The National Observatory of Telecommunications and the Information Society , under the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, presented last June the e-Pyme report , a sector analysis that is carried out annually and examines data on the implantation and use of ICT in Spanish companies .
We understand by ICT the set of resources that result from jointly applying what information and telecommunications technologies offer, areas that have been going hand in hand for some years now.
Our country is in the middle of the economic recovery phase after the improved results obtained in 2016, compared to 2015, both in terms of GDP (3.2% higher) and in terms of employment (2.9% more of busy people). Among the factors that contribute to this increase in “wealth” is the progressive digital transformation of companies , a change that can mean an increase in business productivity and the key processes that lead to growth and internationalization.
For this reason, the report has analyzed, as every year, the different variables that describe the impact of the digital transformation on Spanish companies: the availability of computer equipment, Internet access, the existence of a corporate website, the use of means social, the application of cloud computing solutions … In addition, with respect to previous versions of the study, new features such as Big Data analysis and cybersecurity or penetration through targeted advertising are incorporated.
The study of each indicator is carried out from a temporal perspective, describing its evolution with respect to the previous year. In this way, the trend that the indicators are following is presented.
The study has been prepared with data from 2016 and, as in past editions, it has analyzed a total of ten sectors of business activity : industry; building; sale and repair of motor vehicles; wholesale trade; retail commerce; camping hotels and travel agencies; transportation and storage; computing, telecommunications and audiovisual services; real estate, administrative and auxiliary services and professional, scientific and technical activities. The companies studied represent 73.2% of the total of companies in the Spanish economy.
Here we present a summary of the results obtained on the technological situation of Spanish companies. You can expand the information by accessing the report here :
Availability of basic ICT equipment
The 99% of SMEs and large companies have a computer according to this study. This figure drops to 75% in the case of small companies (less than 10 employees).
In this case, some areas such as wholesale trade or industry are above the total for the sector.
Internet access presents similar results to the previous variable. Almost all companies with more than 10 employees have an Internet connection (more than 95%), while in the case of micro-companies the level is 71% , progressively increasing (more than two points compared to 2015 and more than three compared to 2014).
However, the data regarding micro-enterprises in the information and communications sector and in hotels and travel agencies stands out, where the percentage is similar to that of medium and large companies.
The report also measures the availability of fixed broadband , data that decreases compared to previous studies by more than 3 points. Lastly, in relation to access to the Internet through mobile broadband, there is a positive evolution compared to the previous period, regardless of the size of the company.
The availability of a corporate website is one of the factors that presents more disparate results depending on the size of the company. Thus, 78% of large companies have their own web space, while only 32% of companies with less than 10 employees have it. Even so, these data improve compared to 2015.
The hotels and travel agencies and information and communication sectors are those that are in the first positions. The transport and storage sector is in the last position.
The mobility analysis refers to the percentage of employees that have portable devices with a mobile Internet connection provided by the companies themselves. In this sense, 25% of the staff of medium and large companies have these devices, a percentage that increases to 31% in the case of small companies.
Mobility is one of the few factors included in the study in which small companies present better results compared to larger companies. This trend is also reflected in most sectors, highlighting that of information and communications.
Open source business software
The Internet browsers and office applications are software solutions open source most used in all sectors of activity, regardless of the size of the company.
As in the previous variables, the information and communications sector is once again where the highest penetration rate of these solutions is reached, with almost 93% . The hotel and travel agencies sector (87%), the construction sector (88%), the professional, scientific and technical activities (89%) and, lastly, the sale and repair of motor vehicles (90%).
Procedures with the Public Administration
This factor has experienced a slight decline compared to 2015 after the positive evolution it had been showing in previous periods. Currently 91% of medium and large companies interact with public administrations through the Internet, a percentage that stands at 69% in the case of small companies. The obtaining information from websites of management, download and print forms and tax additional electronically without paper formalities are the reasons most prominent of the interaction of companies with the Administration.
The use of social media refers to the use of online communication platforms where the content is created directly by the users themselves. Of the social media covered in the study, social networks are the undisputed queens. This is reflected in the fact that more than 90% of companies use this means of communication , with those companies that consider social media to be of no use being relegated to an almost non-existent place (3.5% of SMEs and large companies and 5% microenterprises).
