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POSTED AT 10:18 AM 12-01-2018

Cisco unveils strategic initiative to deepen commitment to help drive Sri Lanka’s digital transforma

Cisco Idia & SAARC manager director commercial sales Sudhir Nayar (centre) at the media briefing in Colombo yesterday. Cisco director Mukundhan Manimandiran (left) and Cisco International Sri Lanka and Maldives country manager Gerald Vethanayagam are also present - Pic by Ruwan Walpola

Launches Cisco START focusing on SMBs and skill development to accelerate economic competitiveness and talent creation in Sri Lanka     

 Cisco yesterday deepened its commitment in Sri Lanka  with the launch of Cisco START-  a new initiative specifically designed to help Sri Lankan SMBs build their digital foundation and become globally competitive. 

This initiative is a demonstration of Cisco’s commitment to accelerate Sri Lanka ’s digital transformation and showcase how digitization can fuel economic growth, world-class innovation, sustainable competitiveness, and prosperity.

A digitized country aims to drive GDP growth, create jobs and foster innovation, enhance research and education, stimulate entrepreneurship, accelerate business innovation, develop economic cluster initiatives, and support infrastructure. Towards that, Cisco is the leading technology partner helping countries become digital hubs of innovation by building sophisticated and forward-thinking IT network ecosystems that allow for greater connectivity, productivity, and security. Through the digital transformation of Sri Lanka , Cisco will work with governments and businesses to grow GDP, create new jobs, train the future workforce, build smart cities, develop new business models and enable better quality of life for residents and more satisfying experiences for visitors. Cisco is also looking to collaborate with the public sector and contribute to large-scale transformation projects such as broadband networks, development of smart cities as well as education, and healthcare in Sri Lanka.

High-speed broadband coverage, rising adoption of mobile devices, proliferation of data, improving quality of connectivity as well as the expansion of logistics services and networks are breaking the geographical market barriers for Sri Lankan businesses and opening up new opportunities. Cisco recognises that Sri Lankan small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) is a critical industry which will accelerate Sri Lanka ’s  digitization and create vast opportunities for economic competitiveness and job creation.

SMBs and midmarket account for almost 52% of Sri Lanka’s GDP and employ a workforce of over a million people making it one of the most critical high-growth segment in the country.  With Sri Lanka looking to drive growth through digitization, SMBs have become an essential component of the country’s digital transformation journey. However, SMBs face challenges such as access to right technology, lack of skill sets as well as high entry cost that limit their ability to scale and seize opportunities provided by digitization.

Cisco START aims to make it easy for SMBs and midmarket customers to embrace digitization by providing them with access to a suite of simple, secure and smart enterprise-class technologies, specifically tailored to their needs. More specifically, Cisco START delivers:

* The right-sized, right-priced solutions wherever they are on their digital journey 

* Enhanced operations, services, and processes to reduce overheads and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) 

* Improved workforce productivity and innovation to meet the increased demands of today and the evolving opportunities of tomorrow 

As part of Cisco’s commitment to accelerate Digital Sri Lanka and support skill development, Cisco Networking Academy is engaged with several leading universities, the government, and Sri Lanka’s defence establishments.  The cloud-delivered skills-development program offers a high-quality curriculum that helps students learn how to design, build, secure and maintain digital infrastructure and prepare for jobs in the digital economy.  The Cisco Networking Academy program in Sri Lanka with 10 partners across the country has trained over 13,000 students since inception and is one of the fastest growing countries under the Cisco Networking Program in APJ region in 2017. To help Sri Lankan students acquire the skills necessary for 21st century jobs, Cisco also invests in providing workforce development programs such as Women Rock IT, Find Yourself In The Future, and tech skills development competitions.

Announcing the launch, Sudhir Nayar, Managing Director, Commercial Sales, Cisco India & SAARC said: “Sri Lanka is an important market for Cisco. The launch of Cisco START demonstrates our commitment to accelerate digitization of SMBs in Sri Lanka. SMBs play a vital role in driving Sri Lanka’s growth in this digital world.  With Cisco START, SMBs now have access to digital technologies that can help them digitize and secure their business in the digital era.”

He further added “Digitization has emerged as the most transformative means to ensure growth and balance the socio-economic divide. It creates economic competitiveness, employment, increases GDP, improves public services, and enhances the quality of life of citizens.  In Sri Lanka, we are partnering with leading service providers, banks, healthcare providers, as well the government in their digitization efforts.  We are honored to work with the people of Sri Lanka to accelerate their digital economy, and help further the government’s vision to create sustainable competitiveness and prosperity.”

Cisco is also streamlining the processes and incentives for its vast partner and distributor network in Sri Lanka. 

Commenting on the topic, Mukundhan Manimandiran, Director, Cisco said “Cisco is a 100% partner-led company, and we have over 100 partners in Sri Lanka.  They significantly expand Cisco’s customer reach around Sri Lanka and Maldives with innovative solutions and services based on Cisco technology.  Apart from making it easier to do business with Cisco, we have significantly increased our channel efforts to augment partner capabilities and profitability.”