Realizing the Value of Data

Realizing the Value of Data

One of the primary goals of a business is to increase profit. In its simplest form, profit growth can be achieved by increasing revenue and reducing costs. Yet in reality, these could be complex interdependent functions and therefore organizations need to take a closer look to understand the revenue and cost structures and their relationships to manipulate these parameters carefully and increase profit.

There are multiple ways to model profit. An organization should find ways to increase income while protecting the existing revenue, thereby contributing to an increase in profit. An organization should also find ways of reducing costs and avoiding future costs to increase overall profits further. Businesses should strive to achieve sustainable profit growth in the long term, and to that end, data analytics can play a significant part.

Value Framework to Increase Profit

Realizing the Value of Data by Implementing the Right Use Cases

Mapping the above framework to data analytics, an organization can implement multiple use cases affecting revenue and cost to realize the value of data to increase profit.

While there are many industry-specific use cases, the following are some generic data analytics use cases that affect revenue and cost, directly or indirectly.

Data Analytics Use Cases Affecting Revenue

Data Analytics Use Cases Affecting Cost

Some of the above data analytics use cases affect both revenue and cost simultaneously thereby strongly affecting profit. Organizations can identify such use cases and prioritize implementing those to realize the maximum value of data. Such sample use cases are described below.

Use Case 1: Power of Personalization with Targeted Campaigns

Customers expect intelligent communications from brands that are personalized to individual preferences.

91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them.”

Source: Accenture, Personalization Pulse Check 2018

52% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t make an effort to personalize communications to them.”

Source: Salesforce Research, State of Marketing 4th Edition

Targeted campaigns are a way of providing personalized offers to customers and one that has consistently proven to improve the campaign results. They can directly increase revenue by delighting the customer with relevant offers leading to more purchases. Targeted campaigns can also indirectly preserve current revenue via protecting the existing customer base by providing excellent service, appealing offers leading to increased customer affinity and reduced churn rates. It can also reduce costs through improved productivity through streamlined and automated target campaign rollouts reducing manual intervention.

The following figure depicts how targeted campaigns can directly and indirectly affect the revenue and costs of the organization.

Use Case 2: Power of Recommendation with Recommendation Engine

Recommendation engines have been an essential factor to the success of digital platforms such as Alibaba, Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify. The Recommender System is not just a marketing tool to increase sales but also a platform to provide insights and promote customer engagement to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, thus increasing customer lifetime value and business growth.

80% of Netflix’s Viewer activity is driven by recommendation engine.”

1 Billion USD is saved through reduced churn by Netflix recommendation engine.”

35% of Amazon’s sales are generated by their recommendation engine.”

Source: Business Insider

Recommendation engines can directly increase the revenue streams of a business by providing relevant purchasing advice and delighting customers, leading to more purchases. It can also increase customer affinity and reduce customer churn thereby protecting the existing revenue base. It also reduces the cost of operation by increasing productivity and automating the process of instantaneously providing intelligent recommendations to the user without manual intervention.

The following figure depicts how implementing a Recommender System can affect the revenue and cost of a business in direct and indirect ways.

Use Case 3: Power of Prediction with Predictive Maintenance

In the environment of industry 4.0, predicting machine failures by analyzing and modeling IOT sensory data along with other related data points using advanced analytics techniques is a real use case that can add value to the business. Knowing well ahead that a machine would fail can avoid unplanned downtimes, prevent outages in the factory operation and increase productivity.

“Predictive maintenance typically reduces machine downtime by 30 to 50% and increases machine life by 20 to 40%.

Source: McKinsey Industrial Analytics

“Predictive maintenance increases productivity by 25%, reduces breakdowns by 70% and lowers maintenance costs by 25%.

Source: Deloitte Predictive Maintenance Position Paper

Predictive maintenance of machinery can increase the productivity of the operation by reducing unplanned machine maintenance costs, improving machine lifetime and running the machines at their optimum conditions. It can also avoid future costs associated with sudden machine breakdowns that require unplanned break fixes and maintenance of machines, loss of production due to machine downtime and machine replacement due to poor maintenance of machines. In addition, it ensures smooth operation of 24×7 production in the factory, thus enabling the organization to fulfil customer orders on time thereby increasing customer satisfaction, service excellence and loyalty.

The following figure depicts how predictive maintenance use cases can directly and indirectly affect the revenue and cost of the business operation.

The use cases described above may have industry-specific versions that can differently impact the revenue and cost. However, the generic use cases are taken to elaborate on their impact on both the revenue and costs.

In summary, value creation by data analytics use cases can be assessed by looking at the impact they make on the revenue streams and cost structures of the business. This influence can be direct or indirect but ultimately impacts the bottom line of the business in the short term and long term in a sustainable manner. Furthermore, certain data analytics use cases can simultaneously affect both the revenue and cost to improve the bottom line of the business, hence these use cases should be implemented on priority basis to harness the maximum value out of data.

Poornika Wickramasuriya
Associate Director – Data Science

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MillenniumIT ESP launches MillionPaths Foundation

MillenniumIT ESP launches MillionPaths Foundation

  • Enterprise Technology Solutions Provider launches CSR arm in lieu of the company’s completion of 25th year milestone.

MillenniumIT ESP, Sri Lanka’s leading Enterprise Solutions Provider, launched its very own CSR arm ‘MillionPaths Foundation’, as a Guarantee Company, to officially carry out volunteering work and focus on making the world a better place for both humanity and the mother nature.

Goodwill and the nature of giving is not new to MillenniumIT ESP, a company of over 25 years’ standing, always has had a culture of supporting social causes and leading CSR programs. The formation of the Foundation has been an initiative to commemorate the company’s journey thus far as one of the first local IT companies in Sri Lanka to achieve a silver jubilee anniversary.

Having launched recently, the MillionPaths Foundation is a vehicle that formalizes the company’s CSR initiatives. It adopts a more structured and focused approach in implementing charity projects. . In addition, the Foundation intends to provide a platform for MillenniumIT ESP to carry these volunteering activities on a larger scale and in more impactful ways, by collaborating with their principals and customers.

