Managing executives from seven of the top ten computer companies in Italy said they are beginning to see signs of a recovery in certain sectors of the industry, at a round table hosted by the Italian business journal Il Sole 24 Ore on May 18. Elio Catania, vice-president of IBM Semea, and Franco Giglio, president […]
Managing executives from seven of the top ten computer companies in Italy said they are beginning to see signs of a recovery in certain sectors of the industry, at a round table hosted by the Italian business journal Il Sole 24 Ore on May 18. Elio Catania, vice-president of IBM Semea, and Franco Giglio, president of Unisys Italia, both said a weaker lira was helping smaller companies to reinvest. We’re pretty confident that the recovery is near: we already have tangible signs, Catania said. The small company in Italy is beginning to see beneficial effects of a favourable exchange rate and has started to reinvest… to be more competitive and, therefore, is buying more technology. Said Giglio, In the Italian market there is undoubtedly a relaunch among the small and medium-sized companies, which have been helped by the new rate of exchange. I hope all of the companies take advantage of the opportunity, which is short term and imposes on them an obligation to take another look at all their investments. Roberto Lorini, marketing director for Bull Italia, noted that the presence of absence of an economic recovery depends largely on the industrial sector concerned. The pie is definitely smaller, which could be characterised as a crisis, but it’s also true also that within this picture, not everything is equal: the banking world continues to spend on information technology, he said, adding that we need to examine why certain areas have seen a recovery and others do not see any prospect of one, and probably won’t, in 1993. The least optimistic of the group was Bruno Lamborghini, managing director of strategy and research for Ing C Olivetti & Co SpA. Today conditions are not terribly favourable for a rapid recovery: the cycle of investment in Europe and Italy is very weak and all the forecasts preclude any recovery before 1994. I believe, however, that information technology, which is tied like never before to the investment cycle, will take off before the general investment cycle in Europe. Bull’s Lorini went on to describe market conditions in each of three different computer worlds.
Information technology for the masses
The traditional information technology culture has certain problems, but previous investments must be exploited and therefore we all get great continuing business from our installed base. Then there’s strategic and innovative information technology, which is growing and which will begin in 1993, in certain niches, to bring results. Then there’s innovative information technology for the masses. I don’t yet believe in this market in Italy because multimedia systems need an upstream infrastructure that we don’t yet have. When we look at other countries, such as France, the existing environment in France enables us to take this step ahead, thanks to an infrastructure that is already in place as a result of dozens of years of investment. Objectively, in Italy, you can do it in niche markets but certainly not on a national scale, he said. The recent launch of Integrated Services Digital Network and other high-capacity network services in Italy is a good signal for the immediate future, Lorini concluded, since these are the conditions without which public administration systems and, in part, private information technology can’t take off again. The delays experienced in Italy in developing new technologies, Lamborghini said, can be used as opportunities to create a positive cycle of demand. Our installed base is older; that of minicomputers ranges in age from six to seven years old. Therefore, there are huge opportunities for substitution and upgrade. On a final, more sociological note, Lamborghini said, The culture is changing, because the young generations have a completely different approach to information technology. When this younger generation gets into the working world, they will change the methods of exploiting technology and widen its use. In this sense, I believe our optimism has a solid base and that, in terms of the speed of the recovery, despite all the problems that are slowing b
usiness in 1993, certainly the Italian market will be able to grow a little bit faster than other countries, he concluded.