Technology

EditorNovember 20, 2017
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5min540

Microsoft’s Asia Digital Transformation Survey (2017), involving 1,494 business leaders in 13 Asia Pacific markets, found that 81% of Financial Services Industry (FSI) leaders believe they need to transform to a digital business to enable future growth. They also believe that big data, AI and cloud computing are now an essential part of that transformation strategy.

In spite of this, only 31% said that they have a full digital strategy in place today, and 53% are in progress with specific digital transformation initiatives for selected parts of their business. These findings reflect the situation in Sri Lanka, where we are seeing an increasing number of financial services hoping to digitally transform.




While Sri Lanka is considered to be a leader in South Asia for financial inclusion, with 68% of adults possessing bank accounts (Asian Development Bank Institute Paper, 2014), the usage of cashless payment schemes for example have remained relatively low.

Increasing cyber-attacks targeting financial institutions are demanding the attention of business leaders to ensure security is a boardroom discussion and not merely a discussion at the CIO’s office. Further, a growing share of Millennials in the workforce and customer base are demanding FSI organisations to embrace the 4th Industrial revolution and kick-start the digital transformation journey before it is too late.

Banks today are dealing with customers who expect their mobile devices to be their banking agents, and are vocal about their opinions in public. We recently held a CXO Conference on “Banking in the Digital Era” to initiate and nurture this discussion among business decision makers in the FSI community and the response we received was overwhelmingly positive.

Financial institutions need to be prepared to pivot in this wave of digital disruption to stay relevant in order to attract and retain customers. The FSI sector, as a whole, can only increase profitability—and have the flexibility to scale, while ensuring consumer trust and confidence in its ability to protect customer data and assets from cyber-attacks—when it can provide personalised services.

It is also a very positive sign to see a serious dialogue being developed in Sri Lanka on Blockchain and Fintech. In order for our FSI sector to leapfrog and reap the benefits of technology, this dialogue must continue, while the necessary policy frameworks must be put in place.

Focussing on the four key pillars of Digital Transformation will decide the success or failure of Sri Lankan FSI organisations, for these pillars operationalize what the 4th Industrial Revolution may mean to FSI organisations.

Engage your customers: FSI companies will need to treat customers as savvier than ever before, since interested customers will often educate themselves on products or services before any engagement. At the same time, FSI companies will need to reimagine and simplify the customer experience to deliver more value through data insights and relevant offerings. When you offer an optimal customer experience, you have a greater chance of converting them into your advocates.

Empower your employees: With the entry of Millennials, the workplace has undergone a dramatic change. Today, it is crucial to provide employees with cloud-based productivity tools that provide seamless access to data. This will enable organisations to innovate faster, meet compliance requirements, and deliver exceptional client experiences.

Optimise your operations: Technology disrupters such as AI and big data are accelerating the potential for businesses to optimise their operations. FSI companies can gain breakthrough insight into risk and operational models with advanced analytics and act on real-time intelligence to optimise risk management and meet regulatory requirements.

Transform your products: The opportunity to embed software and technology directly into products and services is evolving how organisations deliver value, enabling new business models, and disrupting established markets. Moreover, FSI companies that leverage open and connected systems —with highly automated digital processes to support new product development—will meet the security, privacy and transparency expectations of customers, regulators and stakeholders.





EditorNovember 18, 2017
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3min340

Global Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) software vendor, CAMMS – a world leader in planning and strategy, project, risk and meeting management software, as well as budgeting, workforce and analytics solutions won a Gold award for its Project Management solution, cammsproject, at the 19th annual NBQSA ceremony held in Colombo.

CAMMS won the Gold Award in the General Applications category while also winning the overall Silver award. As a result, CAMMS qualified for the Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA), which will be held this December in Bangladesh.

“It is a great achievement for CAMMS to win the Gold award for cammsproject, as well as the overall Silver award, at the NBQSA – the pinnacle for the ICT industry in Sri Lanka,” said, Sanharsha Jayatissa – General Manager, CAMMS Asia, from the vendor’s Colombo office.

“The fact that CAMMS was able to win these awards, competing against nearly 100 top-class software products, is testament to the quality of our Project Management platform. cammsproject is used by leading organizations throughout the worldwide to organize, prioritize, manage and measure projects, while enabling project teams to collaborate and track progress in one place.”

cammsproject was also named a ‘Pace Setter’ in Gartner’s 2017 FrontRunners quadrant for Project Management Software report. cammsproject complies with the ISO 21500:2012 Standard, PMBOK and APM frameworks, as well as PRINCE2 and LEAN methodologies.

NBQSA is Sri Lanka’s premier ICT award ceremony organized by the British Computer Society Sri Lanka section.

