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Our Global Communities

Socioeconomic Research

A key input to our social investment strategy is Cisco’s original research. This is conducted in partnership with leading research and advisory companies and world-renowned academic institutions.

We believe that our research can contribute to the dialogue about technology’s future impact. We want to understand what the digital revolution will bring, and how Cisco can make strategic investments to help individuals thrive. Our research also ensures the relevance of our investment focus areas, such as Cisco Networking Academy, crisis response, education, and economic empowerment.

Our research helps governments, universities, educators, and nonprofit leaders set the direction for social investments and program development. For example, our research is designed to help:

  • Set the talent agenda for future growth by predicting the skills needed and the most effective interventions to address skills gaps and job displacement.
  • Assess a region’s digital readiness and understand key interventions needed to improve.
  • Rethink education systems to deliver graduates with the skills necessary for the jobs of the future.
  • Realize the benefits of digitization for all.

Not only do we engage in research—we also present our findings at forums including the World Economic Forum (WEF), International Society for Technology in Education, Cisco Live, Cisco Networking Academy conferences, and other venues.

Thought Leadership

The Cisco Digital Readiness Index (DRI) examines what it means to be digitally ready and how best to help individuals and countries thrive in a digital world. We created a holistic framework and measurement model to uncover key insights and build our understanding of what it means for a country to be digitally ready.

Digital readiness is measured using seven holistic components:

  • Basic needs. Basic human needs for a population to survive and thrive.
  • Business & government investment. Private and public investment in innovation and technology.
  • Ease of doing business. Basic infrastructure/policies needed to support business continuity.
  • Human capital. Skilled labor force to support digital innovation (build and maintain).
  • Startup environment. Environment that fosters innovation within a community.
  • Technology adoption. Demand for digital products/services.
  • Technology infrastructure. Infrastructure available to enable digital activities and connected consumers (IoT, Cloud).

Understanding a country’s digital readiness helps give insight to which specific investments or interventions could help a country move up in their digital journey. Three stages of digital readiness emerged based on our research. “Activate” is the lowest stage of digital readiness, “Accelerate” is the middle stage, and “Amplify” is the highest. To better understand country needs, the Accelerate stage was further divided into two sub-stages, Accelerate Low and Accelerate High.

Countries with higher digital readiness have higher levels of GDP per capita and tend to be more productive and prosperous, as measured against the WEF’s Global Competitiveness Index. Countries with higher digital readiness also tend to have a healthier natural environment and vital ecosystem as measured against Yale’s Environmental Performance Index.

Digital Readiness scores reveal which countries are most digitally ready and which are less so, presenting opportunities for local government, industry, educational institutions, and community organizations to work together to help create an inclusive digital economy.

The digital readiness framework can also be applied to states, territories, and/or regions within a country. Subnational-level studies were conducted throughout fiscal 2020 to aid CSR strategy and decisions. In November of 2020 the Cisco Australian Digital Readiness Index was released. Australia ranked highly in the global study, but there are differences in how well its states and territories are positioned to participate in a digital future. This study builds upon the first analysis of Australian states and territories that was conducted in 2018. These studies demonstrate opportunities for government, industry, education, and community organizations to increase digital readiness and serve as a benchmark to measure improvements.

In early 2020 we worked in collaboration with Fundación País Digital to apply the digital readiness framework to the regions of Chile. According to the Global DRI, Chile scores highly in overall digital readiness compared to other countries in Latin America. The DRI was applied at the regional level to gain a more complete understanding of Chile’s digital readiness. The findings were shared publicly to help policymakers and business leaders maximize digital inclusion.