1 CHAPTER 2.1 Promoting Information Societies in Complex Environments: An In-Depth Look at Spain s Plan Avanza BRUNO LANVIN, INSEAD, elab DANIEL TORRES MANCERA, National Observatory for Telecommunications and the Information Society, Spain JAVIER BUSQUETS, ESADE Business School Worldwide, countries of all sizes and development levels are striving to become competitive knowledge economies and build inclusive information societies. In this context, the intensive adoption of information and communication technologies (ICT) as the optimal base for sustainable social welfare and economic growth in all economic sectors and social activities is becoming a top priority in every public policy and corporate agenda.to a large extent, this trend has been seconded and accelerated by the recent crisis, as a large array of traditional industrial and natural resource intensive sectors have had to face shrinking demand and margins. Among the richer countries of Western Europe, Spain is a case in point. On one hand, the country has known one of the most spectacular and sustained growth rates of the last 30 years. On the other hand, it has also been one of the countries hardest hit by the recent crisis, with unemployment rates surging from 12.8 percent in October 2007 to 19.3 percent in October The specific political and administrative context of Spain where almost everything from taxes to education is subject to complex sharing mechanisms between central and local governments as well as the emphasis the country has put on developing its information infrastructure make it an even more interesting case as well as a source of expertise and lessons to illustrate the challenges and possible rewards of designing and promoting information society strategies. The present chapter includes four sections. In the first, an attempt will be made to better understand the context in which Spain s information society vision was born and how, as a result, Plan Avanza was designed and launched.the second section will focus on identifying the main results generated by this approach, while the last two sections will address the remaining challenges to be faced by Spain s information society strategy and the lessons that other countries could use from its experience. 127 The past is the prologue: Plan Avanza s design and launch In Spain, the traditional growth model has relied mainly on economic sectors that, though producing positive results in the short term, were neither intensive in ICT nor sustainable in the long run. In this context, the Spanish government designed and started Plan Avanza (literally, Move Forward in Spanish) in late Avanza is aimed at the full, effective development of the information society in the country, thus ensuring the convergence of social and economic growth across Spanish regions with European levels. The authors wish to thank David Gago Saldaña (consultant and advisor, Spain s State Secretariat for Telecommunications and the Information Society) for his significant input and background research for this chapter.
2 Figure 1: Average annual budget devoted to information society (direct financing) Euros (thousands) 1,525,000 1,268,329 1,143, , , ,329 1,516, Source: SETSI. 128 A complex background Spain s efforts to build a sustainable information society have been marked by a unique combination of three characteristics: These efforts were led by a vision and an ambition formulated at the highest levels of the country s central government. They were formulated in the context of (and firmly aligned with) Europe s Lisbon Strategy and other national policies. They were based on a strong philosophy and practice of cooperation with local Spanish authorities (mainly Autonomous Communities and Local Authorities). 2 It is against this complex background that Spain s information society strategy emerged under the ambitious banner of Plan Avanza.The Plan emerged from the need to build a convergence plan aimed at catching up with European levels and promote information society across the different regions. 3 This aim was expressed as early as 2004 by the Spanish government, which, at a more general level, also stressed the crucial role of ICT both in the economy and in society. In this way, Plan Avanza was the programmatic expression of the government s commitment to the promotion and use of ICT in Spain. It was framed in a strategic governmental commitment started in 2004 and intended to redefine the Spanish productive base, on which ICT was bound to play a pivotal role. Spain s authorities clearly understood that such a demanding plan could succeed only with the involvement and commitment of the whole Spanish society. For this reason, they were determined to build an inclusive plan able to cope with different needs and sensitivities of the private sector, civil society, and the public administration. Within this framework, regions and local administrations played significant roles, as warranted by the highly decentralized organization of the country. In fact, the central Spanish government, all 19 regional governments, local governments, private agents and associations from the ICT sector, political parties, and citizens were involved. A large array of working groups was created to build a strategic diagnosis of the initial situation and suggest objectives and measures for shaping the Plan. These recommendations were endorsed unanimously by every group, leading to the elaboration of the main lines of the Plan. Plan Avanza was one of the key pillars of the Programa Ingenio 2010, the strategy that the government put in motion to foster research, development, and
