Australian-listed e-health company iSoft is considering upping its headcount in Australia by 500 people, hoping to increase the percentage of research and development workers it fields down under.
"We are looking for investment and I've asked for a significant amount of investment to put back into Australia," iSoft managing director Australia and New Zealand Denis Tebbutt said today at an Australian Information Industry Association event in Sydney.
He said that ever since he'd come to Australia a dozen years ago, he had seen that there were phenomenal levels of innovation in the country. However, that didn't mean innovation would always be there.
"Unfortunately innovative businesses can't scale," he said. "They tend to get acquired. They get acquired by an offshore entity. What actually happens is the intellectual property and the people associated with it go and sit on the beach or to India or something like that."
He admitted that iSoft was guilty of similar behaviour. "We've got 4700 people, we've got half of them in India," he said.
Yet Tebbutt was hoping to change that situation by looking into forming centres of innovation for healthcare within Australia which could employ up to 500 Australian IT workers. The advent of the National Broadband Network, as an initiative which enables the national e-health industry, has increased the likelihood of this occurring, although any other government initiative which fosters e-health on a national scale would do the same, according to iSoft.
"I think in our own industry we've got to realise that we've got phenomenal opportunities in Australia and New Zealand. I'm a great advocate of building intellectual capacity here. I'm driving that within our own organisation to bring it back here so that we can re-establish ourselves as a centre of excellence," Tebbutt said. "We have to convince the governments here and the people that run healthcare to actually recognise that opportunity to re-engage and get innovation going."