"At the epicenter of Pakistan's internet world"
By Ali Haider Gokal
and Syed M. Aslam
Jul 24 - 30, 2000
There seems to be a growing consensus that Pakistan is getting its IT act together. After being a silent observer to the spiralling growth of the Information Technology industry worldwide and in particular to the Bangalore and Hyderabad technology centers, Pakistan is beginning to take its first steps in the international foray. The most public and notable example has been the remarkable success of the Ghauri brothers and Netsol who have achieved a great milestone by having their company listed on the NASDAQ exchange in the USA. They have shown the world that Pakistan has the ability to provide International Blue Chip companies with software solutions as good, if not better, than their First World competitors at a fraction of the costs of Western-based tech companies.
Pakistan has been dabbling in the software industry for some time now, but with the advent of the Internet and the growth of e-commerce worldwide, Pakistan now has to take a giant leap forward. The Internet is accessible to anyone worldwide who has access to a computer, a modem and a phone line and as such has become the most cost-effective method of creating huge information flows and advertising. It is cutting down all traditional barriers and restrictions to trade and commerce. The website has become the most public face of a company or corporation.
The first aim of a website is to allow the company to make its presence and its purpose felt. The second aim and perhaps most critical to Pakistan is to create and increase trade flows, that is to develop e-commerce. If one takes into account the amount of choice a web surfer (and potential client) has available to him or her in a matter of seconds, the initial success of first creating company or corporate awareness on the web hinges fully on the effectiveness, accessibility and esthetics of a company's website. There is no company in Pakistan better suited to web designing and development than Net Access (Pvt.) Limited run by the very knowledgeable and enterprising Faisal Khan.
From humble beginnings in his bedroom with his 'powered-up' personal computer in 1996, Faisal and his founding partners have taken Net Access to the forefront of Pakistan's Internet world. Its client list (see table) speaks volumes about the quality of understanding and work that Net Access puts into the development of a website. After visiting some of the sites that Net Access has designed and continues to maintain, one gets the feeling that Net Access does more than just act as 'architect'. "We tell our clients that we are an extension of their company", Faisal said during a recent interview, " before we start our work, we want to fully understand the intricacies of their business." This desire to know and understand the core business of its clients is the best recipe for creating the perfect mix of both effective and accessible knowledge and art, key ingredients for a successful website.
Faisal has seen his company grow from a one person shop in 1996 to one, as of June of this year, that employs 42 people. This period has also seen the company's turnover increase a whopping 2000%. With blue chip clients including Engro Chemicals, ABN-AMRO, ICI and the Habib Group, Net Access is in the best position to benefit when business to business (B2B) e-commerce comes online in Pakistan. The company concentrates on developing sites only for large companies and multinationals and understandably so. With credit card use at a minute ratio to total consumer spending, Pakistan's first serious commerce dealings on the Internet will be in the form of B2B transactions. Net Access hit this nail on its head almost five years ago and has stayed focused. Its clients are those institutions that will be amongst the first to really need e-commerce solutions and when push comes to shove, their clients won't have to waste time trying to explain their e-commerce requirements.
Net Access offers corporations to deploy professional, high-traffic and mission-critical Intranets. It offers state-of-the art services at a fraction of the costs compared to the US, Canadian and European markets. Net Access provides its clients with a high quality work, timely delivery and object-oriented (modular) programming techniques which greatly cuts the developmental time without compromising its quality of work.
Enterprising corporations and businesses can now communicate far more efficiently than ever before by deploying the Intranets as the homogeneity of the Internet/Intranet applications across a cross platform environment. Almost all applications today, whether off-the-shelf or customised, running on TCP/IP based network or using proprietary protocols, from supercomputers to clustered server environments to legacy systems, can all be meshed within the Intranet.
Net Access' client's list include 70 plus multinational companies in automotive industry, chemical manufacturers, financial brokerage houses and banks. At present, Net Access is in the process of developing and beta-testing a modular Internet/Intranet system for sale and manufacturing units, and pharmaceutical institutions.