3 innovation (RDI) in 2005.The rationale behind this program was that Spain s position was severely backward compared with that of Europe in RDI. 4 In fact, according to 2005 data, Spain s ratio of R&D to GDP was 1.13 percent, versus 2 percent in the original 15 members of the European Union (EU15). And Spain s share of private R&D to total R&D was 46.3 percent, versus 56.6 percent in the EU15. 5 From 2005 to 2009, the government devoted more than 6.5 billion to the development of the ICT sector and the information society in Spain under Plan Avanza s umbrella.this has facilitated the additional mobilization of over 4 billion by other stakeholders (with regional governments playing a primary role).the sum of these efforts means that around 11 billion has been directly committed to foster ICT diffusion in Spanish society (see Figure 1). A brief overview of the Spanish ICT sector ICT is a thriving sector in Spain, as reflected by the performance of different macroeconomic indicators in recent years. 6 ICT sector turnover in Spain accounted for billion in 2008, 7 reflecting a cumulative growth of 43 percent over the period The value-added of the ICT sector in Spain surpassed 64 billion in 2008, which means that it was 7.7 percent higher than in 2007, and it made up about 6 percent of Spanish GDP in If indirect, induced, and network externalities fueled by ICT are also accounted for, ICT value-added climbed in 2008 to billion, thus making up about 22.5 percent of total Spanish GDP. 8 Moreover, the Spanish ICT sector employed around 400,000 people in percent more than in As in the case of the value-added, if indirect, induced, and network externalities are also included in the analysis, the figure peaks at 1.52 million, making up about 7.5 percent of total employees in Spain. This rapid (pre-crisis) development is also reflected in the number of ICT enterprises, which increased by no less than 28 percent between 2005 and 2007 (from 21,966 to 28,189). 9 Some of those ICT enterprises have emerged as pioneers and leaders in activities such as transport and infrastructure management (such as Telvent or Avanzit), defense systems (Indra, Amper Programas, Sitre), information technology (IT) security (Panda, Secuware), digital TV or audiovisual engineering solutions (Telefónica,Televés, Itelsis, Brainstorm). As a case in point, two-thirds of air traffic worldwide is monitored by information systems created in Spain, such as Indra. Two emerging objectives: Internationalization and innovation The increasing international exposure of Spanish companies is contributing to a shift in the economic model. In fact, the new productive model should be more foreign demand based, because the prevailing one was rather dependent on internal demand.the economic crisis is likely to reinforce this trend. ICT exports are still small in Spain as a proportion of total exports (about 4 percent). Nevertheless, they have strongly increased over the last four years, leaping from 3.77 billion in 2004 to 6.46 billion in The leading international role of some ICT Spanish companies is quite promising, which means that this figure is expected to be substantially higher in the near future. Even though innovation is still scarce in Spain when compared with EU levels, the remarkable increase observed over the last years has been fueled by the decisive contribution of ICT. According to specialized sources, innovation expenditures in the ICT sector amounted to 9.10 billion in 2008, which means a growth of 70 percent over the last four years.the figure makes up a third of total RDI invested by the private sector in Spain. 