By Syed M. Aslam
Nov 03 - 09, 2003



WAQAS NAVED SIDDIQI did his Bachelors in Commerce from Government College of Commerce and Economics, Karachi. He did his CA and was associated with the reputed chartered accounting firm of A.F. Ferguson for the required articleship. He joined Siemens Pakistan Engineering Company in 2001 and was selected by the company to get the prestigious CISA (Certified Information System Auditor) certification. He is a CISA certified professional and is the Deputy Manager of IT Services division of Siemens Pakistan today. Recently he has been promoted to specialised product manager for large corporate clients of the company which have, or in the process of installing the Company's globally best selling SAP, System Applicable Product and data processing software, which is a fully integrated system for the complete automation of entire business.

PAGE: What distinguishes the SAP software system from others?

WAQAS NAVED SIDDIQI: SAP is an industrial software for the entire automation of any business irrespective of its size. It is a fully integrated system which has over 25,000 in-built business processed. A company can select the entire system or a part of the business processed as per its particular requirement. Siemens is the sole distributor of the system in Pakistan which is developed by SAP AG Germany, a partner of Siemens.

PAGE: What are SAP's salient features?

WAQAS NAVED SIDDIQI: SAP is a highly integrated software which offers a single date base for numerous industrial and financial solutions related to HR, materials, production, cost of production, materials, and most of all an in depth analysis to provide instant information about any or all of these numerous activities at any point in time. What makes the product unique is that SAP has many modules to cut the critical decision making time to help increase efficiency and productivity.

PAGE: What's the response been like for the product here in Pakistan?

WAQAS NAVED SIDDIQI: SAP is a world leader enjoying around 45 per cent of the global share. It was introduced by Siemens here in Pakistan about six years ago and has been installed at many big public, private and multinational companies. It is basically an on-line reporting system which makes on-line decision making easy and its strong reporting features results in improved efficiency to let the staff and workers do more productive work instead of spending hours on systems which are much less integrated. It helps an organisation easy sharing of information at all levels and departments. The availability of strong analytical tools helps to change the entire process of management for better wherever the system is installed.



PAGE: Who are the major clients of the SAP system?

WAQAS NAVED SIDDIQI: The major clients of the system thus far are the oil & gas, automotive and manufacturing sectors comprising private, public and multinational companies. It is in the first phase of installation at the Auditor General Offices in all the four provinces and 127 district account offices of the Auditor General Offices as well as the finance department under the $ 45 million World Bank project. Siemens is one of many other consultants working on this project. We have completed the installation at the Karachi Headquarters of multinational ICI and also its Sheikhupura office in Punjab. The projects at Packages Limited and Indus Motors have already been completed while that at the Engro is in process. The system has been installed at the Pakistan Refinery Limited and the upgrading will commence shortly. The implemetation of the project at the National Refinery Limited would start soon.

PAGE: What about the cost? Is the system is extremely expensive?

WAQAS NAVED SIDDIQI: There is a great misconception that the cost of installing the system is very high. The fact is that the system is quite affordable for even small and medium entreprises because it offers a wide choice to buy only the business processors as per the core requirements of an individual company. What makes SAP most attractive is the return on investment which is about 3 years which means that a company choosing to install the system would be able to recover the cost within three years and helps improve the efficiency and job satisfaction for the workers and staff. Yes, the customised solutions do cost more but the system also offers choice for the companies to cut the costs by using on the business modules best suited for their core requirements.

PAGE: With the implementation of the WTO just 14 months away do you think that the textile industry, the backbone of the country's economy, understands the benefits of fully integrated automation?

WAQAS NAVED SIDDIQI: Thus far the major clients of the system, as mentioned earlier, are the oil & gas, manufacturing and automotive sectors. However, the textile industry seem to have realised the importance of fully integrated automation not only to improve efficiency, productivity and quality of the products but also to cut production costs to remain competitive in a world where free trade would become a norm 14 months from now. Yes, the Pakistani textile industry seem more receptive to the system and we are receiving increasing enquiries from it by each passing day.