Net Access offers specialised services in IT consultancy, software applications and support services. It offers such IT consultancy services as establishing Internet presence, web designing, hosting and maintenance, e-commerce solutions, virtual private networks, Intranet, network designing from the Internet/Intranet to incorporate LAN/MAN/ WAN ENVIRONMENTS as per the specific need of a company.
It also specialises in developing application software for Executive Information Systems on the Intranets, Process Control with graphically mapped/hyperlinked SOP (Standard Operating Procedures), Point of Sale Terminal, Sale Systems (incorporating query, ordering, shipping, return-merchandised, status check, etc.), Administrative Systems, Management Systems for GroupWare messaging, inventory and manufacturing processes. Support services consist of preventive maintenance, network statistics and polling, modular expansion of Internet/Intranet.
All these services are directed at industrial manufacturing units, wholesale trading institutions, banks, financial institutions (equity trading, brokerage houses etc.), pharmaceutical manufacturers, textile companies, trading houses, real estate businesses who are interested in establishing Internet presence, Internet/Intranet and maintenance services.
Net Access has strategic partnerships with Jehangir Siddiqui & Co, Pakistan's largest brokerage firm which also owns an investment bank, mutual fund and an Asset Management firm. Net Access' international investors are TechPacific Inc., a technology investment and venture capital firm in Hong Kong. Net Access' most valuable project valued at Rs 4 million came from Jehangir Siddiqui and Company and includes development of the corporate website, a financial portal and e-trading website.
During a recent talk, the Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz asked the Stock Exchanges and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan to take measures to encourage the listing of more companies on the stock exchanges, particularly the hi-tech companies which offer immense potential for foreign investment. Taking into account its proven ability and its strategic partners, Net Access will be an inviting investment if and when it goes public.
The vision and focus that went into the creation and tremendous growth of Net Access hasn't been and will not be the sole reasons for its continued success. In an industry, where employee loyalty and turnover is respectively low and high, the future of Net Access will lie in its ability to retain and hire talented web site developers and engineers.
With a cumulative experience of 78.3 years, an average employee experience of 19.1 years and enjoying clientele of 70 plus multinationals the Net Access is poised not only to maintain its leading edge but also to enhance it in the future. With its market position, its focus, its no-nonsense approach to its business and the great respect that Faisal has for his colleagues, Net Access will be the company to watch as Pakistan goes more and more online.
Net Access Client List
- ABN-AMRO Bank N.V. (Pakistan)
- ICI Chemical Pakistan Ltd.
- Engro Chemical Pakistan Ltd.
- Pakistan International Airlines
- State Bank of Pakistan
- Citibank N.A. (Pakistan)
- Union Texas Petroleum
- Muslim Commercial Bank
- Habib Bank Limited
- Gul Ahmed Textile Mills
- Habib Sugar Mills & Group
- Jehangir Siddiqui & Company Ltd.
- Pakistan Cables Ltd.
- Government of Sindh
- Fauji Fertilizer
- National Bank of Pakistan
- Emirates Bank International
- Karachi Stock Exchange
- Jinnah The Movie
- Artal Group
- Ali Gohar Pharmaceuticals
- French Consulate
- Hub Power Company (Hubco)
- IT Commission of Pakistan
- First International Bank (Interbank)
Net Access has the following affiliations
Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB)
Pakistan Software Houses Association (PASHA)
Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan (ISPAK)
Pakistan Institute of Management (PIM)
Management Association of Pakistan (MAP)
Chamber of Commerce & Industries - Karachi
Allaire Alliance Consulting Partners
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Licensed Carrier (PTA)
Computer Society of Pakistan (CSP)
Internet Society of Pakistan (ISOP)
Member: The Outsourcing Institute, NY, USA.
Net Access are authorized sellers/resellers of the following Products/Principals
Eudora Pro (all products) by Qualcomm
ColdFusion (all products) by Allaire Corporation
WinGate, MDaemon, WorldClient by Deerfield Corporation
TrendMicro Anti-Virus Solutions (all products)
Smart-Spider + Toolkit
Xerox DocuShare (Document Management System)