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Sri Lanka's Pioneer in Microfinance SANASA Development Bank reaches world-class with cutting-edge IT Infrastructure

Microsoft Enterprise Agreement brings in global standards to SDB's IT operation

Microsoft Enterprise Agreement brings in global standards to SDB's IT operation

Standing from Left: Mr. Sunimal Fernando – DGM Business Development, Sanasa Development Bank, Mr. Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne – Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka, Mr. Faiq Faaiz - Executive Vice President - Millennium Information Technologies, Mr. Nimal Mamaduwa - General Manager, Sanasa Development Bank, Mr. Mr. K.G. Leelananda – DGM Credit, Sanasa Development Bank, Mr. Indika Ranasinghe – Senior Manager IT, Sanasa Development Bank.

SANASA Development Bank (SDB) recently entered to an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft placing themselves among the ever expanding set of local enterprises armed with world class technology. The agreement, in partnership with Millennium ESP, the enterprise and service provider business of Millennium IT, and a Microsoft managed partner, marks a significant milestone for SDB in its journey towards becoming the apex bank in Sri Lanka’s co-operative banking sector with commercial banking status. With this move SANASA, one of the leading financial institutions making significant impact on the nation’s economic development, will equip themselves with innovative IT tools and technologies that will help them optimise their IT setup and secure a lasting advantage in the ever competitive finance and banking sector.

SANASA Development Bank is a unique financial institution committed to uplifting the standards of living for low income Sri Lankan families with its range of micro finance activities. The ownership of the bank is presently confined to the SANASA Movement, representing a cooperative approach to community empowerment and mobilization.

Formed as a credit and thrift cooperative in 1906, the SANASA movement has over 100 years of experience as an indigenous force in Sri Lankan development. In 1997, in response to the trends ushered in by globalization and a changing national economy, SANASA Development Bank was registered as a Licensed Specialized Bank by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Formed by various SANASA Primaries and the SANASA Federation, SDB is a bank of cooperative microfinance.

SDB now functions as the financial apex institution for the SANASA movement. Although bound by Sri Lankan banking law, SDB is 100% cooperative owned and caters directly to members of the SANASA movement. Over the years SANASA Development Bank has grown from strength to strength with a clear focus on ensuring superior service to all its customers ranging from large corporate entities to small start-up businesses to aspiring entrepreneurs as well as individual customers who rely on SANASA for a reliable and friendly banking experience. SANASA Development Bank is today a professional organization providing sustainable microfinance solutions to the Sri Lankan people from various walks of life.

Aiding the bank’s determined and ever triumphant journey towards continued success and growth in the highly competitive local finance and banking industry, this strategic partnership will enable SANASA Development Bank drive IT standardization across the organization whilst streamlining administration and budgeting and creating a flexible infrastructure that is able to respond rapidly to changing consumer needs. Further, the Microsoft EA will provide them access to latest software which would include Windows 7 Enterprise and Microsoft Desktop Optimizations Pack (MDOP), System Center Configuration Manager and SharePoint to name a few.

Mr. Nimal Mamaduwa, General Manager/CEO, SANASA Development Bank commenting on this strategic move stated, "SDB strives to develop and maintain a permanent customer base and delight our customers by providing high quality, innovative and competitive financial products and services to ensure the highest return possible in the market on shareholders capital. We will achieve this vision by expanding our existing outreach through available networks and using modern technology in the banking sector. With enterprise level association with Microsoft, we in turn can create more value for our customers. Through the three year engagement with Microsoft and their partner, Millennium ESP, we plan to further increase the efficiencies of our existing systems and improve its overall effectiveness. We will align IT and its competitive advantages to our main goals and achieve our ambition to become a fully-fledged Commercial Bank."

IT standardization in any organization is usually constrained by quick turnaround times and is often a challenge for many companies who may need to interlink operations at short notice. The Microsoft Enterprise Agreement ensures compliance with necessary IT requirements and enables internal audits to be trouble-free and streamlined.

