Daily Archives: February 4, 2015

Sirisena Calls for ‘Uniting Hearts and Minds’ of Lankans


Signing of the Declaration of Independence Agreement in 1948: Seated- Sir Henry Monck-Mason Moore, Governor of Ceylon, D.S. Senanayake, Prime Minister. Standing-C.H. Mulhall, Sir Oliver Goonetilleke, Sir Arthur Ranasinghe (Photo courtesy Sunday Times Sri Lanka)

COLOMBO: Calling for a national reconciliation, Sri Lanka’s new President Maithripala Sirisena today regretted that past leaders had failed to bring together the “hearts and minds” of communities since the end of the war against the LTTE.

Addressing the island’s 67th anniversary of independence here that saw the country’s main Tamil party TNA attend the celebrations for the first time in decades, Sirisena asked: “Can we be truly happy with our achievements since 1948?”

“All leaders must take the blame for their failures,” in an apparent reference to his predecessor and two-term president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was despised for allegedly sidelining the Tamil and Muslim minorities in order to retain his popularity with the majority Sinhalese.

His speech was in stark contrast to those of Rajapaksa, who typically celebrated the country’s military victory over the Tamil Tigers after the nearly three decade-long conflict in 2009.

“The biggest challenge today is to unite the hearts of the people of the north and south through a national reconciliation process,” Sirisena said at the ceremony, where a “declaration of peace” was also read out to pay respect to all those who were killed in the civil war.

The LTTE, based in the northern and eastern parts of the country, were fighting for an independent state for Sri Lanka’s minority Tamils.

“We ventured into massive physical development since the end of the war in 2009. But we failed to bring together the hearts and minds of communities,” said Sirisena, who trounced Rajapaksa in the January 8 polls.

At the same time, he said “it is not proper to point fingers at each other”.

“All political parties and leaders who governed this country must look at themselves and meditate on their role and look to the future,” Sirisena said.

Praising Rajapaksa for bringing the LTTE’s separatist war to an end, he stressed the need to achieve national reconciliation by bringing all communities together.

Sirisena and his ministers also pledged in a nationally televised address to never allow the “land to be traumatised by the shedding of blood of innocents”.

Vowing to duly implement his democratic and constitutional reforms, Sirisena said his government would pursue a foreign policy of neutrality to win over the international community to develop the island.

Sirisena, who was the opposition unity candidate, received overwhelming support from the ethnic minorities to defeat the long-time strongman Rajapaksa.

The president also vowed to abide by the UN values and follow the UN charter “to address our foreign policy problems”.

Both the US and the Commonwealth have welcomed the Sirisena-led new government’s approach to work with the international community.

Visiting US Assistant Secretary State Nisha Biswal said in a statement today at the end of her trip that “the United States looks forward to partnering with the Sri Lankan people to address the challenges and help Sri Lanka realise its true potential”.

Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma, who wrapped up a three-day visit to Colombo yesterday, noted positive developments after the new government was installed in Lanka.


Passenger plane crashes in Taiwan with 58 people aboard


A passenger plane with 58 people on board plunged into a river outside Taiwan’s capital Taipei today, with 10 people rescued and dozens trapped inside, according to television reports.

The TransAsia ATR 72-600 turboprop plane was on a domestic flight when it hit a road bridge before ploughing into the river, the reports said. Rescuers were trying to reach the trapped passengers, they said.


Happy 67th Independent day to our mother land Sri Lanka.

Happy 67th Independent day to our mother land Sri Lanka. #proudtobeasrilankan



Removing Mohan, reinstating Shirani null and void: Sarath N Silva


Commenting on the controversial removal of Mohan Peiris from the post of Chief Justice and the reinstatement of Shirani Bandaranayake as CJ is null and void, former Chief Justice Sarath N Silva said yesterday.

He said the proper procedure had not been followed even in the appointment of Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister.

Mr. Silva said if each new government set aside the proper procedure on matters of a fundamental character then anarchy would prevail.

