Tower debunks export gripe

Tower debunks export gripe

Sydney imaging software developer Tower Technology espoused the opportunities for Australian companies to export after taking out the Information and Communications Technology prize at the 2001 NSW Exporter of the Year Awards.

The private company won the award on the back of strong earnings from its overseas operations since it first expanded into the UK in 1994. It now has offices in the UK, USA, Europe and South Africa, with over 65 per cent of its revenue generated internationally and over half of its 333 employees based in overseas offices.

A recent report commissioned by the Australian Computer Society suggested the export/import Australian IT industry was in considerable deficit -- highlighting the serious need for government boosts to local software development and hardware manufacturing.

But upon winning export award, Tower Technology managing director Noel Jones said there is tremendous opportunity for Australian developers to branch out into international markets, providing they have a technology that is unique and a well thought out sales plan.

"I have often commented that the graduates our universities are putting on the market are extremely well-rounded people, and the quality of their work is often exceptional," he said.

Building a product for the enterprise market, Jones said Tower's original developers always worked on creating a product that had global potential, as there were not enough large enterprises in Australia to pitch to.

Jones said Tower won the export award by demonstrating its track record in terms of year-on-year revenues and enhancements to its technology. He said it is always tough starting out in the IT industry, where multinational competitors have reference sites to use when pitching against your product, but Australian developers can always clinch deals on the back of lower costs and the offer of local support.

With Tower Technology now entering its fourteenth year of operations, Jones said the company has had no trouble keeping relevant in a rapidly evolving technology market. "Large organisations today are faced with problems they didn't have 20 years ago," he said. "There have been tremendous advances in the power of hardware and storage, coupled with the growth of the Web. All that means more need to manage documents. If anything, our technology is more relevant today than it ever was," he said.

Jones now looks forward to being considered for the national equivalent of the state-based award Tower took home, to be announced at the end of November. "We have won the states, now it's the nationals," he said. "It feels like Strictly Ballroom."

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