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March 7, 2006 4:37 pm

Software Association to recruit

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As chief executive of Coda Group, Jeremy Roche’s primary role at CeBIT will be to look for opportunities to sell the financial software company’s products and find new partners to develop its markets.

But Mr Roche and several of his counterparts from other European software companies will also be wearing a second hat – beating the drum for the European Software Association, which was set up last October to raise the sector’s profile at European level.

Founded with 26 member companies – from big names such as Microsoft, Oracle and SAP to medium-sized and smaller companies – the association now has 30 member companies and Mr Roche, chairman, sees CeBIT as a good recruitment opportunity.

The association is run as a group of business leaders working together, rather than as professional lobbyists. To be a full member, a company must be developing application software in Europe.

The formation of the association followed the “dramatic realisation” among industry members that it was not represented as an industry at European level, says Mr Roche. Other organisations either covered too broad a spectrum of the IT industry, or tended to be dominated by very large businesses: “Medium- and small-sized companies, especially in software, did not have a way of speaking at the European level, or even of co-ordinating with each other,” he says.

The association is concentrating on generic issues, such as research and development, skills and intellectual property rights, and avoiding issues addressed by other associations, such as piracy – one of the main concerns of the Business Software Alliance.

Mr Roche says the association has been welcomed by the European Commission.

At CeBIT, he expects developments such as web services and service-oriented architecture to be high on the agenda of business application companies, and says some small companies have been able to move more quickly in these new fields than their larger rivals.

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