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The Use of Information Technologies in Latvian Businesses

This paper offers a review of a study about the use of information and communications technologies (ICT) in businesses of Latvia in January 2007. Conducted by the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, the study focused on the use of computers, the Internet and Internet websites, the spread of broadband Internet services, the aims of Internet use , e-commerce, and the kinds of information technologies that are used in enterprises.


The Use of Information Technologies in Latvian Businesses

SUMMARY OF RESULTS
93% of companies with 10 or more employees use a computer at work;
Six out of seven companies use the Internet;
55% of companies have access to a broadband connection;
Almost a half (44%) of companies use the Internet for interaction with public authorities;
38% of companies have their own homepage on the Internet;
In 2006 13% of companies purchased goods or services on the Internet;
One-quarter of employees use the Internet for their work at least once a week.

GOALS OF THE RESEARCH

The informative review focuses on the main results of a study that was conducted in February 2007 Use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and E-Commerce Among Businesses.  Such study on the basis of the united methodology was conducted in all member states of the European Union.  The aim of the study was to provide data users in Latvia and other countries with high-quality and internationally comparable statistical information on the use of computers and Internet in companies and on the emergence of e-commerce.

The questions were asked on the January 2007, as well as some questions posed on indicators of 2006.  In the survey information on the level of computerisation among companies was obtained, the proportion of employees who use computers and the Internet at work on a regular basis, the goals of Internet use, the types of available connections, and on most important indicators characterising the e-commerce in Latvia.

The study focused on companies with 10 or more employees from sectors such as manufacturing, energy supply, construction, trade, hotel and restaurant services, transport, storage and communications, financial intermediation, real estate, renting and business activities, computer and related activities, accounting, book-keeping and auditing activities; tax consultancy, recreational, cultural and sporting activities and other service activities.

COMPUTER AND INTERNET USE

In January 2007 93% of companies were using  computers an increase of 3 percentage points compared to January 2006.  99% of the companies with 50 or more employees for their business  used computers.


Figure 1. Computer and Internet use

Table 1. Companies using computers and the Internet by numbers of employees
(January of corresponding year, % of all companies in the relevant group)

Computer use

Internet use

2005

2006

2007

2005

2006

2007

Companies with 10 or more employees

84

90

93

72

77

84

   10-49 employees

81

88

92

67

73

81

   50-249 employees

98

98

99

93

95

97

   250 or more employees

99

99

99

99

99

99

During the time period from January 2006 until January 2007 the share of companies using Internet has increased by 7 percentage points and has reached 84%.  In the group of companies with 50 or more employees 97% were using Internet. 

All companies working in the computer industry used the Internet.  Slightly lower share of users was in the sectors of financial services, electricity, gas and water supply, construction, transport and trade.

INTERNET WEBSITES

Internet websites are important way how to popularise a companys products of services.  In January 2007, 38% of companies had own website 5 percentage points more than in January of previous year.  Most often companies were using their websites for marketing own products (34%).

Table 2. Reasons for establishing a homepage
(January of corresponding year, %)

Those sectors in which companies were most often had a website were the computer services sector (91%) and the postal and communications services sector (83%).

BROADBAND INTERNET CONNECTIONS

As one of the indicators characterizing the development of Information Society should be mentioned the share of companies having a broadband Internet connection (defined as xDSL-based cable solutions or other fixed connections using a cable modem, an optic cable, etc.).  Broadband connections ensure more rapid data transfer and Internet access, and that is particularly important in the use of various services on the Internet.

In January 2007, 55% of companies had access to broadband Internet connection.  The data show that the larger the company, the more likely it will have broadband connection. E.g, in the group of companies with 250 or more employees 80% were using broadband Internet connection.


Figure 2. Use of broadband connections and Internet
(January 2007, % of total number of companies in corresponding group)

REASONS FOR INTERNET USE

During 2006 44% of companies used the Internet for interaction with public authorities.  63% of companies with 50-249 employees used the Internet for this purpose and 82% of enterprises with 250 or more employees.


Figure 3. Internet use for interaction with local authorities
(During the year, % of total number of companies in the relevant group)

77% of all companies were using Internet for banking and financial services, 47% did market research and analysis, and 32% used the Internet for training and education.


Figure 4. Reasons for using the Internet
(January 2007, %)

E-commerce

One of the ways of the Internet use is the online purchase or sale of goods or services the process known as electronic commerce (e-commerce).  During 2006 13% of companies bought goods or services on the Internet, while only 3% used the Internet to sell something online.

Table 3. Development of E-commerce
(% of all companies in the relevant group)

Companies which bought something via Internet

Companies which sold something via Internet

2004

2005

2006

2004

2005

2006

Companies with 10 or more employees

7

12

13

2

3

3

10-49 employees

6

11

12

1

3

3

50-249 employees

9

16

16

3

4

5

250+ employees

16

18

24

2

3

6

Note:  The table does not include data on companies which offer financial intermediation services.

Still the share of online purchases totalled for only 2% of all purchases of goods and services.  The proportion of goods and services sold on the Internet represented only slightly more than 1% of total turnover.

Table 4. E-commerce on the Internet

Goods, services bought on Internet

Goods, services sold on Internet

Million EUR

% of total purchases

Million EUR

% of total sales

2004

180.3

1.2

110.6

0.6

2005

375.6

1.6

280.0

1.2

2006

530.4

2.2

434.1

1.4

The use of various information technologies in business

In January 2007 nearly one-quarter of all enterprises were using Intranet, which is an internal network of computers that are based on the TCP/IP protocols and belong to a single organisation.  Access to the Intranet is available only to members and employees of the relevant organisation and to others who are authorised to access it.  Nearly two-thirds among companies with 250 or more employees had an Intranet.  Trends in the development of information technologies are illustrated in Figure 5.


Figure 5. Use of information technologies
(January of corresponding year, % of all enterprises)

5. Companies using various kinds of information technologies
(January 2007, % of all enterprises in the relevant group)

Wireless local network

Local network

Intranet

Extranet

Companies with 10 or more employees

16

71

23

10

10-49 employees

14

67

19

8

50-249 employees

25

86

37

18

250+ employees

47

99

61

37

Information technologies make co-operation among various units of a company or between the company and its clients or suppliers much more effective.  In January 2007 14% of companies were using procurement processing systems (45% of companies with 250 or more employees).  Usually these systems were linked to other IT systems.  For instance, for 11% of companies procurement system was automatically linked to a system for preparing and paying bills.  Another 6% had links to a warehouse re-supply system or a system used for manufacturing, logistics or service management.

In January 2007 28% of employees used a computer and 24% used the Internet at work at least once a week.

More detailed information on the Use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and E-Commerce Among Businesses study can be found on the homepage of the Central Statistical Bureau (http://www.csb.gov.lv) or on the webpage of Eurostat (http://epp.eurstat.ec.europa.edu/data).


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eBaltics
23.06.2017


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