Wednesday, November 03, 2004

"Pakistan Now a Hot Spot for IT Outsourcing"

A dose of positivity by Anthony Mitchell who says, "Americans who have worked in both Karachi and Mumbai report that there is no discernable difference in the safety and security situation in both cities." The story is positioned to give Pakistan a green light in outsourcing and I've emailed the author asking for his inspiration in writing it.

Here's the real catch: "The biggest boost to Pakistan's efforts to break into the global IT marketplace came on September 28, when India's finance ministry announced an income tax of more than 36 percent on foreign firms with software, R&D and customer service operations in India. This tax proposal had been in the works since the beginning of the year and is expected to prompt U.S. firms to follow GE's lead in selling off assets in India."

15 comments:

Merlinx said...

That's all well and good and it represents an opportunity for the Pakistani IT industry -BUT- India's bane in this case doesn't necessarily mean our boon.

The world still has other alternative markets where outsourcers can take their needs to be serviced such as Russia, China, Israel, Phillipines, Ireland or even many east European countries.

In order to make our locale "a hotspot for IT outsourcing", Pakistan still needs to improve its infrastructure and solution-structure. Just because India is over-priced doesn't mean we can pick up their ball and run. We have blanket problems related to power supply, national bandwidth availability, bureaucratic red tape in dealings, logistics shortcomings, intellectual property issues, h/w & s/w availability problems, etc. As long as these foundation stones are weak, any offering built on top of it will eventually crumble.

**On a side note to the editorial staff of Spider: I noticed this month that some of my comments in your blogs were re-printed in the magazine. While I am flattered at the honor bestowed and personally have no issues with their re-use, I would advise in Spider's interests to be careful in reprinting stuff by just copying it over like that. We exchange casual conversation over here without liability to anyone. It's basically a free-for-all. When most of us make comments during exchanges like this we try to generally be honest and take a "to the best of my knowledge/experience" tone. But there is no level of sureshot credibility or authenticity most of the time. It's nothing more than idle chit-chat, technically speaking. And when you guys reprint these comments in your magazine you're putting yourself at risk by implicitly endorsing these comments if there's no disclaimer. There should have at least been a disclaimer where you quoted stuff from the blogs that the views expressed were those of independent individuals and not endorsed by Spider in any way. If a reader takes exception to something quoted like this in your mag, at best it can hurt your reputation and at worst, it can put you at risk of getting sued. You should make it a practice of knowing when to disclaim views when you print them to protect your butt.

Again I do appreciate my 5 min. of fame but u should be careful in the future.

Zunaira said...

True, a disclaimer we should have inserted at the end of the article. Everything is in quotations Merlinx so those aren't spider's views. The sources are sitting right at the top of each quote. Thanks for the tip. Glad you enjoyed your 5.

AllahBaba said...

I'd like to add: Spider should also put up a notice on the blog page, something along the lines that comments may be published in its print journal (which is for profit, not a service), so people who comment should be aware before commenting, so they can request otherwise, if they want... or dress up properly before writing, if they desire, or claim financial compensation, if they starve.

Zunaira said...

Few issues to consider here for all of you.

a) The purpose in reproducing blog posts/comments is to draw more traffic to the blog. This is not a magazine policy to copy everything off the blog. Certainly if the momentum on this blog continues, we can formally decide how best to compliment the blog in our print version.

b) This is no private blog. Comments here ARE for everyone's eyes. If you've reached this far, you would know what kind of a reader/audience is likely to read you. The same applies to the magazine's readership. Dress up or dress down is in your hands :~)

c) For financial compensation, you should think about writing an article--that's what we pay for ;~)

Merlinx said...

Sounds gritty. Maybe Spider should hire someone on-staff to handle all this: "Spider(TM) Legal Counsel for Blogging & Misc. Communications" Hehe.. :-))

Zunaira said...

LOL! If you're going to start sending lawsuits to Spider for quoting you off a public+spider blog, you can very well rest assured, the existing editorial staff will know their rights well. Not a bad idea, though. Cheers!

Merlinx said...

Nice to learn that you guys know your rights (and your lefts). Rest assured, wouldn't even dare to dream of it... ;-)

Zunaira said...

Isn't it great how the media can be held accountable for everything--but simply nothing can be done for other institutions in this society? I wonder whether the government and corporations can be convinced to start open forums--even blogging? ;~) I think I'm on to something here. Pipe dreams.

Merlinx said...

Well the media isn't always held accountable for everything! It's just that the media's job encompasses two major aspects that make it appear so sometimes: it is the mouthpiece of society and the media is the first place where new technology finds application.

