IT Industry Attraction Project

Information Technology Enterprise in the Great Southern Region of Western Australia

An IT Industry Consultancy for the Great Southern Region Development Commission



This project aims to attract call/contact centres, and other small to medium size IT enterprises to the Great Southern region of Western Australia. There are great opportunities to attract new businesses and people to the region based on the ability of the new IT&T tools to enable "location independence" in the increasingly global economy. There is a growing demand for on-line information and a rapid uptake of the Internet and other technologies in rural Australia, with an enthusiastic response to new technology in the Great Southern region.

The study is being undertaken in four stages:

  1. Develop the concept to optimise IT industry attraction potential in the Great Southern through initial market assessments.
    1. Undertake a scoping analysis of existing call centres/IT businesses that recently re-located or opened up a new operation.
    2. Assess "foot-loose" capability and quantify locational determinants.
    3. Assess range of IT industries that would best suited the Great Southern region, through the development of a capability statement.
  2. Develop a statement that identifies the capacity of the region to host a range of IT industries from the perspective of the investor. This will be envisaged as the key area in the consultancy.
    1. Develop a framework of questions that an investor would want answered.
    2. Undertake extensive consultation of regional stakeholders who have a keen interest and contribution to the project in terms of information and advise over the region’s capabilities. In particular on infrastructure and service issues. Key issues to be included would be-
      • issues that would impinge on future IT development options for IT industries
      • impediments to the various options
      • issues that would have to be addressed for a potential investor considering locating to the region
      • information currently available to answer questions of a potential investor and information gaps that would need to be filled as part of preparing documentation to attract potential investors
      • Policy issues that would need to be addressed.
    3. Review previous literature and reports and successful capability statements from elsewhere.
  3. The final report will address questions that an investor might have about relocating an IT operation to the area.
    1. Clear indications as to economic and social circumstances to the region conducive to establishing operations in the region.
    2. Clear indications as to the policies in place that allow the potential operator to focus on important issues with the prospect of consistent answers.
    3. Clear indications of the level of community support for IT development.
    4. Clear indications of the options for dealing with a range of technical issues.
    5. A clear indication as to what the proponent needs to negotiate and information regarding the sources of this next level of information that might be required.
  4. From the capability statement and market information, advise and assist the GSDC to "sell" the opportunity to organisations targeted earlier and develop strategies for the ongoing marketing and promotion of the regions capability into the market place. This would include-
    1. Identifying market segments within the IT industry where previous research under "1" has identified the Great Southern regions competitive advantage.
    2. Developing bottom line returns for potential investors, targeting specific IT market segments.
    3. From the above, develop a complete marketing strategy ready for joint execution by the GSDC and consultant.

This is not intended to be an academic, or pure research, study. The project aims to attract call/contact centres, and other small to medium size IT enterprises to the Great Southern region of Western Australia. Therefore each phase of the project will report lessons learnt on attraction of IT projects in other areas and highlight aspects of the region which would be attractive to those intending to set up a call/contact centre or other small to medium size IT enterprises.

IT developments are occurring at a rapid pace and so this a relatively short term study (less than half a year). Even if resources were available for a longer study, the results of the study would be out of date before they could be used. With the rapid increase in the pace of development, as exemplified by Internet time, there is not the luxury to wait a year or more to conduct several phases of a study and then wait for all the results before putting it into practice.

Such studies tend to also contain detailed statistics of dubious validity. Any quantitative analysis carried out of possible benefits to the region from call centers, for example, would be in the realm of speculation. Even if there was a way to calculate such statistics, the rapid pace of technological development would render the results of limited value.

It was therefore decided to undertake a shorter study, within the resources available and to use the study and reports as part of the marketing strategy. The study will highlight resources and successful enterprises in the region, rather than a statistical analysis. Results are being made available as soon as the study is commenced, with immediate benefits for promotion of the region.

Proposed model for promotion of the region

In the Cambridge phenomenon (Segal 1985), Segal Quince & Partners argue that the growth of high technology industries around Cambridge, England came from informal contacts, modest locally arranged financing and organic growth from existing small independent companies. A summary of the report is available online (Worthington 1999).

The report argues that an ethos of self-confidence of the university inspired start-up companies. A science park was established to cater to the demand from firms, rather than create that demand. It initially provided low cost short-term facilities to already established small companies.

The Internet can be used to promote a region, emphasising its educated workforce, business and cultural environment. This is particularly important for a region not otherwise well know.

A preliminary online search in February 2000, revealed that there was little information provided about the Great Southern Development Commission, its work, or the region:

These problems are being corrected, particularly with the Albany Gateway portal, to be opened in May 2000.


On-line work techniques will be used to quickly collect requirements, research options, consult and disseminate results. This allows work to be undertaken in weeks, which would take months by conventional techniques. An on-line consultation methodology also minimises the workload of those to be consulted, by allowing much of the interaction to be by e-mail (while not eliminating telephone and face-to-face interaction, particularly for major reports).

"Open Source Intelligence" techniques using online sources of information can be used to quickly provide comprehensive source material for the study. Reports will be prepared in online friendly format, allowing dissemination and as source material for a web site to promote the region.

The IT profession will particularly be used as a source of international and national information on IT trends in government, industry and academia.

A process of online Requests for Information (RFIs) and Requests for Comment (RFCs) on draft reports will be used. In this way the usual slow "research - consult - report - implement" approach is compressed into one integrated process. Online RFIs and RFCs will provide exposure for the region from the commencement of the study, to potential IT investors directly and through national and international media.


  1. Segal (1985) The Cambridge phenomenon : the growth of high technology industry in a university town, Segal Quince & Partners, Hall Keeper's House, 42 Castle Street, Cambridge CB3 0AJ, England, 1985, ISBN 095102020X (copy in ANU HANCOCK Library)
  2. Worthington (1999) Net traveller : exploring the networked nation, Australian Computer Society, Sydney, Australia, 1999. URL:

Further Information

Web page by Tomw Communications Pty Ltd A.C.N. 088 714 309 for the Great Southern Development Commission - Comments to: