11 JAN 2019
Towards a more efficient medicine regulatory system

NMRA together with Epic Technology Group launch Phase 1 of Document and Workflow Management System Colombo, 11th January 2019 The first phase of the digitalization project of the National Medicines Regulatory Authority was launched at an event held at the NMRA in the presence of the Minister of Health Hon. Rajitha Senaratne. The project was initiated in partnership with Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka where the tech giant Epic Technology Group was selected as the service provider. The new system – a pioneering transformational e-government solution, is expected to enable the NMRA’s divisions to bring down processing time significantly. The initiative came with the review of the current system as being inefficient by the NMRA team headed by the Chairman of NMRA Prof. Asita de Silva and CEO/DG Dr. Kamal Jayasinghe with Shriyananda Rathnayake, Programme Manager of ICTA, supporting closely. The new System is based on Epic Technology Group’s DoxPro Enterprise Content Management Platform, which aims to lower the cost of operations and save thousands of labour hours spent annually on regulatory process, and thereby enable the NMRA to achieve regulatory excellence through its end to end Information-as-a-service model. Commenting on the launch of Phase 01, Dr. Nayan Dehigama, Executive Chairman of Epic Technology Group stated that the group was honoured to have been awarded the project and for the opportunity to work alongside the NMRA and ICTA. “As a local leader in technology, it is our responsibility to contribute to enhancing and upgrading such systems that will benefit the general public”. The Chairman of NMRA describing the current manual systems as “archaic and inefficient” believes that the Medicines Regulator expects Epic’s DoxPro “end to end Information-as-a-service” model would “exponentially lower the cost of operations, save thousands of labour hours annually spent on regulatory process and help the NMRA achieve regulatory excellence”.

08 OCT 2018

Global IT Park Minami Uonuma is ready to showcase Sri Lankan IT companies’ next generation technology stack at Niigata’s Largest business event, Niigata Biz Expo. The event will be held at Niigata Industry Support Center on October 18 – 19, 2018. Four Sri Lankan IT companies and two Indian IT companies have received the opportunity to showcase their technologies at the event. Epic Technology Group, Effective Solutions (Pvt) Ltd, Loops Solutions (Pvt) Ltd. and Evolve Technologies (Pvt) Ltd., are the four Sri Lankan companies. All technology demonstrations will be based on their success cases in Japan after joining Global IT Park, Minami Uonuma. Epic Technology Group will demonstrate DoxPro, a document and workflow management solution for public sector institutions. Epic recently signed an MoU with Datadoc, the largest data center operator in Niigata to promote their cloud based secure document management system to public sector institutions in Japan. Effective Solutions will showcase IoT solutions for manufacturing companies. Niigata is one of the largest manufacturing bases in Japan, with over a five trillion annual product shipment value. Loops Solutions will showcase their digital marketing solutions focusing on inbound tourism, a booming industry in Japan and fashion sector. Evolve Technologies is planning to promote their multilingual mobile apps and resource augmentation services for Japanese IT companies. “This is the third consecutive year that Global IT Park is participating at Niigata Biz Expo. We had overwhelming responses from the participants during last two years. Many companies in manufacturing, retail, construction and IT sector, visited our booth last year and shown their interest to work with foreign IT companies in Global IT Park. We also had the biggest number of B2B meetings at the event. That was remarkable”, said Kaushal Wawlagala, President of Adam Innovations Co., Ltd and Founder of Global IT Park Minami Uonuma. “This year, our theme is “Digital Engagement”. The idea is how to realize the Society 5.0 through connecting and collaborating with Japanese and foreign companies. Japan aims to achieve “Society 5.0” through the full utilization of technological innovation including IoT, AI and Big Data derived from the fourth industrial revolution. To achieve Society 5.0, industries must play a key role. In light of this, the Japanese government has announced “Connected Industries,” as a new concept framework in which industries will create new added values and solutions to various problems in society through connectedness of various facets of modern life, including humans, machines, systems and companies. The Japanese government is advancing a variety of policy initiatives to support this endeavor”, he further added.

18 SEP 2018

The National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) of Sri Lanka has announced an innovative partnership with tech giant Epic Technology Group, supported by the Information & Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka to streamline its operations and services. For a 5-year contract, NMRA has selected Epic Technology Group’s DoxPro Enterprise Content Management Platform to develop a Document and Workflow Management System that would digitally transform its current processes. NMRA is the institution in which the Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka has vested the authority to ensure that the pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and borderline products available to the public meet the required standards of quality and are within the existing legislative framework with respect to the production, marketing and dispensing of these items. Under the leadership of Prof. Asita de Silva as the Chairman and Dr Kamal Jayasinghe as the Chief Executive Officer / Director General, NMRA is undergoing dramatic restructuring and reforms including re-orientation and retraining of NMRA staff, expansion of NMRA offices, upgrading the quality assurance laboratory, stricter enforcement of drug regulations, confiscation and destruction of counterfeit drugs, and public awareness campaigns. The aim is to fully implement NMRA’s mandate of to “safeguard the health of the nation”. NMRA Chairman Prof. Asita de Silva describes current manual systems as “archaic and inefficient” and says the Medicines Regulator expects Epic’s DoxPro “end to end Information-as-a-service” model would “exponentially lower the cost of operations, save thousands of labour hours annually spent on regulatory process and help the NMRA achieve regulatory excellence. Epic’s major focus will be on simplifying systems and leveraging savings across the divisions of NMRA. The new system – a pioneering transformational e-government solution, will enable the NMRA’s divisions to bring down processing time significantly. The new system, which is expected to be in place by end-November 2018, will manage document and workflow processing related to issuing certificates for drugs, devices and borderline products and activities of its subdivisions. Furthermore, a comprehensive accounting module including an electronic payment gateway will also be integrated with the proposed system. “EPIC Technology Group is proud to have the opportunity to work alongside NMRA and ICTA to deliver this project focused on achieving maximum effectiveness in Public Service,” said Epic Lanka Technologies Chief Operating Officer Thareendra Kalpage. Working with multiple stakeholders across various government institutes, the integrated project team – led by, Prof. Asita de Silva, working closely with Dr Kamal Jayasinghe, NMRA staff and ICTA Program Manager Shriyananda Rathnayake – introduced this concept for of state-of-the-art document and workflow management system to significantly improve efficiency of services provided by the authority, as well as increase transparency.

13 Sep 2018

Epic Lanka Managing Director/CEO Viraj Mudalige exchanges the agreement with VisionFund Lanka Executive Director/CEO Samuel Jebaratnam By Hiyal Biyagamage Award-winning and premier regional technology leader Epic Lanka Ltd. has announced a strategic partnership with VisionFund Lanka (VFL), the local subsidiary of global microfinance giant VisionFund International, to deliver a state-of-the-art digital mobile branchless banker platform to enhance its distribution of services in Sri Lanka’s microfinance sector. The landmark partnership will enable VisionFund Lanka to benefit from robust features that the Epic Mobile Branchless Banker module delivers by creating a digital banking touch-point at the field-level on a smart device. This mobile platform enables VFL to significantly expand their last-mile reach and deliver service excellence to their customers at their door-step, while delivering a lower cost of ownership by utilising non-proprietary Android devices that are freely available in the market. Amongst the many features the Mobile Branchless Banker offers, the platform enables VFL agents to perform loan collections from clusters, mark attendance of groups, generate a physical receipt at the completion of a transaction as well as perform online account opening for new customers. Importantly, the online and offline modality embedded in the application enables agents to operate in areas with low or no mobile coverage without affecting their service delivery. The platform includes the time-tested Epic Omni Channel Synchroniser for back-end interfacing and switching which provides VFL the ability to scale their front-end service delivery channels to include additional services such as mobile POS, mobile banking, e-Wallets, etc. without having to incur any back-end re-integration effort or costs. This form of future-friendly evolutionary technology empowers VFL to determine business opportunities without being hampered by technological restrictions. The entire platform communication channel is secured with government grade encryption to ensure the privacy, authenticity and integrity of the sensitive information exchanged and is fully compliant with Central Bank of Sri Lanka guidelines for payment security standard for mobile applications. Commenting about their collaboration, Epic Lanka Ltd. Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer Viraj Mudalige said: “At Epic Lanka, we always look for innovative companies to work with in order to co-create innovative solutions which solve real-world social problems. The synergy between our Mobile Branchless Banker product and VisionFund Lanka’s innovative microfinance solutions serves to improve the lives of many Sri Lankans, while bringing a paradigm shift for the local microfinance sector in terms of technological innovation and service delivery in the digital landscape… it is truly exciting to be at the fore-front of innovation.” “By more deliberately applying the many years of experience and success across the financial services industry (FSI) vertical to the microfinance sector, Epic Lanka can bring journeys at scale to microfinance use cases. VisionFund Lanka brings a wealth of experience, credibility, and strategic thinking by being a part of VisionFund International, which also complements our approach towards developing innovative solutions for FSI sector,” Mudalige said further. VisionFund Lanka Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer Samuel Jebaratnam said: “We are extremely pleased to be working with Epic Technology Group to enable our organisation to reach the next level within Sri Lanka’s microfinance sector and induce our ground-breaking microfinance solutions with a touch innovation. Being able to partner with Sri Lanka’s number one FinTech solutions provider allows us to really demonstrate how an organisation like VFL could bring innovation and leadership to the local microfinance industry.” “Local companies in the financial services industry have realised significant benefits of working with Epic Lanka and we see huge opportunities for microfinance sector to become customer-centric, improve the customer experience and at the same time significantly improving operating efficiency,” Jebaratnam further stated.

05 Sep 2018

Epic Lanka’s ‘Epic Premier Plus’ solution adds the perfect pinch of sugar for financial services offered at SL’s premier banking centres By Hiyal Biyagamage With disruptive fintech (financial technology) entrants winning a major share of the global financial services sector, many experts have predicted a drastic transformation of the traditional bank toward digitally enabled services over the coming years. Despite the emergence of new business models, players and new products, banks will still have a major role to play in the industry as the fundamental concept of a trusted institution acting as a store of value, a source of finance and as a facilitator of transactions is not about to change in a hurry. However, the banking landscape is set to undergo significant changes during the next two to five years in response to the evolving forces of customer expectations, regulatory requirements, shifting economics and new technologies. Banks need to choose what posture to adopt against this change—whether to be a shaper of the future, a fast follower, or to manage defensively by putting off change. Banks who are going to emerge victors will not only execute relentlessly against today’s imperatives, but will also innovate and transform themselves to prepare for the future. This notion is true for Sri Lankan banks as well. According to the Central Bank Annual Report, the sector dominated the local financial sector by accounting for 60.3% of the total assets of the financial sector in 2017. The report further mentions how the era of digitalisation opened opportunities for Sri Lankan banks that never existed in conventional banking including mobile wallets, e-wallets, prepaid cards, contactless cards, and other digitalised alternatives which are gaining popular attraction. It further states, “the fast pace of change in fintechs and telecommunication companies has made the business models of banks more challenging and competitive,” hence banks need to thrive in the digital economy to compete with new entrants by being cost effective and introducing novel product innovations, based on customer insights. PwC’s report titled ‘Retail Banking 2020: Evolution or Revolution?’ points out that attracting new customers is a top challenge for banks over the next two years. “Banks are hungry for growth, and finding new customers is the first response of a good product banker,” states PwC in the report and recommends banks to focus more on addressing untapped areas and offer state-of-the-art solutions in order to deepen their customer relationships and enhance services. Priority banking: An untapped digital gold mine for banks Priority banking, also known as premium banking, is one such untapped area for many banks across the globe in terms of introducing a novel digital platform to address the needs of a bank’s high net worth clientele. In the Sri Lankan banking sector, priority banking is not a new concept. Many local banks have joined the cause to tap their affluent customers. They provide personalised facilities for their high net worth customers who have a certain amount invested in the bank. Some of the specialised services offered to these priority customer are assigning Relationship Managers (RM), providing preferential interest rates, state-of-the-art priority banking centres with lavish facilities including swimming pools, unlimited food and beverages, boardroom facilities, free internet access and special gifts when the customer is celebrating a special life occasion. The basic purpose of this form of banking is to make the experience of banking exclusive, hassle free and less time consuming. It is designed in a way to deliver proven expertise in providing pragmatic and customised end-to-end financial solutions. Each day, banks put special focus on these customers, concentrating on their behavioural and buying patterns. Even with such investments on facilities, Sri Lankan banks face a number of challenges when serving these premier customers. Many of them lead busy work and life schedules. So they do not have a particular time to go and casually enjoy the luxurious client services offered at the Priority Banking Centre. It is also noteworthy that such centres are extremely cost-prohibitive and incur significant overheads to maintain and operate at their premium levels. Most of the time, a customer may still has to be ‘physically available’ to perform certain transactions at the designated Priority Banking Centre. This can be an inconvenience to a priority customer who needs a request to be serviced fast. Traffic congestion around Colombo (many