In the rapidly evolving world of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), CEO and Co-Founder of WIA Systems, Chamil Wijenayake, seeks to provide business solutions to aid organizations in streamlining operations.
During his years of experience in the industry, he gained a reputation for his strategic vision, ability to build high-performing teams, and unwavering commitment to delivering the best possible results for clients.
From his leadership style to insights into the ERP industry, business owners and tech enthusiasts will benefit from Chamil’s story.
Chamil completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, an institution renowned for its exceptional educational standards. After graduating with first class honors in Computer Science, he worked at IFS Sri Lanka and met a diverse global audience. From there, Chamil came to the United States, continuing his career at IFS North America.
Soon after, he started reading for his Master’s in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC).
While at UIUC, Chamil focused his studies on big data and machine learning techniques. Upon completing his studies, he landed a job at United Healthcare, a leading healthcare organization in the United States. After gaining valuable experience there, he transitioned to JP Morgan in New York. Chamil led a team of skilled software engineers and spearheaded the implementation of Regulatory Technology for Trading Platforms.
Following a successful 12-year stint in the industry, Chamil teamed up with his friend Sujith Wimalasooriya to launch their venture, WIA Systems Inc., in 2016. Their vision was to establish an ERP services company focused on delivering value to its customers. Today, WIA boasts a team of over 100 full-time employees spread across five countries and generates an annual revenue of 10 million USD.
The CEO of any company plays a critical role in shaping and embodying the company’s philosophy. Chamil shared that the core philosophy at WIA revolves around honesty, integrity, and consistency,aligning closely with his personal beliefs. Chamil further elaborated that at WIA, their primary focus is delivering the best possible customer outcomes while maintaining a customer-centric approach and complete transparency. He emphasized that WIA always remains open and upfront with their customers about potential risks and mitigation strategies.
Chamil added that by keeping their customers informed, they take on significant challenges and achieve great things. He stated, “Doing big things always involves risk. Keeping it transparent and open helps make collective decisions that lead to better success.”
The ERP industry has come a long way since its inception in the 1960s. Today, ERP systems help organizations of all sizes and across various industries to manage and streamline their business operations. The industry is constantly evolving with new technologies and trends. But how exactly does WIA use these trends and progressively expand its brand?
Chamil has illuminated the topic by describing how WIA offers a secure environment for innovation to all its employees. He notes that WIA collaborates with clients who have intricate business processes to streamline those processes and enhance business performance. Additionally, considerable research is conducted to comprehend the customers’ processes and industry trends to identify the elements that contribute value to the clients.
Additionally, he emphasizes the significance of utilizing extensive data sets to assess and gauge the effectiveness of novel procedures. The reason is that a substantial amount of innovation and dedication is directed towards scrutinizing big data sets and employing machine learning techniques to discern patterns and make predictions.
Despite its benefits, ERP faces many obstacles. Chamil discussed the top three challenges that stakeholders face: 1) Identifying the right processes to integrate into ERP, 2) Facing resistance to change, and 3) Finding the right support for ERP upkeep.
The primary concern that Chamil highlights is the challenge of identifying the processes that an organization should consider incorporating into an ERP implementation. According to him, organizations embarking on an ERP implementation often face difficulties determining which of their existing processes and systems would be advantageous to integrate into an ERP and which might impede the workflow of the business. Hence, it is critical that the ERP implementation partner possesses extensive industry knowledge and is receptive to collaborating with business experts to identify the optimal solution for the organization.
Another significant challenge Chamil discusses is the resistance from an organization’s teams to change. He clarifies that employees often follow the same procedures for years, if not decades, with a limited understanding of the big picture. Therefore, they naturally resist changes, even if the new system could streamline processes and enhance efficiency. A robust change management process should be established to address this challenge, and regular communication must be facilitated among all team members. He strongly emphasizes the significance of ensuring that everyone comprehends the organization’s objectives and how their contributions align with the organization’s broader vision.
Lastly, Chamil identifies the challenge of the high cost of maintaining ERP systems. He remarks that most ERP systems require significant upkeep, daily maintenance tasks and regular patches and updates. As a result, organizations often need an internal IT team or external support from a third-party company to maintain their ERP system.
“The ERP industry is growing consistently.” says Chamil. He guarantees that the ERP market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 9% in the next five years. This growth has substantial implications for companies like WIA, which need to be well-prepared to tackle the industry’s challenges. According to him, building a highly skilled and motivated employee base is the first step in addressing these challenges.
In terms of the local perspective, considering Sri Lanka’s ongoing economic crisis, he expresses his concern: “We have witnessed a considerable number of experienced and skilled talents leaving the country and migrating to other nations. This poses a significant challenge for WIA.”
Chamil continued to express how WIA employs procedures to identify competent individuals, provide training and mentorship, and integrate them into global projects. To achieve this, WIA has established partnerships with universities such as the University of Moratuwa and the University of Jaffna to offer internships to their students. “With proper guidance and mentoring, most of these students have great potential to unleash,” he voiced.
Alas, Chamil is a visionary leader who acknowledges the importance of talent acquisition, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction. By accentuating the need for a skilled and motivated workforce, he ensures that his company is well positioned to overcome the challenges facing the ERP industry and continue to grow.
Moreover, his approach to talent acquisition through university partnerships and internships highlights his dedication to investing in the next generation of ERP professionals. By nurturing young talent and providing them with the guidance and mentorship they require, Chamil is paving the way for WIA’s success in the coming years. As the youngsters integrate into the company, WIA provides a unique opportunity for them to work with a global customer base and even opportunity to move to offices in other countries like the US, Canada, and the UK and still be a part of the WIA family.
Chamil’s leadership and strategic vision are key to ensuring WIA’s continued success in the dynamic and competitive ERP industry. His commitment to innovation, talent acquisition, and customer satisfaction will undoubtedly guide the company toward a promising and buoyant future.