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POSTED AT 04:30 PM 15-05-2018

SL one of the fastest countries in terms of cloud adoption: Oracle

Chandita Samaranayake

Sri Lanka is one of the fastest countries in terms of cloud adoption and is at a transformational stage where technology is becoming an integral part, said Oracle Sri Lanka, Indochina and Maldives Applications Head Chandita Samaranayake, in an interview with 

Daily FT. 

Chandita joined Oracle in 2008 to manage the Oracle Technology Channels Business. During his first three years as Regional Channels Manager, Chandita was responsible for the Oracle Technology Partner Ecosystem & Technology Customers across South Asian Growth Economies. 

In 2017 he received a significant milestone and was ranked the best in ASEAN for his performance during FY17 and was also awarded ‘Top SaaS Manager of Aswan in FY17’.

In this interview he shares his insights on the IT and technology sector, cloud trends and momentum and Oracle’s activities in this regard. Chandita also highlighted Sri Lanka’s stance in relation to cloud adoption while sharing the country’s rapid growth along this journey.

Following are excerpts: 

Q: With the rapid momentum seen in the local IT sector and customer leveraging technology, what are your views on Oracle as a key player in the local cloud market?

A: Gartner and Forester have given us ratings and according to it Oracle has been named the leader in many areas. Sri Lanka is at a transformational stage and technology is becoming an integral part of this transformation. Sri Lankan businesses, be it the financial sector, telecom sector, retail or even the public sector, the need of the hour is being aligned with the business changes and dynamics. The competition is coming up because we are opening up to the global market. So it is important to know how to stay on top of the game. 

How SaaS plays in these challenges is because we are quickly taking over the business points which have a few aspects to them. We are looking into human capital because today we have taken human capital as a business function, from an employee coming on board, all the way to a client. How do we manage the entire process? Then we have a huge gap in terms of the talent, so how do we manage the talent, how do we retain the talent and how do you train the talent? So everything is done on cloud today and we also bring the wellness part of the employee side as well. Of course, in many instances customers ask how they can increase revenue, keep up with customers, manage sales, do marketing campaigns, and do their e-commerce, which is all done on our platform. 

Similarly on the backend on the ERP I see a big trend coming up, outsourcing a lot of the backend processes to Oracle because then they can focus on the main things such as planning and budgeting. With the transformation, I think that we are making it easier for the Sri Lankan economy in terms of the businesses, banks and even the public sector.

Q: You spoke on looking into human capital. Could you elaborate a little bit more on that and as to how you do so?

A:  Human capital starts from an employee coming on board and goes all the way to retirement. So how do we manage that entire process? What happens today is, even starting from the recruitment to finding the right talent, all the way to keeping that talent, nurturing it and career development and planning is not being looked at by most of the organisations as an asset. With the transformation process and talent being a scarcity these days, I think looking after the employees has become an integral part in business missions. So in this case, our technology facilitates in achieving those goals.

Q: The local IT ecosystem continues to seek faster and more secure cloud adoption. What is Oracle’s role in cloud implementation amongst Sri Lankan companies?

A: We have a lot of organisations coming in all the way from banks to telcos and retail to big groups like   Aitken Spence which have come on board this journey, meaning they are trying to win their entire burden of IT which is an operational thing to outsource to Oracle, which is on our platform, using our applications. So by doing so, what we’re doing is allowing our customers to spend more time on what they are doing as their core businesses. That is what we are doing in terms of implementation and there are a lot of partners who are helping us in this journey such as MillenniumIT, KPMG, PWC, DMS, and Virtusa which are helping us in transforming that effort.

Q: How does Oracle deliver modern cloud applications that connect business processes across the enterprise through offerings which are personalised, connected and secure?

A: We have our processes which are out of the box and what we have done is based on best practices. So with that and the help of our partners as mentioned earlier, we try to map our processes to our functionalities. By doing so we bring the best practices to our local businesses as well. That’s how we contribute towards the business processes versus our product.

Q: In addition to local telcos and the financial sector, what other sectors appear promising for cloud adoption in Sri Lanka?

A: I think as a whole, starting from small to mid to large organisations, all are opting for cloud options because there is a trend. Now we don’t go propose cloud but customers ask for it. So I would say in general, for almost every business requirement, cloud-ready RFPs are coming out. So I see a trend in general in terms of cloud.

Q: Could you comment on the contribution and roles of Oracle Sri Lanka’s key partners that you mentioned earlier in helping customers to progress to Cloud?

A: The businesses have also impacted the business partners such as the ones who are actually a part of the transformation, who help day in and day out in taking IT to the customers. They have also realised that the latest technology is based on cloud and because of that everybody has adapted this technology and they have become enablers. In most cases, they represent us. It’s just purely a cloud community is what we say. So there is a big partner community that is coming on board in taking this cloud technology to customers. 

Q: Recent statistics reveal that a large number of employees in Sri Lanka are on Oracle CloudHCM. Could you elaborate on this progression?

A: There are large companies such as MAS which have also just endorsed our cloud journey by using our HCM platform, simply to do end-to-end, as I mentioned earlier, all the way from coming on board and learning. They have around 150,000 local employees using Cloud HCM right now who will be using our platform to manage the entire HR strategy. Similarly even Virtusa which is a big employer for Sri Lanka will also be using the HR platform. 

Q: With Oracle IOT also gaining traction in the ports and shipping sector, how will this platform contribute towards the local transportation sector?

A: Everything is all about IOT these days. Just recently one of the ports in Sri Lanka endorsed in a technology from us, managing their entire backend system. This will give customers an immediate business benefit because everything is based on technology. We are taking the technology to the next level and the country will benefit from it as well.

Q: How do you plan on taking technology to the next level?

A: We are clearly taking a lead here in terms of cloud adoption in the new technologies and this journey. I have seen a clear adoption of cloud by most of the big organisations, smaller organisations, banks and so forth. Innovation is becoming a key in Sri Lanka and by doing SaaS we take off their IT burdens, so that the organisations can focus on their core businesses and spend more time on innovation. Through that IT is able to contradict towards the bottom line rather than taking time on maintain hardware farms and likewise.

Q: Could you share few examples on how Oracle has impacted the business model of local companies?

A: What the customers want nowise real time technology and they want mobility, which is becoming a key factor for the customers. So what we have done is exactly the same, by giving that platform, on the go and real time information, so that they can take decisions, be it backend solutions like financial systems, HR or customer experience. We do things on the go and are helping in many different ways.

Shannon Jayawardena

Pic by Indraratne Balasuriya​