By Cheranka Mendis
Institute of Business Management with its presence in the Sri Lankan market for the past 50 years is all set to ride on the wave of development the country is embarking on.
The company which has invested in the country on an early date and would like to be known as a ‘global Sri Lankan company’ now has the front footing in their business development ahead of other multinationals that is now keen to enter in to the market. With that in hand IBM is confident that both its business and the country’s economy would surge ahead in time to come elevating its status in the world.
The way forward however is the approach to what IBM defines as the ‘smarter planet solution.’ Vice President General Business, Routes and Geographic Expansion of IBM India and Sri Lanka, Nipun Mehrotra speaking to Daily FT stated that encompassing this solution system in the company’s initiatives would make the system more productive and efficient with the use of technology. Calling such an intervention an opportune one, Mehrotra asserts that the system has worked wonders in IBMs operations around the world.
“There is a need for making societal systems — from transport to fuel to supply and healthcare. All these systems need to now be more efficient than before. The question is how IBM leverages technology to make some of these systems more productive. The answer is technology — the appropriate use of technology,” he said.
There are three key steps to make a smarter planet — instrument the world’s system, interconnect them and make them intelligent. Currently there is a lot of instrumentation in the world with the increasing use of mobile devices, RFCD chips etc; also the world is progressively more interconnected. “We have a lot of instrumentation to help customers gather information and be able to analyse it. By providing a smarter planet we aim at providing analytical output to take business decisions. As a result systems will be more efficient and productive.”
IBM has launched a global plan successfully and has a number of agenda’s such as the smarter grid programme, sustainable cities, education, banking, government and security among a diverse range of subjects. Consequently, the supply chains are becoming smarter by reducing wastage and tracking down a number of key issues such as water consumption.
The idea is to bring this highly successful model to Sri Lanka and present it to both government and private sector parties. Mehrotra who was in Sri Lanka last week stated that he met a number of customers who were extremely excited about this technology and advances. “It has an exponential impact and is an important trend to be released in a market,” he said. The data centres set up for these have helped Sri Lanka’s neighbour India in a large scale and Mehrotra is confident that the system will work for Sri Lanka as many of the issues that has been seen in India is what they identified in Sri Lanka as well.
Drawing an example he asserted that the security and resilience of computer systems in large banks, telecommunication systems and businesses where the risk of server breakdown is a threat; IBM data centre could provide guaranteed security to all data in such systems. Through this, local companies could expand services, have application consulting, system integration and help Lankan customers to help grow the market.
“IBM aims at introducing a data centre built business in 2011, where innovation, skills and best practices will reign supreme. We are experts in this area and IBM has reduced its carbon foot print by 50 per cent within the last 10 years,” he said adding, “Energy efficient data centres are important as the country is taking the face of development. And that is what we want to bring into Sri Lanka.” He stated that the Reserve Bank of India, India’s largest bank is also using the IBM data centre and has won the way to saving millions of dollars worth of energy within over a five year period. The IBM data centres give three unique features sought by many companies in various devices — security, resilience and energy efficiency.
Sri Lanka in IBMs plan
In IBM’s global plan, Sri Lanka is a relatively small country, Mehrotra said. However he expressed confidence for the future, as he, like many others expects Sri Lanka’s contribution to grow in leaps and bounds as the market expands, as expected.
Praising the government’s stance in making Sri Lanka a knowledge hub with IT as a core driver, he asserted that it was a timely move on the part of the government. There are a lot of capabilities in the area which would help both the state and the private businessmen to realise their development goals, he said.
“On IBMs part there are aggressive growth targets for the country,” Mehrotra said, “the market is poised for growth and the system we are keen on introducing has done wonders to many emerging countries such as India and China.” On the opportunities that await Sri Lanka Mehrotra believes that the smarter grid concept could lure in benefits for the country whereas telecom, banking and tourism would also do well in the future. “Involved in expansion and innovation in manufacturing are conglomerates, not just in Sri Lanka but outside the country as well.”