Virtusa’s virtuous success: Lessons for Sri Lanka and private sector

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:37 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Co-founder and Chairman/CEO Kris Canekeratne shares key insights into how once a start-up 18 years ago has grown today to make Rs. 64 billion revenue, enjoying double digit growth and employing 10,000 people

  • Emphatic Sri Lanka can produce more successful enterprises and firms can tap growing  opportunities in $ 1 trillion IT services industry

Co-founder and Chairman/CEO Kris Canekeratne

  Virtusa Corporation, founded in Sri Lanka 18 years ago and later became a successful multinational firm with a listing on the US NASDAQ, is a global business consulting and IT outsourcing company that combines innovation, technology leadership and industry solutions to transform the customer experience. Today Virtusa employs 10,000 people with operations/offices in US, Europe and Asia. Its co-founder and current Chairman and CEO Kris Canekeratne was in Sri Lanka recently as part of his thrice a year visit. Despite his busy schedule, Kris met up with the Daily FT for an exclusive interview where he shared key insights into Virtusa’s origins, success in early years as well as the phenomenal growth so far. He also expressed confidence that Sri Lanka has the potential to create more Virtusa type or better companies in the IT services industry and there were immense opportunities, provided the right approaches are made. Voted as ‘CEO of the Year’ by World HRD Congress-Thought Leaders International in July this year, Kris also shared the ethos behind Virtusa’s success and strategies followed. World HRD Congress-Thought Leaders International identified Virtusa’s growth story as “very fascinating with the company demonstrating consistent growth over the last few years and experiencing double-digit revenue growth and profitability even in a recessionary period. It takes strong and visionary global leadership to achieve this and Kris Canekeratne has been instrumental in leading Virtusa from the front.” Kris co-founded Virtusa to address what he saw as an unmet need: A technology partner with the right people and processes to help clients solve challenging business problems, develop innovative solutions, accelerate time-to-market and deliver dramatically better service their customers. His stewardship has been the driving force behind one of the fastest growing software services firms. Virtusa has many achievements to its credit, including being named to Forbes’ 2012 and 2011 Best Small Companies in America, prestigious ranking by Dataquest-CMR as one of the Best IT Employers in India for four consecutive years (2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009), inclusion on the 2012 GS100 list and 2012 FinTech 100 list, and recognition from Stevie’s American Business Awards and International Business Awards for HR department of the year, Britain’s Top Golden Peacock Award and Asia’ Best Employer Brand Award. Virtusa recently reported $ 117 million in revenues for the second quarter, up by 25% year on year. Operating income showing a similar growth was $ 12.2 million and net income amounted to $ 10 million up from $ 7.5 million in the first quarter. The company ended the second quarter of fiscal 2015 with $215.2 million of cash, cash equivalents, and short-term and long-term investments. Fiscal year 2015 revenue is expected to be in the range of $477 million to $483 million (over Rs. 64 billion). Here are excerpts from the interview with Kris:     By Nisthar Cassim Q: What would you term as the turning point for Virtusa during its 18 years of existence? A: We started the company back in 1996 and we have steadily worked with our clients to help them create much better IT applications and IT environments and help them accelerate their time to market, innovate, etc. Starting in about the early 2000s, we focused a lot of our energy on large industries, industries where they invested a lot in IT technology, building new products and services. The first noticeable change we had was when we started to focus our energy on three primary industries – banking and financial services, which also includes insurance (called BFSI); communications and technology; and media and information. Even today about 60% of Virtusa’s revenue comes from BFSI; about 30% or so comes from communications and technology and about 10% comes from media and information. We have continued to see steady growth across all of those industries. We took the company public in 2007 and we were about third the size we are today. This year we will do close to 480 million dollars in revenue and we have about under 10,000 people worldwide. There has been very strong growth. The 10-year CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) has been close to 30%. Q: When you started what were the staff numbers like? A: When we started we had a team of about 10 people, both in the US and Sri Lanka and from day one we were a global team; we had people both in the US and here. We have preserved that as a part of our culture and our ethos. In the first year we probably had four clients and we were really experimenting with this idea and obviously it was very successful. Q: In these 18 years, what would you highlight as your milestones? When you started, did you have a plan to grow to a particular size in terms of head count and revenue? A: It’s hard to imagine that it has already been 18 years. It seems like just the other day. When we started we really wanted to help our clients innovate. Innovate as in bring products and services to market faster. We decided to do this purely as a consulting and an outsourcing firm. The first inflection point was realising that we were onto something that was very much in demand. Then it was around taking this capability of innovation that we had built and applying it in these three industries that I talked about. As we have done that, we have been very focused