2020

Maps that speak the same language as your consumers

Ever wanted to peek into how location-based technology has become essential to modern life? Just glance at your cab driver, checking the map on his phone before every turn. However, it’s not always a smooth drive with the maps (no pun intended). Apart from connectivity and network issues, language is often the main challenge, especially for those who are more comfortable with the local language. For instance, if your destination is a location that, perhaps, has been lost in translation and cannot be found on the map, then you’re in a soup. With more than 4000 written languages in the world (yes!), why on earth should something as critical as a map be limited to a few languages?

As globalization has become the essence of the omnichannel business landscape, there are a plethora of businesses that are looking for language-localization to connect with consumers in their preferred language. At the heart of the operational process of maps-based service-providers like cab aggregators, logistics, hyperlocal businesses, etc., lies the compelling need for translation and transliteration of maps. This would not only pave the way for regional adoption of maps, but also ensure increased ROI for local businesses, and unrivaled customer experiences. However, there are a couple of immediate challenges that need to be addressed in terms of both technology and competency levels.

Challenges for localization of maps

  • One of the primary constraints of producing maps in local languages is the quality of the translation. There are instances when names of certain places cannot be translated into the local language and having them retained in English can make more sense. Again, at times, the text in the native language must be excluded to make it more relevant. As such, translation to a different language needs to be carefully proofed and checked.
  • While many web-based translation tools are widely available, it is important to use a trusted source like native speakers, preferably those with geographic knowledge. For this, you need a strong combination of technology and human competence.
  • For maps being presented in multiple languages, the labels need to fall in the same place on each version of the map. This means the space for the label needs to accommodate the name with maximum letters, ensuring that each label does not overprint another. Also, if a name is changed, it has to be updated in several different languages.

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IT services firm CSS Corp rolls out pay hikes, to hire 1000 people this quarter

Bengaluru: Mid-size IT services firm CSS Corp has rolled out a high-single digit pay hike for its 7000 odd employees, at a time when the majority of its large tech services peers and BPM companies have decided to delay increments and promotions.

The company is planning to hire 1000 employees by the end of June across markets.

Companies such as Infosys, Wipro, TCS, WNS and others have delayed pay hikes and put promotions on hold as they see uncertainty over business growth in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak across key markets.

CSS Corp has also paid 100% of variable salary to the majority of its employees.

“We are in challenging times and the organization has responded with great resilience in moving to a 100% WFH model early in the cycle. So it was important for us to ensure they are certain about their future. At the lower bands, which constitute 70% of the workforce, the variable payout was 100% and at higher levels where metrics are a little more stringent, the payout was around 80%. We have also handed out promotions to all eligible employees,” said Nishikant Nigam, chief delivery officer and Head of HR, CSS Corp, adding that its appraisal cycle was not different than that of last year.

The company, which enabled 100% of its employees to deliver services remotely, has given special incentive for those employees who played a critical role in shifting work to homes in March.

CSS Corp will carry out virtual onboarding for fresh hiring meant for India and other countries.

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CSS Corp Recognized as a Disruptor in Avasant’s Intelligent Automation Services RadarView™ 2019-2020 Report

Bangalore, Karnataka, India: CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology support company, announced today that it has been recognized as a “Disruptor” in Avasant’s Intelligent Automation Services RadarView™ 2019 Report. Avasant acknowledged CSS Corp’s consistent innovation in its RPA solutions and indigenous AI-enabled platforms, Contelli and Active Insights. The report evaluated 24 global service providers against key criteria including scope and quality of portfolio, performance and growth, innovation capabilities, geographic coverage, implementation experience, case studies, and client satisfaction score. Avasant’s report has recognized Contelli and Active Insights, CSS Corp’s homegrown intelligent automation platforms for its adoption of RPA, AI, and analytics in IT processes transformation. The platforms leverage cognitive technologies to drive the customers’ service delivery operations, accelerating growth, and predictability. The context-driven platforms together drive end-to-end automation of both front-office and back-office processes. CSS Corp has used the platforms successfully to fast-track IT automation for its customers across telecom, media, hi-tech, banking, and retail industries.

According to Swapnil Bhatnagar, Research Director, Avasant, “With the advent of more disruptive cognitive technologies, the enterprise journey of intelligent automation has traversed from a rule-based approach to judgment-based automation. CSS Corp’s automation strategy is in tandem with this market opportunity with a clear focus on the contextual adoption of automation for back-end as well as front-end processes by leveraging AI and analytics. This approach, in conjunction with heavy investments made in innovation labs for incubating solutions and reskilling its workforce for the next leap of automation, has made CSS Corp a Disruptor in Avasant’s Intelligent Automation Services RadarView 2019-2020.”

