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Driving innovation for business resilience and faster economic recovery: Microsoft

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Hasitha Abeywardena · Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives

 

As Sri Lanka continues to deal with the recent surge of COVID-19 infections, 74% of organizations in Asia Pacific say that innovation is now a ‘must’ for them to respond quickly to market challenges and opportunities, and ensure business resilience.

Leveraging their ability to innovate, leaders proved to be more resilient and able to recover faster. Almost half of them believe that they will recover from the pandemic in six months or less. In fact, 50% more leaders, as compared with the rest of the organizations surveyed, expect an increase in their revenue, and one in three of them expect to increase their market share despite the crisis.

These findings were released by Microsoft in its latest study with IDC Asia Pacific, which surveyed 3,312 business decision-makers and 3,495 workers across 15 markets in Asia Pacific within a six-month period, before and since COVID-19. Titled “Culture of Innovation: Foundation for business resilience and economic recovery in Asia Pacific”, it uncovered how organizations can successfully fuel business resilience and performance through innovation.

The study also introduced the culture of innovation framework, which spans the dimensions of people, process, data, and technology, to assess organizations’ approach to innovation. It also provides guidance to help organizations progress to the mature stage and respond to challenges and recover faster, to improve their performance.

The culture of innovation maturity framework captures organizations’ approach to innovation. Through the research, organizations’ performance was mapped against four dimensions (people, processes, data, and technology), with organizations grouped in four stages – traditionalist (stage 1), novice (stage 2), adaptor (stage 3), and leaders (stage 4). Leaders comprise of organizations that are the most mature in building a culture of innovation.

The study found that in the span of six months, organizations in Asia Pacific have matured in the culture of innovation by 11%, an indication that they have increased their ability to innovate. Since COVID-19, the study also found a drop in leaders (68% to 36%) and other organizations (74% to 54%) that find innovation to be hard.

The faster pace of digitization is also key to building stronger organizations. The study found that 87% of leaders will speed up digitization by launching initiatives including digital products, payments, and e-commerce, as compared to 67% of other organizations, in response to the new reality.

Amidst the pandemic, ride-hailing company PickMe experienced a surge in business and app users which led to server downtime and extended passenger wait times. By tapping into Microsoft Azure, the company gained real-time intelligence across its operations allowing them to maximize driver benefits, minimize passenger wait times, and improve the PickMe experience for customers.

The Colombo Tea e-Auction platform developed by CICRA Solutions also leverages Microsoft Azure. The platform was built to safeguard a 150-year-old industry and protect the livelihoods of almost two million people. The platform was recently selected as Sri Lanka’s Best National Digital Solution for the World Summit Awards 2020 under Business and Commerce (Innovative Services) category.

Following the recent surge in positive COVID-19 infections in Sri Lanka, Arimac Digital and ZILLIONe developed contact-tracing apps for organizations to improve business resilience and economic recovery. Both apps leverage Microsoft Azure.

Azure is the cloud platform that underpins all of Microsoft’s cloud services, including Microsoft Teams. Before COVID-19, insurance company AIA Sri Lanka deployed Microsoft Teams to enable seamless engagement and operational efficiency. The company experienced little to no disruption during the pandemic because they had the systems in place to ensure business continuity and workplace preparedness. Microsoft Teams is also helping the governing body of the Maldives conduct virtual online parliamentary sessions thanks to Tech One Sanje as the country battles the COVID-19 outbreak.

These companies followed a process Microsoft calls tech intensity, where tools and technologies are utilized to invent unique digital solutions that would solve complex business and market issues. This would not only empower the business to be more agile in facing new market challenges but also move faster than their competitors.