in terms of working with clients who service large consumer populations. Across all the industries that I described, what’s common is that these industries are service-oriented industries that service large numbers of consumers and our focus in that area has given Virtusa tremendous strength in terms of understanding how companies and their enterprises need to work with their end consumers, because that’s what we’ve done. What’s amazing to us is that there’s so much new technology that’s coming into the market, innovation that’s taking place, and at the same time there is a new demographic of younger consumers that have essentially grown up with one of these handheld devices in their palm, while for the prior generation, for most of us, this is a convenience. Being able to do all of our banking and our insurance needs, everything we buy and the stores that we go to on this is very much a convenience to our generation. For the next generation it’s a way of life. I, for one, remember very well going to a branch office and doing my banking at a branch, taking my cheque book out and writing a cheque, but my kids probably will never go into a bank office or a bank branch, they will probably never own a cheque book, and if they can’t get these services on their handheld devices, they’re going to go to someone else that provides that. What is most interesting for us, and I think one of the inflection points for the company, is that, one, we focused on these industries that service large consumer bases; two, we were working on innovation, as in leveraging new technology to help them being their products and service to market faster; and now, combining that with a demographic shift where consumers are demanding that everything they do has to be on these handheld devices has created a perfect storm for Virtusa. That leverages our experience, our strengths and our aspirations and that’s really what’s been at the epicentre of driving the growth that we have seen across our 10,000 or so people worldwide. Q: The last announcement was 8,000 but that number has changed? A: The last announcement was exactly 9,436 people worldwide. In our most recent quarter, which was our second quarter, we did $117 million in revenue, and for the full year we forecast $ 480 million. Q: What’s the breakdown of the 10,000 staff? A: We don’t break it down by individual countries. About 25% of our team members are in what we call customer facing geographies, that is all of the countries we have clients in – that includes the UK, Europe, the Nordics, Germany; about 75% of our team members are in South East Asia, across four centres primarily, in India – Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore – and in Sri Lanka – Colombo. Q: Virtusa has benefited from the mobile revolution globally. In terms of innovation, any particular case that you can highlight that really made a difference in the markets that you serve? A: There are several. The technology changes that have really been precipitating or providing a way for enterprises to provide new innovative services include mobile, social, analytics, and cloud. Those are the four technologies that have matured over the last three years. Start-ups, as in new companies, and innovative enterprises can leverage these technologies to create disruption in the market. So about four years ago, for one of our largest clients, we created the capability for them to take a cheque and instead of taking that cheque and depositing it at a bank branch or to a teller, where the consumer could take a photograph of that cheque and basically deposit it right from their phone. So this application became the number one downloaded banking application in the United States. We released this product for our client in less than 90 days. This was back in 2010. Since then we have continued to work on bringing in a lot of these technologies so that the end experience the consumer has is so much more secure. I still believe though that this is the start of the revolution that is taking place; most of our established clients today are bridging – taking what they built online through a web browser and creating a mobile extension so that they can do it may be a bit better on a mobile device. But very few of them are thinking of disrupting themselves and really harnessing the power of these four technologies, where you bring them together and you understand the consumer behaviour requirements, where you can really create disruptions. There are quite a few examples in all the industries where we are operating now, where there are a few disruptors but most enterprises are still bridging. We believe that the amount of disrupting is only going to increase over the next one, two, three years. Q: The highlight of Virtusa has been that even during recession periods, it has managed to grow. What would be the key reason – is it innovation, luck, is it in your culture where even during turbulent times you still grow, or is it the markets in which you are operating? A: I think it’s actually a little bit of all of the above. I think we have picked our markets very deliberately. As I mentioned, we only work across these three markets but the common thread across these three markets is that they all service large consumer bases. We believe that we have a very compelling value proposition that goes well beyond the cost arbitrage of doing work in South East Asia for Western countries. Much of that is based on the fact that the work we do enables our clients to become more efficient. We have a simple philosophy at Virtusa that it’s all about the fact that less is actually more. It’s not about doing the same for less and what that really means is we’ve focused on helping our clients rationalise, consolidate and modernise and opposed to simply doing the same work in a different geography. We think that we have benefitted by our team members and our people who have worked diligently during good times and bad times to create a very strong