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MVP at Microsoft

Senior Consultant at Infront Consultant Group

-Hasitha Willarachchi

Winning an award from an internationally reputed company like Microsoft is a great honor for a person. You have been awarded as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in Enterprise Client Management. We all are proud of your achievement as Sri Lankans. What drove you to achieve this award?

It is mainly the dedication and hardworking. This is my 16th year in the industry. I still remember the day I became a MVP. Becoming a MVP is not an easy task. MVP is not a certification or an award that can be obtained by just passing an exam. It’s a community service-based award. It’s not for just passing examinations or completing level-by-level, but it’s for what we do. Also, it’s not just blogging, carrying out seminars, but, sharing our knowledge with the society. Industry calls us as a subject matter expert. So people are looking for us when they need to verify or resolve something without any doubts. So as MVPs, it's our duty and responsibility to support them with correct facts and figures. For me, it is not only an award but a bridge which helped me to make new friends across the globe.

When considering your age, you are a giant in this field. Let us know the secret behind your success.

As I mentioned, it is the dedication. It was not actually a journey filled with success. I failed my first exam and if I got discouraged then, I won’t be here today. I have a good family background. But, I never asked them for what I needed. As my first job, when I was a field engineer, I even had to fix wirings, set computer networks. Without any hesitation, I did what I was assigned to. After A/Ls, I was determined on following one clear path and expertise on that. I had already decided what I was going to do and it was joining Microsoft. That’s how I’m here today. You must have an aim and a focus. It’s always good to share the knowledge with others too. With the knowledge sharing concept, it will improve your knowledge too. It is all about dedication and focus.

You surely have taken up many new challenges. What was the biggest challenge you faced?

As a person who works with new technologies, every day is challenging for me. The reason is that as a MVP, I have to work with different types of customers with their unique requirements. Sometimes, you have to do stuff totally out of your expert areas to make your customer happy while maintaining the quality of the job.

In your career you may have encountered several downfalls. How did you overcome those failures and convert them into learning opportunities?

You must have faith on yourself. Always keep in your mind that you are not going to give up anything simply. Whatever the challenges you face, take them as positive and work on it. If you fail, try again. Do this until you reach your target. Always keep smiling and try to convert all the challenges as a learning curve for you. No one brings any of these good qualities from their birth. We learn most of them from others. Therefore, always try to listen to others and respect their good qualities and try to see how you can map it onto your life to make your life a success.

At present, Enterprise Mobility is a rising trend & most of the developing countries are already experiencing it. Explain us what Enterprise Mobility is. Why is it important for today’s organizational environment?

Enterprise mobility is a hot topic. Every time we turn around, another company is in the news shouting how their profitability has increased as a result of the mobility. I’d say that mobility is wherever you go, you go with data. You don’t need to ask your IT guy to come over or to take your PA with you. Making everything go with you is the mobility. When it comes to Enterprise Mobility, it is being able to access your corporate data / information by any device, from anywhere.

With the BYOD concept, more and more employees carry their own smartphone to work, with the intention to check their mails and to use personal applications. However, Enterprise Mobility is much more than just accessing a corporate mail account from your mobile device. It defines a strategy to enable processes and applications for mobile use, so that they can be used at any time and from any location. This flexibility enables companies to develop new business opportunities, distribution channels and optimize their processes. To achieve this, in addition to the use of mobile devices, the corresponding infrastructure and services with which the business processes can be used must be provided. The movement of “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)” as well as the device and platform diversity on the mobile market, have driven IT departments to invest in strategic mobile capabilities within their companies. These whitepaper deals with the current trends in the mobile world, give a general insight to Enterprise Mobility. Ultimately, the results of any enterprise mobility implementation are dependent on the specific use case and the requirement of the company, but if implemented successfully, can provide tremendous benefits.

What benefits does it bring over the existing systems?

There are about couple of benefits of using the new technologies such as you can do a cost cutting, reducing the man power and etc. The current systems which are still utilized by the most of the companies, are promising solutions which we all have to depend on back-office servers and applications. To maintain such a system needs to have SLAs (Service Level Agreements) and application support. This will be a cost for the company. Therefore, with these new technologies, you can have your entire solution on the cloud without depending on your own hardware (servers, storages). In addition to that, you don’t need more man power to look after all these hardware peripherals. So I can wrap up, saying the new technologies are the best if you adopt to it with a proper plan.

