Scotland's Digital Future: supporting the transition to a world-leading digital economy

Assesses the role that Scotland's public sector is playing in stimulating the digital economy and proposes actions that could be taken.


Measurement Framework

Figure 1: Scotland's Digital Economy Measurement Framework

Figure 1: Scotland’s Digital Economy Measurement Framework


The supply side of the measurement framework will define and measure the digital economy and track Scotland's progress in relation to other countries and nations.


The demand side of the measurement framework will track the adoption, usage and exploitation of digital infrastructure and technology and assist policymakers in prioritising areas of support. It will cover both business and individuals. However, the focus of this paper is on developing business-related indicators.

The demand side of the framework will measure progress in five key areas:

  • Headline economic indicators
  • Adoption
  • Usage
  • Exploitation
  • Skills

The table below provides an overview of the rationale for tracking progress in each of these areas and the broad areas we will seek to collect data on.



Potential indicators

Headline economic indicators

The digital economy is a key driver in increasing productivity and stimulating business investment and growth. These indicators are important for establishing a baseline position to allow us to track future progress.

Potential indicators include:

  • GVA per head
  • Enterprises per 1000 working age population
  • Business births as proportion of total stock
  • Employment in Knowledge Intensive Sectors
  • Employment rate
  • % premises with NGA broadband coverage


Given the levels of public sector intervention in delivering digital infrastructure and technology, tracking progress on adoption and usage by businesses will be important for monitoring progress against Scottish Government's Digital Strategy and understanding the extent to which superfast broadband is a differentiator.

Potential indicators include:

  • % of businesses with broadband access
  • Speed of broadband connection
  • Businesses with access to basic, NGA and superfast broadband
  • Business uptake of basic, NGA and superfast broadband.
  • Reasons for not having the best available broadband


These indicators will provide evidence on how businesses are using the digital infrastructure and technology available to them.

Potential indicators include:

  • % of businesses with website
  • % businesses who sell/purchase online
  • % businesses who sell internationally online
  • % of businesses interacting with public authorities online
  • % of businesses using public authorities' electronic procurement

Exploitation/Sophistication (e-intensity)

These indicators relate to how digital infrastructure and technology has been exploited by businesses with a focus on understanding the level of exploitation/sophistication (e-intensity) of the company and the extent to which:

  • new approaches have been adopted and
  • the impact of these on productivity and growth.

Potential indicators include:

  • % of businesses adapting business strategy due to digital technologies
  • % of businesses identifying the adoption of new processes and systems as a result of internet based technologies
  • % of businesses reporting a business benefit as a result of using internet based technologies.
  • % of businesses trading in new markets
  • % of businesses experiencing growth as result of investment


These indicators provide an overview of the digital skills used and demanded by businesses with the aim of identifying gaps in provision and to assist government bodies with targeting support in this area.

Potential indicators include:

  • Digital Leadership skills
  • Professional ICT skills
  • Skills gaps and shortages

With the exception of the headline economic indicators, many of the proposed indicators are not currently available either on a consistent basis or for Scotland. This suggests that additional survey work in Scotland may be needed to gather this information.


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