ITAC introduces new president; talks Canadian IT

IT World Canada

At an event held by the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) in Toronto on Thursday, the organization introduced its new president and CEO while outlining information technology’s position in the Canadian economy.

Bill Bergen – a former president of Oracle Corp. Canada Inc. – will take over responsibilities from acting ITAC president Adam Chowaniec, chairperson of Tundra Semiconductor Corp., on Monday.

Bergen said he isn’t an “association kind of guy” but wanted to do something with Canadian importance.

“I wanted to get up in the morning and be excited about doing something for the Canadian IT sector,” Bergen said.

He added that he was excited about the changes that ITAC has been going through in the last couple of years with a stronger emphasis on “made in Canada.” He added that with this country’s size and “swiftness of foot,” Canada should be able to move past anything the U.S. IT industry can do in both the public and private sectors.

He said the goal of ITAC is to expand and develop the IT marketplace and improve productivity in Canada and to “put Canada on the road map as a role model to the rest of the world, particularly the G-8.”

President and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Canada Ltd. and current ITAC chairperson Paul Tsaparis was on hand at the event. He noted that although “growth isn’t a word people are used to hearing in regards to the IT sector,” Canada is closing in on the peak levels that the IT industry achieved in the year 2000.

“We saw 0.5 per cent output growth in the third quarter of 2002 and 0.6 per cent in the fourth quarter. This, of course, is nothing like the hockey stick-style growth we saw in the period from 1997 to 2001 but it’s treading in the right direction,” Tsaparis said.

He added that the young industry of IT is not in decline and cited experience, not optimism, as the factor behind ITAC’s positive thinking of the IT sector.

“Quite frankly there isn’t a lot being reported about growth in [the IT] sector, however modest it may be. And, in that vacuum, the perception has taken root that we’re in decline. I may not be an economist, but I know you can’t decline and grow at the same time,” Tsaparis said.

Tsaparis cited PeopleSoft Inc.’s recent acquisition of J.D. Edwards & Co. as an example of vibrancy in the IT industry. [Please see PeopleSoft announces plan to acquire J.D. Edwards.]

Vito Mabrucco, group vice-president of IDC Canada Ltd., was on hand at the conference to discuss a report – entitled The Future of the Canadian IT and Communications Market Forecasts 2003-07 – which IDC released last month . [Please see IDC: Growing pains happening within IT.]

Five sectors were listed in the report: storage; applications software; telecom services; software support services; and IT outsourcing services. Mabrucco said that the information outlined “may sound like good news, and it is, but we need to do more.”

He cited the ten to 20 per cent productivity gap between Canada and the U.S. as an area in need of improvement. Mabrucco added that the U.S. IT industry spends one full percentage point more than the Canadian industry on research and development, which could explain the reason for the gap.

He said that Canadians need to change the way they think about IT if the industry is going to improve.

“It is time to look at IT as an investment, [an] enabler, a way to look at competitive advantage,” Mabrucco said. “We should look at IT as a business solution, we shouldn’t just do IT for ITs sake.”

ITAC can be found online at IDC Canada can be found online at