BitDepth 641 - August 19

Microsoft presents an update to the IDC’s 2006 state of IT report.
Microsoft presents state of IT report

Aime S White, IDC Global Research Consulting Vice President presents the 2007 IDC IT Economic Impact report for Trinidad and Tobago at a press conference hosted by Microsoft. Photography by Mark Lyndersay.

Just a bit less than two years ago Microsoft presented its 2006 IDC Economic Impact study. A week ago, Microsoft offered an updated report on Trinidad and Tobago's IT development status.
Much has changed in the intervening two years for Microsoft in the Caribbean. The regional branch has grown significantly, completed renovations to its offices at the Chamber of Commerce building and realised that early morning breakfast meetings aren't the optimal way to meet the press (it was lonely at the press table in 2006).

This year's presentation was a well covered luncheon upstairs at the Chamber's Westmoorings headquarters that eliminated panellists in favour of a brisk presentation by IDC Consulting Vice President Aime White and a fast paced question and answer session.
What hasn't changed much is the development of Trinidad and Tobago's IT profile.
Three key points remain issues. Total IT spending as a percentage of GDP, the imbalance between hardware spending and software spending and the development of local IT services.

IT spending
While White characterised the technology industry as being typical of one in rapid growth, the absolute figures aren't so optimistic, particularly when examined against the results for 2005.
According to IDC's figures as offered in the 2006 and 2008 reports, local IT spending has risen from TT$522 million to $542 million. Expressed as a percentage of GDP, that's just 0.5 percent, as opposed to worldwide averages of 2.5 percent.
Responding to a question, White noted that "two percent would about right for this economy."

Balance of the IT Spend
Spending on IT remains heavily weighted toward hardware. White's presentation included some interesting slides that addressed this imbalance directly, but they weren't part of the press kit. Expressed as a chart, there is very little change in the weighting since 2005, with more than 70 percent of spending going toward hardware and just 11 percent allocated to software spending.

White described this imbalance as being attributable to the prevalence of local system builders and software "acquired through alternate means," aka piracy.
White noted that there is a slow but steady in hardware spending, suggesting that growth will increase in software and services, a key lever for local IT development.
For IDC's purposes, software development designed specifically for clients and not offered as an off the shelf product is recorded under IT services.

IT employment
The employment base as polled by IDC rose from 3,000 in 2005 to 3400 in 2007 of which 2000 are described as working in the Microsoft "ecosystem."
IT workers in this Microsoft pool stand to be well rewarded. IDC's study found that globally every dollar spent by Microsoft returned $7.7 to the economy as a result of the virtuous cycle of its business. In Trinidad and Tobago that figure rises sharply to $23.37.
This sharp return on investment may be attributable to the nature of much of Microsoft's business in Trinidad and Tobago, which is focused on partners and not on retail sales.

IDC engages in some indubitably educated and positive outlook for the future of IT development, but much of it seems influenced by well sung arias from the Government about its IT strategy.
But until lingering issues like widespread piracy and the widespread underground IT service structure that supports it are addressed, there will continue to be two IT economies in Trinidad and Tobago, only one of which is accurately measured by IDC's report.
blog comments powered by Disqus