2021

De-jargonising the CFO lingo in 2021

We spoke with several CFOs and found out the following jargons to be commonly used by many of them…We all know what EBITDA stands for, but do we know what EBITDAC means? Let’s find out.

We have brought the top three words and meanings that CFOs taught us in 2020:

1: EBITDAC: Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, Amortization, Covid
(Sundar Sampath, Executive Vice President & Global CFO, CSS Corp)

2: Circle of influence and concern: Helps us focus on what one can do instead of what one can’t do

(Sandeep Bhatia, Group CFO, Lendingkart Technologies)

3: VAS – Value Accretion for Stakeholders

(Gopal Balachandran, CFO & Chief Risk Officer, ICCI Lombard)

4: Insight – Smart data provides intelligent insights. For data to be smart, it must evolve through its various stages; Descriptive stage, Diagnostic stage, Predictive stage and Prescriptive stage.

(Sameer Kamath, ED & Group CFO, Avendus Capital)

5: Time value of money (in financial services business): One rupee in hand today may be better than 10 in an unknown future period

(Sandeep Bhatia, Group CFO, Lendingkart Technologies)

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Workplace should be gender neutral and inclusive for everyone: Industry leaders

While sharing her experience of facing misogynist attitudes in the early years of her career, Shefali Mohapatra, Senior Vice President – Human Resources, Act Fibernet, said, “It only propelled me to decide that when I reach a position of power, I will ensure workplaces are free from such regressive approaches.”

A woman in a key business position shouldn’t be an idea, result of a morning meeting but an accepted reality which has been missing in corporate spaces for long now. The equal participation of women in the workplace is needed as the offices are not just missing an identity but a personality which makes half of this planet.

While major changes are taking place in the corporate world with initiatives by companies and policies of the government, the equality the world strives for, is still a moon day away awaiting the sunrise of equal opportunities for all.

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CSS Corp wins gold at the 10th Annual Best in Biz Awards

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology support company today announced that it has been named as a gold winner in the ‘Most Resilient Company of the Year 2020′ category in the 10th Annual Best in Biz Awards.

Right at the onset of the pandemic, CSS Corp’s proprietary and award-winning resilience framework enabled the seamless roll-out of a 100 per cent productive Work-From-Home (WFH) model across its 18 global delivery locations. Being among the early movers in the industry to follow a WFH model from March, the company embraced the new normal with resilience, agility, and determination, thus rendering utmost support and efficient service with zero-disruption to its clients.

The three-phased resilience framework of prepare, stabilize, and thrive created a cohesive and structured blueprint for the organization which enforced guidelines, ensured employees with adequate support and resources, as well as assured clients with timely support, communication, and engagement. CSS Corp was among the few companies in the industry to roll out annual compensation hikes, as scheduled in April 2020.

The company also implemented their five-pronged strategy called the CHEER framework, which stands for- Communication with Employees, Highlighting Accomplishments, Energizing teams, Engagement with Employees, Recognition of achievements for employee well-being. It spreads positivity and recognizes employees for their consistent efforts during these unprecedented times.

“When the world was facing an unforeseen pandemic, we made sure to create a consistent and vibrant culture across the organization that encourages and comforts our employees and provides seamless and constant communication. We are proud to be recipients of this award as it reflects how CSS Corp ensured zero impact to its clients and employees through tremendous resilience. A lot of credit is due to our 8,000 plus employees across the globe who showed immense passion and unstinting commitment during this phase to keep our flag flying high,” said Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, CSS Corp, commenting on the recognition.

“Corporate resiliency has never been more important than in 2020 and the winning entries in the 10th annual Best in Biz Awards have impressive accomplishments in this area,” said Mark Huffman, Consumer Affairs, having judged six of the last 10 Best in Biz Awards competitions.

2020 marked the 10th annual Best in Biz Awards and – with a continuing global pandemic – was also a year like no other in the program’s 10-year history. Despite the global challenges, the 10th annual program saw a particularly strong field of entries from public and private companies of all sizes and spanning all geographic regions and the judges were impressed with the year’s winners’ agility and adaptability that allowed their businesses to thrive, their willingness to always go the extra mile to help their customers in these unusual times.

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Budget 2021: IT experts seek clarity on SEZ tax benefits, call for increased digital momentum, & more

Unquestionably 2020 has been an unprecedented year and industry leaders hope that the upcoming budget will address the challenges faced by businesses and propel the economy towards faster recovery and growth.

IT experts opine digital technology and connectivity continue to be the cornerstone of India’s growth and leadership. Since the pandemic accelerated the shift to digital, they say there is a need to maintain this growth momentum, as it will have a cascading effect on creating efficient businesses, new jobs and all-round development.

Lower interest rate regime

According to CP Gurnani, MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra, R&D spending must be increased to accelerate digital transformation and jumpstart education with a focus on next-gen technologies, skilling, reskilling and upskilling programmes to nurture young talent pool, subsequently accelerating a journey towards an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self-reliant India).

