Taking Sri Lanka forward with E-business solutions
Innovative technology is the key to propelling businesses forward and being unable to keep abreast of the latest trends could result in failure according to A. Rukunudeen, Managing Director of a software development company, Serendib Data Corporation (Pvt) Ltd.
Mr. Rukunudeen who had previously worked as a consultant to the now defunct Lanka Internet Services Limited (LISL) during its inception in 1995, said in an interview that one of the key reasons LISL failed was due to its inferior and substandard services. "In 1995, their service was modern but the market caught up with new technologies and LISL could not keep up."
The closure of Lanka Internet and its aftermath was exclusively reported in The Sunday Times FT.
Rukunudeen says most Internet Service Providers (ISP's) in Sri Lanka lack proper knowledge and expertise when it comes to providing E-business and E-commerce solutions. Broadband Internet service and Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Lines, more commonly known as ADSL, is used extensively and is freely available in other parts of the world such as Europe and the United States. However, Sri Lanka is still charging customers for primitive services, making it difficult for businesses to go out and make money. "LISL's services were old and they didn't have properly trained staff to market new technologies that complemented the web," he said.
Serendib Data Corporation (Pvt) Ltd. has been around since 2002 and from February 2007, began providing E-business solution. Previously, Serendib catered to a global market without any Sri Lankan clients for two reasons. "No Sri Lankan company could afford us and they didn’t understand what we do," said Rukunudeen, who is also an infrastructure consultant on oil, gas and lists energy giants Exxon Mobil and Halliburton as some of their global clients.
Providing E-business solutions entails having a deep understanding of the clients business in order to put it online and take them forward. "They need experts in the area to carry them over," Rukunudeen said. He also underscored the importance of the CEO's role in understanding E-business and the essential role it plays in taking a business forward.
This includes combining the more traditional business disciplines such as finance, accounting and project management with knowledge in the management of information systems.
"If they (CEO's) don't know anything about online business, they may give their ideas to a third party to implement them but the technical people might not be able to do it. CEO's should have this knowledge. E-business is the future and everyone is going online."
"Lots of companies say we have the best customer support in Sri Lanka," Rukunudeen said. "Companies fail online because of a lack of proper response to clients and being static on the Internet.
Customers prefer new information all the time and this is not being given." He added that people in the Internet Technology (IT) trade give false promises and customers have lost faith in IT companies.
Rukunudeen says Serendib can help former LISL customers who were left stranded after the company's collapse earlier this year go online and recover their losses. "Clients will get their domain names back and have them online with a faster server." He also said leading telecom companies in Sri Lanka are over-charging clients for their services.
Rukunudeen explained that Serendib's servers are located in Texas in the US and that they are also on a high traffic zone. Their servers are upgraded on a regular basis and have high protection from attacks from outside terminals, something which is not available in Sri Lanka. Moreover, they have a targeted 'traffic generation system' which generates traffic for businesses.
In other words, if someone needs 50,000 users, Serendib can provide clients with that specific number of users to the website who are interested in their products. Rukunudeen said they can guarantee the sale and market online for them.
"This type of specialty is what we carry and Sri Lanka needs to make the changes and look to the future. They need to adopt these solutions or else, I don't see IT development in the country," he concluded.