2019

Gamification: A New Business Driver

By applying gamification principles to daily tasks, employees will be motivated to follow agile practices diligently

 

When Nick Pelling coined the word “gamification” way back in 2002, little would he have realized the significant role it would play in transforming organizations and in driving key business imperatives. Gamification is a key business transformation lever which uses gaming mechanics, game design principles and practices to unlock employee potential, while making them productive and engaged to drive business momentum. It is also a process of harnessing the potent ability of gaming to involve and fascinate users, while enabling them to internalize change, drive performance and sustain growth. Gamification is also emerging as an agent of change and has found a key place in change management, performance management, process excellence, and service delivery.

Design and Governance matters

Successful gamification design is an important facet while trying to transform employee psyche and making it easier for them to engage in real life tasks. Some of the key design principles include incorporating a goal driven approach, measuring progress, ensuring dynamic feedback, bringing in the element of uncertainty (usually found in all games), triggering/prompting users to return and “play”, motivating users to collaborate and engaging with other users. Governance is also a critical component of gamification and is vital to sustain the motivation of the employee. The important constructs involve:

Objectives: Well defined goals to reach the required milestones
Guidelines: Actionable set of rules meant to define the limits
Metrics: To measure progress and provide feedback
Recognition: Points to reward users while exhibiting acceptable behaviors
Levels & Challenges: Introduce challenges in areas being monitored, sustain and elevate employees with more points and enhance their motivation
Scoreboards: To drive healthy competition, track and analyze individual performances

Driving the initiative with a purpose
Once the governance model is in place, project teams should have a definite framework which can be operationalized to drive the process of gamification. A well-defined problem statement, along with a clear road-map to encourage players (employees) and motivate them to move through different levels, while sustaining their commitment is vital for the success of any gamified initiative. To avoid any slippages during implementation, it is important to have a complete grasp of the problem to be solved, the employee profile, to train employees on how to play the game and have goals tightly aligned to business objectives.

Key business benefits include:
Upgrading employee skills: Employees can have a fun time while mastering new skills along with the processes. It can also be a key driver of product and process innovation, while enabling the evolution of subject matter experts and in the creation of new knowledge

Ensure employee participation & involvement: A gamified environment between contesting teams is ideal for talent identification and acts as a great leveler by connecting cross-functional teams and business units

Monitor employee progress: Gamification enables instant feedback, which is critical to quickly fix any performance gaps and to maximize employee outcomes and keep them focused on business goals

Boost productivity: Capable of closely monitoring employee performance and mapping it with set standards, and taking relevant steps to improve productivity

Drive customer satisfaction: Ensure workforce is focused on collaboration, capable of delivering predictable results, and focused on driving better customer experiences

Stabilizing the impact

For gamification to work at the optimum, there should be total employee involvement and complete backing from leadership teams. With gamification soon becoming a rule, rather than an exception for engagement, it is important to have a top-down evolution model which will accelerate the journey towards performance optimization, process maturity, and enhancing business value.

The evolution model
Strategic enablement: Design gamification strategy for the enterprise by identifying short term and long term strategic goals, build a org wide gamification platform aligned to these goals, cascade the vision across hierarchies, establish a self-improvement culture driven by gamification methods and focused on enhancing delivery, drive accountability among mid-management to drive gamified initiatives

Service excellence: Identify areas of competency building among teams, build relevant metrics (find the adoption rate, number of employees engaged, their ability to solve challenges, collaborate, and lead), enable process management (define, optimize and monitor processes to drive performance), improve delivery (enhance SLA & quality, improve product knowledge), and nurture high performance teams (foster creativity among teams to solve challenges, resolve conflicts & build  trust, work on shared goals, learn faster decision making and flexible leadership styles)

Foundational growth: Choose the right gamification methodology in alignment with the delivery objectives and align individual and team goals, build individual specific coaching programs to maximize employee involvement and identify members needing improvement, the program should focus on best practices which should be followed, along with roles & responsibilities of each member

As a concept, gamification brings individual people together to focus their capabilities together for a common purpose with a set goal as an outcome. This produces tangibility and motivation to continue. Applied within an enterprise setting, gamification refers to work situations where “game thinking and game-based tools are used in a strategic manner to integrate with existing business processes or information systems” resulting in positive employee and organizational outcomes.

