Grame Barty, managing director of Western-Australian software developer HarvestRoad, has been appointed to the board of the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade).
Already a board member of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), Barty was selected by the Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile, due to his experience in the information technology and telecommunications industry. Barty will represent Western Australia on the board, and will aid the commission in devising policy and planning on behalf of the Minister for Trade.
Barty first came across Austrade as a client. HarvestRoad was a participant in the Year 2000 Silicon Valley tour, an experience Barty suggests gave him an excellent grounding in the venture capital, manufacturing and distribution in the American market. "HarvestRoad has had good exposure and experience with Austrade and I hope to bring that recent experience to the board, especially in the Internet and e-commerce areas," he said.
Barty said he is most impressed by Austrade's enthusiasm and knowledge of foreign markets. "Their field representation is outstanding," he said.
However, Barty sees two major issues facing developers that Austrade needs to address. "What I'd like to improve is where they focus their efforts - you have to focus particular clients on the markets where their technology will see the highest return," he said. "Another issue for Australia is that we have to move from innovation to commercialisation. We have a high potential but that has to be turned into sales."
Now on the board of both Austrade and the AIIA, Barty has appointed a chief operating officer to help the day-to-day running of HarvestRoad. He does not expect the appointments to distract him from the management of his own business.
"I aim to create a greater awareness of the HarvestRoad business at a government level," he said. "I think you have to be involved with policy-making to improve the software industry in Australia."
Barty sees his role with the AIIA as being a way of advancing how the software industry operates within Australia, and his role with Austrade as a way of advancing its potential in International markets.
"It's a long way to come from building a company out of nowhere to being involved with making policy decisions for a country," he said.