View Full Version : Sri Lanka IT & BPO Industry
February 9th, 2007, 07:03 AM
Waquis Inc., a leading American based Business Outsourcing (BPO) company hopes to establish a facility to process US housing loan transactions from Sri Lanka.
Waquis has been in business since 2000 and its headquarters are in Los Angeles, CA. Our flagship presence in India is located in Bangalore. The company’s management group has over thirty years of combined experience with companies such as Deloitte and Touche, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, and Price Waterhouse.
Speaking about the new venture, Joe O’Neill stated that the company’s core business it processing loans for American housing applications and Waquis work with all banks in the States that provides housing loans for US citizens. The company mainly concentrates on data processing, data entry, credit appraisal, quality control and research for banks and other financial institutions.
He pointed out that Waquis has taken into consideration the high literacy rate, availability of hardworking and talented workforce and fluency in English when deciding to open a facility in Sri Lanka. He added that Sri Lanka is in a position to attract leading international BPO companies since the required infrastructure is already in place. He said that where operations in Sri Lanka are concerned, the company is hoping to expand into rural areas as well in order to give experience and exposure to rural youth.
At present, apart from their facilities in San Francisco and Los Angeles, Waquis Inc has two branches in Bangalore, India and Australia. Mahinda Athulathmudali, Managing Director – Waquis South East Asia stated that encouraged by the conducive investor climate, their parent company in interested in investing in Sri Lanka on a long term basis. He added that they are planning to commence voice neutralization classes for Sri Lankan recruits to deal with US clients.
Not a bad news, but we need to attract more investers particularly for BPO industry!
February 9th, 2007, 04:42 PM
yeah, but one or two giants in an industry can lure others make Sl into a BPO heavyweight...
February 21st, 2007, 08:10 AM
The BOI entered into an agreement with Orion Development (Pvt) Ltd for a project to construct a building complex to set up an IT Park at Colombo. The project aims to renovate and modernize 3 existing building as well as to construct an additional building to be leased out to companies in the IT industry.
The estimated cost of the project reaches over Rs. 1,200 million and speaking about the project John Silva, stated “ We have decided to renovate and modernize these buildings to meet today's requirement of the IT Industry taking in to account the facilities available in our premises, specially the parking space availability and the approachability either by private or public transport. It is also important to mention the fact that the location is out side the congested area in the Colombo town”.
The project is funded by Ceylon Synthetic Textile Mills Ltd and the Chairman of the company is Mr. A S G Gnanam.
Speaking about the support received from the BOI, he pointed out “We managed to get the project approval within a period of less than one month and been able to sign the agreement with in a period of two weeks after obtaining the approval. This has been possible due to uninterrupted support we got from the various departments of the BOI”.
He also added that Sri Lanka is indeed one of the best destinations for investment in this region and stated the company hopes to further expand the project in the near future by providing additional space for the IT industry.
February 21st, 2007, 11:56 AM
This is a very encouraging project for the IT industry, and a great location too...
February 22nd, 2007, 12:29 AM
yes this is good news indeed. I would suggest building a outsorcunig/BPO hub around this place. Therefore a IT Zone in the future rather than a IT complex.
February 22nd, 2007, 05:42 PM
Yeah but where, if the southern expressway would be complete it could be built in one or more of the 11 interchanges, developing semi-urban towns and villages...
February 23rd, 2007, 06:42 AM
Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion, has directed BOI to approve 07 projects submitted for approval and expedite the signing of agreements in the case of 05 projects for which, approval has already been granted.
The seven projects approved are:Ibsecad Holdings Limited (BPO); Harsha Weeraman (BPO) WIFI Network (Pvt) Ltd-Bangalore (Software); Suren Rupasinghe (Software); Joanne Madden (Software); Arthur William Deutrom (Software) and California Link (Pvt) Ltd (Software)
The 05 Projects for which agreements are to be entered into are: Smart Media (Pvt) Ltd (BPO); Knowledge Process Outsourcing (BPO); Erath Karunaratne (Software); Noel Gunaratne (Software) and E-Solutions (Software)
With the Minister’s decision, all IT projects, which are under submission to BOI, have been approved.
Minister Amunugama emphasized the importance of the IT sector, stating that it is one of the growth areas of the Sri Lankan economy, with vast potential in the future. Sri Lanka has a large number of competent young people and could, therefore, benefit as in the case of other regional centers.
The IT areas have, therefore, been earmarked as strategic industry that needs to be promoted. The BOI will, therefore, make a special effort to attract and approve projects in the IT field. Furthermore, the BOI will take the lead by advertising, in the next few days, a job bank for BPO/Call Centre staff, which will be made available where qualified individuals can register.
This is done in consultation with leading BPOs already established in Sri Lanka.
Another project that the BOI will undertake is to establish training institutes and an IT Park, with the objective of strengthening this growing sector. The training institutes will help Sri Lanka attain the required numbers that are sought by BPOs. The IT Park will help the industry by bringing a number of enterprises in a dedicated zone.
His anticipation is great!
February 24th, 2007, 06:52 AM
Great stuff for the industry...
March 4th, 2007, 07:46 PM
NEW DELHI: India, along with Sri Lanka, China and the UK, is emerging as a hotspot for finance and accounting outsourcing (FAO) activities, according to a latest report by investment and advisory firm, Tholons. “Mumbai, Delhi, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Central Europe, Latin America, UK, Singapore, Shanghai and Toronto will be the preferred destinations for FAO,” the report by Tholons said.
India’s financial hub Mumbai currently houses companies such as Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers, WNS, Principal, Citibank and JP Morgan. “Delhi is another alternative with the largest scale of skilled workforce among key offshore destinations.
Genpact, EXL Services, Fidelity Investments, Xansa and IBM have centres there. Chennai has historically been the financial and business hub of South India, and has the F&A operations of Accenture and TCS,” it said.
The largest providers in the FAO market include Accenture, Capgemini, WNS, IBM, Genpact, ACS, Infosys, Xansa and EXL Services. Tholons expects some larger companies to lose a percentage of their market share as SMEs jump into the bandwagon, going forward.
"When evaluating a city to outsource FAO work, companies need to consider various factors, with security and privacy being amongst the most important.
Specifically, the companies need to evaluate the cities for labor cost arbitrage, compliance environment, data security environment, scalable talent pool, cultural compatibility, existing finance and accounting (F&A) process capabilities and proximity to financial centers,” Tholons chairman & CEO Avinash Vashistha said.
Tholons said that while there were growing concerns that labour arbitrage may become minimal over the next few years, FAO would remain significant for the next 15 years.
While offshoring of common transactional processes generally yields a 20-25% cost reduction in the overall F&A processes, offshoring higher-end key processes could reduce costs by 35-45%.
March 5th, 2007, 04:32 PM
^What about SL?
March 6th, 2007, 01:47 AM
It's just a report, it predicts that sri lanka on the hot list, although we have competitors from china, India & Philippines ! I think BOI, is taking much measures to attract BPO projects.
March 7th, 2007, 12:03 AM
It's just a report, it predicts that sri lanka on the hot list, although we have competitors from china, India & Philippines ! I think BOI, is taking much measures to attract BPO projects.
Philippines and India are way ahead in BPO at the moment. SL has a lot of catching up to do.
March 7th, 2007, 03:08 AM
BOI allocates USD 300 m for mega IT project
Allocation: Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI) has allocated USD 300, millions for Techno Park, a mega IT industry, Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama said handing over approval letters for seven new IT projects yesterday.
"Techno Park will be set up in Katunayake.
"A land of 18 acres has been allocated for this project.
"There is quick access to the Airport. After the discussions in Hyderabad and Bangalore it was decided to have the same operations here.
"IT companies can rent the offices in the building.
This area will also be residential. The park will be built within eight months to boost the IT industry," Minister said.
more : http://www.dailynews.lk/2007/03/07/fin01.asp
possibly this is one of the BoI investments mentioned last week in the Economy Thread.
btw.. 8 months for the IT Park.. thats some fast construction !!
March 7th, 2007, 11:42 AM
im a bit confused, daily news says USD 300 mn but Daily Mirror says RS. 300 Mn, this is a big difference however I don't think an 18 acre park can be built for the mentioned Rupee price...
March 7th, 2007, 01:44 PM
im a bit confused, daily news says USD 300 mn but Daily Mirror says RS. 300 Mn, this is a big difference however I don't think an 18 acre park can be built for the mentioned Rupee price...
I think the entire property is 18 acres. The building(s) itself will be a lot smaller.
March 7th, 2007, 01:59 PM
"IT companies can rent the offices in the building. "
It specifically says Building (singular) therefore the building better live up to the USD 300m cost ! Good News !
March 8th, 2007, 04:29 PM
nevertheless this is an encouraging step forward for the IT and BPO industry... another question shouldn' the thread be called Sri Lanka IT and BPO Thread/Industry because there is more IT than BPO news on the thread, just a suggestion...
March 11th, 2007, 08:31 PM
Proud to be a Lankan~http://i17.tinypic.com/2e3wpl5.jpg
March 12th, 2007, 02:09 PM
Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Dr. Sarath Amunugama last week held a forum to discuss expansion of the IT/BPO sector in Sri Lanka in his ministry auditorium at the WTC. Following is the speech made by him on this occasion.
Thank you for responding to our invitation and being here to take part in this discussion on IT and ICT. I have met most of you at the Ministry of Finance where you called for various fiscal and other incentives. We were able to approve incentives and implement those.
Sri Lanka government considers IT a major thrust area and it is my job to coordinate all our efforts to see that we become a very significant IT center and also to position IT as a major development area in our country.
Some of you may remember that in 1977, we were able to launch a similar thrust area. At that time we had about 200,000 tourists and tourism was not a major economic growth factor. But we were able to launch the Tourist drive and within four years we had 500,000 tourists. It was a record.
New thrust area
I get the same feeling today. Because when I see you, I get a lot of confidence as we are seeing the beginning of a new, potentially very significant thrust area in our economy. Recognising this, the government has set up a new NCED cluster for ICT and IT. I want to bring all those efforts together and get the BoI as the cutting edge.
As soon as I came here I approved 17 projects that were pending. I can tell you, to the best of my knowledge, all IT proposals that have come into BoI have now been approved. So if you have any new proposals please bring them in, because we want to work very closely with you and facilitate you. We are basically a facilitating agency and not an obstructing agency. It is not our job to obstruct the growth of an industry.
With that in mind there are a few matters that we should attend to. First is to clear your approvals within the shortest possible time. I have asked this office to submit to me within 48 hours any project that comes in, and I will try my best to process them as early as possible. If there is any delay please contact me or my office and have a dialog so that we could get these projects off the ground as soon as possible.
New Techno Park
Second is that we want to have a Techno Park. We have already found the land in Katunayake. And already, while I was Minister of Finance, I had discussions in Hyderabad and Bangalore with some of the top IT people there, who were willing to transfer some of their operations here, provided we give them adequate infrastructure.
To the best of my knowledge, you do not need huge buildings to start off. What happened in India and what happened originally in the USA too, is that people started small. Go to Hyderabad and visit the Techno Park. What they did was to set up buildings and the world’s top companies just hired a floor. They did not look initially for a huge campus or a huge institute. But what really happened was after they went there, in a year or two they decided whether expansion was feasible or not. We have been working on the basis that we go on to stage two or three with these Silicon Valley type of operations later. So, we will start this Techno Park. People can rent out floors and start their operations. I was advised that we should have it close to the airport. Because, we have CEOs from India coming here in the morning, doing their work, and going back in the evening. It is perfectly feasible now because we have about 120 flights weekly to various points in India. So two of the major problems we had earlier i.e. the frequency of flights and visa on arrival; these have now been sorted out. Without those steps it is futile to talk of Sri Lanka and India collaborations in this field.
I was in China last week and was horrified to find that a tourist to Sri Lanka has to visit or correspond with Beijing for a visa, because they cannot get a visa on arrival. We are trying to set that right because China being such a large country, it is not possible to travel to our embassy in Beijing all the way to get a visa to enter Sri Lanka. It is not surprising that we have such a small number of visitors from China.
We must set straight all frontier formalities as visitors from India are fast arriving. India is becoming the major source of tourists in the country. There will be more flights to and from India for the Techno Park. We also need to talk to Telecom to have the intermediate costs brought down. If we jack up rates we will not be so attractive as we think I am glad BoI is already negotiating with TRC to have those rates revised or to give some type of incentive so that we could reduce the cost of broadband telecom connection for BPO/IT companies in Sri Lanka.
The next focal area is to start a job bank. We have no assessment as to how many employees are capable of entering this field. I have instructed the BoI to contact some of the top BPOs, and run advertisements, and look at the basic qualifications for staff for your convenience. It is not compulsory that you take from this job bank, but as a service to you we will have a list of people that you might find suitable, with the basic qualifications needed for employment.
English language and IT training
In addition, I want BoI to give incentives in registration, tax concessions, etc., so that we will have people who will move into English language and IT training. We will give that training for those that come out from our universities and other institutions.
The government can do all these things and give you the basic platform for you to select the people and train them further. Very soon I hope to bring in a whole series of tax measures/relief measures which will enable you to start your recruitment and training on the basis of various fiscal and other incentives. You can decide how you would like to do it whether as a cluster or individually, we will give you part of the levy so that you could undertake training for a large number of people. BoI will provide incentives for the private sector to establish English language training institutes and to train employees for the IT/BPO sector.
At the IT institute at Kaduwela, for those who graduated last week with a BA in IT, some are already offered Rs.30,000 per month, as salary. That is a very attractive salary for a young person who has just come out with an IT degree. The incentive we have in mind will attract most of you to the training aspect.
We will be signing agreements that are due today and I would like you to give your own views as to how we could improve this rapidly. If you feel we could all go to Andra Pradesh or Bangalore as a delegation, we can discuss that. It is already a 100 million US Dollar growth area at present.
However, I am looking at it to be a billion dollar enterprise. The opportunity is now there for the private sector to do what they want.
There is no point going on criticising the public sector without making sure that the private sector expands. You can expand through the BoI and bring in a proper development and management culture. While we expect the public sector to perform, we should also expand the private sector.
Then, with the proper balance, established, those norms and culture will lead to an automatic improvement in the public sector. On behalf of the government I must tell you we really appreciate your efforts and thank you for it. You are a very vital part of the growth process. Every effort you have made is deeply appreciated. As far as IT is concerned, BoI would be tailored in such a way that it be a friendly place where you can get the services you may require, with speed and efficiency.
March 12th, 2007, 05:28 PM
Interesting, and horrifying indeed about the way to obtain visas in china ! This guy looks really interested in the development of IT ! All the best,
March 12th, 2007, 05:34 PM
Yeah, he seems brilliant as investment minister but i heard he was not all that good when he was Minister of Finance...
March 15th, 2007, 09:32 AM
“The Techno Park which is to be established in Katunayaka will be built within eight months to boost the IT industry," says Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Dr. Sarath Amunugama,
Dr. Amunugama stated this during an inspection tour to the land site of the park today.
A mega Techno Park is to be established in Katunayaka with a cost of USD 300 millions, facilitating the IT companies to maintain their offices in the building at the park. The construction work of this park is to be completed within this year.
Minister added that Government consider IT as a major thrust area and efforts are being taken to ensure that Sri Lanka becomes a very significant centre and position IT as a major development area in the country.
With this initiative the planned Katunayaka IT park will be developed to a major IT investment arena which not only includes the offices of the IT companies but IT academic institute such as the Kaduwela IT education center, Conference halls and other facilities as well.
The Board of Investments of Sri Lanka (BOI) has allocated the estimated sum for the construction of the above park. A land of 21 acres has been allocated for this project. This land is owned to the Katunayaka export processing Zone which is being managed by the BOI.
With easy access to the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayaka was chosen as the project base. After the discussions in Hyderabad and Bangalore it was decided to have the similar operations in the Sri Lankan IT park.
The park will be able to rent out space for 20 to 30 investors in the IT/BPO sector to start their operations.
Dr Amunugama pointed out that in renting out the floors special attention will be given to the investors who belonged to IT related categories such as software developing and hardware manufacturing.
Furthermore, the Minister stated that in order to cater to the employee requirement of companies who are setting up IT/BPO operations in Sri Lanka, the BOI hopes to set up a Job Bank.
“I have instructed the BOI to contact some of the top BPOs and run advertisements and have a database of potential recruits who meet the basic qualifications/criteria required for the job”, he added.
The park will also provide an immense lot of job opportunities for the Sri Lankans with basic IT skills.
This seems to be real coz he wouldn't instruct to run advertisements to recruit employees!
March 16th, 2007, 02:28 PM
Where exactly would the park be situated in the KEPZ or closer to the airport...
March 17th, 2007, 01:44 AM
I think it adjacent to KEPZ, due to the fact that land belongs to KEPZ, which also manage by BOI!
March 17th, 2007, 04:59 PM
I see does it have to be approved by cabinet or does BOI have the power to commence construction and work by themselves only partially involving cabinet...
March 17th, 2007, 11:30 PM
I think BOI has power to commence work being a government body!
March 22nd, 2007, 01:04 AM
The Indian outsourcing industry might soon get a taste of its own medicine. The industry is now afraid of losing jobs to countries like China, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and South Africa where governments are handing out tax breaks, while Indian companies reel under the newly announced MAT, reports CNBC-TV18.
As of now, the Indian outsourcing industry is losing only sleep, but the time might not be far when it loses jobs as well. The BPO sector says the new tax announcements of Fringe Benefit Tax on ESOPs, 12% on rental space and 11% MAT in this year's Budget has made the Indian industry less competitive globally.
Raman Roy, Chairman and Managing Director, Quatrro, said, “We face the risk of losing our first-mover advantage. These policies are making us less productive in comparison to other countries.”
On the other hand, China, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and South Africa want a slice of the outsourcing pie. Sri Lanka offers a 15-year tax holiday, while Philippines and China offer a 10-yr tax holiday each. Most of their governments offer 10 to 15 year tax breaks and China even offers BPO employees an income-tax holiday.
Promod Bhasin, President & CEO, Genpact, says, “Countries like China, Romania, South Africa and the Philippines offer better incentives. I have told my people, if China becomes more cost-effective, I will be the first one to move.”
Industry sources say Nasscom has made representations to the Prime Minister and Finance Minister on behalf of the USD 9-billion Indian BPO industry, but has little hope of a rollback. It might now lose expertise to newcomers.
Techno Park certainly boosts investment in IT sector! Good sign for SL
May 5th, 2007, 05:51 PM
There is an enthusiastic need to promote Sri Lanka as a high-end destination for outsourcing.
Though attraction for BPOs is low cost destination, factors such as low operating costs, trained talent pool and tax incentives; and these are the areas in which Sri Lanka already performs quite well when compared with other regional destinations.
However, Sri Lanka is eager to move quickly into the higher value added segments in IT and BPO Outsourcing.
A well trained talent pool will be a key factor in attracting Outsourcing investments to the country, a press release states. In this regard, thirteen Sri Lankan companies were to participate at The 2007 OutsourceWorld conference and Exhibition that was held in London on 1st - 2nd May.
Partly funded by the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), the Sri Lankan team was to host a pavilion Outsource Sri Lanka at the exhibition promoting the country as a premier outsourcing destination.
OutsourceWorld is the leading pure play business trade platform for the outsourcing community. As a neutral body, OutscourceWorlds primary purpose is to enable commerce between buyers and sellers across diverse geographies.
It focuses on the day to day sourcing of business services including ICT, Human Resource Management, Finance and Accounting, BPO, KPO and other types of critical business processes. "This is a year of great significance as the Government of Sri Lanka is devoting increased focus on developing the ICT and ITES sectors of the country.