Continuing with the trend, again it is the hotel and travel agency sectors together with the information and communication sectors that stand out in the extensive use of these media in all types of companies.
Cloud computing solutions
The penetration of cloud-based solutions acquired by the different sectors continues to be limited, standing at between 20% and 40% in all cases . The most popular services continue to be, of course, electronic mail and file storage.
The communication and information sector stands out again and in this case also the professional, scientific and technical activities sector. The lowest percentage of use is in the construction sector.
Digital skills training shows notable differences depending on the business segments. The SMEs and large companies continue to invest in training programs for their staff, as evidenced by the increase in percentage compared to 2015. The case of small businesses is different, because the trend is negative , decreasing by 0.5% compared the year before.
It is important to highlight that companies, especially those in the information and communication sector, dedicate more training actions to their non-specialized personnel in information technology (around 80%) than to their specialized personnel (20%).
As has been a trend in previous years, in 2016 the number of companies that made purchases by electronic commerce grew ; 32% of SMEs and large companies and 17% of micro-companies contracted or acquired goods and services through networks based on Internet protocols or other telematic networks.
Again, the leading sectors are communication and information, professional, scientific and technical activities and the sale and repair of motor vehicles.
Cybersecurity has been introduced this year for the first time in the study as a variable to be taken into account, given the latest and best-known cases of ransomware , and refers to the most widespread internal IT security measures or procedures among companies. According to the study, these are secure password authentication, external data backups, and user identification using hardware elements.
There is an important gap between companies depending on their size : SMEs and large companies reach 88% while micro-companies remain in the middle, with 48%.
Targeted advertising is another of the variables that have been introduced in this edition of the study and aims to know what percentage of companies that pay to advertise on the Internet uses targeted advertising methods . The results determine that 23% of SMEs and large companies pay to advertise on the Internet, of which 20.5% use targeted advertising methods. In the case of small companies, these percentages are 12% and 11%, respectively.
Among the sectors that are part of the study, the percentages of companies that use targeted advertising in hotels and travel agencies and in the sale and repair of motor vehicles stand out.
In Big Data (management and analysis of huge volumes of data) it is the last variable that has been introduced in this version of the study. The results determine that 9% of SMEs and large companies and 3% of micro-companies analyzed Big Data . Geolocation from portable devices was the most common data source.
Among the sectors studied, the information and communications sector stands out . Likewise, companies that focus their sphere of activity on business activities related to hotels and travel agencies are among those that use Big Data techniques the most for the analysis of large volumes of information.
Conclusions of the study
Finally, after presenting the results of all the variables analyzed, the study presents a series of conclusions that have been drawn up with the help of representatives from each technological area of the most significant companies operating in Spain. These are the main ones:
- Internet access is becoming an essential factor for Spanish companies since most of the business processes, from provisioning to marketing, require network connectivity. Therefore, having an Internet connection is an essential requirement to improve the competitiveness and productivity of companies.
- Social media is increasingly one of the main windows to the world for companies , regardless of size. In this area, the companies with the lowest number of employees and turnover (micro and SMEs) can compete on equal terms with large companies in fields such as talent search or brand positioning thanks to social media.
- The use of cloud solutions is growing remarkably in the business field , mainly due to the increased knowledge of this service delivery model, which makes it easier for smaller companies (micro and SMEs) to get closer to the technological benefits they enjoy. large companies with much more affordable costs.
- Spanish companies incorporate cybersecurity solutions , although at a slower rate than is desirable . The main cause of the moderate use of cybersecurity is the lack of knowledge that still exists about existing threats. The false sense of security leads companies to dispense with solutions of this type, since they are not considered essential for the development of the business.
- According to the registered data, the development of electronic commerce among SMEs has stopped . Public administrations collaborate in promoting e-commerce through plans to help companies to develop their e-commerce portals and marketing strategies. However, the excessive existing regulation, both at national and European level, as well as its fragmentation in isolated markets, makes it extremely difficult for an SME to take advantage of the economic potential of electronic commerce on a global scale.