Despite virus, Swiss software companies are optimistic for 2021

The Covid-19 crisis is affecting the Swiss software industry. But according to the authors of the 2020 edition of the Swiss Software Industry Survey (SSIS), the sector is doing well and the outlook is positive for next year.

The survey results indicate that growth will be modest for the current year, with an annual increase in turnover of 2.7% (up from 9.5% last year). The same goes for the number of publishers, which should only increase by 6%, almost half as much as in 2019. The situation should improve, however. The study anticipates sales growth of 10.2% for 2021 and the workforce should increase by 11.6%.

Exports resume

In 2020, Swiss software publishers generated 21% of their revenues abroad. This is a share comparable to that of 2017. Exports then fell to 14% in 2018. Germany remains by far the most important export market. Swiss publishers generate a little more than half of their sales abroad. The share of exports to non-European countries remains relatively low (14.6%).

Investment in office equipment

The local software industry was generally well prepared for the measures taken against the pandemic, but was not spared. One in ten companies had to make significant investments in communication and collaboration software or VPN clients, in order to be able to switch to telecommuting mode. And most have had to invest large sums of money to equip the offices of the employees at home, for example with laptops, monitors or headphones.

Make working models more flexible

A majority of publishers surveyed assume that the experience of the pandemic will lead to the introduction of more flexible work models. Only 4% of respondents want to reduce their dependence on freelancers and external service providers.

The rise of resellers and software integrators

According to the results of the survey, the pandemic has had less impact on providers and resellers of standard and SaaS solutions, as well as on integrators of third-party solutions. However, the majority of the industry suffered from the carryover of existing orders, as well as the difficulty in acquiring new customers and closing new orders.

The SSIS 2020 survey was carried out on behalf of the umbrella organization ICTswitzerland in cooperation with sieber & partners, under the leadership of IT specialists Thomas Hurni and Jens Dibbern from the University of Bern. The full report, including the study graphics, can be viewed on the ICTswitzerland website.

Last year, the results of the SSIS 2019 study were much more positive.

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