As a company that provides customized technology solutions to organizations across multiple industries, enabling them to reach their digitization goals and business strategies, MillenniumIT ESP’s vision for forming the Foundation arose from realizing that there are multiple ways, probably a ‘million’ different ‘paths’, an entity could take to create a positive impact in the society and help multitudes of people who are deprived of basic needs, thereby deriving the Foundation name itself.

Focusing on the pillar of education as an overall theme for the formation of the MillionPaths Foundation, its vision is to “Embrace the pinnacle of knowledge for an empowered and enriched tomorrow”. With this in mind, the Foundation will be focusing on four main objectives: To provide technology solutions and use digitization for the betterment of the society; To empower the future generation with education; To protect the environment; and To contribute towards poverty alleviation.

Moreover, the MillionPaths Foundation aligns its objectives with the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) laid down by the United Nations to “promote prosperity while protecting the planet”, including: No Poverty (SDG 1), Quality Education (SDG 4), Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG 9), Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10), Climate Action (SDG 13), and Partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17).

Commenting on the establishment of the Foundation, Mr. Shevan Goonetilleke, Director/Chief Executive Officer at MillenniumIT ESP stated, “We are elated to establish the MillionPaths Foundation to drive our CSR and sustainable initiatives to the next level. As an organization, we are indeed passionately driven to support and uplift the society through various initiatives. While focusing on the most critical needs, we will continue to support such ventures on a continuous basis in a prudent and sustainable manner.”

Driven by the company’s employees, who form the nucleus for the numerous CSR initiatives carried out by MillenniumIT ESP since its inception in 1996, the Foundation Team has already completed 3 successful projects in the short span of 2 months since their formal operations: providing sports equipment to the Peramaduwa Vidyalaya in Kantale, Trincomalee; renovating the Udadompe Vidyala in Badulla; and equipping the IT Lab of the Kalundawa Saranankara Maha Vidyalaya in Kurunegala. Further information on these worthy causes as well as the Foundation itself can be found on the Foundation’s new website at www.mitesp.com/millionpathsfoundation/.

 About MillenniumIT ESP

In the 26-year journey, MillenniumIT ESP has strengthened its hold in the IT sector through its delivery of successful innovations and projects in various industries. MillenniumIT ESP, a complete Enterprise Solutions Provider, offers technology solutions and services around Core Infrastructure, Cloud, Cyber Security, Enterprise Applications, Intelligent Automation and Data, Smart Buildings, and Managed Services. The company has a strong presence across a variety of industry sectors including Telecommunications and Media, Banking and Financial Services, Manufacturing and Retail, Government, and Commercial Sector which focuses on Healthcare, Transportation, Hospitality, IT and BPO Companies, and other Conglomerates. Currently, the company is on a growth drive with plans to expand its footprint globally across all sectors, with a new regional office in Singapore. For more information, visit www.mitesp.com.

Sanjaya Dayananda, MillionPaths Foundation – Director/MillenniumIT ESP – VP Enterprise Applications & Intelligent Automation, carrying out the inauguration speech.

Sanjaya Dayananda, MillionPaths Foundation – Director/MillenniumIT ESP – VP Enterprise Applications & Intelligent Automation, presenting the Foundation objectives.

Sanjaya Dayananda, MillionPaths Foundation – Director/MillenniumIT ESP – VP Enterprise Applications & Intelligent Automation, presenting current ongoing projects under the Foundation.

Sanjaya Dayananda, MillionPaths Foundation – Director/MillenniumIT ESP – VP Enterprise Applications & Intelligent Automation, launching the Foundation website.

Go Beyond Chatbots with AI-powered Conversational Banking

Go Beyond Chatbots with AI-powered Conversational Banking

AI-powered Digital Assistants (DAs) have gained popularity over recent years. According to a study by Juniper Research, consumers are expected to interact with voice assistants on over 8.4 billion devices by 2024, surpassing the world’s population. Unlike chatbots, DAs have evolved over the past few years from rule-based responses to function as fully integrated end-to-end customer journey mapped solutions with integration flows.

The rule-based approach used to take the user through several predetermined steps to achieve their goal. With the introduction of pre-trained language models and advanced NLP algorithms, DAs were able to understand user requests better. These improvements led DAs to be conversational. DAs were able to evolve from understanding their users’ requests to being contextually aware of the user’s requests. Now, DAs can initiate conversations, understand the user’s request, be contextually aware, lead users through complex processes, integrate to external systems, communicate via speech commands, and efficiently complete user-requested actions from applications.

MillenniumIT ESP’s FinBot – The Banking Digital Assistant

MillenniumIT ESP has deployed FinBot – the Banking DA – for financial institutions to enhance banks’ customer experience and approachability. FinBot can converse with a user while being contextually aware. It is capable of providing product information related to accounts, loans, credit cards, value-added services, general information, nearest branch/ATM information, check credit card balances, account balances, suspend misplaced cards, generate leads, handover the session to a live agent, raise a complaint, and many more features. Below are a few advantages of FinBot:

Transformed Customer Experience

FinBot can understand human conversations and deliver a personalized and conversational experience to users. The DA improves customer experience by responding to customer inquiries in real-time and maintaining positive NPS and resolutions.

24/7 Availability & Scalability

The Banking DA can assist customers and employees 24/7 via various channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, MS Teams, Telegram, and Twilio, among others. It is reliable and can handle a number of requests simultaneously.

Reduced Cost

FinBot is able to handle customer inquiries from digital channels with minimum human intervention. This would enable bank agents to focus on more high priority, important tasks and attend to customer queries only when needed.

Unforeseen Insights

When DAs are incorporated, banks can understand their customers’ sentiments, most frequently inquired products and services and other insights to judge their areas of interest to use for targeted campaigns and promotions. Real-time insights will assist banks to take more strategic decisions based on concrete data.

Below are a few features and functionalities of the FinBot solution.

