SIDE EFFECT OF MARRIOT BOMB BLAST
A CLUSTER OF 23 IT COMPANIES & SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS BADLY AFFECTED
Sep 29 - Oct 12, 2008
"Amidst the damage of Evacuee Trust Complex (ETC) building where around 23 IT companies were housed, IT companies in Islamabad have restored their operations to normal from alternate facilities and are fulfilling contractual obligations to local and international clients.
Actually the war on terror being waged by Pakistan alongside its Western allies terrorizing the economy in Pakistan which paying a heavy price and entangled with an unpredictable situation.
Talib Baloch , MD PSEB & Ms. Jehan Ara, President P@SHA after a, emergent meeting held in Islamabad after the bomb blast were of the opinion that most of the Companies in the building were allied offices of international firms all of which have proper business continuity plans in place as a part of their strategic business plans.
SIDE EFFECTS OF MARRIOT BLAST
The bomb-blast outside the Marriott, Islamabad also affected Evacuee Trust Complex (ETC), as it is located just next to Marriott Hotel. The building was the hub of IT Industry in Islamabad with around twenty-three prominent ICT companies and various other Multinationals. Although the soft structure of building was smashed with interrupted power and other infrastructure issues but the equipment, data /record and furniture other than glass structure of all companies is reported safe and intact. This temporarily paralyzed the operations of tenant companies in the building. In addition to a few minor and eight seriously injured, six causalities have also been reported. The deceased include three employees of tenant companies and three security guards at ETC building. PSEB and P@SHA offer their sincere condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives in the vicious attack.
The building was initially sealed but after the intervention of Federal Secretary of Information Technology & MD PSEB, physical access was allowed to the tenant companies on emergency basis to remove their mission critical assets. Companies collected their critical equipment, furniture and records to restore their operations from alternate locations / facilities on war-footing basis. No theft or mismanagement was reported as companies moved their assets from the building. Many companies such as "Konami, Ovex Technologies, Cogilent Solutions, Jin Technologies, LMKR, PiSigma etc. have reinstated their operations from alternate sites in Islamabad and Rawalpindi . International community outsourcing IT to Pakistan has also expressed their satisfaction on continuity of business with Pakistani IT companies. The industry stands tall to fulfill all international and local business commitments. Mr. Ken Morse, MD MIT Entrepreneurship Center, USA , assured his continued support to Pakistan IT industry and confirmed his scheduled visit to Pakistan in November 2008.
To facilitate those affected, vigorous efforts are being made by PSEB to identify and arrange alternate facilities in Islamabad and Rawalpindi for both IT Companies and Call Centers on urgent basis to ensure continuation of business. Office space of more than 268,000 sq ft. has been identified to ETC tenant Companies. Few of these locations are ideal to convert into Software Technology Park and negotiations are underway with the owners. More than 690 fully and partially operational seats for call centers in Islamabad and Rawalpindi have also been arranged by PSEB and offered to the tenant companies, MD PSEB added.
Both the public and private sector is actively working together to reinstate the temporary loss suffered by the industry. President P@SHA, Ms. Jehan Ara reached Islamabad today to visit the building and met the affected companies. MD PSEB and President P@SHA requested IT companies having excess capacity to help each other by sharing office space. MoIT, PSEB, P@SHA and other industry leaders strongly demand the Chairman ETPB (Evacuee Trust Property Board) to take steps on war footing for the restoration of the building within next 30 days.
PAKISTAN'S RANKING IN IT WORLD
Pakistan ranks 62 in the world in the 2008 IT industry competitiveness index, falling two places from its 2007 ranking of 60 in the index. In comparison, most neighbouring South Asian countries were ranked more favorably; for example India ranked 48th, Sri Lanka ranked 54th and Bangladesh ranked 60th.
