Looking back, when Farabi Technology Corp (Montreal Canada), decided to establish its regional branch office in, Dubai, UAE in 1993, simply to extend the Pre-Sales and Support for its clientele in the middle east region to match their working hours, was an accomplishment.
Farabi’s solution evolved along with advancement of technologies, from DOS to Windows to Web-to-Host services where, their flagship product was “SITER”, the Arabic/English terminal emulation for IBM Mainframes. SITER was a stand-alone solution with a mix of hardware and software for a single user, which then got upgraded to a gateway solution for Novel Netware and Windows NT, which then evolved to Web-to-Host product, known as BlueZone & HostFront.
“We hit the road running”. “As Farabi was already known to most banks, airlines and governments across GCC, it wasn’t very difficult to get started”, say’s Bachar Kassar, Founder & MD. But the journey wasn’t all peaches and cream, he says. Farabi faced number of challenges down the road, during dotcom bust, 2008 financial crisis & other demographic challenges.
So what worked for them?
A mix of things perhaps. HostFront was a magical product that facilitates the IBM Mainframe & AS/400 integration, when Farabi Professional Service (FPS) division was created 15 years ago to expose English/Arabic mainframe data to be consumed with front-end applications, devices, and also web interfaces. HostFront engagements gave them exposure to services-focused projects & of course, its perils & promises, promises far outweighing the perils. HostFront was eventually acquired by Seagull Software, who got acquired by Rocket Software.
Ever since, Farabi didn’t go into invention or product-mode until recently where they launched, a Chatbot and Onboarding/KYC tablet application through their sister company, Solutions 4 Mobility (S4M). So providing services, development, deployment, support were the focus areas.
Three questions always intrigued Bachar and his team were,
Like any self-reflecting person or entity, when you start asking these questions, you are subconsciously creating the consciousness of high quality, pursuit of customer happiness and continuous learning. When such strong values are deeply embedded in an Organization’s DNA, seldom will you be bogged down by a challenge emanating out of this planet. Farabi moved forward, may not be in the pace that will put any Wall Street company or IPO/M&A bound companies to shame, but did so, organically and with very clean books and ulcer-free customers.
In these 25 years journey, Farabi was engaged with so many customers, with projects of varied sizes, complexities and of course had several nerve-wracking challenges. Undaunted and fearless, Farabi advanced shaking off such challenges like a duck would do to the water on its back, got invited to several pioneering projects involving disruptive technologies like smartphones and apps. Farabi sensing the massive transformation of these smartphones would bring to people at large, delved into mobility solutions business in a concerted way. That is how S4M was born in 2011.
Looking back, what could have been done better and what did they do right, there are always mistakes and the most important thing is to not be wallowing with regret, instead pull back up immediately and hustle forward. With all respect, Farabi outlived many local & global tech companies, maintained credibility and retained some customers for more than 2 decades. Farabi gave many career breaks with its core HR value of heart-over-talent, i.e. always look for people with good intention and attitude and trained them, honed them that helped them catapult their career. Farabi cares for its people, society it lives in and of course, its customers who are the reason for its position today.
This happens only if the leadership has the right intention and attitude. Like the proverbial, ‘birds of same feather flock together’, great leaders attract great people & fulfilling relationships. They also known how to bring the best out of a person without exploiting and creating stressful environment. Farabi’s leadership always led from the front, allowed people to make mistakes, stood by its people through thick and thin and most importantly believed in delighting its customers.
When asked Bachar on accomplishing these glorious 25 years, what’s next, he simply says, ‘let’s hope for the best’! Modesty & success, seem to be blood brothers.