Data#3 managing director, John Grant, has described the Liberal election win as a clear vote for a different philosophy that could drive investment in the IT industry.
The industry stalwart and chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission told ARN the new government would help transform the current investment environment and predicted improved market sentiment as Australia faces strong headwinds from the global economy.
“I think it’s never been clearer that one party is focused on creating wealth and one party is focused on spending wealth,” he said.
“Everyone I am speaking to is saying this is a very good outcome and exactly what Australia needed.”
Grant, Data#3 managing director since 1996, said the general sentiment, including customer sentiment and business performance, across a “broad spectrum” was likely to improve after a “flat” couple of years.
“IT is about getting companies to invest and we have been in a non-investment environment for quite a long time,” he said.
“I think the sentiment is going to change very quickly. Had we not had a change of government I don’t know where we would have been quite frankly.
The former Australian rugby league representative who has overseen Data3’s growth from a company of 14 to more than 500, was also positive about the recovery of global economy and said the ICT industry was in a unique position to take advantage of market opportunities.
“We have the right party for the conditions Australia finds itself in,” he said. “Our market opportunity is a function of general market sentiment and I think that’s going to be improve,’ he said.
“It’s also a function of customers making strategic decisions to take them into the hybrid IT world, which includes Cloud, but I think that’s got a bit of water to flow under the bridge yet.”
But the most important goal for an incoming government, according to Grant, was to drive private sector revenues.
“I think we sometimes delude ourselves to thinking that technology is just so important and is the first thing that everyone should be thinking about,” he said. “I think they have got to create wealth first. Driving private sector revenues means everyone is a winner because technology is critical to business these days and I think ICT would do well in that environment.”
BUSINESS FIRST IN LINE FOR NBN
While the coalition’s cheaper Fibre-to the-Node NBN plan will result in slower download and upload speeds to the general population, Grant said it was important that businesses were not impacted by the changes.
“If we have an environment in the future where we have high speed, ubiquitous broadband that businesses can take advantage of, that’s where we need to be,” he said.
“It’s much more about what businesses can get access to, more so than the customers, which allows them to be part of the digital economy. I don’t believe the coalition plans necessarily impact that.
“It would be foolish if whatever they decided to implement didn’t make it possible for business to have access to high speed ubiquitous broadband."
Grant described the new government’s Cloud policy as a “mirror” of Queensland premier Campbell’s Newman’s approach, which was much more "deliberate" and "pointed" than Labor’s strategy.
“I think it’s a realistic stake in the ground for the government and that augers well for the IT community,” he said. “As various agencies move into the cloud there’s potential for the smaller and mid-size companies to be part of that.
He argued there had been evidence of government partnerships with larger companies that had not worked out.
“I would just be hopeful that government is very mindful of the choices they have and that they exercise those options with some discretion.”