Pakistan is quickly becoming a small yet significant player in the software export market. Due to the easy availability of excellent skill sets, adequate IT services and investor-friendly rates, international IT companies are looking to us for offshore software development and outsourcing solutions. Software is being developed by both major companies and independent developers. Locally developed software falls into the following categories: finance, healthcare, mobile software and apps, gaming and animation.
The Statistics on Software Exports of Pakistan
Pakistan manages to grab a rather tasty piece of software export business, estimated at $2.8 billion of the global pie. This is expected to grow to $10 billion by the year 2020, according to The Tribune. Pakistan Software Export Bureau (PSEB) says that aside from local entrepreneurs, software houses and freelancers, 7 multinational companies have their development centers in Pakistan. Out of the 110,000 English speaking professionals in the country, around a quarter are involved in software export at some level.
Currently there are around 1500 companies and software houses as opposed to approximately 300 just 5 years ago. 110 out of these companies are ISO 9001 certified as well as 23 CMMi and 11 with ISO 27001 certifications. A booming telecommunication industry, providing affordable, convenient and round-the-clock access to learning, training, collaborative, development, marketing and selling resources is attributed to this growth.
Financial Software Exports of Pakistan
Resilient in the face and aftermath of the recent global economic crunch that saw giants stumble and fall, Pakistan’s financial services technology industry remains alive and continues to grow. The industry caters to three wildly different markets, each with its own drivers, requirements, regulations and growth prospects. These are:
- EU and US markets
- Asia-Pacific region
- MENA (Middle East and North Africa; this also includes Pakistan’s domestic market)
Medical and Healthcare Software Exports of Pakistan
There are a number of major players from Pakistan in this segment of the software industry. CureMD started off in 1997 to provide IT solutions to the US healthcare market. Today, it is one of the leading healthcare IT providers in the US and holds a large part of the market share in other parts of the world. CureMD’s development center is located in Lahore. It is also the first company in the world to offer cloud-based services to the healthcare industry.
Another Pakistani company from Islamabad, Ikonami Ltd, recently sold its learning, competence, and performance management products focused on the UK Healthcare industry to the UK firm Electric World PLC. Currently installed in 410 UK National Health Service (NHS) hospitals, the software is providing top-notch performance management and learning services to one of the largest healthcare networks in the world. While CureMD focuses on healthcare IT products only, Ikonami LTD. has a portfolio boasting software products in other categories as well.
Mobile, Gaming and Animation Software Exports of Pakistan
From the sensational Cricket Revolution, the first PC game by a Pakistani outfit to retail globally to two top ranking apps developed for Blackberry by Pepper, this segment of the market appears to provide more opportunities to budding Pakistani developers. There have been instances where individuals have turned down lucrative offers abroad to come back home and make a name for themselves. The trend to outsource quality animation to Pakistani companies is on the rise too, once again fueled by the ever-improving skill levels, affordability and availability of resources and the success stories of those who made it big on the way.
With the increasing popularity of tablet devices and smartphones, more and more developers are focusing on mobile app development as well. With all that said and done, there is still plenty the government, the Ministry of IT and incubation bodies can do to help out – tax relief and low cost loans to name just two. What else, in your opinion, can prove beneficial for the Pakistani software export industry?