The Sri Lanka’s Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry would reach US Dollars 10 billion industry from US $ 1 billion.
Treasury Secretary Dr P.B. Jayasundera, made this remark delivering the keynote address on “Sri Lanka beyond 2011 - The role of the industry to support the Knowledge Economy”, at the CIO Council meeting of SLASSCOM held last week.
SLASSCOM organised the second Chief Information Officer (CIO) Council meeting with the aim of creating a knowledge economy in Sri Lanka. The event, organised by the country’s premier IT-BPO body SLASSCOM, was being managed by global enterprise solutions provider IFS, and sponsored by Dialog Telecom and MphasiS Sri Lanka. The event was a successful show of the industry’s strength with over 250 CIOs and heads of IT attending.
“Today, the size of the Sri Lankan economy is US $50bn while International trade has surpassed US $ 20bn. The service sector has evolved to two thirds of the economy. The unemployment rate has dropped to all time low of 5 percent while poverty levels have dropped from 21.2 percent in the 1990s to 7.2 percent,” Jayasundera said.
According to SLASSCOM Board Member and IFS South Asia Vice President Jayantha De Silva, the CIO Council meeting was the ideal platform to bring the users and producers of IT together in order for them to voice their thoughts on the future of the industry. “For any industry to be successful you must have cooperation between the industry layer, represented by SLASSCOM, and the operational layer, represented by the CIOs and heads of IT,” De Silva explained.
“The CIOs are the ones who put the model into action, and thus, it is very important that we work closely with them.”

He added that the government is another important layer in the IT-BPO industry. “As an industry matures, it learns to work independently,” De Silva explained. “The government has done an enormous amount of work to help the IT-BPO industry, but now we should look to them as facilitators. That’s what Dr Jayasundera helped outline in his speech. How can the industry move ahead towards making a knowledge economy, while the government acts as a facilitator by providing a healthy business environment and the necessary infrastructure?”

He explained that apart from the 110 members of SLASSCOM who each has an IT representative making up the CIO Council, the event on the 24th saw several prominent public and private sector institutions attend. “There are several important users of IT in industries such as banking and the public sector who attended this meeting,” De Silva pointed out,
“As SLASSCOM, we know that we can’t achieve our objectives alone. We want to empower the CIO Council to work on their own and take the country forward.” He concluded that the CIO Council meeting is likely to be the first in a chain of events that will aim at boosting the sector.

His view was echoed by the two main sponsors. According to Suresh Sidhu, Group Chief Officer ¬- Enterprise & Global Business, Dialog Axiata PLC, the firm was excited to be a part of the annual SLASSCOM CIO council meeting which it described as a key forum that discussed the opportunities and challenges facing the IT/BPO industry.
“We believe that the IT/BPO industry in Sri Lanka will play a pivotal role in helping the country achieve its economic potential.
As a key ICT solutions provider in the country, Dialog Axiata along with its parent company Axiata Berhad has made the required investments domestically and internationally in order to provide seamless, secure and cost effective connectivity that will help the IT/BPO industry compete on a global basis”.
Major IT/BPO firm MphasiS, also expressed its support for the CIO forum. “MphasiS is delighted to partner with SLASSCOM for the annual CIO council,” said its Regional Director, George Manuelpillai, “Sri Lanka has a rich and untapped employable talent pool, strong infrastructure and a great attitude to work with. The sustained coalition of all these attributes has already proven to provide unmatched service to our global clientele. MphasiS’ investment in Sri Lanka is a testimony to our commitment to the development of the country’s IT landscape. We hope this partnership fuels our growth in emerging markets.”

SLASSCOM represents the IT-BPO industry of Sri Lanka. It acts as the catalyst of growth of the Sri Lankan IT and BPO industry by facilitating trade and business, propagation of education and employment, encouragement of research and innovation, and by supporting the creation of a progressive national policy framework.