Sri Lanka has huge potential in ICT, BPO sectors - Dr Telukunta



Welcome to the ninety seventh(97th) edition of the regular column "The Catalyst".

We introduced a new segment to this series of articles recently; an interview with someone relevant to the topics discussed in this column whilstbeing an inspiration to the society at large.

This segment is "The Catalyst Catch-up".

The Catalyst Catch-up

My guest interviewee today is Dr Srinivas Telukunta.

Dr Telukunta is from India but is not a stranger to the Sri Lankan corporate sector as he has been travelling to our country frequently for training and consultancy activities. He has several years of experience in project management, portfolio management and strategy management. He has worked for several start-ups in Silicon Valley in various product and project management roles. From 2011, as a co-founder for Nucleus Group in India, he has been involved in providing services in Project Management, Enterprise Agile transformation, Portfolio management, Program Management, Hybrid Project Management and IT service optimization for more than 100 organizations and governments including various departments for the governments of Bahrain, India and Singapore. He is passionate of Hybrid project management which involves the simultaneous application of water fall and Agile project management in organizations and has published various journals with Project Management Institute (PMI), USA in this area.

Due to his this expertise, I thought it would be a good idea to interview for this column.

Tell me a bit about your family and your educational background

I have graduated with a B-Tech in Engineering from IIT Madras. Subsequent to that I was offered the prestigious "Sage Fellowship" by Cornell University to pursue an MS and PhD in the Sibley School of Engineering, which were successfully completed in 2004. After that I have worked for several start ups based out of Boston and California till 2008 in varied technical management roles. It was here that I have developed a strong entrepreneurial interest and have decided to pursue an MBA. In the year 2008, I was selected for the one year executive MBA by the Indian School of Business (ISB) and returned back to India to pursue an MBA which was completed in 2009. I am also currently pursuing an LLB (Bachelors in Law) from Padala Law College which is expected to be completed in the year 2014. I got married in 2007 and have one child who is four years old. My wife currently works for IBM in their South Indian office in the Software Quality department as a technical specialist, in addition to providing her expertise for the software development division of Nucleus Group.

What did you do prior to starting a career in training?

Most of my work prior to taking up consulting and management education was with start-ups in different semi-conductor technologies and technical management roles involving multiple vendor management, projects planning and execution under highly ambiguous and uncertain conditions. This has exposed me to challenges in project management and the complete lack of awareness regarding the existence of excellent body of project management knowledge with PMI, applicable under a variety of situations and Industries. After a formal education with PMI, the global body with advocates the advancement of implementation of more formal project management techniques across various industries and organizations, I decided to pursue a career in project management and have been working on advancing Hybrid project management techniques which aim to combine the best principles of both waterfall and Agile project management approaches along with providing software tools which help organizations to more easily adapt these practices.

How did you get into training and why?

During my work with various organizations, I have realized that many organizations face serious challenges in realizing their goals and objectives for various reasons which include inability to coordinate, lack of right personnel etc. The key among these was the severe shortage of skilled resources. It is ironical that in-spite of huge numbers of people employed and available for work, there is a severe shortage of resources. This is especially a very acute and severe problem in the technical management space across many organizations affecting almost all industries. It is this need we wanted to address by our service portfolio which consists of management consulting, development of specialized management applications and Project management related trainings which makes change management easier and allows organizations to realize their potential in a more comprehensive manner leveraging their existing resources and processes. We feel that this is one of the best ways for organizations to address the challenge of talent shortage and invest in their long term capacity building.

Do you like what you are doing?

This is a very fulfilling work as it provides an opportunity to work with many organizations across various domains like Manufacturing, Telecom, IT & ITES (IT Enabled Services), BPO, Oil & Gas, Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology etc. It is very revealing to interact with the senior executives of these organizations which help in understanding the unique business structures and specific challenges. One feels a great sense of happiness to be able to work under diverse settings and be able to promote leveraging and sharing of best practices across different industries in relation to adoption of best project management practices.

Also my work has taken me to many countries in this region including Sri Lanka. That’s an amazing experience as well.

What are the things that you have learnt and observed by training corporates? Any advice for corporates?

My experience has been that improving the skill of their existing talent by investing in further learning of their executives is the best investment in terms of long term returns to the organization. In addition to addressing the talent gap, this provides many benefits like reduced attrition, higher motivation, improved productivity, better organizational citizenship behaviour etc. We have seen many instances in organizations where several departments have managed to reduce their attrition by more than half in a short span of one year by improving the staff morale with various training programs for their staff. In the future, this is set to be one of the major success strategies of organizations in the war for talent as the dearth of talent is set to increase in the future years.

You have come to Sri Lanka a few times. What are your thoughts on Sri Lankan economy and how things are progressing?

I have been to Sri Lanka many times over the last few years. I have enjoyed working with companies here. I am happy that through training activities I have been able to contribute to Sri Lankan corporates, mainly IT and BPO companies so far. We have partnered with Lanka BPO Academy to provide our services in Sri Lanka and that has helped our expansion to your country.

There is a definite change in the economic conditions for better in Sri Lanka after the end of internal strife which had affected the economy for several years. Sri Lanka has one of the most beautiful coastlines in the South Asian sub-continent and can leverage much more than it is currently being able to do, by more aggressive campaigns and government help to this growing sector. There is a huge potential for Sri Lanka in the IT, ITES and BPO sector to generate huge economic opportunities by being able to leverage its smart and nimble workforce.

To support this huge potential, my organisation has started to offer training and consultancy services in Sri Lanka.

I wish all the very best for Sri Lanka and its citizens!

Finishing it off for this week

With that, I am going to end today’s column, I hope what Dr Srinivas Telukuntahad to say was interesting andinspiring. StarPMO is apart of Nuclues group that offers training and consultancy services. If you are interested in talking to Dr Telukunta about needs of your organisation, then you can contact via

See you next week!



The Columnist

Yasas Vishuddhi Abeywickrama is a professional with significant experiences. In 2011 he was recognised as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) in Sri Lanka. Yasas has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from University of Colombo and a Masters degree in Entrepreneurship & Innovation from Swinburne University in Australia. He has worked in the USA, UK, Sri Lanka & Australia and being trained in the USA & Malaysia. He is currently involved in the training organisation, Lanka BPO Academy ( Yasas is also an Executive Council Member of the Computer Society of Sri Lanka (CSSL – Apart from this column, he is a regular resource person for ‘Ape Gama’ program of FM Derana (Sunday 3-5pm). Yasas is happy to answer your relevant questions – email him at .

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