CAMMS is a global Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) software company dedicated to transforming organizational strategy into reality. CAMMS offers the world’s only true end-to-end, fully integrated, EPM platform. Able to be used independently, or as part of a complete EPM platform, CAMMS is a world leader in planning and strategy, project, risk and meeting management software, as well as budgeting, workforce and analytics solutions. Founded in 1996, CAMMS has tens of thousands of users across five continents, with offices in the United Kingdom, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.


LBN EditorNovember 17, 2017
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4min250

Sri Lanka’s apex ICT Institution, the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), together with the Ministry of Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure, announced the launch of the ‘e-Swabhimani Awards 2017’ during a recent media conference. Seated at the head table were ICTA senior personnel, (L-R), Jayantha Fernando, Director/ Legal Advisor, Chitranganie Mubarak, Chairperson, Dr. Ajith Madurapperuma, Actg. Chief Executive Officer, Gavashkar Subramanium, Programme Manager and Indumini Kodikara, Senior Project Manager.


EditorNovember 16, 2017
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3min500

Colombo, Sri Lanka, for the first time in Sri Lanka customers will be  able to purchase apps and other digital content through their Airtel recharges or reloads launching with Google Play. This Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) service named AirPay will permit prepaid customers to have their purchases deducted from their remaining balances, while postpaid customers will have their purchases incurred to their monthly phone bill.

Given that the circulation of credit cards is still considerably low, especially among the youth of Sri Lanka. Airtel’s recent collaboration with Google Play will introduce a great alternative to online purchases for those who currently do not have a credit or a debit card. Airtel customers will be the first to be able to purchase digital content from the comfort of their smartphones, reaping the benefits of Airtel’s 40% faster internet and Google Play security. Airtel customers will now have access to millions of paid apps on Google Play store, including new movies, music, educational content and games.

“Although a lot of people are online, their ability to transact has been limited because of the requirement to own a credit card. This alliance will give our customers the ability to do so in a convenient and safe manner.This is a highly customizable payment solution that gives digital merchants and app stores direct access to mobile operators’ wallet,” said Jinesh Hegde, CEO/ MD at Bharti Airtel Lanka.

Customers can easily activate Airpay on their android handsets by adding ‘Use Airtel Billing’ in the payment methods of their Google Play account menu. Once the activation is complete, the user can simply click on ‘Buy’ on their favorite content, select ‘Bill my Airtel account’, and provide their Google account password to confirm the purchase.

To boost customer trust and avoid accidental purchases, The service comes with a refund option that is  visible immediately on the purchased app and lasts for two hours users can keep full track of their Airpay purchases via ‘Order History’ in their Google Play account menu.

With many partners to come, Airtel customers are well poised to expand the number of e-commerce services that are supported by operator payment options thus making bookings, appointments, and other services a click away.


EditorNovember 15, 2017
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2min350

The first-ever Epihack Sri Lanka was conducted in Cinnamon Lakeside hotel. Epihack Sri Lanka was organised by Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, in collaboration with Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), University of Colombo Computer Society (UCSC), and the Computer Society of Sri Lanka (CSSL). The event is funded by Skoll Global Threats Fund (SGTF). The organizing team from NTU, CMC, UCSC, and CSSL are led by Professor May Lwin and Dr Ruwan Wijayamuni.

Epihack Colombo brought together 55 experts from 11 countries all over the world. The international collaborative effort spans 5 days and facilitates an intensive environment to develop, integrate, and improve technological solutions in order to detect and reduce the impact of dengue fever in Colombo. This event requires all participants to work together and create new solutions.

Epihack Sri Lanka’s final objective was to develop a cutting edge participatory reporting tool with prevention strategies to battle dengue and bridge communication gaps in dengue control. This builds on the existing Mo-Buzz mobile platform used by the public health inspectors of Colombo. Government officials, health experts, and developers from Sri Lanka and the world have been collectively brainstorming and prototyping digital tools to prevent the spread of dengue. The final prototype will represent an exciting second-generation digital surveillance tool at the frontiers of technology-based global health solutions. The digital solutions created during Epihack will be open-source and accessible to all for non-commercial use. The organizers hope to empower other stakeholders to join the fight against infectious diseases around the world.


EditorNovember 15, 2017
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3min680

ikman.lk, Sri Lanka’s largest online marketplace ensures members of the public who are not IT savvy and do not have ready access to internet or a computer, an easy way to sell items by posting their advertisements on ikman.lk through its unique ‘Sell Fast’ service.

Launched two years ago, the ‘Sell fast’ service has now grown to over 200 agents island wide. Members of the public with a need to post their ads on ikman.lk and unable to do so due to a lack of computer skills or access to internet connectivity, can easily locate an ikman.lk ‘Sell Fast’ appointed agent outlet through their prominently displayed ‘Sell Fast’ signage.

