• Wednesday, Dec 01, 2021
  • Last Update : 02:24 pm

‘My main objective will be to accelerate digital transformation’

  • Published at 07:56 pm October 17th, 2021
Microsoft
Md Yousup Faruqu, the Country Managing Director of Microsoft Bangladesh Courtesy

Md Yousup Faruqu, the recently appointed Country Managing Director of Microsoft Bangladesh, brings over 16 years of experience in technology transformation across the country. His prior experiences include roles with VMware, Banglalink Digital Communication, and Symbiosis Bangladesh. 

In an exclusive interview with the Dhaka Tribune’s SM Abrar Aowsaf, he discusses his plans for Microsoft Bangladesh, how he plans to accelerate digital transformation, how Microsoft will drive conversations on managing data and AI responsibly, as well as drive value creation and future-proof industries through data, AI, and cloud computing.

Congratulations on your appointment! So, you have been here for about a month now. How has your experience been so far in leading the Bangladeshi subsidiary of a global tech giant?

Thank you! It has been great. The team I work with is amazing. 

Moreover, the company’s growth mindset culture allows us to seek out new ideas, embrace challenges, learn from failure, and improve over time. To support this culture, it offers a diverse range of learning and development opportunities.

It has also been a privilege to be on this exciting journey with Microsoft as we focus on Bangladesh’s digital transformation and cloud adoption. I am looking forward to transforming the country, the industries, and capabilities of our customers and partners in the community.

Going forward, what are your plans for Microsoft Bangladesh? Do you have plans to launch any country-specific products? Can we expect to see any ad campaigns soon?

With the world becoming a computer, I see the value of Microsoft’s extensive partner network and global best practices as learning opportunities to help every business in Bangladesh embrace cloud, digital transformation, and the modern workplace. We are focused on our customers' success, and are never in competition with them. 

Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, and that means we want to empower you with that tech intensity, whether you are a small business, a large multinational, or a public-sector institution, our goal is to ensure that we give you the digital technology.  We want to do this at a global scale, and most importantly, our success is fundamentally dependent on your success.  That is at the core of our business model. That is what engenders the trust, long term. 

To do this effectively, we must empower government organizations and corporations to reset their ways of working as they navigate through the ongoing pandemic, respond to the increased citizen demands of today, and embrace emerging technologies to transform their tomorrow. Our partners play an integral part in realizing this vision. Together, through our industry-specific insights, solutions, and services, we can keep Bangladesh running today and blaze new trails for the technology of tomorrow.

My main objective at Microsoft Bangladesh will be to accelerate digital transformation and to empower our diverse Microsoft partner ecosystem. The total number of global tech jobs is expected to increase nearly five-fold from 41 million in 2020 to 190 million by 2023 as cloud adoption continues to rise. 

Our new operating system, Windows 11, brings a “new era” for the PC in Bangladesh. It not only brings updates and upgrades for security, gaming, hybrid working, but also a brand-new look and feel. We will also be working with our partners to help them scale their solutions to global markets.

Piracy in Bangladesh is still a widespread problem, and copyright laws are rarely enforced. How do you plan to protect intellectual property rights under such circumstances?

Software piracy is an industry-wide challenge, and we are committed to working with our industry partners to promote the benefits of choosing genuine platforms and protecting intellectual property rights. 

We always recommend customers choose genuine platforms to ensure compatibility with security updates and to avoid dangerous viruses, spyware and other malware sometimes contained in non-genuine software.      

What specific plans does Microsoft have for the SME sector of the country? Do you have any plans to work at a granular level to enhance the ecosystem?

The growth and development of SMBs in Asia-Pacific over the decades have been key to the region’s economic success. Successfully overcoming this pandemic, including the collateral damage inflicted on SMBs, is a battle that institutions, organizations, and government bodies have to come together to make an impact. I believe success can be ensured via collaboration in a Public-Private Partnership with an ecosystem approach.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the Bangladeshi economy. More than 90% of the businesses in Bangladesh are SMEs.  And often, we see the greatest innovations arise under the greatest pressure. As our CEO Satya Nadella recently stated: “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”

A SMB leader with a growth mindset sees an opportunity to transform, for that matter leapfrog, during a time of immense business challenge. Going forward, all SMBs should also re-evaluate every aspect of their business with a digital-first mindset — finding new ways to develop and deliver their products and services for a post-COVID world — including: 

Digitalizing operations and enabling remote work: What processes can be moved online to save costs, and how can it be done quickly? How can they enable remote work in just a few days to continue operations?

