The latest AQT Barometer shows Quebec’s information technology firms keen to innovate, with an eye to the export market.
The Quebec Technology Association (AQT) has just unveiled the results of its survey of business practices and the general state of companies in the Information & Communication Technology sector in Canada’s Quebec province. The Barometer applies performance indicators to four areas: Human Resources, Innovation, Marketing and Income. It shows that, in a highly competitive ICT market facing growth challenges, the spirit of innovation is alive and well among Quebec’s players. “Despite the major recession in the US and Europe, local markets appear relatively resilient and a greater concentration of income was noted in Quebec,” says the AQT. Moreover, "while these may be turbulent times, the Quebec ICT industry is staying the course. Industry players are in action and innovation mode with a strong focus on the export market," underlined AQT Chief Executive Officer Nicole Martel. Following a minor decline, Quebec-based ICT companies appear to be on the lookout for opportunities and most of them maintain a wider geographical presence, mainly for their marketing activities.
Marketing, innovation and human resources
AQT survey respondents expect mergers and acquisitions to increase, in the search for geographical expansion. In fact the survey reveals that direct sales currently account for 82% of Quebec ICT companies’ market income, with just 16% coming from indirect channels such as distribution networks. Meanwhile the Innovation indicator, which is based on the contribution of external expertise, strategic planning, and the application of development methodology, is on the rise. On the Innovation front, 64% of the respondents said they believe in the value of fostering communication with other executives in order to benefit from their knowledge and enhance the performance of their own company. On the Human Resources side, the Barometer indicates that the number of administrative jobs has remained stable relative to other types of jobs, which are on the rise. On average, 30% of all employees in the sector now work in research and development, the AQT reveals. ICT firms are also keen to hold on to their staff, more than half of the companies represented in the survey stating that they are intent on developing “new employee retention strategies.”
The ‘typical’ Quebec ICT firm
Looking at Income performance, the Barometer indicates that ICT companies based in the province estimate their recurrent income to be 42%, a figure which could well increase as a result of the current massive move to cloud computing, reckons the AQT. Meanwhile 39% of Quebec ICT companies say they have funding sources other than sales, with 14% stating that they have access to venture capital. So what does a typical ICT company in Quebec look like? It employs 36 people, has been in business for 17 years and generates annual sales of $4.7 million. Although this ‘typical’ ICT player derives 35% of its income from outside the province, the entire workforce nevertheless remains largely based in Quebec, the AQT survey reveals.