Interview with Farhad Fatakia

by Noc Team on December 29, 2009

(This interview is conducted by Mr. Babar Javed)

What is Ora-Tech Systems Greatest Strength?


Our greatest strength is a question I often get from customers when they are trying to evaluate us versus the competition. The truth is, it would be easy to rest on our achievements from an IT perspective with 40+ Oracle E-Business Suite Implementations and literally hundreds of projects successfully completed.

However our greatest strengths have been in our ability to expand continuously for the last 20 years and have survived major events in the history of IT in Pakistan to still be here today. We are the only Full Turnkey Solution provider in Pakistan that has managed to survive, the IT Bubble Bursting, Nawaz Sharifs freezing foreign exchange accounts, the fall out after 9/11 and the ups and downs of the Musharaff Era coming and going. Our current challenge is the financial crisis, but we are more than confident that it can be taken care of too.
Come what may, we will always continue to do business in Pakistan and the surrounding regions without the slightest hint of hesitation. That is our greatest strength I feel.

What is your assessment of how healthy Pakistan is from an IT perspective?

Pakistan is suffering from a serious class distinction with respect to its IT infrastructure. Entities at the top of the food chain like Banks, Telco’s and the cream of the Pakistani market are as technically sophisticated as any other similar entity in North America or Europe. That in and of itself is a major achievement that we often overlook and the reason we tend to is because the much larger problem we have is that small to medium size businesses are still pretty much in the dark ages from an IT point of view, with a smattering of legacy applications and outdated systems. The sad truth is that solutions for many of these organizations exist and can easily be implemented in their businesses but they have not invested an adequate enough amount in getting the right guy for the job as their head of IT and as a result of which their potential is being stifled.

The Govt. however has been an incredible example to the private sector in its ambitious push to computerize its public schools and try to impress upon the masses how IT can help make their lives more convenient and their careers or businesses more successful. Centralization of driving license records across provinces has become a reality, Pakistan Railways is digitizing its archival data and is in the process of bringing all of its systems into a 21st century framework. For all of this to be happening despite civil unrest and wars being fought in our country just goes to show that the Government genuinely wants to improve its operations and services, which it is not willing to put on halt for anyone or anything that might threaten the country. In fact, IT budgets laid out by the Govt. have risen YoY consistently for the last ten years, one of the Musharaff Govt’s greatest legacies which has been further expanded and improved upon by the current Govt. A very encouraging sign across the board.

What is the next ‘Big Thing’ you foresee that will be adopted in the Pakistani Corporate Environment in terms of applications?

Our Vision 2010 Event last year showcased just that and we feel 2010 is going to be the year of consolidation and improvement of internal procedures, which is going to involve a lot of electronic document management and a real push towards paperless environments, not to mention video archiving and more organized archiving in general for a lot of Pakistans biggest and brightest companies.

We have put our faith in Content Management Systems and see every company that is serious about its internal operations adopting the idea of a central document repository like one big email inbox for all of their faxes and unstructured documents which make up over 85% of their information. It is going to revolutionize the way we work and boost efficiency by a magnitude in line with what email did for us over the last 20 years. Trust me, we have been right about this kind of thing each of the years we eyed expanding our operation.

Will the Internet bring down barriers, making markets more democratic?

I think that the internet has already showed us considerable potential with respect to its ability to share ideas that lead to profit. A great example of how the Internet has really turned into a great forum for linking everyone in the spectrum is AliBaba.Com.

With tools like that, you can find a supplier for almost anything, anywhere and at any quantity. Gone are the days when you would need to know the right people only to be able to successfully transact business.

So what the Internet is doing is really removing the barriers to entry for someone that wants to get into the market to sell anything whether it is retail or services. Obviously this is going to breed the next generation of small and medium size business owners which will almost guarantee that monopolies are a thing of the past and makes competition much stiffer.
The only thing that the Internet has been a little slow on is breaking language barriers, but with apps like Google Wave able to simultaneously translate languages via keyboard text for both users, there are really very few communication barriers left. This means that a supplier in China can communicate with a Bicycle retailer in Sweden without ever having to think in another language other than his own and that is a VERY powerful idea.

Can you tell us how Ora-Tech innovates?
I think every companies ability to innovate stems from some core philosophy that has emerged from its business practices over the long run. In our case, I feel it is our approach to customer related issues which is somewhat unique in Pakistan as it involves a combination of functional consultancy and systems integration, both areas in which we have excelled at over the last 20 years.

Our ability to innovate therefore is motivated by our deep understanding of individual clients and more importantly the marketplaces future requirements as we see it. Since we practically built Pakistani IT community in the 1990’s to date, I feel it is a lot simpler for us to decipher what the next BIG THING is going to be in IT and move towards it keeping in mind exactly what our customers will require.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Zahn Ersatz December 11, 2010 at 8:04 PM

Hello,I just want to say thanks for this interesting thread about Interview with Farhad Fatakia | CodeWeek! Regards, Zahn Ersatz

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