Mastercard’s new global index looks at digital economies
In partnership with the Fletcher School at Tufts University, Masterca released its ‘Digital Intelligence Index’ which looks at the progress countries have made to advance their digital economies, to foster trust and integrate connectivity.
Building on its earlier editions in 2014 and 2017, the latest report looks at the global digital development, details insights relating to key factors driving change, as well as what it means for economies facing challenges due to COVID-19.
Emerging as a hotspot for digital demand the middle east have created “powerful and progressive digital authorities to direct growth.” Economies that feature in the index include the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. “These states have outlined long-term strategic plans, supported by high levels of education, young populations and access to global talent, to diversify from energy exporting nations into digitally advanced economies,” commented Mastercard.
“The pandemic may be the purest test of the world’s progress towards digitalization. We have a clearer view on how dynamic digital economies can contribute to economic resiliency during a time of unparalleled global turmoil and can be positioned for recovery and change,” noted Bhaskar Chakravorti, Dean of Global Business at The Fletcher School.
Key findings from the index:
- Mastercard states that with almost two thirds of the world online, we are entering into an ‘after access’ phases, in which access alone is not enough, with quality of access, effective use of digital, accountability, robust governance and policies, and trust are driving competitiveness and sustainable business practices
- Young people are demonstrating high levels of digital engagement in emerging economies
“Never before has there been such an acute need to understand the factors that drive digitisation and digital trust. With that knowledge, businesses and governments can work together to help all 7.6 billion people around the world benefit from the vast opportunities a digitally advanced economy can bring. Whilst much remains uncertain today, it is clear that digital success will be a key building block in our collective recovery,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, Cyber & Intelligence, Mastercard.
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”