priority banking centres are situated in Colombo) and overseas travelling schedules are other key challenges. On the other hand, relationship managers face certain difficulties. As per banking statistics, a relationship manager could visit only three customers within a single day. They often visit customers to process transactions, discuss about new financial investment products or to simply deliver a cake for their birthday, as a matter of courtesy. Most of the time, they tend to miss these appointments—sometimes the customer does not make it as he or she is stuck at a meeting or the relationship manager will not make it to the meeting as he or she is stuck in the traffic. Having to make visits to their priority customers in person is expensive and time consuming and the efficiency level of relationship managers is deteriorating by the day. Epic Premier Plus: The silver lining of priority banking in Sri Lanka In this context, Epic Technology Group—the premier fintech conglomerate in Sri Lanka and the region—has become the first to identify numerous digital opportunities which reside within the space of priority banking and introduce ‘Epic Premier Plus’, the state-of-the-art priority solution for banks. This ‘epic’ application is the pinch of sugar to all scrumptious caffè lattes offered at priority banking centres across the country, which enhances the relationship between the customer and relationship manager via digital channels. In a discussion with Daily FT, Epic Technology Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Viraj Mudalige explained the mechanics of the application. “The Epic Premier Plus is a comprehensive‘digital lifestyle platform’ that enriches the priority banking experience of any bank’s elite clientele. It strengthens the correlation between the bank and the customer by providing individual applications for the relationship manager and the customer. Both applications are comprehensive and tailor-made to meet the requirements of the two parties. Being integrated to the core banking system, the entire communication framework of the solution operates on an encrypted channel to ensure the security and privacy of the transacted information.” The customer application has a plethora of innovative features embedded in it. Biometric authentication, secure live video conferencing and real-time messaging with your relationship manager, card management, financial portfolio management, foreign exchange, loan and fixed deposit calculators and a dashboard enabled with augmented reality are few to name. “Functions we have enabled within the app brings extreme efficiency for customers. For example, the fixed deposit calculator will eliminate the need for any priority customer to visit a priority banking centre and discuss about portfolio management for hours with his relationship manager. With a click of a button, the customer can start a live video conference with his relationship manager and negotiate special rates, discuss maturity levels, set deadlines for RMs to get back with best interest rate options and even obtain a short term loan against any fixed deposit, if an emergency arises. The customer will be notified about each activity, each conversation via smart notification management,” said Mudalige. Apart from these functions, a customer can request for a chequebook, banking statements, PIN numbers, authorise transactions and sign mandates digitally. The customer app provides a dashboard view of the entire portfolio with an enhanced personal and digital touch. It is a one-tap communication platform, a convenient account and card management system as well as a simplified digital document-signing platform. For the first time in Sri Lanka, customers are empowered to manage their debit and credit cards on their own, using Epic Premier Plus. “If your card is lost, you do not have to call the card centre anymore; you can block the card on your own. If you feel that your card is unsafe during certain time periods, or when you want to allow limited overseas usage when you are travelling, you can deactivate it and reactivate by yourself, no matter where you are. Managing supplementary cards and their credit limits are also possible with the application where you can monitor every transaction through the customer app. This is what digital lifestyle means and it is a considerable cost saving from the bank’s perspective as well,” stated Mudalige. Augmented reality to the fore The app dedicated to the relationship manager also comes with a number of unique features including biometric authentication, secure video calls and messages, client appointments’ scheduler, client request viewer, digital signing of mandates and augmented reality based cards and notes. The app provides a platform for enhanced communication with the customer and 360 degree view of customer’s financial portfolio. The digital workflows of the application lessen documentation and manual processes and for relationship managers, it provides the ability to prioritise tasks based on the level of urgency. The interactive dashboard lets relationship managers understand their completed and pending work. Explaining the live video conferencing feature, Mudalige said, “The level of interaction which is possible through the app is a real game changer. For a priority customer, bank and the relationship manager are two important facets. When an issue occurs, the customer would like the relationship manager to personally involve and come up with a solution. Most of the time, customers would like to mingle with their relationship manager in person however due to many challenges, this will not be possible most of the time. Thanks to Epic Premier Plus’ live and secure video conferencing feature, a personal level interaction is possible for both parties from anywhere in the world.” One of the standout features of the RM app is augmented reality based cards and notes – anotherfirst in the industry for Sri Lankan banks. With this feature enabled, relationship managers do not have to travel all the way to meet and greet their customers on special occasions; they could wish them virtually through Epic Premier Plus’ innovative use of Augmented Reality (AR). For the first time in Sri Lanka, customers are empowered to manage their debit and credit cards on their own, using Epic Premier Plus. “Imagine a situation where you are unable to meet the customer physically and you want to send him a document with some special instructions on how to get on-board with a new banking proposition. Rather than sending him a text or giving a call, you can send augmented reality-based guidelineson the same document. When the customer gets his hands on it and views it through the customer app, he will see a personally crafted set of navigational assistance to use the new proposition thus establishing a bank-away-from-bank environment.” Mudalige explained. Digitally transforming priority banking in Sri Lanka With these digital enhancements, bankers could manage client portfolios on a real-time basis and be ahead of the game while also improving the ability to simultaneously serve multiple client requirements in a smarter working environment. Realtime financial dashboards enable bankers to monitor customer investments individually and offer tailor-made investment options with the intention of maximising customers’ wealth. For the first time in Sri Lanka, digital document signing for banking mandates will be introduced to customers further augmenting mobility features promised by this solution. This will be backed by Epic’s proprietary PKI technology and will run in compliance with the Electronic Transactions Act of Sri Lanka. Final thoughts Banks have so much on their plate right now—rising customer expectations, emerging competitors and changing regulations. Technology offers solutions, allowing financial institutions to cut costs and become more efficient at what they do. It will also help banks to rebuild their organisations around the customer and simplify their processes. They need to do things differently and focus on building innovative products to charter the uncharted territories of banking and financial services. Priority banking is one such area—not for global banks but for local banks as well. Mudalige highly believes that Epic Premier Plus will be ‘one stop digital priority banking centre’ for all Sri Lankan banks. “Epic Premier Plus is a symphony of priority banking benefits, personalised service and exclusive digital lifestyle benefits that bring complete harmony to all your premium banking needs. The ‘Made in Sri Lanka’ product designed to deliver proven expertise in providing pragmatic and customised end-to-end financial solutions. It is an exclusive service that is embarked for high net worth clients of a bank. It is about customer needs, goals, dreams and their aspirations,” concluded Mudalige.

