Employing approximately 20,000 people in the Calgary region, Information Technology is a large and robust cluster. The region's cluster growth has exceeded North America's pace over the past decade and now occupies two and a half times the average North American location quotient.
Several key industry leaders have developed solutions and initiatives for this cluster. They include:
- Intelligence centre & cluster network;
- Preparing an integrated Information Technology marketing plan;
- Collaboration with supplier's sales iniatiatives;
- Developing a guidebook on collaboration;
- Development of the Calgary Angel Network.
Cluster employment occupies several areas of the industry, primarily software and systems design and scientific and technical consultation. Information and data processing services and specialized design services also contribute significantly to the Information Technology cluster.
As computer systems design grows, this cluster expands. Wage and salary increases are expected to be slightly above the national average of 5.1% and each segment of the cluster has grown signficantly since 1998.
Because the Information Technology market is so diverse, small and large firms alike are given the opportunity to compete. Calgary has promising prospects in networking. Software companies are growing, specifically in the oil and gas sector, both in Canada and internationally. Information Technology service businesses will continue to expand to serve US markets. Research programs across the province, like iCORE, technology institutions such as ARC and TRLabs, incubation programs like that of Calgary Technologies Inc. and IT associations like the Alberta New Media Association, continue to support regional company innovation. Telehealth and streaming media are emerging as new technologies for e-learning and enterprise solutions for interactive meetings are being developed.
The Information Technology industry is expected to grow up by to 12% through 2005. Nearly 41% of ongoing spending is on technical support and systems integration for an installed base. The US market in specific, is anticipated to generate a 50% increase in demand in the next four years.
Brain drain is a serious consideration and issue for the Information Technology industry. A crucial challenge lies in meeting future labour force demands in order to continue to increase growth in this sector.