Ever progressive SDB seeks to adopt the latest developments in IT by adopting a Microsoft EA for streamlining its processes. Initially by deploying Windows Server 2008 (R2) Active Directory services and SCCM services the bank will lay the foundation for central IT management by implementing Identity Management and IT security Policy Enforcement which helps the IT Administrators to automate processes previously done manually, such as trouble shooting, monitor, manage and maximize security in the entire bank network consisting of over 75 customer service centers island wide. They will also have the ability to make use of the capabilities of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) to ensure new upgrades for a range of business applications used at SDB are much faster and are done with the minimum resources and thus enabling them to save time. This essentially allows the bank to focus on their key business priorities whilst their IT infrastructure continues to be a key enabler.

With their sights set high for sustained growth, SDB will also merge their existing systems with the Microsoft suite of products, to take the IT usage to the next level and help the organization optimise their capabilities for business growth. With implementation of Microsoft SharePoint, the platform for Business Intelligence offered through the EA, the management of SANASA can gain strategic insights in to their business operations with capabilities such as dash boards, score cards and KPI mapping. The results include the management team and relevant employees having access to up to date business intelligence and financial reports giving them the power to make informed decisions and remain agile in a dynamic market. SharePoint will also ensure a reliable and effective information flow within the branch network by developing their own intranet portal that will function as the core platform for sharing internal documents, content management, workflow management and enterprise wide search.

This farsighted and strategic move by SANASA demonstrates their belief in adopting the right tools and resources which will help their employees be more productive. Committed to sustaining a highly competent and motivated team of employees, the organization seeks to equip its workers with consistent exposure and awareness to latest world-class IT tools to maintain its competitive advantage whilst achieving rapid growth.

Mr. Faiq Faaiz, Executive Vice President, Millennium ESP commenting on their role as the technology partner for SANASA in their Microsoft EA deployment said "As a premier technology service provider, we place a strong emphasis on achieving the perfect fit between quality products and our clients’ needs and expectations. Today's business environments are in a state of constant flux, and margins and lead times are under increasing pressure. Enterprise Agreement is certainly a premier solution to this end that aligns IT with business goals and provides an optimum Return on Software Investment. Using Microsoft software as a corporate platform will enable SDB to easily manage its IT tools and resources and save significant costs in the long-term."

The Microsoft Enterprise Agreement also includes the advantage of Microsoft Software Assurance that enables SDB to have access to the latest software and tools upgrades that will help the aspiring banking giant to always remain a step ahead of some of its competitors. Software assurance combines the latest software with partner services, training, and IT tools that can help an organization deploy, manage and migrate software with minimum disruption to services and with ease. With Software Assurance, it is expected that SDB will increase worker productivity, accelerate organisational performance and achieve a speedy return on their software investment.

Mr. Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka commenting on this partnership with the local leader in microfinance solutions stated, "SANASA, a bank we can truly and wholeheartedly call our very own local bank, over the years has been able to garner unprecedented respect and trust from a vast majority of Sri Lankans. It is their passion to deliver the best of services to their customers that has given SANASA this distinctive edge and this move to deploy the best of class technology is yet another step in that quest. In today’s economic climate, and more importantly in the Sri Lankan context Banking and Finance sector carries the burden of fuelling much of economic activity and growth, adding more pressure on banks to keep their ear to the ground and feel the Sri Lankan pulse. We are confident that SANASA is now geared to face this challenge confidently, armed with innovative software tools and applications that will help them stay focused on the most important aspect of their business, service excellence to their customers. At Microsoft, we are happy to support SANASA in their mission to reach world-class status with a clear focus on serving the local needs."

This strategic sign up with SANASA Development Bank stands proof of the growing awareness among Sri Lankan enterprises of the tangible advantages offered by a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement for organizations seeking growth and a value added competitive advantage from their IT investments. With every business leader focusing on methods to optimise their IT budgets and create a platform that effectively enables them to achieve business goals, Microsoft's solutions provide a strategic and reliable foundation with world-class standards.