Comit has been working with businesses in the Irish technology arena for more than 15 years and we can honestly say that we are feeling increasingly optimistic about the sector’s growing good health. Yes, there have been more positive times pre-2008, but this year, the sector positivity barometer has started to point distinctly upwards.
Looking back at the first half of 2013, there have been several thousand new high tech jobs announced. These include some of the largest global technology and internet leaders such as eBay, PayPal, Facebook, Yahoo!, McAfee and Citrix. Many Irish technology businesses are growing too and we’ve been delighted to announce jobs growth at Fineos, OmniPay and Integrity Solutions among others.
A close look at recent stats from the IDA and Enterprise Ireland make for impressive reading:
- 10 of the world’s top 12 ICT companies have significant operations here in Ireland
- 9 of the world’s top 10 medical technology companies have significant operations here
- Almost 1,000 multinational companies have chosen Ireland as their strategic European base
- Ireland has one of the highest concentrations of ICT activity and employment in the OECD
- ICT products and services represent almost one third of all exports (approx. €50 billion)
- Ireland ranks 9th in the world for the level of high-tech exports as a percentage of manufacturing exports.
This list goes on and on….......
Despite all the doom and gloom, we’re doing something right as a nation. The smart economy is booming and it’s having a positive effect on the country as a whole. Not only is it helping to boost exports, increase GDP and reduce dole queues, but it’s also having a transformative effect on the latest generation of graduates. Many are finding exciting job opportunities in leading global IT companies based in Ireland and also with growing indigenous technology companies.
There has been a lot of commentary on the skills shortage for specific technical roles. This is beginning to be addressed through various initiatives with the universities, through re-training of the workforce and also increasing numbers of work visas for suitably qualified non-nationals. It is particularly pleasing to see that there were 50% more people registered for honours maths this year compared to two years ago, since the advent of the honours maths bonus.
We believe there also needs to be a focus on other complementary skills which can help technology companies to grow. Entrepreneurial skills obviously need to be nurtured from an early age. There also needs to be a particular emphasis placed on sales and marketing excellence - so that we’re not only designing and developing great products - but we’re also able to market them and sell them, particularly on the global stage. Over the coming years, we anticipate that the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) will play an increasingly important role alongside the CIO, CFO and other board members in Irish technology companies.
Successful business growth is about anticipating and understanding business and consumer needs. Chief marketers should have the skills and insight to identify opportunities, and meet these with new and differentiated products and services. They shouldn’t be afraid to seek and then implement ‘blue ocean’ strategies which create a new market space that doesn’t have any competition. Irish technology companies which create change themselves, instead of reacting to it, will benefit the most.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see the emergence of an Irish global technology giant like Apple, Google or Cisco. With an unwavering focus on great technology and even better marketing, hopefully this could happen in the not too distant future.