11 Five years later: Plan Avanza s achievements Considering the ambition and scope of Plan Avanza, five years is a very short time to assess its achievements. Yet the Plan can clearly be considered a success, both from the point of view of developing infrastructure (in particular, broadband, where critical mass has been reached), and from that of developing new services and usages for ICT across all components of the society. But Plan Avanza s most significant achievement may be in the way it has contributed to changing Spain s attitudes about ICT. Moving attitudes, reaching critical mass One of the most important goals achieved by Plan Avanza has been a change in attitudes and culture among Spanish citizens and businesses. In fact, ICT is increasingly being perceived as crucial for the country s development, a perception that lags behind its gradual introduction into economic, institutional, and civic life. Additionally, Plan Avanza has enabled the achievement of a critical mass not only in terms of the ICT market and subscribers, but also in terms of the gradual acceptance of ICT and the global coverage of ICT services.this is a substantial landmark that will further facilitate ICT developments in the future. The critical mass achieved is epitomized by the progress in a number of indicators. For instance, the number of Internet users has more than doubled, to reach 24.6 million, with a penetration rate of 60.1 percent in 2009 (see Figure 2). Furthermore, more than 97.5 percent of lines are now broadband, compared with just over 45 percent in 2003, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE). The contribution of the Plan in achieving the critical mass must be highlighted here. Some 257,000 families have benefited from no-interest loans for 129
4 Figure 2: Internet users in Spain, Users (millions) * 24.6* Source: INE; ONTSI, 2009a. Note: Users are years old; * indicates individuals 10 years old and older. 130 acquiring ICT equipment. Furthermore, 3,000 telecenters and 2,500 libraries are at the disposal of 12 million inhabitants residing in rural areas. On the business front, Spanish enterprises have also witnessed positive performances in their IT capabilities. Enterprises with broadband have climbed to nearly 94 percent in January 2009 (see Figure 3), remarkably higher than the European average (i.e., 83 percent in 2009), with a widespread use of advanced electronic signature 51 percent of enterprises in Spain, as compared with only 26 percent in the whole European Union (EU27). Plan Avanza has contributed a wide array of initiatives, including funding RDI and ICT-training programs for more than 210,000 enterprises, mainly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).The Plan has provided nearly 134,500 enterprises with no-interest loans to purchase IT equipment, and has enabled the creation of more than 62,000 websites by enterprises as a result of different measures of diffusion and awareness since Measurable results The success of Plan Avanza is not only reflected in a number of intangible assets such as new institutional or cultural arrangements, but also in a widespread array of tangible results.these outcomes are seen in ICT indicators such as (1) the supply and coverage of ICT infrastructure, (2) networked education, (3) networked healthcare, (4) networked administration, and (5) the development of a new regulatory framework. Supply and penetration of ICT infrastructure: Broadband everywhere The Broadband Extension Plan, implemented since 2005, has made Spain reach quasi-universal broadband penetration (99 percent), despite the fact that almost 50 percent of the country is mountainous.this figure means that Spain has one of the highest broadband penetration rates worldwide. Spain ranks first in terms of mobile broadband users in Europe, with a penetration rate of 28.3 percent as compared with the European average of 18 percent. 13 In fact, Spain is the only country from the Big Five where both fixed and mobile broadband penetration accounts for more than 20 percent of the population. By contrast, in other countries the development of fixed broadband seems to take place at the expense of mobile broadband (and vice versa).the combined fixed and mobile broadband penetration in Spain accounts for nearly 49 lines per 100 inhabitants, whereas in France, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom it stands at Public policies and higher demand by users have been the drivers of the spectacular increase in the number of broadband lines in Spain over recent years (Figure 4). Broadband lines as of September 2009 are more than 4.5 times the figure in 2003, and the average speed has increased 15-fold. With regard to speed, 88 percent of fixed broadband connections operate at speeds higher than 2 megabits per second (Mb/s), which is higher than the
5 Figure 3: Internet and broadband use in enterprises: Spain and European Union, Internet access EU27 Internet access Spain Percentage 100 Broadband Spain Broadband EU % 20 e Source: Eurostat and INE. Note: Figures for 2009 are provisional; e = estimate. Internet access refers to the percentage of enterprises with Internet access out of total enterprises. Broadband refers to the percentage of enterprises with a broadband connection out of total enterprises. Figure 4: Growth of the number of broadband lines, (millions) EU15 average Spain Users (millions) (September) Source: ONTSI, 2009a, based on Eurostat and CMT.
