Bengaluru beats San Francisco in a race to go digitalTarush Bhalla
Is India’s Silicon Valley better than the actual Silicon Valley?
In a Utopian world maybe, some pessimists would claim.
But a recent report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, published on Tuesday stated that Bengaluru has topped the charts beating even San Francisco in terms of confidence to perform digital transformations in one's immediate environment.
The categories for this study include overall environment (in these cities) along with resources such as people and skills, financial environment, innovation and entrepreneurship, new technology development, and ICT infrastructure.
The report states that despite shortcomings such as infrastructure deficits, pollution, two other Indian cities including Mumbai and New Delhi have made it to the top five, taking the third and fourth spot, right after San Francisco. The report authored by Dennis McCauley said,
“This is particularly true of Bangalore, where business leaders express the highest levels of confidence in their digital environment than in any other city in the study.”
Further, seven of the 10 highest confidence levels in the survey are recorded in emerging Asian cities, according to the survey. These cities include Beijing, Manila, Shanghai as well as Jakarta.
Below are the overall rankings:
Why was the report conducted?
Titled ‘Connecting Commerce’, the report states,
"In most cases, firms’ existing internal resources will not be enough to pull transformation off, as they need to look outside their own four walls for additional support."
Further, businesses find most of that support in the city or cities where they operate. For startups and other small firms, the city environment often provides the only resources they tap into.
“Even when it comes to government policies, those implemented by City Hall (government) have more influence on businesses’ digital success than national policies,” it stated.
The above inference is of 57 percent of 2,600 business executives surveyed by the EIU across 45 cities. This is supported by 71 percent of Bengaluru, 60 percent of Mumbai and 68 percent of New Delhi executives.
Digital city barometers
Apart from the overall score, Bengaluru and other Indian cities were scored based on other parameters of innovation and entrepreneurship, financial environment, people and skills, which led to their rankings:
Innovation and entrepreneurship
The report concluded that a final intangible factor that must be considered is a city’s entrepreneurial ethos, or spirit.
While there was little doubt that the entrepreneurialism in the DNA of hubs such as San Francisco, New York and London was fueling the growth of their digital ecosystems, Alpesh Shah, Senior Partner of BCG India, believed that a similar, grassroots ethos is at work in Bengaluru.
People and skills
Mumbai was ranked 13th in this category with a score of 7.1.
Development of new technologies
Mumbai was ranked 10th in this category with a score of 7.25.
Mumbai was tagged with San Francisco ranking 10th with a score of 7.1.
Other findings from the report
In terms of skill and talent, surveyed executives pointed out digital security and advanced data analytics as the two most critical skill needs for digital transformation. Below are some of the skill sets highlighted in the report:
Ironically, while ranking at top of the lists for people and skills, Bengaluru executives also highlighted acute shortages of talent and skills (below), with 40 percent of the city’s executives citing the problem.
Here's the link for the full report.
Tarush is driven towards delivering unbiased and accurate reportage while engaging with as many mediums as possible to narrate a fresh perspective. Working for the past few years in the digital space with YourStory, he has covered the Indian technology ecosystem extensively, focusing on new age Fintech companies, while building strong connects within the industry.