This Business Section falls under the Services Providers Economic Group.
The Information and Communications Technology Business Section aims to:
- Enhance the profile of the Business Section
- Engage with the Education authorities on various issues
- Monitor the State of the Industry Report
Mr Keith Fearne - Chairman
Mr John Wood - - Deputy Chairman
Mr Marcel Cutajar
Mr John Ambrogio
Ms Claudine Cassar
Mr. John B. Scicluna
Malta Chamber ICT Business Section meets with Political Leaders
The ICT Business Section of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry has over the years been involved in lobbying at all levels, ensuring that the Business Section’s vision of moving ICT from a position of a “supporting infrastructure” to other industries in order to become an economic pillar in itself, comes to life. To this end, it has stepped up its efforts by meeting with Prime Minister Dr. Lawrence Gonzi and with Opposition Leader Dr. Joseph Muscat on two separate occasions.
On both occasions, ICT Business Section Chairman, Mr. Keith Fearne presented what the sector has achieved so far. Mr. Fearne also expressed his views on how the ICT community yearns to watch both parties take the sector on to the next level. It noted with pleasure the national consensus on the importance of the ICT sector and called for measures to encourage a more ICT-qualified workforce. Agreement was expressed about how government ICT should be outsourced, allowing the local industry to grow competencies and experience in projects which can then be exported. It is also inspiring that Malta has been at the forefront of introducing e-gov services, repeatedly placing first in pan-EU scoreboards. The Business Section stated that government has an active role to play in stimulating growth and innovation in the sector through focused initiatives, which will incentivise the private sector to invest and FDI to establish itself in Malta. Local companies successfully winning business overseas should also be supported.
Mr. Fearne concluded by proposing that a high-level organisation, looking at all the aspects of generating wealth through ICT is set up. Initiatives will then be handled by one, industry-driven entity. The final aim would be to put Malta on the international map as an ICT centre of excellence.
With both meetings being very positive, the industry looks forward to working with all the stakeholders in the field to ensure that this important sector of Malta’s economy continues to flourish and yield tangible results.
ICT Business Section meets Spokesperson for ICT
On 28th March the Executive Committee of the Information and Communications Technology Business Section, led by its Chairman Keith Fearne, held a meeting with the Hon Michael Farrugia, main spokesperson of the Malta Labour Party for Consumer Rights, Communications and ICT. During the meeting, the two sides held a frank and cordial exchange of views on the state of the industry at present and their vision for it in the future. In particular the Business Section reiterated their view that local industry needs to continue to be supported through Government incentives, outsourcing programmes and human resource development to continue to build on the successes achieved so far in breaking through international markets.
Information Session on the eskills Alliance
In July, the Malta Chamber, on the initiative of the ICT Business Section, held an information session on the eskills Alliance. The e-skills Alliance is a joint initiative between Government and all related stakeholders set-up earlier this year, to explore the current situation with regards to e-skills in Malta, and to come up with a plan of action for moving forward.
Following a short welcome by ICT Business Section Chairman, Mr. Keith Fearne, the Alliance Chairman Mr. John Ambrogio introduced the work of the entity over the past eight months. Mr. Ambrogio was followed by two members of the executive team, who gave detailed and informative presentations on a number of issues. These included a several action plans, which include that for compulsory education, for the ICT Faculty at the University of Malta and for the ICT Institute at MCAST.
Updates were also given on the preliminary work for an E-Competence Framework for Malta, as well as the eSkills Demand and Supply Monitor. Finally, the potential for an ICT Professional Body for Malta was discussed. At the end of the session participants were given the opportunity to voice their concerns and give their feedback.
MITA and Malta Chamber announce setting up of Outsourcing Framework
In a press conference on 23rd February, Government, together with the Malta Chamber announced the setting up of an Outsourcing Framework that will see some of MITA’s current application maintenance, support and operations being outsourced to the private sector.
Hon. Austin Gatt, Minister for Information, Transport and Communication (MITC) said “In the process of embarking on initiatives that would deliver quality of life improvements, MITA is strengthening its value proposition in a number of key technology areas by outsourcing the provision of a number of functions to the private sector.” The Outsourcing Framework, developed in collaboration with the private industry, is a transparent and effective strategy to engage the ICT industry in providing services previously carried out by MITA.
Mr. Keith Fearne, Chairman of the Information Technology Business Section at the Malta Chamber said that through the outsourcing of critical Government applications, MITA was demonstrating trust in its partners. Mr. Fearne encouraged the local ICT industry to enhance their standards by adopting and promoting international methodologies and best practices. “I believe that the outcome of this outsourcing programme will prove to be beneficial to our members both financially and also in terms of human capital development” added Mr. Fearne.
The new outsourcing process started in March of last year when a tender was issued to identify providers willing and capable of providing software application related services. A total of twelve suppliers are now participating in this Outsourcing Framework and four of these have already been given a number of solutions to maintain.
The outsourcing of the first batch of applications is proceeding as planned and substantial progress has been achieved. A second batch of applications has already been identified and preparatory work is underway to issue Requests for Quotations to the suppliers. This second wave will consist of applications that are much larger in terms of their user base and complexity. The first application forming part of the second batch will be the Vehicle Registration System (VERA) and this will be issued in the coming days.
The Information Technology Business Section Executive Committee was very busy and held seven meetings this year besides organizing various events for the Business Section membership.
During the year the Executive Committee held meetings with a number of stakeholders, including Mr. Joseph V. Tabone of COMNET; the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Communications Hons. Dr. Austin Gatt and MITA Chairman Mr. Claudio Grech; the Software Developers Association; and the University of Malta. The purpose of these meetings was to exchange views and to seek better collaboration. This year regular meetings were also held between MITA and the Executive Committee, represented by Chairman Mr. Keith Fearne and Committee Member Mr. John Wood, to discuss MITA procurement issues.
On the 20th April, the Business Section collaborated with the Malta Business Bureau to organise a business breakfast on ‘Managing ICT Investments in Challenging Times’. A key-note speech was given by Mr. Herbert Rastbichler, Managing Director and Vice President Enterprise Business for HP for Central and Eastern Europe, who then participated in a Panel Discussion that included Committee Chairman Mr. Keith Fearne, MITA Chairman Mr. Claudio Grech, and Director Enterprise Services for HP for European Emerging Markets Mr. Andreas Wais.
The Executive Committee dedicated a lot of time to drawing up the industry’s reactions to MITA’s consultation document ‘Proposed Contractual Framework governing the Provision of Core Information Systems’ and even organised an information meeting for all Business Section members with MITA on the subject. The Committee was quite pleased that MITA took into account many of its concerns in finalising the document.
Other MITA consultation documents to which the Committee reacted were the ‘Open Source Vision – Nurturing the proliferation of Open Source Software’ and the ‘ITT for the Provision of Maintenance, Support, and Operational Services of Software Applications’.
An important development for the IT industry was the launching of the eSkills Alliance on 13th October 2010 – a multi-stakeholder partnership led by MITA set up to ensure that business gets exactly the skills and human resources it needs. The Executive Committee was consulted prior to the setting up of this Alliance, Committee Chairman Mr. Keith Fearne was appointed by Council to represent the Malta Chamber on the Alliance’s Board of Governors, and Committee member Mr. John Ambrogio was elected in his personal capacity to chair the said Board. One of the first activities of the Alliance was to hold a Consultation meeting with the members of the Business Section on the 30th November.