MONTREAL -- With a near-certain economic down turn looming, Quebec Premier Jean Charest said increased research and innovation in the IT industry will be crucial for the future economic development of his province.
“Those who understand the slowdown of the economy will see that this is exactly the right time for IT to be a driver for our businesses and our economy as a whole,” Charest said Monday at an SAP Labs Canada event from the Cité Multimédia in Montreal.
The event, also attended by Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay, commemorated the Montreal-based research facility’s tenth anniversary of operation in Quebec’s largest city. SAP Canada Inc. executives said it launched the facility a decade ago to take advantage of the local expertise in the tech savvy city.
“The growth of SAP Labs Canada reinforces the success we have had in meeting [our] objectives and the important contributions we have received from our partners in government, business and other agencies such as universities and research organizations,” Maria Codipietro, managing director of SAP Labs Canada told the crowd of journalists and industry partners.
Codipietro said the lab, which has more than 400 current employees, has played a strong role in developing the company’s flagship SAP Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool.
“We have about 100 colleagues working on CRM in Montreal,” she said. “As you can see, our work extends globally making us a truly worldwide R&D centre.”
Mayor Tremblay also expressed his appreciation for the research lab, saying the facility has helped inject vitality into Montreal’s IT community as well as making the region an attractive location for new business ventures.
“The SAP-Montreal partnership continues to thrive,” he said. “And our administration will leave no stones unturned as we hope to continue raising Montreal to rank among the top cities in North America for quality of life and standard of living.”
In trying to achieve these lofty goals, and ultimately helping to put the province of Quebec on the global IT map, Charest said his provincial government is also committed to forwarding the partnership in the coming years.
“SAP does for our vision what we need them to do in Quebec,” Charest said, “Our government strongly believes that we need to open a new economic space for our citizens to develop and grow our economy and our society.”
For SAP, helping to turn more Canadian companies into global tech organizations is a top priority and a key driver in the work being done at the Montreal lab. Robert Courteau, president and managing director of SAP Canada, echoed the sentiment shared by Quebec’s Premier, stressing the need to continue his company’s partnership with the local and provincial government bodies – especially in the face of a U.S. recession.
“As all of us know too well, the sub-prime issue in the U.S. continues to have a domino effect across all industries,” Courteau said. “With talk about a U.S. recession and the possible global impact that this would have, Canada’s competitiveness in the global marketplace and IT’s ability to help companies address the new economic realities of today are now inextricably linked.”