Discovering excellence in technology

Published: June 26, 2014
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The writer is the founder and CEO of Excellence Delivered, a software solutions provider

The writer is the founder and CEO of Excellence Delivered, a software solutions provider

Over the past few years, Pakistan has seen significant growth in the Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector. Recent times have seen an influx of universities and training institutes, offering specialised IT training, and global IT players such as Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP have started to take a deeper look at their operations in Pakistan, as well as how these can be scaled and developed. Concurrently, we have smaller technology start-ups — especially with Apps development — and an increasing number of advertising and media agencies entering the digital arena. Given these developments, it’s safe to say that things are on the move.

Nonetheless, we’re still a far cry from where we, as a nation, could and should be when it comes to the ICT sector. The country’s economy, while showing some improvement, remains under pressure, and unemployment remains rife. In fact, when one looks at our largely young population — according to most estimates, two-thirds of the population is under the age of 30 — then unemployment is perhaps, one of the most pressing issues facing the nation. Informal conversations with most law enforcement officials point towards frustrated youth as a key leader of rising crime statistics. And frankly speaking, this comes as little surprise to most of us living and working in Pakistan. Despite the rise in universities, and the growing number of graduates entering the job market, there are simply not enough jobs available to meet the demands of this rising youth. And it’s not just undergraduates who are suffering, but also qualified engineers, IT specialists and those holding Masters degrees in specialised fields.

While the youth complain that there are not enough jobs out there, organisations complain that there are not enough skilled resources available in the market to help them effectively compete on a global level. On the IT front, we as a nation lack enough specialised IT professionals to compete effectively in the global arena. India has evolved leaps and bounds beyond us in this regard — as have many countries in eastern Europe (which is fast emerging as another bloc for IT outsourcing). So what is the need of the hour? Do we focus on creating jobs? Or do we focus on creating more specialised professionals? I believe the only solution is to do both — build a base of trained IT specialists, and once talent is available in the market, the law of supply and demand of labour will compel companies to invest and create jobs. With 3G and 4G services now available in Pakistan, any skilled Pakistani can now address both the local and global markets with products or services. Let me elaborate.

As I mentioned at the onset, Pakistan’s ICT sector is growing and developing at a rapid pace. Today, most major companies and organisations have shifted — or are shifting — to modern Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and are outsourcing their IT integrated services and digital solutions. The current market leaders in this regard are SAP and Oracle — globally, SAP is the world leader in enterprise applications in terms of software and software-related services. Based on market capitalisation, SAP is the world’s third-largest independent software manufacturer, serving over 253,500 customers in 188 countries, with 66,500 employees in more than 130 countries. I’d like us to focus on the last part of that sentence: 66,500 employees in more than 130 countries. And these are just people directly employed by SAP; its ecosystem, i.e., its partners, employ millions of people around the world earning an average of $5,000 per month.

Here is where I believe the opportunity lies to create a pool of trained IT specialists coupled with meaningful employment. As I just mentioned, companies such as SAP and Oracle employ hundreds of thousands of professionals globally. And the opportunities in Pakistan are as many and as fruitful. All that is needed is the development of a trained pool of IT professionals. Currently, there is a serious dearth of SAP-trained professionals; as more organisations move towards IT-based ERP systems, there will be a natural need for more trained professionals who can implement and manage these systems. Moreover, this will be relevant not only for the major cities of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, but also for industrial cities like Multan, Peshawar, Faisalabad etc.

So the job opportunities are there — all we need to do now is to create the right pool of people who are able to avail of these opportunities. This is where companies like Excellence Delivered (ExD) are putting their money where their mouth is. ExD is a leading partner of both SAP and Oracle in Pakistan and in the Middle East. On the implementation side, ExD has implemented SAP and Oracle systems in several companies, both locally and abroad. Along with implementation, ExD also works together with SAP to provide state-of-art e-learning. In order to manage the global growth of the organisation, ExD has set up training centres all across Pakistan. While there are many IT training institutes in the country, ExD is probably the only one that guarantees jobs to those qualifying the international SAP certification.

This, folks, is the need of the hour. As I said before, it is not sufficient to produce an army of university graduates or even post-graduates anymore. What we need is to have graduates with employable and marketable skills that are relevant to the IT world today. It is only by creating both, the pool of the right people and a strong foundation of good opportunities that will ensure that we make our mark in the comity of nations.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • SK
    Jun 26, 2014 - 12:01PM

    So now ET is providing advertisement opps under the garb of opinions? this article seems more like elaborated version of SAP and ExD advert

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  • Leela4fun
    Jun 26, 2014 - 1:10PM

    The ERP market is saturated and old hat. Most of it is maintenance mode. Trend is now leveraging big data and mobile solutions for business analytics using transactional data from ERP systems.

    Why are you complaining about marketable IT skills? I have seen a young kid from Pakistan who was appointed MD of Microsoft after he wowed Bill Gates by single handedly coming up the Windows 9 OS. He was also one of the youngest to be certified by Oracle.

    The bigger worry should be how can these folks fly out of the country easily, or foreigners visit the country, without experiencing the other IT that Pakistan has become famous for.

    Recommend

  • Afzal
    Jun 26, 2014 - 2:16PM

    Very insightful article. ERP and technology both Oracle and SAP mentioned in the article are still one of the highest growth Technology areas in Pakistan, Middle East and China.

    Recommend

  • S.M
    Jun 26, 2014 - 2:30PM

    Very well drafted. Its a fact that most organizations are opting for the modern ERPs and/or outsourcing their IT services. I second to the thought that there has to be a balance b/w producing specialized graduates and creating more jobs in the market.

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  • Muhammad Yousuf
    Jun 26, 2014 - 3:17PM

    Well…..with due respect sir, there may be ample opportunities of SAP in Pakistan, but unfortunately it’s unlikely to secure a position in SAP as a junior, and if a person gets some working experience after having put up with much hardships, then he comes to know that still things haven’t got changed for him.

    Creating more jobs in SAP indeed, is the need of the hour. I am writing as common person, having no references.

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  • Naresh
    Jun 26, 2014 - 9:32PM

    Indeed Pakistan I T Sector has a very bright future and should attain I T Exports to the Tune of Five Billion US Dollars by 2020 as per the following Article in the Pakistani Media :
    .
    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/business/24-Jun-2014/it-exports-can-touch-5-billion-mark-by-2020
    .
    Here is to a Vibrant I T Industry in Pakistan.
    .
    Cheers

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  • M.A.S
    Jun 26, 2014 - 9:51PM

    @SK: its not just about SAP and EXD. Firstly EXD is offering 10 other services which directly competes with SAP. Secondly, if you look at Mr. Sajjad’s history, you will understand how much determined he is about his EXD to make it into an international success story despite in recent years many companies have come and gone with the wind. I hope to see more of these services companies as success stories in the country.

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  • MD
    Jun 27, 2014 - 1:20AM

    @Leela4fun : Is your fact correct about the Pakistani kid? I thought the current CEO of Microsoft appointed by Bill Gates is originally from Hyderabad – the one which is in India.

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  • Jawad Akhtar
    Jun 27, 2014 - 6:08PM

    Excellent article.
    Those wishing to learn more on how to enter and make a career in the amazing world of SAP ERP can read this piece:

    http://bit.ly/SAPCareer

    Wish you all the successes, all the time.

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