Software companies are not the cash cows they used to be. Most software development is done for internal use or on a bespoke basis. Developing software with no guarantee of a sale is a risky business and the risk is normally left with those that can afford failure the least.
So listen up, all those politicians who make decisions on IT business development, particularly those that barely know how to send an email. Here are some suggestions to get Australia pumping out innovative, sustainable software businesses.
- Develop independent certificates in programming/IT. Microsoft has a stranglehold on programming certification. It is very hard for recruiters to sift out the good people from the wannabies. Most hiring is based on narrow experience rather than ability, preventing good people getting into the market. Narrow product experience results in familiar but often inappropriate solutions.
- Develop project/IT management certification for general managers. There is a massive gap between managers and techies. You can’t effectively manage what you don’t understand.
- Initiate software development competitions, with winners offered business development support. Investors rarely touch new inexperienced start ups. If you have an idea or prototype product, it is hard to get any independent support or advice without selling out your equity.
- Provide a government sponsored IT advice service. Many businesses make poorly informed IT decisions based on vendor pressure. Independent well informed IT advice is either too costly, biased or too hard to find. A government sponsored/accredited independent IT advice service would assist many types of businesses especially SMEs.
- Establish an association of small software companies. Companies can share resources, meet a set of internal quality standards and share marketing costs. Association membership can be used to leverage sales with large customers.
- Introduce performance bonus/punishment systems for government project managers. Government departments seem to have more than their fair share of IT budget blow outs. Nothing upsets taxpayers more than hearing how their hard earned contributions are squandered. It’s time for the government to set an example in IT project management.
Ian Hord, Hord Consulting P/L, [email protected]
Ian owns Hord Consulting P/L, is a risk management consultant, software developer, entrepreneur and occasional ranter. Hord Consulting recently released a document management/database/data warehouse solution which was a finalist in the 2003 Australian IT Secrets Innovation Awards. For more information, visit www.consulting.hord.com.
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