In the eyes of the vast majority of people throughout the world we are today living in what is a new digital age, a period of time in which the growth in telecommunications, information and other technologies has had an immeasurable impact on the ways in which companies provide value to their customers. These companies are increasing utilising technology to develop strong, innovative value solutions on a continuous basis.
Established in August 2000, Millennium Systems & Consultants (MSCL) is one such company. An information technology (IT) company created by a small group of experienced industry professionals, it specialises in system integration, IT consultancy, project management and software development.
“It was in August 2000,” explains chief executive officer and managing director, Sheikh Nisar Ahmed, “that I received a call from chairman’s office of the Fauji Foundation, inquiring as to whether I would be willing to assist them on a project of national importance. It was this call that instigated the creation of MSCL.”
The project Ahmed refers to involved the development of an integrated system for the production and management of Computerised National ID Cards (CNID) that would be supplied to citizens by Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA). “NADRA had previously tried for two years to implement such a system without success. Nevertheless, we were able to complete said project and do so on time, within budget and in such a way that exceeded all of the business requirements demanded by the client. As a result of this we went on to sign three more contracts with NADRA, supporting its IT operations for a further three years.”
Since it was founded, MSCL has focused its efforts on domestic opportunities, completing more than 30 projects for customers in the banking, utility and garment sectors, and for government departments. However, in March 2012, the company took a leap forward in extending its geographical presence by successfully completing a project for United Bank UK, formerly known as the United National Bank of London. Since completing its first project for this client in April 2012, United Bank UK has awarded MSCL with two more add-on projects in what is a clear sign of its satisfaction.
“Demand for our services and remote banking transaction server (RBTS) product,” Ahmed enthuses, “has been increasing steadily, both from existing and new clients. Couple this with our first success in Europe and it makes us very keen to expand our business further into the banking sector. It is for this very reason that we are investing in building up the skills of our banking team, while further maturing our RBTS product into a complete system that can deliver remote or branchless banking.”
MSCL’s ability to manage complex IT projects has undoubtedly contributed to its success, but so too have a number of other qualities that differentiate the company from its rivals. “Our employees’ unwavering commitment to success, our management teams’ focus on sharing the rewards of said success and our ability to keep our overheads low are all reasons why we have managed to weather what have been difficult times in the past,” Ahmed states. “Equally as important has been our continued determination to find stimulating work for our people. This has helped us to retain those talented individuals that have contributed so much to MSCL.”
MSCL also values its membership status within the Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT & ITES, more commonly known as P@SHA, of which it has been a part since its own formation. “There is no doubt,” Ahmed says, “that P@SHA provides an effective platform upon which to promote IT business in Pakistan. One of our strategic aims as part of our corporate reorganisation taking place during the first quarter of 2013 is to increase our participation within the organisation.”
There are a number of different case studies and examples of successfully completed projects that one could use as a way of drawing attention to MSCL’s excellent track record of delivering the results its clients demand. One particular example formed a part of the aforementioned NADRA project. This saw NADRA award MSCL yet another key development and system integration contract to be implemented at more than 300 of NADRA’s district offices, including its Swift Registration Centres (NSRCs). This system helping bring about a pioneering change in the way that government departments operate in this part of the world.
The company’s RBTS product has been at the heart of several of its larger undertakings. One particular project involved the upgrading of Habib Bank’s banking system. Pakistan’s second largest bank, Habib Bank operates approximately 1500 branches. “In addition to upgrading Habib Bank’s system,” Ahmed reveals, “they also wished to further extend services to their customers through ATM and other remote banking devices, as well as through internet and mobile banking programmes. Our RBTS provides communication across all such devices and systems and has also played a major role during Habib Bank’s three year migration phase, during which time both its old and new systems were able to co-exist without any operational problems occurring.”
Looking outside of the banking industry, MSCL management has long viewed the health care sector as being a source of business opportunities. Following a study of the local health care market, the company embarked upon providing a cloud computing based solution to small hospitals and clinics. For the purpose of this it developed its MSCLClinic product.
“This,” Ahmed continues, “is a clinic management software solution designed to carry out such tasks as managing patient appointments, scheduling patient visits, carrying a patient’s treatment history, providing diagnostics information as well as handling payments and other administrative tasks.”
Another product of growing interest is MSCL’s “Pahrahan”, an ERP system optimised for the garment industry that is able to systematically perform tasks such as taking multiple orders for styles, colors and sizes, and coordinating production resources.
MSCL’s Project Management Complete System (PMCS), meanwhile, is a set of integrated tools, designed to enhance project team effectiveness. PMCS helps to guide project and business managers in qualifying an identified opportunity, assess initial risks, preparing a quality proposal and helps in preparing a risk free contract. PMCS also manages project cost and revenue, while also allowing project managers to evaluate their employee’s performance.
MSCL’s Revenue Management Complete System (RMCS), a system developed on ERP principles, is a set of integrated tools specially developed to improve financial performance of the utility companies. Through online connectivity this system can be accessed in a controlled manner at towns, union councils, consumers service centres, call centres and other departments, while its collection module provides bills payment facility through Banks, ATMs, kiosks, call centres and the internet, ensuring timely and accurate recording of bills payments and identifying the defaulters.
As we enter a new year, MSCL fully expects to be ready and well placed to address the opportunities it envisions arising as a result of Pakistan’s projected economic revival. “Over the coming years,” Ahmed reveals, “we expect not only to retain our current revenue growth, but double our annual turnover by the end of 2015. We intend to do so be continuing to follow our strategy of sharing our business opportunities with our partners who can add value to our project performance. Meanwhile, we will change our current policy of sharing project profit with project performers, and effective from January 2013 project revenue will be shared with the project team.”
By the end of 2013, MSCL plan to have increased its core team from 20 members to 35 and in turn it will increase its focus on foreign projects, particularly in the Middle East and European markets. “As we move forward,” Ahmed concludes, “we will seriously consider the possibility of opening a permanent office overseas, while retaining our commitment of investing in our people and finding the most stimulating work for them to undertake.”
Written by Will Daynes, research by James Boyle