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SLID/SLASSCOM webinar on ‘Leveraging Technology for Post-Covid Business Transformation’

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The Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID) together with the Sri Lanka Association of Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM) organized a webinar, moderated by Dilshan Rodrigo-Chief Operating Officer of Hatton National Bank Plc., to discuss, explore and share insights on “Leveraging Technology to Transform Business in the Post-Covid Era”.

The keynote address was delivered by Uber’s Global Head of Support Operations and Co-Chair for Women of Uber – Lisa Stoner. The panel comprised of two eminent technology and business leaders Madu Ratnayake-Executive Vice President, Global CIO and General Manager of Virtusa Sri Lanka Operations/Independent Director of HNB and Director of ICTA, and Asanka Ratnayake-Group Director of Hayleys Advantis Limited.

“Covid brought unprecedented times to Uber and to everyone else. From connecting 16 million trips per day in March 2020, we went on to very publicly urging our riders to stay at home. During this time Uber fundamentally redefined its mission for the year and went from ‘setting the world in motion’ to ‘moving only what matters’. We closed all our offices and moved tens of thousands of workers home although Uber did not have a work from home environment. During this time, under the leadership of the CEO and of the Board one of the key principles we followed was that we would do the right thing and empowered business leaders in every market to make decisions around doing the right thing. Every positive matter we were able to do was absolutely enabled by our people and technical innovation” said Lisa Stoner adding that during the Covid period, Uber’s business changed from being a rides business to a delivery business and also saw a complete change in their top markets.

“We started a campaign to get local restaurants on the Uber platform which meant we had to onboard them as quickly as possible. To achieve this, we made some internal technology changes and most importantly we leveraged a lot of small startup technology tools available for menu creation etc. As a young company we had a lot of pockets and places to incorporate technical innovation including machine learning” she said.

She highlighted that technology automation, diversity and inclusion, relentless elevation of standards, and changing the definition of success as the things that helped Uber to come out of Covid stronger than before. On the automation front, Uber used machine learning and predictions to predict most likely issues helping customers to reach out to Uber more easily while fully automating the customer self-help process devoid of agent involvement resulting in a high level of efficiency and positive customer experience. She also said that customer experience will be a priority for Uber in 2021. Lisa noted that it is important to recognize the pace of change of business and to accordingly adopt technology which will also help to push the bar higher, challenging one to think about what diversity means to the team and whether one does actually have a diverse team which values ideas over hierarchy.

 

 



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Business

Webinar on ‘Security of Information Assets: What the Board Needs to Know’

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The Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID) together with EY organized a webinar, moderated by Manil Jayasinghe-Partner, EY on “Security of Information Assets: What the Board Needs to Know” recently to update the knowledge and understanding of Board members on the increasing cyber security risks and threats to information assets of an organization brought about by the rapid wave of digitalization and resulting changes in the way organizations work in response to the on-going pandemic.

The webinar also discussed strategies and best practices on how best to mitigate these risks in securing information assets while ensuring business continuity, loss minimization and quick, safe recovery in the event of a breach. The keynote address was delivered by Dileepa Lathsara-CEO, TechCert and the panel comprised of eminent tech and business leaders Madu Ratnayake-Executive Vice President, CIO/GM Virtusa and D. Soosaipillai-INED of Listed Companies.

“It is important to define what information assets are so that security can be provided to those assets. Contrary to the misconception that information assets are only the application systems or the systems where staff work on and the data that resides on those systems, information assets include supporting infrastructure such as switches, patch panels, routers, servers and all other equipment, and application systems including confidential corporate information in those systems. It is also important to identify where corporate information is stored and who has access to it” said Dileepa Lathsara-CEO, TechCert.

“Boards should get involved in handling cyber security risk by firstly setting a security tone for the organization so that everyone takes security seriously and also ensure that the required resources are made available. Boards can focus on the actual requirements of information security by adopting and adhering to security frameworks, standards, acts and directives such as NIST and ISO27000 series, PCI-DSS rather than having the IT security team re-invent the wheel” he added.

He further stated that cyber security should be incorporated into the digital transformation chain and should not be a mere afterthought to be plugged in at the end. Cyber accountability is also important in that it is the organization’s ability to demonstrate that they have good cyber hygiene to ensure, in case of an eventual attack, the ability to track back to a unique event/person or group responsible with admissible evidence which also aids in quick rectification and recovery. Dileepa also emphasized that it is important to make informed and optimal investments in cyber security mitigation which can be calculated preferably as Annualized Loss Expectancy (ALE) as against ROI since security is about loss prevention and not about earnings where ALE is calculated as the cost of a security incident x chance that the incident will occur in a year.

