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Information Technology


Special Report

Corporate Profile

Science & Technology

June 04 - 10, 2001

Kamil F. Hasan, Country Manager, Intel Pakistan Corporation, joined the company in August 1997, as Channel Manager to set up the Channel operation and a distribution network in Pakistan. With an extensive background in Information Technology and sales, Kamil was the prime choice for this portfolio. Later on he was promoted as the Area Sales Manager and then as Country Manager. Prior to joining Intel, he was Sales Manager at ABM Data Systems. He is a member of Board of Governors of COMSATS and Info-Tech Sub-Committee of the American Business Council. He graduated from the Institute of Business Administration with a Masters in MIS in 1998. A Bridge enthusiast, Kamil represented Pakistan in the Junior Championship as a non-playing Captain and Manager in Hamilton, Canada in 1997.

PAGE: How do you evaluate the overall IT awareness in Pakistan?

Kamil Hasan: It is very heartening that the GoP is giving concerted attention to promotion of Information Technology (IT). However, in my opinion, two areas that are very important need more attention. It is true that people living in urban areas, particularly Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, are able to fully appreciate what computer can do. But in rest of the cities people still do not understand the benefits they can draw by using computers. Unless a massive programme is launched throughout the country, excluding the above mentioned cities, Pakistan will not be able to exploit the real potential of IT.

PAGE: What efforts are being made by local vendors to improve computer awareness and literacy?

Kamil: I will fully acknowledge the efforts being made by the hardware and software marketing companies in Pakistan. In 1997 only two exhibitions were held in two cities. As against this till May this year three mega exhibitions have been held. Intel alone has gone to Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Quetta, Hyderabad and Peshawar. In the past, during the exhibitions, visitors only used to collect brochures. Now people want to discuss specific issues with vendors. However exhibitions are not the proper place to discuss specific issues. There the two parties make a contact and subsequent discussions have to be held in respective offices only. I will also add that visitors should not expect immediate replies to their quarries for two reasons: 1) the staff at the stall may not be competent enough to provide the satisfactory reply and 2) since so many people visit the stalls, it is not possible to give due attention to each visitor. We have to develop the habit of following up the first contact.

I strongly believe that the level of awareness and computer literacy is exceptionally high, though limited to a few cities for the time being. It is evident by nearly 50 per cent growth in hardware import. It is often said that 70 per cent of total computers imported go to corporate sector and only 30 per cent to home users. In my opinion the share of home users should be higher, as in other developed countries. Unless the population of home-based computers increase substantially, we will have less computer literates at corporate level.

PAGE: How can Pakistan make the best use of e-commerce?

Kamil: I will quote the example of Intel while talking about e-commerce. Now bulk of the business is done through this mode. It was possible only because, earlier the clients, living in different time zones had to wait for days to get the reply. Now they can do business 24 hours a day at their own convenience. The same will also go true about Pakistani exporters in particular if they implement e-commerce. However, it must be kept in mind that the infrastructure needed for e-commerce in Pakistan is not as efficient as in many developed countries. Therefore, it is the PTCL which has to take the lead in providing the most efficient infrastructure. Two areas which need immediate attention are bandwidth and charges. Availability of low bandwidth increases down loading time and higher tariff pushes the cost of data transfer. The point must be addressed on priority basis, if Pakistan wants to get its due share in global software export market. However, I will reiterate my point that unless Pakistan makes the best use of IT in its core industries, it will not be able to get a bigger bite in software export. Therefore, the target should be to produce people who are capable of using computers efficiently and not those who have the expertise to develop software.

PAGE: What is being done by Intel

Kamil: Realizing this need we have launched 'Intel-Teach' programme globally. Last year 50,000 teachers were given training to improve their skill. This year we have fixed a target for training 100,000 teachers. The objective is to groom teachers who can impart training/skill to their students. Since the programme is based on uniform 'curriculum for teachers' we expect to produce better equipped future generation. We strongly believe that IT is a strategic tool and it must be used in the best possible manner to improve performance of core industries.