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Future of jobs: 5 skills you need to thrive in the age of automation

The accelerating pace of technological evolution is expected to cause tectonic shifts in the employment space. While the rise of new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics, etc. is giving companies an upper hand over their competitors, on is the other hand there is a growing concern of these technologies taking away millions of jobs. It is therefore important for today’s employees to periodically upskill themselves to stay relevant in their jobs.

TimesJobs spoke to Visweswara Rao, SVP & Chief HR Officer, CSS Corp on the skills that will be essential for the future workforce. He said, “Cognitive technology advancements will redefine the workplace where humans and machines will increasingly interact with each other to achieve predetermined goals. With machines expected to take over most of the repetitive tasks, human roles will be upgraded and there will also be a need to possess additional skill sets like problem solving, communication, interpretation and design”.

As per a World Economic Forum report titled ‘The Future of Jobs 2018’, by 2025 more than half of the current workplace tasks that are performed by humans will be performed by machines. Automationwill me a major disruptor is a given, but how everyone is able to sense the opportunities around automation will be the key differentiator between leaders and laggards. Here are few skills that are a must-have if you are looking to thrive in the age of automation:

Cognitive skills
The possession of cognitive skills like creativity and critical thinking is where humans have an edge over machines. For instance, demonstrating critical thinking for a better understanding of the market trends and creating strategies around it can go a long way in making humans valuable at the workplace. Similarly, creativity is something that will always give humans an edge over machines. So, the more creative you are the less chances of you losing your job to automation technology.

Soft skills 

Effectively managing others, empathy towards customers, negotiation skills, are just few of the many examples of skills that machines will not be able to possess. It is therefore important for you to hone your soft skills and make yourself valuable for your current employer.

STEM skills
With rising technology use and digital innovation, knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics will help you to keep up with the pace of the evolving technology.

Awareness around SMAC 
Future employees will have to be on top of things when it comes to technology. It will be important for them to be aware of the social, mobile, analytics and cloud ecosystem and develop skills around it.

Entrepreneurial skills
Businesses would like to work with go-getters in the future who are willing to take calculated risks and get the job done. You will have to think like an entrepreneur and keep the best interest of the organisation at heart.

CSS Corp’s Manish Tandon recognized as the CEO of the Year at CMO Asia Awards 2019

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology company, today announced that its CEO, Manish Tandon, has been honoured with the prestigious CEO of the Year award at the 2019 CMO Asia Awards held on 15th August in Singapore.

The award is an acknowledgment of his role in transforming CSS Corp into a new age digital services organization and up scaling its credibility in the global IT industry.

Manish joined CSS Corp in 2016 and has been instrumental ever since in introducing new measures that have established operational stability and driven innovation. Under his vision, CSS Corp has emerged as a new age services provider that offers differentiated value propositions and award-winning solutions, aimed to solve challenges and deliver incredible customer experience to clients.

CSS Corp added another feather in its cap by also bagging the 2019 CMO Asia Awards for Excellence in IT/ITeS Sector. The company was recognized for its unique outcomes-driven services proposition that fuses world-class operational expertise with best-of-breed technology solutions.

“It is an honour to receive the CEO of the Year award from the prestigious CMO Asia group. It is truly humbling when your work is recognized by industry veterans. I would like to thank the entire CSS Corp team who took the leap of faith with me and tirelessly helped in delivering the best to all our stakeholders. I also appreciate our customers for their trust and confidence in CSS Corp as we move ahead on this transformation journey. The Award for Excellence in IT/ITeS Sector goes on to show that the team at CSS Corp is breaking conventions to reach new heights in innovation,” said Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, CSS Corp.

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Interview with Vasudevan Sundarababu, SVP and CTO at CSS Corp

This is a TechGig Exclusive interview with Vasudevan Sundarababu, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at CSS Corp. Through this interview, Sundarababu explains how the CTO role has evolved over the years amid rapid technological disruptions. He also talks about how coding contests and hackathons are helping his company address the talent deficit.

#1. As a tech leader, how has your role changed over the years?