It is also one of the key components of e-Sri Lanka, and the ICT Agency is engaged in continuous initiatives to raise industry standards and develop adequate infrastructure and resources to support the industry.
Sri Lanka sincerely hopes that OutsourceWorld 2007 will be extremely rewarding for them, "said COO, ICTA Reshan Dewapura" who will be accompanying the Sri Lankan delegation.
This outsourcing event is scheduled to draw participants from the UK, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Russia and the United States, thus providing good publicity for Sri Lanka. With the outsourcing culture fast gaining ground in the country, it is important to build awareness about what Sri Lanka has to offer and position itself on the map as this is becoming increasingly important in the global offshoring space.
Sri Lankas high value services coupled with its high literacy rate, large proportion of English speakers and high technical skills makes it an increasingly attractive offshoring choice.
The country also performs relatively well in terms of pure financial costs, which is a primary driver for offshoring initiatives.
June 10th, 2007, 08:18 AM
Valista, the Irish software giant specialising in digital commerce solutions is shifting its base to Sri Lanka. Valista General Manager Anura De Alwis said 50% of Valista's product development operations are scheduled to shift to Sri Lanka this year.
At present only 25% of product development work is done here. The company started its Sri Lanka base in 2005 and has already shifted 100% of its service operations to Sri Lanka. With 50% product development operations, Colombo will become the main base for Valista, Alwis said.
Valista, a product development company in digital commerce customises its products to meet the requirments of clients.
Alwis said the Sri Lankan base of the company is growing rapidly because talented people can be found fairly easily at a comparatively lower rate.
Valista is a global company and has bases in Ireland, US, Japan, UK and service centres in France and Singapore.
He said the company has already finalised contracts to provide its solutions to two major US entertainment companies and one of the largest US mobile operators.
Today Valista processes over 30 million transactions through its Valista PlusT suit of solutions. Our main customers are NTT DoCoMo, America Online, Cricket Communications, Vodafone UK, France Telecom's W-HA, Orange, Hong Kong CSL, GTECH and Hutch, Alwis said.
Raomal Perera, Founder, CEO and Executive Chairman
Raomal Perera is Founder, CEO & Executive Chairman of Valista, the leading provider of multi-channel digital commerce solutions. Raomal has over 25 years experience in the technology industry working in both small and large enterprises and has a strong track record in delivering fast growth and shareholder value. Raomal provides the strategic vision for Valista’s future growth, leveraging his deep industry expertise. Raomal has a wealth of experience in the telco, ISP and broadband markets and is also one of 40 entrepreneurs worldwide chosen to join the prestigious World Economic Forum, which provides a collaborative framework for world leaders to address global issues and won the Irish Software Association’s Outstanding Software Achievement Award.
Raomal also founded Network365, a mobile payments provider, which merged with iPIN to form Valista. He’s a proven entrepreneur. Before Network365, Raomal co-founded and led the team that also founded and built ISOCOR to IPO on Nasdaq (1996) and sale to Critical Path (Nasdaq: CPTH) in January 2000 for $450M. During the 1990s, ISOCOR led the email server software market and like Network365, won market leadership by bringing new products to an emerging market, building solutions that predicted and met market needs. Raomal also worked with Artist Graphics Europe and Retix USA and was senior Consultant in various companies in UK, Ireland & Netherlands.
Very encouraging for SL ICT industry^^
June 10th, 2007, 05:57 PM
Good stuff, but if he is sri lankan why doesn't have his HQ in Colombo and become a huge SRI LANKAN multi-national company...
July 3rd, 2007, 05:57 PM
The Pearl of the Indian Ocean is now well known among buyers of software as a well developed R&D centre for software development. There are many landmarks in the software industry where Sri Lankan brain power is spotlighted.
IFS Applications developed in Sri Lanka has been selected by Lockheed Martin for local Supply Chain Management on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program Autonomic Logistic Information System (ALIS).
Within the F-35 aircraft system design, ALIS is the information backbone that provides core functionality for in-service operations. As part of its ongoing objective to provide the `lowest cost` Supply Chain Management (SCM) service, the Lockheed Martin project team has decided to extend the IFS footprint in ALIS to cover Enterprise Resource Management (ERM) and SCM with one package - IFS Applications.
The largest Research and Development Centre of IFS was established in Sri Lanka and is now in the process of expansion.
Vice President IFS South Asia Jayantha De Silva said that in the present scenario very few companies are expanding but is optimistic about the future and said that the company is expanding beyond the industry standards which is also a requirement.
The IFS support centre which supports some of the largest customers around the globe is also based in Colombo.
IFS Colombo employs around 800 staffers who are either engaged in R&D or support services but are very experienced in whatever work they undertake.
Tracing the history of the company, he said that way back in 1996 IFS was exploring the possibility of establishing an R&D centre in the Asia-Pacific region and looked at about five countries and selected Sri Lanka for obvious reasons.
Among them are the high literacy rate, good English education, good universities and most of all the adaptability to a R&D environment. He said that there is a huge concept of agility in the product.
Any business solution should be agile. We are one of the most agile business solutions in the world. Software is evaluated by looking at the screen, but it is the technology that matters and to drive technology we need a large number of good people.
Therefore we are happy that we took the decision to establish the R&D centre in Sri Lanka in 1997. Initially we recruited 25 people and trained them in Sweden for a long period.
Then we adopted the Train the trainer concept where people who were trained in Sweden while being involved in the development cycle also trained the new recruits. In addition we also got down many international consultants who imparted their knowledge in our staff. Most of the people who joined initially are still working with us.
IFS operates in 54 countries and compared to other countries, Sri Lankans productivity is much higher. They also don`t complain about working after hours or on weekends and it is a huge plus point not only for IFS but also for the industry as a whole.
De Silva said that attitude and adaptability are two major attributes that the Sri Lankan software industry has and no country in the region can surpass it.
In the year 2000 IFS took a strategic decision to set up a Sales and Marketing Division in Sri Lanka. Subsequently we moved to India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. At present we have 16 successful accounts and Jayantha has also won the most successful player award twice which bears ample testimony that the company and the software it produces is of superior quality. It is a large investment and we have to qualify our prospect as all don`t qualify for ERP.
Any company doing well in the sphere of software is good for the industry. Other ERP companies bring Software, consultants and the support staff from abroad while we bring all the money back to Colombo even from the projects we undertake in India and Pakistan.
At present we are working with ICTA to build capacity while IFS is the only company who recruits graduates from universities and trains them. In addition we also recruit A/L qualified people and give them full-paid scholarships to study at universities. By this they not only have work experience but also a degree apart from being financially stable.
In the present scenario technology alone cannot be sold though it matters much. Therefore a student who does well in any discipline will have many opportunities in the future but the demand for a knowledge of mathematics will increase by the day.
Speaking of the country scenario, he said that they are very optimistic and this situation cannot continue forever. Also investors come to Sri Lanka as people are highly literate apart from the cost advantage. He said that IFS has their own generators, contingency site as well as the dedicated telephone lines which makes the work much easier.
* Jayantha De Silva was awarded a US Government scholarship in 1986 to pursue studies in Computer Science. IFS operation established in 1997 in Sri Lanka. Entrusted to form the local IFS R & D operations from its inception.
* In 1998 he was appointed Vice President IFS Asia Pacific. He is a Past President of the BCS Sri Lanka and the Immediate Past Chairman of the Software Exporters Association. He is currently a member of the Board of Management, University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC) and a Fellow of the BCS.
July 4th, 2007, 05:18 PM
Aviva, one of the world's biggest insurance firms, has hired over 300 Sri Lankan accounting and finance professionals into its business process outsourcing unit in Colombo.
The professionals were trained on a build and transfer contract between Aviva Global Services (AGS) and Sri Lanka's WNS, a third-party service provider for outsourced businesses.
The new recruits will provide high-end finance and accounting services to AGS' Norwich Union Life, Norwich Union Assurance and Aviva Corporate Finance business units in UK.
"The biggest attraction for us was the large pool of CIMA accountants in Sri Lanka," Alison Wilford, Financial Control Director of Norwich Union Assurance in UK, told reporters.
Next only to the UK, Sri Lanka has the largest pool of professionals who are fully certified or in the process of getting CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) or ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) certifications.
Aviva, the UK's largest insurance company with over 58.8 billion dollars in worldwide sales, and a controlling stake in Sri Lanka Eagle insurance, plans to grow to 7,800 the number of people employed in its BPO offices in the subcontinent by 2008.
Of these, 4,500 people or 'roles' as they are called in the industry, have already been transferred from its third party BPO staff to its own offshore division during 2007.
Under contract with Aviva, its vendor partners train professionals on specific industry traits and the professionals are then absorbed by AGS.
The firm has built the offshore BPO roles in partnership with third-party customer service centres like WNS who provide trained people.
"The executed transfer will serve as a great learning. The Build, Operate and Transfer contract with WNS has enabled Aviva to ramp up rapidly and gain 'speed to market'," Rajnish Virmani, chief executive of Aviva Global Services, said.
July 5th, 2007, 05:02 AM
This is the 3rd fiber optic cable in SL, could enhance the bandwidth
The preliminary study for a fibre optic cable backbone has begun following the initiative taken by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC).
A UK-based consultancy firm is in the country as part of its mandate to explore the possibility of establishing a national fibre optic telecom backbone. The TRC initiative has got the support of the World Bank which has provided a grant for the consultancy report.
The objective of the preliminary study is to assess the possibility of harnessing the existing infrastructure of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) as well as the Ceylon Government Railway (CGR).
The current telecom network revolves around microwaves quality of which is impacted due to several factors including bad weather.
Sources said that the World Bank was also using the TRC initiative as a pilot project and if found possible it would recommend to other emerging telecom markets.
Analysts said that a fibre optic backbone would considerably enhance the rapid growth of the Information and Communication Technology usage in Sri Lanka.
The telecom industry is already enjoying substantial growth while the scope to reach more people still remains great apart from offering the masses more value added benefits than basic telephony.
July 6th, 2007, 12:40 PM
LBO >> ICT
06 July 2007 13:48:48
Sri Lankan firms to visit BPO summit in India
July 06, 2007 (LBO) – A delegation from Sri Lanka's information technology companies will attend the IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) summit in India to gain insights on developing the trade, Sri Lanka's ICT Agency said.
ICTA - a state agency - plans to lead the delegation to the NASSCOM IT-BPO Strategy Summit 2007 scheduled to take place in Bangalore, during the first week of August.
This summit will also give insight to the best practices and expected future trends in the IT and BPO industry, ICTA said.
IT enabled services have evolved from basic data entry to voice-based services and a range of back-office processing activities services.
The delegation from Sri Lanka will also visit Indian firms, training institutions and IT parks.
"This will be an opportunity for the Sri Lankan ICT industry, key academics and decision makers to expose themselves to this booming industry in India," Reshan Dewapura, Chief Operations Officer, ICTA said in a statement.
"This will also help understand the type of effort that needs to be undertaken to align the local systems to reap the benefits of the global industry,"
Sri Lanka's 100 million dollar BPO business is driven by around 21 companies employing over 2,500 people.
August 3rd, 2007, 03:32 PM
August 3, 2007 (LBO) – Amba Research, a fast growing investment research outsourcing (IRO) firm, has become the top employer of a UK professional accounting body in Sri Lanka, the company said.
The firm has expanded its office space by occupying another floor in Colombo's World Trade Centre building.
The expansion came with a round of financing from the venture capital firm Helion Venture Partners.
“We are happy to see that our growth is being recognized by investors," Amba Research Lanka’s Managing Director Ravi Abeysuriya said.
"We also hope to give more local professionals the opportunity to be a part of the unique work experience Amba Research offers its staff”.
The firm's Colombo office now has more than 250 people. Amba Research provides investment research support through dedicated analysts to clients in global financial centres.
Amba says it employs the largest number of the UK's Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualified persons and is the only Sri Lankan company to have received the CIMA Continuous Professional Development (CPD) accreditation.
“'I was pleasantly surprised to hear how so many young CIMA qualified professionals have been able to reach global echelons of finance with the exposure they have had at Amba Research," Rick Sturge CIMA’s Director of Employer and Strategic Development said after visiting the facility.
CIMA has 158,000 students and members in 161 countries. In Sri Lanka, CIMA has more than 11,000 students and 1,800 members.
Amba Research Lanka says it is looking for passed finalists and members of CIMA, Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants to support their rapidly growing operations worldwide.
Founded in 2003 by a group of senior research directors of international investment banks, Amba provides equity, fixed income and quantitative research.
Amba has offices in New York, London, Bangalore, Colombo, Singapore and San José, Costa Rica.
August 3rd, 2007, 05:17 PM
Nîce 250 people, how many floors of WTC do they have...
August 3rd, 2007, 05:46 PM
Nîce 250 people, how many floors of WTC do they have...
No idea, however BIO occupied in 9floors:nuts:
August 4th, 2007, 08:06 PM
wow, that's quite a lot...
August 5th, 2007, 04:41 AM
wow, that's quite a lot...
That's wht I thought toooooo:lol:
August 7th, 2007, 02:14 AM
THE VALUE and standard of the Sri Lankan Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry is far ahead than most of the countries in the region, and opportunities are growing, President of the IT Enabled Services Association, Devapriya Perera said.
He said the BPO sector was introduced to Sri Lanka only three years ago and today there are over 20 companies. "Sri Lanka is ahead of Vietnam, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal and the total value of the industry is over US $ 100 million. The total employment generation in the sector is over 6,000.
High literacy rate, the attractive investment offered by the Government for foreigners and the date line advantage are key to the success of the Lankan BPO sector. 'Lankan employees also have a high loyalty towards the company and this too is another advantage.
The Sri Lankan attrition rate is around 18 per cent while the Indian rate is over 30 per cent. The world trend is between 30 to 50 per cent,' Perera said.
He said due to high investments made in the telecommunication sector, the quality of Date and Voice connections via fibreoptic have increased. "In addition satellite links too add more value to the Sri Lankan BPO industry," he said.
'In comparison to some of the other countries, the labour for the BPO industry too is low in Sri Lanka while the appreciation of the US dollar and the British Pound make the industry even more attractive', Perera said.
However he said that action should be taken to lower electricity and telecom tariffs which are somewhat higher than in the region. "This is an area that should be addressed soon," he said.
'Though floor space is relatively cheaper to open up offices in Sri Lanka than in other countries, it is getting harder to find space. "This too is another area the authorities should focus on,' he said.
August 8th, 2007, 07:54 AM
Good article addressing all the positives and negative, also giving an idea on how to improve and make the industry more effective/popular...
August 9th, 2007, 10:50 AM
CIMA’s Director of Employer and Strategic Development, Rick Sturge, visited Amba Research’s newest offices on the 36th floor of Colombo’s World Trade Center. Amba recently acquired its third floor at the World Trade Center, where they already occupy two floors. Amba Research Lanka has grown phenomenally in the last three years of operations in Colombo and now boasts staff strength of over 250.
The expansion of the local office also coincides with the leading Indian venture capital firm Helion Venture Partners’ recent investment in Amba Research. Amba Research Lanka’s Managing Director Ravi Abeysuriya said, “We are happy to see that our growth is being recognized by investors. We also hope to give more local professionals the opportunity to be a part of the unique work experience Amba Research offers its staff”.
Amba Research delivers investment research support via dedicated analysts to clients in all major financial centers around the world. The firm’s clients include research teams at over 50% of the leading global investment banks, as well as leading investment management firms and hedge funds.
“'I was pleasantly surprised to hear how so many young CIMA qualified professionals have been able to reach global echelons of finance with the exposure they have had at Amba Research. It demonstrates the ability of CIMA people to adapt to, and deliver real value in, many diverse business environments”, said Rick Sturge, a former outsourcing industry specialist himself. Amba Research Lanka employs the largest number of fully qualified CIMA professionals in Sri Lanka and is the only Sri Lankan company to have received the CIMA CPD (Continuous Professional Development) accreditation.
Amba Research Lanka is currently recruiting passed finalists and members of CIMA, CFA and ACCA to support their rapidly growing operations worldwide, providing local finance professionals the opportunity to work with some of the biggest names in the indutry. The company is well known for its specialized training course which is highly acclaimed throughout the financial research industry, as well as for its high commitment to CPD. Amba encourages CPD amongst staff by providing full reimbursement of examination fees for professional qualifications such as CFA, CIMA, ACCA and ACA.
August 10th, 2007, 05:49 PM
Nice, a really pioneering roll being played by Amba Research, a true idol for others in the industry...
August 12th, 2007, 03:43 AM
The Board of Investment (BOI) has given the greenlight to Ernst & Young, India to do a concept paper for three Public Private Partnership IT-related projects (PPPs) which will be announced next month.
“Ernst & Young will do the concept paper for the projects, evaluate and launch them and we will announce it so that any interested investor can come forth and invest,” Dhammika Perera, Chairman, BOI told The Sunday Times FT.
He said the three PPPs involve an IT park opposite the airport in a 20 acre land where a two million square foot building will come up. “A 126 acre land in Biyagama will also house an IT university where the intake is 1000 students per year. We have instructed that 200 scholarships should be granted to the state,” Perera said.
He said that a concept paper for a two million square foot IT park adjoining the Malabe Campus is also being done by the Indian company. “We will inform by next month the investment procedures and we expect investment interest from the whole world,” he added.
Sunday Times (http://www.sundaytimes.lk/070812/FinancialTimes/ft309.html)
August 12th, 2007, 04:39 PM
Good, all these projects and investments are so vital for Sri Lanka's ICT and BPO industry...
August 12th, 2007, 06:08 PM
Good, all these projects and investments are so vital for Sri Lanka's ICT and BPO industry...
Very much, I guess this was the one which push forward by MR. Amunugama^^
September 2nd, 2007, 02:39 AM
Sri Lanka has tremendous potential to develop the IT/BPO industry, therefore focus on developing the education sector rather than trying to attract individual clients, said CEO WNS Group Neeraj Bhargava.
" Create a very high quality pool of English speaking graduates and investors will come naturally as the country has already made a name internationally as having a talented and productive workforce," said Bhargava. He was addressing the National IT-BPO Capacity Summit 2007(NICS ' 07).
He said that US$ 600 bln. of work is outsourced annually by the developed world, equivalent to one-third of the manufacturing industry and is continuing to grow. India has already capitalised on it and has a US$ 20 bln BPO industry.
Two million are directly employed while 4-10 more jobs are created indirectly around the BPO industry. He said that the Indian BPO industry is expanding tremendously. As the industry is growing salaries are increasing which results in the individuals changing jobs quickly.
This whole process has resulted in investors looking at other options such as Sri Lanka which has a high quality workforce specially in the accountancy field. It's a clean country with great work attitudes. We already have a BPO operation in the country and during the past six months we have been trying to expand operations but the main challenge we faced is finding the right number of people.
Therefore create a large pool of graduates who are fluent in English and it will help solve the problem of unemployability as well as income disparity, said Bhargava. Chairman, Technical Committee NICS' 07 Madu Ratnayake outlining the National ICT Capacity Development Strategy said that Sri Lanka is emerging as an offshoring destination for IT and BPO services.
In 2007 for the first time Sri Lanka was ranked among the top 50 outsourcing destinations by the global consulting giant AT Kearney in their global services Location Index report. The estimated export revenue in 2006 has crossed US$ 250 mln and the industry employs over 11,000 people. At the same time the future looks equally promising with a high growth potential, said Ratnayake.
The worldwide market for IT-BPO offshoring is estimated at $330 bln and only a small percentage of this market is exploited worldwide primarily due to the lack of qualified professionals.
