Software Industry Needs Wake-Up Call; Complacency, Inexperience Just Some of the Problems

Article excerpt


NORTHERN Ireland's software industry needs to shake off complacency and increase its entrepreneurial activity if it is to compete successfully in the global economy.

That is the hard-hitting message from a Northern Ireland Software Industry Survey published by University of Ulster researchers.

The survey took in 60 per cent of software companies - companies that together employ over 80 per cent of the entire software workforce.

Key findings of the survey include:

n The NI software industry is underdeveloped compared to the software sector in the Republic of Ireland;

n Sector growth is hindered by the limited experience of business founders: over 25 per cent of software companies in NI had been set up by people with less than five years' business experience. This can lead to a lack of international awareness - vital for success in the fast-evolving software industry;

n Training is regarded as a low priority by the sector;

n 71 per cent of NI software companies are homegrown - but they employ only 40 per cent of the sector's staff. Multinationals comprise 12 per cent of the sector, but employ 52 per cent of staff;

n Many home-grown companies are leaving themselves open to any downturn in the world economy by targeting just one sector of industry - 71 per cent of firms surveyed said they only targeted a single industry sector - and 30 per cent of firms surveyed have only one client or contract on their books. …