The technology industry is undergoing massive changes. To stay relevant in the industry and meet overreaching consumer expectations, companies need to reimagine their IT and business models. Doing so can help them maintain their competitive advantage in the market and stay ahead of the game. Consequently, the role of the CTO has evolved with changing times. Earlier, the role of the CTO was to procure the right technology and implement projects. But, with the current technological landscape, implementation has become a cakewalk. The CTO’s role has evolved to become vaster, wiser and more intense. Right from being the evangelist of new technologies, we have become the business technology advisors for customers. Our role is to not only understand IT and leverage it in the appropriate contextual manner but also to predict the changes taking place in the industry and evolve accordingly.

Technology has become so pervasive and ubiquitous that the CTO must be in sync with all other business units that are impacted by the technology in the system. From the age-old concept of being a technocrat, the role has changed to become that of a tech visionary with a 360-degree view of the industry. The CTO must keep abreast of new ways of integrating technology contextually in innovative ways in business decisions to drive sales for the organisation. In addition, a CTO now needs to increasingly keep business outcomes in mind while working on their technology initiatives. The end goal is to impart better business agility and enable the organization to pivot quickly as business models rapidly evolve.

#2. According to you, which is the best technological innovations to have come by so far?

We are gradually moving towards a conversational economy, where voice is gaining increased prominence amongst consumers. Businesses are applying conversational AI-based voice platforms in their strategic investment roadmaps to disrupt the customer experience ecosystem, thereby, simplifying and personalizing customer engagements.

Conversational AI is one of the pathbreaking technological innovations to date, that can disrupt the customer experience ecosystem by simplifying and personalizing customer engagements through AI-based voice platforms. Gartner predicts that “Conversational AI-first” will supersede “cloud-first, mobile-first” as the most important, high-level imperative for the next 10 years. With advancements in speech recognition and Natural Language Processing (NLP), conversational AI is making customer engagement much more unified and collaborative.

#3. What are the 5 best programming languages for beginners? 

AI is fast penetrating into all spheres of life today. It is everywhere and all around us. From your commute to work, to catching up with friends online, to shopping on the go, we are all using AI every day without even realising it.

According to Mark Cuban, a well-known American businessman and investor, “AI will make the world’s first trillionaire. ‘The first trillionaire is going to be someone who masters Artificial Intelligence and all its derivatives and implements it in ways we never thought of’”.

So, when it comes to AI aspirants, I would suggest the best 5 programming languages would be Python, Java, Lisp, Prolog and C++.

#4. How do you source skill specific talent requirements? Do you think platforms like hackathons or coding contests help strengthen the talent pipeline?

There are a multitude of tools and techniques, which help screen candidates for the primary level and match the right skills to the right talent. Coding contests, such as, code breakers and hackathons conducted through digital platforms are used as preliminary ways for talent acquisition, attracting talent having the required skillsets. We also follow the practice of hiring candidates from premier educational institutes, such as, IITs and IIMs. CSS Corp was also listed by IIT Madras as one of the top recruiters (in terms of job offers) during 2018-19. These techniques are not only used for hiring but also for creating a learning experience for the employees.

Having said that, we at CSS Corp believe in recruiting talent with the right attitude. Skills can be acquired; however, an organisation succeeds because of people that have the right attitude. Gone are the days when one could learn a specific skill and excel in it to achieve success for a lifetime. Now, you need to constantly upgrade yourself with latest skills brought in by the influx of digitization of the market. In today’s dynamic work environment, employees need to continually reinvent themselves. And, at CSS Corp every individual is empowered to and expected to innovate. Afterall, it’s the work environment and culture that helps employees flourish here.

For this purpose, we have built ‘Reimagine’, a digital career progression framework to reorient our service lines and re-align the growth of our employees to meet growing business needs. The “Reimagine” framework for employee re-skilling has been specifically built to fast-track employee initiatives within the organization, related to niche digital technologies including robotic process automation (RPA), AI, analytics, cloud, DevOps and IoT. Additionally, the framework enables collaborative learning and greater personalization through Virtual University, MOOCs, online portals and learning communities. ‘Reimagine’ promotes democratization of learning and fosters a culture of innovation within the organization.