He said that the Sri Lanka IT-BPO industry growth potential also primarily depends on the ability to increase the number of IT-BPO professionals in a timely manner.
IT revenues can reach US$ 1 bln from the current US$ 150 mln and BPO revenues can reach US$ 1 bln from the current US$ 125 mln . However, if the current capacity issues are not handled effectively the growth potential of the entire industry will be dampened, he said.
Ratnayake said that the aim now is to maximise the opportunities that lie ahead for the industry and the approach that Sri Lanka needs to follow to exploit the potential will be through focusing on a few niche areas. He said that these niche markets that have been identified are driven by global demand and the chosen sectors have clear local domain expertise.
Overall the industry needs to attract more people by improving willingness of the student population to enter into IT and BPO jobs, expand capacity of the education system and take measures to keep education relevant and business aligned.
Short term initiatives
* Launch a nation-wide awareness campaign for IT/BPO careers
* Make advanced ICT education affordable
* Accelerate ICT teaching capacity development
* Encourage investment in education
* Initiate a short term accelerated capacity program
* Initiate a single industry backed standard English competency program.
Long term initiatives
* Basic IT literacy for all
* English for all
* Develop an eco system of innovation
Sunday Obsever (http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2007/09/02/fin01.asp)
September 2nd, 2007, 06:06 PM
If they can tap this sector sri lanka can make a lot of money this is the future of the world...
September 4th, 2007, 09:43 AM
Recently in Colombo The first-ever summit to focus on capacity building for the information technology and business process outsourcing industry was held in Sri Lanka, last week.
It saw all stakeholders come together to take pragmatic stock of both the global opportunity to get a $2 billion chunk of the outsourcing pie and the challenge of finding the trained hands to do it.
And to help the process, leading icons of the Indian offshored services business were on hand, to share their own experience – of setting up or operating Lanka-based units. Having just signed a deal with leading Lankan conglomerate John Keells Holdings to jointly leverage the island’s expertise in key verticals like financial services and insurance, Mr Raman Roy, Chairman and Managing Director of Gurgaon-based outsourcing player Quatrro and the pioneer of Indian outsourcing, explained what it took to become a world player in this competitive arena.
Mr Neeraj Bharagava, Group CEO of WNS another Indian outsourced services ’biggie’, which has a Colombo-based operation, suggested that education was the key to Sri Lanka’s success: “Clients love coming to Lanka; There is great work attitude here.”
But the huge gap between those qualified to enter universities every year – 125,000 to 140,000 students – and the available seats in graduate university courses – 17,000 – was a cause for concern.
The IT-enabled industry in the island, currently employed around 11,200 persons, but by 2009, there would be shortfall of 3,500 IT graduates which would be a road block on the plan to grow the IT and ITES business from today’s $275 million to $2 billion in 3 years, added Mr Madu Ratnayake, General Manager of Virtusa , a home grown Lankan IT company which also had operations in Hyderabad and Chennai. The Prime Minister, Mr Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, who attended almost the entire proceedings, promised pragmatic action to address the human resource gap: the Lankan Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), the nodal IT agency of Government, reports directly to the President’s Secretariat.
The total revenue of Lanka’s IT business might be less than a third of what Infosys earns in a year, but that was no reason to replicate the Indian game plan, speaker after speaker suggested. The message was: We have to do our own thing – selecting our ‘maidan’ and our strategy with care – just as the Lankan cricket team did a decade ago. And niche financial, insurance and legal verticals should be the chosen areas for Lanka to establish her own brand, said ICTA’s COO, Mr Reshan Dewapura.
The experience of Virtusa and WNS would suggest that there were enough synergies for the two nations to join hands in some arenas and take on global competition, said spokespersons of the two Indo-Lankan players.
The lower value of the Sri Lankan rupee vis a vis the Indian rupee – Rs 113-114 to the US dollar versus Rs 41-42 – was seen by some of the local players as a small if temporary advantage, when it came to dollar earnings. But speaking to Business Line on the sidelines of the Colombo event, Mr Raman Roy, felt the advantage if any for India-based companies hoping for a foothold in Sri Lanka would be minimal because while almost 90 per cent of a BPO’ ;s operating costs in India could be met by rupees, only half the costs of a similar operation in the island state could be met from local funds. Nevertheless there were interesting opportunities for any Indian player, he added. If one had an operation in Chennai and Bangalore, a new centre in Colombo made more sense than one in Gurgaon.
The summit was followed by the island’s largest-ever career fair for student-aspirants hoping to make IT happen for themselves.
September 4th, 2007, 01:34 PM
But the huge gap between those qualified to enter universities every year – 125,000 to 140,000 students – and the available seats in graduate university courses – 17,000 – was a cause for concern.
Very sad, Education is in crisis for years:ohno:
September 9th, 2007, 05:23 AM
The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert Blake opened Zone24x7 (Pvt) Ltd., a research lab at the University of Moratuwa in collaboration with the Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering on Thursday.
The facility is a state-of-the-art lab for cutting-edge research into advanced technology that could realise more ambitious business objectives. The Lab will comprise a dedicated team of researchers from the University of Moratuwa and Zone24x7, assisted by the academic research community and renowned research organisations.
The research partnership brings together diverse participants in multidisciplinary areas, and provides extended means of interaction for Research Engineers, academia and students working in the field of advanced electronic and device technologies.
The lab will provide consistency in realising the vision and driving innovation towards the next generation technology. The main emphasis is to develop the research competencies of the students while focusing on research work that will enable future advancements.
Chief Executive Officer of Zone24x7 Llavan Fernando, said, "Bringing the technology of the US Silicon Valley will greatly benefit and help Sri Lanka. While Sri Lanka cannot compete in numbers with large countries such as India or China we can come up with ways that will revolutionise the high technology industry".
"I have very high regard for the University of Moratuwa and am very enthused about our new partnership as many UOM alumni are excelling in their careers at Zone24x7. We do not know where we are going, but we know that Zone24x7 and the University of Moratuwa will come up with something great", he said.
The University of Moratuwa is a widely recognised institute in Sri Lanka for the outstanding resource talent they produce. In the latest international rankings the University of Moratuwa was ranked first among the universities in Sri Lanka, and ranked eleventh among all the universities in the Indian region.
"The Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering had pooled the best talent in engineering research and product design and what we lacked was the direct reach to the international markets. We are confident that this collaboration will enable us to achieve due international recognition for the true Sri Lankan design talent", said Head of the Department Kithsiri Samarasinghe, .
"The tremendous synergy of technology and innovation has been proved over and over at these two entities and it showed us great teaming potential to contribute to the research world", said General Manager of Zone24x7 Manjula Dissanayake.
"This will be an eminent entity in the technological and academic arenas," he said. The joint lab research will enable the students and researchers involved to lead the next generation of innovation in diversified business domains.
A senior researcher and Head of the Hardware Group at Zone24x7 Sankalpa Gamwarige, said the Lab will be the home for researchers and engineers who would have the opportunity to work with the experts and world-class partnerships from well recognised technology organisations and institutes. "This will be the forefront for new ideas in research and we believe this will have a major impact on the future of the IT industry in Sri Lanka", he said.
Sunday Observer (http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2007/09/09/fin20.asp)
September 9th, 2007, 07:36 AM
Nice, how big is this facility and what kind of equipment etc. do they use?
September 9th, 2007, 10:20 AM
Nice, how big is this facility and what kind of equipment etc. do they use?
:ohno: :ohno: :ohno: :ohno: :ohno:
September 16th, 2007, 02:24 PM
Sun, 16 September 2007 16:54:08
LBO >> ICT
15 September 2007 20:45:21
Sri Lanka government on track to complete computer linking
Sept 15, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is on track to complete computer networking of 200 government offices, the state information technology agency said.
The Lanka Government Network project hopes to connect 325 ministries, departments, provincial councils, district and divisional secretariats by the year-end the ICT agency said.
The ICTA has also developed High-level Information Security Policy for the government.
The policy was formulated, with the views and recommendations of several independent IT security experts and security agencies within the country, the agency said.
The ICTA and the Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Response Team (SLCERT) has conducted a network information security awareness program for officials from district and divisional secretariats in the Western Province.
The emergency response team was set up by ICTA to be the national center for cyber security.
"SLCERT has been mandated to be the focal point for preventing, protecting against, and responding to cyber security threats and vulnerabilities in Sri Lanka's ICT infrastructure," ICTA said.
This workshop was initiated to raise awareness regarding Information Security among government sector ICT users.
September 30th, 2007, 11:25 PM
BANGALORE, India, Sept 30, 2007 (AFP) - India remains the favoured technology outsourcing destination, an industry report said Sunday, amid concerns a rising rupee and soaring wages would blunt the country's competitive edge.
A study by industry publication Global Services and investment advisory firm Tholons put the Indian cities of Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune at the top of a list of 15 emerging outsourcing destinations for global companies.
Kolkata at number five and Chandigarh at number nine were the other two Indian locations on the list, which contained three Chinese and two Vietnamese cities as well.
The three hot cities for outsourcing from China were Shanghai at number eight, Beijing at 10 and Shenzhen at 13. Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi were put at number six and number 12.
Cebu in the Philippines came in at number four, the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo at seven, Cairo at 11, Buenos Aires at 14 and Sao Paulo at 15, the study's sponsors said in a statement released in Bangalore.
The list is based on criteria such as scale and quality of workforce, financial infrastructure, risk environment and quality of life.
But it does not include established outsourcing locations such as Bangalore, the New Delhi capital region, Manila, Mumbai and Dublin that have had a decade's headstart.
Costs are surging in the prime cities in India, which has earned a reputation as the world's back office, as property values and rentals rise and wages increase at an annual pace of more than 15 percent amid a shortage of skilled employees.
Indian outsourcing firms are also feeling the pinch from an appreciating rupee, which dents dollar-billed earnings, forcing them to cut costs by expanding to less expensive locations.
"With the demand-supply gap widening, newer tier II cities will play a critical role in re-engineered globalisation models," said Tholons chairman Avinash Vashistha.
"Destinations will need to provide greater level of cost effectiveness and operational efficiency."
India's outsourcing companies have thrived by winning work from companies in the US and Europe that sought to tap the country's low costs and large employee pool by handing over jobs ranging from answering customers' calls to risk management and financial analysis.
Pure-play outsourcing firms account for about 10 percent of the 50 billion dollars in revenue logged in the year ended March by the entire information technology industry, which also includes software giants such as Tata Consultancy and Infosys.
October 2nd, 2007, 06:33 PM
Not bad, no. 7 BPO city in the world, but I think the entire ICT and BPO sector can increase and grow much more. CMB can become a real IT capital on the world stage...
October 4th, 2007, 01:25 AM
Expected revenue by 2008 at US$ 60 m
Panora Corporation Ltd. the first ever Sri Lankan PC assembling operation has entered the international business arena with the setting up of their first offshore operation in Taiwan, called Panora Taiwan. The majority shareholder of Panora Taiwan is S.H.M. Rishan, Chairman of PCH Holdings (Pvt) Ltd., while Edden Chien and Anderson Wu will be the overseas partners joined in as investors.
According to Rishan, the parent company of Panora Corporation, the objective of this regional expansion is to reach out to international markets, mainly the Asia-Pacific region, Russia, Australia and New Zealand, Far East and Middle East and capitalize on the ever increasing and diversifying demand for IT products and services.
Rishan said “Any business related to IT sector, whether it is software or hardware has become a very competitive trade, locally and globally. In order to support our bottom-line, to enhance business scalability, to allow the free flow of industry related business practices and to bring in much needed foreign exchange to Sri Lanka while generating employment, we as local entrepreneurs should think beyond our horizons. Panora Taiwan was set up with these objectives in mind.”
At Panora Taiwan buying, selling, re-treading, importing and exporting of IT related products will take place. Panora Taiwan will also act as PCH Holdings’ International Procurement Hub and as its International Trading arm. As the procurement hub, Panora Taiwan will represent PCH Holdings in the purchasing of computer peripherals and Panora items like monitors, keyboards, mouse & casings, office automation machines such as Kyocera Mita photocopiers, Optoma projectors etc. This overseas operation will help Panora Corporation to purchase accessories and peripherals cheaper, faster and to enjoy credit facilities, which are normally not given to foreign companies.
As the trading arm, Panora Taiwan will then re-sell these products to partners in all the regions it has planned. Almost all the brands PC House represents, including ISO Certified Panora computers will therefore be sold in foreign markets paving the way for PC House to penetrate international geographic locations and to position Panora as an internationally known and accepted brand. Panora computers will be assembled in Taiwan using material sourced from OEM partners and strict attention will be paid to maintain production guidelines and quality assurance policies of Panora Corporation Sri Lanka.
Talking about the economic gains of this operation, Rishan said that the expected revenue from this enterprise by the end of the year 2008 is USD 90 million. He also said that serious attention would be paid to bring in advanced technologies and technical expertise in the form of human and material resources to Sri Lanka in order to give the much-needed boost for IT industry of the country.
“When we commenced operations of our purpose built Panora Corporation production facility six months ago with an investment of nearly Rs 1.5 billion, we envisaged this overseas expansion. This plant that has provided employment for over 100 skilled workers has the capacity to turn out 12,000 units of PCs per month.” PCH Holdings Chairman, Rishan continued. Having started five years ago Panora has rapidly caught the market and claims to have a 45% share for desktop PCs in the local market.
Panora Taiwan will hence be a subsidiary company of PCH Holdings, the owning Company of Panora Corporation that assembles Panora Personal Computers, and which has interests in other sectors such as pharmaceuticals and healthcare, automobiles, property development, office automation, software, consumer electronics, audiovisual productions and restaurants.
According to the General Manager of Panora Corporation Sri Lanka Mr. Rizwan Anise “Since Panora’s inception our aim was to enter the Asian region with a truly Sri Lankan Product. As it stands today we are proud to announce that our vision has materialized. Through advanced quality assurance and Research and Development Panora maintains high product quality throughout its product range. With the commencement of Panora Taiwan operations the brand will become the first locally innovated branded PC to enter international boarders”
October 5th, 2007, 06:36 PM
Nice another ICT company that is impressing...
October 7th, 2007, 01:36 AM
The Panora Taiwan Team (from left) -- Anderson Wu - General Manager Panora, Jeff Liu Senior director of Asia Cement, S.H.M Rishan - Chairman Panora Taiwan (TW), Edden Chien - General Manager Panora TW and Mao-Lin Wu - Deputy Chairman Panora TW.
Panora Corporation Ltd, Sri Lanka’s first ever PC assembling operation, has entered the international business arena with the setting up of their first offshore operation in Taiwan, called Panora Taiwan.
The majority shareholder of Panora Taiwan is S.H.M. Rishan, Chairman of PCH Holdings (Pvt) Ltd while Edden Chien and Anderson Wu are the overseas partners/investors.
Rishan, according to a company statement, said the objective of this regional expansion is to reach out to international markets, mainly the Asia-Pacific region, Russia, Australia and New Zealand, Far East and Middle East and capitalize on the ever increasing and diversifying demand for IT products and services.
“Any business related to IT sector, whether it is software or hardware has become a very competitive trade, locally and globally. In order to support our bottom-line, to enhance business scalability, to allow the free flow of industry related business practices and to bring in much needed foreign exchange to Sri Lanka while generating employment, we as local entrepreneurs should think beyond our horizons. Panora Taiwan was set up with these objectives in mind,” he said.
At Panora Taiwan buying, selling, re-treading, importing and exporting of IT related products will take place and it will also act as PCH Holdings’ International Procurement Hub and as its International Trading arm.
As the procurement hub, Panora Taiwan will represent PCH Holdings in the purchasing of computer peripherals and Panora items like monitors, keyboards, mouse & casings, office automation machines such as Kyocera Mita photocopiers, Optoma projectors etc. This overseas operation will help Panora Corporation to purchase accessories and peripherals cheaper, faster and to enjoy credit facilities, which are normally not given to foreign companies, the company said.
Panora computers will be assembled in Taiwan using material sourced from OEM partners and strict attention will be paid to maintain production guidelines and quality assurance policies of Panora Corporation, Sri Lanka.
Rishan said that expected revenue from this enterprise by the end of 2008 is US$90 million.
“When we commenced operations of our purpose built Panora Corporation production facility six months ago with an investment of nearly Rs 1.5 billion, we envisaged this overseas expansion. This plant that has provided employment for over 100 skilled workers has the capacity to turn out 12,000 units of PCs per month,” he said adding that the five year old company has rapidly caught the market and has a 45% share for desktop PCs in the local market.
Sunday Times (http://www.sundaytimes.lk/071007/FinancialTimes/ft322.html)
October 10th, 2007, 04:20 AM
Picture shows the MySQL CEO Mr. Marton Mickos and Mr. Dinesh Saparamadu with the Partnership agreement.
hSenid, an Application and Service provider for the Telecom, Financial and Enterprise markets recently signed a Global partnership agreement with MySQL.
hSenid specializes in mobile/wireless and back-end integrations (middleware) – focused technology solutions and outsourcing services and uses MySQL platforms to develop and deploy Telco Grade Applications. hSenid was also recognized earlier this year as a MySQL Enterprise Gold Partner and with this gold partnership, hSenid will be positioned at the forefront of the open source market to offer a high performance, modern database options to all their customers.
October 21st, 2007, 01:00 AM
MAHAVILACHCHIYA, Anuradhapura - Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) is a growing business globally which Sri Lanka has now cottoned onto quite capably.
Dozens of BPO’s are springing up here as global companies look for cost effective ways of handling their back-office operations in countries where labour and communications are cheaper than the west.
Yet ever heard of a BPO company in a jungle setting, next to a wild life park and subject to the occasional threat by the LTTE? OnTime Pvt Ltd is part of rural Sri Lanka’s first IT village, Horizon Lanka in the backwoods of Mahavilachchiya (adjoining Wilpattu) off Anuradhapura, where a group of youth processes data for a fee.
There is nothing different in the BPO industry in processing information inside the office of the client or the service provider located elsewhere. For example, staff at Mahavilachchiya’s proud company, OnTime, processing marketing data for a John Keells Group subsidiary daily could – if we close the curtains in this nice office surrounded by shady trees and occasional bird calls – very well be inside a JKH office in Colombo. There’s nothing different.
OnTime operators log into a JKH SAP accounting system through a secured link and enter data like prices and quality of suppliers. Some 150 documents are handled by one operator per day. Dialog Telekom and Singer are expected to join OnTime as its next clients with negotiations going on with the two parties.
“The BPO entry came as we needed to create job opportunities for our youngsters to remain in the village after their initial learning in English and IT,” said Nandasiri Wanninayaka (better known as ‘Wanni”), the village boy-English teacher-turned village entrepreneur.
Horizon Lanka, Sri Lanka’s first IT village, is a revelation itself. Launched by Wanni, as a Mahavilachchiya school teacher, in 1998, the initiative began as an English teaching exercise for the children whose parents were mostly rice farmers. From there with one computer donated by the US embassy, impressed by an English journal that the students did, the village has progressed to a centre of IT learning where one in every eight families has a computer (a ratio of 100 computers for 800 families).
Unheard of before but in these backwoods poor farmers are reading online newspapers in the comfort of their makeshift homes with uptodate computers with the help – unbelievable again – of seven wifi zones under a new technology called MESH. Here a section of the village amidst paddy fields and streams has wireless Internet access at all times.
Wanni and his Horizon Lanka exploits are legendary and profiled in newspapers and TV stations across the world. The IT village’s biggest opportunity probably came when Wanni and his best students shared the stage with Intel Chairman Dr. Craig Barrett in December 2005, during the latter’s visit to Sri Lanka and presence at a major IT conference.