“Our supreme law is the Constitution; even the president has to uphold it and is subject to it. It upholds and separates the powers under Article 4. There is a special provision in the Constitution on the independence of the judiciary under Article 107 which provides for the appointment of the Chief Justice and the Judges of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. They have to be appointed under the hand of the President. Removal too is in the same way, but under address to parliament and has to be preceded by an impeachment motion, then will proceed to 78A of the standing orders. There is a very clear procedure and we can’t depart from it whatever our perceptions of the person however fit or unfit they are for the office,” he said.

Mr. Silva said Dr. Bandaranayake was appointed by the President there is no question about it.

“The Court of Appeal ruled that it must be decided on law and not on standing orders and the Supreme Court quite rightly overruled that on the basis that the Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction on parliamentary matters. Her removal was signed by more than 100 MPs, and though it may have had procedural flaws, it was an official act of parliament and the president receiving his mandate from parliament removed her. It is a valid removal and it stands thereafter whether we like it or not. That Chief Justice did not challenge her removal, nor did she contest the appointment of the new Chief Justice. The correct action was to bring a writ of quo warrantor and contest his holding the office, which she did not do,” he said.

Responding to questions about the involvement of the Bar Association in effecting the removal of the person holding the office of Chief Justice, Mr. Silva said there must be some limit on the involvement of the Bar in relation to such sensitive matters

“The Bar going up in arms does not validate the removal of the Chief Justice. Only a court can use the words ‘null and void’ on the appointment and removal of judges. Moreover the Executive cannot use the words null and void because it is a matter to be decided by court, and as much as I greatly admire the new President even he can’t say this is right. Upul Jayasuriya has reportedly said he was the one who drafted the impeachment motion against me which never went through, and I have nothing against him. But there must be a limit to the involvement of the Bar in impeaching the apex judicial figure. Warrant of the President comes under the public seal of the republic, and now you can’t say its null and void because then what you are saying is that a sovereign act is null and void,” Mr. Silva said.

He said even Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was not properly appointed according to procedure as the former Prime Minister has to be removed according to the Constitution before appointing a new one.

“It is under the Constitution that the Prime Minister holds office unless he’s removed by the President. He is the second citizen of the country and his appointment and removal must be specific. You can’t appoint two Prime Ministers nor can you remove one by conduct. It is a simple matter of removal, and the Constitution under Article 81 says that notice of removal must be given in writing before the new Prime Minister is appointed and this was not done. Rule of Law and due process- we have lost track of that and embraced this basic misconception of Rule of Law. Even I have received criticisms for judgments I have made. If it is legally correct then it does not matter if it political or not,” he said.


7 Steps to Deliver Better Customer Experiences


A surprising thing happened during a recent brainstorming session I led for a retail client. We were supposed to be coming up with ideas for improving the company’s customer experiences, but the head of operations could not think of a single new customer service idea to explore. And the development leader failed to identify any new ideas for store layout or building features. And the merchandising vice president had difficulty understanding why “product” was one of the categories we were discussing.

Each of these executives offered plenty of ideas when the discussion turned to promotions, social media tactics, and marketing messages. But apparently none of them understood that generating new customer experience ideas would involve his domain. They seemed to think that designing and managing the customer experience is a marketing function, as if the customer is only associated with marketing, and the store only with operations. They were happy to maintain the age-old silo between marketing and operations.

I was stunned. How could such a misconception of customer experience have developed? After all, it’s been 10 years since Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, in their seminal book, Return on Customer, declared the customer experience the single most important factor for business success. And since then, countless case studies and analyses have been published about the importance of optimizing a business around the customer experience. If such confusion can exist at a high-growth, $2.5 billion public company, how many other organizations could be struggling to understand and manage customer experience appropriately?

I’ve discovered that most companies are using an incomplete definition of customer experience, and have incomplete tools and approaches to design and manage it.

While customer experience can be defined as the sum of all interactions a customer has with a company, most people operate with a narrower view. Some understand it as customer service or service excellence – without recognizing that service is only one element of the entire experience. Others, like my client, consider it to be customer marketing – that is, the communications and promotional activities used to attract and retain customers. Again, these activities represent only a fraction of the interactions between company and customer – and as it’s been said time and again, what an organization says in its advertising has far less impact on customer perceptions than what it does in reality.

