[LINK] Software firms make IT big in Canberra
Sat, 28 Oct 2000 10:51:36 +1100
Interesting that neither of the award winning firms mentioned are part of
Mr Fahey's IT outsourcing Industry Development initiatives.
And I bet the rest of the world is quaking in it's boots after reading that
the OZ computing services businesses is doing about $20 million in exports.
I take this whole report with a rather large bucket of salt - there are too
many vested and self serving interests.
Sorry about the cynicism.
Software firms make IT big in Canberra
By Tony Boyd
The nation's capital is emerging as a hothouse for intellectual capital as
software companies nurtured by heavy Federal Government spending on IT
expand into global markets. Canberra's IT strength shone through this week
when two companies based there won iAwards, which are awards for excellence
in innovation sponsored by the Australian Information Industry Association
and The Australian Financial Review.
The awards follow the release of official statistics showing the ACT has
729 computing services businesses and the fastest-growing computer services
industry of any State or territory. Total income for the industry is
running at about $622 million, including about $20 million in exports.
In this week's awards, Tower Software Engineering won the Minister's Award
for Excellence, awarded by the Communications and Information Technology
Minister, Senator Richard Alston, as well as the SME exporter of the year
Another Canberra-based company, The Distillery Pty Ltd, won the Product of
the Year Award.
"These guys are just the tip of the iceberg," said Mr Tony Robey, managing
director of Wizard Information Services, one of the biggest private
software companies in Canberra.
"There's a whole host of reasons why Canberra is doing so well in IT but
the main one is because of the amount of IT work done in Canberra." Mr
Robey said that the heavy use of outsourcing by Federal Government
departments using foreign companies had failed to dampen IT innovation in
Canberra because IT services companies did very little application
"Most of the success stories coming out of Canberra are software companies
that have done work in some form or other with the Federal Government," he
Tower's clients include the Australian National Archives, the National
Library and CSIRO.
The Federal Government spends $2 billion on IT and telco services each
Tower's key product, TRIM, is a single solution covering document imaging
work and work flow, records and knowledge management. Exports have grown
from $22,000 in 1995 to $3.4 million last year.
Tower's international sales manager, Mr Michael Cliff, said the IT industry
in the ACT had benefited from the incentives and encouragement of the ACT
Government, in particular the former chief minister, Ms Kate Carnell. "I
think the ACT Government saw the need to promote a fast-growing sector
following all the cuts in Federal Government staffing," he said.
Earlier this year, Mr Brand Hoff, the managing director of Tower, was
appointed chairman of the ACT's Information Industry Development Board,
which was set up to develop a collaborative approach to industry
development. Several strategic partnerships between local companies have
A feature of the IT companies is their high level of exports, and companies
in this mould included Protocom, Hydron Systems - known as Hydsys outside
the United States - and Catalyst International.
The Distillery's managing director, Mr Murray Rankin, said the ACT
Government's R&D incentive program had helped many companies, including
his. Its clients include ASIO and The Australian Bureau of Criminal
Personally, I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like
-- Winston Churchill