The digital transformation of traditional businesses is inevitable. The pandemic has created a world in which a century of technological advancement has been accelerated to fit within the upcoming decade. To survive this accelerated adoption of technology, businesses need to reimagine their operations and harness the power of digital technologies. This begins by choosing the right systems integrator with a proven track record of supporting businesses well into the future. The Just In Time (JIT) Group is a pioneer in advancing technology as a leading systems integrator in Sri Lanka. For many years, JIT has been a part of developing and supporting Sri Lanka’s critical digital infrastructure. In conversation with Arteculate, Chief Delivery Officer at JIT, Roshan De Silva shared the importance of continuous support to ensure an organization’s digital transformation guarantees success well into the future.
In your own words, how would you describe Digital Transformation?
Simply put, digital transformation is the addition of new technology to create or modify a business for the futureproofing of its operations. However, this is more than just moving from paper to spreadsheets. It requires competent resources that specialize in systems integration, and who combine the new technology with the existing process efficiently and cost-effectively. As such, digital transformation can be a cautionary step ahead for the business without the right transition in place.
What are some of the challenges when it comes to Digital Transformation?
Implementing new technologies can be intimidating to most companies and without the correct resources and assistance, there is a possibility of disaster if not implemented correctly. This could result in zero impact on business progression and customer requirements. Together with this, the shift from traditional methods to digital requires the training of staff. Additionally, resistance to change and lack of digital understanding of the process and tools available hinder the transformation. Having a strong change management culture is vital for any organization’s success. Most digital transformation involves moving from a traditional platform to cloud-based technology, which involves cybersecurity risks. The list of risks includes theft of customer data, corruption of the same data, and even losing the entire operation of the organization. JIT commits the necessary effort and patience with the customers as they build their confidence in the company and its expertise to implement the right cloud solution.
In your opinion, why should businesses prioritize support for their digital systems?
In simple terms, businesses should prioritize support with the right vendor to ensure their long-term success. As time passes, technology evolves and there will be changes in the market demands for most goods and services. Accordingly, businesses need to cater to these new requirements. Therefore, having a digital support services system will enable companies to easily modify or plugin new components to their systems and adapt for long-term success.
At JIT, the approach we’ve adopted is to have a close collaborative working relationship with our clients to keep the wheels of digital transformation turning. With this commitment, we’ve taken on the responsibility of supporting several critical systems that makeup Sri Lanka’s digital infrastructure. This includes the Real-time Gross Settlement system (RTGS) of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka since its introduction in 2003. Another example would be the Lanka Clear Payment Switch made possible with JIT. Over the years, we’ve ensured these systems not only operate smoothly but also have upgraded them to meet changing market demands.
So for a business to reach the next level and ensure its future success, alongside digital transformation, it must ensure the smooth operation of its digital systems. Ultimately, a properly maintained digital ecosystem ensures the smooth operation of daily business activities, customer satisfaction, and employee happiness. All the while, allowing the organization to dynamically adjust to meet evolving customer needs.
What should businesses look for in the right systems integrator?
In addition to showing the required competence and technology culture, the ‘right’ Systems Integrator that a business sign on is often the company that guarantees the most peace of mind. Companies look for integrators who have been in the industry for a while; whose people understand various businesses by carefully listening to customers and understanding their pain points. Further, such companies should also look at the industry track record of the systems integrator, their customer success stories, technical competency, culture, and certifications.
Together with this, systems integrators also need to be capable of dedicating the necessary time and resources for a smooth changeover. They also train the staff accordingly and be on standby for any assistance afterward. Following implementation, the support services rendered by the systems integrator, such as proactive maintenance and regular health checks to ensure that threshold levels are not reached, also add immense value to a company’s digital transformation experience. Trust certifications (such as ISO certificates) that guarantee a high quality of work and giving back to society through CSR initiatives also play a part when companies decide which systems integrator to partner with.
At JIT, we’ve taken all necessary measures to create a team of highly skilled certified professional engineers that can provide sound solutions regardless of the type of technology. This includes training at different levels, and across various platforms. In doing so, we’ve created several backup resources to respond at a moment’s notice and tackle the more complex problems under the guidance of principal engineers if required. Moreover, by creating the culture of a mutual journey with the client, JIT understands the needs of the business and builds a roadmap for its foreseeable future, which enables them to stay well ahead of our competition.
Technology evolves rapidly. How can businesses adopt new innovations with minimum disruptions?
The key is to not shut down everything immediately. Rather, change should be done in an incremental manner without causing inconvenience to the organization or its customers. We at JIT have worked with several entities in the past, by not only being their systems integrator but also their trusted service partner. Each project for us is a journey with our clients. It’s essential for system integrators to take that extra step to understand the pain points of our clients and work with them on multiple levels of engagement to formulate the right solution. Training our talent is an ongoing part of each of our projects. Accordingly, we have made it part of our development process to build champions within the system and to create a fail-safe environment when it comes to creating awareness of the newly implemented system, which helps the customer to embrace the change. In doing so, innovation becomes a continuous process made easier for the customer through the experience and exposure brought by JIT.
What challenges has the pandemic presented with supporting mission-critical systems?
Support services are an essential part of systems integration and cannot be neglected during events such as a pandemic. Our approach at JIT was to establish a sound remote operations protocol. In doing so, we were able to uphold the security of the data we handled. A good example would be the secure VPNs that were set up for engineers who provided remote assistance to the clients. Additionally, for the engineer on site, the necessary health guards, equipment, and curfew pass when required were acquired for their protection so that their safety was also a priority while at work.
Contrary to common businesses, technology support services require further innovative measures to adapt to the new normal. We set up the right infrastructure and tools for its employees and customers to not only ensure continuous availability of service but to do so in a secure manner and protect the integrity of the customer’s data. Moving to a remote support services model requires immense trust from the customer. Building a close customer relationship goes beyond the signature of a contract. By working closely with our clients, we have established high-value customer relationships and actively maintain them even well after projects are completed.
Loss of power, poor connectivity, and other technical issues were also present during the pandemic as our engineers worked remotely. To overcome this, JIT provided its employees with spare laptops and accessories to ensure that mission-critical operations are not affected by such obstacles. However, not all projects were able to be done remotely and required the physical presence of our team in case of emergencies. In such instances, JIT arranged the necessary facilities for the team in close proximity to the client for on-call assistance.