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  • Mohan Chathuranga

Sri Lankan Businesses: Next Generation of Technology Leaders Required

Solving problems is a fundamental use of technology. It's time organisations think of technology apart from just an enabler.



It was a bright sunny day and I was driving in the morning to office. All of a sudden I realized I have not done the top-up to my ETC account to use the highway. I stopped the car and did an Online transfer to top-up the account. Then after that once I was driving in the highway, I was thinking can't this be automated? Once the balance reach a lower amount (threshold) recharge with xxx amount of money. Only a balance inquiry charge is made. How hard can it be? If you include this function in the Bank's mobile app, it can be used for many of the other services too. ETC refill, Home gas refill, vehicle gas refill, refrigerator refill, TV subscription, movie subscriptions, professional charges for charted institutes and many more.

Yes I'm talking about IoT enblement

But the problem is has all bank introduced you this feature so far? All the times we see Banks and Financial institutes waiting for a vendor to come with some kind of a solution (at least say) to support this. We hardly see banks involvement into enabling of many IoT solutions where they still have time to capitalize on Sri Lankan market.

Government : Digitalization of garbage collection, Fleet mgmt, GIS based project survey, Traffic mgmt, Parking mgmt,Smart lighting, Direct beneficiary programmes to Citizens etc

B2C : eShopping Cards, eRetailer etc

B2B : Manufacturing automation, eHealthcare

I see many financial institutes who have direct access to such industries through their parent entities, major stakeholders, subsidiaries still lacks drive to enter into such markets.

Yes, I'm talking about amazing FinTech Opportunities

What most of the CIOs in the sector don't understand is you don't need to wait for vendors. They have enough and more access to market, infrastructure, resources and people within them to accomplish these.

What we need to understand is the reason behind introducing a mobile app for banking is not just to decrease the customers coming in to counters or reduce your next branch opening requirement, there is a whole new universe of possibilities which is opened through an app. One's I was having a chat with a CIO he highlighted "we are not in technology business, we are in burrowing and lending business" But the eye opener is take all your technology out in the bank, Do you really think there is a business?

I have met so many young leaders who are overshadowed by fixed minded business leaders, who really think they got this covered. Problem is if your social media channel enablement, Social media banking, is lead by a Baby boomer or a Gen X, there is a high chance to have misalignment. Simply millennials and Gen Z has grown up with Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Insta, Foursquare etc. They know it inside out. By the way millennials (Gen Y) are now closing in their 30s. Best time where you can put in 12-14 hours a day to build something new.

In this country one wave of intelligent, brave, innovative youth was killed by a RED Revolution and some fled the country. Another wave was force to flee and murdered during the bloody crisis of WAR. Now the next is set on a trend to migrate for greener pastures. We have produced (and producing) very large number of Doctors, Engineers and Technologists. Instead of seeing the problem of it, Why don't we create a model of utilizing all these knowledge spreading into at least the region through technology. Best of class eHealth apps, eRetailers, IoT solutions etc



All of these won't be possible with just startups. It's time large cooperates get's into this culture of introducing innovative, problem solving business. It requires the new business/technology leaders. Time has come. The combination of these leaderships works best, when you see any high growth business. It's the young leaders and experienced mentors that gets the best done.

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