service level for our clients and that has helped us clearly not only to grow faster than our industry during good times but to continue to grow even during bad times. I’d be remiss if I don’t underscore the fact that there’s been certain good fortune and good luck. I think our teams have worked very hard to put themselves in a position to reap the benefits of being in the right place at the right time and good fortune, but all of the above have helped us grow. Q: Do you recall a set of customers with whom you worked from day one who are still with you or doesn’t that happen in the industry that you serve? A: When we first started we were experimenting with the idea of innovation in a subset of the industries in which we are operating today. The reason was, as a start-up company, working on a theory and a vision around innovation, global innovation for our clients, we could actually experiment only in a certain part of the industry. Then we very deliberately moved from that segment of the industry to the three industry segments that I talked about and since then we have established very, very strong relationships with our clients. Over 90% of Virtusa’s revenue at the growth rates that we’ve talked about comes from our existing clients who have worked with us before the start of a new fiscal year. Several of our clients contribute very significant pockets of work and do a lot of their work with Virtusa. Today we have 111 clients; we have a very significant opportunity to expand the size of each of our clients. The clients who have worked with us for seven, eight, nine, 10 years or more, you can already see how they’ve grown with us and expanded to become very significant contributors to Virtusa’s revenue profile. Q: Are all these clients in the US, Europe and the Nordic region? A: The majority of our clients are in the US and Europe. Approximately 5% of Virtusa’s revenue comes from outside of the US, Europe and UK. That would include India, Sri Lanka, Singapore – essentially Asia. Q: Going back, when you started, where did you think you would end up? Did you envision this 20 years ago that you would be here one day or did you have very modest goals, were you just trying it out to see whether you would strike lucky? A: When we started, we really felt that there was an opportunity. First and foremost, based on personal experiences, we were very clear that we wanted to work in a very large industry, not a small industry – that was very deliberate. I think it had to do with the fact that in a prior life I had worked with helping start a company in a very small industry; we were very successful in that small industry but we were still a very small business. I think that was a very enlightening experience for me personally, where I felt that whatever I spent my time on next, I wasn’t afraid of competition, I wasn’t afraid of working in a very large setting, but I really wanted to make sure that the industry or the market we were working in was a very large market and ideally a market that continued to grow, had a good foundation and good growth prospects. That selection was very, very deliberate, even before we started Virtusa. So we picked the IT services market and we picked the global services segment of that market. The good news is that, other than for a few years, the overall IT services market has always expanded at the tune of between 3 and 5% a year. A segment of that market, which is the offshore outsourcing market, has expanded between 12 and 18% a year. This industry overall, this is the overall IT outsourcing industry, will be over a trillion dollars in 2018. It’s about 960 billion dollars today. So we picked that very wisely. We then were very fortunate in that our strategy and vision right from the start was about innovation. It wasn’t about doing maintenance and remediation and just taking advantage of a lower cost model. It was about leveraging a global talent pool to help our clients innovate and accelerate time to market. I think that has really defined who we are, it has defined out ethos, and it has enabled us to enter new industries and excel. It’s enabled us to enter new markets, as in new geographies, and excel, because our fundamentals are very strong. We have an excellent ability to attract talent, because we are looking for people who enjoy innovating, applying themselves and being creative. We apply this in a very large industry that is growing and in that industry across clients who are servicing end consumers. To our clients, their goals are to expand and preserve the consumers they have. Our focus is to help them expand their market by applying innovation, to help them create new services and technologies, and help them improve the efficiencies of their IT environment, through rationalisation and consolidation. Q: Do you feel that you will stick to these three core market groups (banking and financial services; communications and technology; and media and information) going forward or are you looking at opportunities outside? A: These three markets are much bigger than our presence in these markets today. We have a terrific opportunity just to expand in these three markets in a big way. Having said that, we will continue to explore related or adjacent industries, because as we continue to grow Virtusa and skill Virtusa, we will need to operate in more industries and more markets than those in which we’re operating today. Q: Where would you like Virtusa to be in the next five to 10 years? Or is it the case that companies in your industry don’t envision that far because you work in an industry where technology has a shorter lifecycle? A: Just by way of context, the modernisation that is required in the industries that we work in will necessitate the largest investment in IT. So we are still pretty much at the start in terms of growth. The reason for this is the demographic shift that is taking place where consumers will only deal with providers if they can deal with this, combined with