Sell Fast agents are also located within easy access for customers. Popular cities such as Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Galle and Kandy have a significant number of agents with other regions within the country also coming on board soon to provide this service.

“The internet can be intimidating for those not used to it. The appointed ikman.lk ‘Sell Fast’ agents are capable of reaching out and assisting customers who need help in placing advertisements on the ikman.lk website thus helping customers interact with the ikman.lk site. “Our goal is to provide a platform that makes advertising easy, accessible which facilitates customers and businesses alike the opportunity to buy and sell fast,” said Ravi de Mel, Director, Category Management, ikman.lk.

In addition to being in a prominent location within the city, ikman.lk ‘Sell Fast’ agents are also those who are in a position to provide this service, such as bookshops and communication centers equipped with computers and Internet accessibility. Some ‘Sell Fast’ agents are also newspaper agencies, which offer services in posting newspaper advertisements or related fields who have included the ikman.lk “Sell Fast’ service on popular demand.

Through ‘Sell Fast’ agents provide customers access to ikman.lk to sell almost anything. Thus enabling the non-savvy IT community an avenue of making use of the popular platform to sell items and make money, or even start a small business by subscribing to ikman.lk’s ‘shop’ service, earning increased incomes.

‘Sell Fast’ agents too benefit due an increased number of customers, by being associated with a popular brand. ikman.lk’s ‘Sell Fast’ service has also witnessed an increase in agents very keen to come onboard. All agents are entitled to a 25% commission for advertisements posted on categories where listing fees are required thus earning an additional income.


EditorNovember 10, 2017
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2min260

Sri Lanka’s National Mobile Service Provider, Mobitel, has been placed ahead of all local telcos in the ‘Customer Service Excellence’ rankings released by LMD in partnership with Kantar TNS, in which companies across as many as 18 sectors were rated on their customer service performance. Mobitel was positioned ahead of all existing telcos in the market, which is a testimonial to the mobile service provider’s customer-centric approach to differentiate its offering.

Based on Mobitel being selected by customers as providing the most memorable and high quality experience reflects the company’s commitment to offer consistent and sustained service for customers to build an emotional connection with the brand.

Commenting on the above achievement Nalin Perera, Chief Executive Officer of Mobitel stated, ‘Customer service is the core of Mobitel’s brand promise to its customers and instead of only focusing on customer service after a purchase is made, at Mobitel we undertake a 360 degree review prior to the transaction taking place in order to ensure the customer experience is of high standard from start to finish. Special attention is paid to aspects such as the distribution network, value in service offering, network & coverage quality, connectivity and also call continuity. Mobitel assures that this will only improve moving forward and would like to extend its sincere gratitude to its loyal customers for the confidence they have in the brand’.


EditorNovember 10, 2017
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4min460

Thursday, 9th November 2017, Colombo: DFCC Bank PLC launched “DFCC Premier Go”, the first ever premier banking app in the industry, exclusively for its Premier customers, at a special launch event held on November 2, 2017 at DFCC Bank’s Executive Lounge.

Introducing the Premier Go logo

DFCC Premier Go is yet another revolutionary feature in DFCC Bank’s mobile banking platform, developed by Synapsys; DFCC’s Fintech subsidiary that has been at the forefront of digital innovations in the banking industry having developed products such as Lanka Money Transfer and the Vardhana Virtual Wallet which was launched last year.

 

The unique feature of the Premier Go App is that it enables customers to contact their Relationship Manager at the click of a button via video conferencing. In the event that a face-to-face meeting is required, this App can assist with scheduling appointments with the Relationship Manager at a time convenient to the customer. They are also able to chat with the Relationship Manager and leave messages for follow-up after working hours, providing them with access to DFCC Banking services anytime and anywhere in the world.

 

In addition, this App enables the customer to be informed about all their financial information and transactions related to their DFCC Premier account in a secure manner, including transactions done, balances, etc. Information is updated in real time, thus, all their personal financial management information is available at the click of a button and they will also receive alerts and notifications on any changes enabling them to make well-informed and timely decisions. Furthermore, they can also enjoy several transactional features and learn about customised promotional offers.

Customers trying out the Premier Go app for the first time

“DFCC Bank’s Premier Banking service offers an exclusive service to customers and the DFCC Premier Go app is an extension of this personalized and relational service,” said Lakshman Silva – CEO, DFCC Bank. “DFCC Premier Go is based on the same premise of service we offer in person at our branches – providing a customised experience, expert financial advice and guidance, and a global outlook that enables strategic financial investment to our premier customers.”

Using the DFCC Premier Go App is also a sustainable solution that will significantly cut down on paper communications – helping the environment as well as increasing speed, efficiency. The App is created for both android and iPhones and is available for download on Google Play and the App Store.


