Expat Chit Chat
Lanka should improve retail automation
Country Head, Cisco Systems Management, Rajkumar
Cisco’s Internet Protocol-based (IP) networking solutions are the
foundation of the Internet and most corporate, education, and Government
networks around the world. Cisco provides the broadest line of solutions
for transporting data, voice and video within buildings, across
campuses, or around the world.
The company has been a pioneer in using the Internet to provide
customer support, sell products, offer training, and manage finances.
Cisco is strengthening its presence in Sri Lanka to meet the growing
networking needs of businesses including the Government, large
enterprises, and telecommunications and Internet service providers.
Country Head, Cisco Systems Management, Rajkumar Natarajan joins Expat
Chit Chat this week to talk about the IT revolution.
How has Cisco’s operations progressed in Sri Lanka?
We are on the verge of the financial year. We have done well and have
experienced a growth of 80 per cent. We hope to come out with innovative
products. We will take our clients to the next level of video
We also have developed personalised versions of communication
technology. Our markets have spread throughout the year. We are strongly
present in Banking, Telco, Finance and SME sectors. We are focusing on
growth in all areas.
How do the Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) respond to IT
The SME selection programme providing solutions for SMB sector was
well received. Our partners found a way to differentiate their business.
Pictures by Sumanachandra Ariyawansa
More are lined up to register with us. SMB is a high growth sector
for us. Our challenge was to take this programme across the island. To
tap the market we had to leverage our agents to go to the rural areas.
Reaching the SME segment is not easy as it is a huge market. We also
handle Maldives SME sector operations from Colombo.
How is Sri Lanka picking up the new technology comparing with the
other countries in the region?
Sri Lanka is very much in the lead. Sri Lanka is ahead of India and
other parts of the region. Dialog offered several solutions that were
firsts in Asia. Banking industry is also grasping IT rapidly.
Hatton National Bank was the first to introduce IP telephony. Sri
Lanka is looking at technology to expand. Retail automation is one thing
Sri Lanka has to improve. There is a lot of scope in the technology
programmes the Government launched. If Sri Lanka keeps on adopting
technology all the sectors would develop faster.
What opportunities did you see when starting up business in Sri
We have been doing business with Sri Lanka for a long time. Earlier
we handled business from India. We saw a clear opportunity to accelerate
our growth. For this we needed a dedicated office here through which we
could increase productivity. So in 2006 we started our office here with
three people. Since then business have been successful.
What is your experience with the local staff?
There is so much talent in the country. We have built a very good
team while preserving the culture. Cisco’s vision is to take the local
talent to another level. There is enough talent within and outside
How do you face the competition in the IT field?
Competition has not affected us much. We are doing business in a
different dimension. Not many technology companies are there in Sri
Lanka. Some of the technology companies are not based here. Cisco
provides ample technology solutions and the challenge is reaching the
untapped markets and expanding into new areas using the emerging
What is your experience in Sri Lanka? Can you recall an unforgettable
I have been here for two years. I have traveled extensively. I keep
revisiting the cultural triangle. It is a quiet area and good for
relaxation. My stay here has been very pleasant. On our way to
Trincomalee we were stopped almost every couple of Kilometers because of
The security people were very warm and polite. Once on our way to
Habarana there was an elephant on the road. We were not sure whether to
go or not to go. When we stopped the vehicle all the others also stopped
and there was a line of vehicles behind us. I have experienced several
unforgettable incidents in Sri Lanka.