‘IT/BPM industry aims at export income of US$ 5b in next five years’ | Sunday Observer

‘IT/BPM industry aims at export income of US$ 5b in next five years’

Shiraz Lye
Shiraz Lye

The fresh boost given to the Information Technology/Business Process Management industry by the government with its vision to develop the industry, will enable the lucrative sector to be the leading foreign exchange earner of the country surpassing an export income of US$ 5 billion in the next five years, said an industry expert in an interview with the Business Observer last week.

“The IT/BPM Industry is on track with the backing of policy makers to make it the leading foreign exchange earner in the next five years,” IFS Managing Director, Vice President, Sales, Shiraz Lye said.

The IT and BPM industry has been generating an export income of around US$ 1.2 billion in recent years. The industry aims at an export income of US$ 3 billion supported by a workforce of around 200,000 by 2022.

“We are confident with a highly competent workforce we could reach this target and then go beyond to achieve US$ 5 billion to be the leading export income earner of the country,” Lye said, adding that IFS which employs around 1,400, plans to add another 200-300 employees to its cadre which would add on to the number of skilled workers in the industry.

The Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM), the organisation that represents the IT/BPM industry, envisages achieving US$ 5 billion in exports by 2022, creating 200,000 direct jobs and setting up 1,000 start-ups under its ‘Vision 2022’. The $ 5 billion export revenue is almost a five-fold growth from the current export revenue accounting for 12% of Sri Lankan service exports.

IFS which has been in Sri Lanka for over 23 years has played a pivotal role in supporting the IT/BPM industry helping universities across the country to expand IT literature and develop skills for the global industry. In recent years it has provided 118 scholarships of which 105 students were absorbed into permanent employment. The organisation which is the second largest IT employer in the country makes a significant input to the IT skills and job market of the country.

“We value creating a gender balance in the workplace. Over 40 percent of the employees of IFS are women and we have enabled a flexible working environment which helps boost productivity,” Lye said.

IFS contributes to bring in the much needed foreign exchange by sending employees to countries such as the USA and the UK. It also operates a regional sales and marketing unit which contributes to the state revenue.

“IFS Global has selected Sri Lanka for one of its major Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives implemented in Puttalam to improve healthcare, education and develop livelihood opportunities in the district.

“Software has become a platform for everything we do from food, travel, health, entertainment and education.

It’s been driven by consumer behaviour to serve the consumer. To serve the ever changing consumer needs and wants, products and services companies have to find ways to reach out to serve fast and provide the best. Software and technology platforms have enabled individuals to connect,” Lye said, adding that the software industry is one of the key instruments of this phenomenal change in Sri Lanka.

Due to our adaptability and ingenuity, change has been absorbed and embraced faster and smoother than many other countries.

The industry has been growing rapidly over the last few years and for the younger graduates IT is appealing compared to most traditional streams. You can see that with the surge of demand for IT related degrees and the growing eco system of start ups within the industry.

Within a short period the industry has become one of the top revenue earners of the country. It stands now at fifth highest export revenue earner.

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