6 132 EU average (81 percent). 15 Another area where Plan Avanza has achieved outstanding results is the development of digital terrestrial television (DTT).The importance of DTT hinges on different factors. In fact, it enables television modernization, allowing broader and more diverse offerings thanks to the greater number of channels, improvements in the quality of sound and image, higher availability of value-added content (such as subtitled broadcast, digital teletext, 16/9 format), and access to new services such as high definition television and mobile television, among others. Spain is a pioneering country in terms of DTT development. DTT coverage exceeds percent, far beyond the European average, and the digital switch-over has already occurred in some parts of Spain. Decoders purchases have proceeded quickly, amounting to over 23 million decoders sold (which amounts to one decoder each for almost half the population). Networked education: The birth of a European champion The support given to networked education through Plan Avanza has transformed the Spanish educational system into one of the most ICT-intensive in Europe. In fact, 99.5 percent of schools in Spain are Internet-connected, over 98 percent of them through broadband, and they have been equipped with ICT resources. Furthermore, 90 percent of teachers have received ICT training. In addition,wi-fi is available in all 50 public universities, thanks to the Campus en Red (Networked Campus) program. It is worth emphasizing the development of the open source educational platform Agrega.This Spanish platform, which has also been adopted by the United Kingdom, has received international awards. Other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and several others in Latin America are also interested and talking to Spanish experts (see Box 1). Networked healthcare: Creating a source of expertise for the world The promotion of networked healthcare is one of the key pillars of Plan Avanza and explains the leading role of Spain in the sector. In fact, all public healthcare centers in Spain are now interconnected through a common network. Applications such as e-appointment, digital records or electronic medical history are already achieving substantial improvements in health and efficiency ratios.the achievements are crystal clear: for example, 97 percent of primary care doctors in Spain have now electronic access to their patients records (vs. only 14 percent in Canada or 12 percent in the United States). 16 As a result of the success of the initiatives implemented so far, Spanish e-health experts are currently counseling other countries in the design and implementation of solutions of this kind. For example, they are advising four other EU member countries in the context of the European Patients Smart Open Services project. 17 This project aims to develop a practical e-health framework and an ICT infrastructure that will enable secure access to patient health information, particularly with respect to basic patient summaries and e-prescriptions between different European healthcare systems. Networked administration: Reaching out to all Spanish citizens One of the main objectives of Plan Avanza has to do with substantially improving the number and quality of services provided by the public administration.this field has developed at an outstanding pace over the last five years, and, as a result, the availability of online public services in Spain is now 9 percentage points higher than the European average (80 percent versus 71 percent). 18 The introduction of e-identification (e-id) has taken place in this context. As a result of this pioneering project, more than 15 million Spaniards are e-id holders (i.e., about 32 percent of the population), which allows them to access over 2,500 public services at national, regional, and local levels. Over 17 million e-identity instruments have been issued (more than 15 million e-id cards and over 2 million e-signature certificates), making Spain the first country in the world by number of users. Additionally, almost 7 million Spaniards filed their tax returns through the Internet in Another relevant e-administration project has been the gradual digitization of civil registries and magistrates courts. Once this project is finished, citizens will be able to access electronically every document placed in these records.this will result in significant time savings and simplification of procedures. The civil registry online program is highlighted as an example of a good practice in epractice.eu, an EUbased Web portal aimed at fostering the participation and diffusion of experiences among users in electronic administration. 20 Other programs for revamping the local administration are being implemented to develop online services for citizens and enterprises, setting up electronic payments platforms or raising awareness about the potential benefits of ICT use. Development of a new regulatory framework: Aligning law and ambitions The design of the new regulatory framework is groundbreaking in Europe.Two main laws have shaped the main developments in this area: Law 56/2007 on Measures to Promote the Information Society (Ley para el Impulso de la Sociedad de la Información) and Law 11/2007 on Citizens Electronic Access to Public Services (Ley de Acceso Electrónico de los Ciudadanos a los Servicios Públicos). The laws have been focused on issues such as compulsory online access to specific services (e.g., public utilities) by citizens; a progressive obligation for electronic invoicing; mandatory accessibility for people with