These are among the findings of a new study issued by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
The study, now in its second year, assesses and compares the information technology (IT) industry environments of 66 countries to determine the extent to which they enable IT sector competitiveness. Although the top 20 economies remain the same from one year ago, nine countries moved up and 11 went down in the rankings. Three countries in the top five are new: Taiwan , Sweden and Denmark . The top five countries in Asia-Pacific Region are Taiwan , Australia , South Korea , Singapore and Japan .
"This year's index shows that a country's IT competitiveness rankings can move upward or downward very quickly," said Aly Harakeh, BSA spokesperson for Eastern Mediterranean & Pakistan, "The ability of local governments and IT industries to deliver jobs and a better quality of life through information technology is strongly affected by how they handle the six drivers of competitiveness. Pakistan needs to invest in its R&D environment and IT infrastructure in order to improve its competitiveness in the IT industry. Although fair scores were achieved for the business environment as well as support for IT industry development and legal environment, there is still a lot to do to move up the global ranks."
The study finds that Pakistan performed strongest in business environment (55.3) as well as support of IT industry development and legal environment (both 41.0) Areas of improvement include R&D environment where the country scored the lowest, 0.2 points.
"Policymakers and business leaders need to address the full combination of factors that enable competitive IT industries," maintains Denis McCauley, Director, Global Technology Research with the Economist Intelligence Unit. "Few countries can hope to build strong IT production sectors without strong business and legal environments, deep pools of talent, support for innovation, and the widespread use of technology throughout society."
SIX KEY COMPETITIVENESS ENABLERS
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, six factors work together to create a sound environment for the IT sector, including: an ample supply of skills; an innovation-friendly culture; world-class technology infrastructure; a robust legal regime that protects intellectual property, such as patents and copyrights; an open, competitive economy; and government leadership that strikes the right balance between promoting technology and allowing market forces to work.
Those countries that perform well in these six 'competitiveness enablers' generally are home to high-performance IT industries. High performing IT sectors directly contribute more than 5% to the gross domestic product of most advanced nations. They also drive momentum in the wider economy by helping organisations and workers to be more efficient and productive.
OTHER FINDINGS OF THE RESEARCH INCLUDE:
Investing in people is mission-critical for domestic IT industries. Sourcing talent will be among the toughest challenges IT producers will face in the coming years.
'Competitive broadband markets help cultivate strong IT sectors. Without fast, reliable, and secure Internet access, technology firms cannot interact effectively with partners and the research community, nor can they sell their services online.
'A legal environment that protects intellectual property rights (IPR) and takes a robust approach to cybercrime is essential. The US , Australia and Western European countries have the most effective systems in place to address IP protection and cybercrime, but gradual improvements are also evident in tough places like China .
"Globalisation and the Internet will 'liberate' R&D. Ecosystems, online or otherwise, that bring together talent, technology, venture capital, and good universities, supported by a risk-taking ethos, will be the best incubators of innovation.
The Economist Intelligence Unit is the business information arm of The Economist Group, publisher of The Economist. Through our global network of over 650 analysts, we continuously assess and forecast political, economic and business conditions in 200 countries. As the world's leading provider of country intelligence, we help executives make better business decisions by providing timely, reliable and impartial analysis on worldwide market trends and business strategies.
The Business Software Alliance (www.bsa.org) is the foremost organisation dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world. BSA is the voice of the world's commercial software industry and its hardware partners before governments and in the international marketplace. Its members represent one of the fastest growing industries in the world. BSA programmes foster technology innovation through education and policy initiatives that promote copyright protection, cyber security, trade and e-commerce. BSA members include: Adobe, Altium, Apple, Attachmate, Autodesk, Avid, Babylon, Bentley Systems, Centennial Software, CNC, Corel, CyberLink, Dassault SystĖmes SolidWorks Corporation, Enteo Software, Famatech, LINKService, Materialise Software, Microsoft, Mindjet, Monotype Imaging, O&O Software, Quark, Quest Software, Ringler-Informatik, Scalable Software, Siemens, Staff & Line, Symantec, Tekla, and The MathWorks.