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

Societies are working tirelessly to become more and more digital, as shown by the case of these two countries, separated by an ocean, but with similar digitisation goals. Even so, the circumstances of each are very different, so it is worth studying them carefully.

Spain and the Dominican Republic share a large number of aspects for cultural and historical reasons. From a technological perspective and looking to the future, we also realise that there are certain similarities between the two countries, such as their determination to achieve the most digitised environment possible.

In this article we are going to make a brief analysis of the situation in which these countries find themselves in terms of their digital transformation, comparing it with that of other countries in the region. We will also look at the main initiatives they are carrying out in this regard, ending with the influence of digital signatures in all of this.

Spain, a digitally mature country within the European environment

Spanish private companies and digitalisation

To find out in more detail the degree of digitalisation of Spanish companies, we turned to the latest edition of the digital maturity index published by digital transformation expert consultancy Incipy. This was drawn up on the basis of the answers given by 350 respondents with a medium-high level of responsibility in private Spanish companies.

This will take into account 12 indicators grouped into 4 categories: strategy and organisation, customers, digital business and people.

Among these indicators, we can find some that are closely related to the digital signature, such as digital product and service solutions, digital business innovation and digital workplaces (Digital Workplaces, according to the nomenclature of the report).

Based on the results obtained, 4 categories of companies are defined according to their degree of digital advancement: basic, start-up, strategic and innovative-disruptive.

The main conclusions drawn from this report are as follows:

  • There has been notable progress, especially over the last 3 years, in the degree of digitalisation of Spanish companies, driven especially by the transformational leadership of their managers.
  • There has been progress across the different levels of digital maturity. There has been a significant reduction in the number of companies at an early stage, while the more advanced companies are improving their figures. Strategic companies account for 29% of companies and innovative-disruptive companies for 7%.
  • 16% of Spanish companies have implemented a digital transformation plan.
  • 46% are addressing transformation plans towards an agile organisation.
  • There is a clear focus on the customer as the centre of the digital strategy and as the driver of new technologies.
  • 31% are evolving from traditional intranets to digitised workspaces.

Digitisation of Public Administration

As far as government bodies are concerned, the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), published by the European Commission, is of interest. This study also serves to situate Spain within the digital environment of the European Union.

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

According to the latest edition of 2020, Spain is in eleventh position, with outstanding results in digital public services and open data, occupying second place in both and in connectivity; however, in human capital it presents figures that could be improved, being below the European average, although showing an improvement compared to previous years. Spain also ranks thirteenth in the integration of digital technologies.

In terms of government initiatives, DESI highlights the following:

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

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

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

The score received by this index is 360, which places it at the same level as countries in the Latin American region such as Guatemala, Venezuela, Bolivia and Paraguay. Compared to Spain’s results, it is ranked 33rd.

Another way to get an accurate picture of the degree of digitalisation of Dominican society is through the opinion of professionals and experts.

Recently, an event brought together leading figures in the field of business digitalisation. It included statements such as those of Iván Mejía, Vice President of Logistics of the Ramos Group, who declared that in order to respond to the current unexpected situation they had to “be fast, agile and flexible […]”, achieving this thanks to technological advances.

It is also worth highlighting the words of Gilberto Abreu, IT Portfolio Services Manager at Nestlé, who emphasised that “it is key to be able to eliminate paper and build a trusted technology”, adding the importance of improving electronic payment processes.

Jacqueline Reynoso, IT Director at Distribuidora Corripio highlighted the importance of developing digital talent in organisations.

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 effort“. In it, its Vice President, David Fernández, stressed the importance of the unification of efforts by the public sector as a provider of infrastructure, the private sector as a developer of innovation and academic institutions as promoters of talent.

Spain and the Dominican Republic two digitally advanced countries

Digital evolution of Dominican public organisations

As we have just mentioned, the role of government entities is key to the digital development of the Dominican Republic. The government is aware of this and for this reason has launched various initiatives in this regard, including the Digital Republic project, which aims to reduce the digital divide in Dominican society to a minimum.

This includes, among others, actions such as the online processing of administrative procedures such as the payment of taxes at the General Directorate of Internal Taxes, the payment of traffic fines, company creation, public procurement, application and renewal of licences and identity documents, etc.

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

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

Within any digitisation process there are certain technological resources that are similar regardless of the country we look at. One of these is the digital signature, a cross-cutting solution that is in touch with the digital transformation of virtually every aspect of a nation.

Despite having many points in common, digital signatures also present differentiating nuances between countries, as is the case of the legal framework that embraces them. On the Spanish and European side, this is defined by the eIDAS Regulation, which defines 3 types of electronic signatures; on the Dominican side, the digital signature is regulated by the recently approved Resolution 071-19.

These are two legal texts with a high degree of similarity, since the aforementioned Resolution 071-19 is largely based on the eIDAS Regulation, since it was set as a goal to facilitate the internationalisation of business activities, for which purpose it had to be aligned with the legislation of regions that were hitherto more advanced in digital signatures. In fact, the similarity is such that the types of electronic signature they contemplate are practically identical: simple, advanced and qualified.

It should be noted that, although neither of the two legislations includes the term “simple signature”, this is used to designate a signature that does not meet the requirements to be advanced or qualified. The legislation does warn that its possible legal probative value should not be annulled a priori on the grounds that it does not meet those requirements.

The importance of digital signatures in the digital growth of both countries is evident. That is why Viafirma has committed to applying our solutions in different private and public environments.

Among the most recent developments in this regard, we have:

  • Have been recognised as Qualified Trust Service Providers by the Spanish Government.
  • Develop the infrastructure to implement the digital signature in the Dominican Judiciary.
  • To be the validation engine for electronic invoicing in the Dominican Republic.
  • The authorisation of the Dominican Telecommunications Institute (Indotel) for the remote accreditation of subscribers for the issuance of Qualified Digital Certificates.

This is just a sample of our tireless work to build a more digital environment that will ultimately result in benefits for citizens, businesses and public entities.

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