23  Nov 2017

Changing consumer needs and preferences: Convenience and accessibility at the fingertips around-the-clock Today, as a society we are noticing a historical shift from cash-based transactions to digitisation of financial transactions, and from the use of traditional banking channels to e-channels. Cashless transactions are becoming more of a norm rather than an exception. A notable shift in our mind-set has transpired in the last 10 years. Technological innovations and changing consumer appetite (such as the demand for convenience and around-the-clock access to banking services) have driven a shift in consumer demands and usage patterns away from traditional banking channels and methods. Bank cards such as credit, debit, and loyalty cards have become a ubiquitous item in our daily lives. Last year (2016), the number of credit, debit and prepaid cards is 19.50 billion. This is expected to increase 24% to 26.09 billion by 2021. Card based transactions for goods and services worldwide reached 257.17 billion in 2016 for Visa, UnionPay, Mastercard, JCB, Diners/Discover, and American Express (Nielsen report). A similar trend can be observed in Sri Lanka. Over the last decade, financial services have been clamouring to gain market share by enticing potential consumers by way of special promotions for credit/debit card usages and incessant advertising campaigns for their products and services. They appear to have certainly achieved this objective since according to Visa International there are presently over 17.73 million debit cards and 1.31 million credit cards in circulation in Sri Lanka; that is over half of all Sri Lankans owning a debit card (end of 2016). In recent times we have observed newer and more sophisticated payment channels being offered to consumers; namely, internet and mobile banking. An increasing portion of consumers is now comfortable performing routine transactions, such as utility payments, fund transfer and balance checking, via online services provided by their respective financial institutions. Though mobile banking and internet banking has been around for over a decade, its adoption rate and popularity have grown over the last few years. Customer attitudes towards mobile banking have become positive due to the emergence of advanced mobile and smartphone technology, advancements in functionalities and security features, and an overall increase in the use of smartphones by the banking public. Mobile financial services not only fill the need for “anytime” banking for customers, they also have the potential to reach out to a large unbanked population. Low operating costs and higher penetration rates of mobile phones across all demographics make this particularly attractive in developing markets. While mobile financial services offer an enhanced value proposition to current and future banking customers, the medium also provides a viable business case for banks through reduced operational costs and increased revenues. With the emergence of technologically-advanced mobile phones, there has been a significant surge in the demand for better mobile banking services. Mobile banking is fast approaching a tipping point due to increasing demand from customers supported by faster adoption cycles for mobile banking. Banks that embrace and develop a holistic mobile banking strategy are expected to be better positioned to drive customer acquisition, improve profitability, and increase customer retention. Increasing bank branches – Is it the viable solution to attract and retain today’s customers? The natural tendency for providers of financial services has been to rapidly expand their branches and offices in order to cater for the increased customer base. Branches have always played an important role and remain a key banking channel. However, it’s imperative that banks adapt to the changing needs and preferences of today’s customers in order to remain competitive in the market. Retail banks today are under pressure to improve their quality of service, while also reducing costs to remain competitive in an extremely volatile and uncertain market. Improving customer service is crucial for banks in the current market and economic scenario, where product and price no longer provide a clear competitive edge. Distribution channels play a key role in delivering an enhanced customer experience as customer interactions begin and end with channels. Banking customers are increasingly expecting more convenience, accessibility, personalisation, and reliability across the distribution channel network. Banks need to deliver these features by leveraging innovative technologies and solutions for a seamless and personalised experience. There is a clear demand for banks to invest in their channel networks to make them more customer-centric and user-friendly, while in the process improving the channel efficiencies for a better return on investment and increased profitability. As branch networks typically constitute around 75% of a bank’s total distribution costs, the key challenge banks face today is to justify the high branch-operating costs at a time of lower branch-driven revenue growth. It is not uncommon to hear of banks conducting campaigns with slogans such as ‘100 branches in 100 days’, ‘200 branches in 1 year’, etc. Outwardly this may appear to be an effective way of servicing their consumers better, but at a functional level this incurs sizeable capital and operational expenses to that particular institution. Each location requires its own hardware/software infrastructure, personnel and other recurring overheads. And in actuality, physical visitations by customers to these branches might in fact be marginal, and the services rendered even less so. Overall this is not an efficient and realistic method of servicing customers spread throughout the country, and certainly not a sustainable operational model over extended periods. If banks can effectively transition their customers from higher-cost to low-cost channels such as the mobile and online channels, they can reduce their overall cost to serve while also improving their return on investment. Practical alternative to branches – Mobile branchless banking A realistic solution to the impediments of maintaining hundreds of bank branches is the deployment of mobile branchless banking services to authorised agents. This is implemented using mobile POS terminals and/or smartphones with snap-on card reading devices. An authorised agent has issued these terminals and they will be able to provide services such as cash credit, account opening, fund transfer, etc. at a fraction of the cost of operating a fully-fledged office complex. This also extends the service rendered to the consumer as the agent is now able to provide a ‘banking-at-your-doorstep’ type of experience. Key challenge – Incompatibility in heterogeneous banking systems and channels The key challenge banks face today when adopting new product/channels are their existing legacy applications, systems, and bank processes which often operate in silos. Systems are designed rigidly, and are virtually impossible to integrate with any type of 3rd party service with the core systems without engaging the core solution provider – and this generally means exorbitant fees for the bank. In certain situations, the costs are so prohibitive that the new product/channel is abandoned altogether. In a more holistic perspective, all financial institutions today face an almost crisis-like fracture across its service channels connecting to their core banking systems. ATM switches, POS terminal management, card management services, public/private key infrastructure, etc. are all provided by an assortment vendors, causing heterogeneous integration a nightmare at best. In fact in many cases institutions have had to undergo complete backend system overhauls, at stupendous expense, simply to introduce a new service channel. Investments in new hardware, software licenses and employing domain experts in respective verticals add an undue stress on the institution’s bottom line. Consequently, this results in an unstructured allocation of HR components causing the formation of different groups for different products; that is, a different cluster of IT teams for core banking, card management, mobile POS and disaster recovery, etc. This invariably causes vertical dependencies across domain experts since each team works independently of each other and not under a unified umbrella of governance or policy. The scarcity of specialist resources occasionally leaves the institutions in the hands of its IT departments! This is certainly not an acceptable scenario for an institution to who the image of public trust and reliability is of paramount importance. A new concept – Omni-Channel Synchronisation of all front-end services A viable concept to overcome this present impasse is to build an Omni-Channel Synchroniser which is common to all front-end services, and thus provide a single point of interconnection to the core banking and other back-end services. The Omni-Channel Synchroniser will communicate with all different listener channels and route the respective messages to the core banking system via a secure pathway. Thus, a single platform will provide the ability to integrate ATM, card issuance/acquisition, mobile device transactions, dispute resolution/reconciliation and fraud management services with the core banking systems without having to implement changes to the back-end. Ideally, an Omni-Channel Synchroniser would provide four essential services mandatory for any payment platform. 1. Multiple front-end channel integration Omni-Channel Synchroniser will provide a unified medium for all external channels to communicate with the respective internal systems, and vice versa, using industry standard/specific protocols. This is the keystone to transparency between the front and back end services permitting varied systems to integrate seamlessly. Back-end systems could be local middleware (such as SLIPS or LankaPay), core banking system, card management, access control system, etc. Front-end channels could be ATM, mobile or internet banking, mobile wallet, etc. Irrespective of the front-end channel and the back-end system, the Omni-Channel Synchroniser will be a ‘hub’ which provides a common point of integration for all services to interconnect. A vendor only has to expose their system(s) to the channel listener in one instance. The advantages of such an implementation are obvious and substantial, as noted in the following sections. 2. Security Each of the front end services connecting to the Omni-Channel Synchroniser would require its own secure communication channel. This signing and encryption functionality will be provided by Omni-Channel Synchroniser using PKI infrastructure. MAC authentication and military grade encryption will ensure that each message from each channel is authentic and valid. Since the Omni-Channel Synchroniser provides a common gateway for all systems to integrate, financial institutions are now empowered with the capacity to introduce a common security strategy across the entire network. No longer are they shackled by having to adhere to varying security policies or restrictions of differing vendors. The institution themselves sets out the security policy that each system has to adhere to in order to ‘plug-in’ to the channel listener. Since the security layer is common across the entire enterprise, all solutions can use the same security algorithms and policies highly effectively and with increased simplicity. Customers are free to choose their own authentication methodology based on their preferences and convenience. For example, single or multifactor authentication can be chosen based on the type of the transaction or the transaction value. For instance, instead of supplying a customer with multiple PINs for different products, the institution can now readily deploy a one-time-password (OTP) solution where a verification code could be sent to a mobile device for the customer to complete the transaction. Moreover, Omni-Channel Synchroniser supports multiple authentication techniques such as PIN based authentication, and biometric authentication such as face ID, touch ID and voice recognition .This serves a considerable benefit from the perspective of customer experience to a consumer who now no longer requires memorising several different codes; just one password or biometric feature to access the mobile device. This scenario is prohibitively costly to implement in a multi-vendor multi-platform environment where different channels operate across its own channel, resulting in the consumer having to change his/her behaviour in order to better suit the requirement of the institution. 3. Resolution and reconciliation A key shortcoming in heterogeneous systems is that it is an arduous task to reconcile suspense/intermediate accounts from different databases and data streams. A single point of transaction logging will ensure that all batch/pending updates can be accurately and efficiently reconciled with the intermediary accounts. This additionally provides the mechanism to identify unsuccessful, duplicate and reversal transactions irrespective of the front-end channel initiating it, which can then be actively communicated to the consumer either via call-center or mobile device. This form of ‘we’re–on-the-ball’ approach only serves to bolster the customers’ confidence in the dependability and trust in the institution. 4. Fraud management Since all channels are communicating through Omni-Channel Synchroniser, fraud management can be deployed at a single point instead of operating a different FMS for each of the channels separately. And since the resolution and reconciliation is also in a unified state, the institutions can take a more active, rather than passive role in the preventing of fraudulent transactions from transpiring even before they have occurred. Key benefits – Core transformations that lead to tangible savings 1. Less integration cost, time and effort The Omni-Channel Synchroniser provides a substantial advantage in reducing integration complexities that are prevalent today. New channels can be added or removed according to business requirement without having to interfere with backend changes. This translates to visible reductions in software upgrade/ modification expenditures. This provides the institution with the leverage to implement a ‘test-bed’ for ongoing innovations and to fine-tune their product line up to better align with the customer experience. 2. Easy to innovate and deploy new products Reduced integration effort and time directly translate to the ability of the institution to deploy new and innovative products to the market without being delayed by external dependencies, such as vendors’ delays to roll-out patches and updates, etc. In a nutshell, rapid time-to-market of products and services. 3. Strong security policy across all services Omni-Channel Synchroniser allows a superior and strong security policy to be deployed to all the channels of the institution. This will include strong user authentication techniques, message/media signing and authentication and secure channels of communication. A single instance of public/private key infrastructure can be used to deliver this enhanced level of protection across all the products and services of the institution. 4. Reduced HR assets The unified nature of the Omni-Channel Synchroniser inherently implies fewer types of systems to manage independently thus requiring less staff to maintain the entire solution suite – there will be no different IT groups or any dependencies across varied systems. 5. Enforce new controlling mechanisms Since the Omni-Channel Synchroniser provides a common gateway to all the front end channels, it allows financial institutions and regulatory bodies to enforce controlling mechanisms aligned with the country’s lawful requirements pertaining to electronic payment and settlements, payment devices and consumer privacy and authentication. This specifically relates to Sri Lanka’s Electronic Transactions Act and Computer Crimes Act of 2007 which can now be effectively implemented and imposed across the electronic transaction landscape of the country thereby cultivating the necessary foundation for a digital economy. An achievable vision – The Omni-Channel Synchroniser Omni-Channel Synchroniser is a proven solution that provides palpable value by reducing the total cost of ownership across multiple services by introducing layers of transparency between the core system and the new channels. The industry as a whole needs to embrace the concept of being able to deploy new channels as and when the market dynamics require it, quickly and effectively. In an increasingly consumer-driven environment, it is the institution that has the agility and adaptability to change that has the first-mover advantage. This conviction needs to trickle down from the top of the corporate pyramid across all tiers to all the actors in the organisational fabric. In a very real sense, it is the developing nations that would find it easier to embrace newer technologies and concepts due to the reduced maturity levels in the regions-mature institutions operating on archaic concepts and systems need to incur far greater costs to change the plethora of interdependent systems that have been integrated over time. Adaptability is and will be, the key to survival in times ahead. (The Writer is a well-known payment solution architect and industry veteran. He is the Group Director and Chief Executive Officer of Epic Technology Group, the premier and award winning regional technology leader. Viraj is a founder member of Epic, which has an impeccable track record of over 20 years serving corporate organisations.)

