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Assinform President Angelucci: “We must adopt a positive attitude towards the future! Italy is in urgent need for a strategic policy for growth, based on long term projects and investment. The promotion of financial incentives for the replacement of obsolete software in favour of advanced applications geared towards the needs of our flag businesses would be a step in the right direction.”
Milan, 10th march 2010 – “In 2009, the annus horribilis for the global ICT market, Italy further deepened its technological gap with other countries with IT showing the most severe contraction (-8.1%), whereas the global market decreased to a lesser degree by -5.4%. Among advanced countries, Italy saw the gap between GDP (-5%) and IT investment (-8.1%) widen the most in 2009, giving evidence of a country falling back on itself, having seemingly lost courage - except in rare occasions, and having become fearful of taking risks and investing. Italy’s disinvestment in Information Technology, amounting to a contraction of 1,657 million euro, is an alarming signal of the country’s retreat towards a structural low profile competitive stance which runs the risk of condemning it to stagnation. Public institutions and businesses appear to be trapped in a short term approach which proves highly inadequate to overcome the current emergency. All market components have, in fact, declined: hardware -14.8%, software -3.6%, services -6.5%; large businesses -10.3%, medium sized businesses -7.3%, small businesses -8%. Innovation, an essential tool for growth, seems to have disappeared from the vocabulary of political economy and from measures devised to counter the crisis. On this premise, also 2010 is set to be a very difficult year. Our estimates foreshadow a negative trend for the sector (-3.1%) which will further broaden the gap with GDP (1%).” Paolo Angelucci, Assinform President, today in Milan presented in no uncertain terms a preview of the Assinform Report 2010 which outlined a picture of IT as an industry badly affected by the economic crisis.
The Assinform Report also highlighted a downturn in the TLC market which fell 2.3%. Some of the traditional strongholds of the market seem to have reached saturation. Mobile telephony in particular, a component which has driven the TLC market for 15 years, experienced a downward turn: the consumer segment, total active lines and the number of SIM units all slipped accounting for a -1.5% drop in growth. In general terms, the national ICT market fell by -4.2%, with total value down to 61,771 million euro (against 64,463 million euro in 2008), compared to -1.5% at the international level.
Although the IT sector, which employs 400,000 people and counts 97,000 businesses, is the fourth largest industry in Italy – Angelucci added – not only does it not attract appropriate attention from the political establishment, but its economic and occupational impact as well as its potential for driving growth are also widely underestimated by the institutions. Nevertheless, in order to pull through the crisis and return to growth, Italy has no choice, it must start reinvesting in Information Technology. This requires confident action as a clear signal of trend reversal, in anticipation of a strategic policy for innovation and growth. We believe our proposal to set aside funds to subsidise software upgrades addresses this issue while serving as an incentive for innovation for the Italian core economy and a means to support jobs in the IT sector. Software is, in fact, a crucial factor for the modernisation of businesses, the economy and the public administration and also represents the added value produced by the sector in Italy. The software segment accounts for the greater part of total employees in the IT sector. It already suffered a loss of 16,000 jobs in 2009, and if current estimates are confirmed, there is risk of a further reduction of 8,000 jobs in 2010.
Unfortunately, the latest survey carried out by Assinform in February 2010 on a representative sample among its members (both SMBs and large businesses), confirms the negative outlook for occupation trends. Job loss affects both employees (-8.15% of surveyed businesses) and, to a much greater extent, external consultants (situation deteriorating for 26.4% of businesses). The greatest job losses were experienced in the large business segment with 54.5% declaring to resort less to consultants which in most cases are employed in SMBs belonging to the supply chain.
Assinform President Paolo Paolucci went on to announce three important initiatives which the Association is engaged in. As regards the financing of innovation – Angelucci stated – we are about to close an agreement with an important bank for the mid term funding of businesses investing in IT including, for the first time, also immaterial components (software and services). At the same time we have started a workgroup to address the issue of IT tariff down pricing in a pragmatic manner. The trend of professional fee reduction is, in fact, an Italian anomaly which adversely affects investment in human capital in the IT industry, which represents a significant 26% of total business revenues, while damaging customers and the quality of projects and services. A situation which risks impoverishing the Italian IT industry. We must seek a path that steers away from this vicious cycle. Finally, as regards R&D, we are engaged in supporting the numerous good practices existing among IT businesses in Italy as well as promoting aggregation policies. Our objective is to produce shared innovative solutions to help demand and supply grow with a view to the internationalisation of Italian IT businesses, as promoters of the “made in Italy” concept applied to technology.
Assinform Press office:
Assinform è l’Associazione nazionale delle principali Aziende di Information Technology operanti in Italia.
Con una consistente base associativa rappresenta un settore vitale per il nostro sistema Paese.
È il riferimento per le aziende italiane del settore, di ogni dimensione e specializzazione: dai produttori di software, sistemi e apparecchiature ai fornitori di soluzioni applicative e di reti, fino ai fornitori di servizi a valore aggiunto e contenuti connessi all’uso dell’Information Technology
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