7 Box 1: Agrega: Search, find, and participate Agrega is part of a national program to foster ICT in education and offer access to digital curriculum content. Participation and funding for the program are provided by state and regional authorities. The project Agrega addresses the need of digital curriculum standard resources to foster ICT in education. It offers a single point of access to digital learning resources publicly funded by different initiatives (the ministries of education and industry, and regional authorities education departments). It provides teachers, students, and parents with curriculum resources that can be used at school and at home. model (SCORM) 2004 content format (a registered user is able to access to a full SCORM view). 6. Widgets are Web 2.0 friendly. Agrega offers out-ofthe-box widgets to embed its resources in other sites and allows content to be downloaded in several digital learning formats. 7. Content and access are built according to digital learning services standards. Well-known standards have been used both for repository access and the content itself. 8. Navigation is available from the teacher s view. Digital curriculum content can be searched for using specific education taxonomies or thesauruses. Registered users can navigate through taxonomies and thesauruses out-of-the-box. Ten good reasons to follow Agrega 1. It provides access to multilingual digital learning resources. Each regional authority in Spain will deploy an Agrega node to provide unified access to digital learning content. 2. It provides content quality. Digital learning resources have been produced as the result of cooperation between teachers and multimedia content industry. 9. Out-of-the-box tools are built in. Agrega provides some built-in tools for packaging (SCORM 2004) and cataloging (full LOM-ES). 1 These tools can be experienced offline with a program installed locally on a personal computer. 10. Open source development allows reuse. Agrega has been developed using open source software and will be EU-PL licensed. Contents are licensed with Creative Commons to allow distribution, copy, and reuse of most of the resources It generates an out-of-the-box resources catalog. Each Agrega node can generate a resources catalog in PDF format, organized according to the Spanish curriculum, with hyperlinks to the digital content. 4. Resources are community friendly. Learning resources can be re-used by teachers, and also annotated and rated by registered users. 5. Content is e-learning friendly. Agrega allows a preview via Web of sharable content object reference Source: Note 1 LOM-ES is the official version of the IEEE-LOM standard for the Spanish educational community. LOM (i.e., Learning Object Metadata) is a model, usually encoded in XML, used to describe a learning object and similar digital resources used to support learning. IEEE is the internationally recognized open standard for Learning Object Metadata published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association, New York.
8 134 disabilities and older people; better and wider statistical coverage and information availability on the ICT sector; and online access to public administration content.the laws have been fully discussed with diverse public authorities, political parties, the private sector, and citizens associations. Also, an advantageous new telecommunications users bill was passed on May 15, 2009, implying, inter alia: speeding up users deregistration (i.e., from 15 days to 2 days); better protection of users in the use of Telecommunications Users Support Office; extended warranties in the use of premium rate services; an ad hoc regulation of pre-paid users rights; and reducing to a maximum of one day the time needed to transfer to a different carrier/operator while maintaining the same telephone number. What next? In November 2009, the Spanish Minister for Industry announced that, by January 1, 2011, a broadband speed of 1 Mb/s would become part of Spain s definition of universal access.this is the kind of symbolic threshold that Plan Avanza has made possible. Even if much remains to be done to fulfill the country s full potential to perform as a leading knowledge economy, its ambitions can now be set against remarkably high standards because attitudes have changed: Spain has proved to itself that it can do as well as the champions. It can now look with confidence at the many challenges it still has to face in building a fully cohesive, inclusive, and vibrant information society. No bed of roses: Plan Avanza s past and remaining challenges Altogether (and with hindsight), Plan Avanza can now be regarded as a powerful tool to help a country such as Spain look beyond the current economic crisis. Generating interest and support at the local level is clearly a necessary ingredient for turning a national vision into a sustainable reality. Nevertheless, the road to achieve this reality is a difficult one.though Plan Avanza s achievements suggest that the right choices have been made in terms of budget allocation and management and cooperation models, there are many lessons that have been learned since the Plan was started, as well as challenges going forward. Some of the main challenges are presented here: Slow uptake. Though the stimulation of the supply side of the ICT sector has been followed by visible results, the demand side has not yet reacted in this way. A case in point is the use of e-id: more than 15 million citizens have an e-id, but only a few of them actually use their e-id services. Consequently, the government has developed a plan to foster e-id use through measures that include demonstration and training