Building a world-class digital team in Colombo: The Sagittarius way


Sagittarius wanted to build a company that offers world-class digital solutions and evaluated several locations across the region. They needed a place with a culture that resonated well with the UK and their global clients but also contained the skills required to deliver industry-leading digital solutions. Ultimately, Sagittarius made the decision to invest in Sri Lanka. Thus, they entrusted Tharshan Sreetharan to build the team and achieve their vision.

Sagittarius | Digital
Paul Stephen – CEO of Sagittarius (L) & Tharshan Sreetharan (R) – COO of Sagittarius Digital Engineering

In case you’re lost, Sagittarius specializes in delivering performance-driven digital solutions such as Sitecore, e-commerce developments and Experience Optimisation in the form of enhanced User Experience, Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) and more traditional digital marketing such as SEO and PPC, and everything else. They help their customers excel at all things digital to fuel growth and drive ROI. And recently they’ve become one of the newest companies to bet on Sri Lankan talent.

Why? To take advantage of local .NET development expertise and technology with a team that will deliver quality services. And today, the team they’ve built has gone from a team of one to a team of ten, dedicated individuals and this is their story…

How Sagittarius Digital Engineering was born

It all started in a tiny office space at the World Trade Centre. It was a cramped room that could barely fit six people inside… Initially, the only one person was Tharshan Sreetharan, Director & Chief Operating Officer and this was the birth of Sagittarius Digital Engineering.

Within 3 months, the company had grown to a team of 3 and soon after, 3 became 5,  and fast outgrowing their surroundings they decided to relocate their office. The new office is much larger and is a more creative space inside Nawam Mawatha.

The office is now home to a team of 10 and as Tharshan continues his recruitment efforts over the next 12 months, they will soon be joined by a further 20 recruits.

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A glimpse inside the Sagittarius office

“All that growth was in less than a year,” stated Tharshan with a proud smile. In the short span of just a year, Sagittarius Digital Engineering went from being a small software development team to a company which is now serving its clients across the globe being able to provide world-class technology solutions.

Of course, it wasn’t smooth sailing. Initially, there were skeptics about joining such as small team when they thought of its stability and the challenges they were tackling. Nonetheless, Sagittarius was able to overcome this. All it took was Tharshan and the rest of the Global team working together to create results with their technical skills while demonstrating their strong core values that defined their culture.

What Sagittarius does in the digital world

They support their client’s digital ambitions. Throughout its long history, the company has specialized in helping brands connect with their customers. Sagittarius was originally in traditional print advertising and now in more recent years, digital marketing and media. Many of these customers are large global companies that operate in the travel and tourism, home, garden, and manufacturing industries.

Today, Sagittarius delivers data-driven digital solutions to drive brand engagement and business ROI. One of their flagship tools in doing so is Sitecore, which is a content management platform which delivers contextual marketing solutions such as personalization, allowing Sagittarius to build digital solutions that turn strangers into customers.

“It’s all about going that extra mile to be remarkable and going beyond.” – Tharshan Sreetharan

However, software development merely scratches the surface of what Sagittarius has to offer. They also deliver  Digital Transformation services; helping brands completely transform the way they do business in the digital world, as well as their current investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

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Tharshan and Paul pose near one of the many posters that describe Sagittarius

To tap into these possibilities is why Sagittarius invested in Sri Lanka. The company believes that the team, which Tharshan had built over the course of the year is capable of doing so. Not only because it has strong technical skills but also the many other skills required to create strategies to bring about a digital transformation for a business. But most importantly, Tharshan had built a team in Sri Lanka with the right culture.  

How Sagittarius works to conquer its challenges

Tharshan and the rest of the Global Sagittarius leadership team strongly believe that one of the most important things at Sagittarius is the company culture. This culture they say should be one that creates an environment, which is both stimulating and fun to work in for its employees. Thus from day 1, Tharshan set about building a strong corporate culture, which he describes as, “It’s all about going that extra mile to be remarkable and going beyond.”

These are the people Sagittarius has and wants in its teams. In a nutshell, people that have strong values and love what they’re doing. Tharshan explains this saying, “We want people that wake up and love coming to work. They think about what’s in store for them and love the challenges while working in an environment that is both fun and engaging.”

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The little details. How Sagittarius tries to create the right work environment

And culture starts with the little things. An example would be recognizing and rewarding people that do great work. “We have always made it a habit to ensure those in the team that does great work are recognized and rewarded,” says Tharshan. This is an important belief inside Sagittarius. Thus, the company maintains a policy where team members can nominate people they believe have gone out of their way to be recognized with a special award.

Ultimately, Tharshan credits the culture for the explosive growth Sagittarius enjoyed in Colombo. That too in a single short year. But culture is something that is constantly evolving. Tharshan shared that the company will be exploring newer policies in the near future to create a great place for their employees to work. One that offers an environment that they love to work. This is why they added a chill zone into their new office in Nawam Mawatha as space for employees to relax.

But why Sri Lanka in the first place?

Sagittarius looked at various global locations before choosing Sri Lanka as their next digital hub. CEO of Sagittarius, Paul Stephen commented: “There were many factors in Sri Lanka’s favor, one was strong communication skills, which many multinationals credit as a strength of Sri Lanka. The second was the similarities between cultures. Paul shared that he found that the cultural values between Sri Lanka and the UK were quite similar. Along with the strong variety of technical skills available, the decision was clear for Sagittarius.

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Tharshan at his workstation

Colombo was the perfect place for the company to build its software engineering and digital solutions arm. It was the perfect place for Sagittarius to take advantage of new technologies to help its clients conquer the future.

Paul went onto say, “We are grateful and proud of what we’ve achieved as a company with the talent here in Sri Lanka, Tharshan and the team have done an incredible job so far and we look forward to the continued growth in the region over the upcoming months.”


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