Pak­istani IT in­dus­try hits the top

Enterprise - - Contents -

In 2010, the IT in­dus­try emerged suc­cess­ful af­ter fight­ing the un­prece­dented re­ces­sion of 2008. Re­vival of busi­ness ac­tiv­ity kick­started with money pumped in by in­vestors the world over. The IT in­dus­try in de­vel­oped world economies and in In­dia, has reached a sat­u­ra­tion point. In con­trast, the the in­dus­try of Pak­istan is grow­ing in dou­ble dig­its. De­spite do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional chal­lenges, Pak­istan’s in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try has recorded steady growth with key sup­port from tal­ented hu­man re­source and en­trepreneur­ship.

In­ter­na­tional cus­tomers have started in­vest­ing in bal­anc­ing, ma­tur­ing and re­plac­ing their sys­tems and soft­ware, which has helped the lo­cal in­dus­try to at­tain sta­bil­ity. The IT sec­tor has been grow­ing at 15 per­cent to 20 per­cent over the last three years. Growth in 2011 was about 15 per­cent and the year was re­garded as a ‘golden year’ for the IT sec­tor in Pak­istan.

Ac­cord­ing to a for­mal study con­ducted by the Pak­istan Soft­ware Ex­port Board, 2011’s IT ex­ports stood at about $560 mil­lion, mainly rep­re­sent­ing rev­enues from It-en­abled ser­vices. These op­ti­mistic es­ti­mates could up to as high as $860 mil­lion.

The coun­try’s tal­ented work­force and rapidly grow­ing en­trepreneur­ship trends are said to be the driv­ing forces of in­dus­trial growth. As Wa­haj us Si­raj, Con­vener of the In­ter­net Ser­vice Providers As­so­ci­a­tion of Pak­istan (Is­pak), puts it, “Pak­istan’s tal­ent pool and en­trepreneur­ship are pri­mar­ily caus­ing this growth.”

As a mat­ter of fact, a lot of young pro­fes­sion­als, who started their busi­nesses in­di­vid­u­ally, are now op­er­at­ing their own com­pa­nies with 200 to 500 em­ploy­ees. This pro­fes­sional tal­ent is rec­og­nized by lead­ing global play­ers like Mi­crosoft, ex­pand­ing their off­shore busi­ness pro­cess­ing and busi­ness process out­sourc­ing, par­tic­u­larly in Pak­istan. Mi­crosoft re­cently launched the MS Cus­tomer Im­mer­sion Ex­pe­ri­ence fa­cil­ity in Karachi with an in­vest­ment of over $1 mil­lion.

Ac­cord­ing to Sayed Hashish, Mi­crosoft’s Gen­eral Man­ager, “Pak­ista­nis ac­count for 40 per­cent of to­tal soft­ware de­vel­op­ment in North Africa, East Mediter­ranean and Mid­dle East­ern Africa.” A num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions for Win­dows Phone came from Pak­istani IT stu­dents even be­fore its launch, which in­di­cates the strength of tal­ent the coun­try has.

For 2012, the growth prospects are aimed be­yond 20 per­cent if the coun­try per­forms bet­ter at pro­duc­ing qual­ity pro­fes­sion­als. State Bank of Pak­istan’s an­nual re­port sug­gests that the IT sec­tor also posted rapid growth on the back of grow­ing de­mand for au­to­ma­tion in do­mes­tic busi­nesses. In ad­di­tion, de­mand for busi­ness out­sourc­ing in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries led the way for rapid growth in IT ex­ports, such as call cen­tre ser­vices and soft­ware de­vel­op­ment. It points out that Pak­istan’s lower cost of labour, land and tar­iff ex­emp­tion on IT ex­ports gives the sec­tor an ad­van­tage over other com­peti­tors.

To ben­e­fit the coun­try through IT on a large scale, agri­cul­tural ex­ten­sion de­part­ments and com­mod­ity pro­cure­ment agen­cies need to dig­i­tal­ize their op­er­a­tions to con­tain crop dis­eases, im­prove soil fer­til­ity and in­crease per acre yields of food sta­ples. Part of the for­eign in­vest­ment that has been lined up for the agri­cul­tural sec­tor could be used in these ar­eas. For this pur­pose, there is a need to de­velop ef­fec­tive mod­els of public-pri­vate part­ner­ships.

How­ever, while the prospects for 2012 look great, it was 2011 that can so far be termed as a golden year in Pak­istan’s In­for­ma­tion and Tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try with lots of un­prece­dented achieve­ments, solid de­vel­op­ments and emerg­ing po­ten­tial which builds a strong hope for the bright fu­ture of the coun­try.

Here are high­lights of Pak­istan’s ma­jor achieve­ment in 2011:

Pak­istan Fast Growth 25

Pak­istan Fast Growth 25, a rank­ing of fast growth en­tre­pre­neur­ial com­pa­nies, listed 10 IT com­pa­nies on its in­dex for the first time, gain­ing recog­ni­tion at na­tional level. The Pak­istan Fast Growth 25 is a pro­gram of the Al­lworld Net­work in part­ner­ship with Har­vard Busi­ness School’s Pro­fes­sor Michael Porter and was launched in col­lab­o­ra­tion with JS Bank Limited.

Of­fi­cial Game for ICC 2011 Cricket World Cup

Pak­istani games de­vel­op­ment com­pany, Mind­storm Stu­dios suc­cess­fully de­vel­oped the “Of­fi­cial Game” for the ICC 2011 Cricket World Cup, the most ad­vanced 3D browser cricket game de­vel­oped to date.

Pak-in­dia ICT firms vow to en­hance trade up to $5 bil­lion

Pak­istani and In­dian IT com­mit­tee of ‘Aman Ki Asha’ suc­cess­fully held bi­lat­eral talks on both sides of the bor­der, aimed at en­hanc­ing trade ties in the field of IT.

Pak­istani and In­dian IT ti­tans de­cided to carry on their ef­forts for de­vel­op­ing an “In­di­aPak­istan e-land” at the bor­der where peo­ple can meet, in­ter­act, teach, learn and jointly de­velop in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty.

Net­sol deal with In­dian com­pany

One of Pak­istan’s top ICT com­pa­nies, Net­sol, signed an agree­ment with an In­dian firm to sell its prod­uct “Net­sol Fi­nan­cial Suite” to a global auto leas­ing com­pany op­er­at­ing in In­dia.

Google grants to So­cial In­no­va­tors

Google Inc. has granted $250,000 to the Pak­istan Soft­ware Houses As­so­ci­a­tion that launched the Pasha Fund for dis­tribut­ing the al­lo­cated amount to 25 tal­ented in­no­va­tors.

This was for the first time that a global IT gi­ant granted seed money to a lo­cal as­so­ci­a­tion for a so­cial cause.

Pep­per.pk Mo­bile Apps hit No.1 spot

Pak­istani apps de­vel­oper Pep­per.pk hit the num­ber one spot on the global Black­berry mar­ket­place, App World, with their ap­pli­ca­tion, called LED No­ti­fier Pro. The app has been im­mensely pop­u­lar since its launch and is cur­rently ranked the best­selling Black­berry ap­pli­ca­tion in the world.

Pak­istan shines at APICTA

At the 11th an­nual Asia Pa­cific ICT Awards (APICTA) 2011 in Pat­taya, Thai­land, Pak­istani ICT firms se­cured two Gold awards in the e-health and e-lo­gis­tics and SCM cat­e­gories and 5 sil­vers in the com­mu­ni­ca­tion, fi­nan­cial, se­cu­rity, e-in­clu­sion, e-com­mu­nity and e-gov­ern­ment cat­e­gories.

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