Panelist Madu Ratnayake said that it is essential and fundamental to have the right people in the security team led by a CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) and that cyber security is a journey and not a destination as security is evolving. The Boards should comprise of members who have expertise on security given that most companies are going digital and the risk becomes crucial.

Panelist D. Soosaipillai said that the first thing is to find a security standard to be adopted in the organization without which there will be limitless spending on security without knowing what the benefits are. The organization should have a security vertical such as a CISO or IT Security, which is where the Boards will look at to establish ownership for IT security. He also suggested that Board does regular, if not half yearly Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) by external 3rd parties into the systems/security matrix of the organization.

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Sampath Bank further simplifies cash management for businesses with launch of Visa Business Debit Card

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Sampath Bank recently announced the launch of Sri Lanka’s first Visa powered business debit card linked to a corporate account – the Sampath Bank Visa Business Debit Card – to help businesses of all sizes gain more control over their expenses.

The Bank’s business customers will now be able to move away from cash and provide separate debit cards to their employees for day-to-day expenditure. They can set monthly transaction limits to each individual card and link the cards to their preferred company account with Sampath Bank. The chosen account will be directly debited each time an employee makes a payment using the card. Businesses can consolidate all spending information using the detailed electronic reports it offers and simplify their payments, bookkeeping, reporting and monitoring processes.

Offering greater convenience and security, this new business debit card from Sampath Bank is set to encourage more businesses to go digital with their expenses, in line with the government and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s efforts to drive the adoption of cashless payments in the country.

Commenting on this, Tharaka Ranwala, Senior Deputy General Manager – Operations and Group Chief Marketing Officer, Sampath Bank PLC, said, “We are delighted to help businesses of all sizes go digital with their daily expenses with the launch of the Sampath Bank Visa Business Debit Card. Moving away from cumbersome cash transactions, businesses can now provide staff members with individual debit cards to be used for company expenses. The cards are linked to the customers’ preferred Sampath Bank accounts which get debited every time a transaction is made using these cards. We look forward to seeing our business customers experience the convenience and security offered by this solution to simplify their cash flow management as well as accounting, reporting and monitoring.”

 

 

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CSE indices dip below average turnover

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

CSE saw the bear run persist for the third consecutive day with both indices dipping sharply below average turnover. The market was negative and at one point it declined to 200 points and subsequently started recovering  but not up to a steady level, stock market analysts said.

The market saw heavy foreign selling worth Rs. 700 million, up from Rs. 53.5 million, thereby pushing the year-to-date figure up. Foreigners continue to exit from some blue chip companies.

As result, both indices moved downwards. All Share Price Index went down by 131.94 points and S and P SL20 went down by 56.09 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 2.43 billion with a single crossing. The crossing was reported in Lion Brewery, which crossed 673,000 shares to the tune of Rs. 363 million, its shares traded at Rs. 540.

In the retail market five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Vallibel One Rs 290 (5.7 million shares traded), LOLC Rs. 243 million (736,000 shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 197 million (4.4 million shares traded), Browns Investment Rs. 170 million (1.1 million shares traded) and Dipped Products Rs. 127 million (2.9 million shares traded). During the day 141 million share volumes changed hands 23199 transactions.

During the day, top turnover companies, LOLC,  JKH, Browns Investments, Melstacorp and Expolnka contributed negatively to the Index. LOLC  being one of the top listed companies in the stock market  contributed 21 negative points to the All Share Price Index.  Other companies were, JKH 7 negative points, Browns, Melstacorp and Expolanka contributed six negative points each during the day.

It is said that CTC and Carsons Cumberbatch contributed positively to the All Share Price Index.  CTC contributed the highest number of points to the Index which was 10 points.

It is said that even though the market’s recent downward trend is disappointing, it is believed that the bourse will gradually reverse course in line with the expectation of an upward biased long term trajectory.’Consequently, investors are advised to take advantage of the current weakness and focus on accumulating fundamentally robust and liquid stocks in high growth sectors with a long term investment horizon, stock brokers said. 

Sri Lanka’s rupee opened weaker at 195/199 levels to the US dollar in the one-week forwards market on Wednesday while bond yields were slightly up, dealers said. The rupee last closed in the one- week forward market at 196.50/197.50 to the dollar on Tuesday.

 

 

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