Speaking on occasion, Manish Tandon, CEO, CSS Corp, said, “Being recognized by Avasant as a disruptor in intelligent automation services reinforces our deep expertise and innovation in effectively managing enterprise and IT operations ecosystems. Our cognitive solutions are built with a focus to drive business outcomes for our customers and transform their challenges into opportunities. We will continue to engineer value for our customers through cutting-edge solutions and ensure they stay ahead of the disruption curve in the IT landscape.”

The Intelligent Automation Services RadarView 2019 Report addresses the dual need of the enterprises to leverage both the RPA and the AI-enabled IT automation space, and to identify service providers that span both. Avasant’s RadarView™ is an independent assessment that reflects the true capabilities of service providers, with a view of evaluating them as long-term partners for digitally evolving global organizations.
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Tech professionals need to prioritize their mental well-being first

The wonders of the human brain are endless. However, it also comes with its own set of emotional frailties which are often difficult to recognize and fathom. In tech-oriented jobs, the employees are at a higher risk of crumbling under the pressures due to stress, long working hours, and irregular shift timings. Such jobs are demanding, time-boxed, and isolative, leading to anxiety, increased levels of stress, and depression.

Techies who are perfectly capable of resolving deep technical problems are not necessarily as adept in solving challenges which life throws at them. In this fast-paced environment, tech professionals need to prioritize their mental well-being first, which otherwise can hinder both their health and productivity. Instead of silently suffering, it is imperative for them to acknowledge the presence of the problem and then refocus their energies into bettering their lifestyles.

HR organizations across the globe have increasingly realized the importance of having stress busters for techies in their workplace. Multi-dimensional personality and skill development programs are being run by HR organizations to overcome stress, depression, and suicidal tendencies of the techies. Minor actions like games, mini-breaks, casual chat with colleagues, the art of “letting go”, and learning when to say “no” to extra work, can go a long way in the preservation of one’s mental well-being.

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CSS is among the early movers in the industry to transition to a 100% work-from-home model: Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, Head HR, CSS Corp

Maximising usage of digital collaboration tools, procurement and distribution of necessary hardware and networking equipment, delivering webinars and remote sessions on mental well-being, continuous contact with our employees are some of the initiatives that are helping us ensure business continues as usual, states Satyanarayanan Visvanathan- SVP, Head of HR (Global) and Corporate Quality, CSS Corp

CSS Corp has mature risk management and business continuity plans which are periodically reviewed and tested for robustness. With agility and nimbleness being our forte, we have deployed several measures leveraging our infrastructural capabilities and support frameworks. This intrinsic strength had enabled us to be among the early movers in the industry to transition to a 100% work-from-home model. Maximising usage of digital collaboration tools, procurement and distribution of necessary hardware and networking equipment, delivering webinars and remote sessions on mental well-being, continuous contact with our employees are some of the initiatives that are helping us ensure business continues as usual.

Key challenges faced

Balancing client needs, expectations and deliverables with central/state regulations and guidance on the aspect of working from home; Having the required infrastructure procured, tested and distributed; Preparing the workforce to embrace a 100% WFH, considering the culture shock; Evolving lean, virtual processes to keep different aspects of the organisation running seamlessly

Lessons Learnt

Organisations typically have well laid out disaster recovery and business continuity plans keeping geographical separation as an assured way of resilience. However, this pandemic has struck at the core of that belief and exposed the weaknesses therein. The scale, swiftness and impact of this crisis has been unprecedented to say the least.

The first and foremost lesson, is to revisit and review all practices and processes of DR and BCP, taking into cognizance that such a thing could strike in a very short time. Secondly, organisations should have crisis management teams and rapid action taskforces capable of assessing, preparing and responding to such situations. Lastly, the ability to raise awareness of the workforce and motivate them towards adopting the crisis responses is a crucial factor

As a tech support company, we already have a lot of collaboration tools and platforms. We are using many cloud-based solutions from leading players such as Microsoft, SAP, Industry standard collaboration tools like Zoom etc. One of the concerns while working from home is data security and we have installed DLP software (Data loss prevention) in all our systems to prevent any leakages. Our systems are encrypted, and with the help of screen capture, ongoing audits are done from time to time.

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ICT Enterprises for Green IT

Environmental concerns have gained significant traction in the last decade and organisations are acutely aware of their roles and contributions toward the society. In the wake of a worldwide debate over a range of environmental concerns such as global warming, water shortages, E-waste, Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions etc., Information and Communications Technology (ICT) enterprises are frenetically racing to meet their green goals. Flip through any of the annual sustainability reports to find the “environment” section showcasing a bevy of Green IT initiatives that reveal the stats on carbon footprint, waste recycling, GHG emissions, energy savings and so forth. Initiatives that address environmental issues take the top spot in the corporate strategies of IT firms.

