Big business upgrading computer systems during slow economic times


Many businesses in Papua New Guinea are using the slow economic conditions to upgrade their computer systems, notes Steve Hillyard, General Manager in PNG for Pronto Software. However, he tells Business Advantage PNG, there is a reluctance to use cloud computing due to concerns about network infrastructure reliability.

Pronto’s Steve Hillyard

‘Most of our major customers in PNG are in the process of upgrading,’ observes Hillyard.

‘As the market has got tighter, people are looking at their systems. It is a time for them to consolidate and invest in their business.

‘Sometimes they can’t do that because they are busy, or another major project starts and they are looking at opening more stores, buying more stock and putting on more staff.

‘All those things aren’t happening right now.

‘So, they are investing some money in their business to get them up to the latest release of the software.

‘So that they can then take advantage of the economy when things kick along again.’

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The cloud

Last year, Pronto Software invested in local cloud infrastructure to enable it to deliver its services over the internet. Hillyard explains that only a small number of businesses are using Pronto Cloud at the moment, however—although others are showing interest.

This contrasts strongly with the trend in Australia, where the uptake level for cloud computing was 80 per cent last year and is running at 90 per cent this year.

‘It is hard when you buy a new system—you don’t want to buy all the new hardware as well, or upgrades.’

‘With various security breaches that have happened worldwide, more people are thinking that having somebody else manage security and manage their servers is an advantage to them. So they are moving it into the cloud.

‘People have the chance to take it back in-house if they don’t like it. But, while it is in the cloud, it has a greater level of security.’


Hillyard says the greatest impediment to cloud computing adoption in PNG is the quality of communications technology (comms).

‘That is gradually being addressed by the local comms providers,’ he says.

‘Certainly the link back to Australia, the undersea cable, will help in 2019 to 2020.’

‘Once comms improve, by 2020-22, we will have a much bigger percentage in the cloud in PNG.’

The area of disaster recovery will also be a catalyst for greater interest in the cloud, he believes.

‘We have had a few customers who have had fires, and have lost a certain amount of data.

‘I would think that cloud computing would be an offering they will take up.

‘And, once you have part of somebody’s business in the cloud, you have then proved what you can offer them if they need that back up service.

‘Once comms improve, by 2020-22, we will have a much bigger percentage in the cloud in PNG.’

Regional businesses

Hillyard adds that retailers with regional business often cannot use the technology because they don’t have the necessary communications technology to their stores.

‘They are all running with lower inventory than they would like.’

‘They have got businesses where they can’t run live off the main server.

‘They have to have another local server so everything is happening off-line and being updated later.

‘In PNG, they can run more off-line than on-line, so we just run them off-line and then update it.’


Hillyard says the foreign exchange restrictions have also affected Pronto, he notes that some of the retail customers are finding it difficult to get some stock.

‘They are all running with lower inventory than they would like.’

He is optimistic, however, about the economic repercussions of the APEC forum.

‘(During the forum) it will probably slow down some projects that we are working on because people will be busy.

‘But we should see a kick on in business afterwards based on a higher level of confidence—and consumer spending.’

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