the fact that these large enterprises have to modernise to be able to service that demographic need, is going to require very significant investments in IT. We are uniquely positioned to help our clients in those industries with the services that will help them intercept these new consumers and expand their market. These enterprises are starting only now but the investments are going to increase over the next five to 10 years. We feel that we are very uniquely positioned to help them create these new services, modernise their IT infrastructure, to service this change. We obviously feel that we have positioned Virtusa very well to in that period of time be the leading provider of business consulting and IT outsourcing services to help our clients establish, modernise and provide services to this demographic change that is taking place. Q: What’s the kind of goal you are looking at – doubling your revenues going forward or are you much more cautious in terms of forecasting where you will end up? A: Our long-term objective – obviously we are given guidance here – and that guidance calls for growth that’s pretty significant year over year. We’ve gone from approximately 397 million dollars of revenue last year to 480 million dollars this year; around 21% year-on-year growth. In our industry that is very strong. The industry is growing about 12% a year so we are growing almost twice that even at our scale. Our goal is very simple. Our long-term goal is to continue to grow Virtusa faster than the industry growth rate in the industry we are operating in. We believe that we can do that on a consistent basis and that we will continue to increase our market share. Q: Is your market share available within the industry and how do you position yourself? A: Well, if you take a look at the overall IT outsourcing market, that’s almost a trillion dollars and we are not even 1% of that, so we have a very significant opportunity of expanding our market share. I think the fact that we had such strong capabilities, we are very well-positioned in terms of what we do and how we do it, that’s what has enabled us to continue to grow faster than our industry, thereby expanding our market. Q: Do you think you will grow faster than how you’re grown in the last five years? Has that been the momentum within Virtusa? A: Our goal has always been to grow faster than the industry growth rate and we’ve got a very good shot at that. In the last five years we may have grown well ahead of the industry growth rate and our goal moving forward continues to be to grow faster than the industry growth. Q: With such a growth momentum, what would be the challenges for you? You said you attract talent, but do you see any challenges there? Or do you see any other challenges in this growth scenario? A: As we take a look at our ongoing growth, what we’re really looking at is the types of clients that we are winning today. Let me expand on that a little bit. It’s very easy to grow a business by just adding projects and adding revenue. It’s a very simple function – add more sales people, build more pipeline, add more projects, add as many projects as you can, grow the business. But what we’ve learned is that there is a big difference between project revenue and building a long-term relationship. Virtusa’s strategy has been to have a few clients where we can build very meaningful relationships. When you talk about challenges, our challenge is actually one that is more strategic in nature as opposed to tactical and the strategic part of the challenge is how we pick the right clients that can continue to contribute to our growth as opposed to picking a project, having that project come to an end and then having to look for additional projects. I think we’ve learned over the years how to be very mindful about picking the right type of clients, where we can build long-term relationships. Having said that, when we take a look at our clients list, there are 111 clients and 480 million dollars of revenue; if we do simple math, each of those clients are spending around four million dollars a year with Virtusa. But then if you take our top 10 clients out of the equation, the average client contribution reduces to around 1.5 million dollars per client. Each of those clients that we have in that group have the potential to spend way more than that with us, so we picked those clients not for the project but because they have the ability to spend at least five million dollars with Virtusa once we have established a relationship. If you look at that, Virtusa has a client base today where we have very significant potential in terms of growing the clients and therefore growing Virtusa as a business. Q: So you just don’t take in business as they come in but you think in terms of the future revenue? A: We apply a set of filters. One of the filters if it’s a project with a client is whether that client has the potential to be a meaningful client for Virtusa or if it’s just a project. If it’s just a project, what we have learned over the years is that it may not lend itself to creating a long-term relationship for us and therefore the opportunity cost is far greater and as a result the sales costs are far greater. We’ve learned how to apply a filter so we can find the right types of clients to grow and skill Virtusa. Q: Do you have a dedicated team that is doing this and have you turned down projects in the recent past? A: Every quarter that goes by, we have an evaluation committee when we are looking at projects and programs. With any new sales pursuit, we will look very carefully whether they have the right kind of attributes that will lead to a long-term relationship. Having said that, we might start something and for a variety of reasons that client may stop working with us, including the fact that they decided to put a stop to that spend. However, by being more deliberate and more selective, I think we’ve been able to bring in more long-term engagement and long-term plans. We’re