The index was originally developed by the Information Technology Group, which worked at Harvard University's Center for International Development until 2002. It seeks to better understand the impact of ICT on the competitiveness of nations and is a composite of three components:
- the environment for ICT offered by a given country or community (market, political, regulatory, and infrastructure environment);
- the readiness of the country's key stakeholders (individuals, businesses, and governments) to use ICT;
- the usage of ICT among these stakeholders.