It is hoped the first digital audit of Cork City will unlock the full potential of its estimated €1bn market which could help to create 15,000 jobs in five years.
The initiative is being led by Kieran O'Hea, founder of Digital Cork, based at the Republic of Work on South Mall.
The former chief digital officer in Brisbane, Australia, Mr O'Hea said the voluntary Digital Cork initiative aims to position Cork to succeed in the global digital economy.
“We want to make the digital economy front of mind in local plans and discussions about the economy,” he said.
“We want to measure, manage, and grow the digital economy in a planned way, as this will create more economic value than can be achieved by organic growth.”
The audit will be its first major exercise and will, for the first time, place a value on the city’s digital market and measure the city’s ‘digital maturity’.
Mr O'Hea said he estimates the city’s digital market is worth up to €1bn — surpassing the tourism industry by up to €150m.
“Ireland’s digital economy is worth €12bn, contributing 6% of GDP,” he said.
“With Cork contributing 17% of GDP and with 12% of the population living in the region, Cork’s digital economy could be worth €1 billion, which is more than tourism.
“It has the potential to grow by €150m a year and create 15,000 digital jobs over the next five years.
“This places great importance on Cork’s digital economy as a source of regional growth. It is imperative that we create a digital economy plan that can measure and develop it.”
He said the audit will give a snapshot of Cork’s digital landscape; identify what is going on in the digital space; the level of capability of local companies; identify the digital champions; what sectors are strong or weak in terms of digital capability; and what needs to be done to capitalise on digital.
In Brisbane, Mr O'Hea oversaw an audit of some 500 businesses in a city with a population of some 2m people which yielded a digital maturity score.
Using economic modelling, Mr O'Hea and his team were able to prove that each 1% increase in the city’s score generated A$600m (€410m) in additional economic value.
He said the Cork audit will be based on the Brisbane model, and could yield similar benefits.
However, funding is needed to get the audit up and running. Mr O'Hea said he hopes to persuade companies to get involved.
“Most companies overestimate their digital capability, so if they participate in the Cork Digital Audit, they will get an accurate digital capability score that will help them position themselves for optimal engagement in the digital economy, leading to increased revenue opportunities and entry into overseas markets,” he said.
“Promoting Cork’s collective digital capability will create a compelling proposition aimed at showcasing local businesses in Ireland and abroad and attracting new businesses to the Cork region.”
Pending the securing of funding, it is hoped to start the audit in October, with results due before the end of the year. Companies interested in participating can contact Digital Cork on digitalcork.ie.
Companies can participate and have their digital capabilities audited and improve their performance to maximise growth, especially overseas
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