Cloud Computing for Academics: CIO IBA In Conversation with IDG

 In a candid conversation with the Chief Information Officer at IBA, we discuss Cloud Computing for Academics, and building technology-intensive environments across campuses. 

Institute of Business Administration (IBA) has recently established their Center for Information and Communication Technology; the center is to provide computing facilities to staff, faculty, and students. It also to develop plans with objectives and actions that help achieves a highly competitive and technology-intensive environment for the Institute.

Speaking to IDG Pakistan about their newly established center is Imran Batada Director ICT & CICT,

The CICT center has been established recently but before that we had implemented the complete ERP systems in IBA. That includes the campus management system, human resource management system, financial system, learning management system, you name it we have it.”

IBA also has a Tier III level data center which is a first of its kind in the education sector in Pakistan, with a disaster recovery site at their Main Campus according to Mr. Batada. One of the objectives for which the Center for Information and Communication Technology has been set up is because IBA is now in a position to provide the same services to various universities and the corporate sector.

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Sharing one of the success stories, Imran Batada said

Back in 2010, we had implemented the complete people soft campus solution at the campus in IBA; it was the shortest implement of the people soft solution in Pakistan.”

In 2010, cloud computing was a relatively new concept, and according to Mr. Batada IBA can safely say that they introduced the concept of cloud computing the academia.

Further talking about the reasons for establishing a data center in IBA, he said “Number one reason is to provide the resources to our faculty members, so they can do all their research work and they need to have ample amounts of storage also.” According to him, it has become a need for both internal and external customers at IBA.

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The system is divided in to two wings at IBA, with one being the ICT department that provides ERP solutions and such that are available and implemented for the internal customers. With the other wing being the Center for Information and Communication Technology (CICT) that provides consultancy and other services to the corporate client.

Good things just don’t happen overnight, there are many challenges and problems one has to face in order to get ahead. Speaking about the challenges, Imran Batada said

“Initially we faced a lot of challenges, as you know that implementation of automation is not an easy thing and it is going to be tough to implement in the public sector universities as well.”

With all the challenges that came with implementing the various systems were achieved with the grace of God and an excellent internal team at IBA that worked hard to achieve the goals.

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For the last 60 years IBA has been producing leaders, and with this being the IT era it is impossible to achieve that. IBA currently provides IT related courses to all its undergraduate programs along with an incubation center for students to experiment with their business ideas.

IBA is also in works with the Sindh Government, according to Mr. Batada where they will be providing incubation facilities to the underprivileged students in Sindh. The criteria for this are very simple, from the age group of 18-35 years and one need to have the domicile from Sindh. Selection is based on the pitch of the idea, talking about the program he said,

If your idea is good, we will select you, and once we are done with selection, we will be providing them with a free space, trainings, workshops, mentorships and seed money.” The project is similar to that of Plan9 has with Punjab Government.

Highlighting different initiatives that IBA is currently undertaking, Mr. Batada mentioned that they are collaborating with the Youth Development Program with the Government of Sindh. Through that they are providing various skills to the youth, and they so have trained more than one thousand students. “We are training in the capacity of IT entrepreneurship, iphone and Android development, and web designing development etc.” he said.

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Further adding, Mr. Batada said that they will also be providing four courses under the Prime Minister’s Youth Scheme from 2018. Speaking of industry collaborations, he said “We are providing consulting services to Sindh Madrassat-ul-Islam University also for the ERP and cloud computing solutions. IBA Sukkur is also our client, where we have provided the complete disaster recovery site for their primary site, we have provided consultancy to BUITEMS Quetta also.”

They are in touch with Larkana Medical College, and are signing more MoUs with IBA Sukkur and 5 other universities in Pakistan and trying their level best to do something good for the community.