As a developing country, it’s very important to embrace new technological trends. What is your opinion on the exposure of Sri Lankan organizations for Enterprise Mobility?

As a developing country, so far, the adoptions to Enterprise Mobility and Cloud solutions are very limited. According to my experience, we lack awareness and infrastructure for new technologies. However, with the recent information I have, some of the companies have already started adopting these technologies and the rest of the enterprises will take more time to get in to that level.

While the concept of Enterprise Mobility can improve the productivity of an organization, it may also cause security risks. What can be done for this issue?

Nothing is 100% secured. However, there are ways where we can minimize the security risks with enterprise mobility while improving the productivity. The best way is to define security strategies with the support of professionals and map it with your Enterprise Mobility solutions.

Tell us about the widely-used strategies of Enterprise Mobility.

Even if you can’t anticipate all the ways that the mobility will transform your business in three, five, or ten years out, there are seven ways to develop an enterprise mobility strategy. This will accelerate your mobility transformation and ensure that you are prepared for what the future has in its store.

1. Start with the end in mind—define the business goals and outcomes.

2. Choose the right experience: native app or mobile website.

3. Strive for continuous application delivery.

4.Use APIs to deliver a seamless user experience—and make sure the APIs are secure.

5. Stay focused! The device is one thing, but managing information is everything.

6. Take control with an end-to-end security strategy.

7. Govern mobility globally, but empower your business departments locally.

The two concepts of Enterprise Mobility & Cloud Computing have become inextricably inseparable. How do you describe the relationship between these two concepts?

As enterprises restructure against the changes of globalization, mobile-flexible working in the developed economies and new opportunities offered in the emerging markets, the combination of enterprise mobility, cloud computing and business intelligence are set to radically improve operational effectiveness. The core application for cloud computing is mobile computing. Equally, the core application for mobile computing is the cloud. More mobile devices and apps are there, greater the demand for cloud services. Without cloud computing services, mobile devices offer limited capabilities. Enterprise mobility and cloud computing are inextricably interwoven. The combination of cloud computing, easy-to-build apps and collaboration are transforming the IT departments of many enterprises into being service providers for their organisations. For global enterprises the future is not about how technology works, but how best to apply it to increase productivity, innovation and agility.

Consumer apps are used more often but majority are not aware of Enterprise mobile apps. What qualities do you think that enterprise mobile apps are having over the consumer apps?

When we hear the word “app”, we often think of consumer apps like Candy Crush, Snapchat, The Weather Network, etc. In a world where people want an app for everything, these platforms can certainly become successful. However, for retail or B2B companies, investing in enterprise mobile app development can be much more useful and resourceful. While consumer driven apps seem to be dominating the market, mobile app companies continue to see a rise in enterprise mobile apps.

What are biggest challenges you faced in developing mobile solutions for enterprises?

Well, there’s nothing like that for me, but certainly there are few challenges that often come up and someone should focus on, when developing such solutions to enterprises. In my point of view, there are about 5 top challenges such as Mobile device management, Mobile security, Mobile user experience, Mobile application and Mobile strategy. But it also depends on customer expectations. We must always keep everything balanced, otherwise we will lose the customer satisfaction too.

Day by day new technologies are introduced to IT field. How do you see the future of Enterprise Mobility?

The desktop PC is over now! The new era is already a reality with our smartphones. Mobile has already surpassed the Desktop PCs when it comes to Internet usage. While the enterprise market has lagged behind in this new era of mobile, the industry will soon begin to catch up in a big way. Gartner report predicts that, by 2017, half of all employers will have instituted mandatory Bring-Your-Own-Device policies, which will then result in a major increase in the presence of mobile in the workplace. In fact, by 2020, mobile employees will likely make up 72% of the American workforce. Therefore, we all must make sure that we are ready to step forward towards the future mobility.

What is the message you’ve got, for the enterprises starting on Mobility path?

The note which I have mentioned here is that, start using these new technologies and see how beneficial it is for you. With the usage of it, you will feel the value you are getting out of it. Never expect all the benefits at once but adopt to it with proper strategy to gain the productivity of your business while maintaining a secure mobile device management.

©2016 Department of industrial Management,University of Kelaniya,All rights reserved.