IT ENTERPRISES AND GREEN TECH

Green IT is an agenda of every enterprise seeking to lower carbon footprint, improve Power Usage Efficiencies (PUE) and reduce waste with the goal of lowering the Total Cost to the Environment (TCE). Green IT encompasses water, E-waste, business travel, electricity, printing, and IT operations. It entails the possibilities of deploying technologies that reduce computing requirements through optimal use of the IT hardware architecture.

As enterprises plan greener or environmentally friendly IT infrastructures, the arrival of resource saving technology marks the shift away from setting up large scale physical infrastructures with the objective of reducing TCO and TCE. Though cloud has become a major phenomenon, it is a fact that many IT enterprises are still working towards reducing the impact on the environment by designing resource saving IT architectures for the years ahead.

In view of the environmental challenges, enterprises are setting up new-age data centres with a keen focus on protecting the environment. An example of resource saving technological concepts is the use of sustainable alternatives such as virtualisation and cloud computing with the help of partners or innovators such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. Both virtualisation and cloud computing are core elements of an overarching green IT strategy for enterprises worldwide.

VIRTUALISATION AS GREEN IT

Virtualisation offers ideal utilisation of hardware for optimising power consumption in datacentres. Instead of deploying various physical servers, enterprises are leveraging the server virtualisation concept to meet the computing demands of users and the benefits are phenomenal. Several hundreds of servers are virtually run on a few physical servers by sharing computing resources. Virtualisation extends to PCs also for running multiple virtual machines on one single machine. There is no denying that virtualisation reduces drastically the need for more physical space, cooling appliances and power supply; the other benefit is that it increases rapidly the flexibility and uptime of IT applications. Hence, by freeing up spaces, reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions, virtualisation proves to be a cost effective and sustainable alternative.

“There is no denying that virtualisation reduces drastically the need for more physical space, cooling appliances and power supply; the other benefit is that it increases rapidly the flexibility and uptime of IT applications. Hence, by freeing up spaces, reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions, virtualisation proves to be a cost effective and sustainable alternative.”

– Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, Senior VP & Head,

HR (Global) and Head, Corporate Quality, CSS Corp

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How Women in Tech Are Being Disruptors

We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored.

— Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook.

Similar to the colorful taut fabric of a silk sari, tech firms are going about weaving a vibrant tapestry that shows an accurate reflection and representation of women to ensure the workforce is tightly knit by a diverse mix of skills, youth, ideas, creativity, and experience.

From the vivacious Gen Z to the tenured veterans of the trade, the digital workspaces are gradually becoming avenues for women to enter the echelons of top management. The viewpoints of female digital natives are echoing.

We look around only to find women of every age, grade, tenure, and department speaking out, embracing opportunities, and foraying ahead with their strong personalities and perspectives in an industry that is preponderant with men. Times are changing, and the voices of Venuses are rising; they’re bucking the trend.

While women do not demand a numeric value on their representation, the rallying cry is toward a balanced representation, and a fair go at opportunities, especially on the way to upper strata of management. The industry has not completely fixed the distorted picture yet, but the numbers are surging.

Women are moving from the fringes of the technology market into mainstream leadership positions.

A Reality Check

The gender gap runs deep across the industry and nation. The India Skills Report of 2020 mentions that 28% of the Indian IT workforce are women. The stark paucity of participation in the overall workforce stands at 23%. Ensuring a sensible proportion of women employees is the elusive piece of the diversity and inclusivity puzzle. As the times change, women from a cross-section of grades, tenures, and skills are breaking the glass ceiling with gusto to enter the echelons of top management. As disruptors, they’re leaning in; they’re taking a seat at the table.

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Silver lining for jobseekers as edtech, pharma, e-commerce, logistics sectors to continue hiring

As the Covid-19 lockdown lifts gradually and people begin their return to workplaces, there are some pockets of hope for jobseekers.

Recruitment experts at Manpower, KellyOCG, PeopleStrong, and Xpheno predict that even as many sectors see widespread layoffs, there will be a silver lining in sectors like edtech, ecommerce/internet, transport and logistics, as well as pharma that continue to hire.

All of these sectors will need to hire talent for various roles, said experts, and skills in machine learning, data, AI will command a premium.

Supply is predominantly lower than demand in the transport and logistics sector, said Alok Kumar, senior director – Manpower.

“Logistics platforms are already revamping their concepts to match the new market circumstances by enabling retailers to scale home delivery fast. E-commerce companies will need to hire for last-mile delivery executives and warehouse profiles,” Kumar told ET.