very, very pleased with the level of activity that we have in terms of building pipeline. We very closely monitor and watch the pipeline of activities, the pursuits we are working on, etc., and what we have seen over the last 12 months or so is a very significant expansion of our pipeline – essentially a doubling of our pipeline from 10 months ago, which obviously gives us a very strong opportunity to bring in the right types of engagements. Q: To focus more on the industry, do you think more Sri Lankan companies or entrepreneurs like you can really join the IT services bandwagon? Firstly, are we late? If we are not late, what needs to be done? You’ve been there from 18 years ago; someone else might think it’s too late to enter the industry. A: Eighteen years ago we could have said the same thing, because there were companies 18 years ago doing a billion dollars in revenue or more and here was an entrepreneur saying ‘I think we can do this a little differently’ and we got started. I think we’ve been very beholden and steadfast to a certain set of principles, a vision and a strategy that has worked well for us. I believe those opportunities exist today just as they did 18 years ago for us. I think the challenges and the opportunities we have today at our size and scale are very different to starting a new business today, but as I said I believe we are in the front of the largest investment in application modernisation, of technology modernisation in the enterprise and this is global and there is an abundance of opportunities. I think it’s important for any entrepreneur to check, double-check and re-check without jumping in because it takes patience, effort, a lot of diligence and a little bit of good fortune along the way to be able to really excel in this industry. Q: Given the dynamism of the world today, you think someone who is entering today could achieve what you achieved in a lesser number of years? A: I think they could achieve more. There is also an opportunity for us, where we can achieve more in the next few years than we have in the past. Q: There is hope, there is market; what should Sri Lanka do and what should the private sector and new entrepreneurs look at? You may have the finances, you may not have the talent, or you may have the talent but not the finances or the market. What would your advice be to those who are really trying to enter this area – I am looking at existing big companies that haven’t shifted to this segment and those who are not even looking at IT as a future industry? A: I can speak from the lens of IT and technology because that happens to what I’ve been involved in for a long time. I think in IT and technology, there is white space being created every day. In some instances you can tick off that white space and build a business by really going after that white space. In other instance you can maybe take related white spaces and connect the dots between them and build something that actually melds that into something new. I think in the next five to 10 years, you will see a large amount of innovation taking place, where multiple white spaces are brought together and entrepreneurs come up with solutions that basically meld the boundaries of industries. The maturation of some of the technologies like mobile, social, big data analytics and cloud is precipitating these opportunities. It’s up to entrepreneurs – whether they are here in Sri Lanka or whether they are overseas – to identify what those are and then really look at inverting them slightly to create new markets. Q: Do you like to see more Sri Lankan focus on the IT and technology industry in terms of more people going into it? We have a large tourism sector because we are a natural destination; there was a shift to apparel but now it’s being consolidated and the numbers are less. Do you think there should be greater focus where anyone coming out would first look at whether they should go into this particular sector? Have you seen that happen in the last few years on the IT side or are we still traditional in our thinking? A: I think we are fairly progressive in our thinking. I think we’re finding entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka who are not just only looking at IT outsourcing as a service but they are looking at developing products, they are looking at developing solutions, technologies, which is actually a very healthy sign. Q: If someone was to really analyse, what should they do to get it right? A: Obviously having strong depth in that particular set of areas is important; belief that what you are going to do is going to make a difference is important; being able to be very agile and nimble so that you don’t get stuck and you can evolve because you start learning things as you work in a new industry or there happens to be change and making sure that you can navigate that change and evolve with that and hopefully stay a bit ahead of that is important; and in our business it’s all about creating an environment for our team members; an environment that enables them to excel, that helps them be creative, helps innovation, creating an environment that actually promotes that is very, very important. Q: You are aware that the Sri Lankan Government has set some targets on ICT exports; what’s your take with regard to the future of the industry – one as an industry that will tap some of these markets and in generating the talent required? Do you think some of those targets are achievable and if they need to be achieved, what needs to be done? A: Clearly the opportunity exists; by 2018 the technology outsourcing industry to India is going to be over 100 billion dollars. Clearly there is a very significant opportunity. Now how the Sri Lankan IT/technology industry goes after that would be different to how the Indian IT/technology industry goes after it. In India it is on a very significant scale. There is terrific talent in South East Asia and I think Sri Lanka has a terrific talent pool. I think