Interviews

Ariq Mansur, Director, Invogue Software Limited

Reading Time: 6 minutes -

Invogue designs IT solutions

Tell us about your move to America, your schooling in Pennsylvania State University and your subsequent return to Bangladesh. Paint us a picture of your journey?
At a very young age, I was encouraged to experiment in the world of technology. It started from setting up PC’s to installing software in my father’s computer. It slowly became a second language. As I grew older, the love for technology became deeper. Whenever there was a new laptop coming out, I had to know about it. My friends at an early age started asking for my suggestions in regards to which hardware to go for.

After a very engaging 8 years of schooling at the International School of Dhaka, I decided to go to America to study. After going through all the steps I made the decision to go to The Pennsylvania State University, one of my top choices from the very beginning. The decision was surprisingly easy as I got into the program I aimed for and was also selected to be a part of the University Golf Team. It would be worthy to mention by the time I was in High School I became a very avid golfer, and attained a Zero Handicap status.

August 2010 started with an introductory course of Information Sciences and Technology focusing on Human Computer Interaction (HCI). After a long two hours class, I knew right away that this is what I was going to pursue for the next four years. Learning about UX was truly life changing. Understanding what Jony Ive (Ex Chief Design Officer of Apple) went through when designing the remarkable Apple products to Deep Dive method developed by IDEO, were the core foundation of my UX career. After a successful two years of University, it finally came to that point of applying for an internship.

As a kid, I was always attracted to New York and wanted to work in the Dream City. In Summer of 2012, that dream came true as I was accepted as a User Experience Intern for PulsePoint (a Leading Digital Media Company) in Manhattan, New York. After graduating in 2014 with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Information Sciences and Technology focusing on Human Computer InteractionI, I decided to go back to New York City, but this time to pursue a full time job. After working for about two years and gaining experience in my field, I decided that it was time for me to come back to Dhaka.

On the second day of my return I joined my father’s company, Invogue Software Limited. It’s been almost five years to date, that I slowly moved up the ladder from working part time, to managing our company.

How long have you been in the tech industry? What is your role in Invogue?
I have been in the Tech Industry for more than eight years now. I am currently the Director of Business Development.

Invogue started its maiden journey in 2000. Since then how has the company evolved and how much has changing global IT landscape influenced the evolution of the company?
Invogue was always a step forward in the Tech industry. We started as an IT company and a Media House, which focused on Software/Web Development and Developed Cartoon Animations for the local market. During the early years we also worked on font and logo creation which we still export to the U.S. Invogue was the first ever company in Bangladesh to develop a Bangla Job Site. We were, and still are a pioneer in many firsts in technology application; due to lack of our Marketing abilities we always fell short.

After my return in 2015, we as a Company decided to focus on our services and be more streamlined. During 2016, we finished restructuring our company and was solely focused on Designing and Developing Software/Web/Mobile Applications. As Invogue became stronger dealing with international clients, starting in 2019, we have decided to expand our services to countries in Cambodia, Germany and the USA.

What are some of the glaring differences between the IT sector in America and the IT sector here?
First is Business Requirement Document Formation. The knowledge it takes to form a well constructed Business Requirement Document (BRD) is something that the IT sector in Bangladesh has lacked for a long time. IT companies need to understand that listing out the requirements of a specific client is the number one step to successfully implementing a project. In the U.S., companies make sure to clarify every little detail when it comes to forming a BRD.

Secondly, Project Management A proper project management is the key ingredient to a successful IT project. Majority of the IT companies tend to follow a method and not really focus on the product. Their goal is to implement the project as quickly as possible and jump start the next one. This type of approach lead to unhappy clients in the long run.

And thirdly is Client Literacy. Client Literacy plays a major role in the Software Industry in Bangladesh. Most of the clients tend to have a difficult time in understanding the basic need of a software. We spend most of our time trying to not just pitch our products to a client, instead we highlight a problem within a company, to show how implementing a software can help solve the issue.

What are some of the challenges confronting the IT sector here? What needs to be improved in the IT sector in Bangladesh? Could you also highlight some of the positives?
There is wide aversion to do anything within the purview of law. Even after signing a well drafted contract, there is always a tendency by the clients to avoid legal compliance. Not getting payments on time from clients are a prime reason the IT companies in Bangladesh fail to flourish. In many cases total non payments have resulted in catastrophe for local companies. There is a definite requirement for a code of conduct, contract, payment, deployment and follow up for a rapid growth of the sector.

Also the knowledge on Cyber Security needs to be increased. I use the following metaphor when describing about Bangladesh’s current status on Cyber Security. “Most of the companies in Bangladesh are currently focusing on designing the nicest doors possible, one aspect they are forgetting is the need of implementing a strong lock for security.”Since implementing a software is already a big leap forward for most of the companies, they tend to forget a very important element – security. The lack of knowledge within the IT companies is a major setback in the industry, and knowledge implementation needs to begin immediately. I truly believe that every company should implement at least a basic layer of security when implementing a software.

Not all is gloom and doom. As a developing country, there are plenty of positives in the IT industry in Bangladesh. The young generations are quickly adapting to the latest technological trend which is very important to keep up with the world demand. The Government is investing heavily on tech hubs around the country which will help inject knowledge to the youth. Foreign Investors are slowly starting to invest which encourages young entrepreneurs with their startups.

What is UX? Can you detail the importance of UX? What is the most effective way to use UX to give companies a competitive edge in the market?
UX is what we call User Experience, which is how the user feels when using a specific software or hardware. When designing a software one of the most important aspects is to understand our users and what they are capable of. A user experience designer dissects the problem the client or the specific user is facing and then comes up with a design solution, which then is tested by the users and upon a positive result it is forwarded to the development team. Without the use of a proper UX, the relationship between the products and the user gets disrupted, which can cause a delay in the process, unsuccessful implementation, etc. We at InvogueSoft always keep our clients first. We make sure to understand the problem the client is facing and then move forward to finding a solution.

Where do you see Bangladesh’s IT sector in the next 10 years?
I see a very bright future in the IT sector of Bangladesh. The garment industry took advantage of the minimum wage and invested heavily in their infrastructure which then flourished in the following years, I see something very similar. In the next decade, we will see a lot of Tech Factories open up with lines of computers with software engineers working day in and night out to cater to both local and international clients. Outsourcing projects will exponentially increase, as our developers gather experience. For the local sector, new startups will come in the health, finance, agro, HR and manufacturing sector. Apps/e-Commerce similar to Pathao (Ridesharing), Daraz (General e-Commerce), Stridesco.com (Fashion e-Commerce) will gain traction as online payment will be generally approved by more people. Foreign funding will also play a major role in uplifting these startups.

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