By Len Rust, Executive Director, Dialog Technology Management, industry analyst and marketing consultant.
All Systems Go! highlights the role of a great group of Australian software entrepreneurs who saw opportunities in the accelerating IT industry in the 1980s and also the benefits for our nation's bottom line. Young people started to flock to university degrees in computing and also to careers in IT. The industry wheel had really started gaining momentum.
Over the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure of diving deeper into the history of the early Australian computer industry while reading this wonderful collection of experiences and stories. The deeper I dug into the articles, the more amazed I was by the adversity and challenges faced by many of these entrepreneurs and their organisations. Despite many overwhelming obstacles, they were able to persevere with a range of software products with great entrepreneurial spirit. Just because they haven't been in the news of late doesn't diminish the importance of their endeavours.
At one level this book is a great briefing about innovators who were the pioneers of technological change. Often described as crazy Australians, or drivers, they are a great inspiration for today's companies, customers, and industries. Although the information technology industry in Australia is relatively small compared to those in other developed countries, the local marketplace has impressive capacity to use and develop technologies of major economic significance as highlighted by the activities of the great companies mentioned in the book.
As innovation accelerated in the 1980s, in parallel with digital transformation, this introduced many new opportunities to improve the organisations' development, acquire new talent, expand technical capabilities, and optimise productivity and market opportunities.
The Australian IT industry has always been itself as a bellwether for our knowledge economy. We have been innovation-driven throughout our history. We now compete in a high stakes global marketplace and everyone who runs an IT company today knows we're only as good as the people we can find to create, sell and support the innovations that will keep us in business, both locally and globally.
This wonderful book would not be possible without the drive and enthusiasm of John Neller and his efforts to research and locate this wonderful group of Australian software entrepreneurs who sparked and embraced innovation and saw tremendous opportunities in the ever-changing Australian software scene.