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Monday April 22nd, 2024

Elysian Crest: Pioneering Govtech Transformation with Innovation

Kithmal Warnasooriya Founder and Chief Executive of Elysian Crest

Kithmal Warnasooriya, the Founder and Chief Executive of Elysian Crest (EC), provides insights into the company’s proficiency in government technology (govtech) and its dedication to revolutionizing the public sector through digital advancements. Warnasooriya elucidates that while the concept of using digital technology to transform the public sector is frequently discussed, tech companies often overlook this pivotal segment of the economy. However, EC has chosen to engage in this domain, driven by the prospect of making a substantial impact. EC’s approach is characterized by intensive collaboration, real-time adaptability, and the creation of user-friendly solutions. Warnasooriya attributes the company’s swift achievements to its exceptionally skilled tech team and profound partnerships with committed and forward-thinking public officials. The company’s future plans encompass the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) for the betterment of
the public sector, along with the development of enterprise solutions catering to businesses in the United States and the Middle East.

Can you take us through the journey of Elysian Crest, or EC?

Founded in 2018, EC became my full-time commitment in 2020 after I left a corporate career spanning sectors like banking, finance, and utilities. The pandemic’s onset in 2020 heightened the demand for digital transformation among small and medium-sized businesses, a shift I was well-equipped to navigate with nearly eight years of tech experience. Initially a side hustle, EC took a major leap in 2021 when we secured a key project from Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance. This involved web development and creating a data warehouse, marking a significant
turning point for us.

Our focus is on a niche yet crucial sector— government and public agencies. We currently serve nearly 10 such entities, offering digitized workflows, digital pay Founded in 2018, EC became my full-time commitment in 2020 after I left a corporate career spanning sectors like banking, finance, and utilities. The pandemic’s onset in 2020 heightened the demand for digital transformation among small and medium-sized businesses, a shift I was well-equipped to navigate with nearly eight years of tech experience.

Initially a side hustle, EC took a major leap in 2021 when we secured a key project from Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance. This involved web development and creating a data warehouse, marking a significant turning point for us.

Our focus is on a niche yet crucial sector – government and public agencies. We currently serve nearly 10 such entities, offering digitized workflows, digital payments, integration into Sri Lanka’s national payment platform and enabling digital signatures. Internationally, we’re extending our footprint to the U.S. and Dubai, specializing in product development and middleware integrations.

In Sri Lanka, we’ve gained a reputation for digitizing manual, paper-based government processes. Our tagline, “digital enabler,” encapsulates our mission to convert traditional systems into digital platforms. Since EC’s inception, our revenue has skyrocketed, growing tenfold. Impressively, a quarter to a third of this revenue comes from international clients in the U.S. and the Middle East.

Can you give us a real-world example of where your solutions have been able to bring about some transformable changes?

We’ve successfully digitized key processes for various Sri Lankan government departments, funded by the International Trade Centre and GIZ, and inaugurated by the President. First, we modernized a 17-year-old manual system at the Department of Commerce, introducing an electronic Certificate of Origin. This streamlines trade by enabling digital submission and signatures, and online payments. The system, which has issued over 10,000 certificates, cuts processing time by 93% and aids easy verification through QR codes for international
customs.

Second, we alleviated logistical burdens in the Ministry of Agriculture by creating an e-payment gateway for the National Plant Quarantine Service. Previously, stakeholders spent around 5,000 rupees in travel to pay just 162 rupees for an e-Phyto (electronic phytosanitary) certificate. Our online solution eliminates this inefficiency.

Lastly, our digital registration portal for the National Organic Control Unit has replaced a manual system lacking a centralized database. We’ve established an organized data collection system for various organic stakeholders, including farmers and exporters.

These projects collectively enhance efficiency and facilitate valuable data collection, crucial for planning and policymaking. They align with our overarching goal of streamlining Sri Lanka’s government functions.

What is your approach to developing digital ecosystems that drive significant impacts?

Our team excels in agility and understands the intricacies of migrating from dated manual processes to digital solutions. For instance, we helped the Department of Commerce transition from a 17-year-old manual system. Rather than just working for them, we collaborated closely, often on-site, to understand their unique needs and adapt accordingly. Our agile approach allows us to make
real-time adjustments, crucial for handling the inevitable changes that arise during development. But our role extends beyond mere technical development; we aim for user-friendly systems that people will use. We’ve conducted awareness sessions for stakeholders and even created educational YouTube videos to ease the transition.

Managing change is especially challenging in government projects, where traditional software development methods often clash with the fluid nature of bureaucracy. To bridge this gap, we essentially integrate ourselves into our clients’ IT teams, ensuring a smooth transition. Our success hinges on our agility, collaborative spirit, and holistic approach to transition management.

In your experience what makes those digital transformations successful?

I want to spotlight the often-overlooked officers in public organizations with whom we collaborate. These are educated individuals with visionary goals, deserving of far more recognition than they often receive. As for our team at EC, our mission is straightforward: to modernize Sri Lanka’s digital infrastructure. We’re committed to eliminating antiquated paper-based systems and inconvenient in-person transactions. The aim is to provide not just functional, but also user-friendly digital systems that enhance everyday life and contribute to the nation’s digital transformation.

Our team is the linchpin of EC’s achievements. Their unyielding dedication and hard work form the backbone of our success. If I were to rank what makes us effective, the team would undeniably top the list. Their efforts are indispensable to our progress and accomplishments.

What are your plans for growth and also in terms of introducing new solutions and technology?

We are actively expanding our capabilities to include artificial intelligence in our product suite. With a robust client base of over ten government agencies, we see immense potential for integrating AI technologies to benefit the public sector. Our objectives are clear: boost the efficacy of communications, elevate public service levels, and optimize government operations. For example, we have partnered with a Californian client to create a platform for grassroots organizations. This system which is a social impact platform, simplifies tasks like event organization and partnership management. Designed as a social impact tool, the platform includes a social media-like timeline feature for better engagement.

On the international front, we’re working on projects in Dubai, particularly focusing on ERP system integrations. Our vision extends beyond local improvements; we aim to leverage cutting-edge technology to drive global transformation.