The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has called for the widespread adoption of software quality assurance methodologies and professional standards to enhance Australia's status as a key offshoring destination and to ensure better risk management practices.
Speaking at the Software Industry Action Group conference in Melbourne on Monday, ACS president Edward Mandla said the federal government needed to adopt a leadership role by pushing standards with suppliers.
This means suppliers would have to use internationally recognized standards when building and supplying software.
Mandla also called for governments to require that ICT employees be members of an appropriate professional association which ensures they are suitably qualified, that they subscribe to a Code of Ethics, and that they are subject to sanctions for breach of professional standards and can assist in addressing liability issues.
"Australia is a world-class software developer but we face increasing competition from offshore," Mandla said.
"If we are to remain competitive and secure our place in the global market, we must be able to demonstrate our professional standards and credentials.
"Purchasers, employers and insurers need confidence that the people behind their projects or services have the professional qualifications, certifications, ethical framework and disciplinary mechanisms in place to perform to the highest standards."
Mandla said the federal government should encourage local software development firms to adopt software quality assurance methodologies to develop local industry capability.
He suggested a two-stage approach to improve software processes and product testing including an audit of Australia's SME software development firms to remove any impediments to adopting standards and to assess costs.
"Then apply targeted assistance based on the outcomes of the audit," Mandla said.