In a conversation, Md Yousup Faruqu, Managing Director at Microsoft Bangladesh, elaborates on his experience in technological transformation and how Microsoft Bangladesh is empowering communities across the country in adapting and benefitting from technological innovation.
Reflecting on your 16+ years of experience in technological transformation in Bangladesh, how would you describe the journey you’ve had so far and what have been the key takeaways for you?
My journey in technology has been a fantastic experience. I have seen firsthand how the advances in technology have become deeply woven into our everyday lives. In a rapidly changing technological world, we must keep learning. We must be willing and able to change with the times.
Congratulations on being appointed as the new MD of Microsoft Bangladesh. What will be your focus areas as you lead the company into the new decade? Do you have specific goals in mind?
My focus areas for Bangladesh are empowering our diverse partner ecosystem, accelerating digital transformation, and increasing cloud adoption across industry verticals.
Despite the advancements over the last decade, Bangladesh, in aggregate has not been able to utilise the potentials of AI and Big Data. How can Microsoft Bangladesh help the country to adapt and benefit from the technologies?
Microsoft is working to make AI accessible to every individual and organisation. Our goal is to amplify people’s ingenuity with intelligent technology by infusing AI into what we do. We do this by using a thoughtful, human-centred approach when designing AI innovations that extend and empower people’s capabilities in all aspects of life.
We are doing this in four ways:
l Driving AI innovation that extends individuals’ and organisations’ capabilities and makes them more productive.
l Developing AI tools and technologies powered by our Azure cloud empowers people and institutions worldwide to do things better, understand their customers, share information more quickly, and enable scientific breakthroughs.
l Incorporating AI into many of our products and services, such as Microsoft 365.
l Taking a principled approach to AI that instils trust and keeps you in control.
Helping customers use AI responsibly starts with our approach and culture, and it includes sharing what we learn and empowering others. We collaborate with customers to deeply understand use cases and work together on solutions. Our best practices and suggested approaches are updated often and offered through our AI Business School, events, and broader communications.
In every country where we do business, our approach is governed by our AI principles and the existing processes for determining how we engage in a particular country.
Microsoft 365 Education has allowed thousands of students across Bangladesh to continue their education by providing state of the art features for virtual classes. How will Microsoft’s role in Bangladesh’s education sector evolve in the coming years?
Over the last few months, system leaders, educators, students, and families across Bangladesh have demonstrated incredible energy, commitment, and flexibility as they quickly responded to the need to move to remote learning. As we look to the next school year and beyond, we will encourage technology or STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education to be a fundamental part of the school curriculum. For instance, learning how to code and other digital skills develops computational thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.
Our Microsoft Showcase Schools Program relentlessly focuses on securing strong student outcomes by creating safe, secure, and efficient schools that provide personalised and predictive learning that empowers students. Microsoft Showcase Schools such as Dhadash Government Primary School, Bherapora Technical and Business Management Institute are two examples.
This year, we also had 116 Microsoft Innovative Education (MIE) experts from Bangladesh join our global community of educators, paving the way for their peers to support a culture of learning, innovation, and continuous improvement.
How would you assess the growth of Bangladesh’s tech Industry? Do you believe our current education system is adequate in producing world-class tech experts?
The ICT sector in Bangladesh is poised for expansion, with Dhaka emerging as a freelance IT and IT-enabled services outsourcing centre. Industry analysts expect this growth in the ICT sector to create demand for services from more international businesses. While enrollment is high, the quality of education that students are receiving remains relatively low. Reading fluency is the barometer used to measure a school system’s quality, and in Bangladesh, most students cannot pass basic fluency assessments. It not only puts these students at a significant disadvantage but stunts prospects of economic growth.
Bangladesh is rapidly adapting and integrating the latest technologies in its infrastructure to become a developed nation by 2041. How does Microsoft Bangladesh see itself contributing to that vision?
The rapid adoption of cloud, data analytics, social media, and mobility are increasing the pace of change and driving demand for innovation in government services. These technology megatrends and the proliferation of data are resetting how governments operate, from making decisions and creating policy based on data analytics to how they fulfil the expectations of citizens and businesses through multiple delivery channels.
Microsoft is working to make AI accessible to every individual and organisation. Our goal is to amplify people’s ingenuity with intelligent technology by infusing AI into what we do.
On some level, every industry is undergoing sustainable digital transformation. From 5G, cloud computing to the internet of things (IoT) and data technology have accelerated and transformed companies’ innovation agenda. From digital supply chains that improve business processes and reduce carbon footprints to IoT sensors streaming real-time telemetry for predictive analytics, there is no shortage of examples of technology enabling ambitious sustainability outcomes. And this is further transformed by start-ups and digital natives who use artificial intelligence and data to create solutions that are disrupting industries.
It is our role as leaders, work together as a coalition to bring in our strengths, assets, and resources to build a region that is more resilient, equitable, and sustainable for everyone. It is purpose-driven technology, where the mission is to collaborate to achieve a greater good.