Indigenous software sector could employ 50,000 people

13 Nov 2006

The indigenous Irish software sector has the potential to grow from its current 16,000 people to 50,000 by 2010, the Irish Software Association’s (ISA) annual awards heard on Friday night.

This will only happen if the Business Expansion Scheme is expanded to allow higher levels of investment from individuals, the ISA said.

“By 2010, the sector could contribute annual revenues of €7.5bn to the Irish economy, meaning it will be a key source of employment as Ireland’s knowledge economy grows,” said ISA director Michele Quinn.

“To enable this, the Government should extend the Business Expansion and Seed Capital funding schemes, look to indigenous companies for its technology requirements and enhance the R&D [research and development] tax credit scheme to enable more SMEs [small to medium-sized enterprises] to qualify.”

On Friday the company honoured home-grown Irish technology companies that demonstrated their ability to become companies of international scale that the Irish economy will depend on in the coming decades.

The Company of the Year Award went to Cork-based Qumas, a developer of compliance software. Last week Qumas announced it would create 40 jobs in its newly expanded research and development (R&D) centre at its Cork headquarters with an investment of €4.4m.

The company provides enterprise governance, risk and compliance management solutions, aimed at addressing regulatory directives for companies in the life sciences and financial services sectors.

Qumas exports 99pc of its products and services to more than 10 countries. Regulatory compliance issues is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets and Qumas is dominating the US$27.3bn global market space.

Paul Hands, CEO of Qumas, said the company had established a leadership position in regulated market sectors, specifically in the areas of governance, risk and compliance software. “We aim to improve our market penetration in the US and Europe where we are targeting incremental sales in excess of €40m over the next five years,” he said. “The planned €4.4m investment marks the next phase of growth for Qumas.”

The New Company of the Year, Nexala, was established in 2003 and provides its clients with cutting-edge asset management tools allowing for real-time adjustments if project plans go awry, preventing cost over-runs. The company provides this service to a large percentage of the UK rail transport market.

Earlier this year, Nexala developed an online Mortgage Scoring Application System. This system has been sold to 12 of the leading US mortgage institutions and works with over 80pc of all US mortgages (50 million active loans).

Chairman of the ISA Bernie Cullinan said at the awards: “Qumas and Nexala are the leading lights in the Irish software sector. Both are deeply rooted in research, development and innovation. They exemplify the ambition, innovativeness and professionalism of the industry.”

Meridio won the Sales Achievement of the Year Award because it secured the largest Enterprise Document and Records Management (EDRM) contract ever for the creation of a strategic system across the entire UK Ministry of Defence totalling over 330,000 users. The deal represents an initial contract value of €12m with expected lifetime revenue in excess of €33m.

Armac Systems were winners of the Technical Innovation of the Year award. Its flagship system RIOsys is an inventory spares system for the aerospace industry. RIOsys is estimated to save airlines tens of millions by accurately predicting their required levels of inventory.

Winner of the Partnership of the Year Award was Arantech, a pioneer in the area of customer experience management with particular focus on the mobile phone.

By John Kennedy