Sunday, February 01, 2009

SoftExpo 2009 and Some Thoughts

SoftExpo 2009, a 5-day software exposition in Bangladesh, organized by BASIS just ended yesterday. I am a little bit tired from it. It is not so much a physical exhaustion as it is mental. However, I thought I should jot down my experiences while it is still fresh on my mind.

It was first time for me as well as for Code71 at this Expo. It was at least a month long preparation for Code71 with much anticipation for another few months. Code71 had a booth where it exhibited its flagship product ScrumPad as well as its custom software development services. Code71 also organized a seminar on "Agile/Scrum" and I was the speaker. It was a great all out effort by the team. Kudos to the team.

As for the seminar, I was not sure what kind of crowd I could expect. To my surprise, the turnout was great. Some of the companies are already using Agile/Scrum in some form or fashion. My goal was to introduce the Agile/Scrum concept to the local companies. My message was Brand Bangladesh in ICT = “Agile.” Indian IT outsourcing companies flourished based on CMM strategy. Bangladesh needs to catch the wave of Agile before it is too late. I plan to write a follow-up blog on the strategies that Bangladesh needs to adopt in order to be successful in establishing Bangladesh as a prominent destination for IT outsourcing.

On the whole, the Expo was well organized. The seminar topics were well chosen. BASIS has done a good job of inviting the government officials and pushing the agendas that need immediate attention to bolster the ICT sector in Bangladesh. The timing could not have been better since the newly elected government campaigned on the platform of "Digital Bangladesh by 2021." I attended some of the seminars. It was clear, as everyone knows it, that allowing e-payment (specifically the use of local credit card on the net) is the highest priority on every body's mind. It seems, other than government's lack of understanding (technology behind) and bureaucracy, some laws relating to dealing with payment disputes are for paper-based transactions and hence need face lift before e-payment can be enabled. Once the e-payment is enabled, expect to see flurry of consumer as well as business services to flourish. Hopefully we will see this come live sometime this year.

One thing that was missing from all these was any focused activity (i.e., match making, seminars) around IT outsourcing. I would say BASIS has dropped the ball on match making. There were a couple seminars on outsourcing, but nothing on what or why Bangladeshi companies are not being able to get any traction and what can be done. Maybe given the economic condition around the world, BASIS could not get any buyers to attend the Expo. Hopefully, IT outsourcing will get the right attention that it deserves and not just a lip service next year. I and Code71 hope be back next year.

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