The Dao of Tau: Which Countries Have the Most IT Torque?
— It’s been a year since I published my first Tau Index results here at Cloud Computing Journal. It has since been featured in Computerworld Philippines, as well as publications in Hong Kong, Canada, and Europe.
I am now integrating more than 20 new parameters to the Index, to get an initial view of how aggressively countries are moving toward cloud computing. Its my view that cloud computing will be the great productivity engine of the next few decades. I’ll be presenting these results at Cloud Expo November 7-10 in Santa Clara, CA.
What Is It?
The Tau Index is a “pound-for-pound” ranking of ICT expenditures by more than 80 nations in the world for which I could find solid information. I based it on openly available numbers from the World Bank and United Nations.
It balances ICT (ie, IT and telco) expenditures within a country against per capita income, local cost-of-living, and income disparity.
The idea is to determine which countries do the most with what they have, ie, create a relative measure of ICT spends. This is in contrast to traditional measurements that simply show which countries are the richest and are able to spend the most.
Torque and Its Risk
In the Tau Index, the top-ranking nations include Bangladesh, Ukraine, and Morocco, along with many other developing nations in Asia, North Africa, and Eastern Europe. These countries can be said to have the most “torque” behind their ICT spend – thus my use of the Greek letter “Tau,” which is used by physicists to measure torque (and related ideas by other scientists).
It follows that the countries moving the most aggressively toward cloud on a relative basis will improve their economies the most dramatically. A rising tide lifts all boats – and the little boats feel it the most.
My index is integrated to favor countries with lower incomes. Wealther countries tend to score lower than developing nations.
This simply tells me that this Index’s results can’t be plotted along a straight line. ICT buying follows a curve, where even the most aggressive developed nation will spend less – as measured by this index – than aggressive developing countries.
Thus, the basic Tau Index is a good guide for business people and investors seeking the hottest, “torquiest” countries. The torque also implies some risk – the Tau Index Top 25 does not correlate well with the world’s safest, most stable countries.
A Look at Income Tiers
In any case, wealthier nations should not be ignored completely here. In fact, I’ve found that within every income group there are track stars, pedestrians, and laggards.
So I’ve separated the 80 countries into five income tiers – two tiers of developed nations, and three tiers of developing nations. In this fashion, we’re able to see each type of country stands among its peers. Below is a snapshot of my findings, based on 2009 numbers – as I mentioned, I’ll have all this updated at Cloud Expo.
I’ll first show the Tau Index Top 25 (which I originally published a year ago), then the Top 5 in the top four tiers. The fifth tier has many of the most aggressive nations on the planet, so I present the Top 10 from that group.
Many Questions, No?
There are many questions that spring from this way of looking at things. For one thing, where is China? (middle of the pack). For another, where is Brazil (lagging badly).
Romania and Bulgaria are often twinned, but are in different tiers here (for now). Oh, Canada? (Actually just edges out Finland and the United States in its tier.) The ASEAN (Southeast Asian) nations are in several tiers, and you won’t see Indonesia here (it’s a laggard). Many more questions spring to mind, I’m sure.
Tweet me up if you’d like to see the numbers behind all this.
Tau Index Top 25
9. Czech Republic
11. South Korea
14. Saudi Arabia
20. South Africa
Developed Tier A (per capita income above $30,000)
2. United Kingdom
Developed Tier B (per capita income $16,000-$29,000)
1. Czech Republic
2. South Korea
4. Hong Kong
Developing Tier A (per capita income $7,000-$16,000)
3. Saudi Arabia
Developing Tier B (per capita income $3,000-$7,000)
4. South Africa
Developing Tier C (per capita income below $3,000)
10. Kenya, Philippines (tie)
Contribution By Roger Strukhoff / Sys-con