A review on software industry in the Gulf region Evolution and advancement of software industry framework is a multidimensional concept that involves the study of regional socio-economic environment, leadership approach towards the development of the industry, intellectual potential in the region, policies involved in the growth of software industry and deterrence against the theft of intellectual property etc…
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“There are many problems associated with tracking software imports and exports in trade statistics.” (OECD, 37). These problems include the hazy differentiation between software and software media trade, trade of software being a part of hardware, lack of measuring mechanism for the sale of intellectual property in international market. (OECD, 37). For obvious reasons this obscurity is even graver in gulf region states, who stepped into this industry late in 20th century and most of the software applications are imported from developed countries. The production and development of software in developed countries have raised serious concerns for the integrity of software industry itself as the bulk productions to realize rapid economic gains has forced deviations from the recommended software development framework and guidelines. Committee on the Off-shoring of Engineering (COE, 66) observes, “Scholars conceded that the effects of off-shoring on the quality of work done in developed nations are uncertain because we do not know whether the productivity gains will be captured by the developing countries or the developed countries.” Quality assurance is a core subject of software engineering and this stands true in any region and domain for which the software is being developed. The deviation from this basic guiding principal of software engineering has surfaced several legal and quality issues in gulf countries. This is especially true for the gulf region where software production is either offshore or in foreign control. “The wealthy Gulf nations have long relied on foreign (mostly American) contractors to build and maintain much of their IT base.” (Carmel, Paul, 24). This over reliance on foreign expertise has given birth to a variety of legal issues in software ownership, , legitimate use, quality and maintenance. Redha (n.p) the Business Software Alliance Chair, Gulf Region, while surfacing his concerns on quality and legal issues stressed, “While the region is seeing rapidly growing technological adoption and internet penetration, which is contributing to overall economic growth, we need to ensure that this growth is not compromised through software piracy.” The quality issues in offshore products are a common observation because of the variance in environment and culture of the software developer and user. COE (197) observes, “When we consider off-shoring, we must remember that there is great variability in software objectives, job types, and practices around the world.” Obviously, this variability may cause quality issue in a region where environment, software quality requirements and job types are considerably different. The fact has instigated a profound realization among Gulf States to develop an indigenous software industry, which can cater local requirement with minimum quality issues and legal breaches. The Gulf States, specially Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria are now making concentrated efforts to groom local software industry and the commitment of local software companies in the region may achieve better results for growth of software industry. However, the lack of latest technologies and the dearth of software engineers with required skills are two major areas where they face bottlenecks. Still quality can
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