The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation in Croatia, and the state of the Croatian economy in the area has improved, and in 2021 the average score was 2.59, which is a slight increase compared to 2020 when the average score was 2.52. from a new survey on the Croatian Digital Index (HDI).
This research was conducted for the third year in a row by a domestic consulting company Apsolonfrom which they explain that the HDI index measures the progress of digital transformation in Croatia.
“The Croatian Digital Index (HDI) has shown this year that Croatian companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of digital transformation. However, despite the positive trend, the overall score is still unsatisfactory, and the growth rate is very slow and there is significant room for improvement in the coming years.” , say from Apsolon, noting that 273 Croatian companies participated in their research on HDI, of which 56 large and 217 medium.
HDI analyzes the readiness of the Croatian economy to the challenges posed by extremely rapid growth and development of new digital technologies, which significantly change the traditional way and organization of business.
Better rating for e-service offers
Slightly better average score than the total, ie 2.78, in the survey, respondents offered e-services for citizens and legal entities, which is also a slight increase compared to 2.73, which was the average score for this segment in 2020.
Among other results, Apsolon states that 24.2 percent of companies have a developed strategy for digital transformation, while in 2020 it had 17.7 percent, and most said in the survey that digital transformation does not affect the number of jobs in their companies.
Half of them expect a positive impact of digital transformation on revenue, but it is only 3.7 percent of respondents the main priority, but also for them 31.5 percent in the top three topics in importance.
More than 75 percent of respondents said there is no structured path to digitalization, 62 percent say they spend less than 25 percent of the total amount on education to develop digital skills of their employees, and 51 percent use the services of external experts to shape digital transformation.
Both the state and businesses need to do more
The survey also showed that 92.3 percent of companies see digital transformation as an opportunity for their own growth and development, but Apsolon believes that greater competitiveness of Croatian companies requires better results so that Croatia does not lag behind in scales such as the DESI index, which measures digital progress of EU member states.
“It is indicative that companies cite the lack of time and money as an obstacle in the implementation of digital transformation, although this process can enable them in the long run more cost-effective and competitive growth. That is why it is very important that companies in the digital transformation process funds, but also to receive adequate support through new sources of funding, such as the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which are intended for easier and faster transition of the economy, and through digitalization of existing and transition to new, digital models, “said Apsolon CEO Natasa Curic Martincevic.
The house also reminds that Croatia has never achieved an above-average result since the European Commission systematically monitors the digital progress of member states through the DESI index (digital economy and society).
According to this index, in 2021 Croatia was on the 19th place out of 27 EU member states, which was a shift by one place compared to 2020.
Therefore, Apsolon believes that it is necessary to lay the foundations of Croatia’s digital future at the state level, which will have a positive impact on business operations and enable citizens to communicate more easily and efficiently with the state.
The key ones are digitalisation of public administration, investment in IT infrastructure, digital education in education, harmonization of the legislative framework with the needs of digitalization and the use of funds for digitalization available from EU funds.
According to them, in order to improve their digital competitiveness and improve their business, companies should understand and give priority to digital transformation by developing a digital transformation strategy, planning and investing in capacities to implement digital transformation, corporate culture and develop an organization that can adapt quickly to change.