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CIMA CXO Forum – Thriving in Digital Economy While Remaining Relevant

The annual CXO Forum of The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) in Sri Lanka was held on October 10 at the Hilton Colombo Residences. This year’s theme was “Thriving in a Digital Economy”, which focused on how the inevitable transformation towards a digital economy will compel CXOs to revamp the strategies they intend to pursue, as the business landscape they operate in, will experience a paradigm shift.
Mr. Shyam Govindan and Mr. Mayank Rausaria, partners of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP, were the two key note speakers at the event. Mr. Kiththi Perera – CEO of Sri Lanka Telecom, Professor Chandrika Wijeratne – Vice Chancellor of University of Colombo, Mr. Shiran Fernando – Chief Economist, Chamber of Commerce and Mr. Bhanuka Harischandra – Founder/ Chief Growth Officer of Surge Global were the eminent panellists at the panel discussion that followed, which was moderated by Mr. Peter D’ Almeida – CEO of N*Able.
The keynote speakers spoke on how one can win with Digital. They spoke about how most fail to grasp the full impact of the digital era and deliver transformational initiatives. Some of the stats presented were that only 1 in 3 business leaders agree that digital priorities are fully aligned within their organisation’s strategy and that just 26% of the executives felt that their company understood the full potential for digital to change value creation.

Between the two keynote speakers they tied in the whole session to;
⦁ Focus on Humans and not technology – They spoke about elevating the human experience, which will help build connections, loyalty and thereby results.
⦁ To use AI as a strategic asset – showcasing a three staged journey which included Assisted Intelligence, Augmented Intelligence and Autonomous Intelligence.
⦁ Digital Mindset – there were 7 core areas found to be important which included agility, willingness to experiment, open mindset to challenge the status-quo, anticipatory skills to foresee the uncertainties, creativity, innovation and networking.
There was a lot of pertinent discussions around skills needed for the present as well as the future which were responded to mainly by Professor Wijeratne. Mr. Harischandra whilst sharing his story of using digital to create value, commented on the connected economy stating how he had received many requests to connect even whilst being seated at the panel session, showcasing one aspect of how the current digital economy works. He emphasised that upskilling one self was extremely important before analysing all buzzwords floating around the digital space.
Mr. Fernando spoke about enabling SMEs to get the full benefits of digital and that the Chamber had several plans in place to promote same. Mr. Kiththi Perera spoke of how the Adhaar card in India was useful to the people. He stated that in Sri Lanka, we had the Samurdhi, Pension, fertilizer subsidy, etc and that there surely were leakages taking place in these areas, whereas for 1/10th of the current cost we could establish a digital card.
Mr. D’ Almeida performed a commendable role as the moderator getting the best from the panellists as well as engaging with the audience with relevant interjections. He concluded the session quoting the CIMA research on Re-inventing Finance for the Digital World and stating that companies like the Big Four were hiring more data scientists than Google.
The forum was well attended by top executives including CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, CMOs and other leaders representing state, regulatory, legal and business sectors of Sri Lanka, in addition to CIMA members.
Organised by the Stakeholder Relations Sub Committee of the CIMA Country Network Panel, the event lead was Mr. Januka Nanayakkara, ACMA, CGMA guided by Mr. Rajeev Aloysius, FCMA, CGMA, Chair of the Sub Committee.
The forum was sponsored by Sri Lanka Telecom (Platinum Partner), LinearSquared (Silver Partner), Pyxle (Bronze Partner), Sri Lanka Rupavahini (Media Partner) and Wijeya News Papers (Print Media Partner).

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