06  Dec 2017

Premier and award winning regional technology leader, Epic Technology Group, synonymous for innovative and superior FinTech solutions has partnered with Japanese software integrator TechnoBrave Co. Ltd. The sole objective of this partnership is to promote and implement innovative FinTech solutions of Epic Technology Group in the Japanese market. Epic Technology Group Executive Chairman and Managing DirectorDr. Nayana Dehigamacommenting on this collaboration stated: “Epic has come a long way since its humble beginning 19 years ago.Today, we are seen as the FinTech innovator in Asia.Partnerships like thisfurther strengthen our position not only in Japan but across the region. I believe this partnership will pave the way to create new market for us to implement innovative business solutions for many years to come,” concluded Dr. Dehigama. TechnoBrave President Sadao Kawada stated: “I warmly welcome Epic Technology Group to Japan; TechnoBrave speciality is in the Financial, Medical, and Manufacturing verticals, with our sole objective to make financial software solutions more enjoyable to its users. Epic has an amazing portfolio of products and has truly been the innovator in Asia since its inception, I am looking forward to a win-win situation here in the Japanese Market with Epic,” concluded Kawada. TechnoBrave is one of Japan’s leading software Integrators specializing in Financial, Medical and Manufacturing software services. It has been in operations for the past 13 years, and has expanded its operations globally with an office in Thailand, whist maintaining its strong local presence with three branch offices in JapanTechnoBrave isdriven by offering amazing and quality services to its customers with greathospitality, which has been its motto since its inception. “Epic is an award winning Technology Leader of international repute that ‘bridges humans and technology’ through innovative solutions. With an unprecedented number of national and international accolades won over the past years that includes the highest number of awards won by a single company at the National Best Quality Software Awards for five years, National Business Excellence Gold award in ICT for three consecutive years, the first Gold award at APICTA for Sri Lanka in the financial services sector, Epic shows its technology dominance, product supremacy and entrepreneurial excellence.

25  Jan 2018

Epic Technology group Sri Lanka’s premier and regional award winning technology leader synonymous for innovative ‘FinTech’ Solutions, commenced its 20th year of operations at a simple ceremony held at the company headquarters in Battaramulla on 2 January 2018. Epic Technology Group Executive Chairman and Managing Director Dr. Dehigama commenting on this significant milestone stated, “As we enter into the New Year – 2018 and approach our 20th anniversary celebration in May, let us all be reminded about our core values – Speed, Innovation and Flexibility. These values are engraved in our DNA, and are what passionately drive us to achieve product supremacy, constantly challenge ourselves, push the boundaries for innovations in superior FinTech Solutions and propel Epic into the future.” ‘Epicians’ are driven by an out-of-the box approach to developing advanced yet affordable technology solutions which will change the traditional landscape of secure payments, enterprise content management, secure mobile communication, mobile enterprise automation, and information security domains. Epic’s innovative technology solutions are designed and created by a talent pool of over 250 in-house engineers and experts. Epic also has its very own Research and Innovation Centre with dedicated researchers who continue to push the limits of innovative world-class technology. “We are proud to be a home grown entity ready to concur international markets with its world-class products by competing effectively with international brands,” further added Dr. Dehigama. Epic Technology Group Director and CEO Viraj Mudalige stated, “I am indeed proud to stand in front you all as we commence our 20th year of operations the journey has be tough but as a family we have made it together. I would also like to state that we had a fantastic year in 2017 and I am sure 2018 will be better, with new innovative FinTech solutions ready to be rolled out,” concluded Mudalige. Epic Technology Group owns an ultra-modern office infrastructure constructed with an investment of over Rs. 350 million, and equipped with world class research, development, and recreation facilities. It provides technocrats an ideal environment to work in and utilise their skills passionately and creatively. Epic heavily invest in continuous knowledge assimilation and competence building, which they believe to be the pillars of their success over the past 20 years. At Epic, employees are nurtured comprehensively on domain expertise and are provided with ample opportunities to develop core and distinct competencies in preferred domains. The talented workforce constantly contributes towards bringing a clear differentiation in customer satisfaction and product supremacy. Today Epic has become one of the most sought after organisations to work for in the country especially for technocrats who are driven to excel passionately and pursue a career in the domains of secure payment automation, information security, mobile applications and enterprise content management. Epic is an award winning Technology Leader of international repute that ‘bridges humans and technology’ through innovative solutions. With an unprecedented number of national and international accolades won over the past years that includes the highest number of awards won by a single company at the National Best Quality Software Awards for five years, National Business Excellence Gold Award in ICT for three consecutive years, the first Gold Award at APICTA for Sri Lanka in the financial services sector shows technology dominance, product supremacy and entrepreneurial excellence of Epic. Epic Technology Group is certified for ISO 9001-2008, ISO 27001-2013 and CMMi Level 3.

