Patricio Jose Arias Alvarez is the President of the Asturias ICT Cluster, which brings together companies in the information and communication technology sector. Yesterday, the association hosted the “Asturias Software Boutique” conference in the Science and Technology Park, contacting digital solutions companies and potential Asturian customers from the defence, tourism and hospitality, construction, trade and waste sectors. Arias explains that 85% of the software produced in Asturias is exported and advocates “to raise awareness of organizations and public administration that they bet on technology and local”.
– What does the sector of Asturias offer to its potential customers?
– Listen to them on the one hand and also provide them with our solutions to help them process the digital transformation they need to stay competitive.
-Why do you think that 85% of the software produced in Asturias is exported?
It is a fact that is positive as well as negative. In other words, we are very competitive and we have a huge market overseas, but it is a pity that here in Asturias, especially seen from the customer’s point of view, no contracts with Asturian companies in this area Is. I don’t care whether I sell here or sell abroad. We are in an area in which travel and logistics costs are not there in other regions, we have that advantage. But it is a pity that when you contract in terms of technology with a local supplier, the closeness you have is not appreciated. Being able to pick someone up and say, “Hey, put it here for me and you won’t leave it until it works”, you don’t have that with a big foreign company.
– Why do you think that no Asturian software has been acquired in Asturias anymore?
-I really do not know. A historical, psychological and social analysis will have to be done. But this happens to us many times. We have large communities like Madrid and Catalonia that are self-sufficient, and together with the Basque Country and Galicia take great care of and promote their product. And that the regional economy based on ICT is strengthened, is good. Here at Asturias I believe that at the level of administration, but also at the level of every individual, we tend to think that what comes from abroad is the best and we don’t give enough value to what comes from here.
-What does the sector mean to the regional economy?
-The latest data available is from 2019, when Asturias accounted for 4% of GDP and 2% of employment, meaning we have a very high productivity rate. Now those percentages will be higher. Our contribution to GDP is based exclusively on labour, we do not sell goods, but services, which means our productivity is very high, as we sell knowledge for hours, tons for nothing.
-And how do we compare with the rest of Spain?
– We still have room to grow. In 2019 statistics, the average in Spain is that the ICT sector accounts for 4% of total employment. Now that percentage will be higher. Since 2004, jobs related to information and communication technologies have increased by 58% in Spain, while employment has increased by 4% globally.
– What goals do you set for this day?
– Let’s know and be valuable. Mentally explain to organizations and companies that technology is an essential thing to which we have to be committed. If it is with a company in the regional ICT sector, better, but if not, at least do it. You have to take that step. It is obvious that the world is going in this direction, everyone knows this. Companies that were more adapted or able to act more quickly, withstood the past crisis much better and the current situation is not much better; We are in a time when we have to reduce our productivity and competition and not let ourselves get ahead of ourselves.