Golden Key Company, IBM's business partner for e-servers and
POS systems, recently announced a strategic business partnership
with Lakeview Technologies, USA, the industry leader in the
development and distribution of managed availability, data
integration, and clustering through its MIMIX solution, and
IBM Sri Lanka. Picture shows Solutions Manager IBM ASEAN/SA
- Kamal Wahi, AGM IT at Union Assurance Ltd - Chandana Jayasooriya,
Deputy Chairman of The Golden Key Co - Khavan Perera, CEO
Union Assurance Ltd - Sarath Wickramanayake, Director Marketing,
Asia Pacific of Lakeview Technologies USA - Allan Campbell,
and Deputy Chief Executive Director of The Golden Key Co -
Suramya Karunaratne. This picture was taken prior to Wickramanayake's
resignation from UAL.
for IT from PM's visit to New York
IT industry is getting a major boost with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
leading a delegation to New York - one of the aims being to woo Sri
Lanka's Diaspora to invest in IT ventures here.
This is also
probably the first time several business leaders from the private
sector are accompanying a Sri Lankan leader to the US. The delegation
comprises representatives of local IT companies
Chairman of Infotechs who is also a member of the delegation said,
"The prime minister's presence adds a new dimension to this
trip. It is mainly a show of presence encouraging investors to look
at Sri Lanka as an investment destination. We are going with an
the approach to encourage foreign investors would largely be through
the Sri Lankan expatriate community. This community comprises several
high-net worth individuals who would be encouraged to invest. In
addition, several of the expatriates are commanding influential
positions in investment banking, venture capital, etc.
As a company,
Infotech has received expressions of interest from several parties
in solutions developed by one of its subsidiaries Wavenet, that
has already implemented a cross messaging solution among the local
Some of the
activities that are scheduled to take place during the tour are
a meeting of the Sri Lankan Diaspora, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
and individual business meetings planned by individual members of
the delegation. These meetings have been organised by SriLankaFirst,
the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka together with the Ceylon Chamber
of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce.
in the potential of the local IT industry has been highlighted in
smaller efforts by local investment companies and others connected
with the Sri Lankan Diaspora previously.
hope that this visit would further add towards efforts being made
to form a global network of the Sri Lankan Diaspora with the hope
of raising awareness of the country as a favourable investment destination.
IT representatives going to New York are Tony Weerasinghe (Millennium
IT), Zarook Marikkar (Interlink Group), Sanjeewa Wickremanayake
(East West Information Systems), Gamini Wickremasinghe (Informatics)
and Kolitha Ratwatte (Lanka Online).
Cluster holds retreat workshop
and Communication Technology (ICT) Industry Cluster formed with
the assistance of The Competitiveness Initiative (TCI) held its
second successive retreat/workshop recently at the Club Palm Garden
Hotel in Beruwela.
focused on training people for the IT services sector, business
plans, virtual business incubators, telecom reforms and cluster
sustainability. Kabeer Hashim, Minister for Tertiary Education and
Training presented his ministry's plans to train and make available
human resources especially in the field of IT-enabled services.
Professor Rohan Samarajiva also made a presentation on telecom reforms
and implementation of the government's new telecom policy.
The ICT cluster
has been working on various projects with a strategy to strengthen
the industry and respond effectively to opportunities. Under the
TCI project's short-term technical assistance programme (STTA),
William Garrison, an international telecom consultant presented
his findings and recommendations by way of a report based on the
evaluation of the telecommunications market in Sri Lanka in the
context of the communications service and infrastructure requirements
for the IT industry. This report has been widely used as a base
document for further studies in the telecom industry.
to these initiatives, the cluster was also involved in preparing
the very first version of the "Roadmap for ICT Success in Sri
Lanka" for the Ministry of Economic Reforms, Science and Technology,
which has now evolved into "e-Lanka - The ICT Development Roadmap
for Sri Lanka". Other initiatives undertaken and completed
by the cluster include proposals for the national budget and investment
opportunities in the ICT industry in connection with the Prime Minister's
visit to the United States. The cluster coordinator with the Software
Exporters' Association co-convened the recently concluded global
dialogue by videoconference on the ICT Roadmap for Sri Lanka.
In the near
future the cluster with the assistance of the TCI project and Asia
Foundation proposes to organise a national e-government conference.
of the conference is to focus discussion on e-government issues,
bringing together local experience and international best practices.
would be followed by the engagement of an international consultant
to prepare a draft policy planning framework document on e-government
to be submitted to the government.
the cluster activities for this year, USAID/ANE Bureau as a complementary
measure to cluster-led activities in Sri Lanka proposes to sponsor
an ICT business development-matchmaking programme in the United
States. The proposed programme would include at least two networking
events in the US where potential investors and venture capitalists
can meet with Sri Lankan entrepreneurs to discuss the development
of ICT products, outsourcing, business and academic research.
includes CEOs of software development and hardware companies, heads
of university faculties and research institutions, lawyers and senior
officers of government agencies which include the BOI, EDB, TRC,
UDA, CINTEC, etc.