The idea of setting up a BPO emerged as Wanni pondered on the next level of development. “Having taught English and then IT, the next issue was where do they get jobs? How can we retain them in the village?” he asked.
Enter the Foundation for Advancing Rural Opportunities in Sri Lanka (FAROLanka) to help Horizon set up its BPO and find its first client. FARO’s help however comes with some conditions – Wanni’s support and guidance to help other villages to develop on similar lines which the latter and his team are more than willing to do.
Isuru Senevirathna is OnTime’s Operations Director. He has received BPO training – along with another OnTime employee – in Laos and India sponsored by John Keells.
The 20-year old youth like any other Mahavilachchiya youngster would have had to either join the armed forces (in the case of girls it’s garment factories) or remain in the village as a farmer, until Wanni and his vision came along. Now Isuru is the proud owner of a motor cycle, happy and contended.
OnTime CEO is Nirosh Manjula Ranathunga, a 30 year-old graduate from Kelaniya University who studied IT while doing his B.Com degree. Ranathunga, who lives in Anuradhapura and visits Horizon twice a week saying he can handle operations from his home town easily through email/Internet, is also interested in transferring his skills and learning to other villages. He has his own company, Real Business Solutions, and runs a formerly-owned Horizon Lanka cyber café in Anuradhapura.
“I joined Horizon Lanka two years ago as a project manager and I’am very happy with this BPO initiative,” he said. Some 50 youths are being trained to take up BPO jobs in Mahavilachchiya which has a modern computer lab with 512 KBPS Internet connection. The Horizon Lanka website is www.horizonlanka.org
October 24th, 2007, 07:40 PM
Wed, 24 October 2007 22:10:06
LBO >> ICT
24 October 2007 11:16:33
Sri Lanka software piracy rate alarming, says US
Oct 24, 2007 (LBO) – The United States has said it is concerned over the widespread piracy of software in Sri Lanka, which recent surveys show is as high as 90 percent.
"We share the industry's concern regarding extensive software piracy in Sri Lanka," said James R. Moore, Chargé d'Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Colombo, at a recent business conference where the results of a software piracy survey were revealed.
The software piracy rate in Sri Lanka was a "staggering 90 percent" according to a independent research done in 2006 and released at the conference organised by the Business Software Alliance, the National Intellectual Property Office, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, and the European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka.
According to the IDC, an IT, telecom and consumer technology research firm which conducted the research, nine out of ten software programs installed on new personal computers in Sri Lanka were unlicensed or obtained illegally through software theft.
"This is significantly higher than the 53 percent piracy rate for the remainder of the Asia-Pacific region," a US embassy statement on the conference said.
It places Sri Lanka in the bottom six of the 102 countries reviewed worldwide.
The statement quoted Moore of the U.S. Embassy as welcoming the research and urging the government to crackdown on software piracy.
"The Embassy continues to provide technical assistance to help Sri Lanka improve its ability to enforce its strong intellectual property protection laws," Moore said.
"We hope that, by demonstrating the extent of illegal software piracy in Sri Lanka, this study will lead to greater local protection of this vital sector. We encourage the government to take action to reduce software piracy and to prosecute those who violate Sri Lanka's intellectual property laws."
Moore said they also encourage the business community to take action to ensure that the products they use are legitimate.
November 4th, 2007, 10:51 AM
Sri Lanka’s ‘brilliant IT people’ has forced one US firm to shift operations from Bangalore to the Colombo, adding further credibility to the concept of the island becoming the next hub for IT services.
“We don’t just hire anybody. We only want brilliant IT people. And we can find them in Sri Lanka,” said Aeturnun CEO, Rajat Bhakari speaking on the occasion of the US based software services firm’s first year anniversary of operations in Sri Lanka.
Defying widely held beliefs about lack of productivity and skilled labour in Sri Lanka, Bhakari noted the company had even shifted its operations from Bangalore—widely considered another Silicon Valley—due to the level of skill and quality found amongst the Sri Lankan workforce.
“The technical expertise and productivity at our Sri Lankan operations were much greater than those in Bangalore,” stated Bhakari, “so we decided to move all of our project operations to Sri Lanka.”
Bhakari also countered claims that the present security situation was a turn-off for investors. “The security situation does not bother us,” he said, “we are here to stay.”
So happy is the company with the situation in Sri Lanka that it plans to significantly expand current operations and will be looking to hire more of the highly skilled Sri Lankan youth to increase the workforce from 48 to around 150.
Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion, Dr Sarath Amunugama, was present on the occasion, and praised the firm for attracting the highly skilled youth of Sri Lanka into its employ.
“The future of the country is in young people, not the old stooges,” he joked. “And it is these emerging, modern industries that will attract our youth.”
Youth, the Minister pointed out, who were, at times, troublesome, argumentative, and rebellious—perhaps referring to the unemployed graduate protests that are fast becoming a feature at busy Colombo intersections.
“But this is good,” said Amunugama, “they are educated so they begin to ask questions.”
In a lighthearted mood that diverged significantly from familiar government hype, Amunugama also thanked firms such as this for bringing such development to the country, since, as he put it, if the government tried, “it would get stuck shuffling papers.”
Aeturnum Lanka provides a full spectrum of software services, with prestigious clients such as Oracle on its books.
Nation Economist (http://www.nation.lk/2007/11/04/busi8.htm)
November 21st, 2007, 01:42 PM
Wed, 21 November 2007 17:09:24
LBO >> ICT
KE Strategy 2 Comment/s
21 November 2007 08:35:31
Sri Lanka could boost social well-being though grey matter strategy: World Bank
Nov 21, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka could boost economic activity and social well-being through a knowledge economy (KE) strategy that makes better use of 'grey matter' the World Bank has said.
"With globalization and the technological revolution of the last few decades, knowledge has clearly become the key driver of competitiveness and is now profoundly reshaping the patterns of the world's economic growth and activity," World Bank country director Naoko Ishii said.
"In these times of accelerated globalization, 'grey matter' is a country's main durable resource.
"Both developed and developing countries should therefore think, with some urgency, about their future under a Knowledge Economy (KE) heading."
Ishii was speaking at a forum organized by the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka. Ishii said Sri Lanka's government has already started on the path through e-Sri Lanka initiative, which has been supported by the World Bank.
Sri Lanka has also been attempting to change the education system, particularly the higher education system to produce graduates that the economy needs to develop, but critics say it has had only limited success.
To become successful knowledge economies, Ishii says countries have to develop their education base, innovation systems, the information and communication technology infrastructure and build a high-quality economic and institutional regime.
"Policies for these four pillars have to reflect the country's level of development," she said.
"However, experience shows that some successful KE champions have been able to achieve spectacular leaps forward within a decade."
A recent World Bank flagship publication 'Building Knowledge Economies', argues that, whatever their level of development is, countries should consider embarking on a knowledge- and innovation-based development process.
The e-Sri Lanka initiative provides access to ICT services to Sri Lanka's rural poor as well as supporting public and private sector efforts to transform the island into an off-shoring hub for the region.
Already 600 telecentres have been set up as part of the Nenasala program of the ICT Agency to broaden ICT access to rural communities.
Shilpa Sayura an e-curriculum software for grades 6 through 11 developed by eFusion - has been installed in 20 Nenasalas.
At the same time broadband backbone infrastructure to help reduce the cost of internet connectivity are actively being explored.
The Re-Gov program for providing e-government services - by far the largest and the most complex component - is beginning to make inroads, Ishii said
IT exports from India was already about 20 billion dollars or half the total export revenues.
She says the offshoring market currently estimated at 100 billion dollars a year is growing at more than 30 percent a year.
A.T. Kearney had put Sri Lanka at the 29th position in their latest Global Outsourcing Location Index Report and Tholons had ranked Colombo at the 5th position for most attractive for destination for finance and accounting outsourcing operations.
Ishii said the ICTA and others were bringing international offshoring firms to Sri Lanka.
"Developing IT and BPO opportunities should be a high priority for a development oriented country such as Sri Lanka," Ishii said.
"Not only will the development of this industry segment create job and export opportunities, it will also create positive spillovers such as enhanced incentives for education, technology and knowledge transfer, environmental protection and an improvement in the quality of locally provided services."
Offshoring had now gone beyond call centres to include investment and financial services, human resources, health services, retail functions, logistics and customer support functions.
"It is estimated that this will result in 18 million jobs being offshored with a multiplier effect that could in turn create a further 60 million jobs in developing countries," Ishii said.
"It is important that Sri Lanka takes advantage of this opportunity and it is well placed to do so. Sri Lanka boasts some of the cheapest labor and office rental costs in the region but high telephone and electricity charges as well as rigid labor legislation remain the key challenges."
Despite these challenges several large multinationals have set up or are considering setting up BPO operations in the country.
"It appears that the demand is unlimited for a small country like Sri Lanka and the only important bottleneck is being able to offer the educated human resources that will staff these enterprises," Isshii said.
"Due to its small population size, the island cannot offer the sheer numbers of ICT and professional employees that India and China can."
"But it can compete in niche markets and it needs to align all stakeholders including policy-makers, industry leaders and academics in order to successfully tackle this important agenda."
November 24th, 2007, 11:48 PM
Exclusive zone for Chinese investors in Mirigama
By Indika Sakalasoorya
China Development Bank (CDB), one of the leading investment banks in China has expressed its willingness to set up a country branch in Sri Lanka in the near future with the twin objective off supporting the prospective Chinese investors here and providing development financing to infrastructure projects.
The two directors of the China Development Bank who overlook Maldives and Sri Lanka, Jiang Bo and Xu Qian, met with the Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama last week regarding the matter, a BoI source said..
After the meeting Minister Amunugama has instructed the two directors to obtain the approval of the Central Bank, which is the first step in setting up a bank in Sri Lanka. In response, the directors have told the minister that all the needful to obtain the approval will be sorted out as soon as possible.
The opening up of the branch is mainly targeted at facilitating the Chinese investors who will be investing in the recently proposed investment zone exclusively for Chinese investors in Mirigama, a spokesman for Minister Amunugama said.
Recently the Chinese government has conveyed its willingness to set up a separate investment zone exclusively for 100 Chinese investors in the Mirigama area. The infrastructure of the zone is also expected to be constructed by China.
The BoI has already earmarked a 150 acre land in the Mirigama area under the instructions of Minister Sarath Amunugama. Both manufacturing and services sector businesses are expected to be started by these 100 Chinese investors, Ministry sources said.
The two CDB directors have indicated that the proposed branch would also provide financial support to local and other foreign investors apart from helping investors from China, they said.
The bank has also expressed its willingness to the minister to provide the much needed financial and technical assistance to develop and upgrade the road system in Sri Lanka.
China Development Bank, founded in March 1994, operates under the direct jurisdiction of the State Council. At present it has 32 branches and four representative offices across China.. Over the past decade CDB has followed China’ s macroeconomic policies and carried out its macro-control functions in support of national economic development and strategic structural readjustment.
CDB has been a major player in long-term financing for key projects and supportive construction in infrastructure, and basic and pillar industries, which are vital to the development of the Chinese economy.
Nation Economist (http://www.nation.lk/2007/11/25/busi1.htm)
November 25th, 2007, 05:03 PM
Interesting, hard to keep track of all these new economic zones etc.
November 25th, 2007, 11:43 PM
Interesting, hard to keep track of all these new economic zones etc.
Talks a lot but takes years to get off the ground:ohno:
December 8th, 2007, 06:53 AM
Sat, 8 December 2007 10:22:48
LBO >> Transport
07 December 2007 18:07:41
By Shamindra Kulamannage
Sri Lanka's logistics industry call for action on electronic clearing
Dec 07, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka's logistics industry is calling for action to get a paperless cargo clearing system on track, through a new operator or allowing competition, five years after a part state-owed firm was given the task.
Logistics and shipping firms that wanted to cut cost and speed up cargo clearance are frustrated about how things have turned out.
Brimming optimism five years ago about a logistics hub emerging in Colombo has now given way to anger and frustration.
"The current service provider will never achieve the objectives, so I urge the private sector to lobby government to throw away the current service provider or get a new service provider to compete with them," Niral Kadawatharatchie, chairman of the Freight Forwarders Association told a logistics trade seminar organized by the Asian Development Bank.
"There is no hub status for Colombo if we don’t have electronic connectivity to function the hub port."
The association represents the 70 biggest companies that help importers and exporters reserve space in ships and aircraft.
eServices Lanka, a joint venture with the government and the Bartleets group agreed with the trade ministry five years ago to implement a paperless e-commerce system to speed up cargo clearance by linking all the relevant players.
The system, for which there was no competitive bidding, was to be fully operational in seven months from the December 2002 signing of the agreement. But the company ran out of capital as the delays dogged the implementation of the system.
Government’s initial 20 percent stake was granted free when eServices was formed with Bartleets group owned BC Computers.
Recently government injected 90 million rupees, doubling its stake in eServices Lanka to 42 percent.
So far eServices Lanka have managed to connect the Tea Board and partially automate document submissions to the more critical Customs department, Ports Authority and the Board of Investment.
In all 11 government organizations and hundreds of shipping related companies are waiting for connectivity while processes at key institutions like Customs, Port and BOI are only partially online.
sServices CEO Vinesh Athukorala, who took over the challenge of implementing the system two years ago, says the problem is complex because not all agencies that need to be connected to the system are ready to do so.
"Right now there is an accelerated approach," says Athukorala.
"The critical success factor is stakeholders being ready to appraise this technology and make use of it, otherwise there is no value."
The core e-commerce software, where documents sent from freight forwarders are rerouted to customs has been running for five years.
However critics claim the system is outdated and is not flexible enough to accommodate the complex procedures used in Sri Lanka.
“Unfortunately the package they have is unable to deliver in line with modern trends,” contends Rohan Abeywickrema, who runs a freight forwarding company.
“In Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan they have modern internet based software which is very versatile and cheap and can offer excellent service to the users.”
Lower cost and faster service of online document exchange and approval is critical to be competitive with other logistics hubs that implemented electronic clearing services decades ago.
The logistics business is a lot more sophisticated than running a transport company. Customers demand complex services linked to raw material supply and distribution of finished products.
Sea, air, rail and road transported cargo converge at mega logistics hubs like Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai to be routed to other destinations.
Cargo is also warehoused for delivery later, shipments are consolidated and value is added when parts from different countries are assembled and final products re-exported.
The eServices system called GSX, supplied by General Electric, was expected to put Sri Lanka on the logistics mega hub map.
"It’s very unfortunate," says Rohan Abeywickrema who has been outspoken about the five year delay.
"From the industry point of view it’s putting us behind the rest of the world in competitiveness and also affecting our exports and the country’s positioning in the global market."
"The rest of the world has made significant strides in this. They don't even call this electronic data interchange (EDI) anymore; they call it e-commerce."
There are three types of documents used for clearing cargo in a process that is time consuming: the customs declaration, shipping manifest and delivery order.
Multiple copies have to be submitted to Customs and the Port and also the BOI when the importer is a Board of Investment registered company.
E-services Lanka has made electronic submissions of customs declarations possible so far for some freight forwarding companies.
However copies of electronically submitted documents have to be physically delivered to customs and the port for their approval later.
"All these endorsements have to be done originally, even though we transmit this online," says Upali Gooneratne from the freight forwarder Sathsindu, pointing to seven endorsements in a Cusdec from the customs department and the port.
"These endorsements are needed before the goods can be collected by the wharf guy appointed by the consignee."
He says even cargo imported for value addition and re-export have to go though the cumbersome clearing process.
Over seventy thousand Cusdecs are issued monthly by the industry with around a third of them going though the eServices system.
However agencies like customs and ports are not fully online.
"Unfortunately for the last two or three years the journey we have gone is not satisfactory,” says Customs Department chief Sarath Jayathilake.
Multilateral lender World Bank’s 'Logistics Performance Index' ranked Sri Lanka a dismal 92 out of 150 countries based on criteria like infrastructure, customs, logistics competence and costs.
The industry, led by freight forwarders who stand to benefit directly by faster clearing of goods are demanding government look at alternatives.
“This company has been given a monopoly by the government,” argues Rohan Abeywickrema.
"Government has basically not agreed to allow other players to come in, this is what’s affecting progress in this area."
December 16th, 2007, 11:46 PM
Several USA companies are keen to offer Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) opportunities to Sri Lanka. However Sri Lanka is yet to respond positively to these ventures said Managing Director, Sri Lanka, Waquis, Inc, Mahinda Athulthmudali.
He said that BPO provides high paying employment opportunities for school leavers and there are many US companies who like to do business with Sri Lanka. The salaries for beginners go as high as Rs 40,000 for the training period.
Picture by Herbert Perera
Managing Director, Sri Lanka, Waquis, Inc, Mahinda Athulthmudali.
The high literacy rate, quick turn around time, time difference and an active work force are some of the key advantages Sri Lanka offers for the BPO industry.
He said that founder President of Waquis, Inc, Los Angeles, USA, Joe O’ Neil had been networking through their office in Bangalore 7 years. “When I invited him to visit Sri Lanka he was amazed about the talent Sri Lanka offered,” he said.
Waquis, Inc, immediately set up an office in Borella with Mahinda Athulthmudali with an investment of RS. 40 million and to date they process around 3,000 assignments a week. “This is all we can handle for the moment,” he said.
He said that O’Neil was also pleased in the quick manner in which the BoI approved their project and this is an encouragement for other inventors.
Waquis, Inc, in Sri Lanka after setting up business six months ago handle USA bank loan applications for major banks and also handle mortgages. “Due to the time difference when a loan application is handed over to US banks they forward it to us. We go through it in the night and send it back within half an hour,” he said.
Staff at the Waquis office
A former employee of the Federal government of Canada said that he wanted to render a service to the motherland and that was why he started this business. “We would next look at outsourcing annual reports to US companies and hope to do business with Australia as well,” he said.
Sri Lanka, Waquis, Inc is also looking at opening an office in Matara next year.
Athulthmudali said that one reason for the slow progress in the local BPO industry is that there is no association and urged people who are involved in the business to set up one. “When this is done more can get in to the business and the country can benefit,” he said.
He said that one gray area they face in the industry is the high charges for leased lines and the lack of backup in case of a failure in the night.
“The delay in VAT refunds is another problem we face and we suggest that the authorities should try to introduce a credit card which would give the VAT balance in it. This we can produced to customs and other authorities,” he said.
December 17th, 2007, 12:10 AM
i heard about BOI agree with mahendra group india to extablish a IT park in katunayake or trincomalee? whats going on that project
December 17th, 2007, 12:14 AM
i heard about BOI agree with mahendra group india to extablish a IT park in katunayake or trincomalee? whats going on that project
Nop, only in Katunayake , Trinco is for a industrial estate,CEO was in SL last month, no up dates yet:)
December 18th, 2007, 03:08 AM
Nop, only in Katunayake , Trinco is for a industrial estate,CEO was in SL last month, no up dates yet:)
I think they were looking at putting up a 'World City' or a SEZ in Trinco.
December 22nd, 2007, 10:52 AM
The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka has sought to actively promote the IT and BPO sector set to become a US$1 billion revenue generating industry.
Like many Asian nations, Sri Lanka has identified the IT and BPO sector as areas of economic activity that will be developed in the future. The “IT Industry” is an umbrella term that covers software development, programming and also the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). Many of the 100 or so companies that constitute the local industry are SMEs which have been actively involved in the development of software products and have provided services for both the local and export markets.
The IT/ BPO sector is one, which offers great potential for growth. In just one decade it underwent a nearly twenty-fold growth. In 1996 it was a US$ 5 million industry that rose to US$ 66 million in 2001 becoming a US$ 98 million industry in 2006. It is therefore understandable that the Sri Lanka’s Software Exporters Association has set a target of $ 1 billion in export revenue by 2012.
