Techlogix is an IT Services, Consulting, and Business Solutions company that has helped clients achieve enterprise transformation by harmonizing people, business processes, and technology over the last two decades. Speaking to IDG Pakistan in an exclusive interview is Mr. Salman Akhtar, the Co CEO and Co founder of Techlogix.
Speaking about the company, he said, “Techlogix started out in two areas one is banking solutions which is about 60% of what we do. We implement a bunch of solutions from Oracle which are specific to the banking industry like core banking and risk management, AMLKYC etc. The other area is what we call the IT services which has software product development for a bunch of companies in the US and some technology deployment in the areas like services oriented architecture, business process management etc.”
Mr. Akhtar also added that over the four years Techlogix has diversified into three separate product companies which are separate entities but essentially come under them. “One is in the healthcare space, there is another one which is in higher education and the third one is focused on enterprise mobility,” he said.
IT Sector Development In Pakistan
Speaking on the development in the IT industry of Pakistan, Mr. Akhtar said “Over the years you can see that there have been three parallel developments that have gone on. On one hand there have been a great broadening and deepening of the enterprise software model. So if you go back 15 years ago things like Oracle ERP and SAP were sought of very new to the market. Today I believe Oracle has more than a thousand customers; SAP has probably close to a thousand customers now that reflects a broad acceptance of the need of enterprise software and more particularly enterprise software products in the industry.”
He also talked about how in the last ten years smartphones have taken off that has led to a real digitalization of the whole country. According to him, “people have gone from having never really seen a computer to having these really powerful computers in their pockets all the time and getting access to a whole variety of very high quality initial consumer application but increasingly very broader use applications and I think that has really created a consumer market for IT that really didn’t exist ten years ago.” Meanwhile, the third trend according to him is a result of the influx of smartphones that has created opportunities for all kinds of startups in the area that has been augmented by a whole sort of freelancing global community.
Global Trends Affecting IT Sales
With regards to global trends and IT sales in the country, Mr. Akhtar added “As far as sales of IT within are concerned that are only helped by these global trends. So when everybody becomes a gmail user, a Facebook user, a twitter user or whatever, then they suddenly realize that digital is part of their lives and if it is part of their personal lives then why shouldn’t it be part of their business lives so that has always been an enormously helpful trend.”
Whereas, according to him, selling to the world from within Pakistan has been a very different narrative. He said, “I think for the last three or four years the perception of Pakistan internationally as a security risk etc has become more challenging. So that is partly one of the reason we ourselves decided to move towards a product led strategy because then you have a different value led proposition as opposed to just selling services.”
Impact of Cloud
Speaking about cloud, Salman Akhtar said that, “when we started building our products two three years ago, we took an early decision that the products are going to be built on the cloud and that we only delivered on the cloud etc. and even two years ago when we talked about that the people would say what if the internet goes down and what if this happens or that happens, what about the security and etc.”
However, according to him one of their customers is a 500 bed hospital that runs its management system on the cloud. “They have about 300 continuously connected users. They are all running on the cloud and running on Microsoft Azure and it works. So I think that is a big transition, now what that transition means is that some of the capital costs associated with the IT decisions go away on the cloud you rent instead of buying. That makes selling a lot easier and that is going to be a trend that is going to further accelerate the trend of IT.”
Furthermore, speaking on emerging technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence, Salman Akhtar said, “The interesting thing about machine learning is that over the last couple of years the use of machine learning has really been democratized. By that what I really mean is that five years ago for a company of our size to think that we could do anything serious in AI would essentially be a nonstarter we wouldn’t even think about doing this.”
However, according to him today with the toolkits that Google, Microsoft etc have put out the use of machine learning on problems has become easy and anybody can do it. He also talked about how Techlogix currently utilizes machine learning in their higher education product to predict grades. “Through machine learning we know what your final grade is going to be through a machine learning algorithm after one crosses their midterm.”
He also added, “the other interesting thing about machine learning is that you can either go deep in machine learning or broad in machine learning.” According to him, to go deep means you have the world’s top experts in machine learning etc and they are the ones driving machine learning forward but it is very easy to go broad in machine learning. Broad means that you need people who are just skilled and know about this and can apply this to so many problems that exist out there that somebody needs to apply machine learning to, he said.
Wrapping up 2018
Giving a final farewell to 2018, Mr. Akhtar said, “For us 2018 was a year of continued growth, the last three four months were a little challenging because of the dollar rate fluctuation etc so that has been a little bit of a challenge. But I think for the last ten years the IT business has been continuously growing at a rate which has accelerated the underlying growth of the economy. I think it was another year like that and we continued to grow and it has been a good year.”