Software Engineering Australia (SEA) has launched a new standard to help put local software developers on the world map.
A not-for-profit industry association, SEA said it had designed the SoftwareMark standard to help remedy a credibility flaw suffered by many developers.
"Our market research has established that companies who develop good software only solve half the problem," SEA CEO, Nathan Brumby, said. "It's equally important to assist a company in the basics of business."
Under certification, SEA will analyse company basics including sales and marketing plans, management structure and staffing levels. As 70 per cent of software businesses are time and resource poor, according to Brumby, certification was of particular use to the community. "There are only about 650 software development companies in Australia doing more than a million dollars a year - so it's not a very big industry," he said. "Many software companies are struggling to survive and looking for ways to do business better. SoftwareMark is a way to give them a little more resilience in the market."
Over the past year, 10 Australian software companies had undergone a pilot test of the certification, Brumby said. The pilot was extended to Spain in March as a cooperative effort with the European Software Institute (ESI).
The collaboration with ESI - which was rolling out the certification through its centres in Brazil, Spain, Bulgaria and Mexico - proved the business skills issue was globally applicable, Brumby said.
He said SEA would look for wider adoption of SoftwareMark within Asia and Eastern Europe as well as Central and South America.
"The only way to say you are good at anything is to have yourself independently verified," Brumby said.
The association with ESI helped build credibility for SoftwareMark and provided a global reseller channel through its associated country centres, he said.
Domestic opportunities for SoftwareMark also presented themselves, according to Brumby, because it was still difficult for local software companies to do business within Australia.
SEA has already attracted state government support in WA and Victoria, in the form of sponsorship and rebates for participating companies, he said. The organisation was now in discussions with the Federal Government Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Brumby said.
"Everyone is realising that we must have a viable domestic software industry as it underpins a lot of our more traditional industries," he said. n