The study – developed and commissioned by CA Technologies, and carried out by research consulting firm TRPC – provides a snapshot of where Asia’s economies are today in terms of how conducive their market environments are for application development and market entry. Disruptions to market conditions often change the digital economy very quickly.
Singapore and Australia lead the rankings, while India and Indonesia are currently considered the least prepared for the new digital economy (refer to figure 1).
The index evaluates three main pillars that are critical for a vibrant application economy, with each pillar comprising various parameters:
Figure 1 The CA Technologies APJ Application Economy Index 2016 evaluates three main pillars that are critical for a vibrant application economy.
- Government Use and Support of Technology and Innovation – To develop sound technology policies and promote innovation, governments should understand and use software and applications.
- Internet and Mobile Infrastructure – Without the necessary infrastructure and enabled access to technology, an application economy cannot fully develop. Basic connectivity and network backbones must be in place, along with an environment that supports business growth and transformation.
- Business Agility – The ability to move nimbly and quickly in driving – and capturing – market disruption. For agile businesses to thrive, countries need to have an environment conducive to entrepreneurship and new forms of commerce.
“Regardless of whether they are in the Disruptors, Challengers or Mainstream group, markets will still need to focus on creating conditions for businesses to thrive in the application economy. They can do so by continuing to do well in their key success characteristics, while mitigating current and potential weaknesses,” said Lim May-Ann, managing director, TRPC.
Australia achieved consistently high scores in eight of the 10 key parameters used to measure the current readiness of APJ economies to compete in the application economy.
Notable strengths of the Australian economy, as outlined by the report, include excellent mobile and internet infrastructure accompanied by high level of user penetration.
In terms of business success, Australia ranks number one in having the shortest period of time needed to set up a business. The country is also leading the region in effective cyber security and has excellent debit card penetration, which combine to enable more online transactions.
“Australia’s ranking is not surprising, especially when it comes to the use of technology and business agility,” said Hope Powers, senior vice president and managing director, Australia and New Zealand, CA Technologies.
“However, it is important that businesses in Australia and across the region continue to embrace the application economy and it is vital that governments and service providers alike are aligned in addressing the needs of digital business to ensure the country remains competitive.”
Despite these strengths propelling Australia up the rankings, a number of important challenges currently exist that must be addressed to ensure Australia stays competitive in the emerging application economy.
Figure 2 The Market Potential Accelerators Index evaluates factors which have the ability to impact and accelerate market potential in the new application economy.
Firstly, while smartphone penetration is high, in absolute terms Australia’s smartphone user base is not large. In fact, only Singapore and Hong Kong are smaller.
This suggests that countries with larger populations have greater market potential. Secondly, there is a delay in the conversion from landline to mobile internet use with Australia ranked number nine for daily mobile internet use and eighth for daily use of apps.
Given that mobile is now the primary platform for the application economy, this delay will directly impact the effectiveness of Australia as a viable player in the application economy.
Of greater concern is Australia’s demographic score – essentially the ratio of young people in the total population – which shows an ageing population when compared to its closest neighbors. Unless trends change, Australia will have to compete in the long-term with these developing economies in the region despite having a shrinking market and smaller workforce compared to the rest of the region.
However, there are several advantages that Australia has to ensure it remains competitive despite these challenges.
For example, the private and public sectors can work together to ensure Australia has some of the best infrastructure in the region. Several telecommunications firms have said that Australia will have a national 5G network by 2020, ensuring business development is achievable and competitive advantage remains. This, combined with Australia’s high usage rate of virtual social networks such as Facebook, will ensure the economy is in good stead to compete in the application economy.
The 10 parameters of the Application Economy Index (AEI2016) and five Market Potential Accelerators are sourced from publicly-available indices. As indicators used had different units and scales, any indicator that did not use a 10-point scale was normalized to make the indicator values comparable, as well as to construct aggregate scores for each economy.
Read more about CA’s APJ Application Economy Index here.