Mr. Ayub Ghauri (Executive Director- NetSol Technologies)
EVOLVE: You are a role model for the business Elites who led and transformed the traditional into modern marketing. Please share the synopsis of this transformational journey?
Ayub Ghauri: The most important thing about any business apart from developing product, services or your offerings is how you get to your consumers and this defines Marketing. We can call Marketing the science that is turned into an art when it comes to applying it. Every businessman wants to cut the time that is spent to reach out to its customers. So, the key thing a business must emphasize on is their values. In our case the values include is delivering highest standards within timelines agreed. What we have been doing at Netsol Technologies is delivering quality. For us, getting the first customer was not an easy task like in any other business. So, when we commenced 25 years back, the first customer came through recommendations based on people knowing us within the IT Industry. Once we get our first customer then we had to ensure that we deliver the best of the quality within technology and thats what we did. In any business, marketing, branding and ultimately the delivery are the essential constituents which as a whole determines the promising attitude. As we all know a brand makes a statement and a promise. The delivery on that with the best of your abilities is the key to success. In our case, there has been no compromise on quality while trying to maintain highest standards of delivery.
EVOLVE: How do you see the current global IT industry and where does Pakistans Indigenous industry stand in terms of development, innovation and growth?
Ayub Ghauri: We are part of the fourth industrial revolution that is fueled by the IT industry. This industrial revolution is actually the cyber connectivity and based on that connectivity smartphones are developed. Our whole life is now confined in our palm that means our phone in your hand has got everything that is powered by technology. The IT industry is constantly expanding around the globe. Unfortunately, Pakistan doesnt have a big share at the moment but that doesnt mean that we will not be a key player in the very near future. In fact, we are producing young people, transformed into smart minds and developed into the best that is as a result of expanding our horizon within IT.
EVOLVE: How effective is Netsol Technologies role in an entrepreneurial ecosystem of Pakistan in terms of new business growth and knowledge sharing among the stakeholders?
Ayub Ghauri: Netsols key business is providing software for finance and leasing industry to the global market. It is important to note that Pakistan is not our business market. However, we have very strong business presence in the far East. We are present in the US, UK, Australia but its Australasia where we are strongest. The most surprising thing is that China is our biggest partner. China that exports to the world takes their software within this industry from us. Entrepreneurship is something giving back to our society
cally a facility that runs a program that develops and transforms youth ideas into strong businesses. So, Netsol is playing its part in providing that facility and facilitating those young people. When we were developing other startups, I realized that there is a lot to be done within healthcare. So, I launched my own startup within our incubator called NSPIRE and the business is called as HospitALL. Its a digital platform for healthcare. I think we are supporting startups and entrepreneurs. We believe that Pakistan will be transformed by this young breed of entrepreneurs and startups.
EVOLVE: What role is NSPIRE playing as technology incubator and what is NSPIREs core philosophy?
Ayub Ghauri: Well, I believe the core philosophy for having NSPIRE is to give back to our society, economy and to our industry. Guiding the youth based on our experiences, our journey as to how and what we went through, and NetSol as a startup of our own. We have the best technicians available within the industry. But NSPIRE is very independent in this regard. We have our own selection process, which is very stringent. Every six months we open a new cycle that lasts five months. We just finished our six cycles. Six startups graduated from there. Shortly we will be opening our new cycle. We have so many applications but we try to choose the best and give them the best support that is available. This year we will be looking for those technologies that are winning abroad and hope they would transform our country, create more jobs, and create more opportunities for our youth.
EVOLVE: As you have played a fundamental role in strategy formulation and execution by opening chapters and managing teams in US, UK, Thailand and China regions. What challenges you had to face during execution of your strategies?
Ayub Ghauri: Challenges, very simple. I think the biggest challenge is technology. There are all kinds of technologies being offered by competitors and then there is a resistance in customers likes and dislikes. For example, our software works for people who are looking to lease cars. The kind of technology we use give them the best available service but tomorrow the leasing would reduce and people will be leasing fewer cars and using those facilities like Uber and Careem in Pakistan. So, the challenge comes from both ends as the industry itself is going through change and then the technology challenge. Netsol has launched a company, a ride sharing platform and we have already started transforming ourselves to new horizons. You cant say that you are the best for very long. You are the best for 5 minutes back. You may not be the best now. So, you have to be on your claws all the time.
EVOLVE: What are your views about young entrepreneurs and emerging IT markets from Netsol Technologies business perspective?
