TECHLOGIX: BUILDING THE e-FUTURE

Techlogix has developed and deployed numerous e-commerce and Web-based projects for highly reputed organizations

By Syed M. Aslam
Aug 21 - Aug 27, 2000

Techlogix has won numerous prestigious IT contracts across the globe and implemented many hi-end software works to put Pakistan on the world map for a differently pleasant reason altogether. It has achieved all this in a short span of just four years since it was founded by a group of MIT graduates in 1996. With marketing and support offices in the Silicon Valley on the West Coast and Boston on the East Coast USA, Techlogix has a development centre in Lahore.

Salman Akhtar, is the co-chief Executive Officer and a founder who manages Techlogix's Silicon Valley office in San Jose is instrumental in architecting the company's dot.com engagements. He has also focused on architecting System Integration and Client/Server projects he previously worked at IBM T. J. Watson Research Laboratory. He received his BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT.

Kewan Qadre Khawaja, is the co-chief Executive Officer and Founder. He manages the company's development offices in Lahore. He has led the development and engineering of the eTransformation engagements. Previously, he worked at Cambridge Technology Group and as a Research Associate at MIT. Mr. Khawaja received his MS in Information Systems from MIT.

Khurram Afridi, is a Ph.D and is the chief operating officer who manages the Boston office and heads the eTransformation services. He received his BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Caltech, and his MS and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. Mr. Afridi is the first non-European to have won the BMW Scientific Award for his outstanding doctoral research.

Techlogix specialises in the development of quality software to sell and supply chain management solutions on the web and envisages it as the first phase of its e-commerce strategy. It develops software in the areas of enterprise-wide client/server database applications, cutting edge web-intranet technologies and object-oriented components architectures. It evaluates latest technologies and provide consultancy services to its clients choices about architecture and technology as per their specific needs. Techlogix Automotive, a business unit, specialises in developing software for the auto industry including engineering analysis, business decisions, data visualisation and wire harness design. It also designs and implements algorithms for the sensory, control and navigation needs of the automobile. Techlogix holds the intellectual property rights for the following three hi-end programmes it has developed.

'Maestro', is being used by an MIT-led consortium of automotive companies to design advanced electrical components and systems. It is an automotive electrical system design tool based upon proprietary technology licensed from MIT. It make the user provide the functional description of the system and comes back with a finished cost optimised design based on its knowledge base of design rules, calculated component stresses, and user-defined constraints. The technology on which Maestro is based won the BMW Scientific Award for 1999. It has cut the lead-time for designing an automotive electrical system from months to hours. The programme is being used by such auto giants as Daimler Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, BMW, Renault, Motorola, Volvo, Toyota, Honda, Eaton, Siemens, and many others.

Another product 'Jazba', is a web based designed tool. Launched at Comdex 1998, Jazba is focused on simplifying the development of text and web based catalogs and managing the text and image data associated with such publications. It was the first product to include support for Digital scripting, a technology for automating digital cameras.

Techlogix has developed entity recognition software for use by Eaton Corporation in automotive applications for building the next generation of 'smart' airbags. It holds the intellectual rights for applications of this particular software outside the fields of industrial control, vehicular control and power distribution and control.

One of Techlogix's success story is the development of a B2B e-Commerce software for the Kaman Industrial Technologies, one of the largest industrial distributors in North America. KIT Direct project based on the Informix i.Sell technology. With operations in 190 locations in 36 states of the US and British Columbia, Canada, the software has helped Kaman industries to focused $ 1 billion business on three primary markets Aerospace, Industrial and Music distribution. The site enables KIT Customers to purchase products online, browse product catalogs, search for products, and check the status of placed orders, through the Internet, using a Web browser. The project has been designed to allow maximum transactions of 5000 a day with an online KIT product catalog of 1.4 million parts.

Techlogix has also developed Enhanced Digital License Workstation for over-the-counter issue of digital driver's license for the state of Illinois and New Mexico, USA. Its client also include such global business leaders as American Express Bank, ABN AMRO Bank, Citibank, Bosch, Eaton Corporation, Government of Guam, MIT and many other blue-chip multinationals.

Techlogix expects to earn a revenue of $ 3 million this year of which the one-third will come into the country as registered exports and since its inception its turnover has grown in excess of 60 per cent per annum. The company specialises in two primary areas click-and-mortar transformations and dot.coms. The first represents the migration of traditional 'old economy' firms to the Internet. The communication and network ubiquity provided by the Internet allows Techlogix to realise business process improvements or the creation of new web business for its clients. One of Techlogix's recent project was the transition of one of the largest industrial distribitors in the US, the Kaman Industrial Technologies, to the web.

Secondly, Techlogix also develops technology for early stage dot.coms and has acquired equity positions in five such ventures over the past year. One of its success story is the development of 'worldwalla.com,' a premier multi-lingual website in the world offering e-mail exchange in as many as 35 languages.

Using world-class methodologies and a number of leading tools and e-business components, Techlogix build and deploy scalable and extensible Internet architectures for transaction intensive and mission critical applications. It has experience in web technologies such as Java beans, Java Servlets and Application Server Pages and has developed a wide range of Window applications using new wave technologies. Years of experience has helped Techlogix to gain project experience across multiple architectures, working with technologies such as WAP applications, Internet/Intranet and object-oriented frameworks.