what’s important is for the business leaders to really identify those few areas that are going to create very significant momentum as opposed to trying to be all things to all people. Q: You mentioned about Sri Lankan talent being very creative but there is a perception that the numbers are not really there in going forward to get to the goal of $ 5 billion export revenues in ICT services. What would be your take? A: I can’t speak in general but I can tell you that when we first started Virtusa, the number of applicable software engineers was very, very small and we’ve been very impressed with how that pool has expanded in Sri Lanka. Applying true Sri Lankan ingenuity, Sri Lanka has figured out how to not just increase the number of graduates but how to take related areas, how to cross-train people, how to have diplomas and other means of training to be able to create a talent pool. I think Virtusa has benefitted from that greatly over the period that we’ve been in existence. I believe that Sri Lanka has multiple avenues to create the talent pools that it needs for some of the objectives that it has set in front of it. Q: From a personal viewpoint, as a Sri Lankan, the tendency is that people like you are expected to return and do something in terms of policy, getting involved in trying a few things rather than only running the company. Has it crossed your mind? A: My belief has always been that by building Virtusa and by creating the right foundation and the right platform, good things accrue in all geographies of operations and that continues to be what drives our thinking, my personal view and thinking on this topic. We believe that we can help drive change based on what we are doing for our clients. We can drive growth based on what we are doing for our clients and if we do a good job of that, that’s only going to necessitate growth in every one of our centres and through that growth comes opportunities not just for our team members but for their families and so on. That has actually worked very well based on our strategy. My goals continue to be to grow Virtusa. Q: You were the result of a start-up. Would you nurture more start-ups in your personal capacity in time? I know you are creating the talent required, creating people who are skilled; but the question was whether we have enough risk-taking entrepreneurs so that the ecosystem becomes much more dynamic? A: I think you will find this happening more so today than in the past. There are more funding sources for entrepreneurs, which is only going to drive more entrepreneurs. That’s one of the ways that I think we can help catalyse and expand this industry. I think just the demand for change will be another catalyst for expanding the industry and building more entrepreneurs. I think we are at a time and place where the opportunities and the potential outstrip today the fulfilment of the demand and the needs. Q: Do you feel that there could be more Virtusa-type coming up in the future in Sri Lanka? Do you think Sri Lanka has what it requires to create companies like yours? A: There are different types of companies. There are companies that can be created to service global industries and markets, and to do a good job of that you have to basically have a very strong presence in the client markets. It is very hard to sell a service to a client base if you are not there. You can sell a product to a client base that’s not where you necessarily are; it’s very difficult to sell a service to a client base that’s remote. There’s only one point in time where it worked really well and that was in the early to mid ‘90s, where there was such a need for Y2K that you could basically not be in the client geography and basically sell a service. Outside of that one instant in time, I think most successful services companies had very strong presence in their client geographies, because their buyers want to buy from people that they can see. When you take a look at establishing new businesses, it is very important to decide what they are really going to do. I think it will be very difficult for an entrepreneur in the services industry to build a services company here and expect that they will do very well in large established markets. They may decide to be here and service the immediate area – South East Asia, potentially – and that could be a really good strategy. It all depends on what someone’s appetite is, what their experiences are and what their aspiration is. Q: If you had five minutes of time each with three people – the President of the country, a number one corporate, and the younger generation, what would be your advice to them? A: For the younger generation, we are at a point in time where the opportunities are absolutely significant and they are driven by the changes that are taking place and driven by the investments that are taking place in the industry, the job rating, there is a significant amount of modernisation required to be able to really create these services that are required and this is a global phenomenon. So I think for the young people who are graduating in technology disciplines, they are basically coming into a business setting where they can really contribute and build a terrific career. On the business leader side and the country leadership, from a technology perspective, there is a very significant opportunity and that is true of the public sector and the private sector. While the prior generation was relatively comfortable having to go somewhere to get something done, the next generation is not. To be able to service that generation, technology is the only means of doing that. Whether it be from a government perspective, leadership perspective or from an industry perspective, I think leaders need to understand that the changes are real and technology is a very important catalyst in terms of how to interact with consumers, especially this demographic of young consumers, and not doing that will lead to disadvantage. Pix by Lasantha Kumara