New Zealand’s large IT vendors are facing a $20,000-a-year membership fee to join the new umbrella ICT organisation, ICTNZ.
Computerworld talked to IBM and Microsoft and both are positive about ICTNZ but were reluctant to comment on the membership fee.
“In principle, a consolidation of industry bodies makes sense to us,” says IBM spokesman Daniel Herd, “but we would like to have a more formal discussion with ICTNZ before making a comment on whether the membership fee is fair. It depends on what is involved.”
Helen Robinson, managing director of Microsoft, believes “a more cohesive organisation, such as ICTNZ, will have a positive impact”.
“It is early days for [ICTNZ and] we have been discussing potential membership with them. We are interested in the organisation and are keenly following its progress,” she says.
In respect of whether the fee is reasonable, she says Microsoft will “need to understand the value that would be delivered prior to answering that [question].”
ICTNZ membership fees for individuals will be $200 a year, which will confer one vote on the member. Fees and the number of votes increase in line with the revenues of member organisations. Those with revenues under $1 million are expected to pay a fee of $400 a year, which confers two votes. Membership for organisations with revenues of over $100 million costs $20,000, which buys 100 votes.
The form of ICTNZ should be decided in the next couple of months.
The new body is currently co-chaired by Ross Peat, an independent consultant and former managing director of Microsoft New Zealand, and Chip Dawson, president of the New Zealand Software Association.
“We are in the process of searching for an executive director,” says Dawson.
For now, HiGrowth’s executive director, Garth Biggs, is ICTNZ’s acting executive director.
ITANZ has amalgamated with ICTNZ and is no longer operating, says Jim O’Neill, former executive director of ITANZ. The Software Association has also signed up for ICTNZ and the organisation has the support of the Health IT cluster, too, says Dawson.
However, a number of ICT organisations are still debating the pros and cons of becoming part of the new umbrella body.
One industry source says organisations with strong revenues will be less enthusiastic about merging into the new body, while those with less revenue appear much more positive.
The concerns organisations have include fear of losing power and influence, and of losing funding, as membership fees will be paid direct to ICTNZ. Members of ICTNZ will automatically be granted membership of all the bodies within ICTNZ, which are called “forums”.
Women in Technology (WIT) is still in discussions with ICTNZ about joining, says general manager Cheryl Horo.
“We have given [ICTNZ the] criteria for why we would join, and they haven’t responded to that yet,” she says.
“There would be an expectation from us that we would get some sort of levy from ICTNZ to compensate for [our membership fees].”
InternetNZ will join ICTNZ, but will retain a separate identity, says president Colin Jackson (see above).
The Computer Society is also debating whether or not to join, says Auckland national councillor Ian Howard. Howard is part of a working group within the society that has been having discussions with ICTNZ. The working group will circulate draft versions of the agreement with ICTNZ to its national councillors — and, later, to branch committees and members — for feedback.