Feature 1: Conversational Flows

The DA understands the context of the user’s query without the user explicitly mentioning it. For instance, the user could ask “I want to know the nearest branch,” and the DA would respond with the nearest branch information based on the shared GPS location/entered city. If the user then asks, “Can you provide me the contact information,” the DA would know the user is asking for information on the nearest branch information shared and will provide the response accordingly. The DA is also designed and developed to understand the user’s query no matter how complex the command sentence is; it will understand all relevant entities mentioned by the user and provide the final response. Auto-correction and misspelt words are also supported.

Feature 2: End-to-End Process Automation

The DA could trigger RPA processes. Information entered to the DA could be used to fill and submit external forms without manual intervention. The DA could trigger the first level verification RPA process of a customer based on the information provided. A user can type a message in the DA like “I want to disable my debit card,” the DA would then process the request and trigger the RPA bot. The RPA bot would connect with the on-prem legacy system, and once the task is completed, the RPA bot would pass the status of the response to the DA which would provide the relevant information to the user.

Feature 3: Integration with On-prem Systems

FinBot could be integrated with the backend systems of an organization. This includes integrating with CRM systems, submitting support tickets to ticketing systems and integrating with on-prem core-banking systems to get account balance and credit card balances. The high-level process of checking the credit card balance through the Banking DA is illustrated below.

Feature 4: Integration to Multiple Channels

Using the Banking DA, organizations could engage with their customers on multiple platforms. A DA could be embedded to the company website, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, WhatsApp, Skype, Twilio, Slack, and MS Teams, among others.

Feature 5: Live Agent Handover

When a customer prefers to speak to a live agent, the DA could hand over the session to the live agent with the customer conversation history. This ensures a smooth transition for the customer and makes it an easier process for the customer care agent to take over the conversation.

Feature 6: Customized GUI Components

Customized UI components, including rich user controls such as cards, forms, carousels, menus, multimedia content, and customized branding can be incorporated to improve the overall user experience.

Feature 7: Multilingual Capability

DAs have the capability of conversing in multiple languages. At MillenniumIT ESP, we have deployed DAs that support English, Sinhala and Tamil languages to ensure that more people can access the DA in their native language.

Feature 8: Delivering Insights through Analytics Dashboard

While customer-facing DAs mainly support customer care agents, they also provide key metrics for managerial decision-making. Through the insights and analytics provided following the deployment of a DA, key metrics can be collected. An organization could identify their popular products, customer queries and expectations, identify seasonal changes and gather other key information for their decision-making needs.

Feature 9: Speech Capability

Users are able to interact with voice DAs via voice commands. Custom Neural voice is also supported, which allows users to create a customized voice for their brand.

Feature 10: Pre-trained Use Cases

The DA consists of pre-trained banking and financial language models for account information, credit card information, loan information, value-added service information, e-banking information, and general information enabling the DA to be rapidly deployed.

Feature 11: Continuous Re-training

Continuous re-training and improvements of the DA will be done on a daily basis to improve the customer experience.

FinBot’s High Level Architecture

FinBot is powered by Microsoft’s Bot Framework and the Azure Cognitive Services.

The Microsoft Bot Framework is used to build DAs that use natural language understanding, speech, questions and answers, etc. Microsoft Cognitive Services are used to build cognitive intelligence to the DA. Microsoft’s Language Understanding Model is used to predict the overall meaning and retrieve detailed information of the user’s conversation. QnA Maker is used to build a knowledge base by using question and answer pairs. Azure Storage is used to handle temporary session data. A site-to-site VPN is integrated to securely connect with on-prem systems.

Security-first Approach

Relevant security measures are undertaken to secure the banking DA by adhering to PCI Security Standards. Azure Bot Service is continually expanding its certification coverage. Currently, Azure Bot Service is certified with the following certificates. UI-level masking and encryption mechanisms are incorporated to ensure that all sensitive information exchanged are secure.

What Makes Us Unique?

MillenniumIT ESP provides end-to-end DA solutions. Each solution maps the customer journey to provide a seamless user experience. Development best practices and processes are followed to create production-ready DAs.

Our FinBot solution is also recognized as a preferred solution on the Microsoft Marketplace and it is Microsoft co-sell ready containing pre-trained models for banking and financial institutions.

End note:

With people increasingly adopting digital platforms and virtual consumer behavior practices normalizing across industries, DA’s will soon become the preferred choice for customer engagement. These versatile artificial intelligence applications with multiple industry flexibility will liberate individuals from mundane tasks and help humans focus their energy on more creative endeavors.

Shehani Perera
Engineer – Software Engineering
MillenniumIT ESP
Areefa Thassim
Engineer – Enterprise Applications
MillenniumIT ESP

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The Need of the Hour of Today’s Enterprise – Innovation Within to Enable a Sustainable Ecosystem

The Need of the Hour of Today’s Enterprise – Innovation Within to Enable a Sustainable Ecosystem

The uncertainty and chaos caused by the prevailing deadly pandemic clearly shows that although we live in a world complete with cutting-edge technological solutions for many of our problems, we are not really focusing on the ‘right’ problems. Are we addressing the world’s most challenging issues in the right way? The pandemic itself is proof that we have probably missed some of the most important aspects in this world and shown us that we lack innovation, investment and technological advancements in healthcare, education, environmental and many other areas. The current world order and the financial ecosystem as we know it, is fragile and it clearly is not focusing on the important issues that we need to solve as a human race.

With this realization, the world is starting to understand a little better and is making an effort to shift gears to creating and maintaining a more sustainable ecosystem with innovation at its core. Doomsday Hollywood movies have often depicted how our world may end in the most dramatic way – but the truth is we may be heading that way in reality unless we act fast. Are we too late to change course for the better? The good news is we can, but we need to act fast.

What is Sustainability?

Before we get into the solutions, we need to understand some of the underlying concepts and models that we can use to solve these problems. Sustainability has become a buzzword today, but what does it really mean? Let’s consider this definition “Meeting our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Brundtland Commission, 1987). It has three components — environmental conservation, social responsibility and economic development. While most people primarily associate sustainability with environmental conservation, it is about people and the health of our communities!

