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WI Pro of the Season: Zulfiqar Ali Raffad, IT and Business Expert, Entrepreneur, to-be CEO 28.11.2014

The series of Work Informatics Professionals at business and academia: person, skills, heart and motivation of an ICT expert continues.
Previous WIPro's: Anne Koskinen-Kannisto, Matti Toivonen, Pekka Tetri, Jani Koskinen, Olga Moiseeva, Katriina Korenius, Jonni Henttinen, Erkki Kallio, Adil Umer, Sari Ahonen, Henry Sandell, Henrik Lintunen, Jennifer Ståhlberg, Bahadir Gürkan, and Janne Pitkänen.
See also titles of WI Pros and Pro's at WI-LinkedIn, and the story of the First Lady of WI, Anne Koskinen-Kannisto.

WI Pro How do I see IT in everyday life?

The world becomes a global village where barriers of time and distance have become sort of folklore, as if they never existed. This is age where infrastructure coupled with fast 4G connections, interactive applications and services available on handheld devices are influencing the lives of millions of people every day at work and in their personal live especially in their formal and informal networks of family, friends, colleagues and other acquaintances. I see this as the beginning of a technological paradigm shift where new technologies will evolve at a much faster rate hence giving rise to new and exciting opportunities to create better value for people.

But then, aligned with the booming and flourishing software industry, I feel that the plethora of applications which are currently being developed are concentrating on making quick money rather than delivering value and this trend needs to change. We need to recognize what is the opportunity and then build around applications and services that help capture value for the customer. This value should be unique and made available at affordable costs so that it reaches a bigger mass rather than restricting it to some societal class or group. Couple this initiative with the new technological trends and the results will be mind-blowing.

What my current work is about?

With the Master’s degree from Global IT Management from Turku University and previous degrees in Business Systems and Software Engineering, I brought years of Analysis, Design and Development experience in HealthCare and other domains to Finland. During my course of stay I have embarked on two major research projects for companies like TeliaSonera and Akselworks. Seeking opportunities within a tough Finnish market which was set on focusing on local customers was not easy.

Hence with the love for Finland (my second home), I thought to stay and use the learning from my studies, existing knowledge and experience to my benefit. I took an initiative and co-founded a product CVROBO (soon available on the iOS Platform and IStore) with my techie buddy in my home country Pakistan. Now our team counts six highly experienced heads within a period of 6 months and is active under the company labelled Appsconz. This company has previously delivered a great set of healthcare and others systems to clients around the globe. It has an innovation wing where we develop new applications and services, a development wing where the product is actually programmed, analysis and design wing where requirements for all the products, services and application are analyzed, their specifications created and their design built.

My task is mainly concentrated in the two wings (innovation; analysis and design) to work on getting new projects, coming up with innovations and designing and building applications and services. My role can be stated to be a merge of business systems analyst and a launch manager. Currently I am being trained at launching new products with another team here in Finland to understand how to manage projects which will be launched using digital markets. Apart from this I am an external Business IT consultant to some companies in Europe and help them to develop their systems. (Busy? Yes! But I love it because I know how to make a difference!)

What does WI at Work mean to me?

Selecting Work Informatics courses and doing projects within this discipline has allowed me to learn and work with the best the university has to offer. These courses offer the best in theory and practice and helps students to thrive and excel in this discipline. I have used much of the knowledge gained from work informatics to my current work practices where the theory has helped me to understand how various work activities should be designed and developed to be effectively supported by information technology. It has helped me understand and improve the way of working by not only re-engineering existing work practices but developing entirely new ways of conducting work so that these ways could foster effective and efficient use of IT systems. Moreover it has allowed me to understand how these practices should be employed within software by using the core of the theories and models when designing applications.

I am grateful to the work informatics lecturers for the endless support in all matters and the encouragement provided whenever there was need.

Me and my future

This initiative of empowering myself enlightened me to proceed with establishing my own company here in Finland. The company will follow the same structure as that of its parent company Appsconz. Though it might look easy at first glimpse, but it requires pure ambitiousness to pursue such a journey as there are a lot of hurdles that we need to overcome such as acquiring capital and gaining local customers from Finland etc.

I would like to see myself heading this company soon and taking it to new horizons and making it evolve as one of the best Software Houses in Finland.

Sincerely, Zulfiqar Ali Raffad
IT and Business Expert, Entrepreneur, to-be CEO of a new company