By Chris Uwaje
Lessons learned: Developing a National Software Strategy
Software exports represent the mainstream of emerging economies and future businesses. Itâ€™s activities are central to global trade and the generation of foreign currency.
For development policy makers, and for entrepreneurs, it is hard to resist expending software capacity to try to build an export industry.
In fact, it is often the case that limited resources are focused on exports when they might best be used to attract foreign investment, revitalize an existing industry, or train the next generation of software people.
As was the case with government modernization, it is the local software consulting and contract services firms who are mostly preferred to be involved with industry modernization, often working with foreign systems integrators and products vendors.
However it is also recognized that local enterprise software product vendors typically appear much later in the development cycle of the software industry. The time for Nigerian Software Practitioners and Developers to emerge, add value and control the industry is now â€“ having garnered commensurate experiences from worldâ€™s best known Software and Hardware companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, HP, UNIX, Cisco, Apple, D-link International and others, where Nigerian IT Professionals have successfully served at the top management levels.
And again, involving indigenous software developers in government owned and commercial projects can be an important stimulant and source of experience for the local firms. In fact, domestic experience in a particular industry often shapes the later export offerings of small local firms, many of which are founded by veterans of these commercial projects.
The central goal amongst others is to ensure that Nigeria taps into the window of opportunities and benefits offered by the global software revenue. Worldwide software revenues have taken over those generated by crude oil.
Software innovation has become of increasing importance to national development success. It has positively permeated into all facet of human activity â€“ from Education, Governance, Agriculture, Energy, Health and Health-care delivery, Economics, Aviation, Business, Transportation, Manufacturing, Telecommunications, Water Supply, National Security and indeed into almost every other life activity â€“ making them Software dependent.
The National Software Strategy (NSS) will identify and address development objectives and tasks segmented into the following time-based milestones: two (2) year-time-frame, three (3) year time-frame and five (5) year time-frame. This model is designed to ensure that our national software deliverables are in tandem with global software life-cycle.