Ayub Ghauri: I believe that youngsters have to work harder. I think they are looking towards entrepreneurship as a glamour-ridden field. If they become an entrepreneur, if they have a startup; theyll be part of that Elite segment of community. Honestly, it is not easy. Its a tough business to be in. I have been facing new challenges every day. I would advise our youngsters to be resilient and to be keen to learn as they grow. As you want to grow you need to unlearn and relearn. So, the challenge is the mindset. How good is your mindset, how strong and how robust are you when the challenges are thrown on your face, how you survive and how you come out of them.
EVOLVE: How is Community Capacity Building important for developing countries like Pakistan? What projects have you executed in the field of Capacity Building?
Ayub Ghauri: The Community Capacity Building has to be very strong for our country. If we want to be competitive, we have to be better than the rest, as simple as that. NetSol is Pakistans biggest exporter of IT services and software. Our client in this way is global. So, we have to be better than the rest. If Pakistan wants to be prospered further, and to be real player in IT, we have to be better than the rest. The government is doing much for IT industry and e-Rozgar program is among them. We are fourth largest e-Lansing community where the number of people is freelancing. The kids sitting on their laptops overnight and delivering different kinds of solutions to the customers from abroad those are called as e-lancers. Surprisingly, you know which is the largest country in the world that has biggest number of e-lancers. You wont guess it but let me tell you Bangladesh is the country. This country used to be far behind in everything but they have done very well. Having said that what e-lancers are doing? They are giving partial solutions to the problems. What I would like to see in our country is proper products being developed. Those products where we can make more money than just giving services. So, the more products we make the bigger revenues we get from our products. Building capacity is important and Netsol is playing its part. As I said earlier, we dont have market in Pakistan but as part of our giving back to the society our CEO Salim Ghauri is always keen to help and impart his knowledge to any university not just in Lahore but to the universities in other cities as well. I have been helping a lot of youth in my own humble way. Last year I was given the Youth Icon Award for helping the youth with entrepreneurship and leadership development. Within our own company for building capacity we have to maintain our edge in terms of excellence. So, we have in house programs for constantly developing our own resources and this is an ongoing process.
EVOLVE: Is Information security and compliance in practice in its true spirit in Pakistans corporate and IT environment?
Ayub Ghauri: Well, information security is a big headache. You know that protecting the data and not getting hacked and breach of data security are some of the most frequent challenges. As I said, we have our own infosec department. A few years back, I was heading that department as well, so I know how strongly we take our information security, data security and the compliance of our key customers. Our key customers are the largest auto manufacturers like Mercedes, BMW, Toyota VW, Nissan etc. and we have access to the data of those customers. So, we have to ensure that we are meeting the highest of standards and there is breach in data security. We support the best standards.
EVOLVE: What are the core constituents of HospitALLs luminary success?
Ayub Ghauri: HospitALL is very close to my heart. I just felt as human beings we need a go to place when illness strikes, you are devastated and you dont know where to go, you dont know who to talk to, you dont know where the best care is available and how to get there. When someone asks me, what does HospitALL mean. I say we help and relieve the pain. If you call our care center, they listen to any kind of health problems, and then they guide where you have to go. They also get you second opinion, a possibility within the country or outside the country. And the last part is physically removing the pain through the treatment. HospitALL is a digital platform that connects the care provider, the best care that is available whether its doctors or specialty clinics, diagnostic centers and connecting them to the customers who are seeking them and making the whole process seamless, integrated, painless and simple.
EVOLVE: How successful is your strategy in bringing favorable change in Pakistans deteriorating healthcare industry?
Ayub Ghauri: Its an ongoing journey you cant say we have nailed it. Every day we come through a new challenge. It has been one year and we are still learning new things every single day. We are bringing excellence in customer care. HospitALL is a go to place where you can inquire about anything on health care and personal wellness.
EVOLVE: What are the factors that can bring a revolution in the field of healthcare in Pakistan?
Ayub Ghauri: We would like to think in two to three years time it will be the biggest name not just in Pakistan but in the region as well. We are constantly bringing innovation. I dont want to open our plans until they happen. Revolution will come where each and every individual will be able to operate the app. We will gamify the app to make it interesting as well as useful, and we will make it customer friendly.
EVOLVE: What message would you like to convey to the readers of EVOLVE magazine?
Ayub Ghauri: Evolve is a wonderful publication. You have created a platform where you help all the top businessmen to network with each other, learn from each others experience and physically meet as well. I think we can do more business, better business by using EVOLVE platform. I wish you best of luck in your efforts.