N*Able held its first employee forum for the financial year 2017/18 chaired by Samitha Udalgama from the Applications Innovations team. Samitha continued the tradition of setting an interesting theme for each forum, with of course; Game of Thrones and the House of N*Able commenced its session.   The forum kicked off with a session by our "Master of the Coin"-  N*Able CFO, Ifadha Anver announcing our performance over the last quarter. It was thrilling to know that we had overcome a number of performance challenges which we encountered in first quarters in previous years. Ifadha spoke showed how our renewed planning approach, and early engagement with customers have proven to help us in this regard.  

But Ifadha didn't leave the stage immediately. Samitha showed us the wall, a colossal fortification on the northern border of the seven kingdoms, and how the House of N*Able is building its own wall against perils of the unknown; the N*Able Risk Framework.  She drew an example between a motorbike and car. In Sri Lanka, many of those with motorbikes take only 3rd party insurance but for a car they take out a full insurance. Reason being, that the damage to a motorbike could generally be absorbed by the person, but since car repairs are more expensive we tend to have a full cover. In the same manner, Ifadha explained how as our business has grown, and with higher risk exposure we needed a formalized risk management framework.

What next? wondered the audience. Well, winter was not coming (yet), but Digital Banking certainly was! N*Able's BFSI team trio, Chamira, Jithendra and Devinda took to stage and shared their progress on development of the digital banking framework. When winter comes, we'll be ready.

Next up was Niruban, who explained how the sigil (a fancy word for the emblems printed on medieval flags!) of N*Able works; our visual branding guideline. Niruban shared his approach to designing some of N*Able's visual identity elements; which was heavily based on human visual behavior and traits.  

Then came the highlight of the evening; the keynote. Samitha puts up a picture of the Iron Throne. As much as we'd like to sit on it, he said there's only one who always sits on it; the customer.  Titled as 'Journeys in Customer Consultancy', the evening's keynote address was delivered by John NLC Fernando, a veteran IBM executive with nearly 40 years of experience.
  John is a man of many talents, and we can't do justice to the amazing insights he shared, within this blog post. He's had an interesting career; graduating from the University of Peradeniya with a degree in computer science he joined IBM as a trainee engineer. IBM, seeing his abilities quickly promoted him up the ranks. Soon after, he saw more potential to expand the reach of technology through the sales function, and in a move unheard of, he moved to sales and started all over as a trainee salesperson. It's this humility and radical frame of mind which has helped him rise to the highest ranks at IBM in the Asia Pacific region.  

Of his many stories shared with the audience, one story which resonated with everyone was his approach to building relationships with customers. He told the story of once how he heard of the demise of the mother of one of his customers, who lived quite far away. So he got into the bus, in the night to go pay his respects. And after paying his respects, he was able to have some casual conversation with his customer, who was quite surprised to see him. This paid off immensely, a year later when John was strung for time to close a sale. Because of John's actions, the customer had built a great sense of trust on John, and the sale closed at the nick of time.  

To close off the evening, there onstage was, Peter D' Almeida, our CEO, who casted the company's vision for the next three quarters. Interestingly, it was not merely about how we need to achieve targets, but rather asking us to evaluate our strengths and how to ?¢??make our bosses work for us. He shared from his personal experience about how when you deliver on what you promised, take responsibility for your work, and make your boss's life easier-in terms of delivering work that allows him/her to do their work better- he/she will be more willing to provide the enablers for you to succeed.