CSSL: the 2nd CIO Chapter

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The Chief Information Officer (CIO) is a fairly new role to Sri Lanka, but one that’s fast being adapted by larger organizations. The role of a CIO is generally bestowed upon the most senior executive responsible for IT infrastructure, computer systems and technological endeavors directed towards supporting a company’s motives.

The 2nd CSSL CIO chapter, held on the 18th of March, brought together CIOs from leading companies in Sri Lanka, all of which heavily depend on technology for smooth day-to-day operations. It kicked off a bit late due to heavy rain and traffic, with Mahesh Perera, CSSL council member, welcoming everyone and introducing the speakers of the day. He then proceeded to give a brief introduction of the event. Unfortunately, it seemed that at least half the people who were supposed to be there had dropped out: the attendance was handful of the expected guest list.

After the introduction, we had Rohan Muttiah, CIO of Commercial bank, take the stage to deliver his keynote on a vested interest of his – digital marketing. Urging the audience as CIO’s that this was a topic they need to pay attention to, he explained how digital marketing both affected their work and how it would evolve their roles. This theme was continued by Sidath Chandrasena, Senior GM at Dialog Axiata,  who began his presentation by showing exactly how valuable digital marketing is by referring to how much money Google, the largest company in the field made: $37.9 billion. He went onto say that in Western countries digital advertising was overtaking traditional advertising  – all thanks to mobile.

Sidath argued that 2014 was an important year, because this turnaround would happen in Sri Lanka. Barriers aside, he pointed out that with smartphones becoming cheaper and internet penetration on the rise, things were coming to a head, and how services such as Facebook were even breaking down the bane of the traditional  marketer – the language barrier. 

He compared digital marketing to traditional marketing highlighting the increasing costs faced with traditional advertising (something  we learned some time back). He concluded by talking about a few future trends, saying that trends we expect to happen in 2017 may happen sooner like this year sooner and mentioned that despite the threat posed by digital media, traditional media will not die. Instead, he believes that digital media will be tactically used alongside traditional media, such as having people watch an ad to find a code and send it via SMS. To our thinking, that’s still behind the curve.

Up next was another speaker from Dialog: Mr. Niranka Perera, Manager Digital Advertising Dialog Aixiata, who shared four real life case studies of advertising campaigns which involved digital advertising and the outcomes of these campaigns, all of which showed the inevitable: Digital marketing helps.  

Niranka concluded his presentation by showing the steps for a successful digital campaign:

  • Devise a proper digital strategy by identifying your target market.
  • Plan the campaign from start to end.
  • Develop appropriate campaign materials
  • Support the team on the ground as the ad campaign happens.
  • Conduct a post campaign analysis to find out who has been responding and make decisions for future marketing plans.

Sidath took the stage once more and opened the floor to questions. An interesting note we caught during this Q&A session was that CIO’s normally aren’t involved in digital marketing campaigns that are carried out. Sidath went onto say that with CIO’s having more information than most, they can be a key starting point to digital campaigns. 

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