In 2015, the United Nations drew up a guideline called The Sustainable Development Goals, a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They addressed the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice, encompassing all elements that need to be considered given that sustainability has a broader aspect. Businesses too can add great value to solve these problems if they have a clear focus on them.

How Can a Business Realign and Change?

  1. Develop a greater purpose – Businesses have typically had one financial objective – to increase revenue, create shareholder value, improve customer portfolio. However, today, this focus must shift slightly to have a bigger purpose. Companies today must invest in more sustainable ways of doing business, which include culture, impact to society and the community, as well as the environment.
  2. Shake off the legacy mindset – To be able to incorporate sustainable practices into your business, organizations need to focus on what’s called the triple bottom line. To build a purpose driven business or operate as one you need to have a long-term vision. Most businesses operate on short-term goals or quarterly based achievements. But, there needs to be a balance, meaning a business should have both short-term and long-term goals. These goals must be impactful with a larger and lasting impact on society and on the planet. It’s only then that any high-tech modern-day innovation can contribute meaningfully to sustain our existence.
  3. Carve out a different way to operate – A sustainability focus driven business needs to operate two steps ahead, which means they need to have a long-term focus. It also needs to be partnership oriented, which means it needs to be open to partners who have expertise in other areas and have common goals and vision. Above all, it needs to be human centric and must include an element of empathy.
  4. Nurture purpose-driven employees – No goal or innovation can be accomplished if you do not have the right talent and the required motivated and passionate mindsets. That is why your employees will be the biggest assets to transform or build a purpose driven organization or innovation. To do this, you must focus on creating a work environment where employees feel their job is more than just a paycheck by incorporating other intangible benefits. When organizations prioritize purpose over paychecks, they appeal to candidates who are committed, intrinsically motivated and show greater passion for a bigger cause in their work, especially among younger generations entering the workforce today.


Conclusion

The problem is very real and requires immediate attention. While much has been talked about and debated on many forums, some organizations lack the enthusiasm or sense of urgency to address these issues by redefining how they operate. In a nutshell, the future of businesses and companies are not going to be spreadsheet driven. It has been proven by Elon Musk and other modern-day entrepreneurs that their successes were achieved by trying to solve real-world problems. The mantra of organizations today should be to create wealth and value by adopting a larger purpose – one that recognizes and embraces the bigger picture of sustainability to positively impact people and the planet via innovation and disruptions.

“Disruption is the watchword in business today. With technology changing at hyper speed, corporations may struggle to build a foundation for long-term success. Traditionally, organizations have emphasized how much revenue they create and how many expenses they cut. With the challenges facing society today, that simple focus is no longer sustainable.” — Forbes

Calvin Hindle
Associate Director – Emerging Technologies
MillenniumIT ESP

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The Evolution of Cyber-Attacks in Sri Lanka

The Evolution of Cyber-Attacks in Sri Lanka

As you are already aware, cyber-attacks reported within the country has become more common in the recent past. Reflecting on these attacks, we noticed three trends that have been explained below:

  1. Drastic increase in threats – Over the past two-to-three years, we have noticed that the number of cyber-attacks targeting Sri Lankan-based enterprises has been drastically increasing. We hear more stories about successful attacks compared to attacks that were detected and mitigated at their early stages.
  2. Increase in the complexity of attacks – We aren’t talking about isolated, annoying viruses anymore that make our life a little difficult, for example folder.exe., rather attacks that go through multiple stages spanning over a period of time. Attackers improvise and adapt to the environment and leverage stealth mechanisms to remain undetected until the very last stage is executed.
  3. Exponential increase in the impact of attacks – The impact of modern attacks is increasing rapidly. We have come across many instances where large organizations have been brought to their knees and took days to recover. In addition to the financial loss due to the abrupt stop of business, money and resources been spent on the recovery process, many organizations suffer significant reputational damage. News travels fast and bad news travels faster. Some attackers even go as far as releasing samples of stolen data to persuade companies to pay ransom.

In order to understand the current cyber attack trends within the country, let’s analyze what has changed over time from an attacker’s point of view and from a defender’s point of view.

The Evolution of Cyber Attacks in Sri Lanka – From an Attacker’s Point of View

Looking at how the attacks have evolved from an attacker’s point of view, there are a few key points that we have observed.

Sri Lanka is no longer a hidden target – For some time, we had the luxury of reading about attacks only in news or tech blogs. It was very rare for us to be at the receiving end of a cyber-attack. But that isn’t true anymore. Attackers have their eyes set on enterprises in Sri Lanka. With acceleration in digital transformation happening and changing work dynamics due to the prevailing pandemic, Sri Lanka is more visible to attackers who now view it as a viable target.

Attackers collaborate – Just like we collaborate to defend our organizations, attackers too have started to collaborate in order to be more efficient when running attacks. It is no longer required for a single attacker to run all the stages of an attack by themselves, instead they collaborate and function as a tag-team. For example, one attacker group may have expertise in stealing credentials, while another has expertise in stealing data or running ransomware attack campaigns. In such an instance, the former would tend to sell the credentials they stole to the latter, so they can run a ransomware attack. This enables the attackers to focus on what they are good at.

Everything is available at the right price – I believe most of us are familiar with the term XaaS (X-as-a-Service). Customers prefer to consume functions in the form of “as-a-Service” since you can get what you want without having to worry about the underlying technologies and maintenance overheads. This is true with attackers as well. Attackers rent out their infrastructure or services to interested parties to run attacks expecting a percentage of earnings in return. For example, Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) is a very common thing these days.

Easy way to earn money – If you have been following the news and have been monitoring professional social networking sites such as LinkedIn, you will notice that there are a lot of professionals who are seeking work due to the effects of the pandemic. Attackers seek to lure such individuals by showcasing the potential of earning a quick buck.

The Evolution of Cyber Attacks in Sri Lanka – From a Defender’s Point of View

Cyber-attacks are no longer a smash and grab operation – In the past, it was very rare to experience an attack that had multiple stages and most attacks rarely spanned over a couple of hours. But now we experience attacks that have many stages, such as initial compromise, credential theft, privilege escalation, lateral movement, detonation, and these span over a period of time which could range from a couple of days, weeks, to even months. This makes it incredibly difficult to detect if you do not know where to look.

