WAYS TO VITALIZE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
AROOJ ASGHAR (Arooj.firstname.lastname@example.org)
May 18 - 24, 2009
IT is one of the few areas which are becoming vital for the growth and development of every country. IT industry in Pakistan emerged effectively in nineties. Pakistani software developers began to take initiative aggressively. Adequate amount of investment was made by software houses to hire expensive and specialized persons, who developed good quality software. Software and IT related services saw a bombastic boom during that period worldwide. Empirical evidence suggests that IT is having a substantial impact on the productivity and performance of the companies. IT exports in 2007-08, as reported by the State Bank of Pakistan, was US$ 100 million, though with minimal margin but exceeded the target of US$ 75 million. India has also made progress in this field by leaps and bounds but generally it is believed that the quality of Pakistani software is much better than the Indian developers but we only lack presentation and marketing skills.
The manufacturers of computers and semi conductors are experiencing fundamental technological progress. This factor is driving down the relative prices of these goods and allowing them to greatly expand their production. This phenomenon termed as multiple factor productivity growth, represents the ability to produce an increasing amount of output from the same inputs. IT, seen in a larger context, should have even wider impacts on the economy, because new channels of communications, such as the Internet, cellular television, and broadband applications, will provide business with new channels to reach customers and suppliers.
There are numerous issues faced by the IT sector in general. Some of them are outlined as under:
1- Our IT industry is lagging far behind the regional and international players as there is lack of investment as well as paucity of government attention for this area. Non professional people have been making investments in this field as a usual business. But lack of expertise and inclination on their part to treat it an as ordinary trading concern failed to elevate the quality of our software development skills.
2- Quality technical, marketing professional and IT trainers are vastly moving abroad owing to better opportunities and lucrative compensation package. This enormous brain drain is causing intellectual bankruptcy in the local industry.
Following suggestions are to be taken into consideration by the competent authorities in order to make the sector grow at a faster pace and to enable it to accelerate the pace of economic growth.
1- It is imperative to allure major foreign IT related companies to invest in Pakistan by extending offers of concession packages and providing them quality work. Development of packaged and customized software for these clients can make them adhere to the product and services.
2- Human resource development and ways to restrict them to leave the country is the most crucial step in order to prevent the industry from brain drain. In addition the training and development of specialized personnel is to be arranged.
3- All the public as well as private sector organizations are to be compelled to do away with primitive procedures and adopt state of the art technology and computerize their outlets and offices. This step will enhance the utilization as well as awareness and handling of computer related material. Consumer awareness can be improved through IT and the Internet.
4- The communication infrastructure is directly related to IT, therefore its growth and development will certainly impart enormous effects on the IT sector. Development of call centers can also augment the business.
5- Government and the entrepreneurs have to launch effective promotion and networking in international markets so as to compete the rival firms in the region. In this regard holding road shows, exhibitions, international conferences and seminars on IT on regular intervals worldwide can be an effective tool. There are IT villages and cities established at specific locations in India and Dubai and other place. We need to have at least one fully operational technology city in Pakistan
6- Local investors should try to make strategic ties and collaboration with international software houses.
7- Private firms dealing with international collaborators should set up their goodwill with the clients by timely delivery of the assignments, after sale support and maintenance and minimum amount of bugs in the product. They should also be able to provide referrals and guarantees to foreign buyers.
8- Continuous induction of new value added technology products and services will pull more customers to the market. The management should be having Risk taking and forward looking managerial attitude.
9- Formal and authentic documentation by Government related to IT sector. Provide strong financial base by giving subsidies and support in obtaining financing from the banks.