The COVID-19 pandemic is still raging on, threatening businesses as well as economies as it has brought unprecedented challenges that the world must grapple with, in the coming years. Further the pandemic brought with it the need for organisations to re-look at business models for business continuity, safeguard employees and ensure products and services are delivered to customers, says Shiraz Lye, Managing Director/ Vice President Sales, IFS South Asia,
Elaborating on the topic he says, “Our customers were able to see a snapshot view of operations right from their homes when lockdowns were imposed. Based on such information, customers were able to plan in the new normal without disruptions and subsequently realign and execute go-to-market strategies”.
“Agility is an essential catalyst for business transformation. It allows an enterprise to embrace market and operational changes—and realize new opportunities when faced with unforeseen challenges. Companies that have invested in agile enterprise software are in a much better position to manoeuvre challenging situations like this.”
Serving Customers against all odds
“When the lockdowns were imposed, customer-facing teams, predominantly sales and consulting, were called upon to pay special attention to customers in order to help them sustain their business. With that in mind, IFS continued its operations during the pandemic with a well-planned work from home (WFH) model. Certain customers wanted to slow down operations while others needed to accelerate their projects, so it was a matter of identifying the customer’s requirement and repositioning the projects accordingly. With a high-spirited WFH team, we were able to continue our go-live projects and sign new deals despite the challenging market conditions”.
IFS Runs IFS
“The company had already implemented its own ERP solution across the entire business, thereby connecting regional teams to a single version of the truth across its 50 plus offices worldwide. By unifying the business on a central platform, all front-line and back-office staff were able to continue operations, giving management full visibility of the entire business operations and enabling quick and well-informed decision making. This was one of the key enablers of the WFH model globally”.
Adapting to a new reality
“Companies also need to frame a near-term strategy that prepares businesses for recovery. The near-term moves are mostly tactical improvements that allow a company to operate better in the current landscape by tackling certain challenges head on. The imperatives include:
Digital Supply Chains—Companies need real-time visibility to better manage supply chains. This will allow them, for example, to incorporate weather patterns, port delays, and supplier issues into their decisions, and to take immediate action. Because of social distancing requirements, they also need to run operations and supply chains with fewer workers and reconfigure warehouses and warehouse management systems”.
Digital Finance, Procurement, and HR Functions
“Companies need advanced automation that enables employees to operate from home. For example, a supplier would be able to submit an invoice online which would go through the standard approval process and get paid for an item that had been procured, without the hassle of physically delivering invoices to the premises”.
Consumer and Go-to-Market Trends
“Companies need to cope with an explosion of consumer data as consumption patterns change. They need to be able to adapt to the changing volumes of orders, realign production lines and be able to produce goods in demand arising due to the crisis”.
Open, Collaborative Ecosystems
“Companies need to collaborate digitally with suppliers, for example, to forecast demand for future orders or even look at replacing offshore vendors that have been cut off from transportation”.
“Enterprise software can help address all these business challenges as it provides companies real-time transparency with respect to sales, operational costs, inventory, production, and financials. Powerful data-driven analytics enables more agile decisions, such as adjustments to the supply chain to improve resilience”.
“Companies need to frame a long-term strategy to win in the new environment that emerges after the pandemic. Businesses should cut out the complexity arising from traditional processes and embrace technology as an enabler for future growth. Enterprise software should be looked at as an investment in creating business that are future ready, enabling organization-wide collaboration, simplified business processes, and real-time visibility of business operations”, Shiraz says.
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Unlimited music streaming platform in Sri Lanka
SLT-Mobitel, the nation’s ICT and Telecommunications Service Provider recently partnered with Spotify, to mark their launch in Sri Lanka. Spotify is a paid premium music streaming app which allows subscribers to listen to music to their hearts content. Both, SLT-Mobitel Post-Paid and Pre-Paid customers will now be able to enjoy Spotify by activating a monthly recurring subscription or one-time subscription plan and access unlimited music streaming and downloading facilities.
The subscription charges will get added to the user’s customary billing, where payment will be deducted in real time. Starting from the payment date, the user will be able to access Spotify and download their favourite songs, for the next 30 days. Users who sign up for their first monthly subscription will receive an additional one month, courtesy of Spotify. The one-month subscription plan is not applicable with one-time subscription plans. SLT-Mobitel data rates, depending on the user’s respective broadband charges, will apply.
Spotify also has some exciting features that will provide SLT-Mobitel customers with the opportunity to listen to ad-free music, access millions of uninterrupted music under one platform, play any song they like, anywhere they go, and also be able to enjoy their music offline.
SLT-Mobitel customers can select their preferred premium package under four categories; Individual, Duo, Family, Student. Each category has recurring and non-recurring plans. After one month of free streaming, the package will activate once the offer period terminates. While both, the Individual and Student premiums are limited to one account user, the Duo package offers two accounts and the Family premium is accessible through six accounts. To view Spotify plans, users can log on to https://spoti.fi/3aLWvce
Sri Lanka using ‘sovereign power’ over economy: CB Governor
by Sanath Nanayakkare
Anyone conversant with the elements of a political economy would know that Sri Lanka is using its ‘sovereign power’ to manage the different dynamics of the economy in a sustainable manner, Professor W. D Lakshman Governor of the Central Bank said on Wednesday.
