Business software industry foresees post-COVID-19 optimism: survey

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Business software industry foresees post-COVID-19 optimism: survey

A survey commissioned by an industry group representing Australian business software companies has revealed its members are showing optimism for their organisations following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Australian Business Software Industry Association (ABSIA) is a not-for-profit association of business software companies, whose members range from multinational players like Intuit, Sage and Rimini Street, local giants like Xero, MYOB, Datacom and TechnologyOne, IT channel partners like Fusion5, startups, non-profit professional organisations and banks like Westpac.

The findings came out of ABSIA’s survey, Business Software Industry COVID-19 Impacts Report, which was conducted in the last two weeks of May 2020.

ABSIA director Chris Howard said, “While our survey revealed that the business software industry has not been immune to the impacts of COVID-19, the majority of our members responded effectively during the pandemic and are optimistic about the future of their businesses.”

The survey found that more than half (54 percent) of respondents experienced "considerable to major immediate or short-term” impacts from COVID-19, with a further 35 percent experiencing few or minimal impacts. For approximately 10 percent of respondents there was no impact or change as a result of the pandemic.

Close to one third (32 percent) of respondents meanwhile are worried about longer-term impacts of the pandemic on their customers, but the same percentage reported a small or large increase in customers during the period.

Three quarters (74 percent) of the companies surveyed did not reduce staffing levels during the pandemic, with more than half (55 percent) expected to increase staffing levels in the next six months, either to grow (48 percent) or to refill laid off roles (6 percent).

Some 66 percent of respondents believe that the next 12 months will be “a significant time for innovation and technological change”, with a 17 percent remaining uncertain.

Howard said, “Innovation and technological change will be critical to Australia’s road to recovery and the ongoing resiliency of our economy.”

“The business software industry can play a key role in that, but a lot also depends on the government’s policy direction and what that does to foster business and consumer confidence,” he added.

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