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IT sector
NCR to invest $ 12 million

The first company to establish 'centre for data warehouse' in Pakistan

From Shamim Ahmed Rizvi,
Apr 02 - 08, 2001

NCR Pakistan, unit of US based NCR Corporation, pledged a $ 12 million investment in the next three years, as part of its expansion programme in Pakistan's IT sector.

Celebrating its completion of 50 years in Pakistan the country manager of NCR Pakistan Veqar-ul-Islam told newsmen in Islamabad on Wednesday that the company was launching its Internet Service Provider (ISP), setting up university programme and establishing a centre of expertise, in Pakistan, for data warehouse for Middle East and Africa. He said with Rs. 70 million investment in past 6 months, NCR was looking forward to setting up ISP with a local partner and an announcement was expected in April. The company would ensure quality and customer-focus service.

He said NCR would be the first company to establish 'centre for data warehouse' in Pakistan and the regional hub would serve as resource centre for Middle East and Africa. In the third quarter of the year NCR would start its university programme with data warehousing labs in 6 universities. He said the company would launch training programme including 'train the trainer' programmes. Under this programme, he said, foreign experts would train the local trainers, teaching them the techniques.

The company would hold a seminar in Islamabad and Karachi on data warehousing, e-business and e-CRM featuring. The chief technology officer of NCR, Stephen Brobst said in May, NCR would launch 'Teradata' certification which would produce trained manpower for global market of data ware-housing, he said. The company is also working on developing a curriculum along international standard, he added.

Replying to a question, Mr. Veqar-ul-Islam disclosed that as a public service to promote IT education in Pakistan, NCR had decided to impart training in data warehouse to 200 deserving students free of charge. The relection of these students will however, be made by the universities. He said in the last one year, NCR established two data warehousing projects which were nearing completion with overall nine 'teradata' installations on country-wide basis.

He said NCR would take initiative to introduce relationship technologies in Pakistan through strong and sustained data warehouse and customer relationship management programmes.

About brain-drain, particularly in IT sector, he said there was no strategy to stop IT professionals who were seeking job opportunities abroad but Pakistan required to keep on producing enough professionals in the hope that some percentage would stay back.

In the last one year, NCR has two data warehousing projects near completion with overall 9 Teradata installations on a countrywide basis. NCR will continue to play a very aggressive role in taking IT forward and promoting Pakistan's image in the international community. In this regard he announced the setting up of a Center of Expertise in Pakistan for Data warehouse for NCR Middle East, Africa set up. This implies that NCR Pakistan will become a resource centre in Data warehousing for Middle East and Africa region, a unique feat by any standard, besides being the only multinational in Pakistan to be successful in establishing a regional hub.

Inaugurating the first seminar by the NCR in Islamabad on March 20, the Minister for Science and Technology, Dr. Attaur Rehman said that his Ministry and NCR should jointly work to promote the national cause of information technology in Pakistan.

The Minister disclosed that a high speed internet fibre would be laid around all major cities of Pakistan and linked together by early next year. "These high speed internet fibre-links will be our "Information highways" he observed claiming that India took years to accomplish what Pakistan has achieved in months in the field of Information Technology despite the fact that "we entered very late in this field". He said that internet connectivity had been extended to 350 cities just in four months. In August last internet was available in only 29 cities and its rapid spread was unprecedented in the world. India, he said, has a 10-year plan to spread internet, while Pakistan has already covered more than 80 per cent of its population.

About 1,800 internet kiosks are being set up by the PSO at its petrol pumps and in the next phase every post office will have internet facilities, he said.

The minister said about 65 to 70 per cent of the S&T allocation was being spent on education and human resource development because it was the key to development. He said government aims at producing 100,000 high quality graduates every year as of today only 10,000 graduates of varied quality are being prepared.

He said three television channels will be used as the virtual universities. A full-fledged new channel is being planned for the virtual university besides PTV-2 and Shaheen TV, he said. Seven new IT universities are coming up in Lahore, Karachi, Abbottabad, while two, COM-SATS and FAST, have already been granted charter.

The Minister asked the NCR corporation to join in virtual university project or any of the seven universities or set up a series of NCR academies in Pakistan.