Monday, July 30th, 2012 - Australian Information Industry Association
Australia has become complacent while enjoying the resources boom and has let productivity slip, a situation which could have serious long-term and negative impacts.

This is the view of a leading technology and services industries advisor Charles Lindop who is also Chair of the Australian Information Industry Association in NSW; a branch of the organisation whose members represent approximately half of the 460,000 people employed in ICT occupations, and almost $20 billion in annual revenue for Australia.

Mr Lindop has firm views about the current state of the economy and the ICT industry in particular, and with a concern about productivity, sees an opportunity for the AIIA to make a big difference, he says.

“We have had it so easy on the back of resources for so long that the Government hasn’t done the hard yards in addressing declining productivity issues,” he said.

“It’s quite well documented that Australia has a sliding rate of productivity; technology is a key enabler, so it’s incumbent upon us to promulgate the debate.

“ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) and Productivity Data shows ICT is a driver of multi-factor productivity, and with, for example, 98% of all Financial Services sector R&D being related to technology, so it’s our ability to drive change that will lift Australia’s productivity.

“On top of this we have the NBN (National Broadband Network), to drive the Digital Economy, but there is hardly any debate about what it can be used for. Here, we have an incredibly important role.”

In addition, Mr Lindop said one of the challenges for AIIA was to lift the awareness of the industry’s ability to deliver on its promises.

“The challenge we’ve got is technology is still a young industry, and it is still building trust among stakeholders and the public,” he said. “We lost some of that over the Y2K-issue-that-wasnt and dot com promises that went unfulfilled for 10 years,” he said.

“Australia is generally quite risk accepting – we will happily invest in mining prospectors and in biotech with the promise of riches; in ICT we have to set realistic expectations, over achieve the promises we make, and then there will be a re-evaluation of the technology sector.

“Cloud computing is one area of significant promise; we must educate industry, government and society how best to take advantage of it.”

Mr Lindop speaks from a base of broad corporate experience.

“I have had senior roles in large IT corporates such as Hewlett-Packard and SAP Software, run Australia’s largest technology incubator, and now do advisory work amongst our larger private technology companies,” he said.

“I have a particular interest in Australian business in its global context and in "cross-border" business opportunities.

“Through Carlisle Partners and KTM Capital I do mergers/acquisitions, equity and debt finance for technology companies. So one minute I’m buying a technology company on behalf of somebody, the next I’m selling one, or discussing an IPO. I get to see the value in the eye of the beholder all the time.”

In this work Mr Lindop is in a unique position to assess the health of the industry, and generally what he sees is encouraging and positive,

“The industry is going pretty well at the moment,” he said. “The tech stocks are outperforming the All Ords indicators. Some, such as leading exporter Integrated Research have more than doubled in the last 12 months. Many tech companies tightened their belts in anticipation of a bigger slow down than has actually occurred,” he said.

Although predictions are for a further tightening of the national economy, Mr Lindop believes NSW in particular is in good shape.

“The NSW economy is not looking too bad at all,” he said.

“We are a Services Economy; and Sydney has an accepted position in the Asia Pacific market. We don’t have the same exposure to the resources sector that the economies of Queensland and Western Australia have.

“And we have a big exposure to financial services, which employs one in three workers in the CBD, but the latest data shows the economy is bouncing back.

“There is plenty of opportunity for ICT-led innovation and a significant level of investment is occurring.”

Mr Lindop said NSW was a hub for the ICT industry with revenue of more than $32.5 billion and the sector employing more than 114,000 people.

NSW also accounted for about 40 per cent of ICT businesses and 40 per cent of industry value-added output in Australia.

The state also dominates Australia’s telecommunication, computer and information services exports and at a value of $0.9 billion represent more than 50 per cent of the national total.

“NSW is by far the biggest branch of the AIIA and we have a very active set of committees. Our last two industry events totally sold out, which is unprecedented, indicating the level of interest in ICT-led business opportunities,” Mr Lindop said.

“One of the big advantages for AIIA members is business development.

“Being a member provides the opportunity to meet a wide range of people that can enable you to advance your business interests. That could be at the business level or on the personal/professional level.

“Every ICT company should be a member of the organisation,” he added.

ENDS

Contact Profile

Charles Lindop, AIIA NSW Branch Chair, Australian Information Industry Association

P: 0419 224 214
W: www.aiia.com.au

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Australia has become complacent while enjoying the resources boom and has let productivity slip, a situation which could have serious long-term and negative impacts

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