In Sri Lanka the principal companies in the sector are Millennium Information technologies, Virtusa, Kingslake Engineering services and Informatics International. These companies have succeeded in developing advanced applications for a number of overseas clients. Internationally renowned companies that have invested in Sri Lanka include IFS of Sweden and Isogen.
Sri Lanka’s BPO sector includes a number of operations dealing with software development, customer support and accounting services. Altogether an estimated 25 companies are engaged in BPO service type operations. The estimated workforce in this sector is around 4,000. The industry is essentially export orientated and the Sri Lankan BPO sector serves the USA, the UK, Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.
Among the BOI enterprises that are engaged in BPO type operations are HSBC Data Processing Centre that is housed in a State of the Art building at Kotte. HSBC staff are given intensive training including training overseas and linguistic training.
Another BPO operation that comes under the BOI is WNS that offers finance and accounting services. They have in addition set up a legal division that provides services to a leading UK based firm of solicitors.
Western Provident Association (WPA) is a medical insurance company that provides medical insurance to half a million people in the UK. Their office at the World trade center processes insurance claims and bills on behalf of clients in the UK.
In the BPO sector, Sri Lanka’s main advantage is the low labour and operating costs. This makes Sri Lanka very competitive for investors in the BPO sector. Investors have in addition been attracted in investing in Sri Lanka due to the skills found in the local work force notably the ability to communicate or understand English.
Another attraction to investors in the BPO sector is that Sri Lanka is ahead in terms of time zones to western countries. BPO companies can also take advantage of the fact that Sri Lanka’s time zone is ahead of those of many Western Countries. Jobs can be undertaken in Colombo while is still night in those countries, to the greater benefit of the customer.
December 23rd, 2007, 06:27 PM
Nice analysis of sri lankas IT and BPO industry...
January 22nd, 2008, 11:27 PM
German based global provider in electronics, plastics and metal technologies IVP Gmbh will invest for a Research and Development (R&D) unit in Sri Lanka in partnership with Tos Lanka Co. (Pvt) Limited.
The initial investment for the unit would be more than US$ 250,000 and will work with Tos Lanka. The main objective is to penetrate into the lucrative Indian market through Sri Lanka, the Chief Executive Officer Ralf Wedekind said.
"We hope to focus more attention on Sri Lanka especially for R&D activities to penetrate into the lucrative Indian market which will provide high value medium size state-of-the-art printed circuit bounds and many more to the global electronic market," Wedekind said.
All business transactions are controlled within our EMS- and ODM-Systems which are offered by our head office located in Buchenbach in Germany. The company offers individual components as well as complete services. Therefore, you have the possibilities to select only the services that global market needs.
Wedekind said that he wants to set up a modern R&D center in Sri Lanka in the future and it will educate Sri Lankan to design and produce high quality electronic components to the various electronic industry for the global markets.
The IVP Group is in the world presence with administrative offices and production facilities in Europe, North America and Asia. In addition we have strategic partners with several production firms across the global market.
Based on steady and continued communication, the IVP Group can operate as a dynamic and highly flexible company throughout the market.
We offer services as a global provider in the electronics, plastics and metal technologies.
Our partner companies and production locations all have the certificate of DIN EN ISO 9000 respectively 14001 and they are permanently supervised by the quality assurance of IVP Gmbh, Total Quality Management and due to continuous improvement of the production flow across nationalities which they could improve quality assurance constantly, he said.
Due to our global production plants with their individual production range, we can adapt our production possibilities to the needs of our customers and constantly advancing market, he said.
Our expertise in all sections of production leads to high flexibility, a high level of quality and favourable pricing. The products are mixed components assembly, manual assembly, cable assembly, RohS compliant handling Bonding (Chip on Board), Assembly of electronic devices LCD's and many more.
Tos Lanka Managing Director Jitsuo Mikasa told that Sri Lankan work force is very educated and competent and their ability to absorb the content of instruction is very high.
Tos Lanka a wholly Japanese - owned BoI enterprise, specialists in electronics manufacturing services, located in the Biyagama Export Processing Zone, has braved all over the past 12 years and continues vibrantly with its core business concerns.
The Chairman BOI Dammikka Perera said that this is an excellent venture for Sri Lanka.
January 23rd, 2008, 05:41 PM
January 28th, 2008, 10:15 PM
There is an annual demand for over 7,500 IT graduates in Indian companies and Sri Lanka is not in a position to meet this demand.
The main reason for this is that Sri Lanka only produces around 2,500 IT graduates. In a bid to bridge this gap MAS Holdings is launching MAS Institute of Management and Technology (MIMT), located at the MAS Fabric Park, Thulhiriya.
MIMT CEO, Chandan de Silva and CEO, MAS investments, Dulindra Fernando at the Press conference yesterday. Picture by Saliya Rupasinghe
MIMT CEO, Chandan de Silva said they would offer customised programmes to address the skill shortages in the IT enabled, BPO, Textile and apparel industries.
“We want to develop well rounded candidates by focusing on core competencies and soft skill development,” he said.
He said that one of the main problems the Indian IT and the BPO sector is facing is the brain drain of IT professionals. They migrate to US and Europe for higher salaries. “Due to this, India is looking out for trained IT graduates and Sri Lanka can meet this requirement,” he said.
He said the ICTA is also looking at training more IT graduates.
The official opening of MIMT will be on January 31and it would be a public training institute with exceptional facilities and infrastructure, including a fully equipped auditorium seating 300 people, 17 training rooms including labs for English language, IT, Textile processing and Sewing machine mechanics and residential facilities for up to 250 people.
In addition to skilled training programs a range of English language; soft skill development and etiquette programmes will enhance the employability of people.
MIMT’s own job placement center will help students from MIMT find employment within the MAS Fabric Park and in other industries. “We estimate that over 5,000 students will gain employment within the zone as four international companies have already set up factories.
MIMT also offers corporate training programs targeting workers, supervisors and executives. These could be residential or day programs.
CEO, MAS investments, Dulindra Fernando said MAS would also launch the MAS Business School later in the year.
“This will be for senior executives and will be centred around Leadership Excellence and Innovation,” he said.
MAS Holdings, an innovation focused company is one of the region’s largest suppliers of Intimate and Activewear.
Operating in five countries with over 40,000 people, the company is a vertically integrated apparel solutions provider and the preferred sourcing partner for world-class brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Nike, adidas, Reebok, Speedo and M&S.
January 29th, 2008, 02:23 PM
Its really good to know that Srilanka, despite of its internal problems, climbing up with its initiatives in the IT/BPO sector.
Thanks for the forumers who posted info here. .
February 12th, 2008, 12:22 AM
Virtusa's revenue increased 26 per cent year over year and 5.5 per cent sequentially, to US$ 42.5 million for third quarter of fiscal 2008, General Manager, Virtusa, Madu Ratnayake said.
GM, Virtusa, Madu Ratnayake. Picture by Saliya Rupasinghe
Virtusa also reported third quarter income from operations of US$ 5.9 million. This represents an increase of 44 per cent compared to US$ 4.1 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2007.
Net income for the third quarter of fiscal 2008 was $5.3 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, compared to $8.7 million, or $0.47 per diluted share, for the third quarter of fiscal 2007. The year-over-year decrease in net income of $3.4 million is primarily due to a one-time income tax benefit of $5 million in the prior year quarter caused by the reversal of the company's deferred tax valuation allowance.
Earnings per share for the third quarter of fiscal 2008 reflects the lack of the one-time income tax benefit and a 34% year-over-year increase in diluted shares outstanding primarily due to the successful completion of the Company's Initial Public Offering.
Ratnayake added Virtusa will open avenues for Sri Lankan youth to be a part of the global IT phenomenon.
"Solid IT education will create more opportunities bridging the gap between young talented people who are unemployed. There are lots of options across the globe and the demands of the clients are world class," he said.
"We will reach the immediate education system. We provide advisory services and training for university professors. There is a lack of qualified lecturers. We are planning to extend the training to schools," he added.
Ratnayake added that currently Sri Lanka produces less than 5000 IT graduates. "More awareness should be created. There will be more demand for IT professionals. There is a huge market and the companies will follow the talent base," he said.
"Through EDEX we reached out to many people. Lot of new avenues were opened in IT and BPO related jobs. We tapped a lot of schoolchildren," he added. He stressed that Sri Lanka has a unique opportunity to leverage the investment in IT education.
"The private-public partnership should be strengthened. IT education is an investment and it should be made accessible. We have already tied up with banks to create a loan scheme to facilitate IT education," Ratnayake said.
February 25th, 2008, 11:14 PM
Apple recently unveiled MacBook Air, the world's thinnest notebook. The MacBook Air measures an unprecedented 0.16-inches at its thinnest point, while its maximum height of 0.76-inches is less than the thinnest point on competing notebooks.
Rukshan Jayawardena with Macbook Air
Head of Marketing EPSI computers, authorized re- seller for Apple in Sri Lanka Rukshan Jayawardena said that the MacBook Air has a stunning 13.3-inch LED-backlit widescreen display, a full-size and backlit keyboard, a built-in Sight video camera for video conferencing, and a spacious track pad with multi-touch gesture support so users can pinch, rotate and swipe.
He also said the MacBook Air is powered by a 1.6 GHz or 1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 4MB L2 cache, and includes as standard features 2GB of memory, an 80GB 1.8-inch hard drive, and the latest 802.11n Wi-Fi technology and Bluetooth 2.1. Jayawardena further said that the MacBook Air is now available at all EPSI iStores.
We built the world's thinnest notebook without sacrificing a full-size keyboard or a full-size 13-inch display, said, Apple's CEO Steve Jobs. When you first see MacBook Air, it's hard to believe it's a high-performance notebook with a full-size keyboard and display. But it is.
The backlit keyboard makes it ideal for dimly lit environments such as airplanes, studios or conference halls, and a built-in ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the brightness of the keys as well as the display brightness for optimal visibility.
Every MacBook Air includes a micro-DVI port so users can connect to Apple's gorgeous 20-inch or 23-inch Cinema Displays to extend their desktop or connect to projectors and other displays via DVI, VGA, Composite and S-video adapters.
MacBook Air includes USB 2.0 for plugging in peripherals or charging an iPod<... or iPhone, a headphone jack and Apple's acclaimed MagSafe Power Adapter designed especially for mobile users.
February 26th, 2008, 02:37 AM
lol, The notebook that fits in a manila envelope. Still, I would expect Epsi to mark it at some really absurd price, even compared to the already high price of it.
February 26th, 2008, 05:58 PM
Yeah, Epsi sells some nice stuff, but they don't get their products at wholesale prices like BT Stores (the sole distributors of Apple Products in Sri Lanka), they buy their products at retail prices or slightly below and they have to sell them with a profit, hence the high prices of their products (RE-SELLER)...
February 27th, 2008, 03:23 AM
Oh.. Thanks for clearing that up.
February 27th, 2008, 11:32 PM
The Sri Lankan computer market is growing at a phenomenal rate and this is very encouraging, Country Business Manager, Hewlett Packard (HP) Lakshamindra Fernando said.
He said that this growth is the highest for the region and it is very good for a developing country like Sri Lanka. The only country close to Sri Lanka in terms of market penetration is Thailand.
Speaking to ‘Daily News Business’ yesterday he said that the local Desktop market is growing at 26 percent while the Laptop market has a penetration is over 47 percent.
He said the local telco industry is growing at a very fast pace and this also has a major positive impact on both the PC and laptop markets.
With more private education institutes entering the Education sector more education opportunities are created and this too helps to the penetration of both PC and laptop markets.
He also disclosed that HP is now a market leader in Sri Lanka and their head office in Singapore is very pleased about the performance in Sri Lanka. Due to this the Singapore office has decided to open a branch office in Sri Lanka next month.
“HP is also looking at making more investments in Sri Lanka,” he said.
A top HP official is also expected to visit Sri Lanka soon.
March 26th, 2008, 12:15 AM
Motorola Technologies Lanka (Pvt) Ltd was launched at the Waters Edge Colombo yesterday paving the way for generating employment opportunities for the local IT sector. The birth of the new company is a result of the global acquisition of Symbol Technology by Motorola Company USA.
Managing Director of the new Company Dr. K. Subramaniam who is looking after the interests of both Sri Lanka and India entities said that the new company would operate as a Research and Development centre for US global Phone giant, Motorola.
"The company is engaged in business applications of software and already over 50 Sri Lankan engineers are employed," he said. Motorola creates several different products for use of the government, public officials, business instalments, and the general public.
"The new entity would be operated as an strategic development Centre for R and D as well," he said.
Sri Lanka's current allocation in GDP for R and D is only one percent and this BoI venture would help enhance this especially in the area of information technology.
March 26th, 2008, 06:01 AM
:applause: This is the sort of stuff we need.
March 26th, 2008, 06:55 PM
Good stuff, FDI is the way forward...
March 26th, 2008, 07:27 PM
Good stuff, FDI is the way forward...
May 22nd, 2008, 01:38 AM
Indicates possibility of setting up an innovation centre in the country
The chairman of global IT giant Microsoft, Bill Gates said that Sri Lanka should find ways of developing world class universities locally, thereby enabling the island to enter into a new world of knowledge and technology. In that respect, Microsoft has announced the possibility of setting up an innovation centre in Sri Lanka, whilst facilitating greater support for the IT/BPO industry, greater investment in education and boosting IT capacity in Sri Lanka.
Gates made this suggestion when he met an eminent Sri Lankan delegation at the Government Leaders Forum (GLF) organized by the Government of Indonesia in collaboration with the Microsoft Corporation. The event, titled ‘Serving the Citizen: The Transformative Power of Information Technology in Delivering Government Services’ was graced with the presence of high profile participants in the league of President of Indonesia Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and Bill Gates, Chairman, Microsoft Corporation.
The GLF provided an opportune moment for leaders in the Asia Pacific Region to converge in an exchange of views relating to administrative governance, education, healthcare, sustainable economic growth and most importantly, addressing the role of information and communications technology (ICT) within these spheres and the value it adds to the successive evolution of the above.
At a meeting with the Sri Lankan delegation the Microsoft Corporation went onto state that they would explore the possibility of commissioning a McKenzie Consultant Study for Sri Lanka, focusing on the potential for IT/BPO industrial growth in the country. Whilst launching a special initiative to boost the country’s IT capacity,
Microsoft also plans to develop the specialist skills of approximately 500 Government employees, communicating greater support towards rural computing and adding emphasis on working through the Nenasala and Vidatha centres and more. Further, enhancing its commitment towards skills development in Sri Lanka, Microsoft also plans to equip overseas workers with IT training and provide them with email IDs prior to leaving the country thereby supplementing the ICTA eFEB project simultaneously.
After receiving a special invitation extended by President Mahinda Rajapakse to visit Sri Lanka, Bill Gates indicated his support towards the country’s ‘Year of IT’ plan for 2009, and went onto make further recommendations to the Sri Lankan delegation in the wake of reducing internet access costs, which he felt was a prime factor in regard to a population’s progression in being internet savvy; and further increasing broadband penetration in Sri Lanka.
The Microsoft Corporation reaffirmed the importance of educating local consumers on the many drawbacks, and global repercussions of contributing to the ever increasing growth of software piracy that is prevalent in the country today. The government recognized the severity of the issue, and guaranteed that methods to curtail the distribution of pirated software in the country will be paramount in their plan of action.
The partnership between the two organizations is to be spearheaded within the related areas of the Sri Lankan Government by Minister Karu Jayasuriya and Prof. Tissa Witharana. The campaign will have the fullest support of the President’s office, which will play a pivotal role in these initiatives, thus providing for the nation a concrete body to liaise with new developments, undertaken by the Government of Sri Lanka. A task committee of such stature only reaffirms Sri Lanka’s commitment towards these new initiatives, and their will to make these visions a reality.
The Microsoft Corporation and Government of Sri Lanka alliance is tipped to be a very positive milestone in the ongoing economical development of the nation. With a worldwide network that sets the standards for bridging the gap along the information superhighway, this partnership promises new hope for Sri Lanka, and its many generations to come.
The Sri Lankan delegation to the seminar was fortunate to have been selected as one of four countries to have a series of one-to-ones with Gates and his team members. Microsoft was delighted and keen to hear of President Mahinda Rajapakse’s vision for Sri Lanka as a key player in the global IT revolution, and went on to state that the positive impression presented by the Sri Lankan delegation created and provided a moment for Sri Lanka and Microsoft to forge a public-private partnership with each other. In addition to the interaction the delegation had with Gates, they also had the opportunity to have multiple meetings with Chris Atkinson (President South East Asia – Microsoft Corporation) on strategies and implementation aspects of the proposed partnership as well as Michael Donlan (General Manager Public Sector, APAC – Microsoft Corporation) who further helped the delegation prepare for the proposed strategy.
The Government of Sri Lanka was represented by. Karu Jayasuriya - Minister for Public Administration & Home Affairs, and Chairman of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Human Resource Development; Prof. Tissa Witharana - Minister for Science and Technology; Ariyaratne Hewage – Consultant, HRD, Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs; Dr. Sunimal Fernando – Senior Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka; Prof. P.W. Epasinghe – Chairman, ICT Agency of Sri Lanka and Senior Advisor to The President; Reshan Dewapura – Chief Operating Officer, ICT Agency of Sri Lanka; Sriyan de S. Wijeyeratne – Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka.
May 22nd, 2008, 06:29 PM
Would be great if Microsoft would do this and I also agree with Bill on the need for more quality universities and higher education institutes in the country...
May 23rd, 2008, 04:27 AM
Would be great if Microsoft would do this and I also agree with Bill on the need for more quality universities and higher education institutes in the country...
Someone needs to get rid of those JVP lunatics before that can happen. The sooner the better.
May 24th, 2008, 01:02 AM
Sri Lanka in top ten of most number of applicants & also University of Moratuwa(UOM) is the 1st among top 10 universities
Moratuwa, Sri Lanka –The University of Moratuwa is proud to announce that 24 student projects have been accepted for the Google Summer of Code program this year making it the number one University worldwide to have the most number of accepted projects.
Google, the Internet search engine giant (http://www.google.com) host an annual worldwide competition on Free and Open Software development projects commonly known as the Google Summer of Code (GSoc) program. This program, now in its fourth year, entices students to submit their idea to Google approved mentor organizations and contribute to open source projects. Once selected and on successful completion of their tasks, Google grants the student a reward of $4500. This year Google accepted 1125 applications by students worldwide to work on Free and Open Source Software projects during this summer.
“We are very happy about the achievements of our students this year. We have come a long way from the four awards received three years ago. I take this opportunity to thank the global Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Community for their efforts in helping these students. Clearly students benefit a lot from having a very active community” said Mrs. Vishaka Nanayakkara, Head of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Moratuwa.
She also made a special note of appreciation of Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana, a pioneer and visionary leader who has made Sri Lanka a force to reckon with, in the global open source software community for his efforts in mentoring and guiding students of the department in FOSS development as a visiting lecturer and the founder of the Lanka Software Foundation which has one of its labs at the University of Moratuwa.
Professor Malik Ranasinghe, Vice Chancellor, University of Moratuwa highlighted on the University’s vision to produce world class graduates and emphasized that the achievements at competitions of this nature bears testimony to the comparability of University of Moratuwa undergraduates with those of the developed world. He further stated that the local universities are producing these graduates at a cost of less than US$5000/=; obviously without world class facilities. He congratulated the awardees from the University of Moratuwa and the members of the staff who have encouraged these students.
