Technology & Innovation

The Intelligent Transformation Index

January 07, 2023


The Intelligent Transformation Index

January 07, 2023

Alexander van Kemenade


Alex van Kemenade is a Principal in Economist Impact’s Asia practice, bringing two decades of experience working with clients in Asia. He leads the company’s China operations and is the head of the firm’s Economics and Data Science Working Group, which specialises in applying data-driven analysis to generate insights and solutions to critical policy and strategy challenges.

Alex’s public sector work includes advising governments and international organisations on issues spanning macroeconomics, trade, infrastructure, demographics and digital economy. His private sector area of expertise is in business intelligence, forecasting, strategy and analytics, covering sectors including retail, automotive, consumer-packaged goods and ICT manufacturing. He pioneered the use of geospatial analytics in Economist Impact’s work. He holds an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science and speaks fluent Mandarin. 

Benchmarking global business adoption of big data, artificial intelligence and the internet of things.

The Intelligence Transformation Index explores the usage of Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and big data analysis by businesses across 33 countries. As part of the study, a survey of businesses in China was conducted to compare the world’s second largest economy with its OECD peers.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Small, advanced and open economies, such as those in northern and western Europe, generally show higher rates of digital intelligence adoption. It is likely that forward-looking policies that aim to promote trust and transparency in data usage also play a role.
  • The information and communications technology (ICT) services sector generally leads countries’ digital intelligence adoption, but a high-performing ICT sector does not automatically lead to a high level of adoption in non-ICT sectors. Ensuring adequate diffusion of technologies to non-ICT sectors should form part of national digitalisation strategies.
  • Less digitalised sectors such as retail, accommodation, food service and construction account for the greatest cross-country differences in digital intelligence adoption. Differences in the average size of firms in these sectors play a key role, as larger firms have greater absorptive capacity for new technologies. For example, countries with a more consolidated retail sector tend to have higher adoption rates.
  • Of the three technologies studied (big data, AI and IoT), AI shows the lowest level of adoption and the most variation across countries. IoT is the most adopted technology—it currently has the most general use cases that are deployable across a range of sectors. We observed a noticeable gap dividing high- and low-adoption countries in big data, but its causes remain mysterious.
  • High-speed broadband, cloud computing infrastructure, ample supply of data and availability of skilled ICT workers are the key factors associated with countries with high levels of digital intelligence adoption.

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