Attackers actively participate – Attackers have become more involved during the period the execution takes place. They no longer release viruses or worms and expect them to do the job on their own. Instead attackers are focused on creating and maintaining communication channels to the victim networks and dictating how the attack is executed. This enables them to be more devastating since they could quickly adopt and circumvent any changes the defenders place in order to thwart such attacks.

No more bringing your own tools – In the past, most attacks were done using tools created by attackers for that particular purpose. This made it easy for security solutions to detect such tools and prevent them from executing. But this is no longer the case. Attackers prefer to improvise, hence whenever possible, they would leverage legitimate tools used by administrators to carry out the attack. This is also known as “living off the land.” This makes it very difficult to detect since we would always have to consider the context of an event before deducing if it is malicious or not. One example would be an attacker compromising your software distribution tool to deliver a malicious payload within your network. Without knowing if the payload is malicious or not, you cannot accurately say if this activity is malicious or not.

Multiple entry points to exploit – In the past, an enterprise had an easier job protecting their networks since the perimeter was clearly defined. Anything within the organization’s premises was considered to be trustworthy and anything coming from outside was scrutinized before allowing access. But with the “New Normal” everything has changed. It is no longer about who is inside your premises and not since many or even all employees are working from home, connecting via secure links and have direct access to the heart of the organization, which are essentially the critical business applications. These devices that are allowed to connect are rarely scrutinized, hence act as easy entry points for attackers. This has made the defender’s lives much harder since now they must focus on multiple entry points (in some instance even unknown) rather than the few well-defined entry points they used to have.

In summary, the attack landscape has drastically changed and keeps changing, and attackers are becoming increasingly effective with time. We have a fare doubt in our minds whether we are putting enough effort to protect ourselves against these attacks. The time has come for us to up our game as defenders and work towards advancing our techniques in order to defend against the attackers who will never rest.

Rukmal Fernando
Associate Director – Cyber Security
MillenniumIT ESP

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MillenniumIT ESP gears for global expansion with new office in Singapore

MillenniumIT ESP gears for global expansion with new office in Singapore

MillenniumIT ESP – Sri Lanka’s leading Enterprise Solutions Provider – kicked off its global expansion drive by incorporating a new office in Singapore this year. This initiative was undertaken to expand the Company’s business into new markets and capture the growing global demand for enterprise technology solutions by capitalizing on its unique resources, skills sets and capabilities, and by harnessing the power of the partnerships and relationships already built in the ASEAN region.

With 25 years’ experience of delivering thousands of technology projects across diverse sectors, MillenniumIT ESP has a variety of industry-specific solutions to offer the ASEAN market including Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and India, especially in terms of subject matter expertise and advanced solution offerings which are in demand across these countries. The resources, skills sets and capabilities have been realigned to readily embrace the emerging markets and technology changes, to deal with constant environmental volatility and to enhance agility and speed to market.

In addition, MillenniumIT ESP has longstanding partnerships with technology giants such as Oracle, Cisco, Microsoft, Dell, IBM, Huawei, and many others. While achieving the highest level of partnerships with the majority of these global players, the Company’s consultants and technical professionals are certified in unique specializations and competency levels under different partner offerings. The multiple working models enables the Company to supply their solutions to potential global clients, including becoming a Service Partner, partnering with local System Integrators as well as opportunities presented via their Principals through partnership extension engagements.

More specifically, from a Core Infrastructure point of expertise, the Company’s Infrastructure, Platform and Network Teams will extend their products, service capabilities and architectural services to projects by working remotely and through direct client site visits. Through MillenniumIT ESP’s Cloud expertise and considering the immense demand for Cloud Technologies, all offerings currently supplied to the local market will be extended to global clients. In addition, the Company will offer consulting and deployment services and independent Cloud solutions implementation services for technology partners AWS, Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud, and Google Cloud.

The Company’s Cyber Security portfolio targeted at these new overseas markets includes Cloud Security, Security for the Hybrid Workforce, Attack Centric Exposure Management and Security Analytics, which will position MillenniumIT ESP as a premium Small and Medium Enterprise solutions player that provides specialized services within its respected expertise. The services, solutions and delivery models, including our Network and Security Operations Centers, provide increased visibility and rapid detection of threats thus helping enterprises improve their overall security profiles. Our resources have a track record of assisting enterprises, irrespective of size, to accelerate their cybersecurity growth through every phase of cyber transformation — whatever that enterprise’s level of cybersecurity maturity – and thus act as a partner in cyber-transformation journey.

MillenniumIT ESP will expand its market reach and identify growth avenues in its Enterprise Application expertise, focusing on customer engagement solutions such as Sales, Marketing and Services Automation to effectively manage multi-channel end-to-end customer journeys. The Company will also bring operational excellence by implementing Core Business Application offerings including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Capital Management (HCM) and Planning and Budgeting solutions. With a specific focus on the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector, through its Enterprise Applications expertise, MillenniumIT ESP will be offering its Banking Technology solutions portfolio which includes services for Core Banking and Treasury solutions implementation.

Complementing its Enterprise Applications, MillenniumIT ESP’s Intelligent Automation and Data expertise brings enterprise-level automation capabilities using Business Process Management (BPM), Business Process Reengineering (BPR) and RPA technologies. In addition, Data Platform implementation and modernization, and Business Intelligence and Analytics solutions provide consolidated views and better insights for overseas clients’ business operations.

MillenniumIT ESP’s technical expertise in Smart Buildings will be heavily backed by the team’s credentials, giving the company a global competitive edge. Focused solutions will include contact centers, telephone and video conference and end-to-end Intelligent ELV solutions. The company will specifically aim at the Construction, Hospitality/Leisure and BFSI sectors in which it already owns a strong pool of customer references locally and internationally.

