From left : Wiley Global Technologies (Pvt) Ltd General Manager Bimal Gunapala and John Wiley & Sons Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Aref Matin
Pic by Kushan Pathiraja
United States (US)-based John Wiley & Sons Inc., a global leader in research and education, plans to make Sri Lanka its largest technology centre replacing Russia by end of this year with plans to double its current staff in Sri Lanka within 12-18 months.
The local entity of John Wiley & Sons, Wiley Global Technology (Private) Limited commenced operations in Sri Lanka last year employing 215 engineers.
“We have made a firm commitment to enter the Sri Lankan high-tech scene and have made tremendous progress in just 10 months. In these 10 months, we have assembled 215 very experienced software architects, developers, quality engineering, programme management and technology operations talent.
“We plan to double over the next 12-18 months, and if necessary, we will hire another 200 on top of that. So we are looking at about 500-600 engineers,” John Wiley & Sons Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Aref Matin told reporters in Colombo during a recent visit to Sri Lanka.
John Wiley & Sons employs 350 staff in Russia at the moment. However, Matin noted that Sri Lanka would overtake Russia as the firm’s largest technology hub by year-end with planned new recruitments in the country.
As of April 30, 2019, John Wiley & Sons employed approximately 5,700 persons on a full-time equivalent basis worldwide.
John Wiley & Sons has invested US$ 5 million in Sri Lanka so far to establish its operations in the country.
Wiley Global Technology currently occupies five floors in MagaOne building located in Colombo 05. With planned expansions, Matin said the firm was looking for additional office space in MagaTwo building, which is currently under construction.
He outlined that highly talented and skilled technology graduates, who have a strong focus on innovation and a desire to learn latest technology trends and English language capabilities, as key reasons for selecting Sri Lanka. “Sri Lanka doesn’t have the numbers yet, but if you are looking at hiring 500-600 highly qualified engineers, Sri Lanka in my opinion is the ideal place,” he stressed.
He also emphasised that the ability to travel in and out of Sri Lanka was also crucial to enter Sri Lanka.
“Some of the countries we operate in are more restrictive. For example, if you want to travel to Russia, you have to go through extended period of time to apply for visa, it takes basically six weeks. Coming to Sri Lanka is easy and friendly for foreigners and it’s relatively easy to travel to other countries from Sri Lanka,” he said.
John Wiley & Sons has identified that potential future embargos and sanctions by the US government on certain countries it operates such as Russia could have a material impact on the company’s operations.
Matin was also impressed by the capabilities of local engineers who were able to deliver an advanced functionality in three months to support one of its education platforms in Australia, which has over 275,000 users
“Our talented teams in Colombo build, deliver and support powerful tools that speed up development of content and the spread of knowledge. In support of this mission, we use modern software applications, and platforms utilizing sophisticated programming languages, data/analytics and machine learning to deliver the necessary platforms. Our technology operations team supports our delivery capabilities worldwide from Colombo,” he added.
With approximately 7,500 technology graduates entering the job market per annum, John Wiley & Sons also is connecting with local organizations such as SLASSCOM and ICTA to further contribute to building Sri Lanka’s technology talent pool. For over 200 years, John Wiley & Sons has been helping people and organizations to develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. The company operates on three business verticals: Research, Publishing and Solutions.
Through the Research segment, which accounts for 52 percent of revenue, the company provides scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, as well as related content and services to academic, corporate, and government libraries, learned societies, and individual researchers and other professionals.
The Publishing segment provides scientific, professional, and educational books and related content in print and digital formats, as well as test preparation services and course workflow tools, to libraries, corporations, students, professionals, and researchers.
The Solutions segment which is an emerging sector provides online programme management services for higher education institutions and learning, development, and assessment services for businesses and professionals. (NF)