The Computer Science and Engineering Department of Faculty of Engineering received 18 projects from the total of 24 accepted projects from the University of Moratuwa with other 6 projects from other departments of the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Information Technology.
Sri Lanka was also in the top ten list of countries with the most number of accepted students, even beating the United Kingdom. The United States of America was number one followed by India, China, Canada, France, Germany, Brazil, and Poland.
The University of Moratuwa is known as a trendsetter for its innovative approach to undergraduate education aimed at producing not only employable, but globally competitive graduates. The efforts have resulted in maintaining excellent standards in academic activities while placing emphasis on the soft skills development of undergraduates as well.
May 24th, 2008, 06:02 PM
June 3rd, 2008, 02:55 AM
Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT), BOI together with two Indian companies Infinity Infotech Parks Ltd will PS Group Reality Limited to establish an IT Park in Malabe investing US$ 80.44 million.
Chairman of PS Group Pradip Chopra and Executive Director of Infinity Infotech Parks Pulak Chamaria. Picture by Sumanachandra Ariyawansa
Managing Director/CEO of the SLIIT Dr Lalith Gamage said this is a public-private partnership project. SLIIT will provide the 15 acre land for the project and the two Indian companies will invest in the project.
“These two Indian companies will be responsible for marketing the IT park and attracting IT companies to the Park. Under this project 1.6 million square feet will be developed. At the initial stage 500,000 square feet will be developed and we expect to commence the project within six months with the necessary approvals,” he said.
The IT park will be equipped with all modern facilities and services for promoting IT, IT enabled services, BPOs and other knowledge based industries in the country.
The selection of the party to develop and manage the IT park was done through an open bidding process. Ernst and Young/ India carried out the bidding process.
Executive Director of Infinity Infotech Parks Pulak Chamaria said they expect to attract large-scale companies in the IT industry.
The IT park will provide around 20,000 direct and around 80,000 indirect employment opportunities.
At the initial stage developers expect to attract 10 companies for the IT park and they are also confident they could attract nearly 30 companies for the whole project. “We have experience in managing and developing IT parks in India.
It is important to have a perception change in attracting companies to IT parks,” he said. “Chairman and Managing Director of PS Group Pradip Chopra said the Indian IT industry is targeting US$ 40 billion during this year and this will be US$ 60 billion in coming years.
“Today the industry is unable to find qualified human resource for the industry in India. Indian IT companies have selected countries such as Vietnam and China for their outsourcing and expansion. Sri Lanka is an ideal destination for these IT companies to outsource and for their expansion with the easy access,” Chopra said.
“Comparing with Colombo, Kolkota was a less developed town but we were able to attract large scale IT companies to Kolkota through the IT park concept. All Sri Lanka needs is good exposure in the Indian IT industry to attract more companies, he said.
The project will be a BOI project and the letter of intent was issued by the BOI to the consortium of two Indian companies yesterday.
June 3rd, 2008, 04:22 PM
Excellent, PPP is the way forward, hope to see this park doing great in a few years....
June 20th, 2008, 07:05 PM
Bill Gates, Chairman Microsoft Corporation during a 20 minute interview I had with him in Indonesia has assured that he would visit Sri Lanka next year, said Prof Tissa Vitharana, Minister of Science and Technology, addressing the launch of INFOTEL the biggest Information Communication Technology (ICT) event in Sri Lanka that is scheduled to be held on 30th October at the BMICH.
The launch and a press conference to reveal the details of INFOTEL was held at Trans Asia Hotel last week where Prof Vitarana was the Chief Guest.
He said that Bill Gates was invited to inaugurate Infotel, but he has said that he would be unable to attend, but he would send his message for the event.
Prof Vitharana said that when Bill Gates comes to Sri Lanka they could make use of the opportunity to get Microsoft involved in ICT research and development and said that with the government declaring next year as the year of ICT and English and this will enable Sri Lankan children to get jobs they are looking for in a short period of time.
He said that Infotel 2008 will be an ideal platform to showcase the combined strengths of the ICT industry of Sri Lanka and to pitch this message onto the international arena and it will highlight the enormous growth potential in the country and the comprehensive policies, infrastructure and conducive business environment in place to fuel and sustain this growth.
Infotel aims to bring together the entire IT community in Sri Lanka including industry experts, professionals and academics and the user community to a single platform. This will be the 9th Infotel Exhibition will be held as part of the ICT Week for 9th consecutive year commencing from October 17th. The four day exhibition will be on the theme The Future is already here .
It is expected to draw attention to the already available infrastructure and offerings in the local ICT field and highlight that human capability and broadened outlook are the pe-requisites to exploit the available facilities to its full potential.
In addition to the software, hardware and communications categories, special Career Section will also be introduced. This is aimed to provide career seekers, students and visitors with information on how to match career and job opportunities in the field of ICT with the required academic and professional qualifications along with skills required by the industry. It will also showcase the strengths in the market in terms of academic and professional courses available.
The e-Sri Lanka initiatives section will be coordinated by the ICT Agency to showcase applications that help to bridge the digital divide or remove the technological boundaries between the average citizen and state institutions. It will enable the visitors to share and be informed of e-services and solutions offered by public sector agencies to improve their lifestyles using digital technologies.
Roshan Rasool,Chairman, Infotel Lanka Society said that last year was a great success and this year they want to make it the biggest ICT Week ever in the whole of Sri Lanka.
Roshen Devapura, COO/Director, ICT Agency of Sri Lanka said that the government is devoting increased focus on developing the ICT and ITES sectors of the country.
The 10th International IT Conference (IITC) 2008 organized by the University of Colombo School of Computing is another key event of the National ICT week. It will provide networking opportunities for participants to acquaint themselves with the current global technological developments through presentation made by eminent specialists in the field.
June 21st, 2008, 06:41 PM
Excellent, would be nice to have Bill over especially for publicity...
June 22nd, 2008, 01:41 AM
Sri Lanka’s MillenniumIT said this week it has been selected by the London Metal Exchange (LME) as the solution provider for the new LME SMART (System for Matching and Registering Trades) matching system.
With the deployment of LME SMART, exchange Members will be able to save a part of their clearing fees.
Further, MillenniumIT’s rule-based matching technology used in LME SMART will make it easy for the LME to deploy new services and make rapid changes to existing service configurations at minimal cost, thereby meeting the future needs of its members, the Sri Lankan firm said.
“The Exchange is pleased to appoint MillenniumIT as the solution provider for LME SMART. They have demonstrated to us their success of working in global capital markets and have already acquired an in-depth understanding of the specifics of our market. We look forward to developing a world class matching system with them for the LME,” said Michael Warren, Chief Technology Officer of the LME.
LME SMART will provide services related to matching and registering trades with easy access to contract reference data, and an interface into clearing. “I’m sure that our partnership with the LME will be of great benefit to both our organisations”, said Tony Weerasinghe, Chief Executive Officer of MillenniumIT.
June 23rd, 2008, 02:00 PM
June 24th, 2008, 02:19 AM
By Santhush Fernando
The proposed Malabe IT Park with an investment close to Rs 9 billion, would be capable of housing nearly 200 Information Technology (IT) companies.
“In the first phase, we plan to bring in about 50 Indian IT companies, while at its final stages, nearly 150 to 200 companies will be able to set up offices here.” Executive Director, Infinity Infotech Parks, Pulak Chamaria, said at a news conference held last week at the Ministry of Enterprise Development & Investment Promotion.
Malabe IT Park is a collaboration of Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT), with an Indian consortium comprising Infinity Infotech Parks Ltd and PS Group Reality Ltd.
The Letter of Intent (LOI) was issued to Infinity Infotech Parks Ltd, which operates IT parks in India, notably in Kolkata and the PS Group Realty Ltd, a renowned real estate developer in India. Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI) is to sign an agreement with the companies within one and a half months, while construction of the new zone will start within nine months. The agreement will be signed on behalf of the Indian consortium by Pulak Chamaria and Chairman, SLIlT, Prof. Sam Karunaratne.
Selection of the party to develop and manage the IT Park in Malabe was done through an open bidding process by the BoI, with Ernst & Young India, vastly experienced in carrying out Private-Public Partnership (PPP) bid process management globally, retained as advisor to the BoI to manage the bid process and select the investor. The process was facilitated by BoI and the project will be categorised a BOI project under PPP basis, it was revealed.
With a view to place Sri Lanka in the global IT map, the BoI, along with the SLIIT, had sought to develop an IT Park equipped with all modern facilities and services for promoting IT, IT Enabled Services (ITES), Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and other knowledge based industries in the country. The BoI, along with the SLIIT, has developed a unique PPP model as a means to develop large-scale infrastructure projects.
The IT Park will be constructed on a I5-acre plot within the SLIIT campus in Malabe and will, primarily, cater to the growing demand in Sri Lanka for high quality dedicated IT space.
The BoI and the SLIIT carried out extensive research on how to develop IT parks. The proposed IT Park has been conceptualised with the latest know how relating to such parks and special emphasis has been given to make the ambience appealing to those who will be working there.
This project will provide around 20,000 direct employment and around 80,000 indirect employment opportunities The IT Park would be equipped with state-of-the-art-technology and provide high speed data communication services, including lease line connectivity and fibre optic networks. In addition, the Park will also provide infrastructure facilities such as uninterrupted quality power, water supply, air conditioning facilities and parking.
The SLIIT, a degree-awarding institute in the field of IT, recognised by the University Grants Commission, was established in 1999 to educate and train IT professionals required for the fast growing IT industry in Sri Lanka and presently, graduates around 3,000 IT professionals annually.
IT pro (http://www.itpro.lk/?q=node/1120)
June 24th, 2008, 01:26 PM
Great, but I thought an IT park already existed there...
June 25th, 2008, 03:52 AM
Great, but I thought an IT park already existed there...
There is one with couple of companies, but they aren't as a integrated IT park, this will be one massive structure!!!
June 25th, 2008, 12:30 PM
July 18th, 2008, 02:13 AM
July 18th, 2008, 02:26 AM
If go through the 1st vid u ll notice that they have developed a media player which could be way ahead than I pod!!!!
July 21st, 2008, 04:11 PM
July 24th, 2008, 09:35 AM
September 1st, 2008, 10:22 PM
Sri Lanka's hoping to benefit from the global demand for information technology graduates, with the opening of a new 1,000 student campus on the outskirts of the capital, Colombo. The new privately-funded institute hopes its graduates will fill the demand in the IT sector throughout the world, but especially in India.
Presenter: Ron Corben
Speakers: Businesswoman Geetha Karandawala; IT faculty dean Chandemar De Silva; Sri Lankan businessman Dr Neville Fernando
CORBEN: Work on the new $US5.7 million information technology and management institute at Malabe, just outside the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, is progressing with an opening date set for early 2009. The campus hopes to be a key source of IT professionals from Sri Lanka ready to work in South Asia's booming IT industry. The campus is the vision of veteran Sri Lankan businessman Dr Neville Fernando who has backed the project with his own money in order, as he says, to build a centre for excellence. Besides IT courses, Dr Fernando says the institute will offer extensive language programs to enhance students' chances of working abroad, but especially in Asia.
FERNANDO: All this area is for IT. What we are teaching will be IT related subjects - even English, French, Spanish, Italian. All this will be IT based so that they can work in any IT factory anywhere in the world. And even Korean, Japanese, and Chinese, will be taught because in the Asia region there is a lot of demand for IT technicians.
CORBEN: At present as many as 9,000 Sri Lankan students travel abroad for study each year, many in the IT sector. The 1,000 student capacity campus also offers subjects in business administration, communication technology, even in health sciences and hospital management. Dr Fernando says the institute will go some way to make up for shortfalls in Sri Lanka's education system as well meeting rising demand locally for IT graduates. The institute could provide up to 400 new graduates a year within the next three years.
FERNANDO: Of course we also have just a few miles from here there is the government Sri Lankan Institute for Information and Technology where about 400 to 500 students graduate every year and they are taken by various companies. There are back offices coming out in Sri Lanka. Now HSBC they have a back office in Colombo. Like even that IT company in front - they do work for a lot of American companies - that way we can generate employment by having this IT training.
CORBEN: So this is really the way of the future?
FERNANDO: This is for the future.
CORBEN: Geetha Karandawala, a Sri Lankan businesswoman, says the institute's role will help support state run universities currently unable to satisfy demand for graduates due to funding constraints. Mrs. Karandawala says the project comes at an opportune time in Sri Lanka's IT development.
KARANDAWALA: Because the demand for university places is very high. People are beginning to see particularly the IT related career pathways and Sri Lanka because of its language skills and I think it is a very good area for future employment and career development. If the timing is right then the project works and I think the timing is right now for this kind of project. The institute negotiated with Napier University in the United Kingdom on courses, as well as Technical and Further Education institutes in Australia. Chandima de Silvais is the dean of the IT faculty.
CORBEN: India has been seen as this model for South Asian IT development. Is Sri Lanka on a cusp, where is Sri Lanka in all of that?
DE SILVA: India has thousands of universities and the quality of graduate produced by all the universities might not conform to the same standard. Where as Sri Lanka we still have 15 state universities including the Open University. But in terms of India as a destination for employment I don't think Sri Lanka or any other Asian country can match. There are thousands of jobs demands in India. Our institute can cater to that in time to come. But in terms of education alone Sri Lankan parents might still opt to send their children to a good institution in Sri Lanka. So I think it would be a landmark in Sri Lankan education.
September 2nd, 2008, 03:42 PM
Let's wait and see...sounds good and ambitious...
October 14th, 2008, 01:32 AM
Sri Lanka’s leading IT Infrastructure Management company, Eureka Technology Partners (ETP), announced today that they have signed a major contract and strategic partnership with UST Global, an IT services company headquartered in the U.S. ETP will remotely manage 6,000 desktops in ten countries from their ISO 20000 certified Network Operating Center (NOC) in Sri Lanka.
This is a significant step for both Eureka and Sri Lanka as it clearly positions the country as a destination for offshore IT Infrastructure Management services. In the ‘90s software development was being offshored. This was followed by BPO services in the early part of this decade. The third phase of offshoring is Remote Infrastructure Management. A McKinsey / NASSCOM study estimates US$13 Billion in New Remote Infrastructure Business coming into India in the next 5 years; a 6 fold increase from current levels.
Remote Infrastructure Management enables organizations to significantly reduce the number of incidents handled onsite. As a result an organization can significantly lessen costs and improve service quality. “Eureka has the capability to resolve over 70% of incidents remotely via our ISO 20000 certified Network Operating Center,” said Saman Jayawardena, Director Operations of Eureka.
“A team from UST spent time at their facilities in Sri Lanka and came away convinced that Eureka is the right partner for UST because their company values align well with UST values. In addition, I believe Sri Lanka has a strong resource pool to capitalize on the Remote Infrastructure Management space,” said Tony Velleca, CIO of UST.
UST is a leading provider of IT services and solutions for Global 1000 firms. Headquartered in Aliso Viejo, California, UST has over 6,000 employees and a clientele that includes more than 40 Fortune 500 companies. The company is ISO 27001 and BS7799 certified and is being re-certified for CMMI Level 5. UST has a client-centric Global Engagement Model that combines local, senior, on-site resources with the cost, scale and quality advantages of an off-shore operation.
Eureka Technology Partners, established in 1996, has long been one of Sri Lanka’s IT pioneers. Today it offers a wide range of IT Infrastructure Management services, backed by a highly respected team and a sterling service reputation. In 2008, Eureka received ISO 20000 certification.
October 22nd, 2008, 01:06 AM
inger Sri Lanka launched the country's first Internet auction sale through their web site www.singersl.com yesterday.
Chairman of Singer Sri Lanka Hemaka Amarasuriya said this web site was launched to create excitement and brandnew innovative retail experience for the customers and increase the web site hits. The new online auction will offer convenience for the customers.
Online auction sites have become well established internationally and Sri Lanka has been late in joining the world of Internet bidding. Low internet and credit card penetration have dissuaded local companies from launching online auction sites along the lines of Ebay and Prosper but Singer has consistently worked to uplift the lives of the common man and the company believes the local market is ready for the online bidding experience.
"The company might be interested in developing this new feature as other popular online auctions such as Ebay," he said.
At the initial stage the company will offer over 15 products through this internet auction and expects to increase the product range according to the demand. The company is targeting over 50000 web hits with the launch of the online auction feature.
Under the new web site the company will set minimum biding prices considering the cost and the taxes imposed on the product and maximum price will be set 5 per cent less than the market price. Customers need to register at the web site and these auctions are time bound giving the bidder two weeks to up their bids and claim the coveted products.
The site is already operational and has been designed with the latest safety and data protection systems to ensure the online payments are easy, safe and secure.
The web site will offer only brand new products ranging from mobile phones to LCD TVs and other consumer appliances.
October 31st, 2008, 08:01 AM
xAurora Web Browser v10.00 Build 12:10:2005 - Powered By ICTA
Yet Another Sri Lankan Wonder - Coded with Win32-Assembly Language
* download from MediaFire(download accelerators enabled)
--- xAurora2008-RC1-Final-Lite_with_extended_features-portable.rar(with skins and facebook plugin) (http://www.mediafire.com/?hncmmyvdn2f)
--- xAurora_2008-RC1-Final-Lite.zip(without skins etc.) (http://www.mediafire.com/?m4dlxna14mj)
--- xAurora_Features.rar(a slide show includes the features of xAurora) (http://www.mediafire.com/?jmjgd7lbdng)
--- skins(for lite version) (http://www.mediafire.com/?mlxgmymymsr)
--- xAurora_Facebook_Plugin.zip(for lite version) (http://www.mediafire.com/?vdjjcjgdy0s)
* download from RapidShare
--- xAurora2008-RC1-Final-Lite_with_extended_features-portable.rar(with skins and facebook plugin) (http://rapidshare.com/files/132841010/xAurora2008-RC1-Final-Lite_with_extended_features-portable.rar)
--- xAurora_2008-RC1-Final-Lite.zip(without skins etc.) (http://rapidshare.com/files/132648084/xAurora_2008-RC1-Final-Lite.zip)
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ICTA and e-SRI LANKA Document Compiled By: ICTA
October 31st, 2008, 06:26 PM
November 3rd, 2008, 02:19 AM
Virtusa Corporation (NASDAQ: VRTU), a global information technology (IT) services company that provides IT consulting, technology implementation and application outsourcing services through an enhanced global delivery model annouced that its revenue increased 9% year-over-year and 3% sequentially, to $44 million, in the second quarter of fiscal 2009.
Virtusa reported income from operations of approximately $0.7 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2009, compared to $4.7 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2008 and break even in the first quarter of fiscal 2009.
Net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2009 was $1.3 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, compared to $4.6 million, or $0.20 per diluted share for the second quarter of fiscal 2008 and $0.8 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, for the prior quarter. Earnings per share for the second quarter of fiscal 2009 reflects a 5% year-over-year increase in diluted shares outstanding primarily due to the successful completion of the Company’s initial public offering in August of 2007.
The Company ended the second quarter of fiscal 2009 with $91.9 million of cash and cash equivalents, short-term investments and long-term investments.
The Company generated cash from operations of $5.4 million during the second quarter of fiscal 2009. During the second quarter of fiscal 2009, pursuant to the Company’s Share Repurchase Program, the Company repurchased 456,719 shares for approximately $3.4 million at an average price of $7.44.
Kris Canekeratne, Virtusa’s Chairman and CEO, stated “We are pleased with our second quarter performance which was driven by our established clients expanding with us and by increased contribution from new clients we have added over the past year.” Canekeratne continued, “In these challenging economic times, our Platforming approach is a key differentiator in new client acquisition and continues to resonate well across our client base because we improve internal efficiencies, accelerate time-to-market and reduce overall IT costs.”
