An Interview with Chairman and
CEO of Netsol Technologies
Mr. Najeeb Ghauri
NetSol Technologies is a global IT solutions provider specializing in the leasing and finance industry.
It has global offices in the U.S., U.K., China, Australia, Thailand and Pakistan, and more than 150 clients worldwide. NetSol is listed on the NASDAQ U.S. and Dubai stock exchanges. Its subsidiary is also listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange, providing additional layers of transparency and credibility. It is a CMMI Level 5 company (the highest quality rating for an IT company).
How has NetSol been coping with the recent economic meltdown?
I believe our "balancing act" has kept us going over the past few years of deep recession. Five years ago, we were providing services and software to mature markets like North America and the U.K., as well as some countries in Asia. More recently, NetSol Technologies Inc.'s top management decided to focus on China as our new target market. This was long before most of the corporate world identified China as an emerging market for leasing. In this way, we balanced out some of the recessionary effects from our mature and developed markets by targeting a rapidly growing market like China.
It was very challenging to break into the Chinese market, but fortunately we've had an established brand name with global multinational automakers and captive leasing customers in the Asia-Pacific market for the past 12 years. Based on our proven track record and customer references, we were able to quickly make inroads in the robust and rapidly growing markets of China. Immediately after establishing a sales office in Beijing, we started to get new multimillion-dollar contracts from Toyota, Daimler and BMW. We were fortunate enough to hit the market in a rather short time. China is now evolving into the single highest revenue-generating market for NetSol. Our sales pipeline is looking very strong, and this is a great opportunity for us to strike it big.
Now that you have broken into the Chinese market, what are your next steps?
We believe that we currently hold a leadership position in the leasing and finance software application space in China. As a market leader, NetSol is well positioned to support its customers' dramatic organic growth in the region. With China recently surpassing the U.S. in terms of monthly automobile sales to become the world's largest automotive market, coupled with an increase in consumer finance activity, we continue to see tremendous opportunities for growth in the captive Chinese finance market.
Based on rising demand within the Chinese market for the NetSol Financial Suite™ (NFS), followed by a series of major local contract wins, NetSol is moving to further strengthen its Beijing operations with the addition of several local enterprise systems engineers, sales, marketing and support staff during the current fiscal year. NetSol's Beijing-based IT engineering professionals will provide implementation as well as research and development support for NFS in China and the Asia-Pacific region.
These strategic actions help ensure that NFS, for the captive finance industry, remains the de facto standard in China, the world's third-largest economy. NetSol remains committed to helping China's finance industry flourish.
Chairman of the Board of Directors; Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Ghauri has more than 15 years of combined marketing and management experience. He earned an MBA in marketing from the Drucker School of Management at the Claremont Graduate School. In 2001, he was a nominee for the Ernst & Young "Entrepreneur of the Year" award in California.
President, Asia Pacific
Mr. Ghauri was a successful IT consultant in Australia. His main achievement was the introduction of a PC-based network in BHP Steel. Mr. Ghauri is credited with setting up the first IT-based training institute and a software house in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.
President, Europe; Head of Global Sales
Mr. Ghauri brings a wealth of IT experience in the leasing and finance industries. From 1994 to 1999, he was a senior IT consultant with various blue-chip companies in Europe. Prior to that, Mr. Ghauri was a senior project manager in Singapore with Mercedes.
The top management of NetSol works in unison to identify new opportunities and support initiatives at various levels. The finance and leasing domain, however, is gradually becoming a niche for us. We have a great team of young and sharp professionals working within our R&D shop. Our customer-facing workforce constantly provides them with information that helps us improve our existing products and identify new avenues. We also monitor various industries and markets and look closely at supply chain models to identify emerging needs.
We have heard of many success stories surrounding your NFS solution. How did you become the market leader in this segment?
With our extensive domain knowledge in the leasing industry and our perfect track record for successful and on-time delivery, we were able to exceed our customers’ expectations. We were also lucky to enter into the right markets at the right time when the dynamic growth and economic diversification were under way in this industry.
We have demonstrated our ability as a skilled, strategic partner to deliver cost-effective, highest-quality software and consulting services to our prestigious clients.
In order to have a collaborative effort toward increasing customer value, we made two strategic acquisitions in the U.S. and U.K. These acquisitions were intended to develop a superior vehicle to launch a combined product offering with significant brand awareness within those particular regions. Our aim was to create a global company capable of providing customers on every continent with well-priced, innovative products developed with the highest quality standards.
smartOCI™ is one example of NetSol’s breakthrough into the supply chain and procurement industry.
A cross-catalog B2B search engine for SAP SRM-based systems, smartOCITM recently has been
certified by SAP for integration within SAP applications. This is an important milestone for NetSol,
as it provides confidence to our SAP customers and prospects in using smartOCI™.
These acquisitions have brought together an ideal combination of products, infrastructure and intellectual capital at a time in the industry when companies are searching for a robust, scalable global leasing solution that can be implemented on time and on budget. With the world becoming flat, our customers and prospects seek vendors that offer global operations with localized support and functionality.
What new innovative products and solutions can we look forward to from NetSol?
A technological advancement of NFS is on its way. This product has been developed using the latest tools and technology with service-oriented architecture (SOA). It offers tremendous flexibility and customization ability. The most prominent highlights in terms of feature improvements are that it will be multi-accounting, multi-lingual, multi-currency and multi-country.
This new product is going to take NFS to the next level and will offer a global solution in every market in which we operate. It will not replace but enhance the value provided to our clients.
Cloud Computing Through SOA
NetSol will be venturing into the cloud computing space by using service-oriented architecture (SOA). The technologically and functionally advanced version of the award-winning product NetSol Financial Suite™—formerly LeaseSoft—and the newly developed B2B cross-catalog search engine technology smartOCITM are built in line with this architecture.
There are several key differentiators that make NetSol a unique enterprise:
1. We are committed to the highest quality standards, such as achieving CMMI Level 5, ISO 9001 and ISO 27001.
2. Our world-class delivery and implementation infrastructure offers arbitrage pricing together with core competencies.
3. Our proven track record for a successful and on-time delivery every time puts us ahead of our competition.
4. We have successfully developed, after years of hard work, key financial software solutions catering to broader lending markets.
5. Our global footprint in the major markets with a growing presence in emerging markets like China and the Middle East gives us a huge advantage over competitors in our space.
6. We have one of the best talent pools of IT professionals and engineers.
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