"The success of our
organization is only meaningful when customers are truly utilizing the
systems and receiving value for their investments." — George
Savvides, Regional Director, NCR.
The dynamic George Savvides is
Regional Director of NCR for the Middle East and Africa region. He
manages a region extending to 42 countries and has been involved in
pioneering technologies in the Middle East and Africa region since 1978.
On a recent visit to Pakistan, in order to explore future opportunities
in IT, he talked about the future of IT in Pakistan and NCR's role in
Q: Do you feel that the economic environment in
Pakistan, particularly with regard to the corporate sector, is conducive
to the long-term success of your company's products here?
A: NCR has a long history in Pakistan since 1951
and has introduced new technologies early on to the country. Three to
four years ago, NCR decided to renew its commitment to Pakistan,
foreseeing a turnaround of the economy. Indeed these beliefs have been
accurate and we have been successful in placing our advanced
technological and business solutions to key customers in all industries.
These solutions have significantly benefited our customers in knowing
better their businesses and their clients. They can now take informed
decisions, as they are able to analyze the historical information that
is stored in a kind of warehouse, understand the different behavior
patterns and predict future directions based on these facts. Our
customers have started seeing a quick return on their investments, while
at the same time offering better services to customers and treating each
client as their only client. We are currently way ahead of any other
company in offering local expertise in all the solutions we are
marketing. So much so that the Center of Expertise of NCR Pakistan has
become the implementation arm for all solutions and projects undertaken
within the entire Middle East and Africa countries. This unparalleled
local expertise together with our state-of-the-the-art solutions is
putting us well ahead of competitive offerings. Therefore, the long-term
success of our company's products has given us the foundation for
success that is already built.
Q: In your opinion, is the state of the banking
industry in Pakistan adequate to sustain the growth of your
A: Very much so. Big strides can be taken by
banks to introduce new technologies, offer better and timely service to
their clients by knowing them better and offering them personalized and
more meaningful products and services. In the banking industry, NCR has
been a long time leader in the automated teller machines, in item
processing and in data warehousing and customer relationship management
solutions. The number of ATM machines in the country is still
insignificant by international statistics. In the data warehousing and
customer relationship management areas, a few banks in the country have
already started to benefit and get a competitive advantage from the
technological power offered by the solutions.
Q: Which of your specialized product categories do
you believe has the greatest potential in Pakistan?
A: The truth is that all our products can offer
significant benefits to customers. However, in Pakistan as in the rest
of the world, we have seen a tremendous demand for our data warehousing
and customer relationship management solutions, not only because of
their uniqueness, but also for providing timely analysis of the
enterprise information for accurate management decision-making. The
quick return on investment for these solutions together with the
qualitative benefits and competitive differentiation they provide make
purchasing of them quite straight forward.
Q: What is the potential of data warehousing in the
country and how do you feel it can be exploited?
A: Data warehousing solutions become increasingly
important, as the amount of information gets greater. Pakistan's sheer
size makes data warehousing extremely necessary. This size also requires
the power of parallel systems as well as a database architect for the
purpose of analyzing huge chunks of data. NCR uniquely offers this power
through its parallel systems and Teradata, which is a parallel database
engine, appropriately named for its ability to manage terabytes of
information ("tera" stands for a thousand trillion units or
1012) NCR is a leader in the number of data warehouses greater than 1
terabyte of information. Already NCR has a number of large data
warehouses in Pakistan and this number is growing at a fast pace. The
customers can bear tremendous benefits from data warehousing in all
aspects of their business no matter what their size. The application is
only limited by one's imagination or innovation.
Q: To what extent are NCR's education programs
tailored to meet the needs of the Pakistani economy, as opposed to being
generalized for the world?
A: With the introduction of new technologies, NCR
localizes the education programs in order to prepare the customers and
it professionals to take advantage of their benefits. To this end, last
year NCR began its University Program where we have entered into
agreements with leading universities in Pakistan to help them set up and
offer curricula around data warehousing. Around 350 students have taken
these courses. When these students graduate, they will be ready to
provide expertise to our customers and to other organizations. Another
program that was offered last year was the Teradata Certification
Program that provides the ability for students and any other interested
people to certify themselves on these technologies. So far 200 have gone
through the certification program.
Q: During your visit, you have planned several
meetings with government officials. What objectives were/are you hoping
to achieve and were your meetings fruitful?
A: In all my frequent visits to Pakistan, I spent
most of my time meeting customers and prospects. I have met with
government officials and have listened to their programs and initiatives
while I have given them an update of our company's progress in the
Pakistani market. It was satisfying to continue to see that our
solutions offer significant value and are being expanded to provide more
benefits. The success of our organization is only meaningful when
customers are truly utilizing the systems and receive the value for
their investments. So all the meetings were quite reassuring.
Q: As one of the few IT multinationals promoting the
cause of information technology in Pakistan, what do you feel has been
the success of NCR's initiatives in Pakistan?
A: NCR is committed to all the markets it serves.
To this end, we release to Pakistan the latest technologies
simultaneously with other countries and assure that the local resources
are well trained and ready to provide dedicated support at the time of
availability. We have created in Pakistan a Center of Expertise for the
Middle East and Africa region comprised currently of 35 professionals,
taking advantage of the high standard and caliber of the available
resources in the country. The significant expertise of the local
resources, that differentiates us from other multinationals, has helped
us in securing a good number of high profile companies who have already
seen the proof of our claims. These companies are now excellent
references and can vouch for NCR's proven capabilities in all the
solutions within our portfolio. NCR Pakistan has enjoyed manifold growth
in revenues since it has introduced its latest suite of data warehousing
and customer relationship solutions in the country.