workshops, free distribution of e-id readers, and awareness campaigns, among others. On the demand side, promotion efforts should be combined with support for ICT companies (SMEs in particular) to innovate. Resistance to change. Specific economic sectors and SMEs still hesitate at moving to intensive, productive adoption of ICT. An increased adoption of these technologies has taken place, but in SMEs this use has not yet reached the desired degree of sophistication because these technologies are still used more for internal processes than for external, business operations. Insofar as SMEs are the main engines of growth and employment creation, it is crucial to foster ICT penetration through promotion and training measures. E-commerce has grown, but not as much as desired. It is true that e-commerce in Spain is evolving rapidly, as recently released figures by the National Observatory for Telecommunications and the Information Society (ONTSI) have shown. In fact, the business volume generated by e-commerce exceeded 5.3 billion, an increase of 192 percent compared with 2004, but this is still far from European standards. 21 Furthermore, the current challenge in Spain is to raise awareness about the crucial role of e-commerce among Spanish enterprises. As such, e-commerce should not be considered an option but a strategic weapon able to increase sales and the competitiveness of companies. Only around 6 percent of medium enterprises and 1.5 percent of small enterprises make their products available through the Internet. 22 This figure is in sharp contrast to the 8.8 million Spanish e-buyers in 2008, which have increased by 3.8 million in three years. 23 The challenge of e-inclusion. Internet use by Spanish youths ranks among the highest in Europe: Spanish 16- to 34-year-olds are more intensive Internet users than their counterparts in the rest of Europe. But the situation is reversed for those over 55, who are lagging behind their European counterparts in the uptake, use, and acceptance of ICT.Thus, it is of great importance to develop specific actions intended to raise awareness of the advantages prompted by the information society to these potential users. Building on success to face new challenges As mentioned earlier, Spain has gained international renown through the achievements of some of its ICT companies. Several sectors are worth considering in
9 Figure 5: Growth of digital content industry turnover in Spain, ( thousands) Turnover (C= thousands) 5,000 4,000 4,303 3,575 3,000 3,254 3,039 2,738 2,000 1,000 4, Source: ONTSI, 2009b. greater detail as examples of areas in which Spanish enterprises have been able to turn higher levels of ICT readiness into higher levels of business performance and customer satisfaction.this is the case of the digital content and banking sectors. Digital content: Fast growth and increasing visibility The production, management, and distribution of digital content have known spectacular development in Spain: the industry has grown by more than 82 percent in , 24 drawing increased attention among content developers, content producers and editors, and content feed aggregators (see Figure 5). This industry, which encompasses dynamic sectors such as video, music, television, cinema, advertising and communication, videogames, and Internet and mobile content, is currently a substantial asset with extraordinary promise for Spain by virtue of its technological and creative features, productive and social acceptance, and the additional advantage of its potential ability to address new markets that share culture and language. Additionally, Feria Internacional de los Contenidos Digitales (FICOD the Digital Contents International Exhibition), has become a benchmark meeting point for the digital content industry and community and is already the reference in the Spanish-speaking world.the 2009 exhibition was attended by some 15,000 participants, with over 200 speakers from industry, government, and international institutions; more than 42,000 virtual participants connected through FICOD TV. How e-banking transformed banking Spain has become an ecosystem for banking technological innovation. Spanish banks are among the most profitable and efficient in the world because of, among other factors, their excellent capacities in the management of IT as a lever for business innovation. In 2009, Spanish banks achieved the best efficiency ratios in the European Union (42 percent vs. the EU average of 60.7 percent), and indeed among the best in the world. 25 The story of the banking industry in the European Union in the 1980s and 1990s is related to deregulation, increased competition, consolidation processes (mergers and acquisitions), and the creation of the euro. All these elements have profoundly shaped the European banking landscape and in particular Spanish banks, which in some cases started as local or regional institutions and became global players in the 21st century. This story dates back to the 1980s, when the Banco de España (the Spanish Central Bank) began promoting policies to deregulate the national market and directives to reduce costs and the amount of paper used in banking and to improve security by reducing the scope for fraud. 26 This deregulation prompted banks to automate the vast majority of their transactions, such as payrolls and payments. In Spain, checks are hardly ever used, and many utility and service payments are directly debited through customers accounts. The retail financial market chose a proximity strategy, adopting a very aggressive expansion by opening new branches throughout the country.the existing IT costs 135