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HNB promotes cashless transactions; joins CBSL’s ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ campaign

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Chief Guest for the event Money and Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal, CBSL Deputy Governor and National Payments Council chairperson Yvette Fernando, and CBSL Payments and Settlements Director D. Kumaratunge with HNB Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Dilshan Rodrigo as he completes a transaction via HNB SOLO at a merchant stall

HNB PLC, partnered with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to promote the Colombo-leg of ‘Rata Purama LANKA QR’ campaign at Diyatha Uyana, to raise awareness and encourage the public towards cashless payments.

Having already linked LANKA QR to its digital payment app HNB SOLO, the bank was among other financial institutions and telecommunication partners in joining efforts to make cashless QR-code based payments the standard for mobile phones and digital payments countrywide, in moving towards a cashless and digitally-savvy Sri Lanka.

“We are entering a new era of financial technology, where almost all of our daily transactions will require no physical banknotes, but just a smartphone and internet connection with our bank account integrated to a digital payment app.

The Central Bank’s national directive for banks and financial institutions to adopt and integrate LANKA QR into their existing digital payment solutions has prompted an aggressive onboarding of merchants to the new payment solution across the country. With our extensive customer base, SOLO is no doubt a significant contributor to this innovative initiative,” HNB Deputy General Manager – Retail and SME Banking, Sanjay Wijemanne said.

The Colombo-leg of the ‘Rata Purama LANKA QR’ campaign raised awareness regarding SOLO’s many facilities, including zero human interaction, efficiency, and eliminated risks that influenced many vendors to come on board.

 

(HNB)

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Bank of Ceylon empowering nation with Lanka Q

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The Bank of Ceylon in its mission to assist the government initiative to empower Sri Lanka through digital technology is joining the customer awareness campaign of Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s Lanka QR digital platform.

Bank of Ceylon had its most recent major awareness programs in Borella and Maharagama along with the other branches in Colombo District in line with the Central Bank’s main program held in “Diyatha Uyana” with the participation of all Lanka QR certified banks on the same day.

Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has organized a series of awareness and promotion campaigns for popularizing Lanka QR with the participation of all Lanka QR certified financial institutions throughout the country with the aim of speeding up the customer adaptation process towards digital banking.

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Sri Lanka Insurance posts a staggering revenue of Rs. 55.2 billion during 2020

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Amidst the turbulent and challenging year Sri Lanka Insurance has closed year 2020 on a positive note recording phenomenal revenue growth with exceptional service innovations.

Sri Lanka Insurance the premier insurer to the nation recorded stellar performance in 2020 to record Rs. 55.2 billion revenue for the year, a marked improvement on the Rs.48.6 billion in the year 2019, a press release said.

It adds – In the year of 2020 Sri Lanka Insurance reported 30 % growth in life insurance premium increasing to Rs.19.2 billion whilst general insurance reported 7% growth in premium grew to Rs. 20.1 billion. The company achieved a combined Gross Written Premium (GWP) growth rate of 17 % during the year. General insurance contributed 51% towards the total GWP whilst Life Insurance contributed 49 %.

‘In continuing with its tradition of leadership, Sri Lanka Insurance in 2020 surpassed its own record to declare a sum of Rs.8.2 billion as bonus to policyholders. The cumulative life insurance bonus paid out during the past 10 years tops a massive Rs.54 billion making the SLIC bonus payout unmatchable.

‘As the national insurer we have witnessed yet another challenging year and the consequences brought out by pandemic outbreak urged us to conduct our business operations in a more empathetic manner. SLIC has always taken the lead to protect the nation and during this difficult time Sri Lanka Insurance launched many initiatives to sustain country’s health defenses while ensuring our customers receive uninterrupted insurance service.

‘As the pioneering insurance company in Sri Lanka we are in the forefront to inculcate the importance of insurance to the masses as a national responsibility on our shoulders. We will further strengthen internal capabilities to serve the nation through innovative and affordable insurance solutions which cater to all Sri Lankans under the ‘Insurance for All” concept. Even though the times are defining we will continue protecting our nation turning obstacles into opportunities.’ noted .Jagath Wellawatta, chairman of SLIC.

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