Targeting and business planning: Where is your industry going? If you’re an in-person business, how can you shift online? How can you provide a better end customer experience?

Security and IT: With the rise in cyber-attacks, what are some of the tools that can help take you forward in 2020, safely and securely?

Re-skilling and re-imagining the workforce model: What skills can your employees start learning to be prepared for this future? Will you employ more part timers and contractors; will you work from more distributed locations, collaborate across offices; or run a virtual company with a small core team — outsourcing everything else? It is said that in the next generation 65% of the jobs will be new.

To spur innovative entrepreneurship, Microsoft is working closely with governments and industry partners to discover and nurture technology startups with a high potential to become truly global enterprises in the future. Through Highway to a 100 Unicorns, we are enabling startups in Bangladesh so they can have real impact in their markets and drive digital innovation in the region.

How will Microsoft drive conversations on managing data and AI responsibly, while supporting security, privacy, and governance in Bangladesh?

Microsoft is working to make AI accessible to every individual and organization. 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-centered approach when designing AI innovations that extend and empower people’s capabilities in all aspects of life.  

We are doing this in four ways: driving AI innovation that extends individuals’ and organizations’ capabilities and makes them more productive; developing AI tools and technologies, powered by our Azure cloud, to empower people and institutions around the world to do things better, understand their customers, share information more quickly and enable scientific breakthroughs; incorporating AI into many of our products and services, such as Microsoft 365; and taking a principled approach to AI that instills trust and keeps you in control.  

Helping customers use AI responsibly starts with our own 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 we have for determining how we engage in a particular country.   

How does Microsoft plan to drive value creation and future-proof industries through data, AI, and cloud computing? Can cloud computing even take off in a country where internet speeds are so low?

We give businesses flexibility in the cloud, rather than asking them to fit into our idea of it. That is why, when we launched Azure more than a decade ago, we designed Azure to be hybrid from day one. 

As today’s customers deal with even more complex IT issues, we know not everything can and should move to the cloud. We take pride in the grit we put into Microsoft’s latest hybrid innovations. Our portfolio has expanded to be even more flexible, with more customer choice, unlocking challenging hybrid scenarios possible for customers who need to not only move and manage to and across one cloud, but also multiple clouds. 

There are three main elements that have an impact cloud computing access: How much bandwidth and speed you have from your internet provider. The total number of people who have access to your internet. And the quantity of data that these users consume. You'll be able to access your data on the cloud more efficiently if you optimize each element.

Bangladesh hopes to be a developed nation by 2041 and is digitizing rapidly. What role does Microsoft see itself playing in furthering this agenda, as well as in helping the country achieve its Digital Bangladesh goal?  

At Microsoft, we are guided by our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. In Bangladesh, we are collaborating with public and private sectors as well as our partner ecosystem to help them on their cloud journeys and empower future leaders with digital skills, so they can contribute towards a Digital Bangladesh. 

Microsoft says it is committed to creating a knowledge-based society in Bangladesh through the use of ICT. Are you working with the government to digitize classrooms? Does Microsoft have or plan to launch any programs for enhancing tech literacy in Bangladesh?

Schools across Bangladesh are currently exploring new approaches to teaching and learning to ensure students are prepared for success in school and in life. Whether driven by a long-term vision or in response to urgent needs, these schools are led by passionate leaders who are driving change and committed to educational excellence.

The Microsoft Showcase School program supports such efforts. Microsoft Showcase Schools such as Dhadash Government Primary School and Bherapora Technical and Business Management Institute are two examples. There is a relentless focus through the program on securing strong student outcomes by creating safe, secure, and efficient schools that provide personalized and predictive learning that empowers students.

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.

You have come so far in just 16 years; what tips do you have for someone who aspires to embark on a career trajectory like yours?

It is all about your mindset. Where we are today and where we are headed is grounded in a deep understanding of a growth mindset. Having the correct mindset might mean the difference between success and failure, whether you are talking about professional success, starting your own business, or passing a difficult exam. Technology is also ever-changing, so you must be willing and able to change with the times and needs of your clients.

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