A capacity building programme for the IT/BPM industry wouldn’t be complete without engaging the undergraduates who are anticipating to learn from the industry leaders itself. Hence the two conferences each focusing on the IT and BPM industries as a part of the Kandy IT/BPM Week aimed at providing future leaders of the country on the skills they need to acquire to enter the industry and the trends they need to watch out for which are disrupting the way we live and run organisations. The events were hosted by University of Peradeniya, Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Arts. 

The BPM conference, supported by Orion City, was organised on 11 June with the objective of sharing knowledge about the Sri Lankan BPM industry and global trends. The event commenced with SAKS Global CEO Hariharan Padmanaban providing an overview of the BPM industry in Sri Lanka and the changes in terms of skill requirements. 

Infomate CEO Jehan Perinpanayagam and Accenture Lanka Ltd. Senior Vice President Operations Virendra Perera shared the developments that have taken place in finance and accounting outsourcing (FAO), automation and how processes are managed in the BPM industry. 

WNS Managing Director Dushan Soza was the 4th speaker of the conference who explained the participants, what does it take to be a part of the BPM industry, required knowledge and skills , attitudes in the context of WNS sharing valuable insights of the high-end work done for global clients by the company. 

HSBC Global Service Centre Vice President HR and L&D Lasantha Dassanayake presented next on the evolution in banking and finance sector service outsourcing and employment opportunities that are opening up. 

During the Q&A undergraduates were keen on understanding the work environment and culture, the growth opportunities available in the sector. The audience was enlightened on flexibility, work culture and agility of this industry; availability fast growth opportunities; level of exposure to global clients and high end knowledge outsourcing work requirements of the organisations that the speakers represented.

The final speaker of the conference was CA Sri Lanka Chairman Arjuna Herath, who spoke on the skill, knowledge and attitudes required to thrive in the BPM sector and how the students could be industry ready through a customised qualification developed by CA Sri Lanka and SLASSCOM named the Certified Finance and Accounting Specialist (CFAS). 

A representative of the official banking partner of the Kandy IT/BPM Week Hatton National Bank addressed the students providing insights on the technology driven, consumer friendly and cost efficient support they provide to students of the industry. The official TV and Stations of the Kandy IT/BPM Week was TV1, Yes FM, Y FM and Sirasa FM. 

Kandy IT/BPM Week wrapped up on a high note with the IT Conference hosted by the University of Peradeniya on 12 June at the Faculty of Engineering. Computer engineering and computer science students from both State and private universities attended the event with much enthusiasm meeting the top IT professionals of the industry. 

Millennium IT CEO Mack Gill, the first speaker of the conference inspired the audience, by enlightening them on engineering skills Sri Lankans have been renowned for through the years and how Sri Lanka is maintaining a legacy of state-of-the-art software engineering capabilities terming the country as the ‘Silicon Island’. 

Subsequently, ICTA CEO Muhunthan Canagey shared the visionary road map of digital Sri Lanka and how the country will transform through technology. The third speaker was IBM Sri Lanka Country General Manager Chrishan Fernando who educated the undergraduates on how careers are changing with the digital disruption and big data. 

The first half of the IT conference was wrapped up with a panel discussion on the role of the IT industry and universities in capitalising on the 4th industry revolution driven by technology and changing mindshifts. The panellists for the session were 99X Technology CEO Mano Sekaram, Codegen CEO Dr. Harsha Subasinghe, Intel EM Ltd. Country Business Manager, Sri Lanka Indika De Zoysa and University of Peradeniya Faculty of Engineering Senior Lecturer Dr. Devapriya Devasurendra. The panel discussion was moderated by Virtusa Polaris Head of Digital, EVP and GM, Sri Lanka Centre Head and Global Head of Digital Madu Ratnayake. 

Navin Peiris, Head of Business Broadband and Fixed Telecommunication, shared how Dialog has enriched the Sri Lankan lives and their innovations that is supporting the IT/BPM industry. Dialog being the official telecommunication partner of the Kandy IT/BPM week confirmed its support in building regional capacity for inclusive growth for the IT/BPM industry in Sri Lanka. The Digital media partner of the Kandy IT/BPM Week was ReadMe, the technology media publication.  

The second half of the IT conference featured Microsoft Country Manager Brain Kealey, Dr. Harsha Subasinghe and WSO2 Vice President – Research Dr. Srinath Perera who enlightened the audience on the disruptive technologies and innovations taking place through cloud technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) as well as future of the internet. 

Subsequently, Zone 24x7 CEO Llavan Fernando presented the importance of understanding lifestyles and working backwards to shape technology to provide a better customer experience. To conclude IFS Sri Lanka President and CEO Jayantha De Silva shared the mindset and skillset required to be a part of this fast growing industry and the career opportunities available for the undergraduates. 

The IT and BPM conferences were attended by 500 undergraduates representing both state and private sector universities. IT conference was supported by the Co-sponsors, MillenniumIT and IFS. The event sponsors of the IT conference were Codegen, Intel EM Ltd. and 99X Technology.