One of Sri Lanka’s top technology and business leaders, Chief Executive Officer of Axiata Digital Labs, Thushera Kawadawatta, carries a wealth of leadership experience for over two decades. 

Thushera joined PalmWare Software as a technical lead in 1997, where he obtained the opportunity to work on an award-winning software application at the time. When he joined Virtusa in 1999, he reached a new turning point in his life, where he began to discover and unleash his actual potential. He held many senior positions at Virtusa over his 20-year tenure, including Chief Software Architecture and Head of Application Engineering Practice.

Considering his lengthy career he was able to establish his own company, “Impact Computer Systems,” emphasizing, “the more you grow with knowledge and improve, the more modest you should be.”  In addition, he exclaims that his eagerness to learn and desire to work with people with a diverse set of abilities has aided him in becoming a better version of himself. 

Foreseeing the capability of Axiata Digital Lab for future digitalization, Thushera joined hand in hand with the exceptionally talented professionals in ADL without any hesitation. He implies that as ADL plays in both the product and service spaces, he could gain the best of both worlds. Moreover, he also stated how uniquely ADL approaches business with innovations and creativity and the importance of it to many other companies for future growth. A firm believer in teamwork, Thushera proves this fact when he states “the ADL team culture has made every day interesting even though leadership was a tough role”. 

Thushera and his team have achieved a great deal of success throughout their time with ADL. He affirms that they were able to complete over 150 digital transformation software solutions, including robust data science and engineering, hyperscale, loT and middleware, FinTech, Self-care, and hyper-automation.  

He goes on to mention a few notable accomplishments at ADL. In 2020, the company won the renowned TM Forum Excellence Award for excellent achievements in Digital Transformation among Communication Service Providers, Solution Developers, and Innovators around the world. ADL is the first Sri Lankan company to receive a Level 3 CMMI V2.0 appraisal, something Thushera says he is quite pleased with. In addition, they received a gold medal from the TM Forum in 2019 for a catalyst project on the development of a marketplace ecosystem. Moreover, as a young organization, Thushera claims that the way they responded to the current pandemic and ensured that all teams, clients, and users were supplied without disruption and with a highly positive view of the corporation was another great moment to celebrate.

When asked what he has planned for both himself and ADL, he responded that he is satisfied with the results so far and hopes to keep the winning streak going. They were able to grow their staff from less than 200 to over 1000 people in a short amount of time. He also believes that as a responsible leader, he would like to mentor newcomers to become future leaders and build a formidable team with clearly defined duties so that they can progress to future leadership positions. 

He goes on to say that 5G, AI, IoT, and other similar technologies, as well as more recent technologies, will play a significant role in the sector. In this regard, he underlines that ADL is prepared to disrupt the telco industry by fostering an innovative culture.

Finally, when discussing Thushera’s thoughts on the industry’s future, he says that if we are to thrive in this industry, we must keep up with the latest technologies, have deep domain knowledge, be able to differentiate ourselves through innovations, and deliver greater productivity to bring solutions to the market swiftly. He emphasizes that because this is such a competitive industry, one must welcome change and find innovative ways to raise the bar.