Our industry needs your input!
The Greater San Antonio area economy has been a hot spot for economic growth and shows no signs of slowing. The economic impact from technology companies along with workers in information and technology jobs comprise an important part of our local economy. Most policy makers and economists simply call this this “I.T. Industry”. If you live or work in the area and are part of this industry, then this message is for you.
Things are going good for the Greater San Antonio I.T. Industry. It is growing and creating new opportunities … it really is an exciting time for everyone. But we can do better, actually we must do better. There are warning signs that should cause each of us to wonder if the way we are growing is sustainable in the long run. Scroll through these observations from fellow members in the I.T. Industry and see if any of them resonate with you:
Vision & Mission"As an industry, we don’t seem to be working toward a common goal, with a centralized vision that has broad-based support."
Coordination"There seems to be a significant lack of coordination within and across the industry sectors creating an environment of silos where coordination generally happens only after a collision."
Events & Programs"It’s very difficult to remain up-to-date with respect to events, programs and resources."
Information"Everyone has an opinion, but there is a real lack of trustworthy data about the size and status of the industry."
Working Together"Collaboration occurs primarily in organization-to-organization or person-to-person pockets but rarely group-to-group in such a way that many can benefit."
These are just symptoms that can be linked back to some root causes. Addressing the issues will take time, leadership, and get us all working together in a new and exciting way. The San Antonio Tecosystem was founded in 2014 as an independent industry council designed to improve all aspects of the overall I.T. Economy in the Greater San Antonio Area. The inaugural Board of Trustees was installed in late 2015 and has been hard at work on a plan that will set San Antonio on course as a global hub for I.T. opportunities. To understand the plan, you have to understand a few basic things that make us very unique.
First of all, “Greater San Antonio” or “The Greater San Antonio Area” are both terms used to describe a very specific geographic area, called a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget. Spread across 7,500 square miles, 8 counties, and 59 communities, the Greater San Antonio MSA is home to some 2.2 million people.
Secondly, our local I.T. Industry is very different from any other major city. It is actually made up of three main components. Information and Technology Companies can be identified by the industry in which they exist. The North American Industry Classification System contains 24 NAICS codes wherein information and technology companies can be found. Greater San Antonio is home to hundreds of such companies. In some areas technology companies make up the majority of the I.T. Economy but that is not the case in San Antonio. Our second sub-sector represents non information technology companies that leverage I.T. on a daily basis and we call this sub-sector Organizational I.T. This area is home to 6 Fortune 1000 companies and with companies like USAA, H-E-B, Valero, NuStar, Rush Enterprises, Tesoro, and countless others employing thousands of I.T. workers, this sub-sector play an important role. Our third sub-sector represents a significant and rare differentiator. Greater San Antonio is home to 30+ Federal and Military Agencies, second only to the Washington Metropolitan Area. As a stakeholder in this industry, you should be concerned with the lack of focus on each sub-sector and the lack of coordination between them.
The SA-Tecosystem is confident that we can make significant improvements with a four-part plan.
IdentityOur plan will work towards an identity that is based on our own unique story and a vision that fully embodies our competitive advantages.
InformationOur plan will deliver much needed metrics and information. Many of the beliefs about the state of our industry have not been supported by sound data. There may be facets of truth to most of them; however, without good data and consistent measurement methods, we really are just guessing.
CollaborationOur plan will create a united I.T. Economy where it doesn’t matter if you wear t-shirts, suits, or fatigues as long as you are working together to make San Antonio the global I.T. hub we know it can be.
CommunicationOur plan will make being "in the know" much easier. Consider the large number of news agencies, publications, co-working spaces, Meetup groups, and social media platforms, handles, hashtags, and feeds. Now add city programs, county programs, state programs, and the hundreds of other potential resources available.
Identity – It is time for us to craft our own identity based on our own unique story and a vision that fully embodies our competitive advantages. First, in everything from military aviation to HVAC, we live and work in one of the oldest and most innovative cities in Texas. Our information technology story dates from the late 1960’s when the Frost family played an instrumental role in brining Computer Terminal Corporation to San Antonio. History has it that the microprocessor itself was designed here during that era. The terrain is beautiful as are the people. The culture is rich. Education, amenities, the arts, food, and housing are abundant and affordable. We are the new land of opportunity, yet somehow our vision seems to be a DFW-style San Antonio & Austin marriage to provide a new world for the Bay Area model. The Bay Area experiment is complete and we know how that story ends. A staggering lack of diversity and one bedroom flats renting for $3,400 per month. Austin sought to export the model and “be like the Bay Area only without the ocean” and is on a similar path. No, let’s join together and be different … let’s be better. One of our first orders of business is to craft a distinct identity for the Greater San Antonio I.T. Economy and a vision that will inspire us all. We will not do this in a vacuum and we will “practice what we preach” with communication and collaboration every step of the way.
Information – Many of the beliefs about the state of our industry have not been supported by sound data. There may be facets of truth to most of them; however, without good data and consistent measurement methods, we really are just guessing. We hear things like, “Tech in San Antonio is the fastest growing industry”, “We can’t attract and retain good tech talent”, and “We graduate talented workers then most of them move away.” How do we know? Anecdotally and experientially perhaps but not definitively … not without data. We will work to commission, fund, and execute studies that establish a core set of baseline metrics. Once we know the current state, we can work with the community to focus on the most significant opportunities. Initial metrics will include (in no particular order):
- I.T. Economic Impact (Study in Progress)
- Digital Inclusion Rate
- Workforce by Sub-Sector
- Diversity Metrics
- Production Capacity by Degree Type
- Open Job Fill Rates by Local & Non-Local Workers
- New Graduate Unemployment and Under-Employment Rates
- Total Investment Dollars Available
- Deal Flow to Fund Ratios
Collaboration – While The Greater San Antonio I.T. Economy is more diverse and complex than many, most stakeholders find that they fit into a few basic categories. We call these special interest groups and they will be our foundation for a radical improvement in collaboration through customized events and communication. Imagine what could happen if we organized Tech Leaders across all industry sub-sectors. Think about the impact of a customized communication schedule crafted just for those who participate as Tech Educators. Envision the impact of a united Tech Workforce where it doesn’t matter if you wear t-shirts, suits, or fatigues as long as you are working together to leverage technology to solve real problems.
Communication – There is certainly no shortage of news, events, activity, or even resources for those working in the I.T. Sector. But being “in the know” can be a full time job. Consider the large number of news agencies, publications, co-working spaces, Meetup groups, and social media platforms, handles, hashtags, and feeds. Now add city programs, county programs, state programs, and the hundreds of other potential resources available. It is dizzying and we intend to streamline and simplify these channels. The SA-Tecosystem will keep and publish, on its website, a single repository of events with direct links to hosting organizations and registrations. We will also establish a digital wall with all relevant social and news feeds in one place.
Progress on these four fronts will take an enormous amount of work and still only represents the beginning of the overall effort; however, they are the right place to start.
By filing out the forms and signing this petition, you are expressing your support for the these positions, beliefs, and the plan outlined above. Your information is safe with us and we will never publicly display or sell your email address or use this information for marketing purposes.