New reports on digital transformation in Spain

Fecha de la noticia: 18-08-2020

Transformación digital

We have been talking about the digital transformation for years, but perhaps it has been in the last few months when we have had to stay at home and resort to teleworking or e-commerce, that we have noticed the need for it the most. Many companies have had to transform quickly, adapting their internal processes, their relationship with customers and even their business models to new needs.

However, the digital transformation is nothing new, and before the health crisis there were already many organizations with a long way to go. This is reflected in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), which each year measures the performance and evolution of the EU Member States in terms of digital competitiveness.


The DESI Index performs its analysis based on 5 indicators: Digital Public Services, Connectivity, Human Capital, Integration of Digital Technology and Use of Internet Services.


In this index, Spain is above the European Union average, occupying the eleventh position, with unequal scores in the various markers:

  • The score where our country stands out the most is Digital Public Services, where it is in second place in Europe, improving its position with respect to last year, thanks to the application of a default digital strategy throughout its central administration. One of the indicators driving Spain's position in this dimension is open data, where we are in second place in terms of maturity in Europe. We are also above average in the availability and use of e-government services.
  • Spain also performs well in the area of connectivity (5th place), driven by the good implementation of high-speed networks: 80% of households have fiber optic coverage, well above the EU average (34%).
  • In contrast, Spain is below the EU average in the human capital indicator (16th place), with 43% of people between 16 and 74 years of age still lacking digital skills. It does improve on last year's percentage of ICT graduates and specialists in total employment. The report highlights the government's efforts to improve this situation, with actions such as the Strategic Plan for Vocational Training in the Education System 2019-2022, which seeks to create forty new degrees in different ICT fields.
  • With regard to the integration of digital technology, Spain ranks 13th, in line with the EU average. Spanish companies take advantage of the opportunities offered by digital technologies and are above Europe in the use of electronic information exchange systems (43% compared to 34%), although slightly below in access to macrodata analysis (11% compared to 12) and the use of the cloud (16% compared to 18%). With regard to emerging technologies, the report highlights that Spain has developed a significant number of coordination measures, especially in the field of cyber security.
  • Finally, the use of Internet services has increased since the previous year, and the country has obtained results above the EU average. However, it is worth mentioning that it is still used more for leisure activities (consuming multimedia content), than for day-to-day business, such as banking or e-commerce.

The study was carried out before the pandemic, so the results do not include the actions carried out in recent months, such as the publication of the Digital Agenda 2025, which includes the promotion of a Data Economy. The measures to be developed include the implementation of an Artificial Intelligence Strategy, the development of a Data Office with a Chief Data Officer at the head and the creation of an Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council, among others.


In addition to the DESI index, in recent months two reports of particular importance when it comes to digitalization have been published in our country: the "Digital Society in Spain Report 2019" and the "COTEC 2020" report.

Digital Society in Spain 2019 Report

This report, published by the Telefónica Foundation, includes data and indicators that describe the state of Spanish society in relation to the media, uses and digital services. Specifically, it focuses on the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure, the level of implementation of the most advanced technologies and the state of the art of Spanish digital life.

The conclusions of the report are very much in line with the DESI index, which it takes as a reference. It highlights that 9 out of 10 inhabitants are Internet users, and that the gender gap in cyberspace has been completely eliminated, although an age gap still exists. The report also highlights that our country has a very good connection, with ultra-fast network coverage in three out of every four homes.

The study indicates that the main technological currents that are shaping the digital transition in Spain revolve around artificial intelligence, industry 4.0 and cyber security, with the first one standing out above all: while in 2013 only one out of every fifty emerging companies focused its activity on artificial intelligence, now one out of every twelve do so.

The report ends with an analysis of the degree of digital development presented by the Autonomous Communities, describing the current situation and the challenges facing each region.

You can read the full report at this link.

COTEC 2020 Report

The COTEC report, on the other hand, focuses on a fundamental aspect to boost the digital transformation: the R&D+I. The report shows us the innovation map in Spain, through the analysis of the main indicators and national, regional and international strategies.

The report analyzes data from 2018 and shows that R&D has gained weight in the productive structure for the second consecutive year, driven mainly by private investment. However, we are still far from countries like France, Italy or Germany.

The autonomous communities maintain heterogeneous levels of effort. The five most advanced regions are the Basque Country, Madrid, Navarre, Catalonia and Castile and Leon).

The report also focuses on education, where it highlights that Spain has a higher rate than the European average in STEM graduates, but with a much wider gender gap than in most surrounding countries. It should be noted that our country has a low proportion of people with an average educational level, since we have a high rate of population that leaves school at an early age, and a high percentage of young people who graduate from university.

You can read the full report at this link.


After taking a look at these reports, we can conclude that both the public and private sectors are making an effort to promote the digital transformation of Spain in order to make the digital transformation and innovation a driver of economic and social development in our country. There are still areas for improvement, but there is no denying the interest in tackling the challenges ahead.