Developers surprised by Showcase windfall

In a boost for the Australian developer community, exhibitors which attended September's Australian Software Showcase in Sydney are expected to make in excess of $1.3 million in sales from the event, according to a report released by the show's organiser, Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA).

According to the survey, 117 exhibitors stand to make between $47,300 and $61,100 each in the six months succeeding the event. These figures surprised both AIIA officials and several event participants contacted by ARN last week, who agreed that the Showcase was "an opportunity for exhibitors to raise their profiles and form partnerships, rather than a place to find customers or make sales", as AIIA's export manager Fleur Bayley explained.

"Part of the problem in Australia is not being aware of who other local software developers are, so we considered it more of a promotion and networking exercise than anything else," Derek Renouf, director and product manager at Sydney-based Adaptive Arts, said.

"We build software engineering tools and we compete with big American companies. For that reason, it was great not having them there, because, even though their products are three times the price of ours, they have more marketing clout than we do."

No expectation

According to AIIA, 68 per cent of exhibitors had no expectation of making sales at the Showcase, however, only 15 per cent said they did not expect their participation in the event to lead to subsequent sales.

Others, such as Ian Wilson, product manager of Integrated Research, the 1998 NSW Exporter of the Year, see the Showcase as "a great event, not so much in terms of direct sales as in terms of meeting potential partners that we can work with".

According to Bayley, apart from local developers, Sydney Showcase was also attended by international organisations "looking for products to feed through channels in other countries". A significant portion of the projected sales can be expected to come from the contacts they made with local developers.

AIIA organised the third Showcase in conjunction with the Federal Department of Industry, Science and Tourism (DIST) and in partnership with Enterprise Ireland, which, at the moment, has a program focused on looking for Australian partners for Irish companies in order to develop relationships between SMEs in the two countries.