Team IDG had a chat with Founder and Managing Partner at Integration Xperts, Umair Azam;
who talks all things Customer Experience and Big Data.
Umair Azam is the Founder and Managing Partner at Integration Xperts, a company that creates strategies in light of technology – focusing on Cloud, Mobility, Big Data and Internet of Things. Umair has been a part of the technology industry for 18 years, and has worked at organizations such as Oracle, Avaya, and Inbox Technologies. Our webstudio team sat down for a chat with him, and talked all things big data, customer experience, and the local ICT industry.
The ICT industry is rapidly transforming in Pakistan and we see some major changes taking place. Mobility, Big Data, and Cloud Applications are going to be the three drivers that are going to enable the modern-day, digital economy, according to Umair.
Tech Trends to Watch
There has been a significant increase in the number of startups being created, and consequently there is a great deal of work happening in the field of Artificial Intelligence, machine learning – the new buzzwords in the tech sector. Umair also sees vast potential in blockchain technology, which is an open-source, distributed, database using state-of-the-art cryptography, with the ability to facilitate collaboration and tracking of all kinds of transactions and interactions.
Umair states that various entrants, both big and small, are talking to Integration Xperts about their ability to launch their own crypto-currency, and create a roadmap towards bitcoin, and introducing bitcoin in their ecosystem.
When asked about the major milestones in the ICT sector, Umair underscores the importance of the retail boom. The ecommerce retail boom in Pakistan has led new entrants in the market, a lot of VCs outside of Pakistan, and a lot of private equities are looking to fund these startups, and I think this will further transform the industry.
Umair strongly believes that the enterprise space in Pakistan can add more value to the ICT ecosystem. He thinks they are still not at a level where the regional competitors could be, and the reason for that is that they have not invested in technology. Places like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are taking a lead from us, and the reason for this is that they are adopting technology much faster than our local industry, according to Umair. Examples are sectors such as textiles, FMCG, real estate and manufacturing.
Customer Experience in the Modern Business Era
Customer experience, also known as CX, has started holding a great deal of value now that consumers have become savvy, states Umair. It is a consumer driven market, where the customers have certain expectations when they go adopt a brand or acquire a brand. The vast reach of social media means both positive and negative customer experiences are published. It’s important for businesses to dedicate time and resources towards building their CX because that will determine future growth.
Umair states that design thinking is fairly a new concept, and one that is very important too because it allows key stakeholders, in any organization, to get involved in problem solving and creating strategies that need to be implemented at all levels.
Integration Xperts is a company born in the Cloud era, and one of their first customers to go on the cloud was goto.pk, a success story of the second largest marketplace in Pakistan.
Goto.pk has automated their entire back office operations, including finance systems, inventory management, warehouse management, and the entire order fulfillment process has been automated using the Oracle Cloud Applications. Umair states that Goto.pk is now gearing towards automating their last mile delivery – which is a very important part of CX since delivery of items ordered tends to get delayed when companies depend on third party logistics.
Building Smarter Systems through Data
Integrations Xperts is also working with a number of companies that are focusing on IoT and Big Data – using this technology to collect data from their field, and then using it to make timely decisions to better serve their customers.
A sad state of affairs that most in Karachi have witnessed is garbage dumpsters overflowing with trash. IX are working with some local organizations, and the local government where they are putting smart bins across the city. These smart bins will be monitored in real time, and when a bin will hit a certain level of trash, it will automatically send a message back to the operation center, which will then dispatch the nearest garbage truck to empty the dumpster.
Another great initiative that IX is partaking in is with the local health industry, where they are launching a mobile diagnosis unit using again Big Data and IoT. IX will facilitate in diagnosing infectious diseases in a matter of seconds, saving time and resources on one hand, and increasing availability to patients who might otherwise not have access to clinics and hospitals. Hence this screening tool will allow health authorities to go out in the field and collect data, rather than people coming in to hospitals and labs.
In order to not get left behind, Umair says businesses must adopt technological change in time. And he states that authorities need to invest more on promoting Big Data, IoT and Cloud in Pakistan.
As we concluded our chat, Umair added that IDG is playing a very important role in bringing the industry and the ICT players on one platform, while educating people about where the technology trend is moving.
Interview conducted/edited by: Team IDG