On May 14th the Australian Commonwealth government brought down its national budget for the year ending June 2014. So the IT pundits in Australia are busy pontificating about the impact of the national budget on the IT industry. Fair enough. That’s their job. It happens in all countries, states and provinces.
But as we listen to the pundits’ comments, and those of the IT industry groups and lobbyists, let’s bear in mind a few facts that are applicable worldwide. (My turn to pontificate!)
- The IT industry is not special. It’s an important industry, but no more so than any other. It employs a good number of people, as do other industries. It adds value, as do all viable industries. When well deployed and used, its products and services can help make its users more productive and effective; so can good HR consultants, well targeted financial services, the right plant & equipment, cost-effective transportation, the education sector and good public policy makers … and one could go on and on.
- Any special treatment for the IT industry, tax concessions or handouts, are going to be paid for by other taxpayers in the end, and many of those are themselves in the IT industry, or would spend money on IT.
- Seeking government “incentives” for investing in IT or in IT companies should be unnecessary if it’s such a great industry. (And if it’s not, why invest?)
- If an industry needs to be “promoted”, something must be wrong. Why can’t its sales and marketing people do that?
- In those countries where the government funds much of the education, a focus on specific IT vocational or technical skills is short-sighted. Those are already out of date by the end of the course. IT providers, like all business people, should be looking for the economy in which they operate to be providing a pool of educated people. Those are people with an education that prepares them for the rapidly changing and challenging business environment, people who can think and learn, and continue to do so when the world changes, as it will.
- It isn’t just specific IT spending initiatives in the budget that we should look for to see what the government itself will spend on IT. Every government activity, every existing and new program requires IT to make it work. Nothing much happens without IT. Therefore, commenting on the supposedly good news or disappointing news about IT initiatives misses the point.
These blog posts will continue to discuss the business of IT Services.