All this talk of ‘Innovation Nation’, ‘Startup State’, ‘Tech Hubs’ along with the associated funding support will hopefully see some serious growth in the number of technology startups. The Queensland Government conducted a survey of about 2000 digital industries in 2014. This post summarises some of the key results of how the digital industry sees itself and where some of the barriers and opportunities are moving forward.
Most important markets
The surveyed businesses are spread across many sectors, with 11% focused on business to business transactions between technology businesses.
Figure 1: Most important target markets
Key technology activities
Most of the businesses surveyed were in the software development industry (18%).
Figure 2: Key activites
What are your key R&D activities?
Only 4.4% of businesses are not actively engaged in R&D activities and most R&D activity is focused on customising or improving existing systems or services (~42%). We can combine this with those spending their R&D improving their own internal processes or collaborating with others to get a total of 76.2% of ICT businesses that are focusing their R&D on traditional consulting services (improving their own or their clients systems / processes). I would anticipate that technology startups would categorise their R&D activity as creating new stuff. Only about 18% of ICT businesses surveyed were focusing their R&D effort on creating new solutions. If the businesses surveyed are a representative sample of the ICT sector, then about 18% of the sector is involved in the technology startup game.
Figure 3: R&D focus
What is your primary export market?
The USA is the primary export market (24.4%) followed by the UK (17.3%), closely followed by New Zealand (16.5%).
Figure 4: Primary ICT export markets
Perceived maturity of other industries
The mining industry has a high perceived digital maturity, closely followed by the tourism and manufacturing sectors. The construction sector was perceived to have a relatively low digital maturity and the agricultural sector rated lowest in terms of digital maturity. Depending on the business, the high digital maturity might represent a market ready to engage in technology whilst the low maturity industries may represent an opportunity in a relatively noncompetitive market.
Figure 5: Perceived digital maturity of other industries
What is the future focus for your business?
Unsurprisingly, the key areas for priority development focus on internet and cloud related services.
Figure 6: Priority areas for development
To sum up, the 2000 or so respondents to the digital industry survey indicate that for Qld at least most of these businesses are B2B (business to business) with primary focus on other technology businesses, followed by government as a consumer. Most of the businesses are focused on software development and the R&D spend indicates that most of this is focused on review and refinement of systems and processes. For those who do export their services the USA, UK and New Zealand account for almost 60% of respondents markets. The construction and agricultural sectors are assumed by ICT professionals to be the least digitally mature industry sectors.
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