The ICT Landscape of Switzerland

The objective of this project is to present a top-level survey of the information communication technology (ICT) environment in Switzerland. This project looks at a number of the factors that impact and influence the growth, development and diffusion of ICT throughout the country.  This website was created  as a course requirement for a graduate level management class-- Impacts of National Information Technology Environments on Business.  

Overall, Switzerland has made efforts to support the development of a productive ICT environment. Although ICT represents a small percentage of the overall national GDP, the Swiss identified this as an important economic sector. In examining the issues surrounding the ICT landscape of Switzerland, several strengths and weaknesses have been revealed. 

One of the greatest strengths in the Swiss  ICT landscape its skilled work force. The low unemployment rate and presence of foreign workers will pose a challenge for the country as it moves forward.  Much like the rest Europe, Switzerland is facing a shortage of skilled IT workers. It is forecast that Switzerland will have an 11% shortage in IT skilled professionals for the 2000-2005 period.1 The development of technology focused curricula is one example of the country's response. These initiatives are being implemented at the primary school  level as step toward creating a native ICT knowledge base.

Another strength impacting the landscape is the stable Swiss government and prosperous economy. The 2001 per capita GDP was $31,100 making it higher than the larger Western European nations.2 On both the canton and national levels, Switzerland had been aggressively marketing Switzerland as a business destination. One of  the most promoted attributes is  the receptive environment for ICT.

A significant weakness in the ICT landscape is a lack of a focused national strategy. While the government has supported and endorsed several ICT initiatives and acts as a model user of technology, they are still lacking a clear set of objectives. In assessing the factors impacting ICT in this country, their lack of clear purpose proves to be a shortcoming.  This  is also shown in the  level of government funding of research and development. The Swiss  government has been responsible for less than 5% of the financing in this area during the 1990s. 3

The ICT landscape of Switzerland presents many favorable conditions for ICT and significant growth potential. The challenge facing Switzerland is finding their purpose in this area. Currently, the country is displaying a desire to be competitive, but they are not trying to be a market leader in the field. Switzerland seems to be approaching ICT from the perspective of the benefits the country can gain from it. As it moves into the future, they may be better served to start thinking of how they, as a nation, want to benefit ICT.