Thankfully, the state of IT in Pakistan today is in much better shape than it was a few years back. Now the thing have started to come in place, gradually though. But one could not deny the fact that IT industry is the country is making an accelerated growth. Although IT developments date back from 80’s in the country; the phenomenal growth that industry has witnessed over the past decade would have not been possible without the internet –which actually entered the market in 1996. In the recent corporate environment, where IT has become an integral part of business processes, we trace back the development of IT in this particular area in the country.
Business Software and Hardware in Pakistan
The development of the IT industry can be reflected from the presence of the software and hardware manufactured in the country. First of all, when it comes to the hardware, there has not been much growth in the country and the industry is still very much reliant on the imported technology, either done directly or through a vendor. It seems that hardware still is not the domain of the local IT professionals.
On the other hand, the software industry is on the boom. Since our primary area of focus over here is Enterprise market, we will look on the Systems software and Application Software business in the industry. Like the hardware, Systems software comes very much from the developed countries, either by import or from the vendors who supply hardware to the companies.
But the scenario for Application software which includes business programs and applications is overwhelming. To date, it has been estimated that the country booms about 660 software houses which are not only catering to the local business industry with their software but also exporting it to other regions. These software cover as diversified area as database management, internet applications, eCommerce, CAD/CAM management systems etc. Not only this, the wide range of products available caters to fit the respective business vertical needs well.
Much of the credit for the growth of the software industry rests on the efforts and policies of the government to enhance the IT infrastructure in the country, otherwise it would not have been possible for the emerging players in information technology to develop and polish their skills. It is because of these efforts that today Pakistan’s software industry has a total worth of US$ 50-100 million which could well grow in the near future.
Apart from the government efforts, much growth of local software in the corporate market is possible because of two reasons:
- Highly skilled IT professionals is available in large quantity
- The emphasis of the local software houses on quality and well-managed processes
Since the local software houses are competing with each other to provide the best business solutions, the competition has become more tough and productive. We still have very few software companies with either ISO 9000 or CMM (Capability Maturity Model) certifications but the good thing is the number is increasing.
Since most of the international players like IBM, ORACLE, SAP, SIEMEN etc. have also very much invested in the local market because of the suitable environment available – with low cost and highly skilled IT professionals –it has become highly difficult for the local software houses to enter the business arena.
The problem with the software industry is the services provided are not at par excellence and are unable to deliver the desired work. Here it is noteworthy that this is not because of only the poor services of the software providers but also may result because of the inadequate knowledge of the local customer who acquires any technology without keeping the specifications in mind.
Like the global market, the software selling in the local industry has grown immensely over the last decade for the corporate clients. Many of the international software bigwigs are also investing in the country because of the fact that the country garners huge human resource and the cost of operations is comparatively low.
The growth of IT industry has made the country an attraction on international scale, and more and more IT related import is entering the country. The enterprise market locally has greatly realized the potential of information technology for enhancement of their business growth and is shaping their IT procurement policy. Since the IT procurement has become one of the most sought after business decision of the CIOs/IT Head, there lays immense potential for the growth of the IT sellers which covers both the developers community and the local vendors.
(The article was written for Rasala Publications Group’s Brand, CIOPakistan)