“Some critics are saying that we adopt a so-called modern monetary theory. That’s not the case. In fact, Sri Lanka is using its sovereign power in a number of economic aspects to honour its external debt repayment commitments as well as to reduce its debt burden in the medium term as well as achieve resilient growth in the medium to long term, he said.
“We make policy decisions to boost our gross foreign reserves, meet our external debt servicing, to facilitate monetary expansion, to boost our GDP growth, to strengthen our current account balance and manage our domestic and external economic variables in a sustainable manner. This is not a modern monetary theory. This is an age-old tool used by central banks around the world when the circumstances demand it, he said.
“Certain trade-offs will be necessary when dealing with an economy which has a big fiscal gap to bridge. There are efforts to push Sri Lanka towards the IMF again which would in turn have influence on our policymaking. We have taken policy measures to stabilize the economy and we have adequate reserve levels to meet our debt repayments. Meanwhile, we are in negotiations with overseas central banks and multilateral agencies to further boost our reserve level and it would materialise within a matter of weeks,” he noted.
“One of the tools the Central Bank has introduced is in respect of repatriation of export proceeds into Sri Lanka and conversion of such proceeds into Sri Lankan rupees in order to strengthen the foreign exchange situation of the country,” he said.
The Governor made these remarks while delivering the keynote speech at a webinar organised by the Veemansa Initiative led by its Managing Director Luxman Siriwardene – the former Executive Director of Pathfinder Foundation.
The webinar revolved round the topic ‘External debt situation in Sri Lanka: Are we heading for a resolution or crisis?’
Professor Sirimal Abeyratne, Prof. Sumanasiri Liyanage, Dr. Nishan de Mel and Dr. Ravi Liyanage were the other speakers on the panel.
CSE on the rebound; indices close positive
By Hiran H.Senewiratne
CSE produced signs of a rebound yesterday with both indices closing positive, though turnover remained low. Central Bank Governor W.D Lakshman’s recent statement on managing foreign reserves gave some boost to the market yesterday, stock market analysts said.
The index experienced a zigzag movement within the early hours of trading; thereafter, it recorded a slight up-trend as it reached its intraday high of 7,439. Later, the market witnessed a down-trend at mid-day, followed by a sideways movement and closed at 7,372, gaining 43 points during the month of February, market sources said.
It is said the banking sector dominated turnover with a contribution of considerable parcel trades in Sampath Bank, Commercial Bank and HNB.
Further, the Commercial Bank’s impressive quarterly results during the recent turbulent period also built investor confidence. Commercial Bank was able to register a18 percent net interest income when other banks were reporting a decline. Its share price increased by Rs. 3 or 3.5 percent. On the previous day, its shares started trading at Rs. 85 and at the end of the day they moved up to Rs. 88. Due to the positive growth results, the bank announced a Rs. 4.40 dividend per share, plus a Rs. 2 script divergent for every share.
Further, Sampath Bank shares also appreciated in both crossing and retail. In crossings its shares appreciated by Rs. 1.At the end of the day they moved up to Rs. 154.50. In the retail market, its shares moved up by Rs. 2 or 1.3 percent. Previously, its shares fetched Rs. 154 and at the end of yesterday they moved up to Rs. 156.
Amid those developments, both indices moved upwards. The All Share Price Index went up by 104.48 points and S and P SL20 rose by 67.78 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 3 billion with four crossings. Those crossings were reported in Sampath Bank, where 3.9 million shares crossed for Rs. 602.2 million, its share price being Rs. 154.50, HNB 375,000 shares crossed for Rs. 39.4 million, its shares traded at Rs. 105, Pan Asia Power 9.5 million shares crossed for Rs. 33.2 million, its shares traded at Rs. 3.50 and Access Engineering 1.2 million shares crossed for Rs. 28.2 million; its shares traded at Rs. 24.
In the retail market top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Expolanka Rs. 450 million (10 million shares traded), JKH Rs. 205 million (1.3 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs. 199 million (34.9 million shares traded), Sampath Bank Rs. 191 million (1.2 million shares traded) and Dipped Products Rs. 137.7 million (2.8 million shares traded). During the day 101 million share volumes changed hands in 18046 transactions.
During the day, Expolanka, the biggest contributor to the turnover, saw its share price appreciating by Rs. 6.20 or 15 percent. Its share price quoted on the previous day was Rs. 41 and at the end of trading yesterday it moved up to Rs. 47.
Sri Lanka’s rupee quoted wider at 193.50/195.50 levels to the US dollar in the spot next market on Thursday while bond yields remained unchanged, dealers said. The rupee last closed in the spot market at 194.50/195.00 to the dollar on Wednesday.