09 April 2018

Epic Technology Group Chief Executive Officer Viraj Mudalige Expert payment solutions architect calls for a collaborative approach, says industry willing to invest on a national platform and help the Regulator to tackle financial frauds By Hiyal Biyagamage Few decades ago financial institutions worldwide enjoyed the security and protection offered by archaic systems that operated in isolation requiring only physical barriers to restrict access. This was primarily due to the fact that virtually all financial transactions were conducted offline and did not require the inter-operation between multiple systems across various geo-locations. Today, however, the world is digitally intertwined in a complex sphere of billions of people and devices interconnected in a virtual landscape where financial systems are exposed to ever-present threats and vulnerabilities from malicious sources world over. The inter-dependence between multiple systems to deliver financial services therefore relies on the authenticity and integrity of each system to deliver a secure and trusted service: A single infraction could have a snowball effect on an institution and that minor breach could be exploited for unexpressed gains causing billions in damages and losses. Post-9/11, the global economy has had a dramatic 180° turn where some of its economic impacts continue to this date. It deepened the 2001 recession further and the world witnessed the US embark on one of the biggest governmental spending in US history during the War on Terror. The high-level impact of this gargantuan expense added further fuel to the 2008 recession and nations had to overcome continuous battles of unemployment, economic disparity, inflation and continued financial slump. Meanwhile the rise of terrorism and terrorist-funded activities has built a platform of uncertainty and insecurity across the globe. This is more so evident in the financial landscape where terrorist organisations depend heavily on receiving illegal funding from untraceable sources world-over to conduct their extremist and violent activities. And in the increasingly digital dependence as it is today, it is unsurprising that such extremist organisations are turning to the digital arena to accomplish their financing requirements through online money laundering tactics thus making it virtually impossible for authorities to track and prohibit such activities using traditional mechanisms It is ironical to say the least that digitalisation being the platform which promotes democratisation across the globe has resulted in an intensified threat of money laundering by several folds during the last few years. Today, the digital landscape has become the primary platform which spearheads money laundering activities for all forms of illegal and terror organisations across the globe. What is Money Laundering? Money laundering is essentially white-washing illegitimate funds so that it appears to have been obtained through legal means: A person who has received some form of ill-gotten gains will seek to ensure that they can use these funds without it being realised that these funds were acquired illegitimately. To accomplish this, an individual needs to disguise the proceeds such that the original source of the proceeds is hidden and therefore, the funds themselves appear to be legitimate. Money laundering has three stages – placement, layering and integration. Placement is where illegitimate funds are inserted into the retail economy and is the most difficult stage in the cycle. The objective of the placement process is to remove the funds from the acquired location so that it would avoid detection from the authorities when being placed in a financial institution. Next is the layering, which is the process of disassociating illegitimate funds from the original unlawful source by creating a composite web of financial transactions with the intention of concealing audit trails, source and ownership of funds. The typical scenario for a layer is moving money in and out of offshore bank accounts around the globe multiple times through electronic fund transfers thus leaving a complicated tangled web of audit trails which are arduous to unravel and trace by any financial or governmental authority. The final stage in the money laundering process is integrating the laundered funds back into the legitimate economic and financial system with the appearance of legal tender. The global context and Sri Lanka’s current situation The United Nations’ office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates, the amount of money laundered globally is anywhere between 2-5% of global GDP that is between $ 800 billion and $ 2 trillion per annum. While system hacks and data breaches are managed effectively, the best of financial institutions in the world are groping in the dark to trace new-age launderers who are armed with sophisticated tools and technology. The financial industry has been working tirelessly to put forward policies and systems to protect their boundaries and limit these illegal transactions from being processed. Although compliance costs over the years has skyrocketed, they have actively pushed for implementations of anti-money laundering (AML) as well as countering financing of terrorism (CFT). For example, Citigroup increased their risk and compliance team from 14,000 to 29,000 between 2008 and 2016 and Banks have paid in excess of $ 300 billion in compliance-related penalties over the last years. In 2017, the European Commission listed Sri Lanka along with Tunisia and Trinidad and Tobago to its blacklist upon the advice of the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and by 2018 February, the European Parliament confirmed the commission’s verdict, stating that Sri Lanka has been included in the list for risks attributed to money laundering activities. Sri Lanka made a high level commitment in October 2017 to work with the FATF and the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) to strengthen the effectiveness of its anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism procedures and to address any technical deficiencies that may be encountered in implementing such mechanisms. The FATF has introduced 40 recommendations on AML/CFT in order to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and other related offences globally. The APG functions as the FATF’s regional affiliated body and monitors the level of compliance with the FATF recommendations in the region. Connecting missing elements through technology Daily FT sat down with Viraj Mudalige, a seasoned payment solutions architect and the chief executive officer at Epic Technology Group, to discuss what are the key elements that are missing in Sri Lanka’s existing anti money laundering process and what can Sri Lanka’s payment solutions industry can do to mitigate adverse economic and social impacts that would occur, if Sri Lanka continues with brittle anti-money laundering policies. Mudalige was on the opinion that as a country Sri Lanka has had taken steps over the years to implement necessary legal frameworks such as the Electronics Transactions Act, Computer Crimes Act, enabling the acceptance of e-documents and e-signatures and other fraud detection mechanisms as first movers in the region. However, the country has not been able to achieve significant results in terms of fortifying its anti-money laundering, Mudalige opined. “As one of the top countries in the region to introduce strong legal frameworks to mitigate financial frauds, it is unfortunate to realise that Sri Lanka has not had much success in forming strong anti-money laundering policies. With the recent developments regarding the European Parliament ban, it has come to light that the country has to prioritise the implementation of a robust set of strategies, policies and processes to mitigate anti-money laundering activities and fortify its existing anti-money laundering regime.” Mudalige suggests that the time has come for the regulator, banks, financial institutions and the local and regional payment solutions industry to collaborate with each other to find a feasible solution to solve the puzzle. “There is no need to conduct different post mortems to open up the recent incident of Sri Lanka’s blacklisting again and again. The real need of the hour is a collaborative approach between the Regulator and local payment solutions industry to sit together and come to an understanding. First, the Regulator needs to define necessary processes, policies and strategies – amalgamate existing initiatives that were drawn from FATF and APG recommendations if required—and implement a single, coherent anti-money laundering policy that meets international AML/CFT standards. It should also have the capability to be aligned with proper technical infrastructure to monitor different activities pertaining to financial frauds.” “When it is done, the payment solutions industry can then recommend what needs to be done from a technological point of view. The local industry, possesses years of expertise and competency to help the Regulator to connect the missing pieces of this unsolved puzzle; formulate a plan where the national anti-money laundering policy could be further strengthened with best-in-class financial fraud detection innovations and best practices,” stated Mudalige. What are we missing right now? According to Mudalige, the current anti money laundering or the fraud management process in Sri Lanka is missing two crucial elements – online real-time monitoring and real time influence. “Currently, we have offline monitoring embedded in our process. What it does is generate a report with the details of all the suspicious transactions happened within a month and send to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. How could a mere report provide details to trace illegitimate funds or the source? That is why the existing process should include real time monitoring and real time influence. Online monitoring can investigate events as and when they happen in a transactional system while online influence helps a financial institution to challenge a certain transaction; monitoring, detecting and influencing (stop or hold) transactions as and when they happen. A proper anti money laundering platform should be designed to handle all these three levels of frauds.” In order to utilise the online influence process as a whole functional element, few other features have to be included as well. They are: nCustomer profiling – The transaction activities will be collected at the time of the account opening. Customer profile will be thoroughly investigated and assigned with a risk score/risk rating. nWatch list maintenance – Analyse data from watch lists published by various international agencies including FATF and APG. nLinker analysis – Investigate relationships between separate entities involved in financial transactions and unearth any suspicious activity. Metaphonic and direct searches can be performed to find customers to link. nIntegrated alert/case management – Browse, filter and sort alerts that are listed and assign them to corresponding users for further actions. This will help to study the pattern of suspicious activities reported and take proactive measures to mitigate them. nTransaction Risk Measurement – Measure inconsistency of transaction patterns against the stated original purpose of accounts. Through this component, transaction rules can be configured to generate dynamic transaction reports. “The national policy for anti money laundering should have the capability to be integrated with these key features. The watch lists provided by global standard setters for anti money laundering activities play an important part; watch lists not only by FATF and APG but by other important institutes including the United Nations, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, International Association of Insurance Supervisors and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units,” said Mudalige. Anti-fraud and AML as one unit One other aspect Mudalige emphasised during the conversation was the unification of anti-fraud and anti money laundering departments of a financial institution into a single ‘Financial Crimes Department’. “It is a known secret in the financial trade that these two departments are separate due to the genesis of each other. The AML/CFT department was created to address regulatory requirements and the anti-fraud cell was created within the Risk Department to help banks combat fraud. Money laundering and transactional frauds are closely correlated because transactional fraud is often a ‘predicate crime’ to money laundering.” “I believe greatly that a cross-channel holistic approach is far superior because the system is strong in AML/CFT, transactional fraud monitoring, and enterprise case management. Operations can be exponentially more efficient by bringing the two departments together. Modern analytics and technologies are important to wage war against anti money laundering but Mudalige believes it is not the sole remedy. He believes that analytics and technology should be embedded in a business-specific manner and ingrained organically into business processes. From time to time, these assessments need to be reshaped to meet new industry norms. “It is important to develop an end-to-end, tech enabled KYC (Know You Customer) and AML process that has new customer data intake standards, risk-based due diligence, monitoring and customer identification. The design process should cover every crucial component – from rule-based transaction screening to fraud detection.” Concept of Enterprise Fraud Management Sri Lanka is at an infantile stage on the concept of Enterprise Fraud Management (EFM). Currently, core financial systems (deposits, remittances, loans, debit cards etc.) of the country are connected to silo-based fraud management systems which are channel specific and perform fraud analysis post transactions. “The EFM module is designed to support the detection, analytics and management of fraud across users, accounts, products, processes and channels. The module monitors and analyses the behavioural patterns of the user from an application level—rather than at the system, database or network level—and has a close watch upon what is leaked and across accounts using any type of medium to a user. It also analyses the behavioural patterns amongst the users, accounts, other entities, in search for organised crime activities, corruption or misuse.” When asked whether it is beneficial to integrate both anti-money laundering and enterprise fraud management, Mudalige said, “Yes, of course. Real-time transaction monitoring, integrated case management and comprehensive investigations work bench are the common building blocks of both anti money laundering and fraud management systems. If both systems can be integrated using a single platform, banks or financial institutions can be assured of potential benefits in terms of return on investment, which covers operational expenditure, leading to drastically reduced total cost of ownership.” Local industry ready to support the Regulator For any company that is going to take up the challenge, developing an enterprise fraud management module that would tackle and mitigate anti money laundering activities is going to be a costly and timely affair. For the 43 financial institutions in Sri Lanka (opting out the 26 banks which are set up locally), it will be cost prohibitive for them to invest on a comprehensive financial fraud monitoring infrastructure and get it implemented for their organisation. This is where the local payment solutions industry should come forward and invest on implementing a national platform, says Mudalige. “The industry is willing to invest on building a national fraud management platform which could be used by banks and financial institutes of Sri Lanka, at a minimal cost. However, as the financial watchdog of the country, the Central Bank has to take full responsibility and develop a robust, national strategy for anti money laundering so that the payment solution industry could collaborate with the regulator, work on the recommendations and build the aforementioned common platform.” A number of local banks have already acquired several AML and EFM solutions but when evaluated in depth, certain gaps were found in the functional adherence. Mudalige highly believes, with Sri Lanka’s engineering talent, a top-notch technology platform can be built including some of the best out-of-the box scenarios such as machine learning-based predictive risk scoring, pre-packaged channel and product specific detection and scoring models and business intelligence mechanism that facilitates dynamic behaviour profiling algorithms for customer, accounts and channels (Ex: preferred ATMs, preferred beneficiaries, etc.). “Ability to monitor anti money laundering and financial frauds on the same platform will reduce total cost of ownership, and reusing the same interfaces will have the ability to process both financial and non-financial transaction monitoring in real time,” concluded Mudalige.

