14pc of Irish software companies plan to embrace internet of things

15 Sep 2014

In a bid to grow revenues, 17pc of Irish software firms plan to move to mobile platforms over the next two years and 14pc will pursue the internet of things, a Bank of Ireland study of the sector has found.

The phone-based survey of 142 Irish technology companies by Bank of Ireland and UCC classified 98pc of the firms as SMEs with over half of the companies employing between five and 20 people.

Around a third of the companies have a turnover of over €1m and 75pc of the firms had over €100,000 in turnover per annum.

Some 58pc of the firms saw an increase in revenues in the last 12 months.

Eleven percent of software firms said they saw a decrease in revenues.

The cost of doing business in Ireland was cited by 13pc of indigenous software companies as the biggest challenge they face.

In identifying growth opportunities for the next two years 17pc said that moving to a mobile platform would yield opportunities.

Fifteen percent cited data analytics as a growth engine while 14pc said increased device and sensor connectedness – aka the Internet of Things – would present opportunities for growth.

When asked what banks could do to better support the sector, respondents wanted greater supports for early stage companies and improvement in online platforms. 

Respondents also said they would like to see banks demonstrating more understanding of the sector, and using the services of more indigenous technology providers. 

50pc increase in applications for working capital and development finance

Bank of Ireland has identified the technology sector as one of the biggest growth sectors of the Irish economy and has invested €150m in 150 companies through funds with Delta Partners, Kernel Capital and the BDO Development Capital Fund.

“We have experienced a 50pc increase in applications for working capital and development finance over the past twelve months, broadly reflecting the revenue growth from this important sector,” Mark Cunningham, director of Business Banking with Bank of Ireland said.

“We continue to make significant investments in our digital channels with work already underway to enhance the functionality of our Business on Line platform, details of which we will communicate with our on-line users as they are developed. Furthermore, our innovation and product teams are evaluating a number of proposals and technologies from early stage Irish technology companies with a view to adoption”, concluded Mark Cunningham.    

After cash flow (24pc), the competitive landscape and pricing policy were highlighted as two key challenges facing the industry. When asked about analysing their market, over 50pc highlighted the lack of availability and the cost of accurate market data.

As a direct response, the Bank is partnering with the Irish Software Association to sponsor a number of companies to attend a workshop on strategic pricing in November.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years