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Samath Fernando

H One: The driving force behind next –gen cloud solutions
Sri Lanka's enterprises gear up to meet the business challenges of the future

Although the Hirdaramani Group traces its history in Sri Lanka back to the 1890's, its IT arm H-One (Pvt) Ltd., is a four-year-old company. One might even say it is a relative newcomer to the country's IT industry. However, H One is driving change across the business landscape keeping its customers at the forefront of technology through the adoption of cloud.

Recently, H One – a Microsoft Tier One Partner, Large Account Reseller and Cloud Accelerate Partner earned recognition at Microsoft's annual Partner Awards in four important award categories: Best Large Account Reseller Award, Best Dynamics Partner of the Year, Best Partner-led competitive win-back, and Best O365 Partner of the Year – for their successes empowering enterprises with cloud technology.

Inspired by the enormous potential of Cloud to transform the way businesses operate, enabling greater productivity, collaboration and cost-savings through next-generation tools,H One made a conscious decision to embrace the technology in its entirety and ensure the company was well-equipped to handle the inevitable revolution. A "Cloud Team" of expert resources was built, and time was invested in R&D and testing prior to the launch of O365 in Sri Lanka.

Speaking of the company's focus on Cloud, CEO Samath Fernando said "We realized that the Cloud was going to be the future and nobody could avoid it. With Sri Lanka's ascent into Cloud well ahead of many of our regional neighbours, there were initial questions about the technology in the Sri Lankan context amidst the excitement. After H One and customers jointly conducted extensive research and in-house testing, and addressed the concerns of business heads, Sri Lanka's enterprises saw Cloud as the business solution that would enable their workforce to operate more flexibly and adapt to meet future industry challenges, and they were eager to come on-board," adding that H One's advocacy of global industry best-practices, technical expertise and experience with complex deployments has solidified their reputation as Microsoft's Premier Cloud Services Partner in the country.

Many blue-chip conglomerates in the country currently on the Cloud have deployed the full range of Cloud technologies with the assistance of H-One. John Keells Holdings (JKH), a leader in technology adoption, was the first blue chip in Sri Lanka to move to the Cloud, doing so months before the country's official launch of O365. After JKH's successful deployment - done in collaboration with Microsoft's Center of Excellence Team,H-One has assisted several other enterprises in the streamlining of their operations by moving to the cloud including Hemas Holdings, Sunshine Holdings, Delmege Forsyth, Rockland, and MAS Holdings.

So what has been key to H One's approach? "For starters, H One is very focused on Cloud. When you have too many things on your plate, your quality of service suffers," says CEO Samath Fernando. He added that with rapid developments in the IT sector, they make sure that they don't treat their customers like guinea pigs. "The team goes to the extent of familiarising themselves with the software while it is still in its development stage." Elaborating further, he stated that his cloud experts work with the beta version of any new product to be launched by Microsoft, a special privilege granted by Microsoft due to their elite status as a Large Account Reseller.

CEO Samath Fernando went on to speak of his people as being central to H One's success. He emphasized the importance of developing 'home-grown talent', and building a team of highly motivated and talented young professionals, constantly creating value for the customer and putting the customer first. Fernando gives an example of this motivation, "Prasad Jayamaha, who was recognized at the Microsoft Awards night for his work with cloud technology, received a phone call from one of our clients soon after he was presented the award. Instead of celebrating his achievement, he was at the customer's site within the hour, till 5 am. This is the level of commitment we have towards servicing our clients."

He went on to add that H One is no longer just a vendor to clients. Testament to this is the fact that the company has never lost a customer to a competitor. The company focuses on the business's vision for growth and tools they need to achieve that growth, and offers unparalleled levels of service and support to deliver results. "H-One is the service provider of choice. All our clients now consider us a partner whom they can trust. Our approach with Cloud is simple: We do a deep study of the customers' need. Once we have identified their pain points and the technology they need to run their businesses successfully, we guide them through their Cloud solution options, also advising them on global industry best-practices, appropriate migration methodologies and training needs to ensure a smooth deployment and seamless experience." Indeed, it is this approach that has earned H One further recognition from Microsoft's regional offices who recently invited H One to serve as an expert Cloud deployment partner to their local partners.

As H-One looks to expand its horizons, they clearly see Cloud as a key entry point. Only in their fifth year of operations, H One has become a formidable entity and trusted IT advisor and solutions provider to Sri Lanka's enterprises.