A few days back, SLASSCOM held it’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). This was where the organization reflected on what it achieved, challenges it faced, and most importantly: to elect a new set of leaders. The AGM began with Arul Sivagananathan – the outgoing Chairman taking the stage and reflecting on the year. He spoke of the challenges SLASSCOM faced over the past year and what they had achieved despite these challenges. One of the biggest achievements he shared, was being to convince the government to prioritize the IT industry as one that will change Sri Lanka.
Afterward, we saw Ranil Rajapakse – then Director of Operations take the stage to for the annual operational review. He opened by sharing that SLASSCOM currently has 165 members. A closer look at this number shows that 44 members are small companies, 26 are medium sized companies, 56 can be considered large companies, 32 are startups with associate memberships and 7 associate members.
He then spoke of the many events SLASSCOM was involved in over the year. Some notable examples are: Google I/O Extended Sri Lanka 2017, Disrupt 2.0 workshops, and the Disrupt 2.0 FutureX competition. Ranil concluded by sharing SLASSCOM’s future goals for the IT/BPO industry, which are: $ 5bn worth of exports, 200,000 jobs, and 1000 startups in the industry.
Following Ranil’s presentation, we saw Channa Manohara – then Director of Finance share the financial reports of SLASSCOM. Afterward, it was time for elections. It was during this session that the members of SLASSCOM voted to select the new Board of Directors and General Council for the 2017/2018 term. You can find the names of the new SLASSCOM Board of Directors here and it’s new General Council here.
Finally, the AGM concluded after a few tokens of appreciation were handed out and the new chairman of SLASSCOM – Ruwindhu Peiris took the stage to share a few words. For those of you who may not know him, Ruwindhu is the Managing Director of Stax Inc. He began his journey in the IT industry working at Nortel in 1998 as a Verification Engineer, before moving to Keells Business Systems in 2000. Afterward, he joined Virtusa where he rose through the ranks to become Vice President & Head of Operations – Global Services before joining Stax Inc. Outside his role as Managing Director at Stax Inc. and as Chairman of SLASSCOM, he’s also one of the Lankan Angel Network’s angel investors.
At the SLASSCOM AGM, Ruwindhu opened his speech by sharing that ever since he joined the IT industry 18 years ago, he’s witnessed our industry achieve many great things. Over the years, the industry has changed and its workforce increased. If you want to join the IT industry today, you can join right after A/L’s and don’t require perfect English for a salary close to Rs. 35,000 stated Ruwindhu. He added that the IT industry democratizes success and creates both economic and social values without the need of being blessed and having startup capital.
The only thing the IT industry hasn’t done Ruwindhu said, is celebrating its success. However, while he encouraged the IT industry to celebrate its success he shared that industry now needs to pursue bold initiatives for the future. With the rise of disruptive technologies along with countries such as Vietnam and Thailand entering the fray, he stated that there’s a short window of opportunity to seize the future. And to seize that future, we need to be bold.