Digital services can become a key enabler for growth in the Greek economy, increasing innovation, adding value and new services for businesses and ultimately leading to the conditions for increased entrepreneurship and job creation.
In this 2015 report, the e-Business Research Center of Athens University of Economics presents the operational and economic benefits from digital services in two critical sectors of the Greek economy: supply chain management and justice administration. These areas currently suffer from limited entrepreneurship, and could be conducive to job creation through the introduction of digital solutions. In particular, the supply chain sector has been chosen owing to its large contribution of 10.8% to Greek GDP and its attractiveness for private investment. Justice administration currently poses significant delays, negatively affecting the Greek business environment.
Research shows that Greece is lagging behind other European countries in terms of its digital maturity. In particular, Greece is lacking in Internet use and digital services, digital skills, and digitalization of public services. In 2010, the Internet’s contribution to Greece’s national economy was a poor 1.2% of GDP, translating into EUR 2.7 billion. More broadly, the conditions surrounding Greek business activity is reflected poorly in the EU. Greece is ranked in the EU as having the third longest civil and commercial court case processing times in Europe (from 190 days in 2010 to 460 days in 2012), and has the largest number of court cases pending per 100 inhabitants.
“Despite the low level of development of Internet services in relation to other European countries, the prospects for the use of digital service which can boost Greece’s competitiveness and employment are particularly important.“
The potential for digital services to have a substantial positive economic impact is shown by reference to those countries with greater digital maturity. For the 20 leading economies in 2012, digital services and the Internet have been estimated to contribute 4.1% of GDP. This is projected to increase to 5.3% of GDP by 2016. Digital search services alone are estimated to generate $780 billion per year for business, citizens and government. Of this, $540 billion can contribute directly to GDP. Digital services facilitate such growth by stimulating innovation, creating added value and new services for enterprise, enabling fiscal savings, increasing government revenue and fostering attractive conditions for business development.
The digitization of the supply chain sector is facilitated by means of four key digital services: electronic procurement, electronic invoicing, tracking services and customs electronic clearance. These services allow for improved control and coordination of supply chain activities. Implementation of these digital services pose numerous advantages for the private sector. This includes increased efficiency in the supply chain, a reduction in operating costs, increased worker productivity, and improved transparency of tax payments. Similarly, digitization of the supply chain bring benefits to the public sector. For example, better monitoring and enhanced control contributes to the prevention of tax evasion, fraud and smuggling. These benefits are evidenced by estimations of partial electronic invoicing saving taxpayers EUR 150 million and businesses EUR 50 million per year in Denmark. Further, public e-procurement systems saves EUR 3 billion in the Italian public sector.
Acceleration of Judicial processes through digital solutions will benefit both the effectiveness of the rule of law, as well as entrepreneurship through attracting new investment. Electronic workflows in courts are shown to accelerate clearance rates, create new high-skilled jobs, attract foreign investments, promote transparency and improve access to the judicial system. It is estimated that the introduction of e-Justice solutions can increase the productivity of officials by 40% in the USA and lead to cost savings of up to 60%. This is owing to more rapid court procedures, improved affordability for enterprises, reduction of administrative barriers and an increase in public revenue.