Even with the correct, complete view of customer experience, it’s still possible for companies to mismanage it because they lack the proper tools to help them design and manage their approach. The most common mistake in mismanaging the customer experience is starting with customer data. Using data and analytics as a starting point fails to recognize the importance of coherence between customer experience and brand identity. (By brand identity, I mean the defining values and attributes that distinguish a brand.) Delivering on the brand promise, expressing the brand personality, and bringing the brand attributes to life should be the primary objectives when designing the customer experience. Some companies drive their customer experience with conversion rate and customer lifetime value targets, then end up delivering experiences that are unmemorable and undifferentiated.

Other common tools, like journey maps, are also incomplete because multiple customer journeys usually exist for a single organization. Most companies target more than one customer segment with more than one need or driver, and today’s customers engage in more than one channel or sequence of channels.

A more thorough approach to designing and managing customer experience is to use a customer experience architecture. It’s a framework for designing and delivering the optimal experiences to different customer segments in different business segments with different business objectives. The “architecture” is similar to other strategic architectures that are used as planning tools, like a brand architecture or an information architecture – or a structural architecture for building a house.

To develop a customer experience architecture, follow these steps:

1. The brand platform – First, define or reaffirm the overarching ideas that represent the brand. REI’s brand platform is the excitement and adventure of the outdoors; Chick-fil-A’s is exceeding customers’ expectations with a servant’s spirit.

2. Customer experience strategy – Then describe the desired customer feelings and perceptions of the brand across all interactions with the organization. An electronics website might want to create a “place” for customers to discover and be delighted by innovations. A hotelier might want customers to feel pampered by legendary service.

3. Business segmentation – The next step is to break down the business into discrete units. For a new brand, segmenting the business by traffic vs. trial vs. transition might be an illuminating approach; a restaurant company might segment by service mode, e.g., eat-in vs. drive-thru vs. carry-out; and a product-line segmentation might be appropriate for a manufacturer. The objective is to identify the different experiences the organization delivers and to articulate the requirements and objectives of each.

4. Customer segmentation – Different target segments have different needs – some customers may value convenience over price, others may be looking for an entertaining experience – so their desired experiences vary. Describe each segment with a profile and a needs inventory, including key drivers of purchase decisions and brand perceptions.

5. Prioritization – Create a grid with the business segments as columns and customer segments as rows. Each business/customer intersection represents a discrete experience to design and deliver. They should be prioritized in order to focus design and management. Prioritization criteria include profit potential, fit with long-term strategy, competitive advantage and differentiation, resource requirements, and how the experience affects and/or reinforces brand values and brand position.

6. Experience design – Determine how to meet the segment-specific needs in each business segment, either by improving existing approaches based on new insights from the architecture or by developing entirely new ones. All the levers of customer experience – product, service, content, channels, touchpoints, pricing, facilities, sensory engagement, etc. – should be considered and described in the design.

7. Assessment and integration – Now the architecture is ready to be inspected for integrity and coherence. Is the brand platform expressed throughout every experience? Do the discrete experiences contribute to the overall customer experience strategy? Do experiences complement and enhance each other, or do they conflict or detract from each other?

Developing a customer experience architecture isn’t rocket science, but it requires accepting a broader, fuller definition of customer experience and committing to a robust planning tool and process.

Companies that develop their own architecture will find it breaks down organizational silos, addresses the diversity of customers and their needs, and produces unique and compelling experiences.


Windows 7 And Windows XP Show No Signs Of Dying


Perhaps this is why Windows 10 will be a free upgrade to both Windows 7 and Windows 8 owners: Windows 7 users simply refuse to give up using Microsoft’s older OS.

Net Applications’ NetMarketshare numbers for January show the number of Windows 7 users at 55.92 percent, which is near their 11-month high of 56.41 percent. And the number of users of Windows XP-whose share had plunged to 13.57 percent last November-are back up to 18.93 percent of the total.

Microsoft has repeatedly warned that the older Windows XP operating system is subject to security vulnerabilities that will eventually put users at risk. (A registry hack will help protect it by identifying itself as an embedded version of Windows XP, which continues to receive updates.


%d bloggers like this: