Kris Canekeratne: Leading 24,000+ talents to empower clients with streamlined IT Infrastructure

Kris Canekeratne

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Virtusa is among leading IT services companies, employing over 24,000 talents across the world and empowering corporates to leverage the capabilities of technologies. Although founded in 1996, the partial story of Virtusa began many years earlier when Kris Canekeratne, as a child, was left curious and amazed by the power and potential of a computer. Kris Canekeratne, the Co-founder and CEO of Virtusa, shares how influenced he was when he used an early model of an Apple computer in his school. He was unaware of the capabilities of that machine but was impressed by its simple word processing functionality and was instantly drawn to know more about its power. It was then he realized that he will study computer science, as it was not him that chose computer science but computer science chose him.

Kris continued to learn passionately and understood that only the best universities of the world can fulfill his curious mind. As for every big thing to happen, every piece needs to fall in its place, Kris feels that he is very lucky that his parents supported his dream of studying in the USA. He left Sri Lanka with a heart full of dreams and a bag full of blessings. He acquired B.S. in Computer Science from Syracuse University in upstate New York. A year after his graduation, Kris’s entrepreneurial journey started when he co-founded INSCI Corporation, a supplier of digital document repositories and integrated output management products and services.

Virtusa: A Vision of Streamlining IT Infrastructures of Organizations

Kris co-founded Virtusa in 1996. At the time, he shares that the software industry was mired in coding inefficiencies, high costs, and lengthy software release delays. Regretfully, these challenges didn’t appear to affect one vertical but all the areas, including financial services, banking, media, transportation, and many other sectors.

Kris had long admired the efficient processes used in manufacturing and the automobile industry and he envisioned the same sort of platform efficiencies for software development. Kris and his teammates worked towards addressing these problems and have enabled companies from a wide range of industries to streamline their IT resources. “What has impressed me the most and what continues to inspire me is seeing the look of wonder in the eyes of a CIO/ CTO and their teams as they witness firsthand a solution we’ve presented to a problem that has plagued them for years—when they see that a streamlined, digitally engineered process is not only doable but that it also improves operations as well as the customer experience,” shares Kris.

He further adds, “When I see that look I know we’ve done our job. I also believe the job is not done. We will continue to explore, invent, and deliver on the next generation of software and system efficiencies.”

Dedicating Awards to the Team

Kris has been conferred by various awards and recognitions and is greatly admired by industry professionals. It is not a secret that these acknowledgments are results of great leadership qualities, revolutionary vision, futuristic approach, and inspiring work-ethics. But Kris is too generous to keep the titles for himself and shares them with his fellow Virtusans. “I know that I am just the representative of over 24,000 other people who is working tirelessly to deliver for our clients and push to the future. So, when I am lauded with awards for entrepreneurship or as a business leader, I know that recognition is really about them, not me,” he defended.

However, we can only imagine how difficult it would have been to start a company and make it a family of 24,000+ people. And how difficult it could be to lead it on a global front. So, we decided to ask Kris how he manages all these things. On which he asserts, “I try to have a healthy balance of work, family, and play—it wouldn’t be possible for me to succeed otherwise and without it, I would certainly lose my professional zeal.” He further admits that being at the helm of a publicly-traded company can be overwhelming if you let it. For Kris, the key has been to hire the right people and trust that all of them, at every level of the organization, share a common vision to do their best, every day. He feels grateful for the terrific decision-makers and thought leaders at Virtusa.

Unleashing the Capabilities of the Team

With a mission of helping their clients realize the transformative capacity of technology and its ability to create more value for more people and the vision to be the leader in that task, Kris and his team have already gained dominance in the digital engineering space. Kris, however, knows that they still have a long way to go. And he knows that the key to remaining a leader in the future is to empower the 24,000+ Virtusans around the world to keep innovating, inventing, and doing whatever it takes to deliver more value for their clients and their customers.

Kris strongly believes that it is the team’s efforts and how they can achieve the best from their employees really matters. When asked about a movie that every leader should watch, he mentioned Moneyball—the true story of baseball’s Oakland Athletics’ GM, Billy Beane. Kris takes a lesson and advises all others to learn from this story of the underdog, thinking outside-the-box, ignoring naysayers, and using data and technology to have a material impact on the outcome and on the lives of the people involved. By mentioning this movie, it is clear that Kris emphasizes on optimizing the available resources and empowering the team to utilize them in the most efficient way to bring the outcome nobody would think is/was possible.

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BusinessApac shares the latest news and events in the business world and produces well-researched articles to help the readers stay informed of the latest trends. The magazine also promotes enterprises that serve their clients with futuristic offerings and acute integrity.

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West has been driving the business world owing to its developed economies. The leading part of the world is straining to sustain its dominance. However, the other parts of the world, especially Asia Pacific region have been displaying escalating growth in terms of business and technological advancements.

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