Techlogix uses the latest technology to deliver what it promises within the specified cost and time frame. Each eTransformation engagement is executed in 3 to 4 phases, with each phase lasting between 2 to 3 months. Each phase is separately scoped, cost and delivered. With the delivery of each phase, the customer has a production-ready system that can be deployed immediately, with measurable ROI for the money invested in that phase of the project.

All projects are delivered within fixed cost and fixed time. This limits the time to market and price risk of the customer as Techlogix is able to provide a top-quality engineering resources that can be augmented readily. The most significant success factor that differentiates Techlogix from the rest is its development processes. This is the key intellectual property that has been developed by Techlogix over the past three years, in perfecting its onshore/offshore development process.

Techlogix follows three phases of click-and-mortar eTransformations- B2B and B2C: This first wave of eCommerce is taking basic Selling Chain Management (the purchase of catalog items) to the web. The trend of integration with back-end ERP systems, both Selling Chain and Supply Chain Management are generating more value business customer can purchase via a Purchase Order, Suppliers can update their catalogs directly). As the level of integration with existing back-end functions increases, this type of eTransformation is becoming a more complex Systems Integration task. Consolidation, the next phase consolidates of the value added by the Internet takes place. This is typically focused on front-office applications like Customer Relationship Management and Knowledge Management. And finally the Reinvention, when the value provided by the network ubiquity of the Internet is fully realized, enterprise processes will help transition towards real-time. While conceptually dynamic pricing models already exist in online marketplaces, without a real-time financial system, it is impossible for an enterprise to cost itself within the time window appropriately. Over the longer term, ERP and backend systems will be re-invented to fully leverage real-time operations and network omnipresence.

Techlogix believes in offering value added application management as it feels in e-business, building and deploying applications is only the beginning. Further, as transaction volumes increase and sophisticated functionalities are added, it is fundamentally essential to maintain and enhance the application for optimal results. Techlogix offers application management services that maximize end-to-end application performance through workload balancing, recovery management and response time monitoring.

Techlogix's 'Development Methodology' for developing custom software is centred to address such key issues as understanding the client requirements, planning a product to fulfil the requirements, managing changes in requirements and specifications and finally delivering a quality product on time and within budget. It follows a pipelined approach to achieve these objectives. This approach formalizes its commitment to incorporate client input at later stages of the project without compromising on the quality of the end product. A key component of our development methodology is the Requirements and Specifications Change Management Process.

This allows Techlogix to ensure the quality of its softwares which requires the covering of all the bases. At Techlogix, this process is overseen by a dedicated quality team, which works independent of the development teams. Techlogix is in the process of achieving the ISO 9001 certification.

Other works

Techlogix has developed and deployed numerous e-commerce and Web-based projects for highly reputed organizations. The works include www.wordwalla.com for eGlyphs Inc. Wordwalla is unique, as it offers a multilingual e-mail service to its users. Users can compose and receive messages in as many as twenty-eight languages. Moreover, there are built-in customized features to move checked messages to their respective folders, for example, a Toolbar to allow access to commonly used features. Wordwalla reduces e-mail access costs and simplifies e-mail management for small and medium sized corporations.

It has also developed on-line agent licensing for Mass Mutual Life Investments Services, Inc. The Direct Licensing System is an application, which is designed to reduce the administrative load for agent licensing. Based on the Informix i.Sell Technology, this site enables an easier and more convenient method for agents to renew their licenses and keep their information up to date. Supporting the application is the MMLISI Direct Licensing database, which holds the internal data.

Another project is Whiteflash.com, an on-line diamond & jewelry boutique for Whiteflash. The site is a C2B Web application for the sale of "hearts and arrows" diamonds and handcrafted gold jewelry. The purpose of the site was to allow existing and new customers to evaluate and purchase diamond and jewelry items online. In addition, this would allow whiteflash.com to command global presence.

Operations

Techlogix's dedicated team of 70 e-business architects and technical experts is instrumental to develop high-quality e-business solutions. Its solutions are not only developed by technology experts, but also by experienced, multidisciplinary professionals, who have an in-depth knowledge of the client's domain.

Internet and Intranet connectivity between its US offices and offshore development facility allows it to follow a 24-hour development schedule. By employing effective in-house communication infrastructure its clients are not exposed to the burdens of managing global software development logistics. The integration between the client site and offshore team includes a well-integrated communications infrastructure, enabling mainframe and server connectivity between offshore and client locations. Techlogix has LAN connectivity in all its offices and the network operating systems currently used are MS Windows NT and UNIX. Development support tools such as source control, bug tracking and project management techniques are also being applied.

Partners

Techlogix has built long lasting relationships with its partners, whose technologies and services complement its innovative eSolutions. The array of partnerships allows Techlogix to offer both customers and suppliers fully integrated, end-to-end e-commerce solutions and services.

Its collaboration with Informix Inc. as a Transactive Content Integrator (TCI) - using proprietary tools such as iSell technology has broadened its skills horizon for developing eBusiness applications.

ViiSAGE Technology, a leading provider of biometric identification systems formed an alliance with Techlogix to execute projects requiring facial recognition capabilities. http://www.viisage.com/partner.htm

Techlogix has an agreement with IBM to become a San Francisco Licensee Partner to enable it to utilize the IBM San Francisco technology, which is the largest Java development project in the world aiming to produce a set of reusable object frameworks.