Government-sponsored developer lobby Software Engineering Australia (SEA) has managed to get its SoftwareMark certification program for software developers internationally recognised.
SoftwareMark, similar to the wool industry's Woolmark program, was piloted last year to establish a guarantee of quality for the Australian software industry, by assessing vendors' business and development capabilities.
Nathan Brumby, CEO of SEA, said the initiative would now be rolled out globally via the European Software Institute (ESI) and ESI centres in Brazil, Spain, Bulgaria and Mexico.
"SMB software developers operate in a global market. Australian companies seeking to compete in this demanding market must be able to evidence their capability," he said.
Brumby said SoftwareMark certification would now be meaningful outside Australia.
"Off-shore outsourcing is becoming more common. Competitiveness, internationally and domestically, is based on price, quality and on product innovation," he said. "The vote to take on SoftwareMark as a global project was unanimous."
SEA has claimed that SoftwareMark will be the first internationally adopted business and software process certification designed specifically for makers of software.
"We hope that this global adoption will drive home the benefits of the program for Australian companies. So far, 14 companies have been through the program in Australia," Brumby said.
He said small software developers around the world had similar problems. There were few documented, institutionalised processes for project management and software development, adhering to deadlines, meeting commercial expectations, efficient use of resources, and validation of capability, he said.
Australia supported around 650 software companies with revenues of more than $1 million a year. Some 70 percent of those vendors had fewer than 20 staff and struggled for resources.
A vendor-neutral program might help developers improve their processes and thus their potential for further business growth and development, Brumby said.
"This approach is less resource intensive and lower cost than other appraisals on offer," Brumby said.
Victorian and Western Australian state governments have supported the program through levels of sponsorship and rebates for participating companies, he said.