An Echelon Media Company
Monday December 5th, 2022

JKIT is driving the next point of inflection in its own journey of digital transformation

Digital consultancy and boutique consultancy organization John Keells IT’s leadership team discusses what it takes to ignite and drive successive points of inflection in scaling digital transformations for clients around the world and within their own firm.

In every industry, digitally-led businesses have either disrupted or gained an edge because they tend to be more efficient, deliver greater customer value, and are generally seamless in how they integrate with stakeholders’ needs.

However, many traditional companies struggle to make headway with their digital investments or fail to make the case for these in the first place. Echelon features the John Keells IT leadership team that has succeeded in driving successive inflections and transformations for the group of companies as well as for their external clients at large.

At John Keells IT, they believe everything around them must be challenged. By rejecting the status quo, they make every endeavour to make that journey for their employees, customers, partners, etc a rewarding one, by harnessing the collective experience, expertise and knowledge with a mandate to drive value co-innovation and co-creation.

Ramesh Shanmuganathan has led John Keells Group as its CIO and John Keells IT as its CEO for over a decade and a half, and in that time he has driven multiple transformation initiatives across the group which has set the precedent for many others to follow. John Keells Group’s transformation journey has been featured in many global case reviews and has received many accolades for being ahead of its time in driving key points of inflection and strategic waves of transformation. It’s this success that paved the way for John Keells IT to take this as a holistic value proposition to its external clientele.

John Keells IT at present serves the broader market segments of SAARC, MENA and APAC whilst continuing to serve her parent John Keells group and its subsidiaries. They deploy a consultative approach to driving the transformation for the clientele with interventions such as Design Thinking, Blue Ocean Strategy, Persona-based Journey mapping, Strategy Canvas, etc. Their value proposition is fulfilled through their focus value stacks to drive the transformation journey through JKIT Strategy, JKIT Core, JKIT Cloud, JKIT Platform and JKIT Ecosystems. These value stacks encompass solutions offerings of their strategic partners such as SAP, Microsoft, AWS, Deloitte, UiPath, WSO2, etc as well as their own solutions built on a Mobile-First, Cloud-First and AI-First strategy.

Ramesh Shanmuganathan explains what companies understand by digital technology has been refined.

Digitisation, he explains, is the application of technology to digitise data to obtain more meaningful information to drive better outcomes for stakeholders. Digitalisation on the other hand is the process of driving technologically induced change within a given context, organization, market, industry, etc. by which one could create a significant strategic lineage for oneself or a closed or open community, he adds.

The holy grail, digital transformation, is the holistic approach to addressing business needs and problems by applying digital technology to transform and change existing products or services, business models, socio-economic structures, legal and policy measures, organisational patterns, cultural barriers, etc.

“It involves aligning the technology investments to strengthen your value proposition, grow into an adjacent area of business or even launch more disruptive products and services. New products or services with new platforms, ecosystems and business models can drive value for the stakeholders – be they employees, customers, or a partner. It further helps to react to, and compete in, a dynamic and competitive economy by helping reach new markets, set new benchmarks for products or services, achieve new standards in regulatory compliance and meet the evolving needs of stakeholders,” Shanmuganathan explains.

“This is why digital transformation is a key agenda for boards and the C-suite. However, it’s critical to understand what digital transformation is in the first place before discussing its relevance to the C-suite agenda.”

In a discussion, JKIT’s senior leadership team weighed in on their roles in the organization and how they help companies within the group and clients in their digital journeys.

 

Suranga De Silva, Head of Finance, John Keells IT

What is your role at JKIT, what are you delivering?

As the head of finance for JKIT, I facilitate best-fit business models, strategic expansions and optimising resources to ensure sustainable finance in a well-governed framework.

What about a digital transformation do you think is the most challenging and why?

Pause for a moment. Rethink practices and revamp your processes. These are crucial for good results.

 

Jeyakumar Kirishnaruban, COO APAC and Chief Delivery Officer, John Keells IT

What is your role at JKIT, what are you delivering?

I handle JKIT’s operations and delivery management across the globe. My over 20 years of experience is a great fit for the company to drive customers’ digital transformation journeys.

What about a digital transformation do you think is the most challenging and why?

What I find inspiring about digital transformation is its ability to transform the customer experience in the face of changing market dynamics and consumer behaviour. The typical sales, presales, marketing, technical competency, delivery, and customer service functions of an organization are being completely redesigned. Our experience across several industries and domains makes it possible for us to be a one-stop shop for the digital transformation journeys of our customers.

