The Empower 2015 Day 2 Keynote celebrated the achievements of the global Laserfiche community.
Starting with a video dedicated to the developers of Laserfiche software, the keynote then focused on the customers who have achieved incredible results with Laserfiche. From Laserfiche Forms users in New Zealand to shared service implementers in New York, the Run Smarter Awards honored organizations based on the creativity of their Laserfiche solutions.
— rosalind collins (@rozpope) January 15, 2015
Following the Run Smarter Awards ceremony, Barry Chapman of Hanson McClain was awarded the prestigious Tom Wayman Leadership Award by Vice President of Asset Management Peter Wayman.
Then, the much anticipated interview began between Sean Tang, Vice President of International Business at Laserfiche, and Mohammed Qasim, Executive Director of New Vision in Baghdad, Iraq. Since 2009, New Vision has found success selling Laserfiche in a seemingly unlikely market. The company has sold solutions to customers such as the Iraqi Security Commission and the Iraqi Ministries of Oil, Justice and Industry. By speaking with Sean and answering questions from the audience, Mohammed revealed that Iraq presents many of the same document management challenges experienced in other countries. Despite political uncertainty, government organizations in Iraq still need to archive documents, keep information secure and work more efficiently.
Here are some highlights from the interview:
Sean: What is everyday life like in Iraq?
Mohammed: My day starts at 7:00 am. My kids get picked up for school, my wife helps me put on my bullet-proof jacket, then I drive my tank to the office avoiding the mines—I’m kidding, this is a joke. Life in Baghdad is normal. In the morning, the buses take children to and from school, I drive to my office, shops are opening. It really is normal. Iraq is not safe everywhere, but it is stable.
Sean: We see the Iraq war in the news all the time—where is that war happening?
Mohammed: Iraq can be divided into four parts. The west is what everybody hears about. There is the south, which is stable and secure but is still poor with little investment. The north, the Kurdistan area, is a stable area with foreign investment and economic development. You see the big companies open here. In Baghdad, there is some stability, but you still see car bombs and explosions. But within two or three hours, life returns to normal.
Sean: I see, and how is business developing right now in Iraq?
Mohammed: The common challenge for companies in Iraq is the unqualified workforce, government procedures and infrastructure. The Iraqi workforce doesn’t have the necessary skills and experience to work with the technology and software that my company offers. Universities and colleges in Iraq still have old-fashioned syllabi and when I want to hire someone, they don’t have the required skills. So I must educate and train these employees on Laserfiche, Microsoft and other technologies. Then there are the government procedures. There are so many departments that must approve vendors—then after the implementation begins, the whole cycle of approval starts again to handle payment. One time, a government customer asked me to go to the police station to have my photo and fingerprints recorded for a criminal profile. This took almost three weeks. Then there are the challenges of Iraq’s infrastructure. For example, the roads are very old and also have many checkpoints. These checkpoints take up to one hour to pass through. It makes travelling to visit customers very difficult.
Sean: In 2014, you sold and implemented six new Laserfiche projects, including the Ministry of Justice and the Iraqi Security Commissions. In the IT solution world, that’s one new project every two months. Where is this success coming from?
Mohammed: There is a strong need to archive documents in the Iraqi government. Every government agency has this concern because we’re affected by terrorist accidents, fires, stolen documents, etc. When we present Laserfiche to these agencies, we show end users that Laserfiche is very easy to use, like Microsoft. Customers in Iraq are familiar with Microsoft. We also show them the Arabic interface as many people in Iraq don’t speak English—they’re very happy about that. When we talk to IT, we show how easy Laserfiche is to deploy. Meanwhile, government administrators are concerned about information security. They must follow certain legal regulations, so we show how Laserfiche can help them do that.
Want to know more about New Vision’s experience selling Laserfiche in Iraq? Watch the entire Day 2 Keynote below!