Edtech platforms and office automation companies are expected to ramp up hiring plans, said Kamal Karanth, co-founder at Xpheno, a specialist staffing company. “Other sectors that will need to hire talent include pharma, medical devices and healthcare companies, which have seen a boom during the lockdown and will require talent in sales and marketing, engineering, research, as well as testing and customer support.”

Given that the lockdown is rolled back some time by the end of May or June in a phased manner (in the metro locations particularly), the annual absorption of top tech talent is likely to be around 75,000 (best case scenario), says Karanth.

The IT industry should see about half of the top ten IT services companies requiring fresh, top-rated tech talent, almost a third of the remaining services pool, and almost 15 to 18% of the high tech product / internet or GICs going for it.

The pharma sector will have jobs up for grabs in testing, research and sales, said Devashish Sharma, founding member at human resources solutions firm PeopleStrong.The new role of crisis manager will be in demand across sectors, said Francis Padamadan, senior director – RPO, KellyOCG. “Companies will want professionals who can help mitigate risks and losses from such similar global crises in future, and help coordinate smooth business continuity planning.”

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CSS Corp Unveils its New Center at Austin To Spearhead Technical Innovation and Customer Experience

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology support company, today announced the opening of its newest delivery center at Austin, Texas. With the new center in Austin, CSS Corp is expanding its presence in the US, in line with the company’s vision of offering world-class infrastructure and tech support services to clients across the globe.

It is the company’s fifth delivery center in the country, in addition to the existing centers in Milpitas, Dallas, Utah, and New Jersey. The company aims to tap into the skills and local talent pool available in Austin to grow its business in the region. Service delivery for its first customer from this location, BlueJeans Network, a global leader in interoperable video collaboration services, has already begun. CSS Corp will offer level 1 technical support, premium support, and technical account management services for BlueJeans’ customers, along with various back-office services, through this center.

“We are delighted that CSS Corp is the partner of choice for BlueJeans Network in Austin.The new center aligns with our ethos of driving impact without any geographical limitations. It is a strategic expansion for us that will enable us to deliver best-in-class technical support services for clients across industries looking to target the rapidly growing Texas market. Austin is a great location for our new site, considering the availability of a good technology talent pool in the region. We plan to continue this growth momentum with expansion in key geographies across the globe in the near future,” said Sunil Mittal, EVP & Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, CSS Corp, speaking about this development.

“Through our partnership with CSS Corp, we are continuing to build on the great work we’ve done when it comes to transforming our delivery of technical support in order to optimize the customer experience for clients. We appreciate the nimbleness that CSS Corp displayed in scaling up quickly to meet our requirements, and we are confident of reaching more milestones in this journey together,”said Nir Galpaz, VP, Technical Service and Support, BlueJeans Network.

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Why It’s Time to Revisit Women in Technology in 2020

There’s nothing inherently masculine about cloud computing, data analytics or artificial intelligence (AI). Computers are also androgynous by nature. However, the tech sector remains heavily dominated by men, especially in the senior positions. What’s more appalling is that despite women’s participation in tech continues to be a favorite topic at every technology forum and organizations getting serious about diversity and inclusion in the last one decade, women are massively underrepresented in top management jobs. And that’s why it’s time to revisit the women in tech narrative in 2020 and beyond.

In a recent report McKinsey researchers observe, how gender imbalances emerge from as early as the first promotion point where women account for 48% of entry-level hires but only 38% of first-level managers, with a clear knock-on effect for equality in higher positions.

This naturally explains why the overall number of women in top management roles is still painfully low. Today only 5% of CEOs of major corporations in the US are women. In India too, female representation on boards increased by just 4.3 percentage points to 15.2% in 2019 from 2014, as per the latest CS Gender 3000 report by the Credit Suisse Research Institute (CSRI). This is however significantly below the global average of 20.6%. India also has the third-lowest rank in the Asia Pacific with regard to female chief executive officer (CEO) representation (2%), as well as other ranks such as CTO, CIO and CFO.

Diversity makes good business sense

However, studies have time and again proved that diversity in leadership makes good business sense. As a Harvard Business School report mentions, having women on the board results better acquisition and investment decisions and in less aggressive risk-taking, yielding benefits for shareholders. As Sasikala Mahesh, Head of Delivery (India) at ThoughtWorks suggests, “Women are naturally empathetic and can contextually apply emotional intelligence to manage people effectively. This also explains why women leaders across the world have demonstrated their abilities to build a safe, open and conducive work environment.”

Jie Chen, an associate professor in Finance at Leeds University Business School, University of Leeds, UK, and his co-authors mention in the report, “One benefit of having female directors on the board is a greater diversity of viewpoints, which is purported to improve the quality of board deliberations, especially when complex issues are involved, because different perspectives can increase the amount of information available.”

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