The strategic role of software development within the software industry of the Western Cape (South Africa)
Africa’s mobile phone penetration has surpassed that of the United States of America and information communication technologies, according to the World Bank, contribute more to its gross domestic product than the global average. What has been the enabling environment for the development of software and mobile applications to sustain this information revolution? India, an affiliate of the family of economic nations consisting of Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, has enjoyed remarkable success as a software developing country and thus could provide some guidelines in this respect. Ireland on the other hand, as a developed country, has also established a successful software industry. In this thesis, the key initiatives taken by both India and Ireland to establish their software industries were investigated. A grounded research approach, incorporating case studies of India, Ireland and South Africa, using a content analysis approach, was used to analyse cited literature about software development in these countries. India’s approach, which includes enabling policies, economic incentives, educational and human resource initiatives, attracting outsourced businesses from other countries and a combination of government and industry initiatives, has contributed to its software industry’s success. Ireland’s approach was industry initiatives, policies, software products and educational developments. Since India and South Africa share similar challenges and Ireland and South Africa have a common heritage, the initiatives by India and Ireland were juxtaposed with known initiatives in South Africa to determine what initiatives are needed for potential success of the software industry in the Western Cape region and in developing countries beyond. A better understanding of the software industry in the Western Cape Province of South Africa and the views of software practitioners in the region has been formulated. Recommendations on what needs to be done to promote the software industry in the Western Cape Province in terms of policy (local, provincial and national government), educational (school, tertiary), practice and other criteria are presented.
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