25 April 2018

Premier and award winning regional technology leader Epic Technology Group, synonymous for innovative and superior FinTech solutions, has once again proved its technology dominance having being chosen as the preferred technology partner by Bank of Ceylon to implement a real-time anti money laundering solution. Customer XPs Clari5 is one of the world’s leading products on AML and EFD in a single application platform with state-of-the-art features which will help banks and financial institutions to adhere to compliance and align with international rules and regulations. Epic Technology Group Director and CEO Viraj Mudalige stated: “I am indeed proud to have been chosen by the nation’s powerhouse in banking Bank of Ceylon at this juncture in time to implement the anti-money laundering solution which is a state-of-the art real time solution designed to combat the most sophisticated financial crimes globally.” Mudalige added: “Given multiple strategic domestic and global AML/CFT regulatory compliance which financial institutions need to comply with, it is imperative for banks to consider innovative approach for their AML/CFT program, I am glad to have partnered with CustomerXPs to help BOC transform their fraud management.” Bank of Ceylon AGM – Compliance Asoka Pinnaduwage said: “Being the No. 1 bank in the country, we have a far greater responsibility of leading by example for other financial institutions in the region. We wish to remain ahead of both domestic as well as global risk regulations with an advanced counter financial crime technology available. We are confident that Clari5’s real-time, cross-channel prowess will strengthen our AML/CFT strategy further.” Bank of Ceylon DGM Support Services S. Hewavitharana stated: “Compliance and corporate governance play an important role in the banking industry. As for the Bank of Ceylon as the most prominent bank in the country combating money laundering is an important everyday issue. We are indeed glad to get Epic onboard, which has taken the lead in this area. I believe that with this strategic partnership we built with Epic and Clarif5, the bank can efficiently assist to manage the anti-money laundering problem faced by the banking industry.”

