Spain and the Dominican Republic: two countries digitally advanced, but with several differences

Societies are working hard to go digital, as evidenced by these two countries, divided by an ocean, but with similar digital goals. However, the situation in each country is very different and deserves to be assessed in detail.

Spain and the Dominican Republic share many aspects of culture and history. From the technology perspective and with a view to the future, we also realize that there are certain features that are similar to both countries, as their determination to achieve an environment as digitized as possible.

In this article we will make an overview of the current situation of digital transformation in these countries, compared to their neighbouring countries. We will also echo the main initiatives being implemented in this regard, concluding with the influence that digital signatures have in all of this.

Spain, a digitally developed country in Europe

Private Spanish companies and digitization

To learn more on the degree of digitization of Spanish companies, we visited the latest edition of the digital maturity index published by Incipy, a consulting firm that specializes in digital transformation. This was written based on the answers given by 350 respondents with middle to high responsibility in private Spanish companies.

For this purpose, 12 indicators grouped into 4 categories will be taken into account; strategy and organization, clients, digital business and people. These indicators include aspects that are closely related to digital signatures, such as digital product and service solutions, digital business innovation and digital workplaces 

Based on the results obtained, 4 categories of companies are defined according to their level of digital advancement; basic, initial, strategic and innovative-disruptive.

As a result, the main conclusions drawn from this report include the following:

  • There has been notable progress, especially over the last three years in the degree of digitization of Spanish companies, fuelled by the leadership of their managers in terms of transformation
  • Progress has been shown in the different levels of digital advancement. The number of companies in the initial phase has been reduced considerably, while the numbers of companies that are more advanced have increased. Strategic companies account for 29% and innovative-disruptive companies represent 7% of the total number.
  • 16% of Spanish companies have implemented a digital transformation plan.
  • 46% are addressing transformation plans towards an agile organization.
  • There is a clear orientation towards the client as the core of digital strategy and as a the driver of new technologies.
  • 31% are evolving from traditional intranets to digitized workspaces.

Digitization of Public Administrations

For government bodies, the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), published by the European Commission is indeed a useful tool. This study also pinpoints Spain’s position in the European Union’s digital environment.

DESI results are based on 5 digital performance indicators: connectivity, human capital, internet use, digital technology integration and digital public services. 

According to the last edition of 2020, Spain is positioned in eleventh place, with outstanding results in digital public services, open data and connectivity, ranking second. However, in terms of human capital, there is room for improvement, being below the European average, although showing an improvement over previous years. In addition, Spain ranks thirteenth in integration of digital technologies.

In terms of government initiatives, DESI highlights the following: 

  • The national e-skills strategy, to ensure that all citizens achieve minimum digital skills.
  • The national strategy for artificial intelligence.
  • The strategic framework for SME policy 2030
  • The “Agenda for Change: towards an inclusive and sustainable economy”.
  • The digitization strategy for the agri-food and forestry sector and the rural area.

The Dominican Republic, fully aware of digital transformation and taking all necessary measures

The Dominican Republic is ranked 99th in the World Economic Forum’s Networked Readiness Index, an index that assesses the readiness of countries to exploit the opportunities offered by ICTs.

This index received a score of 360, which places the Dominican Republic at the same level as other Latin American countries like Guatemala, Venezuela, Bolivia and Paraguay. When compared to Spanish results, Spain is ranked 33rd.

A second way to get an accurate view on the degree of digitization of the Dominican society is thanks to the opinion of professionals and experts.

A recent event brought together leading figures in the field of business digitization. Statements were made by Iván Mejía, Vice President of Logistics at Grupo Ramos, who claimed that it was necessary to “be fast, agile and flexible […]” in order to cope with the current unexpected situation, which was successfully achieved thanks to technological advances.

Also noteworthy are the words of Gilberto Abreu, IT Portfolio Services Manager at Nestlé, who underlined that “it is key to be able to remove paper and build a trustworthy technology”, as well as the importance of improving e-payment operations.

Jacqueline Reynoso, IT Director of Distribuidora Corripio pointed out the importance of developing digital talent in organizations.

On the other hand, the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAMDR) held the seminar-colloquium “The Digital Transformation of the Dominican Republic: a public-private-academic endeavour”. In this seminar, Vice-President David Fernández pointed out the importance of unifying the efforts of the public sector for providing infrastructure, the private sector for developing innovation and academic institutions as promoters of talent.

Spain and the Dominican Republic: two countries digitally advanced

Digital evolution of Dominican public organizations

As mentioned above, the role of government entities is key to digital development in the Dominican Republic. The Government is aware of this and has therefore launched various initiatives in this regard, including the Digital Republic project, which aims at reducing the digital divide in Dominican society to a minimum.

This includes actions like the handling of administrative procedures like tax payments at the Directorate General of Internal Taxes, payment of traffic fines, business creation, public procurement, the application for and renewal of licenses and ID cards, etc.

Also, the Dominican Republic is the first country in the Caribbean and Central America in terms of e-participation by its citizens, as revealed in a report published by the United Nations.

The digital signature, a common link between Spain and the Dominican Republic

Inside every digitization process there are certain technological resources which are similar regardless of the country we are looking at. Among these we find the digital signature, a cross-sectional solution linked to the digital transformation of almost every aspect of a nation.

While there are many points in common, digital signatures also present nuances that differentiate them from one country to another, as is the case with the legal framework behind them. In Spain and Europe, that framework is defined by the eIDAS Regulation, with three different types of electronic signatures. In the Dominican Republic, digital signatures are regulated by Resolution 071-19.

These are two very similar legal texts, since Resolution 071-19 is largely based on the eIDAS Regulation, as the goal was to simplify international business activities, so it had to be aligned with the laws of the regions that were most advanced in the field of digital signatures at that time. As a matter of fact, the resemblance between the two is so similar that the types of electronic signatures they contemplate are practically identical: simple, advanced and qualified.

Although neither legislation covers the term “simple signature”, this is used to refer to a signature that does not meet the requirements set out for advanced or qualified signatures. However, the law stipulates that its potential legal probative value should not be invalidated as a result of not complying with these requirements.

It is clear how important digital signatures are in the digital growth of both countries. Therefore, at Viafirma we have committed to apply our solutions in both private and public sectors.

Some of our latest news on this subject are the following:

This is just a snapshot of our tireless efforts to build a more digital environment that will eventually lead to benefits for citizens, businesses and public entities.