Blue Chip talks to Khurram Rahat, MD Teradata Pakistan

Khuram Rahat is the Managing Director of Teradata Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

He has a Masters degree in Business Administration and has been actively involved in management and technology issues for over two decades. Mr. Rahat has held various senior management, project management and sales positions at the country and regional level and has wide exposure to the Financial, Telecommunication and Public sectors. He is well known for his in-depth knowledge of leading edge Business Intelligence and Management Solutions. He has been providing consultancy to organizations around their management strategies on how they can develop an ‘Information-based’ decision making culture. He has also been regularly invited as a guest speaker at various forums and conferences. He is the founding member of the Project Management Institute’s Islamabad Chapter and has always supported creative ideas and efforts to support the IT and management community in the region.



Blue Chip: How is Big Data impacting future global growth?


Khuram Rahat: Big data is reshaping nearly every aspect of  life around the world. For instance it is very significant now for the healthcare sector. Evidence-based medicine is changing how patients are diagnosed and often demonstrates that alternative treatments are more effective (and cost-effective) than conventional care. Telecommunication companies are looking to take advantage of the Digital wave. Now big data analytics act as a key enabler in this quest. Similar benefits of big data analytics exist in other industry verticals too.


BC: What is Teradata’s role in creating Integrated Data Warehouses?


KR: For 35 years, Teradata has led the industry in building superior data warehousing solutions and bringing improved management agility to organizations.  Built from the ground up to be mission critical and highly responsive, Teradata’s Integrated Data Warehouses are what the world’s largest and most competitive organizations use for actionable insights and decision-based analytics. These unique data warehouses bring the most sophisticated analytics directly to executives, business users, analysts, data scientists and software developers, featuring industry-leading advances in-database analytics and intelligent in-memory processing. With the changing demands of the market over the years, Teradata has continued to be the thought leader and has evolved its solutions to cater to the emerging needs of the market.

Building on its leadership role, Teradata has developed a Unified Data Architecture environment to ensure that its customers can take advantage of big data analytics and perform consolidated analytics by integrating structured and non-structured data, which is transparent for the end users. A good example is Telenor Pakistan’s recent expansion. It is an investment in Teradata’s Unified Data Architecture that will provide immediate value, enabling the company to do deep analytics on their business in almost real-time, and with that, maximize its return on investment. Telenor Pakistan ran a rigorous process which validated Teradata’s thought leadership and, more importantly, the economic viability of running their best in class BI environment on Teradata.


BC: Does Teradata also offer CRM solutions?


KR: Teradata believes that in the current era of internet and social media there is lot of awareness among customers around products and services. This calls for organizations to develop “Customer Centric Relationships” to be able to develop and offer products and services customized to meet individual customer needs. This can be achieved by gathering data from all external and internal touch-points, using this data to analyze and develop insights to customize product and services and then reach out to customers and offer these products and services through all touch-points working on the concept of ‘Omni Channel’. From our perspective it is an infinite loop of constant improvement.  


BC: What do you think of Pakistan's expanding multi-billion dollar IT industry?


KR: Pakistan's information technology industry is quite young. It is in its early stages of development compared to the much older and bigger Indian IT industry, which had a significant head start of at least a decade over Pakistan. During the 1990s, the Pakistani economy stagnated and its IT industry did not make any headway. However, the industry grew at 40% during the 2001-2007 period.

The State Bank of Pakistan reported in 2007-08 that export figures of software and Information Technology-enabled services were US$169 million which showed a consistent annual growth. It is significant to note that the growth of Pakistani IT exports in the last few years has been more than 40%.

Pakistani colleges and universities produce almost 1.2 million skilled graduates annually. The Musharraf government announced a $1 billion spending plan to build 6 additional state-of-the-art science and engineering universities.

In terms of enrollment, the 2005 Pakistan Education Census reported 43,801 students enrolled in 4-year engineering institutions, another 37,635 students in 3-year colleges offering Information Technology degrees, and 69,719 studying in three-year polytechnic institutes. 53% of the students out of the total 1.16 million enrolled in colleges were girls, according to the 2005 Census.

Currently, Pakistan is struggling with an insurgency and a stagnant economy that is taking a heavy toll on the nation. If, however, the political and military leadership succeeds in creating a semblance of peace and stability in the nation of nearly 200 million, then there can be an expectation of a bright future ahead for the IT industry in particular, and an innovation-based knowledge economy in general.


BC: What are your thoughts on the ICT revolution in Pakistan?


KR: The information and communication technology (ICT) 'revolution' has been hailed as the enabling force for developing countries to become more active participants in the global economy. Institutions like the United Nations and World Bank support the creation and funding of ICT strategies to help such countries leapfrog stages of economic development.

But developing countries must first solve tough, often unglamorous problems like illiteracy, social mobility, government inefficiency, and a lack of economic opportunities if they are to realize the potential of ICT for development.


BC: Will CPEC have an impact in this connection?


KR: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a fusion of several development and connectivity initiatives, focusing on infrastructure, energy, the Gwadar port and industrial cooperation. This multi-billion dollar project will spur regional economic integration and bring prosperity to the entire region and beyond. It will encourage greater regional integration and connectivity.


BC: Is Teradata a socially responsible company?


KR: Teradata Worldwide acts as a socially responsible organization. In case of any natural disaster, the local company is supported by Teradata Worldwide and we contribute voluntarily to help out people.  We have been involved in regularly organizing blood donation camps, providing scholarships and financial support to needy students and families. We are also running vocational training activities. Teradata has a university program in the pipeline whereby we will collaborate with some leading IT teaching institutions.  I and some of my other colleagues also deliver lectures in schools, colleges, universities and organizations. In these, we cover issues related to management, negotiation skills, time management, personnel management and basic career planning.