Software Piracy Hampers IT Evolution

Beyond the obvious risk of paying fines for such non-compliance, companies using pirated enterprise software do themselves immeasurable harm.

• They have no recourse to maintenance or break/fix services, thus leaving themselves totally exposed to software breakdowns which bring their day-to-day business activity to its knees

• Deficient business software is visible in the marketplace and firms with pirated applications lose face and credibility with investors, prospects, the business press, clients, business partners, and suppliers

• They do not benefit from the evolution of functional updates and thus suffer diminishing effective returns

• They have no enforceable software or data security firewalls which leaves them exposed to data theft and sabotage.

The bottom line is that exploitation of pirated business software costs the perpetrators far more than it saves them. It is, in short, a terrible business practice that is unfortunately followed by too many African firms.

According to a study by the Business Software Alliance (http://www.bsa.org/) in 2016, 39% of software installed on computers around the world in 2015 is not properly licensed, representing only a modest decrease from 43% in BSA’s previous global study in 2013.

The average for the Africa & Middle East region was 57%. The highest African instance of pirated software is found in Libya (90% with a commercial value of $65M) and Zimbabwe (90%, but with a low commercial value of $7M).

Among countries with high levels of commercial value are Nigeria (80% ~ $232M), Kenya (76% ~ $113M), and Egypt (61% ~ $157M). Such numbers put to question the legitimacy of too many enterprises in these countries and puts them behind the eight ball when it comes to global economic participation.

South Africa has the lowest instance of software piracy in Africa (33%), which is lower than the world average, but with the highest African commercial value at $274M.

All of these results are distressingly consistent since first measured for 2009. While the African rate remains comparable to Asia (61%), Central & Eastern Europe (58%), and Latin America (55%), it is a far cry from North America (17%) and Western Europe (28%).

All aspiring enterprises find themselves squarely in the midst of an ongoing and often challenging digital evolution. Cutting corners when it comes to the information technology required to participate in this evolution will degrade and even sabotage business success. Software piracy is the most radical form of cutting corners and assures not only a failure to adhere to established copyright and licensing law but, even more important, a failure of business legitimacy.