Ashraf Kapadia in conversation with me on ITLoW
Ashraf Kapadia is someone one can only refer to as a “real” gentleman. I have never heard him raise his voice ever (although one would have to check with his staff and family to know for sure). He has been part of the IT industry for a very long time starting with IBM where he spent decades before he joined Visionet (a wholly owned subsidiary of Systems Ltd).
In this episode of ITLoW, Ashraf takes us through a brief journey of his early years at IBM and the slow but sure emergence of an IT industry in Pakistan. He talks about the involvement of companies in consulting work and providing solutions for the Y2K problem – says it was a great time. Companies made a lot of money. Then came application development, system integration and BPO.
As a company, Systems Ltd has been re-inventing itself over the years in order to keep up with the changing requirements of customers. It has grown from a single office in Lahore, and currently has, in addition to the Lahore operation, two offices in Karachi, one in New Jersey and one in Bangalore. Ashraf talks about the need to open up in Bangalore and what the experience has been like.
In the US, Systems has about 50 high level business domain and technical consultants. In Pakistan there are business doman specialists and technical experts, developers, BPO experts. The Bangalore operation is an answer to clients saying “If you were in Bangalore….”
Ashraf also talks about his experience in different locations; he thinks (as many of us do) that the calibre of people in the Pakistan IT sector is far superior to that available in many other countries – this includes our analytical skills, our ability to think through a business problem and actually provide a solution, our ability to take on a challenge, our creativity, our enterprising nature. We are not just a country of coders or service providers. He believes that the kind of work we get out of Pakistan is far superior to that which is available elsewhere.
Ashraf and I also discussed industry issues and possible solutions that we should be working on. Scale is one thing we have been worried about as an industry. Ashraf believes mergers and acquisitions are the answer. It is what can take us a quantum leap forward.
This is an interview not to be missed. Ashraf is a man with a sense of humour, great organizational skills and vast amounts of experience and insight.
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