Philippines as A Software Powerhouse?

Article excerpt

Software exports from India-the world's software outsourcing behemoth-are growing more slowly this year than usual, as a result of continuing global economic instability, at around 16%. But they will still approach $80 billion, according to the National Association of Software and Services Companies, or Nasscom. India's software exporters earn about 90% of their revenues from the US and EU.

The Philippines is also a mature global location for software services, joining the ranks of China, Brazil, and Poland-as well as India-according to a report by Everest Group. The Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA) reported growth of 37 percent, total revenue of US$993 million, and an increase in manpower by nearly 50,000 full-time employees in 2011. It expects similar results this year.

These numbers suggest that the software industry-although extremely small compared to India-is among the fastest-growing outsourcing sectors in the Philippines. During a panel discussion moderated by Nora Terrado, PSIA president, at the 2012 International Outsourcing Summit, industry players and software experts all agreed that the Philippine software industry is evolving rapidly.

"The country has top-caliber talents that are ready to create a start-up ecosystem," said Earl Martin Valencia, president and co-founder of IdeaSpace Foundation. "We should start promoting and supporting technopreneurship and tech boot camps as these are where it can all begin. The emerging software start-up scene is a sign of big things to come for the Philippine software industry."

A study by Internet World Stats showed that Internet users in the Philippines increased from 2,000 in 2000 to 29,700,000 in 2010. "The Philippines is a really good source of software development. We can create and test applications here then launch elsewhere. The Filipino culture makes our workforce ideal for software-related services," said Joey Gurango, founder and managing director of Gurango Software, referring to Filipinos' reliability in delivering high-quality software services.

Mr. Gurango believes that Filipinos can be better consumers of software technology in addition to being world-class software producers, however. According to a survey conducted by the Business Software Alliance (BSA)-the Global Software Piracy Study-seven out of every 10 software programs installed on desktop and laptop computers in the Philippines are pirated. And piracy is growing at a 20% clip.

Software piracy happens everywhere. But the fact that it is rampant in the Philippines makes this market particularly unattractive. This is true for both consumers and corporations, particularly small and medium-size companies. Pirated office productivity software and accounting applications alike are relied upon to write reports at home and the office with seeming impunity. …