We still have a long way to go to realize the true essence of services, be it technical or business related. Adnan Siddiqui, Country Sales Manager, IBM shares his opinion on the IT industry and role of IBM.
Adnan Siddiqui is the Country Sales Manager IBM Pakistan. He has been associated with the leading IT giant for past 19 years working in various capacities. He has a real passion for IBM & IBM products.
A computer science and business graduate – BCS from FAST and MBA from IBA – he has taken the classic path from being a programmer to systems analyst to Project Leader, then software sales person and finally territory sales person.
After remaining in services he became a salesperson in 2001 and took over the NorthterritoryofPakistanstarting 2006. He increased IBM’s presence inPakistanmany folds and has constantly been contributing to the company’s growth in the market.
Adnan played a leading role in IBM Pakistan’s Academic Initiative (IBM’s collaboration with universities and students) and brought leading universities into IBM’s fold. He also managed IBM’s million dollar donation in the form of an Open Source Lab to one of the leading universities ofPakistan.
He has represented IBM at the federal government, American state and commerce sections in the embassy being a frequent speaker on business and academic platforms.
A result oriented person with high energy levels, Adnan has exhaustive knowledge of IBM’s offerings and has independently sold many of these solutions.
1. What is the present situation of IT services industry ofPakistan? What are the growth areas in the country?
The IT services industry will continue to grow as any automation done revolves around the value add provided by any hardware or software. Hence, the integral value of services remains. However, the challenge is to convince local customers not to cut corners when it comes to services. Globally, the rough rule of thumb is that for every dollar spent on software, three dollars are spent on services. We still have a long way to go to realize the true essence of services, be it technical or business related.
The growth areas for services are business process modelling, integration of systems (internal and external) and training.
2. What are the major products/services of IBM being sold inPakistan?
IBM globally is a services leader with major share of the company’s revenues coming from services. Also in Pakistan, IBM is rapidly expanding its services footprint and offering services such as application management, disaster recovery services, ERP implementation, IT and business strategy formulation and complete IT outsourcing.
Other than this, IBM is a major hardware and software company. In the hardware portfolio, our offerings are the mainframe, Unix servers, Intel servers and storage. In software, we sell information management products (DB2, Informix, Filenet), integration software (Websphere), Business Intelligence (Cognos), Infrastructure management (Tivoli), email and collaboration (Lotus Notes), plant maintenance (Maximo) and software development tools (Rational). In the last 10 years, IBM has spent over $ 10 billion to acquire new software products to expand its software and applications portfolio. Some of these applications are for specific businesses such as banking, telecom or government.
Other than hardware and software, IBM is a global leader in cloud offerings which are also available in Pakistan.
3. How many direct distributors of IBM are present in Pakistan?
IBM has four distributors who are supported by a number of partners who bundle their services with IBM hardware and software.
4. How do you rank different products/services of IBM in terms of sales inPakistan?
IBM has the legacy of being a leader in hardware but a few years back IBM decided to become a services company with hardware and software to support its services ambitions. As the IT market has matured and customers’ requirements have become more sophisticated, our software and services business has grown manifold. Now, two thirds of IBM’s revenue is coming from our services & software business.
5. Tell us about your best selling product/service in Pakistan?
IBM has an edge in services. We are pleased to claim that in the recent past we have not had a single customer where we have not delivered on our commitments. This truly differentiates our engagement with clients as it is not transactional but based on long term commitments and trust.
6. What is your target audience inPakistan? Which areas/cities do you intend to target?
Our target market consists of all clients who intend to automate their business processes and hence aim at cost savings and improved efficiencies. Though we have offices inKarachi,LahoreandIslamabadbut we are engaged with clients all over the country.
7. When an entrepreneur starts a new business/office, how can IBM help them in different aspects and why should they choose IBM?
IBM has tremendous information on different businesses in different countries. This can help business in avoiding pitfalls and plan intelligently for the growth of their businesses. Our services division can help in setting up systems for the company and reduce costs by putting in place applications for paperless offices, sales automation, financial and audit control and a myriad of other areas where IBM can be instrumental in helping businesses.
8. What would you like to say about the refurbished hardware coming from other countries? How is it affecting the business of branded hardware?
Customers who have mission critical application know better not to jeopardize their business operations by opting for substandard hardware. It does affect our business but not in a major way. Any client who is looking for value and knows the importance of not being penny wise and pound foolish would/will know which hardware to select.
9. Do you think more competition is required in this industry or it has reached its saturation point? What potential do you see in this industry?
Competition is always welcome. It helps in expanding the size of the IT industry and at the same time provides employment. Also, if we start focusing on the huge outsourcing industry, then sky is the limit. At IBM Pakistan, we have a local delivery centre which provides programming and other services skills to customers in theUS. However, we are miniscule compared toIndia. Hence, we need to explore new opportunities across the globe and not be geographically limited.
10. What are IBM’sPakistan’s future plans and vision?
IBM has just completed its hundred years. This is a big feat as being relevant in IT is extremely challenging due to the ever changing nature of this industry. Big names which ruled the IT world are no longer there but IBM has continued to add value to businesses and governments all over the world.
Also in Pakistan, we hope to be part of the business automation process. At the same time, we want to be a responsible corporate citizen and provide employment and training to the youth of this country. We would likePakistanto make a mark in the global arena and be a services engine for IBM globally.