Excellence Delivered in a platform that provides operational efficiency and excellence through technology to various industries in a highly tech driven world. Speaking to IDG Pakistan is Sajjad Syed CEO Excellence Delivered as he talks about challenges, the ICT industry in Pakistan and much more.
Mr. Sajjad has a long history with the Pakistani ICT industry, starting off with the Punjab Information Technology Board; to heading Oracle’s ERP division in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, and Sri Lanka, and selling one of the first ERPs in the country, to joining SAP as a managing director and then in 2010 starting his own company i.e. Excellence Delivered.
Speaking about Excellence Delivered, he said, “We are one of the largest ecommerce players in the country and we make mobile applications. We are one of the largest SAP implementers in Pakistan. We are second or third in terms of Oracle. Then we do a lot of outsourcing work. We have grown geographically; we have a company in Saudi and Dubai. We recently bought a company in Australia and now we are planning on expanding in Canada as well.”
Talking about how the company started out, he said “I started this company with a total capital of two thousand five hundred dollars; my wife and I were the two founders. We started from our drawing room and went on to a five person team and today we are about 300 people strong and we are in four countries.”
Different Verticals of Excellence Delivered
The major vertical that Excellence Delivered works is on the ERP side, according to Mr. Sajjad they are one of the top players when it comes to SAP and Oracle products. “We are partners of Amazon as well. Of course, within these two large verticals they have all sorts of technology like IoT. SAP has an IoT platform, Oracle has one as well and we have competence in both. Same is the case with AI platform and Leonardo product of SAP is something that we are very interested in and we are developing use cases on that.”
Another vertical that Excellence Delivered focuses on is ecommerce. Mr. Sajjad said, “We are partners with Shopify and Magento and a lot of work is being done. We do manage ecommerce for a bunch of large brands in the country, now we have our own set up for the Hunarkar initiative which is going to be one of the largest market places serving the really underprivileged in this country.”
Hunarkar – Serving the Underprivileged
Speaking about their new initiative called Hunarkar, Mr. Sajjad said “We have signed up about 1200 artisans and handicraft people from across the country from Gilgit Baltitsan and all the way down to Gawadar Balochistan and Karachi Sindh, Sukkur and rural areas as well.”
For Hunarkar, Excellence Delivered has collabortd with Amazon and will be selling the work of the local artisans globally. Regarding the initiative, he said “So that is a business model that has not been tested at all. So you will see a lot of local businesses growing in ecommerce, you will see local and international entities coming in.”
ICT Industry Milestones
When asked about what milestones the ICT industry in Pakistan has achieved according to him over the past years, he said “first milestone is the taxation structure that initially helped us i.e. when there was no tax on exports. It incentivized a lot of companies to come forward.”
He further added that the advent of 3G in the country is also a major milestone as it improved the ecommerce in the country. He said, “I think the ecommerce boom can directly be correlated to it.”
“Similarly, the decrease in the cost of cell phones in the industry when smartphone prices came down from 40-50 thousand rupees to about 10-20 thousand rupees, I think that was a major boom that was happening.” He said.
He also spoke about a milestone in the industry that he would like to see happening i.e. localization. “A lot of content, a lot of apps, a lot of usability is going to go from and that is happening in a lot of countries, i.e. go from English to our local languages and when that particular thing happens we are going to see another boom happening. So for instance all the apps that we build, all the technologies that we build we are going to focus on local languages.” He said.
ICT Industry Challenges
Discussing the challenges of the ICT industry in Pakistan, he said “The biggest challenge is the lack of clarity in the government policy especially in the taxation policy. We and our customers, due to the lack of clarity are not really sure how the transaction would happen and the financial implications.”
Another major challenge he highlighted was that of the workforce. He said, “We see that as a major constraint and I am very glad to hear that the government is putting in a lot of effort in that area that would certainly help. What I would sort of request from the government or request from people who are shaping strategy is that all the IT industry is good graduates from universities. As far as tool and product training is considered, skilled development is concerned I think it is up to the businesses themselves to invest in that.”
Wrapping Up the Year 2018
Speaking about the year 2018, Mr. Sajjad said “It has been a fantastic year for us, our revenue grew fivefold between last year and this. We had the size of deals increase. The revenue across every vertical that we work in significantly increased and in terms of SAP we did more business than other SAP partners combined.”
Furthermore, he added “In terms of Oracle we saw a lot of growth, in terms of ecommerce division we saw tremendous growth, much more than we had anticipated.”
Collaborations & Partnerships
Excellence Delivered has started a massive manpower training program in collaboration with ACCA, according to Sajjad Syed. Regarding the training program, he said, “We have also signed a MoU with the government. In the next three years we plan to train a hundred thousand on our own accord in ICT.” According to him it is one of the largest projects taken by the private sector in the country.
According to Mr. Sajjad, through the program they plan to tackle various verticals and train hundred thousand people as the largest constraint to the growth of the ICT industry is not whether we can close business internationally but it is how one delivers that business.