22 May 2018

Epic Technology Group, the award-winning regional technology leader that has made vast strides in terms of adopting and delivering modern technology across Financial Services Industry (FSI), information system security, enterprise digitalisation, mobile applications and e-governance sectors, both locally and internationally, is marking its 20th anniversary of innovation excellence. As part of a series of activities lined up to mark its resounding success of a 20-year long journey, Epic held a media conference to announce its continual excellence of innovations. Dr. Nayana Dehigama, the Executive Chairman and Managing Director, founded Epic in 1998 as a backyard start-up with just four members on board. With the vision to be a technology leader in the FSI solutions sector, the company began to develop secure payment software solutions to cater to the needs of the banking and financial industry in Sri Lanka. Today, Epic has evolved to be a diversified, techno-entrepreneurial conglomerate offering world-class life-enhancing innovative solutions to public and private sector enterprises in the region. While forging ahead amidst the constant technology transformation, Epic expanded its services beyond Sri Lanka, and established its operations in Malaysia, Japan and Singapore too. Today, Epic is renowned as a fintech solutions innovator in the region. Epic also has made remarkable impact as a technology leader that provides state-of-the-art enterprise digitalisation and information systems security solutions. The introduction of branchless banking concept to the world and innovating the Asia Pacific’s most comprehensive and feature-rich priority banking solution suite that enables virtual banking experiences from anywhere in the world and new generation customer centric fintech solutions through disruptive technologies are some ground breaking achievements Epic is proud of. Dr. Dehigama recalling the rapid progress Epic made at the outset said, “We began our fintech innovation drive in early 2000s even before the banks and tech giants realised the potential in it. In a context where the most banks in Sri Lanka were challenged with diminishing credit-worthy customers due to market hostilities and facing fierce competition for the lucrative urban market segments especially from the techno-oriented new entrants that offered more flexible and innovative products and services, we offered technology solutions for the banking and finance sector enabling them to go beyond traditional boundaries to access new markets. “We saw the potential and dire necessity for banks in reaching out to the unbanked and under-banked population, particularly in the untapped rural sectors. Therefore, we took the challenge of innovating cost-effective means for banks to reach millions of potential rural sector customers who are scattered in larger geographical area and included them in the banking system.” With its strategy to adopt an organic expansion by adding core and distinct competencies that are complementary to the secure payment industry in mind, Epic has acquired expertise in information systems and transaction security, mobile applications, content and process digitalisation. This portfolio of competencies has helped Epic to create differentiated solutions for totally new verticals such as e-governance, document and workflow management, enterprise digitalisation and PKI Infrastructure for enterprise and communication security. The Chief Architect at Epic, and its Group Director and CEO, Viraj Mudalige speaking on plans beyond 20 said: “From the very outset our aim has been to create a unique electronic secure payment platform that facilitates processing of all kinds of banking transactions that initiate from multiple channels such as ATMs, EDC/POS, mobile phones, TABs, PDAs, and internet banking, which are currently being done through isolated systems. Our mission was to be the world’s first fintech company, which will unify all these payment channels into one single platform, so that banks will have single platform to create and manage multiple revenue channels. We are happy that our dream has come true today with our Epic Omni-Channel Synchroniser, which is now rapidly gaining global acceptance.” The world-class expertise and the tireless contribution of the highly proficient and passionate technocrat force of over 300 at Epic working on many flagship projects of large banks in Sri Lanka, as well as in the region have helped Epic build credibility and, thus, strategically focusing on business development thrust to make Epic a global player. Speaking on a few emerging trends of the technology industry, Dr. Dehigama said: “The world is transforming digitally in a pace that is difficult for anyone to even fathom. We are entangled in new disruptive technology jargon. IoT, cloud computing, edge computing, big data analytics and 4G/5G broadband internet connectivity, augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, blockchain, crypto-currencies and bitcoin are some of the trendy terminology we hear every day. But, whatever jargon that may be around us, we seek five main things from this digital transformation – convenience, speed, reach, scale and value. Therefore, we carefully pick the most appropriate technology to build our solutions with simplicity, affordability and effectiveness for our clients to achieve these five core needs.” Commenting on the challenges faced by the FSI, Mudalige said, “We created history by introducing branchless banking to the world. As our first project in branchless banking, we helped HSBC’s Sri Lanka operations to leverage its global strategy – ‘World’s Local Bank’ – by transforming over 750 post offices to function as HSBC branches. It was truly a revolutionary move that the banks could not believe. This innovative concept caught on fast, spreading over the region and a few competitors following us. We are very proud to have secured Malaysia’s largest branchless banking rollout. Later, consequent to our continuous innovation thrust, we introduced our mobile banking platform to capitalise on the dynamics of mobile revolution in the world. As the smart devices were penetrating well in to everyone’s life and digital transformation was beginning, we came out with the world’s most comprehensive and feature-rich ewallet and digital banking platforms. Now, we are ready to introduce a disruptive priority banking platform, which offers banking services from anywhere in the world with the novel experience of virtual and augmented reality.” Epic’s offerings are not limited to fintech solutions alone. Epic is also renowned for enterprise digitalisation and information systems security technologies. It has also implemented state-of-the-art document management and workflow automation solutions in both public and private sectors, for which many national accolades have been received in recognition of its product supremacy. Public-Private Key (PKI) architecture-based enterprise security and user authentication solutions designed and developed by Epic have also created a high demand in the market. Automation of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which helped the Department to cut down the application processing time from six hours to six minutes, and the PKI Architecture at the Department of Immigration and Emigration of Sri Lanka that secures the entire passport personalisation and issuing system are two examples among numerous exemplary digital transformations Epic has carried out. In 2016, Epic was adjudged the Overall Best ICT Company in Sri Lanka with the awarding of the prestigious Gold Award at the NBQSA. FriMi – the most popular digital wallet program – created by Epic for a leading bank in Sri Lanka, has been ranked 22nd in the global best products list of the banking innovations by the ‘Asian Banker’ – the leading organisation that provides strategic intelligence for the financial services industry. Holding a record for having won the highest number of awards by a single company at the National Best Quality Software Awards for six consecutive years, National Business Excellence Gold Award in ICT for three consecutive years, the first Gold Award at APICTA for Sri Lanka in the financial services sector are testaments to the technological innovation and dominance, product supremacy and entrepreneurial excellence of Epic. ISO 9001:2008, ISO 27001-2013 and CMMi Level 3 certified Epic Technology Group strides ahead, unlocking technological secrets of the future, enriching lives and creating a comfortable and secure environment, tomorrow and beyond.

28 May 2018

Dr. Nayana Dehigama, Executive Chairman / MD, Epic Technology Group, Viraj Mudalige, Group Director/CEO, Epic Technology Group, Manjula Thawalampitiya, CFO, Epic Technology Group, Krishan Jayawardena, CIO, Epic Technology Group and Epic Technology Group Epic Technology Group recently hosted a cocktail for their corporate clients and special invitees in celebration of twenty years of innovation excellence at Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo. Epic Technology Group, the award-winning regional technology leader has made vast strides in terms of adopting and delivering modern technology across Financial Services Industry (FSI), Information System Security, Enterprise Digitalisation, Mobile Applications and E-Governance sectors, both locally and internationally. Epic is renowned as a FinTech Solutions Innovator in the region. Epic also has made a remarkable impact as a technology leader that provides state-of-the-art Enterprise Digitalisation and Information Systems Security Solutions.

04 June 2018

Epic Lanka, Sri Lanka’s premier payment solutions company announced the appointment of Viraj Mudalige as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer with effect from June 1, 2018. With Viraj’s appointment and his proven track record as award winning payment solution architect, Epic Lanka is set for a new course of innovativeness and establish itself as a preferred international brand in the rising global digital economic sphere with ground-breaking payment solutions. An industry veteran with over two decades of experiences in the field of Information Technology, Viraj Mudalige has played an instrumental role as the chief architect in introducing an array of breakthrough technology platforms into the banking and financial sector, including Branchless Banking, Terminal Line Encryption, Single wallet for Payer & Payee, Card Management Solution, Internet Payment gateway & 3D security and Reconciliation & Dispute Management, which are today recognized as strong brands by a number of financial institutions across the globe. Mudalige highly believes in Sri Lankan ICT talent as well as solutions crafted under the slogan ‘Made in Sri Lanka’, and has worked with a passionate motive to hire locally-nurtured ICT professionals to develop pioneering banking and finance solutions for international markets. Under his current leadership as Epic Lanka’s Chief Executive Officer, the company has won an unprecedented number of over 60 national and international accolades, including Sri Lanka’s first Gold award at the Asia Pacific ICT Awards 2008 and five national awards at the National Best Quality ICT Awards (NBQSA) 2016, which made Epic Lanka the number one software solutions company in Sri Lanka. An old boy of Richmond College Galle, Viraj is a Chartered Engineer (EC-UK) by profession. He also holds a MBA in Information Systems Management from Sikkim Manipal University in India. Further he received his MSc from Asia e University of Malaysia. He received his graduate award in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the United Kingdom and also holds the National Diploma in Technology in Electrical Engineering from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.