Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)
Sri Lankan conglomerates drag their feet in adopting digital technology
Most conglomerates do not adopt modern digital technology due to hierarchical decisions and face the risk of disruption that affects their businesses altogether, according to Managing Director Orel Corporation Kushan Kodithuwakku speaking at a webinar on the topic of “Have We Stepped into Industry 4.0? held last week.
He said the industry 4.0 revolution has begun and will transform lives of people rapidly. The industry revolution includes smart phones, the Internet, face and speech recognition, natural language processing technology, robotics, cloud computing etc.
“We have already adopted some of these technologies to keep pace with future development of the country . What will happen to businesses if these technologies are not adopted? The answer is disruption of businesses.”
Referring to new technology, he said that many jobs will be lost in the automation process. During the COVID-19 period many platforms were launched that achieved success in Sri Lanka and as a result many persons have found working at home more convenient than travelling to office. “Sri Lanka can gain a lot from modern technology and the Internet was the new digital revolution. We at Orel are one of the largest service providers in the world. We have developed digital platforms not only for Sri Lanka but for other countries as well,” he said.
Additional Secretary-Development Digital Infrastructure and Information Technology Division to the Ministry of Defence Waruna Dhanapala said that Sri Lanka is heading towards a service-based economy.
“There is exponential growth in digital technology providing knowledge that helps SME’s and other start- ups to expand their business horizons. The government too has invested heavily on digital technology.” There are apps available today to enhance and develop knowledge and skills required by students of mathematics and science studies.
He said the value addition of products of the local manufacturing sector is at a low ebb and stands at around 10 per cent. Digital platforms are a boon for women folk in rural areas engaged in start-ups confined to their home. There are around 10,000 start- ups in the country and opportunities still exist in the tourism, agricultural and in the health sectors, he said.
Chairman-Federation of Information Technology Sri Industry (FITIS) Abbas Kamrudeen said their aim was to help local SME’s and start- ups to generate business and also to invite global players to invest in Sri Lanka. “Digital transformation in Sri Lanka is a key element for the industry and 60 per cent of the education in Sri Lanka during the lockdown period happened through online platforms,” he said.