When you're the one saying something to the masses, you'll also be the one to receive the feedback first. That's why you have the cliche, "Don't shoot the messenger." And communications channels allow, or sometimes create the false impression, of increased accountability. And communications channels are directly dependent on the adoption of technology. Think about it -- in how many ways does media communicate these days? TV, print, Web, email, wireless services, you name it. Whenever some new medium of communication comes out, the first to adopt it is the media system. Because [re]sources of information dissemination are what power and enable modern media services. Without all these "channels" you'd effectively be the Pony Express of the 19th century old West running news between discrete points on horseback.

But the flip side is because of the sheer number of communications channels you have to live with enormous audience influx in response to your own outflux (in proportionality pretty much). And with that much influx from your audiences, it sometimes creates the illusion of accountability because when people usually speak up, it is to present a competing or different idea. It's not in the human nature to send feedback only saying, "Yes" or "I agree". You make your voice heard because you have a varying point of view. We all agree to disagree consistently.

And that is also the reason the govt. and these other organizations you speak of seem less accountable. Because there are less ways to "make" them accountable. They are no less accountable than anyone else BUT accountability requires expression and they express themselves in less ways i.e. less channels, which are often one way (read: they speak the masses listen). They're not platforms of exchange like the media. They're bureaucracies.

Make sense? (Because if it does...please explain it to me in the morning someone. I'm too tired at this hour to ponder over what I just said! :-) )

Zunaira said...

Yo Merlinx, you miss my point by a mile. We both see the same thing: the Media can and must be held accountable. Give this member of the Fourth Estate credit for knowing her theory and practice ;~)

So...the point was, one wishes the govt/bureacracy/corp sector too could capitalise on new media.

Merlinx said...

"Yo"? :-)

Nope, I didn't miss your point, I just supplemented it (re:"...the media can be held accountable for everything...") Was just emphasizing that the media isn't always accountable but sometimes it falsely appears that way because of the way the media is organized in the modern day and age.

Agree 101% about the govt. absorbing more of the new media stuff.

Btw what's "The Fourth Estate"? It isn't something like "The Fourth Protocol" is it? ;-)

Zunaira said...

When the impact of 'mass media' first shook society [at the start of the 20th century], scientists and sociologists took note. They dubbed journalists as one of the important 'pillars of society': executive, legislature, judiciary and the newest addition being mass media. Ideally, the mass media--the fourth estate in the society--'protect public interest' and act as watchdogs. Recent literature acknowledges theoritical and practical flaws with such an fantasy approach.

Merlinx said...

Aaah! I see. Thanks for the def o' "member of the 4th estate". :-)

Well as you commented, it's a good design! It assumes the autonomous functioning of all "estates" in an unbiased manner. Taking the results from the recent U.S. elections, 3 out of 4 of these estates (Senate, House and now the judiciary) having fallen under the control of one party, the GOP.

And media is no longer a neutral public service either, it's a commercial offering that anyone can setup. I was reading an editorial a few days back (in the UK Guardian I think) about media channels also having biases. E.g. Fox is right-leaning ("the voice of middle America") while the NY Times or Guardian are left leaning. The author made an interesting comment that the degree of polarization (in Western society) is so high that no media outlet is without some orientation; you're either speaking for something or against it; not JUST about it and offering the facts without opinion. There are virtually no centerists left.

I guess in hindsight, the mass commercialization of anything is bound to have such results. When you have a single body for any enterprise, it has some level of obligation to be neutral and independent, at least outwardly. But when you have two or three or a hundred of anything, one will go this way and the other will go that way. It is only natural. Sheer competition dictates they think differently and let it be known. The media is no different so it should be no surprise to anyone to find media bias. Welcome to 21st century freemarketing!

Jab said...

Outsourcing IT services is big in asia particularly southa asia. Unfortunately India is a direct competent and is playing high with success. Just go to www.LinuxPakistan.com and then visit www.LinuxIndia.com, u'll see the difference. With a economic growth of 7%, they are set to rule. The odd couple of Sonia Gandhi and Singh are targetting IT and they are doing it quite well.

Anonymous said...

Reality Bytes

http://www.dawn.com/2006/02/06/nat5.htm

ISLAMABAD, Feb 5: Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) failed to achieve the target of increasing exports by at least $50 million in 2004-05, an official source told Dawn.

The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication had assigned certain goals to the board and one of the major targets was to increase the country's export by at least $50 million during 2004-05.

Though the PSEB bosses claimed that the total exports through IT and IT Enabled Services (ITES) from July 2004 to May 2005 were $44.73 million, there were no details to substantiate this claim, the source said.
.....
......
However, the government officials still believe that the bureau had furnished a misstatement to the government showing “fake” performance.

The bureau failed to achieve the target, the source said, due to mismanagement, highly-paid contractual appointments at higher level without given target or job description and lack of maintenance or complete database of IT companies and internal control
......
.......

VinD