Spectrum will be a game changer
Shariq Ur Rehman is the Sales Head of Oracle Fusion Middleware (OFM) for Pakistan and South Asia Growth Economies (West) at Oracle Corporation. OFM is said to be the leading business innovation platform for the enterprise and the cloud. In an exclusive interview with The News, he shared his views on the present and the future of information and communication technology sector and the impact of 3G/4G.
Q. How do you see the information and communication technology sector in Pakistan?
A. The sector has grown tremendously during the last 10 years. Numbers of subscribers have crossed 120 million. Pakistan is a cost-effective market. However, people appear ready to adopt new technologies. Too, corporate customers, including banking, telecom, textile, logistic and other sectors are adopting new technologies. Online retailing is also growing. This was not known in Pakistan few years ago.
Q. Will the introduction of 3G/4G affect the ICT sector?
A. The spectrum will turn out to be a game changer for the whole IT and telecom sector. The new technologies will facilitate a number of IT-related businesses. A lot of new and exciting products can be introduced only when the high-speed bandwidth will be available. The 3G/4G will also benefit agriculture and social sectors like education and health.
Q. What are the challenges?
A. Cost consciousness of enterprises and customers is a challenge. Then, there are infrastructure barriers. The real broadband penetration in the country is still missing. Proper connectivity is important in the era of application development and to give business opportunities to young entrepreneurs.
Q. How do you see the future?
A. There will be 7.4 billion wireless devices in the world by 2015 and numbers of smartphones will rise to 1.2 billion over the next five years. Mobile computers are spreading faster than any other consumer technology. Moreover, by 2015, 40 percent of the global workforce will turn mobile, while two-thirds of the mobile workforce will own smartphones. A mobile phone is providing multiple services from single platform: photography, gaming, cash replacement, etc.
According to the Forrester Research, 75 percent of all new phones are now being sold in Asia and Africa.
Q. How much is it important for an organisation to be adaptable to a new technology?
A. An enterprise has to upgrade itself to rapidly changing technology. It has to make an upgrading plan in advance in such a scenario. Adoptability is challenging for an organisation as it has to update and get the required technology without disturbing its basic system.
Q. How long has Oracle been operating in Pakistan? Which sectors are you catering to?
A. Oracle has been operating in Pakistan since 1997. Oracle helps Pakistani businesses, government departments, non-government organisations and education institutions through its local partners to adopt integrated information technology infrastructures and achieve higher work efficiencies. Oracle has more than 1,100 customers in Pakistan both from public and private sectors. Some of the Pakistan’s best companies run their businesses on Oracle-based solutions.