KARACHI: The communication gap between tech companies and the corporate sector is undermining the potential of IT ecosystem in Pakistan, despite some IT firms working for US clients.
“There are so many IT companies and entrepreneurs that are doing business of product development with companies in the US and Europe, however, people in Pakistan are not aware of them,” said Momentum Tech Conference Programme Director Sana Mela.
“Karachi is a cosmopolitan city of Pakistan, and the business, corporate head and decision-making lie here. However, almost all the tech companies are based mostly in Lahore and some in Islamabad,” she said.
Mela said many firms in Lahore were working with companies in the US, EU and Middle East and performed on a par with international companies.
She stressed that in order to propel the IT ecosystem forward, there was a need to ensure that firms in different cities got access to the corporate class. “Money is not all that start-ups need, they also need the right network and right opportunity,” she remarked.
Despite having global clients, nobody in the corporate sector knows these tech companies and start-ups, she said. Pakistani corporate firms do not give them business, instead, they may give business to Microsoft, since it is a big name.
For example, if a textile company needs to deploy software to improve its efficiency, it will contact foreign companies, she said.
Pakistani companies may be willing to give millions to foreign tech companies for software, but for the same they don’t opt for local software, which comes cheaply, said Mela.
There is a mindset that if something is coming cheap, it will not work. The corporate entities do not realise that the local software might be more suitable as it is developed in accordance with the local environment.
“It is not the case of start-ups only but also of those small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which have been in business for about five or more years. They need to be connected to the local business community,” she said.
The official shared that tech firms and SMEs did not know who to pitch their business to and in such a scenario the ecosystem cannot flourish.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2019.