LEADS is a leading ICT Solution Provider in Bangladeshthat started its operation in the 90s and became one of the pioneer local solution providers of Core Banking System to banks as well as for non-banking financial institutions. Fintech spoke to the company’s CTO and CFO Masud Parvez FCA. Here is an excerpt from the conversation.
FINTECH: LEADS is one of the three companies in Bangladesh which has CMMI Level 5 apprised in software development. And only a handful of companies are working with CBS in Bangladesh. Why is that?
Even though we have the ability to develop software for Bangladesh market and beyond, we prefer to have foreign software. It’s not that foreign software is good or bad. We are less committed to our products which, in turn, reducing our capabilities in terms of investments towards automation and innovations. Bangladesh Bank had given several directives to implement CBS which was one of the break-through policies to enhance our strength as a CBS provider. Right now, LEADS has the best CBS in the market and no one has been able to beat us. However, we believe that there is an ample scope to develop software by other local companies too.
FINTECH: You have other important products besides CBS. Could you talk about those a little bit?
Before going to other products, I would like to add few important aspects of BankUltimus, the name of LEADS CBS. In 80’s, PC Banking software was initiated by NCR. They developed it as the branch banking application software. LEADS upgraded the package as integrated banking application software. The NCR Corporation was closed in 1992 and opening the door for LEADS as a new ICT solution provider. At present, this software is being used by more than 1000branches of around 22commercial banks and financial institutions. Besides, LEADS has end-to-end hardware and automation solutions including network solution and data center solution, Industrial IoT, Blockchain solution along with integrated insurance software, Capital Market software, mobile applications, agent banking solution, ERP, and so on.
FINTECH: Work relating to data has not grown in Bangladesh. Although a lot of work is being done on technology and data has expanded, why this has not grown as much?
Nowadays, data is money. In the current business scenario, the increasing volume of data calls for more complex and sophisticated tools. Although advances in data mining technology have made extensive data collection much easier, it is always evolving and there is a constant need for new techniques and tools that can help us to transform this data into useful information and knowledge. LEADS has been working for long to secure and stored data. Still, we have the ‘buy foreign products and be happy’ tendency, we are afraid to use our own products and that’s why we cannot contribute much despite our willingness.
LEADS is one of the first companies who is spending money to bring the new technology live in Bangladesh. The biggest obstacle is that in terms of using technology, like Mobile Technologies, Cloud Computing, Big Data or Hadoop, Business Analytic, Artificial Intelligence etc. We have begun quite recently. The revolution started much earlier in Europe and Americas and a number of cases, we started 20-25 years after them. It is natural that they are ahead of us. It will take some time to cope with them. It will take time to reach an acceptable level. But I think a lot of works are being done in our local market, and the Government of Bangladesh has taken a numerous initiatives to upgrade our technological atmosphere. Since the initiative has been taken and the country is working towards a digital Bangladesh, I feel we will reach there. Bangladesh has earned a reputation of new tech-hub in recent times, so it will not take much time to adapt with the so called hi-tech countries.
FINTECH: Bangladesh Bank recently banned cryptocurrency in Bangladesh. What do you think about that?
Bangladesh Bank has not banned Blockchain though. They prohibited the illegal use of cryptocurrency (i.e., Bitcoin). There are some reasons behind it and it is not only Bangladesh that prohibits it. It is applicable for other countries as well.
When we talk about Blockchain, we think it is cryptocurrency or Bitcoin. This is not the case. Crypto-currency is a very small part of Blockchain. It is like a trusted record file. In case of blockchain technology, private key cryptography provides a powerful ownership tool that fulfills authentication requirements. Possession of a private key is ownership. It also spares a person from having to share more personal information than they would need to for an exchange, leaving them exposed to hackers.
I talked earlier about capability and adaptability. As a nation we love to embrace changes, and definitely changes should be positive. As a technology lover, we have engaged ourselves into the new technology, may be late. There is a proverb, “it is better to begin, rather to sleep’. The ICT Ministry has taken considerable steps to go with the millennium goals. Bangladesh is amongst the very few countries that have hugged new technology and working relentlessly for new era. Meanwhile, Bangladesh has progressed in terms of tech transaction. So, I’m hopeful about the rapid progress of digitization.
FINTECH: What is the situation of ERP solution in the market?
ERP can efficiently streamline the business operations of organization. In other words, ERP is a core business management solution that may help your organization to accelerate and get automated and presumably reliable information by creating a centralized communication amongst departments. Since, ERP is an integrated solution, it can serve the customer needs resulting improved and cost-effective business operation. It is true that the local market is struggling with the ERP. However, there are many companies who are developing ERP. It will flourish in the near future and outplay foreign players soon. Since automation is knocking at the door, we can’t keep inconspicuous. We shall overcome the critical paths and expecting a change of mind in all areas.
As a nation, we should feel proud because we have young, committed, ambitious and skill human resources who can do even better and who can dominate the world in the years ahead.
Thank you very much for seeing me today. It’s been great to have a conversation about current and future tech-culture especially for our beloved country Bangladesh.