Queensland-based software development companies have banded together to form Software Queensland -- a lobby group aimed at raising the profile of locally developed software products and strengthen the businesses behind them.
The group said it is hoping to reclaim a large percentage of the billions of dollars spent on imports of foreign products by government and business in Australia.
It is being chaired by Dr Paul Campbell, CEO at icemedia, a QLD-based web application developer. Others involved include Chris Gory, CEO at Advanced Data Integration; Kon Kakanis, executive director at Sundata; John Puttick, CEO at GBST; and David Barbagallo, executive VP, solutions development at Mincom.
So far, there are about eight organisations that had joined the group Campbell said.
One of the primary aims of Software Queensland was to remedy the growing ICT trade deficit which was approaching $20 billion.
Campbell argued that outside of Queensland, government departments "don't acknowledge that QLD has a software industry". Even the Queensland government itself prefers to choose multinational providers over locals, he claimed.
“We need to create recognition of the local [software] industry,” he said.
Campbell claimed that both the Queensland and Federal Government spend millions with overseas companies when the expertise and software to do the job is readily available here.
The Queensland ICT industry employs 56,000 people with total annual revenues of $14.6 billion. Almost $1 billion of that revenue is derived from exports.
“The industry has been an unheralded champion of innovation, employment growth, exports and the growth of Australian intellectual property," said Campbell. "It has now reached such a point of maturity that the establishment of a body with a united voice is the next logical step,”
He said that the local ICT industry had not been good at advocating its position. "Local ICT companies have continually undersold what they do and existing industry associations have long been dominated by diverse interests and multinationals,” Campbell argued.
While the group was initially formed for Queensland-based developers only, it would be happy to help other Australian states with a view to forming a national group in the long term, he said.
“Hopefully Software Queensland will be a catalyst to similar forums in other states, with the view to one day creating a representative body for the Australian software product developer community as a whole.”
The group was also “keen to work with multinationals” but these companies would be restricted to representing the group as associate members only, he said.
“We want to help emerging companies develop go-to-market strategies without [them] making the same mistakes again,” he said.
“We are keen to get small companies to understand how to create product-based software and make resellers aware that these software programs exist,” he added.