Skills shortage a load of bull

A solution to Australia's growing IT skills drought may be found in software-enhancing technology, not additional staffing, proposes Tony Benson, the co-founder of Sydney developer Bullant.

According to Benson, a 10 per cent increase in software productivity could eliminate the much-publicised need to increase Australia's information technology workforce.

A software productivity increase of 10 per cent is achievable using Bullant's flagship product, the ZF Player, Benson said.

He was speaking just one day after the Federal IT Minister, Richard Alston, suggested that immigration procedures be relaxed in order to fill an employment hole of around 30,000 within the country's 300,000-strong IT industry.

Benson stressed that the widespread deployment of the ZF Player should not necessarily replace Senator Alston's intimated immigration reforms. He admitted that it could take "a couple of years" before the ZF Player was widely enough used throughout the country.

"It's no silver bullet," he said.

Instead, Benson proposes that the ZF Player be deployed "in tandem with" any government initiative designed to ease the skills shortage.

Bullant yesterday received a government loan of $3.7 million for research and development purposes -- an amount the company says is more than three times most other government loans of its type. Bullant has six years to pay back the money.

According to Bullant, the ZF Player sits on top of a server operating system, allowing "hundreds of thousands of concurrent users" to access software stored on that server.

The company claims the product can reduce an application's server space from up to 600MB to a mere 4MB.

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