Its Managed Services expertise, which has several existing global contracts and years of experience in dealing with mission-critical operations, will further expand its partner ecosystem and enhance solution offerings to provide better customer experiences bundled with Security Operations Center (SOC) and Network Operations Center (NOC) services. The portfolio, which includes Managed IT Operations, Managed Infrastructure Services and Managed Security Services, will be made available for all global clients bringing multiple benefits through operational, business and financial improvements. The company’s Managed IT Operations will especially focus on offering significant cost savings and reducing overheads in managing IT operations.

“MillenniumIT ESP has had an impressive 25-year journey within the local market. However, to remain competitive and be on par with the latest market trends and global expansion of demand for Enterprise IT solutions, we are taking our business forward by officially extending operations abroad and opening our first international office in Singapore. Being a leader within the IT field and having received several global recognitions, along with owning the right technical know-how, skillset and industry experience, we are well geared to deepen our footprint globally across all sectors we cater to including Telco, Banking and Finance, Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Transportation. The opening of the Singapore office is the first step of our ambitious journey to expand globally,” commented Shevan Goonetilleke, Director/CEO, MillenniumIT ESP.

MillenniumIT ESP (MIT ESP) is a complete Enterprise Solutions Provider with a proven track record of serving global customers for over 25 years. The company provides technology solutions and services around Core Infrastructure, Cloud, Cyber Security, Enterprise Applications, Intelligent Automation and Data, Smart Buildings, and Managed Services. MIT ESP has a strong presence across a variety of industry sectors including Telecommunications and Media, Banking and Financial Services, Manufacturing and Retail, Government, and Commercial Sector which focuses on Healthcare, Transportation, Hospitality, IT and BPO Companies, and other Conglomerates. Currently, the company is on a growth drive with plans to expand its footprint globally across all sectors. For more information, visit www.mitesp.com.

MillenniumIT ESP Director/CEO Shevan Goonetilleke.

MillenniumIT ESP’s HealthVision Platform Revolutionizes Teletherapy and Sets the Stage for Global Impact

MillenniumIT ESP’s HealthVision Platform Revolutionizes Teletherapy and Sets the Stage for Global Impact

When MillenniumIT ESP (MIT ESP), along with the MJF Charitable Foundation (MJFCF), repurposed and adopted the HealthVision tele-medicine platform last year, they created a global benchmark in supporting children with special needs as well as their families. Almost a year later, the project has culminated in MIT ESP becoming a ‘Finalist – Microsoft Partner of the Year’ under the Inclusion Changemaker Category for its contribution toward this timely requirement of teletherapy services for children with Cerebral Palsy. This is only the beginning of what’s in store.

In October 2020, MJFCF and MIT ESP launched disABILITY – an app designed to support children with disability and their families by connecting them to expert guidance. The launch coincided with the World Cerebral Palsy Day and the application was aimed at complementing the MJF Foundation’s disability advice channel on YouTube in reaching children and people with disabilities in remote parts of Sri Lanka. The disABILITY app powered by HealthVision has been extremely successful and received well.

Children with special needs and their caretakers are now able to directly communicate with the MJFCF Team via audio, video and chat facility through a tri-lingual service. Moreover, the platform’s remote monitoring and response ability ensures patients’ health status can be brought to attention early enough so proactive intervention and individual care can be provided as and when required.

What’s significant about the award?

Microsoft’s Inclusion Changemaker Partner of the Year Award recognizes partner organizations that go over and beyond in offering innovative and unique solutions or services based on Microsoft technologies. These solutions are often those that aim to help customers solve common challenges related to diversity, economic access, digital inclusion, and accessibility.

The purpose of inclusion changemakers is to drive digital transformation toward a more inclusive and equitable world. This year, around 100 countries submitted over 4,400 projects.

 

What’s special about the tele-medicine platform?

  • Aims to increase greater awareness about Cerebral Palsy (estimated at around 40,000 people in Sri Lanka and 17 million around the world).
  • Fosters greater communication to address stigma around those with disabilities and encourage acceptance, respect and inclusion.
  • Promotes knowledge sharing and therapy, especially for children in Sri Lanka, around regions where access to such services is limited.
  • Ensures continuous care during crisis times, such as the lockdown due to the pandemic, where physical presence is deemed risky.
  • Insights into progress of care provided by using techniques that combine learnings with regular therapy.

 

Functionality and capabilities

MIT ESP adapted its Remote Patient Management platform, HealthVision, to assess, diagnose and continue online therapy for children with Cerebral Palsy and other special needs.

The uniqueness of this platform is its end-to-end capabilities, encompassing disability screening, pediatric diagnosis, early identification and intervention, multi-disciplinary team support, and therapeutic, educational and rehabilitation services. The platform also provides mobility aid support, child progress monitoring and follow up, as well as live video teletherapy. All these capabilities are seamlessly integrated with flexibility and agility at the core to easily adapt to specific use cases. The use of data analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) further adds value by providing analytical capabilities for faster and accurate decision making.

Platform features

  • Remote teletherapy and video conferencing – Realtime video teletherapy services connect patients (children) and their caretakers with the MJF Centers anytime, anywhere. This facility also allows for patients who live in remote parts of the island to easily connect with healthcare service providers via this platform.
  • Customizable assessment workflows – The MJF Foundation can customize and enable new assessment workflows to capture valuable information from patients and then assign them to their physiotherapist teams.
  • Multilingual capability – The application is supported by Sinhala, Tamil and English languages, catering to all three languages spoken in the country.
  • Data analytics and Machine Learning (ML) – The data gathered by the platform is used to create real time insights via dashboards. In addition, physiotherapists’ comments and reviews are taken into consideration in developing a ML model to help identify disabilities during the early stages and proactively provide care.
  • Omnichannel access – The application is developed to support mobile and web responsive access. It can be used via both Android and iOS supported devices.

HealthVision is designed as an asynchronous, near real-time platform to solve the challenge of meeting the ever-growing demand for healthcare with the limited capacity of healthcare providers. State-of-the-art technologies such as analytics and AI, coupled with automation will help further reduce the overall cost per engagement, making access to quality healthcare viable for everyone.

The use of HealthVision ensures the reduction of healthcare risks where deterioration in a patient’s health status can be brought to a provider’s attention early enough, enabling proactive intervention and personalized care, and assisting their caregivers, teachers and trainers who work with special needs individuals.