 

Shameera Gunathilake, Head of Business Systems, John Keells IT

What is your role at JKIT, what are you delivering?

My role cuts across John Keells IT, the John Keells Properties Group and the Cinnamon Life development project as the Head Of Business Systems. I’m also an Infrastructure-as-a-Technology Consultant for ICT with John Keells Group.

What about a digital transformation do you think is the most challenging and why?

I believe infrastructure is the foundation for digital transformation in any organization and I am proud to be part of Sri Lanka’s best digital transformation team.

 

Neomal Perera, COO, John Keells IT

What is your role at JKIT, what are you delivering?

My role is to ensure the operations run smoothly and to enable the team to deliver the best customer value.

What about a digital transformation do you think is the most challenging and why?

My background is in finance. It has been challenging as well as rewarding to be part of a dynamic team that is driven to provide technology-based business solutions to our diverse customer portfolio.

 

Ramesh Shanmuganathan Director/CEO, John Keells IT

What is your role at JKIT, what are you delivering?

To be a visionary and drive thought leadership for the organization whilst driving an entrepreneurial culture with an appetite for growth hacking and to drive successive points of inflection which can fuel transformations. It’s important to be a strategist whilst being able to operationalize the same across geographies, industries and organizations with relevance to the CxOs across the board.

What excites you the most about this journey and why?

Digital transformation ultimately touches lives – the challenge is to ensure the lives you touch; the teams that you build; the knowledge that you acquire; the learning opportunities that you leverage; the change that you drive; the new vistas that you create; the challenges that you overcome; the boundaries that you redefine and that too with the attitude of nothing is impossible and with the mandate to leave a path that echoes your hopes and not your fears.

 

Wishanth Wijesinha, Head of Presales, John Keells IT

What is your role at JKIT, what are you delivering?

My team at JKIT is responsible for the presales process that understands the customer, and their problems, and assesses their current technology landscape and appetite. Using this information we propose relevant solutions to meet a customer’s transformational goals and business outcomes.

What about a digital transformation do you think is the most challenging and why?

Digital Transformation is our North Star! What is most exciting about our mission is the different ways in which we can position transformation for our customers, given our expertise in a diverse portfolio of technology and products.

 

Nishan Thevathason COO MEA, John Keells IT

What is your role at JKIT, what are you delivering?

My role is to assure a sustainable digital transformation strategy for customers in the MEA markets.

What about a digital transformation do you think is the most challenging and why?

I believe in the collaboration of minds and co-investment in technology to change today’s impossibilities into possibilities.

 

Thisara Perera, Head of HR, John Keells IT

What is your role at JKIT, what are you delivering?

At John Keells IT, HR currently focuses on four areas that could shape the business; workplace flexibility, inflation’s influence on retention, bespoke employee training and development and overall employee well-being.

What about a digital transformation do you think is the most challenging and why?

The role of HR is evolving rapidly. With the introduction of new technologies and the changes in the way we work, HR executives have to think differently, operate differently and engage differently. From hiring and managing to dealing with ‘quiet quitting’, we face new workplace challenges requiring new skills and an agile approach to work.

 

Sagayan Santhanaraj, Chief Sales Officer, John Keells IT

What is your role at JKIT, what are you delivering?

I overlook sales in SAARC, MEA and APAC regions. My role includes aligning business strategy, ensuring sustainable revenue growth and maximizing market penetration.

What about a digital transformation do you think is the most challenging and why?

The opportunities in the regions I overlook are exciting. Companies are moving away from traditional thinking towards viewing digitalization as a more consultative and collaborative approach. As a result, JKIT is well positioned for partnerships with its talent pool capable of revealing new solutions that improve customer experience, drive business agility and, ultimately, unlock new value for employees, customers and shareholders.

 

Dilini De Alwis COO SAARC, John Keells IT

What is your role at JKIT, what are you delivering?

My role is to drive the strategy and the operations in the SAARC region together with the technical, sales and presales teams who are driving digital transformation roadmaps for our clients.

What about a digital transformation do you think is the most challenging and why?

We are focused on value creation and bringing business benefits to our customers while keeping things simple. My passion is to enable my team and make sure our customers succeed in the initiatives they collaborate in with us.