Software Industry Needs Wake-Up Call; Complacency, Inexperience Just Some of the Problems
Byline: HELEN McGURK
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. …