PROMOTING IT IN PAKISTAN
Excerpts from an exclusive interview with Veqar ul Islam, Country General Manager, NCR Corporation
Veqar ul Islam joined NCR Corporation in 1985 as a Sales trainee. He is currently working as Country General Manager, Pakistan. He holds a Master's degree in Commerce from Karachi University. Organizing an IT week in the country, first event of its kind in Pakistan was his brain child. He has been instrumental in growing NCR operations in Islamabad up to five times during his stint as Branch Manager. As General Manager, he has been involved in few of the largest IT projects in the history of Pakistan by elevating NCR Pakistan as a major IT company not only in Pakistan, but also within NCR Corporation.
As Pakistan accelerates its efforts to grow the IT sector, it is important that we develop references and success stories which need to be told, marketed and replicated. NCR's Center of Expertise is a success story, it is a major break through and the start we have been looking forward. I strongly believe that if Pakistan's drive and efforts to be a global player in the IT arena are to succeed, than all the stakeholders have to play their part fairly and in a concerted manner. We need to expand the market, bring more players and work out plans to make the best use of all the resources available in Pakistan.
NCR Corporation is the first major IT multinational, which has decided to use Pakistan as a regional hub for projects in the region. NCR Pakistan has been awarded the status of a Center of Expertise for the Middle East Africa region of NCR Corporation in Data Warehousing. This Center is fully operational and is currently engaged in major projects in the Gulf region. This is a great success story for Pakistan. While Pakistanis will get the opportunities to implement projects in different countries, it will also establish Pakistan as a leader in the field of Data Warehousing. The added advantage is that Pakistan will be able to earn foreign exchange.
NCR's data Warehousing technology is enabling companies around the world and in Pakistan, to make better, informed and lasting decisions. It provides a unique opportunity to turn the data into information, information into knowledge and knowledge into relationship. Companies of the new millennium want to use the vast amount of information, at their disposal, to serve each customer as an individual intimately, knowledgeably, cost effectively and securely. NCR technology and solutions help thousands of companies to achieve this objective.
NCR enables companies the world over to reach millions of customers. Whether these transactions and interactions take place across the counter, by telephone, at a kiosk or at an ATM and over the internet, NCR is there with hardware, software and solutions that make these interactions easier, more convenient and more relevant to customers.
NCR combines this unprecedented level of customer reach with powerful data warehousing solutions that help in better understanding information and serving each customer individually. This helps the companies in building new levels of brand loyalty and trust, and serve more customers in better ways than ever thought possible.
We have continued our success with Self Service Solution offering and enjoy major share of the market. We are all set to further diversify our solution offering in Pakistan. This includes for the first time cash acceptance machines and deployment of kiosks which can be effectively used for making utility bill payments — a major area of concern all over Pakistan. Lately our Data Warehousing and Call Center business has gained further momentum but we continue to make efforts in creating greater market for these products in Pakistan. We have been successful to a large extent.
In my opinion, the single largest contribution NCR has made, towards promotion of IT in Pakistan, is the agreements with six top universities of Pakistan to start Data Warehousing courses. The entire investment, including hardware, software, course development and training within and outside Pakistan, has been made by the Teradata division of NCR to develop skill in this fast growing field within the industry.
Yet another contribution of NCR is the commencement of IT Excellence Awards in Pakistan. These awards are aimed at recognizing the outstanding efforts of IT professionals and motivating the new entrants across the country to try to achieve excellence in the IT field.
To conclude, I would like to say that doing business in Pakistan is not the sole motive of NCR. We have been operating in the country for over half a century which itself is the largest display of our commitment to Pakistan. We strongly believe that unless the country is able to produce qualified and skilled people in IT, use it in core industries, even the best available hardware and software will be of no consequence. It is the people not the hardware or software which matter.