MillenniumIT ESP Team

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MillenniumIT ESP recognized as a finalist of 2021 Microsoft Inclusion Changemaker Partner of the Year

MillenniumIT ESP recognized as a finalist of 2021 Microsoft Inclusion Changemaker Partner of the Year

MillenniumIT ESP yesterday announced it has been named a finalist of Inclusion Changemaker 2021 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award. The company was honored among a global field of top Microsoft partners for demonstrating excellence in innovation and implementation of customer solutions based on Microsoft technology.

“This global recognition is a true asset for MillenniumIT ESP as we continue to launch products and services based on the requirements of the situation and needs of our clients. The HealthVision platform was one such solution that was launched timely, benefiting both medical practitioners and patients thanks to a collaboration of common objectives. We are thankful to MJF Charitable Foundation for initiating this partnership as together we continue to serve communities at the hour of need,” stated Shevan Goonetilleke, Director/CEO, MillenniumIT ESP.  Commenting further, Mr Goonetilleke stated that “The success of MillenniumIT ESP has always been its team of people who have grown with the organization.   It is their commitment and dedication to lead with innovation and dynamism which was instrumental in achieving this award. We also look forward to aligning efforts with Microsoft for future developments. As a corporate we are striving to elevate and enhance our service offerings and are confident that with the added benefit of using Microsoft technologies we will be able to achieve our targets seamlessly.”

The Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards recognize Microsoft partners that have developed and delivered outstanding Microsoft-based solutions during the past year. Awards were classified in various of categories, with honorees selected out of over 4,400 submitted nominations from more than 100 countries worldwide. MillenniumIT ESP was recognized for providing outstanding solutions and services in the Inclusion Changemaker category under Social Impact Awards.

Microsoft’s Inclusion Changemaker Partner of the Year Award recognizes a partner organization that excels at providing innovative and unique services or solutions based on Microsoft technologies that help customers solve challenges related to diverse representation, economic access, digital inclusion, and/or accessibility. Inclusion changemakers drive digital transformation toward a more inclusive and equitable world.

MillenniumIT ESP submitted their HealthVision platform, a Remote Patient Management and Monitoring solution suitable for patient primary healthcare service and for symptom reporting, designed during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The award-winning submission for the Microsoft Partner of the Year 2021 competition was designed along with MillenniumIT ESP’s esteemed customer MJF Charitable Foundation – disABILITY App powered by HealthVision. The app was launched in Sri Lanka to help children with special needs during the COVID-19 lockdown. Its purpose was to introduce tele-therapy and education services for special needs students at the MJF Charitable Foundation and was later expanded to support children in all districts of the country. This solution is the first of its kind globally and has the potential to reach out to 17M persons with Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome or other developmental disorders around the world.

“Working with MillenniumIT ESP in developing the disABILITY App was enormously fulfilling. The collaboration expresses my father’s vision of business as a matter of human service. Their use of brilliant expertise and innovation in addressing a critical problem through the app exceeded our expectations at the MJF Foundation. The app is unique, and being easy to distribute and use, it serves children with developmental disorders and their families in a significant way. It is transformational in giving families safe access to therapies at a time when their vulnerability is at its highest,” commented Dilhan C. Fernando, CEO, Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company and Trustee, MJF Charitable Foundation.

MillenniumIT ESP has been working within the Microsoft Technology arena since 2006 and today the company is recognized as one of the most competent Microsoft Direct – Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) partners in Sri Lanka. With broad and deep expertise across the Microsoft Technology stack, MillenniumIT ESP is able to look beyond specific requirements to understand underlying customer issues and identify integrated on-premise and cloud based solutions that leverage the entire Microsoft technology stack. MillenniumIT ESP specializes in Microsoft Unified Communications with Skype for Business and Teams Calling. The company is also the first partner to be given Microsoft Cloud Accelerator status in Sri Lanka. Other notable achievements the company has gained in terms of competencies and advanced specializations include recognition as a Microsoft Gold Partner since 2007, Country Partner of the Year 2013 for Sri Lanka, Best LAR Partner of the Year 2014, Best Enterprise Azure Partner of the Year 2016, and Best Enterprise Azure Partner of the Year 2019.

“I am honored to announce the winners and finalists of the 2021 Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards,” said Rodney Clark, Corporate Vice President, Global Partner Solutions, Channel Sales and Channel Chief, Microsoft. “These remarkable partners have displayed a deep commitment to building world-class solutions for customers—from cloud-to-edge—and represent some of the best and brightest our ecosystem has to offer.”

MillenniumIT ESP (MIT ESP) is a complete Enterprise Solutions Provider with a proven track record of serving global customers for over 25 years. The company provides technology solutions and services around Core Infrastructure, Cloud, Cyber Security, Enterprise Applications, Intelligent Automation and Data, Smart Buildings, and Managed Services. MIT ESP has a strong presence across a variety of industry sectors including Telecommunications and Media, Banking and Financial Services, Manufacturing and Retail, Government, and Commercial Sector which focuses on Healthcare, Transportation, Hospitality, IT and BPO Companies, and other Conglomerates. Currently, the company is on a growth drive with plans to expand our footprint globally across all sectors. For more information, visit www.mitesp.com.

MillenniumIT ESP recognized as an Inclusion Changemaker Finalist for the 2021 Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards

MillenniumIT ESP’s HealthVision Team

MillenniumIT ESP repositions itself as a Complete Enterprise Solutions Provider

MillenniumIT ESP repositions itself as a Complete Enterprise Solutions Provider

MillenniumIT ESP – Sri Lankan’s leading IT solutions provider – completed their 25 years journey early this year. In line with this impressive milestone and suiting the company’s purpose statement of ‘reimagining and reinventing’, MillenniumIT ESP has repackaged their core technology expertise to reposition itself as a complete Enterprise Solutions Provider.

