the average in countries with which we most compete (Germany +4.9% and France). In the first Quarter of 2011, gross fixed investment in Italy did not increase by more than 1.5%. This has had impacts on the IT market, which dropped by 1.3% in the first Quarter. However the trend is improving compared to the 2.9% drop in the first Quarter of 2010 versus the first Quarter in 2009. Different results were recorded by the various segments: hardware -2.1% (-2.3% 2010/2009), software +0.4% (-1.5%), IT Services -1.5% (-3.8%), technical support -2.9% (-4.9%).
As far as year-end forecasts are concerned, uncertainties at national level suggest two different scenarios. Within a pessimistic scenario, in which the current situation will not change, the ICT market will continue to drop by about -4.5%. The biggest decrease will be recorded by telecommunications (-5.8%), while a smaller drop is expected in IT (-0.8%). If we assume that the national economy will improve, and therefore the propensity to invest in innovation will increase, the ICT market should show a -0.1% growth rate at year-end, resulting from -0.6% in Telecommunications and +1.3% in IT.