Thursday, December 25, 2003

IT a must to increase efficiency, quality of public services: Awais Leghari

IT a must to increase efficiency, quality of public services: Awais Leghari

Published in the Pakistan Link

ISLAMABAD (NNI): Federal Minister for Information Technology Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari Tuesday called for using IT as a tool in improving the business process management in the public and private sector organizations to increase efficiency and the quality of services.

“If Pakistan is going to compete in the global markets, speed, efficiency and quality are vitally important,” he said in a speech to a seminar on Business Process Management organized by Ultimus Pakistan at a local hotel.

He maintained that it was very important for the public as well as private sector organizations to seriously consider the use of new technologies. “Indeed, when the Pakistan government, like governments everywhere, talks about ‘E-Government’, the purpose is to digitize, automate, and improve business processes,” he said, hoping the business process management (BPM) would become “a central component of our IT strategy in building an effective e-government”.

The minister said every organization in every country and in every industry had business processes that defined how the company interacts with its customers, supplier, employees and partners.

“These include things like order processing, document review processes, performance reviews, benefits, loan process, credit card applications and many others. In many cases the quality and speed of these business processes determines the success of the company,” he said, hoping the BPM software such as that provided by Ultimus would provide the tools to model, automate, manage and optimize these business processes over their life cycle. He said by BPM, organizations could also reduce the cost as well as the response time to their customers.

Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari noted that while business processes were prevalent in all companies and government offices in Pakistan, “these processes rely mainly on the use of people with every office in Pakistan full of a large number of clerks and a tremendous amount of files and paperwork”.

He invited the Ultimus, co-founded by a Pakistani, to use the Ministry of Information Technology as a test-bed on which to try out the applicability of their software in a Pakistani government setting.

“We would be very happy to act as the pilot site for their product and if the experiment works, we could then replicate this solution in the other ministries,” he said.

He observed that the government departments were too dependent on the skill of the people to manage the sheer volume of workload. “While this does create employment for a large number of people, we suffer from the fact that we cannot respond quickly to our customers,” he added.

He said he was happy to learn that Ultimus was donating US $400,000 worth of Ultimus BPM software to the GIK Institute for their internal use. “This is another excellent example of a Pakistani software company helping a leading educational institute,” he said, describing the initiative a win-win deal because Ultimus was obviously hiring a good number of graduates from GIK Institute.

He also commended Ultimus for offering an Ultimus Scholarship that covers full cost of education for a student in every undergraduate class at the GIK Institute. “This partnership between Ultimus and GIK Institute is an excellent example of how industries and educational institutions can work together for the long-term success of Pakistan in the IT sector,” he said.

The minister thanked the management and employees of Ultimus for making the workshop a success and pledged the government would continue to do its best to foster success stories such as this with other Pakistani companies.

Giving demonstration of the products and processes developed by his company, Ultimus chief executive officer Rashid Khan said that due to its growth and success, Ultimus had demonstrated that it was an excellent model for software companies wishing to leverage the talent of the abundant human resources in Pakistan.

“Unlike many other companies in Pakistan who rely upon selling services for project-based software development or call centers, Ultimus uses its software development team based in Rawalpindi to develop a world-class software product,” he said.

He said “Ultimus’ product business is not dependent on the whims of companies overseas wishing to outsource their development, and who have many countries to choose from”.

“Instead, Ultimus uses its worldwide sales and marketing team to promote and sell its BPM solutions,” he said, adding “the company uses its Pakistani facility not only for software development but also to provide customer support, professional services and web development in order to support its global business”.

He told the audience Ultimus started from two developers in 1994 and so far has successfully grown its staff to 55 developers in Pakistan. “I am pleased to inform you that Ultimus has announced plans to double and expand to over 100 developers in Pakistan in 2004 and the company is well on its way to become a leading player in the Pakistani IT community.”

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