“The 7 questions” is a novel Ciklum blog column that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at who makes up our company, and also tells you about our customers and partners. This time we asked questions Arif Beg, Head of Solutions Team in Pakistan.
1. How did it go for Ciklum Pakistan during Covid times and how was it to come back to the office?
It was a tough call to immediately order employees to start working from home from one day to the next day. This was done at a time when Covid numbers were very few in Pakistan, but rising in our clients’ locations. By the end of May, the numbers increased dramatically in Pakistan with more than 7,000 infected per day, and we all felt lucky that we initiated the remote work policy urgently. During July, 10% of the workforce started coming to the office due to practical issues for them to work from home and by the end of August, we have initiated working from the office gradually. So 20%, then 40% and today we have between 60-70% of people back in the office. We expect the remaining to be back at the end of October. However post-COVID19, we will see a more diverse working culture and people expect to balance between WFH (work from home) and WFO (work from office). During the past seven months, we have seen a very productive approach to different engagements which have had a positive impact on both our clients and employees.
Ciklum Day in Islamabad
2. How does Ciklum Pakistan organise the work with other Ciklum locations on common projects? Any secret tools or approaches?
As we use common tools for our engagements, it becomes very easy to cooperate across locations. We use common chat and virtual meeting tools and it has been without any complexity to continue our work together, for example, we are working for Netstream projects where we have teams from Ukraine, Pakistan and Switzerland collaborating successfully. This hasn’t caused any problems as we were already working cross locations before the lockdown and it just amplified with COVID19.
3. How is offshore and onshore teams’ work organised for Ciklum clients?
We work very closely with our agile process and ensure that we have at least one common virtual meeting during the day and have closed chat rooms to discuss any further issues. With an Agile Delivery Manager to every engagement, it makes the communication between a team and a client very smooth.
4. Historically, the Ciklum Pakistan team was working more with the Danish clients. With the growth of the Islamabad office, more client locations were added. What is the percentage ratio of the countries which Ciklum Pakistan clients are based in now?
Ciklum Pakistan is still working mainly with Danish clients. Still due time and the focus on UAE and UK, we have been able to diversify our clientele, and at the moment our client ratio is 70% from Denmark, 20% UK and DACH region, and 10% are from UAE. We expect more clients from the UK during the next few years and are looking to have a ratio of 50% the Danish clients and 50% UK/DACH/UAE in the future.
Ms Lis Rosenholm, Danish Ambassador for Pakistan, visiting Ciklum Pakistan office in Islamabad
5. Are there industries that are prevailing among the projects our Islamabad team takes part in?
We have seen an increase of Retail, Educational Platforms and the Automotive sectors. We have heavy domain knowledge in these areas, and we have already developed many different applications in various development platforms, such as .NET, JAVA and PHP frameworks.
6. From your experience, if there is more demand for Ciklum services among enterprise clients or a B2C sector?
From the Ciklum Pakistan perspective, our services have primarily been driven by Enterprise Clients and very few B2C. My opinion is that we will keep the major focus on Enterprise Clients as we can add the most value in this segment. However, Ciklum is a global company and we leverage each location for the benefit of clients. We are still able to support the B2C sector as we are able to handle end-user support and helpdesk as a part of our Support services from Ukraine.
Charity project ‘Children out of School’ in Pakistan supported by Ciklum
7. Ciklum Pakistan team is doing and supporting many charity initiatives. You plant trees with WWF, support vulnerable families during Covid times, support ‘Out of School Children’ and many other activities. Which charity projects are currently ongoing, and what else is planned?
We saw an immediate need for charity during COVID19 where we saw daily wagers were not able to get to work due to lockdown. All employees in Ciklum Pakistan made huge sacrifices and contributed to the needy with both cash handouts and monthly rations. To become part of the extraordinary contribution, I was very proud of my colleagues, and we were able to reach out to almost 2,000 families during the three months when the disease rate was peaking. No doubt our heart goes to vulnerable children, and that is why our contribution to tree plantation to secure the future and to Education always weighs highest. We will continue our contribution to OSC and other educational activities which revolve around children. Our aim is to get children out of child-labour and get them to schools.
Tree Plantation activity in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Pakistan Boy Scouts Association in Islamabad