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Meet Ransith Fernando and Dilanke Hettiaratchi – The New Normal in Big Data

Today we have selected Ransith Fernando and Dilanke Hettiaratchi to take their interview. They are Managing Director / CoFounder at Forestpin (Pvt) Ltd.

First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?

RF: It’s been challenging but good in many ways. 2020 was an unpredictable and changing year that has pushed us to prepare for ourselves in a better way. We have been very focused on these tough times. Before the pandemic hit, we had already adopted measures internally to work from home, so the transition has worked well for us.

We saw that the pandemic had affected revenue in many businesses. However, we also saw an increase in the adaptation of Risk Management and Transaction monitoring. Since then, the demand has increased.

DH: I have to mention that EY has recognized the potential of our products. We are the only Sri Lankan company amongst the 12 winners chosen for the fourth cohort of the EY Foundry program. It’s great to be recognized under the current challenging circumstances. We feel very proud about it, and it motivates us to continue giving our best.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?

RF: Before founding Forestpin, both of us worked in a large corporation. This was an apparel company that was formed by three brothers, which hit revenues of over a billion US$ and became south Asia’s largest apparel company; this story was very inspirational for us to do something on our own,

DH: We evaluated a few startup ideas, and we felt that risk management of transactions will be an area that is needed now and would be something that would grow; with the accelerated digitization efforts adopted by companies due to covid, there are so many automated transactions, and sometimes fully automated transactions may create revenue leakages that may go unnoticed for a long period of time

How does your company innovate?

RF: For customers to buy our product, they need first to be convinced that what we do cannot be done from their existing systems, this can be only done with original thinking, so innovation is key to us. We have signed up agreements with universities both in Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

DH: ‘Forestpin’ was founded with an ambition to empower and inspire businesses through insightful data. As a data analytics company, our core is highlighting anomalous transactions in client company data. Our application sits independently, extracts data from the client’s enterprise system, runs it through many mathematical and statistical algorithms, and highlights transactions that are out of place. The ability to adapt and customize the application is an innovation itself.  It provides numerous benefits to our clients in preventing financial loss at the right time that may otherwise be the traditional old reactive ways of addressing fraud. Today we consider ourselves a dormant watchdog for business transactions of our elite clients. We have alerted transactions exceeding $ 4 million in human errors and $ 28 million in process improvements.

RF: We have been using machine learning on our application to curate alerts further since 2017.

How the Coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?

DH: It has affected us in many ways. On a positive note, we were able to help our clients adapt to the new changes in big data by implementing our applications to support them.  We were also able to engage with new clients eager to adapt to the new challenges due to the pandemic.

RF:  Fortunately for the type of work we do, the work location does not impact; working remotely, we can do all of the work done at the office.

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

RF: Thankfully, no major difficult choices were made. The strategy implemented internally made it easy for us to navigate the current processes without losing efficiency and, in addition to that, saving costs in facilities, equipment, and management.

DH: I truly believe that the current times have made us relook at how we view the business and quality of life. We are more flexible and adaptable.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

DH: We have been using slack for internal messaging before the pandemic; we used zendesk and Atlassian for online support; for meetings, we used google meet and added zoom and Microsoft teams so that customers can have a meeting with us on their choice of tool. So we didn’t really need to add on any additional tools during the pandemic since we had everything in place. Without the collective effort of all these tools, it would certainly have been challenging to navigate these times.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

DH: Regarding our applications and services, we do not have names of direct competitors, but we understand our clients’ needs and can provide a more customized solution to reach their business goals.

RF: Data trends will continue to evolve, and we hope to innovate and create new applications that’ll meet future demands.

Your final thoughts

DH: The last few years have certainly opened our eyes to how quickly things can change in the world. The ever-changing unpredictable environment demands solutions, and we must be prepared to navigate them.

RF: We must understand what drives our clients and market circumstances. It is that drive that fuels us.

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