A Strategy for the Software and
Information Services Industry
Advances in information and communication technology have created a global, Web-enabled playing field that allows the sharing of knowledge and work in real time, regardless of distance or geography. This transformation and flattening of the global competitive playing field has opened vast opportunities for developing countries as businesses in industrial (and developing] countries have increasingly outsourced information and professional services.1 These include primarily software products and services and IT-enabled information services—call centers, data entry, data processing centers, business process outsourcing (BPO], and business support services.2
The opportunities are not only vast but expanding rapidly. The global market for outsourcing is projected to grow 30 percent annually, far outpacing the rate for global trade (McKinsey Global Institute 2005, 19]. By 2008, BPO and software offshoring together are projected to reach US$300 billion. This is a sunrise industry. Low entry barriers, labor intensity, and large multipliers make it especially attractive to developing countries. Developing trade in services can enable these countries to transform the structure of their economies, leapfrog stages of industrial development, and diversify into new and dynamic sources of growth.