Transitioning from the image of been a leading Systems Integrator, a significant Unique Selling Point for the technology leader during their past two and half decades of operation, has been the result of the vision MillenniumIT ESP’s leadership team has in heading the company into the future. This decision has been further supported by key insights the company has received from the industry and business landscapes they operate in as well as the plethora of experience, skills and industry knowledge MillenniumIT ESP has accumulated over the years.

In turn, this latest transformation of refreshing the company’s standing point from been a typical Systems Integrator has resulted in repackaging their business and restructuring themselves to ensure they focus on relevant technologies that makes MillenniumIT ESP a complete Enterprise Solutions Provider. As a result, the company will focus on the following seven core technology areas.

  1. Core Infrastructure – The company has retained this expertise as it has been the main helm of their business. MillenniumIT ESP continues to provide and support customers with mission-critical solutions for data centers, compute environment provisioning, database and middleware, monitoring and administration, server, storage and virtualization, along with enterprise networking solutions including IP (Internet Protocol), VoIP (Voice over IP), IPTV (Internet Protocol Television), and other NextGen technologies.
  2. Cloud – Considering the growth of businesses and latest trends in the market, it is quite evident that the future calls for reliable cloud-based solutions. With agility and innovation at its core, the Cloud solutions offered by MillenniumIT ESP aim to provide customers with reliable platforms to facilitate cloud based digital transformation. In addition, the company extends a range of capabilities for cloud migrations, designing of cloud solutions and deploying cloud workloads as well as overall cloud operations.
  3. Cyber Security – Understanding the importance of securing networks and information, MillenniumIT ESP’s Cyber Security solutions support businesses with the provision of timely consultations to integrate people, processes and technology through efficient assessments. Starting from data security solutions, MillenniumIT ESP’s capabilities span across a multitude of security solutions such as network security, application security, mobile security, cloud security, security management and monitoring, system recovery and clean-up, reviews and assessments of security architecture, and governance, risk and compliance solutions.
  4. Enterprise Applications – This suite of solutions is focused in helping organizations transform their core processes by empowering them with the required enterprise applications to operate digitally. Taking a cloud-first approach, MillenniumIT ESP’s Enterprise Application solutions provide optimum technology platforms that aid in automating enterprise operations between multiple business functions while increasing accuracy and productivity, reducing repetitions, and improving integration and collaboration in real time. The company’s highly competent team follows well-defined methodologies to implement these applications, which range from Banking Technologies, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Resource Management (HRM) to Customer Experience solutions.
  5. Intelligent Automation and Data – Engaging with emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Data Science, and Internet of Things (IoT) together with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Business Process Automation (BPA), MillenniumIT ESP creates seamless automation solutions that work across different levels of an enterprise to help them optimize productivity and increase efficiencies. In a time and era where data is of immense value, MillenniumIT ESP’s Intelligent Automation and Data expertise provides data driven solutions backed by intelligent automation to ensure the result of significant business outcomes. In addition, the company’s well-established, experienced and award-winning team works in unison to create innovative solutions that transform businesses and make them future oriented.
  6. Smart Buildings – MillenniumIT ESP’s Extra Low Voltage (ELV) solutions are capable of significantly improving overall operational costs, reducing management overhead and improving surveillance and security in buildings. Whether it is structured cabling, CCTV/IP surveillance, access control, fire control, network switching and WiFi, building management or even telephony, master clock and public access systems, MillenniumIT ESP’s team can offer seamless and cost effective Smart Building solutions, well integrated to optimize building operations.
  7. Managed Services – Supported and powered by global Managed Services technology partners, the company continues to provide optimum solutions that accelerate the growth of enterprises, increase their operational efficiencies and enhance their business performance through a range of managed end-to-end IT based operations, preparing them to embrace the digitally powered future. Further, with 25 years of experience and expertise in the Managed Services domain, MillenniumIT ESP’s state-of-the-art facilities of Network Operations Center (NOC) and Security Operations Center (SOC) work to provide businesses with uninterrupted services and resilient IT infrastructure operations. In addition, with the company’s adept capability to manage entire IT operations remotely, they provide Managed Services to support their global client base as well.

“We have made commendable progress over these last 25 years and it has indeed been a monumental journey. We’ve learned to identify and understand new requirements and technologies and worked effortlessly to achieve the desired results to provide our loyal customer base with optimum solutions to drive their enterprises to new realms and territories. Strongly believing in our tagline ‘Reimagine Today and Reinvent Tomorrow’, we scaled to heights and dimensions that have helped to revolutionize businesses making them future ready. The world is moving at a rapid pace of development with IT infrastructure, IT operations, cloud solutions, security, enterprise applications, data, and emerging technologies at the heart of it all,” commented Shevan Goonetilleke, Director/CEO, MillenniumIT ESP.

Along with the company’s refreshed focus on the above-mentioned seven technology expertise areas, MillenniumIT ESP is also increasing its industry outreach, expanding from been heavily invested only in the Telecommunications and Banking sectors. Going forward, the company’s Telecommunications sector will also focus on Media companies due to the technological synergies between these sectors. The Banking and Finance sector is expanded to include banks, non-banking financial companies, insurance companies, and capital markets. Equally, MillenniumIT ESP is also going to focus on the Manufacturing and Retail industry as well as the Public Sector with a focus on key government projects. The company’s newly added Commercial Sector will focus on several industries such as healthcare, education, logistics and transportation, leisure, IT and BPO companies, and other conglomerates.

MillenniumIT ESP (MIT ESP) is a complete Enterprise Solutions Provider with a proven track record of serving global customers for over 25 years. The company provides technology solutions and services around Core Infrastructure, Cloud, Cyber Security, Enterprise Applications, Intelligent Automation and Data, Smart Buildings, and Managed Services. MIT ESP has a strong presence across a variety of industry sectors including Telecommunications and Media, Banking and Financial Services, Manufacturing and Retail, Government, and Commercial Sector which focuses on Healthcare, Transportation, Hospitality, IT and BPO Companies, and other Conglomerates. Currently, the company is on a growth drive with plans to expand our footprint globally across all sectors. For more information, visit www.mitesp.com.

MillenniumIT ESP Director/CEO Shevan Goonetilleke.