Microsoft to boost Sri Lanka’s digital transformation journey

Published : 8:56 am  May 17, 2018 | No comments so far |  |  (120) reads | 

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Microsoft Country Manager Sri Lanka and the Maldives Hasitha Abeywardena and Telecommunications, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Ministry Secretary Wasantha Devapriya exchange the MoU in the presence of (from left) Microsoft Public Sector Regional Head Vivek Puthucode and Telecommunications, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Minister Harin Fernando
Pic by Pradeep Dilrukshana

 

By Harshana Sellahewa

Sri Lanka’s relatively slow transformation pace in digitisation is to see a boost with the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed yesterday between the Telecommunications, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Ministry and Microsoft Sri Lanka, to encourage the public sector as well as the government, to adopt to the digital era.


This MoU will enable the ministry to improve the efficiency and spread good governance across the local government bodies to ensure effective citizen services for the people of Sri Lanka.

 

 

“Our government sector’s key organisations, which are using IT, are completely clueless about information security,” said Telecommunications, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Ministry Secretary Wasantha Devapriya. 
“They have never heard of things like information security, chief information security officer and all those things. So, in that sense, we started engaging with Microsoft and all other partners to see how we could ensure that. Then we came across that Microsoft is implementing a government security programme. So, this is one of the major key areas that we want to collaborate to build our capability in the government in safeguarding our intellectual property in IT and move forward to the next level.”


The main focuses of the MoU are to establish and implement the digital transformation blueprint for the government, public sector capacity building and productivity enhancement, a software procurement programme to ensure a secure and seamless collaborative working environment for the public sector for better citizen services, a cyber-security risk assessment across the government, along with a security programme, skills development for students with a special focus on the implementation of ‘smart classrooms’ and digital education and technical assistance and expertise on the e-government policy and plan.


“The Digital Ministry was formed back in 2015 and it is a new ministry in Sri Lanka,” stated Telecommunications, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Minister Harin Fernando. 


“For transformation, Sri Lanka is in the right place in the right time. The financial city right across Galle Face is just about to come out; Sri Lanka could be the next alternative for Singapore or Dubai.”


The minister opined that two-thirds of Sri Lanka is fibre-optic enabled but said that there is a mindset issue in the public sector. He stressed that people don’t believe that Sri Lanka is digitally connected, that the government servants don’t believe and don’t want to transform. They want to remain using the ADSL, without upgrading and coming up to par with the latest technology, in this case the fibre optic and they are reluctant to go into the digital era, the minister added.


“As the world transforms and digitisation is now clearly a necessity across all industries, sectors and the public, this partnership between the Government of Sri Lanka and Microsoft is vital for Sri Lanka to harness the potential of this connectivity, cloud computing, the adoption of Internet of things (IoT), and more recently, artificial intelligence.”


“Every government needs to be prepared and adapt to the demands of this rapidly developing and advancing technological landscape to provide accurate and up-to-date citizen services anytime, anywhere,” he added.