EditorNovember 8, 2017
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4min530

As people line up to give Apple their hard earned cash for an iPhone X, the company has announced its smartphones are now able to send money to people using its Apple Pay Cash feature, which was announced in June and released in iOS 11.2 Beta on Tuesday. The new person-to-person payment tool adds a Apple Pay Cash card to iOS’s Wallet app, and lets friends, family, and other contacts send and receive funds via the Messages app.




Paying a person is as easy. Simply chat with your friend like you normally would about who owes whom what, then tap on the dollar amount within the sent message. That triggers a drawer of sorts to spring up from the bottom of the iPhone’s screen, showing the amount of money being discussed, along with two buttons: “Request” and “Pay.” Just tap on the appropriate one, and the transaction gets going.

Source : FORTUNE

If you’re the payer, the funds will come out of your Apple Pay Cash card balance, and if you’re the payee, the funds will make your balance higher. There are no fees to send or receive money, but the program can cost you, depending on how you fund your account. Linking your account to a debit card is free, but there is a 3% fee if you fund your account with a credit card.

While Apple Pay Cash sounds like a great alternative to paper money, the service has some limits. For instance, when it comes to to sending and receiving money, $1 is the minimum transfer amount. Also, in funding your Apple Pay Cash account, you must add a minimum of $10, and you can’t make a transaction over $3,000 (including sending money back to your bank). In addition, you cannot add more than $10,000 during a 7-day period, and Apple Pay Cash accounts cannot hold a balance higher than $20,000.

Apple is relatively late to the person-to-person payment game, with competitors like Venmo, Square, and Paypal already having released solutions. But by pairing its payment solution with the iMessage platform, the company is likely to do well because users won’t have to download a new app. However, Apple Pay Cash is currently only available to iPhone owners who download the new iOS 11.2 Beta, an in-development operating system that is slated to have its final, wide-scale release later this year.

Apple was also late to contactless payments in October 2014, when it launched Apple Pay, its solution for using its iOS to pay companies for products and services. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook says Apple Pay’s usage has been growing, especially as chains like McDonalds and Chipotle have signed on to use it.


EditorNovember 8, 2017
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3min500

Virtusa Corporation (NASDAQ GS: VRTU), a global business consulting and IT outsourcing company that accelerates business outcomes for its clients, today announced that it is adding SAP S/4HANA® Cloud to its service offerings.

SAP S/4HANA is SAP’s leading-edge cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite, allowing companies to get real-time views of their businesses. SAP S/4HANA Cloud enables organizations to improve efficiency of business processes through increased transparency, automation, and quality. Solutions in the cloud ERP suite include professional services cloud, finance cloud, and enterprise management cloud.

Through this agreement, Virtusa will go to market with public cloud solutions targeting the specific business needs of its clients in the insurance, healthcare, life sciences, financial services, and media & entertainment industries. Virtusa’s SAP S/4HANA solutions allow clients to deliver simpler user experiences, improve operational efficiencies, accelerate time to market, and open up opportunities for revenue growth.

“Virtusa has been a long-standing partner with SAP, and we are strengthening that partnership by offering SAP S/4HANA Cloud,” said Jim Francis, executive vice president of Healthcare, Insurance & Life Sciences, Virtusa. “Many companies seeking to migrate to cloud-based environments are expecting end-to-end solutions that require minimal customization for their businesses. Virtusa is working to build and deploy industry-focused extensions alongside SAP for rapid adoption and to provide value quickly.”

Currently, Virtusa is working with SAP to help a leading healthcare provider, running individual health centers, establish a unified platform through SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Virtusa worked closely with SAP’s Product Solution Center to enhance the client’s service delivery experience and to supplement SAP’s public cloud product suite.

“Virtusa has deep industry expertise and an engineering heritage in developing extensions. Virtusa is a natural fit to be a partner as the company is a leader in delivering SAP S/4HANA Cloud for healthcare companies,” said Fred Brady, global head of Alliances and Channels, SAP S/4HANA Cloud. “We are excited to partner with Virtusa to offer SAP S/4HANA Cloud to its focused industries.”

Virtusa is a long-established partner of SAP. The extension of this partnership in offering SAP S/4HANA Cloud solutions is a natural next step given SAP’s growth into cloud solutions and Virtusa’s engineering heritage. Together, Virtusa and SAP will build out industry extensions by leveraging combined experiences, the SAP® Cloud Platform, and SAP’s digital innovation system, SAP Leonardo.

Virtusa’s cloud practice offerings include end-to-end migration including discovery, plan, analysis, migration, and optimization with program management oversight. Virtusa has successfully supported, migrated and optimized SAP software landscapes for companies across various industries by leveraging cloud and hybrid architecture strategies.

 



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