“Our second quarter results demonstrate our ability to execute against our goals of improving utilization and expanding profit margins,” said Tom Holler, Chief Operating Officer.
“Our current guidance for fiscal 2009 reflects general economic weakness as well as the impact of foreign currencies,” Holler concluded.
November 3rd, 2008, 02:43 AM
February 16th, 2009, 06:29 AM
The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka granted investment approval to EZY Infotech Limited to manufacture Personal Computers and Laptop under the brand name “EZY.
EZY Global Holdings presently has operations in over 30 countries with 4 computer manufacturing facilities in Dubai, Singapore, China and Brazil and plans to launch its 5th plant in Sri Lanka in March.
Chairman / Director General Dhammika Perera signed the agreement on behalf of the BOI and formally presented the BOI Certificate of Registration to Country Manger, Sri Lanka Operations Shafraz Hamzadeen, and, Vice President (Emerging Markets) eSys Teledata Singapore Pte Limited Ramesh Umashankar, Co-ordination Officer – DCM Malavika Cassiere was also present at the occasion.
EZY Infotech Limited signed an agreement to set up a computer assembling plant for the local and export markets. Mr. Shafraz Hamzadeen said that the company will provide high quality reliable Personal Computers and Laptops at an affordable price. EZY Infotech will primarily focus on the Sri Lankan market. The company will also be exporting their products to the South Asian and international markets through their distribution network.
Mr. Ramesh Umashankar – Vice President of Emerging Markets commented that “Sri Lanka has always been a great market for us. The literacy rate of Sri Lanka has always amazed us and this has only reassured our faith in the country. We intend on making computers in Sri Lanka and exporting them to neighbouring countries as well as the ASEAN regions”.
Manufacturing will be done at the state of the art manufacturing plant located in Ratmalana. Mr. Hamzadeen described the plant as Sri Lanka’s First state of the art computer manufacturing plant. The facility will use an automated assembling process with skilled human interaction to ensure that the company does not discount the human touch in the facility.
EZY Infotech Limited, plans on investing US$ 4 million within the first year of operations in Sri Lanka. The manufacturing facility will be the first of its kind in the country and will have a capacity of manufacturing over 70,000 computers annually.The Country Manager said that they believe Sri Lanka has the potential and the ability to be a PC manufacturing Hub. He further stated that High Quality Branded computers are expensive and the low cost computers assembled locally are not guaranteed to be efficient. We have the ability to manufacture reliable computers using the best compatible devices from the best credible suppliers.
The company plans on implementing it’s own ‘Shop Floor Management (SMS) system’ which would enable manufacturing of quality products and at the same time maintain high standards in practices. EZY Infotech intends on not only manufacturing their own branded PC’s but also provide contract manufacturing for other leading brands out of Sri Lanka. Mr. Ramesh Umashankar, Vice President (Emerging Markets) said that it is the ideal time to invest in the Sri Lankan IT sector with the government declaring the year 2009 as the Year of English and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Education. The Company will build an auditorium at their factory site to facilitate visits by schools and universities. This in turn will encourage interest for the local youth in the IT sector in Sri Lanka. He said there is a huge potential for penetration as currently there is only 4 – 5 pearcent penetration. “The high literacy rate and the adaptability of the Sri Lankan skilled workers will be a factor in promoting high quality reliable computers with a ‘Made in Sri Lanka’ tag”, said Mr. Hamzadeen.Mr. Hamzadeen stressed the importance of developing a support system for the computers in addition to distribution.
The venture is sponsored by Dubai based EZY Global Infotech FZE. Mr. Shafraz Hamzadeen, Country Manger Sri Lanka Operations and Mr. Ramesh Umashankar, Vice President (Emerging Markets) signed the agreement for Ezy Infotech (Private) Limited.
February 16th, 2009, 02:26 PM
Nice project, the ICT still has a long way to go and the potential is fantastic...
February 17th, 2009, 05:43 AM
Net usage is still low, but computer literacy is fast increasing... it's encouraging.
February 18th, 2009, 02:12 PM
June 6th, 2009, 10:21 AM
NEW DELHI: Is Sri Lanka the new Philippines? India’s outsourcing fraternity is staring at this billion-dollar question as the island nation,
confident after wiping out the Tamil Tigers, sets about reinventing its civil war-ravaged economy.
Top Indian BPO companies already have their presence in Sri Lanka, and the biggest of them, Genpact is about to launch its operations there. For starters, Colombo boasts of the largest pool of UK-certified accountants outside Great Britain, waiting to be tapped by a BPO industry that enjoys a 12-year tax holiday.
Industry players point out that today’s Lanka looks a lot like the Philippines at the turn of the century. Having put its decades of political uncertainty behind, Manila grew steadily on the outsourcing path, and its IT/BPO industry is estimated to reach $11 billion in 2010.
“Sri Lanka could be a good destination. Other countries are offering attractive sops for BPOs, hence the sector is expanding geographically,” says Genpact CEO Pramod Bhasin. Som Mittal, president of the Indian IT industry body Nasscom, says other countries are now trying to mirror the India outsourcing story.
“Sri Lanka is attractive because of the large base of finance specialists. China, Egypt and Vietnam are offering sops ranging from tax benefits to rent-free accommodation. In the Philippines, apart from fiscal incentives, the government even trains employees,” he points out.
When it started treading in the outsourcing lane, not many gave the Philippines much chance. But today, it has over 400,000 BPO employees against India’s 700,000, with the ramp-up happening mostly in the last three years.
Sri Lanka could follow suit, at least for finance and accounts back office work. It has the talent, scale and language skills to attract work in such niche areas, say Indian BPO players. It has a lobby like Nasscom, called Slasscom (Sri Lanka Association of Software & Services Companies) with ambitions to take the island’s $500-million IT-BPO business to $2 billion by 2012.
Economic Times (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Infotech/Tiger-free-Lanka-may-lure-BPOs/articleshow/4623507.cms)
June 7th, 2009, 01:40 PM
Let's see what happens...
July 15th, 2009, 01:12 AM
President commends ICTA, Microsoft for removing
language barriers in computer applications with the launch
of Sinhala interface pack
Microsoft founder Bill Gates on Monday expressed his optimism that Sri Lanka “is poised for greater economic growth and development” and expressed the global giant’s support since much of future prosperity would be fueled by the use of software and the power of IT.
Positive sentiments by Gates, one of the world’s richest entrepreneurs, were conveyed to none other than President Mahinda Rajapakse via a special audio visual message at a ceremony to handover a plaque incorporating the first copy of the Sinhala Language Interface Pack (LIP), from Microsoft and ICTA, paving the way towards making significant progress in Rural ICT adoption in Sri Lanka.
The presentation was part of Microsoft and ICTA efforts to mark the “Year of English and IT Services” this year.
Gates said he was “very excited to learn about plans for the year which have a clear focus on IT, because this initiative demonstrates” that President Rajapaksa, and his government recognize the extraordinary potential that information technology has to dramatically improve people’s lives in the country.
“Sri Lanka has an advantage though, with a government that’s committed to investing further in IT, as outlined in President Rajapaksa’s vision statement. Like President Rajapaksa, I am optimistic that the country is poised for greater economic growth and development and much of that will be fueled by the use of software and the power of IT. Sri Lanka’s high literacy rate, at over 90%, and its high standards of education and healthcare give it a strong economic foundation. The country’s IT literacy rate is nearing 20%, which represents a significant jump from 8% only a few years ago. English language speaking skills are also a crucial part of the foundation for future growth. I am pleased to see that the government has identified the importance of English language skills by declaring 2009 the Year of English and IT Services,” Gates said in his message.
He also emphasised that on its part, Microsoft stands ready to fully support the initiative and Sri Lanka’s broader IT-objectives over the long term. The theme of the work we do in Sri Lanka is “Creating Employability.” Through our Partners in Learning and Community Technology Skills Programs and our other initiatives, Microsoft has partnered with educational and non-governmental organisations in Sri Lanka to bring IT skills and training to over a million people across the country. These efforts have reached students, teachers, academia, rural communities, IT professionals, and migrant workers. To date, Microsoft has invested over 450 million rupees in Sri Lanka towards these programs and plans similar investments over the coming years. We have already made Windows Vista Sinhala enabled, and we are currently localizing our Office Suite for Sri Lanka,” he said.
“Microsoft’s presence in Sri Lanka continues to grow in many ways, and we are committed to deepening existing partnerships and building new ones. Working together, there is a lot we have already achieved, and much more that we’ll accomplish in the future,” the Microsoft Chairman said.
At the same ceremony, President commended the ICTA for removing the language barriers in computer applications.
Being impressed with the first copy of the new local language interface software to him the President said that it was the intention of the Government to further enable the rural people to use the computer particularly in local languages.
The President also emphasised the importance of increasing indigenous contents available through the computer.
Through the e-Sri Lanka programme the Government intends to ensure that the benefits of ICT accrue to every citizen of this country. The President pointed out the importance of enabling every citizen to have access to the benefits of ICT without language being a hindrance.
The President also commended Microsoft for the steps taken by it for making the local language software freely available to all Sri Lankans.
July 15th, 2009, 08:28 PM
Nice initiative...I hope ICT literacy and penetration levels boom quickly...
July 16th, 2009, 01:36 PM
20% IT literacy from 9% is very good, hopefully we can hit the 50% mark in a few years! great news....
July 16th, 2009, 01:44 PM
Bill Gates on Sri Lanka (The Video to the President)
July 16th, 2009, 06:16 PM
Sri Lanka will host the region’s most prestigious Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) event eAsia 2009, in December, the government announced this evening (July 16).
The Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies (CSDMS) of India and Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka are jointly organizing the event in Colombo, Sri Lanka from December 02 to 04, to promote the growth of ICT4D, through consultative dialoguing, strategic planning, knowledge networking and business partnering.
eAsia 2009, is the annual international Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for development event that provides opportunity for all stakeholders in the ICT arena to come closer and share a level playing ground through active conferencing and networking. Spanning over three days, the event will comprise unique thematically inter-related conferences, in the domains of e-Governance, Digital Learning, e-Health and Telecentres.
I think this is awesome news. These are the type of things we need to raise the profile of the country.
July 24th, 2009, 01:32 AM
Sri Lanka’s first Apple Premium Reseller Store, Futureworld was launched yesterday down R.A. De Mel Mawatha, Colombo 5.
The store, equipped with a complete range of Mac pcs, including desktops, notebooks, displays and software together with a full range of ipods intends to focus mainly on improving the IT literacy of the general public, the Consultant for Apple products Sujatha Nadesan said at a media briefing held in connection with the launch. “The new store would allow customers to experience new and innovative products on a trial and purchases method,” Ms. Nadesan noted.
“Apple products had a small growth rate in Sri Lanka before,” Brand Manager of Apple products Charith Peiris said adding that “our ‘future world strategy’ has three key elements; namely ‘product availability’, ‘knowledge works’ and the ‘touch and feel’ scheme which would, we hope increase our market primarily”. Mr. Peiris also stated that a series of regular seminars will be conducted for students under the ‘knowledge works’ elements.
The Brand Manager also said that a new product is launched from Apple every 300 days which would also increase competitiveness in the local IT industry even though products from the other IT product manufacturers such as HP, Microsoft and Lenova do no offer much competition. “Microsoft will only be a competitor if they build their own desktops,” Mr. Peiris said adding that aggressive marketing strategies taken up by companies such as HP would not hinder Apple’s growth in the industry as Apple concentrates mainly on quality and not quantity and a niche market. “Our main target is the media industry, production houses and the students; as well as the new trend watchers like the CEO’s, managers and the teenagers.”
Mr. Peiris also announced that the Apple i phone, a global phenomenon will be officially launched in Sri Lanka within a few months’ time and that several strategies are in the pipeline to further develop the brand in the local market.
July 24th, 2009, 01:58 AM
I thought BT Store and Epsi were already sole distributor and reseller respectively?
July 24th, 2009, 02:21 AM
I thought BT Store and Epsi were already sole distributor and reseller respectively?
Yep, I heard this before too:ohno::ohno:
July 25th, 2009, 12:35 AM
California Software Company (Calsoft), the Chennai-based global product engineering & enterprise Solutions Company and Aitken Spence PLC, today entered into an alliance to form a Joint Venture Company.
The joint venture company will be called as "CalSpence" and have registered office in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The new company (CalSpence) will focus on the Information Tehchnology business, initially specializing in the Hospital Sector.
According to an official release, the JV will position itself as an IT company with competencies in multiple areas and work towards developing solutions and services in niche domains. The move will be taken by leveraging on the IT strengths of Calsoft and on the domain expertise of Aitken Spence.
Market Experts believe that through this Synergistic Combination the JV combines both companies' complementary strengths and will enable them to provide the global market with cutting edge domain specific solutions and products.
Top news.In (http://www.topnews.in/california-software-inks-jv-pact-aitken-spence-plc-2193380)
July 25th, 2009, 12:41 AM
July 24, 2009 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's software industry said a survey of export earnings indicates it had grown rapidly in a short period and had high levels of revenue per employee and return on capital employed.
The Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies said the IT/BPO (information technology/business process outsourcing) industry has significant potential to drive regional development as it moves to regional centres.
It said in a statement the industry in Sri Lanka has grown to become the fifth largest export earner, according to a survey for the Export Development Board done by the PricewaterhouseCoopers, the first on the sector.
Total export revenue from IT and Information Technology Enabled Services had grown 23 percent to 213 million dollars in 2007 compared with the previous year.
"The industry achieved this feat within a very short period of less than 10 years of exports," Ranjith Fernando chairman of SLASSCOM said.
With the ethnic war ending and the global economy about to pick up, IT/BPO industry is poised to grow in importance as an export earner, he said.
The survey done between April – October 2008 said IT/BPO has a revenue per employee of 11,000 dollars and also had high return on capital employed.
(11 times higher than per capital GDP)^^^^
"The value addition of service experts from the IT/BPO industry is near 100 percent," the statement said.
"The industry is based on knowledge workers and creates high paying jobs for educated youth. IT/BPO industry is based on electronic exports and doesn’t depend on physical logistics services such as shipping."
The industry also has near zero negative impact on the environment, the statement said.
July 26th, 2009, 12:08 PM
Very true this article is, ICT and BPO activities are the way forward, creating those much needed well-paid jobs...
July 30th, 2009, 02:03 AM
Sri Lanka’s ICT Agency has attracted international attention for creating the world’s best e-content. The multimedia product known as the “Government Information Center (GIC)” has won the World Summit Award (WSA 09) with a single, electronic, trilingual (Sinhala, Tamil and English) knowledge base of 1,600 services available to citizens from 77 key government organizations. For more information visit the homepage www.gic.gov.lk.
With this, the GIC has approximately outrun 20,000 other products and projects from 157 countries participating in the 4th edition of the WSA, the United Nations based contest for e-content and creativity in the Information Society.
The global contest on creativity-generated content takes place every two years as a follow-on activity to the UN World Summit on Information Society. This year 545 national finalists from the United Nations Member States were selected by 34 eminent e-content experts in New Delhi.
The submitted projects were nominated in one of eight WSA categories to receive global acknowledgement as the world’s best in e-content. Australia, Austria, Canada and New Zealand dominate this year’s winners list.
“In contrast to mass TV and newspapers, the new media does not concentrate on one country or one region; we do not see a digital Hollywood or digital Fleet Street. Rather, the most interesting e-content come from smaller markets, and there from smaller players. They appear to be much more in touch with users and their communities. Local content, not global, triumphs in terms of quality” concludes from the Jury proceedings Peter A. Bruck, WSA Chairman.
The WSA is a global not-for-profit activity promoting the most outstanding achievements as a flagship partnership initiative of the UN’s Global Alliance for ICT and Development and in close collaboration with UNESCO, UNIDO, ISOC and a worldwide network of Partners.
"The GIC has handled over two million telephone calls in the last two years during which it has been functioning – averaging over 1,500 calls a day which goes up to 2,500 calls when we have a media campaign" Reshan Dewapura, Chief Operating Officer of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) which maintains the Government Information Centre, said.
“The public can call 1919 to access the service run by the GIC which operates from 8.00 am till 8.00 pm and staffed by officers who can handle queries in all three languages, Sinhala, Tamil and English,” Wasantha Deshapriya, Director Re-engineering Government said.
WSA was started as an Austrian initiative in the framework of the United Nations World Summit on Information Society in 2003. Today, it is the world’s leading contest for excellence and creativity and e-Content production and a global hub dedicated to closing the digital content divide and narrowing the content gap between different regions of the world. Key sponsors of the WSA include the global Internet Society and Indigo Brainmedia – the leading and most innovative digital magazine from Latin America, which won the WSA in the e-Entertainment category in 2007 and since then entered into a long term visionary as the main supporter and sponsor.
The WSA 09 Winners’ Gala, WSA Winners Conference and Exhibition will take place in Monterrey, Mexico, September 2-5, 09 in collaboration with the UN GAID’s Global Forum.
August 4th, 2009, 01:24 AM
Advances from 29th position in 2007 to 16th position in 2009
The consulting giant, A.T. Kearney’s Global Services Location Index (GSLI) has ranked Sri Lanka among the top 20 in its index of identifying the leading outsourcing destinations globally.
Sri Lanka is ranked number 16 in the index in 2009, compared to the number 29 position it held in 2007. This is a significant jump of 13 positions and only one or two other countries had this level of upgrade in the ranking. The report was compiled on the basis of 2008 data, prior to the ending of the war. With the prevailing peace, Sri Lanka’s current ranking may be even higher now. The report positively states that Sri Lanka has been upgraded as an outsourcing destination because of low costs compared to other countries. The combination of high people skills, favourable business environments and low costs has enabled India, China and Malaysia to be in the top three slots.
GSLI, which identifies the top 50 countries for outsourcing globally, was established in 2004. It analyses and ranks the top 50 countries worldwide as the best destinations for providing outsourcing services, including IT services and support, contact centres, and back-office support. Each country’s score is rated on a weighted combination of relative scores on 43 criteria, which are grouped in three categories: financial climate and benefits, people skills and ability and the business environment.
“The A.T. Kearney Index outlines clearly the potential of the IT/BPO industry in Sri Lanka. As the global economy begins to bounce back, we will have a tremendous opportunity to a higher share of the global IT/BPO market which is estimated to be over $ 350 billion,” said Mr. Ranjit Fernando, Chairman of SLASSCOM.
Commenting on the Index, The ICT Agency’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Reshan Dewapura mentioned that “the latest A.T. Kearney Index is a clear indication that Sri Lanka is on the correct path to realising the vision of making the IT/BPO sector the number one foreign exchange earner for the country. The great strides taken by the industry, backed by the government’s support and commitment, have been major contributory factors in our efforts.”
The report prepared in 2008 analyses Sri Lanka showing steady improvements as a global outsourcing destination since 2005. The A.T. Kearney report points out that Sri Lanka has a distinct advantage as a outsourcing destination because of its proximity to India. The increase in the supply of the number of UK qualified accounting and financial professionals also allows the country to function as a backup to Indian outsourcing centres.
The geography of the outsourcing industry is changing fast. Countries that were a safe bet a few years ago, and still attract large investments in the industry may already have peaked and be declining as future destinations. Relatively unknown locations today may be important destinations tomorrow. The number of countries competing for the outsourcing business steadily expands and the different niche markets that countries serve multiply. Location decisions are not as straightforward as they used to be.