#5. Lastly, a message that you’d like to share with our community of technology enthusiasts. 

I would suggest all the coders and tech geeks to consume technology as an enabler to solve business problems. Let us view challenges as business problems and not only technology issues.Afterall, the future holds good for people with multi facet skill sets, so keep learning and keep applying the knowledge in the right situations through innovative methods.

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Your basic computing skills are no longer relevant to IT companies

The Indian IT industry generates at least one lakh new jobs a year. But if you think that makes jobs readily available, the reality is different. That is because the industry, which employs more than four million people, has changed the way it hires. Basic skills are no longer in demand, and companies want candidates to be job-ready from day one.

At a time when the sector continues to be on a hiring spree, Moneycontrol looks into what has really changed in the way IT companies recruit. The five-part series looks at each emerging trend with a detailed lens.

“Looking for an engineer, preferably with specialisation in the computer science segment”, read a newspaper ad by an Information Technology (IT) sector major seven years ago. Today, IT firms are no longer looking for basic engineering school graduates for jobs. While these schools are still one of the avenues of hiring, companies are looking for niche skills to meet the changing demands of the business.

 From the basic knowledge of the computer software that IT sector firms were looking for, it has moved to skills like data mining, cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain development.

A recent study by online education company Simplilearn says that five of the top IT jobs of the future in India are data scientist, AI engineer, cloud architect, cyber-security expert, and digital project manager. Fresh graduates for these positions are most-preferred.

“There is a widely-held view that the IT industry is facing a challenge around hiring employable professionals. To an extent, this is true because the services and solutions landscape is evolving so rapidly that one needs to constantly reinvent themselves to thrive in this environment,” said Visweswara Rao, the senior vice president and chief human resource officer at IT services firm CSS Corp.

5G network as a game changer in the automotive industry and a basis for enhanced driver tech

‘According to Barclays, an autonomous car could generate 100 gigabytes of data per second, and with a response time of less than a millisecond and output of 1Gigabit, 5G will be the new definition for speed.’

The rise of autonomous driving assistance features in cars is quite prominent and a lot of it depends on connectivity since V2V (vehicle to vehicle) and V2I (vehicle to infrastructure) are extremely crucial for autonomy. There is where the relevance of an upgraded, reliable and responsive network comes in. The current financial year of 2019-20 could see the rollout of 5G network in India. We currently have Internet-connected cars in the country, for example, Hyundai Venue and MG Hector. With the onset of a faster network, commercial and economical development could see breakthroughs like smart city development and enhanced driver assistance features.

“There has been significant progress as large Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are conducting trials with major service providers. In addition, test labs for specific verticals are being set up to focus on key sectors such as banking, railways, agriculture, manufacturing, health, power and more. We will see an increasing number of use cases ranging from connected and affordable healthcare, smart cities and homes, efficient and secure autonomous cars, to robotics, immersive gaming, immersive education and more,” says Aditya Chaudhuri, Managing Director and Lead – Communications, Media & Technology, Accenture India.

“For example, 5G vehicle-to-vehicle communications (V2V) could allow lead cars to communicate hazards to following cars, increasing reaction time and safely allowing car convoys. It could also reduce the time to find parking and help decongest roads to benefit commuters,” He further added.

Arvind Gopalakrishnan, VP & Head of Solutions, Products and Sales Engineering at Aeris Communications, explains “The basic need of digital India is ubiquitous connectivity and it cannot be successful without effective, affordable internet connection with the last mile reach. A key challenge for the automotive industry as they implement 5G core network is ensuring they have the right infrastructure enabling seamless and undisrupted high-speed connectivity and security. 5G will propel automotive from current state of on-demand information to real-time vehicle to vehicle connect to autonomous control into a full-blown 5G experience,”

“Autonomous driving or a driverless car is the next most advanced form of mobility and will generate huge amount of data which need to be responded with a less turn-around-time. According to Barclays, an autonomous car could generate 100 gigabytes of data per second, and with a response time of less than a millisecond and output of 1Gigabit, 5G will be the new definition for speed and connectivity for autonomous vehicles.

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“In the context of the Digital economy, the high-speed and low latency service will help the Government’s Digital India and Digital Village initiatives, 5G has the potential to work as a catalyst in achieving GOI’s vision of $5-trillion economy by 2025.”

