Network Readiness Index and the USA

As the 2016 Summer Olympics ends, with the United States of America at the top of the medal tally, it is time to also celebrate another achievement in the tech sector.

By Raghu Santanam, Chair

Department of Information Systems


As the 2016 Summer Olympics ends, with the United States of America at the top of the medal tally, it is time to also celebrate another achievement in the tech sector.

The World Economic Forum recently released the 2016 Global Information Technology Readiness report. This report ranks countries based on their ability to support innovation through information and communication technologies (ICT). The report summarizes country capabilities using a measure called Networked Readiness Index (NRI). There are 53 indicators in the index divided into four categories: the innovation environment; infrastructure and skills; technology adoption and use by government and private sectors, and individuals; and economic and social impacts.

There is plenty of good news for the U.S. in this report. We are among the top 5 countries in terms of the NRI index — and steadily improving every year. Most of the top countries in the rankings are smaller countries that face fewer challenges in diffusing technologies. The U.S. is an exception to this trend. Among other larger countries, Canada ranks 14th, Germany ranks 15th and Russia and China rank 41st and 59th respectively.

In commenting on America’s rise in the index, the report remarks that the U.S. has a very favorable business and innovation environment (3rd), ranks 4th in governmental use of digital technologies and 7th in overall impact of ICT technologies on economy and society. Interestingly, the U.S. has also been making good progress on broadband availability and prices. It ranks 17th in the world for low prices for broadband access.

As I had mentioned in one of our previous KnowIT editions, the Phoenix metro area is doing great in exploiting the favorable ICT environment. Enthusiasm for Phoenix as a technology hub is increasing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for IT professionals is very strong throughout the nation and is projected to grow at a rate of 12 percent for the next decade. More importantly, growth in IT jobs in Phoenix area has been robust, and is projected to continue to grow for the foreseeable future. According to a recent report from the CBRE, Phoenix landed more technology jobs than Chicago, Boston, Austin, Los Angeles and Dallas. Overall, nearly 13,000 tech jobs came to Phoenix between 2012 and 2014.

This is great news for our students, alumni and stakeholders. We are excited to begin the new academic year on this positive note. Our new undergraduate Computer Information Systems curriculum will be rolled out this year. We have also begun serious conversations on further improving the Business Data Analytics curriculum to address students’ career needs. As always, we seek your input in further improving our impact on our community and students.

This will be the last newsletter to be edited by Liz Farquhar. Liz has been the editor of KnowIT since the beginning and we will greatly miss her presence going forward. She is an avid birdwatcher, and is looking forward to working with conservation groups in her retirement. We wish her the best in all her endeavors!