Victoria loosens purse-strings for smaller ISVs

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The Victorian government has announced a $1 million software development program to help Victorian developers gain global accreditation.

The Victorian government has announced a $1 million software development program to help Victorian developers gain global accreditation.

The Victorian department for Communications and Information Technology has promised $1 million in funding over 3.5 years to help locally-made software pass Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Level 2.

Nathan Brumby, CEO at government-funded Software Engineering Australia (SEA), welcomed the move. 'It's the first significant step of its type in Australia. I don't think it will be the last. It's a pretty strong commitment by the government as a response to what's been happening in the software industry here and internationally,' he said.

CMMI Level 2 is one rung in an international software grading system that seeks to guarantee software quality for users that may be at sites a long way from where the software was developed and hence from coding tweaks and other technical support that might be needed.

Brumby said the Victorian government move followed months of consultation with SEA and a trip by that state's IT minister Marsha Thomson to the US. Thomson had spoken to many prospective software customers and partners there and found that issues around Australian software quality came up repeatedly, he said.

'CMMI Level 2 ensures they have good project management within an organisation. It gives significant benefit to a company in terms of efficiency and for Australian companies to go to that level would be an achievement,' Brumby said.

He said he didn't know how many Australian companies already had CMMI Level 2 'but it wouldn't be many'. SEA was in consultation with other state governments and expected some would follow Victoria's lead shortly, Brumby said.

The Victorian department for communications and IT said that the grants program -- which starts 1 February -- would be open to Victorian software developers with fewer than 200 staff that had completed four projects in the last 18 months.

Victoria's Government would pay up to 50 percent of the costs associated with achieving the CMMI Level 2 rating, capped at $10,000 per organisation.
The grant was payable on providing evidence of having achieved CMMI Level 2, the department said.

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