New SLASSCOM Chief Nishan Mendis to propel IT/BPM industry to global prominence

Wednesday, 10 July 2024 00:30 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

SLASSCOM’s new Chairman Nishan Mendis addresses the post-AGM session last evening at the Cinnamon Grand 

– Pic by Ruwan Walpola


The new Chairman of Sri Lanka Association of Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM), the chamber for knowledge and innovation, Nishan Mendis yesterday pledged to propel the IT/BPM industry to global prominence. 

Speaking at the post-Annual General Meeting session last evening, Nishan shared his vision for SLASSCOM. 

“As we look to the future, my vision is to position Sri Lanka as a global hub for technological innovation and excellence. By harnessing our rich heritage of collaboration, resilience, and innovation, I am confident that we can achieve this grand vision. I am aware that I stand on the shoulders of visionary leaders and dedicated boards who have steered us with wisdom. Their legacy serves as the foundation on which I am committed to build, ensuring continuity and progress for SLASSCOM and its members,” he said.

Nishan’s strategic initiatives for SLASSCOM include enhancing global trade and investment, fostering talent development, promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, championing sustainable best practices, and driving nation-building through policy advocacy. 

A seasoned leader in the IT/BPM industry, Nishan brings with him a wealth of experience and a vision to elevate Sri Lanka as a global hub for technological innovation and excellence.

He currently serves as the Technology and Transformation Leader, Chief Information Officer, and a member of the Leadership Team and Exco at Deloitte Sri Lanka and Maldives. His previous 17-year tenure with PwC Sri Lanka saw him in pivotal roles, including, Technology Consulting Leader, and Chief Information Officer for Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Nishan has vast experience in leading critical large-scale, citizen-centred technology projects and digital transformation initiatives aimed at national upliftment.

As the new Chairman assumes the role, SLASSCOM anticipates a year of strategic growth, innovation, and collaboration. Nishan will be supported by a group of volunteer industry professionals consisting of a twelve-member board, including 99X Technology Chief Operating Officer Shehani Seneviratne, and London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) Group Director Feroz Cader as Vice Chairpersons, along with a twenty-seven-member general council.

At SLASSCOM, Nishan has been a key driver of its initiatives since its inception, contributing significantly in a number of leading roles. This includes as Vice Chairman, Head of the Global Trade and Investment Forum, and Head of the Capacity Forum, among other roles. His 26 years of extensive experience include significant contributions to national initiatives by SLASSCOM and other governmental institutions, and he continues to serve on several expert committees convened by the Government. 

In his address Nishan noted that Sri Lanka’s IT/BPM industry has grown significantly over the past decade, employing over 140,000 professionals, greatly contributing to the national economy. However, Nishan acknowledged the challenges ahead, including brain drain, negative perceptions on Sri Lanka due to the economic crisis, and increased costs of doing business. “It is crucial that we assess our current standing, recognise our accomplishments, and acknowledge the challenges and obstacles that lie ahead. This moment of introspection is vital for understanding where we have come from and where we are going,” he added.

New Chairman said SLASSCOM will maintain dialogues with Government authorities to foster a business-friendly environment and attract inward investments. He also plans to introduce a ground-breaking ‘Industry Ambassador Program’ to leverage the expertise of distinguished Sri Lankans abroad to represent the industry in key global markets. Additionally, the ‘Empowering Global Growth’ program will support member companies in thriving in export markets. 

Addressing the loss of mid-tier talent, he emphasised that a key focus will be on up skilling and cross-skilling the existing workforce, with the SLASSCOM Academy playing an important role. He mentioned that collaborations with universities and academic partners will persist, ensuring the continuous production of future-ready talent for the industry. In line with the ‘Island of Ingenuity’ ethos, Nishan aims to foster a culture of innovation. New partnerships with global ecosystems will offer start-ups and entrepreneurs significant opportunities for growth and advancement.

Nishan envisions SLASSCOM playing a pivotal role in nation-building through strategic policy advocacy. Engaging proactively with the Government to address industry challenges and propose effective measures will be a priority. SLASSCOM, under his leadership, will also remain committed to actively engaging with its members, advocating for policies that benefit the community, and ensuring that the industry’s voices are heard. Nishan emphasised the enduring unity and volunteer spirit that have always defined SLASSCOM. He aims to further foster cooperation and collective effort to propel the industry forward.