Chip Dawson of Software NZ says there is reason to be nervous about New Zealand’s “total resource of development expertise”, although the industry should not underrate itself. “We do have a number of world-class software companies,” he says. Government agencies should investigate in more detail than they do what is available locally before dashing off to an overseas supplier, he says.
Any unmanageable glut of work owes at least something to poor planning by government agencies, he says. “They’ve not considered in advance how big some of these problems are” and put strategies in place for piecemeal or collaborative development. “They could manage expenditure and prepare a lot better, looking at the ability for us [the software industry] to manage.” Instead, he says, there is still a weakness for visiting “fork-lift upgrades” on the local industry. If the work was apportioned in “smaller bites” some of the legion of smaller local software companies might feel more inclined to bid.
A large part of ICTNZ’s rationale is to provide a central contact point for government agencies, through which they can be put in contact with appropriate resources of expertise, including the under-exploited small-to-medium companies, Dawson says.
Development consortia could easily include an overseas element, but as part of a more positive philosophy for co-operative development and technology transfer. This could embrace not only the specific software expertise of companies like Oracle or SAP, but the business nous of the large international business consultancies such as KPMG or PriceWaterhouseCoopers.