As the cluster
includes members across the business value chain, i.e. government
agencies, academia and allied and supporting industries, it serves
as a proxy for the ICT industry and as a special forum for examining
and representing issues that are strategic in nature and are critical
to the competitiveness of the industry.
Lanka for busy individuals
A business and leisure portal launched by DPMC Electronics
(Pvt) Ltd a few months ago is fast catching on among local Internet
users as a one-stop portal for all their personal web-based activities.
The Virtual Internet Plaza (www.viplanka.com) since its commissioning
has developed an array of features from weather forecasts, business
information to online transactions such as Internet shopping and
offers information services, transaction facilities and other Internet
services like emails, etc. These include services for every individual
comprising E-shopping, SMS Broadcasting, Enterprise Email, Exporters'
Gateway, Fax Engine, Stock Market News, etc.
VIP Lanka is
supported by a fine blend of sub-portals adding information related
to finance, business, entertainment, leisure, news, education, shopping,
sports etc. A unique feature, which is a favorite among visitors
to the VIP Lanka site, is the online, real time payment facilities.
to transactional activities, its information services include Online
TV Programme Guides, Exchange Rates Information, Email Profiles,
Online Library, Downloads and Mobile (WAP) interfaces etc.
VIP Lanka is
hosted and maintained by DPMC Electronics (Pvt) Ltd, a company launched
in October 1997 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of David Pieris Motor
cable to link SE Asia, ME & Europe
Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) and 12 other international telecommunications
carriers recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Bali,
Indonesia, to work jointly on the construction of a new submarine
cable linking South East Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
fibre cable will connect 12 countries: Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia,
Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi
Arabia, Egypt, Italy and France. Some of the partners of the project
include PT Indosat, Singapore Telecommunications Limited, Telekom
Malaysia Berhad, Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board, Bharti
Telesonic, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited, Emirates
Telecommunications Corporation, Saudi Telecom, Telecom Egypt, Telecom
Italia SPA and France Telecom.
is currently in its planning stage and it is proposed to be built
using Dense Wavelength Division Multiflexing (DWDM) technology with
a capacity of 1.28 Terabits per second. The network will provide
much needed bandwidth as the existing cables along the same route
become saturated. At present, data traffic from South East Asia
and the Middle East to Europe is routed via smaller capacity cables,
mainly SEA-ME-WE 3 and FLAG.
the cable project that is expected to be ready for service in 2004,
SLT's CEO Shuhei Anan said, "Once the project is completed
Sri Lanka will be poised to provide most required infrastructure
to become the information communication technology hub of South
Asia. In fact, we in Sri Lanka will be experiencing the discovery
of the telecommunications silk route."
for IT systems very critical
By Akhry Ameer
As the use of ICT grows in leaps and bounds in many organisations
today, various key drivers come into play in determining the appropriate
technology and infrastructure. Nigel O'Shea, Head of IT at SriLankan
Airlines, probably one of the largest IT centered organisations
in the country, says the primary determinant is 'support' followed
Times spoke to O'Shea to ascertain how a large organisation manages
its ICT capability. SriLankan's ICT growth could be described as
exponential because until 1999, this large organisation was still
using eight-inch floppy disks, a storage medium which was widely
used in the 1980s, and it had only a data and communication department.
Today the airline makes use of 71 network servers handling Local
Area Networks (LAN) and Wide Area Networks (WAN), over 1900 desktop
workstations and 2700 log-in accesses to meet its ICT needs.
O'Shea, it is the magnitude of this complex infrastructure that
necessitates the need for standardisation of hardware and software
technology. He said, "Too often the focus is on price, but
support and reliability is critical. The products and suppliers
need to have a proven track record." Such mission critical
application needs have compelled many of the local suppliers to
change their attitudes. The suppliers at the outset specified the
support services available with them. In the case of SriLankan Airlines
the suppliers now have to conform to the support needs specified
in the tender documents.
is different from many of the other large organisations because
as an airline it has to run several specialised applications in
addition to the normal business functions such as finance and procurement.
In terms of software technology, SriLankan adopts Microsoft as a
network, operating system and office application standard, while
using Oracle and Oracle Financials for its data bases. In addition
to this Unix servers support its backend requirements.
