Software in the Netherlands II
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The software industry in the Netherlands is flourishing and plays a valuable role in the Dutch economy. It is an engine of sustainable economic growth, provides tens of thousands of jobs, is a driving force behind innovation and enables other industries to thrive. Despite this success, attention and recognition by the general public is perceived to be lacking. Governments tend to be unaware of the presence of software industries within their region, and cooperation with research and educational institutions on a regional level is often argued to be suboptimal. The regional dimension herein is paramount to get a complete understanding of the regional dynamics at play, and to understand how regional resources – that are unique to every region – shape and contribute to the distinct regional innovative and competitive atmospheres in which software firms operate. Insight into the needs, desires, opportunities and threats regional software ecosystems are confronted with concerning business, educational and governmental partnering, however, remains opaque and deficient. This thesis addresses these shortcomings by means of explorative multi-method empirical research. Multiple case studies were conducted with different stakeholders in the Dutch product software industry in three different regions to gauge the sentiment concerning regional business, educational and governmental partnering. In addition, a survey based on the annual Finnish software industry survey was created and conducted with the aim of taking stock of the Dutch product software industry, while at the same time obtaining insight into regional partnering from a broader perspective. Results reveal that the awareness of both software companies and governments on regional industrial activity and perceived benefits of partnering within regional software ecosystems is lacking. A willingness by all stakeholders to intensify regional partnering activities, however, is signaled. Based on the results of the case studies and the survey, recommendations are provided on how regional business, educational and governmental partnering within the Dutch software industry can be improved. Among the most prominent recommendations are scaling up regional networking initiatives among stakeholders in the software industry to achieve greater speaking volume and influence when dealing with governments or other external stakeholders, an intensification of industrial-educational relationships to harmonize the needs and demands of both software companies and research and educational institutions, and to organize joint sessions in which both representatives from the software industry as well as governments take place to gain common ground and mutual understanding on the opportunities and challenges facing the software industry. The findings and recommendations presented in this thesis can assist stakeholders in the Dutch product software industry in making better informed decisions concerning regional partnership management, and support the development and overall health of the Dutch software industry.