“India’s telecom infrastructure would need significant capital investment to herald in 5G adoption. Technological advancements in autonomous vehicles, augmented reality, and AI will continue to push the adoption of 5G in India,” opines Sunil Mittal, EVP, and CSMO, CSS Corp.

“Flagship government programs like Digital India and Smart Cities will also necessitate 5G connectivity for its more advanced programs. 5G connectivity requires 5G ready handsets which and it will be at least a couple of years by when the general population of India will start using them, as and when the demand for an immersive mobile experience rises.”

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CSS Corp named amongst ET NOW ‘Dream Companies to Work for’ in India

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology support company, today announced that it has been recognized amongst the ‘Dream Companies to Work For’ by ET Now, India’s premier broadcast channel, and part of the Times Group. CSS Corp was recognized for its strong employee-centricity along with innovation and learning-oriented culture. The awards were presented at a gala ceremony on 16th February at Taj Lands End, Mumbai.

CSS Corp was featured in the list of top 51 companies in India across all industries. CSS Corp scored well in parameters such as company vision, alignment of learning to business goals, technology and innovation, career development, and employee engagement. The company’s learning and innovation environment, customer-centricity and outcome-orientation, along with its career progression framework- ‘Reimagine’, helped propel it through the rankings. The recognition reaffirms CSS Corp’s position as one of the premier employers to work for in the IT & Software industry.

 “We are delighted to be recognized by ET NOW. As an organization, we are deeply committed to building a culture that promotes learning newer technologies and encourages a problem-solving mindset. Our vision and commitment reflect through our investments in cutting-edge technologies and learning frameworks to create a vibrant workforce that passionately embraces customer-centricity and outcome-driven critical thinking”, said Manish Tandon, CEO at CSS Corp on the recognition.

“In our knowledge economy, it is imperative that we constantly learn, unlearn and relearn in order to stay relevant and edge ahead. In this context, our employees are our pillars of strength. Steps were taken towards training workforces in next-gen technologies, problem-solving, and communication skills can pay great dividends for employees and their organizations in the long run,” he added.

“It is an honour to be part of this elite list of dream companies to work for. As a new-age digital organization, CSS Corp encourages a digital culture that fosters learning and enables our employees to think, feel, and innovate from a customer’s perspective. Our culture and technology infrastructure not only helps to bring employees more in alignment with customers’ journeys but also enables them to make context-aware decisions, focus on continuous learning and take calculated risks”, said Nishikant Nigam, EVP and Chief Delivery Officer at CSS Corp on the occasion.

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CSS Corp Wins Golden Globe Tigers 2019 awards from CMO Asia Group

CSS Corp, a new age IT services and technology support company, today announced that it has won ‘The Golden Globe Tigers 2019 Awards’ in the business innovation category.

The results were declared by the CMO Asia group at the Le Meridien hotel in Malaysia. CSS Corp was acknowledged for its intelligent automation capabilities, built with innovative solutions that enable IT operations to become more agile and accessible for enterprises. CSS Corp’s intelligent automation for IT operations has been designed to leverage the transformative potential of cognitive technologies to drive customer centricity, simplify businesses, and ensure top-notch service delivery and management for enterprises. By infusing intelligence into IT operations, the platform promotes the highest level of predictability and service-level optimization, providing agility, speed, and flexibility.

“We are deeply honoured to receive this prestigious award for our innovative service model in IT operations. Our cognitive solutions have been a catalyst in transforming traditional IT ecosystems into smarter hybrid frameworks, adding more value to our customers. We continue to work on empowering our customers to drive greater business agility and efficiency through context-driven IT operations”, said Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, CSS Corp.

CSS Corp wins Gold in IT services at the 11th Annual 2019 Golden Bridge Awards

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology company, has won Gold in the 11th Annual 2019 Golden Bridge Awards® for its innovative network solutions.

The company was bestowed with the ‘Best Solution of the Year’ title in the IT services category. The award was presented in San Francisco on October 28, 2019, during the red-carpet awards ceremony.

CSS Corp’s innovative network solutions are designed to enable telcos to address the challenges associated with 5G installations and accelerate their 5G rollouts.