to a query on the development capabilities of the organisation,
O'Shea said that only valued added systems are developed in-house
such as fuel-monitoring, staff travel and leave applications. However,
the IT department also provides the support for other systems in
the various departments including the most critical flight operation
systems. These include fleetwatch, cargo, schedules and flight planning
systems that are provided by Societe Internationale Telecommunique
Aeronautical (SITA), which manages a large part of the global airline
industry network. The fleetwatch is a unique system in that it tracks
all details of the entire fleet even while in the sky, so that the
senior management have access to up-to-the-second information of
its main product - air travel. SriLankan also leverages on its alliance
with Emirates and uses the same system for reservation and departure
aspect for an organisation of this nature is its total dependency
on IT systems. When asked how they manage system failures, the answer
was 'manual procedures'. The airline also has certain specified
manual procedures which the staff have to be aware of and these
procedures are randomly checked from time to time. Yet another question
that persists is how the staff is trained to use such systems. This
is carried out through constant training sessions at the airline's
Human Resources Development Centre by specialised trainers. Training
also includes the better use of desktop tools like office applications
and email which govern 75 percent of its correspondence. In addition,
the IT department also runs a 24-hour help desk throughout the year
with hotline numbers within the company for all IT problems. Training
for the IT department staff on new technology is carried out by
outside trainers and sometimes by sending members of the staff for
specialised training to local and foreign institutions. The relevant
IT staff is also encouraged to obtain Microsoft vendor certifications
at company expense.
On the issue
of security, O'Shea said that this is a highly vulnerable area and
even with the best technology available, the ultimate protectors
are the staff. The staff is required to sign an IT security policy
when taking up employment and are educated and constantly urged
to be imaginative and to change passwords often.
a large infrastructure, yet another area of concern is managing
them. The SriLankan Airlines IT department has its own procurement
and asset management team due to the technicality surrounding the
IT systems. It also has a system of barcoding every single piece
of equipment and maintaining inventories of its physical location,
etc. within the organisation.
One of the
wisest investments ever made by the airline in terms of IT according
to O'Shea is the purchase of a telecommunication licence. This has
enabled the airline to have its own exchange and curtail high expenditure
on telephone bills as it now only has to pay an annual licence fee
to the Telecom Regulatory Commission.
on future IT developments, the IT head said that several projects
are at various stages of development and feasibility study. These
include a dedicated corporate database for management information,
corporate networks for the overseas offices, migration from Microsoft
NT Server to Windows 2000 Servers and an infrastructure refresher
A local organisation has moved away from the general trend
of regular websites and portals by launching what it claims, the
first educational portal in Sri Lanka.
has received a positive response from Sri Lankan students, parents
and professional bodies, as a comprehensive educational portal within
a short time since its launch, according to its creators Logical
Systems (Pvt) Ltd.
has details on studying abroad, corresponding agencies, affiliated
universities and access to institutional directories, education
financing entities, and professional bodies. It also provides information
on local external university degrees.
is also being expanded to provide e-learning facilities for international
certifications such as Oracle, Microsoft and Sun, while partnering
with reputed book publishers to enable online textbook purchases.
Logical Systems is currently pursuing further investment to develop
through Vanik branches
Local medical channelling website, eChannelling.com has signed
up with Vanik Incorporation (Pvt) Ltd to provide a corporate solution
for the company's staff to obtain doctors' appointments through
its Human Resources Division.
to this, the solution will also be made available to the public
through Vanik's 14 branches spread throughout the island. This enables
the public living in areas like Kandy, Anuradhapura, Chilaw, Galle,
Gampaha, Kurunegala, Matara, Nuwara Eliya, Ratnapura and Embilipitya
to obtain appointments for over 500 doctors at hospitals such as
Nawaloka, Durdans, Asiri and Oasis.
Limited is Sri Lanka's first technology company listed on the Colombo
Stock Exchange. Its main shareholders include Millennium Information
Technologies, Ayojana Fund, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation and
laptop from Sala
Sala Enterprises Ltd launched a low-priced 2Ghz Pentium 4 laptop
computer in the local market recently. The FOSA Elite 6100 has all
configurations and facilities found in other brands and is targeted
at the low income sectors globally.
The FOSA Elite
6100 has a Pentium 4 processor running at 2.0Ghz and a built-in
memory of 128MB. It also has a 30GB hard-disk drive and video memory
of 32MB with a 256bit 2D graphics engine. The machine also has an
option for a combo drive where the user can switch between a DVD
ROM and CD writer.
The FOSA Elite
6100 has been chosen as the best performance notebook of the year
by the international IT magazine PC World in its July 2002 issue,
according to its local agents.
launches SMS service
Gestetner of Ceylon Ltd has launched the first SMS based Service
Management System in Sri Lanka for its technical service operation.
Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya,
Chief Executive Officer of Dialog GSM, inaugurated the system by
sending the first SMS message to a field technician in the presence
of Anton Senadipathi, Chief Executive Officer of Gestetner, Sabry
Hafeel, Deputy General Manager of Gestetner and Jeremy Fernando,
Managing Director of Innovative Data Solutions (Pvt) Limited (IDS).
was custom developed by IDS for Gestetner and it uses Short Message
Service (SMS) of Dialog Network for two-way data communication between
the Technicians and Gestetner head office in Colombo.
of Gestetner can now report a breakdown or request for services
by SMS in addition to the traditional modes like telephone, fax
and e-mail. The company plans to provide over 10,000 of their customers