In addition, the economic crisis is creating further volatility as it reshapes the outsourcing landscape. In the short term, the recent decline in growth will continue, and the crisis will likely shake up the current outsourcing geography as countries deal with the volatility with varying degrees of success. Over the long term, the crisis may trigger further globalisation of services.
August 12th, 2009, 01:13 AM
Along with other Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing (IT and BPO) giants, Sabre Technologies are among the top companies to have signed up to operate from Orion City - Sri Lanka's first and only operational IT Service Park .
From left to right: Mr Chandima Cooray, CEO Sabre Technologies, Mr Chandan de Silva, CEO MAS Investments, Mr. Jeevan Gnanam, CEO of Orion Management Consortium, Mr Milinda Wickremeratne, GM, Orion Management Consortium and Mr Mario Offen, Marketing Manager, Orion Management Consortium.
Sabre Technologies is an IT Solutions and Services company, operating out of USA and Sri Lanka. Leveraging on its software product development history, Sabre is the technology partner for many innovative IT companies in the USA. Sabre is a fully owned subsidiary of MAS Holdings.The move to Orion City seemed a natural choice for the country's IT and BPO sector companies, as they truly have the space to grow, irrespective of size and nature of business.
When the CEO of Sabre Technologies, Mr. Chandan de Silva was asked about the move, he said, "As we kept growing during last couple of years, we had to keep moving and, in certain cases, had to maintain multiple locations. Each move had to be managed in haste, taking much of our management's time and disrupting our operations. We are convinced that Orion is the right location for us as we can grow within a single site. Much of the burden of setting up is handled by the efficient team from Orion. Our recent move to Orion made it clear to us that Orion understands the IT/BPO business and its stringent requirements. We are here to stay and grow within Orion."
Orion City plans to develop over three million square feet of prime real estate in a staged approach, making it an ideal place for companies to invest without fear, as they need not be concerned about having to move as and when their operations expand.
The stability and strength of Orion City is assured being a part of the St.Anthony's Group, with its proud heritage for integrity and excellence. Mr Jeevan Gnanam, the CEO of Orion Management Consortium, went on to say, "The St. Anthony's Group has always believed in and contributed significantly to Sri Lanka's development and its people. Our goal is to make Sri Lanka a globally attractive destination for IT and BPO outsourcing by supporting the needs and adding value to the industry through infrastructure services"
Furthermore, Orion City is really a city within a city. The mega scale project will have such facilities like restaurants, indoor games and coffee shops, with plans for building a swimming pool, a putting green, a pub, a gym and even a computerised driving range in the near future. Other needs such as medical and banking services, etc. will also be set up soon.
Mr. Mario Offen, the Marketing Manager of Orion Management Consortium, said, "the dynamics of the service/IT industries keep changing rapidly. Orion City has its own product development team constantly working on international industry trends and consumer insights to deliver the latest technology and infrastructure to help our corporate clientele compete with other global players".
August 12th, 2009, 09:03 PM
Nice, where exactly is this Orion City located?
August 13th, 2009, 01:24 AM
Nice, where exactly is this Orion City located?
No.752/1,Dr.Danister De Silva Mawatha
Take a look,
August 13th, 2009, 01:31 AM
A Dubai based company on Tuesday launched a new generation desktop computer taking up far less space and energy consumption compared to the traditional PC.
The event was held together with Intel, in the presence of Science and Technology Minister Professor Tissa Vitharana.
The EZY Slimtop, as EZY Infotech Chief Executive Officer, Shafraz Hamzadeen pointed out, is a PC which is 50% smaller and allows 20% more desk space than any traditional computer, and consumes 50% less energy. It also has special features despite the fact that it’s small and versatile, features like the 8 millisecond startup time and a 16’ LCD monitor.
Country Manager Intel, Indika de Zoysa also stated that the EZY Slimtop will have a certain impact on the ICT literacy rate in Sri Lanka which is lagging behind. He was confident that that the newly launched PC will help the government towards the goals they have set for themselves in achieving an ICT literacy rate of 60% by 2012.
“EZY is going to facilitate the Sri Lankan ICT objectives,” Minister Vitharana stated. EZY together with Intel was trying to bridge the knowledge gap in the country, the Minister said, adding that the PC, which would be manufactured in Sri Lanka, is a reason for us to be happy and proud.
EZY Infotech plans to sell over 75,000 computers in their first year. It is also planning to export EZY Slimtops manufactured in Sri Lanka to countries like Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia while also targeting the SAARC and other Asian countries.. Vice President Asia Pacific, Ramesh Umashankar, said that the manufacture of these PCs in Sri Lanka would provide work for local employees in the area, thus boosting the Sri Lankan economy.
He further stated the lower costs available in Sri Lanka will be passed on to the customer. This versatile and high value desktop PC, powered by Intel’s Atom (processor), will be available in 50 towns islandwide from this week. It is competitively priced at Rs.29, 990 per unit.:cheers::cheers::cheers::cheers::cheers:
Check out this hideous launch video,:lol::lol::lol::lol:
August 14th, 2009, 07:53 PM
September 16th, 2009, 02:23 AM
In what could be the biggest boost to Sri Lanka’s attractiveness for business ideas and skill, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) is to buy MillenniumIT, a homegrown trading technology software company promoted by IT entrepreneur Tony Weerasinghe.
The deal is expected to be finalized by today at a speculated price of UK Sterling Pounds 50 million or approximately Rs. 10 billion and UK press as well as analysts in Sri Lanka are all excited about the development.
The UK’s Financial Times said that the deal was part of LSE Group’s move for a massive upgrade of its trading platform. MIT which has provided world class solutions to around 15 exchanges in the world will help LSE as well.
*Tony Weerasinghe’s homegrown
IT firm strikes its biggest deal
*To replace LSE’s platform; Management and
jobs of 400 intact
*Analysts dub LSE’s confidence in MIT as a big boost for Lanka’s prospects in Year of IT and English “Solutions to be provided by MIT is part of the deal,” analysts in Sri Lanka said. Whilst MIT’s ownership will change, jobs of MIT staff, numbering around 400, will remain intact. The deal involves a share-swap which means MIT management will in turn own some stakes in LSE.
The deal to provide LSE with its cores solutions will be MIT’s biggest breakthrough considering the global as well as regional profile of LSE. Analysts said that LSE taking over MIT will strengthen latter’s financial muscle as well as corporate profile to bid for other global exchanges.
Analysts said that MIT due to its smaller balance sheet size hadn’t been able to bid for some of the bigger deals and it coming under the LSE umbrella will give more than desired global strength. The deal with LSE is also part of MIT’s strategy of adjusting to dynamics of its global market whilst it has managed to remain profitable midst volatile conditions.
Among MIT solutions run exchanges include the American Exchange, the Indian Commodities Exchange as well as Sri Lanka’s tiny yet world class Colombo Stock Exchange.
Millennium IT has developed, in laboratory conditions at a facility in UK, what it claims is the fastest trading system in the world. It handles trades in 130 microseconds, compared with 250 microseconds on Nasdaq OMX, which had claimed to be the fastest based on commercial application. The Sri Lankan company won its first contract integrating systems for the Colombo Stock Exchange.
The FT report also said that he move marks the biggest step yet taken by Xavier Rolet, chief executive, to dismantle the legacy of his predecessor Clara Furse. The exchange’s existing TradElect trading system was upgraded two years ago at a cost of £40m ($66m), the paper said.
The purchase of Millennium IT, founded by Sri Lankan entrepreneur Tony Weeresinghe in 1996, is likely to cost under £50 million. The LSE has £370 million in loan facilities at its disposal, the FT report added.
Mr Rolet told the FT this month that lack of capacity was holding the LSE back. “We have to [upgrade] because the technology specifications are no longer competitive and that’s impacting our ability to support volume growth,” he said.
Local analysts told The Bottom Line that the acquisition of MIT by LSE will also significantly enhance Sri Lanka’s profile among global investors. “This could be described as one of the major breakthroughs for Sri Lanka,” they added.
The deal also may be a good omen for President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared Year of IT and English in 2009.
“If marketed properly, Sri Lanka as a country can use the LSE buy of MIT to leverage globally and draw more big names,” analysts added.
MillenniumIT is a premier technology solutions provider serving the global capital markets industry. The Company's products currently powers exchanges, depositories, brokerages and regulatory bodies in the United States, Europe, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.
MillenniumIT supplies, implements and supports a suite of capital market products that include trading platforms, Smart Order Routers (SOR), surveillance, clearing and CSD Products. These products cater to trading multiple asset classes including equities, derivatives, debt, commodities, forex, structured products and exchange-traded funds.
MillenniumIT is also an industry-leading enterprise and telecom solutions provider. In the telecom sector, the Company's focus on Next Generation Networks has come about through a close partnership with Cisco Systems. In partnership with Sun Microsystems and Oracle, MillenniumIT designs and builds open, standards-based IT infrastructure for large and medium enterprises in the country. The Company is also a leading Security Solutions provider. This work is carried out by MillenniumESP which is an independent division of MillenniumIT.
Millennium Information Technologies was founded in 1996 following a management buyout of the Open Systems Division of ComputerLand Sri Lanka, a Sun Microsystems authorized reseller. Starting out as a systems integrator in Sri Lanka, MillenniumIT soon moved into the field of application software design and development, which is now the company's main source of revenue.
The catalyst for this change was a systems integration contract from the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), which was reinterpreted as an opportunity to design and install a straight-through processing system for the Exchange. The CSE solution became the basis for MillenniumIT's suite of capital markets software products that followed.
Subsequently, business wins in Mauritius and Malaysia were the first steps towards a worldwide customer base. Today, MillenniumIT is a multi-million-dollar company with offices and facilities in Sri Lanka, Boston, New Jersey, London and Mumbai.
June 12th, 2010, 02:41 AM
Chinese state-owned telecommunication service provider ZTE Corporation says it would set up a US$ 500,000 training facility in Sri Lanka.
ZTE Corporation chairman, Hou Weigui said the facility would be donated to the government of Sri Lanka. He presented a token of this donation to parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa, chairman Tharunyata Hetak, when he visited the island recently.
ZTE said the training facility would provide the latest technological updates and would facilitate around 500 trainees a year under the Tharunyata Hetal programme.
Sri Lanka Telecom would coordinate efforts to set up this training facility and ZTE said it hoped to use the facility, once completed, to train its clients and engineers based in South Asia, paving the way for Sri Lanka to be a training hub in the region.
November 30th, 2010, 07:05 AM
Brian Burson, Senior director software engineer of Pearson eCollege, gives a lecture to employees at eCollege Lanka Limited at Orion Management Consortim’s property in Colombo, Sri Lanka
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Southern China has its assembly plants. India has customer support centers, research laboratories and low-cost lawyers.
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And Sri Lanka’s contribution to global outsourcing? Accountants — thousands of them, standing ready to crunch the world’s numbers.
As this tiny island nation staggers back from a bloody, decades-long civil war, one of its brightest business prospects was born from a surprising side effect of that conflict. Many Sri Lankans, for various reasons, studied accounting in such numbers during the war that this nation of about 20 million people now has an estimated 10,000 certified accountants.
An additional 30,000 students are currently enrolled in accounting programs, according to the Sri Lankan Institute of Chartered Accountants. While that ratio is lower than in developed economies like the United States, it is much greater than in Sri Lanka’s neighboring outsourcing giant, India.
Offices in Sri Lanka are doing financial work for some of the world’s biggest companies, including the international bank HSBC and the insurer Aviva. And it is not simply payroll and bookkeeping. The outsourced work includes derivatives pricing and risk management for money managers and hedge funds, stock research for investment banks and underwriting for insurance companies.
Many developing countries have “one particular competency that they do better than anyone else,” said Duminda Ariyasinghe, an executive director at Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment. “Financial accounting is that door opener for us.”
With widespread use of English and a literacy rate of over 90 percent, along with rock-bottom wages, Sri Lanka hopes to transform its postwar economy from a sleepy tea and textiles island into a tiny, high-end outsourcing powerhouse.
Already there are thousands of other Sri Lankans working in more common outsourcing fields, like information technology and software development. About 50,000 people in Sri Lanka are now employed in one form of outsourcing or another, according to Slasscom, an outsourcing trade group, and that figure is growing by 20 percent a year.
But accounting is Sri Lanka’s specialty.
During the war, Sri Lankan certified accountants would often use their skills as a springboard out of the country. That is why there are now Sri Lankans sprinkled among executive suites around the world, including the vice president of global business services at American Express and a financial controller at Standard Chartered Bank in the United Arab Emirates.
Now, though, the government and business community hope the country’s young financial whizzes will have reason to stay home instead.
Sri Lanka’s government, headed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, expects revenue from so-called knowledge-based outsourcing — which includes accounting — to triple to $1 billion in revenue by 2015.
The stark wage differences between Sri Lanka and America, or even Sri Lanka and India, are a big part of the country’s drawing card.
In the United States, the median annual wage for accountants and auditors in May 2008 was $59,430, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sri Lankan workers in the accounting profession receive an average annual pay package of $5,900, according to a 2010 survey by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
Wages in Sri Lanka for financial outsourcing are about one-third less than in neighboring India, and hiring educated employees is easier in Sri Lanka, according to executives who do business in both countries.
“Skilled talent is accessible,” said Dushan Soza, managing director of the Sri Lanka office of WNS Global Services, an outsourcing company with about 350 people in the country. Because Sri Lanka’s accountants are still a relatively untapped asset on the global market, Mr. Soza said, hiring is easy and turnover is minimal.
In the Indian city Mumbai, companies like his would have to go far out of the city to hire because of the level of competition, he said, but here in Colombo “two miles from my office is my hiring range.”
Many international executives also quietly admit that Colombo’s colonial architecture, excellent seafood restaurants and proximity to miles of sandy beaches make it a more alluring business travel destination than India’s outsourcing centers.
Sri Lanka’s accounting specialty is rooted in the country’s history of colonialism and conflict.
State-financed universities here have traditionally not had enough places for qualified students, and they were often closed intermittently during the war. So students who could afford to attended private schools instead — in many cases accounting schools with British origins that date to Sri Lanka’s independence from Britain in 1948.
Over time, becoming a qualified accountant has become something well-educated, business-minded people in Sri Lanka do in addition to getting a degree in, say, physics or business management.
Now, though, many students choose accounting over another degree. When Nilushika Gunasekera, secured a coveted spot at a public university, she turned it down to go to a privately run accounting school. University students do not get any exposure to a real business environment, she said, and they have several years to “take things easy.”
“I didn’t think going to the university would add value,” she said.
After accounting school, Ms. Gunasekera joined an outsourcing company doing work in cash management and banking. She now works for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in Colombo, a trade group.
If the rest of the world discovers Sri Lanka’s pool of low-cost accountants, as the government hopes, the country could lose some of its competitive edge because wages will go up and there may not be enough workers to meet the demand.
But the government is offering various other incentives — including tax breaks, subsidized telecommunications and streamlined procedures for setting up new businesses — meant to encourage international companies to come here instead of India, Eastern Europe or the Philippines.
As foreign companies ramp up their presence here, local developers are building to accommodate them. In a neighborhood thick with tea warehouses and crossed by rail tracks, Jeevan Gnanam is turning the textile mills his grandfather built into a high-tech outsourcing center.
Orion City, as the development is called, is miles from Colombo’s slick World Trade Center skyscrapers, near a canal fringed with rundown buildings and palm trees. But it has already drawn big-name clients, including a division of the publishing giant Pearson and MphasiS, a technology company partly owned by Hewlett-Packard, which has said it will hire 2,000 people here in the next three years.
“Sri Lanka offers us a rich talent base that will allow us to serve our global clients,” said Dinesh Venugopal, chief corporate development officer for MphasiS.
Ultimately, Orion City will have three million square feet of office and retail space, including a 19-story building, said Mr. Gnanam, 28, who is the chief executive of the consortium that manages the development. It was difficult to convince his father and uncle that technology, not textiles, were Sri Lanka’s future, he said, but they have come around recently. Building the industry and attracting foreign investment is crucial, he believes.
“Economic development has to take place,” he said, “for people to put the war in the past.”
NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/business/global/30lanka.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&src=twrhp)
December 29th, 2010, 10:19 AM
SOME countries have oil. Others sit on vast deposits of ore.
Now Sri Lanka is striving to capitalise on its own bountiful resource: a mountain of cheap accountants.
For three decades the island nation was plagued by a civil war, which ended last year when government troops finally vanquished the separatist Tamil Tigers.
During the conflict, government universities, which could offer places to only about a fifth of the student population, were frequently closed.
"Many people went to private accounting colleges instead," Duminda Ariyasinghe, of Sri Lanka's Board of Investment, said. "It became a kind of habit; many still do accounting alongside their academic degrees. So, you see, accounting has become something of a national speciality."
During the war, internationally recognised accounting qualifications also allowed holders to migrate, an attraction that allowed many to escape the conflict that claimed at least 80,000 lives.
As a result, Sri Lanka has the largest pool of qualified CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) members outside Britain, more than 2000 of them. It also has about 80,000 accountants in training.
A literacy rate of about 93 per cent and wages that undercut those in India by as much as 30 per cent lend Sri Lanka a crucial, further edge as a destination for outsourcing financial services.
An accountant with four years' experience and a CIMA qualification earns about ₤12,000 ($18,250) a year in Sri Lanka. A similar bean counter in Britain costs nearly five times as much - and his Sri Lankan colleague also puts in nearly an hour a day more at the office.
Many Sri Lankans sidestep college to do short diploma courses and cost even less, but the country is not aiming to become a destination for cheap book-keeping done on a bulk basis.
Rather, it plans to become a global centre for tasks such as derivatives pricing and risk management for money managers and hedge funds, stock research for investment banks and underwriting for insurance companies.
"Sri Lanka can play in niche areas, but it cannot provide the same scale and size of operations that India offers," Keshav R. Murugesh, of WNS Global Services, one of the largest outsourcers in the country, said. British groups that have a Sri Lankan presence include HSBC and Aviva.
The London Stock Exchange recently acquired MillenniumIT, a Sri Lankan financial services technology company credited with having built one of the world's fastest trading platforms.
"Sri Lanka is like an 'India-lite'," one Western executive said. "You have the same opportunity to cut costs, but it's generally a more pleasant place to operate. There's less congestion in the cities and less competition for the best workers."
Sri Lanka is also strong in software engineering. The American technology giant Motorola has a research and development centre in Sri Lanka and eCollege, a Pearson company, built one of its core online learning platforms with Sri Lankan engineers.
Sri Lanka's University of Moratuwa has had the most students accepted by Google's Summer of Code scheme - in which student developers are paid stipends to write code for open-source software projects - than any institution in the world for the past three years.
The roll-call of international companies establishing footholds has stoked hopes that a boom in high-end outsourcing could help to provide the peace dividend that the Government is so keen to harvest.
The IT and business process outsourcing sector is the fifth- largest source of exports, bringing in about $US384 million a year, and it is growing at about 26 per cent annually.
The Sri Lankan Association for Software and Services Companies has set a target for outsourcing to bring in $US1 billion a year by 2015 and, to encourage investment, the industry has been granted a 12-year tax holiday by the government.
Some claim that outsourced financial services can challenge tea and textiles to become the bedrock of Sri Lanka's export industry. Indeed, some suggest that accounting is now embedded in the national DNA.
Bradley Emerson, the head of CIMA in Sri Lanka, said: "Three or four decades ago Sri Lanka was sending accountants to Africa, the Middle East and Australia.
"We've been a global supply hub for some time. Students are still taking both academic and professional qualifications; they realise they have to compete in a globalised world. The difference is now they're staying at home."
The Australian (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/news/sri-lanka-crunches-numbers-cheaply/story-e6frg90o-1225977865211)