Leveraging cognitive technologies such as AI/ML, advanced analytics and intelligent automation, the solutions drive network transformation reliably and cost-effectively.

Built on their multi-vendor and multi-technology network expertise, the end-to-end solutions cover advanced network planning, NFV automation, digital quality assurance, field operations optimization, and cognitive network operations.

Developed in CSS Corp’s state-of-the-art innovation labs, the solutions enable organizations to scale up their resilience, business agility, and operational excellence.

“Building a system that is agile and intuitive with a deep focus on business operations and customer experience is indispensable today. Our digital-focused strategy and innovative network solutions have helped us to offer flexible and value-based services to our clientele, and fast-track their network transformation journeys. This award is a testament to CSS Corp’s vision to offer best-in-class solutions that leverage cognitive technologies to solve a wide range of business problems. I’m proud that our solutions have been appreciated by more than 160 esteemed jury panelists from a broad spectrum of industries around the world”, said Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, CSS Corp.

“We will continue to push boundaries and explore new frontiers in bringing more cutting-edge and cost-effective network solutions for our customers to enable them to succeed”, he added.

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Towards CX 2.0

Smooth connectivity and the easy availability of digital tools these days have changed our lives to a great extent-including the ways we connect and interact with brands. Instant gratification has become the new norm in today’s world, which means if you don’t have your finger on the customers’ pulse, then chances are that your consumer will not hesitate a bit in turning his/her back on you as well. Customer-centricity, on the other hand, can get you loyalty, repeat business, profits and most importantly help you get an edge over your competitors.

A McKinsey study concluded that companies that can consistently deliver a high-quality customer experience(CX) can improve their customer satisfaction level by 33 percent while creating cost savings of around 25-30 percent. On the other hand, disruption at any given point in a customer journey could impact the overall customer experience, and could further impact the revenue side of their business.

While, it’s not difficult to assume why CX has become a key focus of businesses today, but providing a seamless, consistent, and personalized experience can be challenging and CX solution providers are looking for new innovative ways to deal with it. There’s no doubt that the adoption of omni-channel services have been able to let customers connect seamlessly with the businesses. But the challenges are not limited to technology, disparate systems, and data only. We often miss the most critical element- the humans- who are entrusted with the task of interacting with the customers. Hence, when businesses look to embrace a customer-centric culture by putting customers front and centre of their business strategy, they need to strategize their CX-related investments carefully and understand how it affects the entire ecosystem.

The good news is that things are now changing faster with exciting new innovations and developments in this realm. Gartner predicts that more than 50pc of organizations will redirect their investments towards CX innovations by 2018, as they see value in using them to improve every customer interaction.

MAKING THE BUSINESS CASE:

Superior customer experience is the holy grail for organizations focused on driving sustainable growth and competitive differentiation. But, it can get a bit tricky if they fail to contextualize and align their CX investments with customer pain points and with growth opportunities. Vivian Gomes, VP & Head of Marketing, CSS Corp said, “In my view, organizations should adopt an agile and an incremental approach towards digitalizing processes involved in customer lifecycle management. This is not a big bang theory. Making the transformation towards digital enabled CX has to start with driving a strong data-driven culture in the organization. One can start with low hanging fruit and ensure the data from customer touch points is efficiently captured and leveraged across the customer journey. Organizations should create a credible mechanism to streamline data and build customer intelligence models to improve customer experience. Appropriate investments towards tools, technology and strong analytics are must to ensure a sustained transition towards the end state. This can result in sustainable growth and enable organizations to confidently increase investments in innovation in CX projects.”

Raghu Polisetty, MD-Global Digital Delivery Lead, Accenture Advanced Technology Centers said, “Challenge in establishing a financial case for customer experience investment may, however, lie in a structured and disciplined approach to implement the overarching service/ customer experience design and selecting the right combination of customer journeys curated for targeted persons, data from real-life behaviour and new technologies to change the negative interaction experience to positive, and while doing all this, not losing the sight of the long-term goal of being a modular and agile firm which can shift constantly to new technology enablers. These choices are best determined by the business strategy driving the investments and in line with the outcomes expected.”

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