NBQSA 2021, National ICT awards conducted by the Chartered Institute for IT in Sri Lanka, is about to be headed by a trio of leaders, delivering the news of power and excellence it holds towards the rest of the world. The Sri Lankan section of British Computer Society has over 3000 members and over 150 CITP professionals. One of the key goals of British Computer Society is in its royal charter to focus on strengthening computer knowledge and training for the betterment of society.

One of these influential leaders is K. V. Kuganathan, who is a seasoned businessman, coupled with knowledge and experience when it comes to digital and IT strategies, added to that of the banking, finance, insurance, and capital markets sectors. 23 years of experience is not a qualification that anyone can easily overpower, and over 9 years of it has been at C level. Kugan has been widely known for his drive and passion for creativity, innovative thinking, and leadership that was driven by results, which undoubtedly kept him on top of his game. He develops and converts financial models into agile digital companies with a laser-like goal of delivering excellent performance. 

Kuganathan is currently the Group Chief Information Officer at the Janashakthi Group of Companies, including the BFSI sector. He is also the Chairman of the British Computer Society for IT Charted Institute Sri Lanka Section and a board member of the British Computer Society for IT Charted Institute UK. Kugan has also performed a valuable role as a Non-Executive Director for UPAY Payment Solution Ltd. Kugan holds an MSc in IT consultancy and a degree in Computing and Information Systems. Prior to his performance at Janashakthi, he is remembered for having transformed National Development Bank PLC into Sri Lankan’s Leading Mobility Banking solution, with the market’s best experience being provided to its valued customer base. He is also at the top of initiating and leading the eBank division at Hatton National Bank PLC.

This is Kuganathan’s second time heading NBQSA playing an important role in the ICT award ceremony. His expertise has been put to valuable use as a judge for the NBQSA ICT Awards & Asia Pacific ICT Awards for the past decade. During his appearances at international conferences, he didn’t fail to share his enthusiasm for Digital Financial Infusion, especially when it comes to channel optimization, where he is a recognized and much-admired speaker.

Shanaka Rajapakse is another important piece of the puzzle contributing towards the success of NBQSA, 2021 with the leading role he is about to take on. He holds an MSc from Keele University, U.K., an MBCS, MACS, and CCNA. Shanaka is currently the Director and Chief Executive Officer of App Technologies, Private Limited, which is a company that specializes in IT, providing business solutions and IT training programs. As the CEO, he performs the important function of executive leadership for all IT functions. He was also the Director of Cryptogen (Pvt) LTD., where he served from August 2015 to 2017. He also held the position of Head of IT at Lankem Tea and Rubber Plantations LTD., during the time frame of June 2006 to 2015. It was his responsibility when it came to all and any aspect of ICT, which also included monitoring and executing IT-related projects. Lankem Tea and Rubber Plantations was the largest plantation company with 42 Tea and Rubber Estates, which gives an idea of the extent of his responsibility and expertise. 

“Never give up opportunities” is one of the important messages that Vajeendra S Kandegamage shares with the world. He is the other important individual in this story, co-leading the NBQSA, 2021. He has had 27 years of extensive experience in the IT field, and is now at the peak of his career as a well-established entrepreneur and an IT consultant, sharing his expertise with the rest of the world. Using his knowledge and experience, he has been able to innovate and fund many projects. According to him, the various prestigious positions he has held at different organizations have equipped him with the talents and skills to be such an influential icon. He has also served as a judge for the NBQSA ICT awards since 2006 and the Asia Pacific ICT awards since 2008. His uncanny management and leadership qualities have been truly shown off by successfully organizing the country’s largest ICT competition for the past decade. In the eyes of his observers, he is an optimist, geared with self-motivation, and who can make a team feel at home, and is exceptionally good at his communication skills.

According to Kuganathan, making IT good for society has been one of the key goals of BSC, The Chartered Institute for IT, and there are many steps they have taken towards ensuring this. It is a member of the Engineering Council of the UK, and the branch in Sri Lanka is one of many they have in many countries. BSC influences over 100 countries and is a renowned leader in computers and information systems across the world. BCSSL has over 37 fellow members and contributes towards ICT through innovations addressing national issues, YPG, B2B, data analytic summits, newsletters, and NBQSA, among other things. Strategies to achieve this goal consist of promoting a diverse membership and community of professionals, improving computer education and progression, and ensuring that IT is a way of solving the biggest issues the world can face.

Talking about NBQSA, Shanaka mentions that it is the only national-level ICT competition of its nature in the country. It is exclusive to Sri Lankan companies, groups, and individuals. It was initiated in 1998 by BCSSL as a benchmark for Sri Lankan ICT products and this is the 23rd year of continuing that cause. NBQSA is supported by BCS UK and is sponsored by government and private sector organizations. 

Vajeendra added that when it comes to the judging process of NQBSA, the scores are evaluated by a panel of independent judges from the industry who have at least 10 years of experience in the domain with the necessary expertise and qualifications. Each panel comprises 3 to 5 judges, with one head judge. The evaluation criteria is based on the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA) and the awards include Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Merit. Uniqueness, quality, proof of concept, functionalities, and features, as well as the presentation, are important aspects when it comes to the judging criteria.