“We also hope to see focused initiatives to boost consumer sentiment, accelerate infrastructure development, move towards a lower interest rate regime and increase investments in key areas including healthcare and education,” he said.

ALSO READ | What IT industry expects from Budget 2021: Higher Innovation Quotient, push for infra building, and more

From an IT perspective, Gurnani expects the government to create a fund for product companies along with extended SEZ (Special Economic Zone) benefits in the new normal of remote working, besides nurturing an ecosystem for deep tech startups in areas including blockchain, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality.

“India is on the path of a higher growth trajectory and the vision of a $5 trillion economy can be achieved with a focus on economic growth and development,” added Gurnani.

Sundararajan Sampath, EVP & Chief Financial Officer at CSS Corp, suggests that the upcoming tax regime must ensure that there should be 100 per cent clarity on the continued availability of SEZ tax benefits to all existing and new SEZ units even if they continue to operate on a WFH basis.

Furthermore, he said, “We hope all expenses to ensure WFH would be allowed as business expenditure. There should be no ambiguity on the allowability of such expenses.”

He further said, “With the recent Karnataka High Court verdict in M/S Biocon Ltd Vs Commissioner of IT, we hope the Employee Stock Option cost (Fair Market Value less strike price amortized over the vesting period of stock options) will be allowed as business expenditure.”

“We also urge the centre to bring back the 80G deduction for CSR expenditure for companies opting for the new tax regime,” added Sampath.

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How CXOs Can Effectively Address Targeted Phishing Attacks

From Amazon’s Prime Day scam to fake websites offering iPhone 11 Pro and tricking people into bogus COVID-19 vaccine sites – the last couple of months have seen a massive spike in phishing attacks. Bad actors have constantly lured users to log onto phishing sites as a way to steal their usernames and passwords. Then there were more targeted and potent phishing attacks, and even seasoned journalists like

Phishing and fraud campaigns are not new and always existed in the history of cyber threats; but the number of incidents is escalating due to the rapid shift to remote work across the enterprise – thanks to the pandemic.

Parminder Kaur, Associate Director, Digital Transformation Practice, Frost & Sullivan, believes that the low volume-high impact phishing attacks seen in recent months are more sophisticated and targeted. “These are difficult to detect compared to mass phishing campaigns, thereby putting individuals and businesses at higher risk,” says Kaur.

One reason is that hackers are increasingly masquerading as legitimate sources and brands. According to a study by Check Point, the most frequently imitated brands by cybercriminals in their attempts to steal victims’ personal information or payment credentials include Microsoft, LinkedIn, Amazon, Google and PayPal among others. In Razdan’s case it was an equally reputed institution like the Harvard University. In most cases, lured with promises of monetary or career gain or threats of financial or physical danger, people are being dodged out of tens of thousands of dollars. Corporations lose even more — tens of millions of dollars.

But are companies ready to face this onslaught?

GV Anand Bhushan, Partner at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co notes, “While companies in general are taking measures to safeguard themselves from phishing related cyber-attacks, lack of employee training when it comes to cyber-security, skills shortage in the cyber-security industry, and failure to take timely assistance from the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) in case there is a cybersecurity incident, are some of the challenges companies continue to face. That being the case, while many companies are giving importance to cyber-security, there is still room for additional measures that organizations can adopt from a cyber-security standpoint.”

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CSS Corp wins 2021 BIG Innovation Award

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology support company, today announced that it has been named a winner in the 2021 BIG Innovation Awards in the best products category by the Business Intelligence Group (BIG) for their homegrown platform, Contelli.

CSS Corp’s Contelli enables enterprises to unlock the full potential of their IT infrastructure with a business-first transformation approach, powered by cutting-edge cognitive technology. It is a one-of-its-kind advanced AIOps platform that harmonizes, automates, and modernizes every aspect of infrastructure operation.

It drives self-provisioning and self-healing infrastructure, on-demand capacity management, algorithmic operations, proactive security threat prevention, predictive analytics through advanced pattern matching, and cost analysis and optimization. Contelli is incredibly flexible to modern enterprises’ needs as it can work in multi-cloud, on-premise, hybrid, and multi-technology ecosystems.

The platform is highly modular to be tailored to suit any client environment. The solution has proven to be a key driver for operational excellence, process efficiency, and resource optimization for CSS Corp’s customers.

“Being recognised by the Business Intelligence Group reinforces our deep expertise in effectively manging enterprise and IT operations ecosystems. Our solutions are built with a focus to drive business outcomes for our customers and transform their challenges into opportunities. This recognition is a testimony to our constant effort in delivering winning results for our clients. Our focus on improving customer engagement has helped us innovate and adapt to changing industry trends and seamlessly meet customer needs through our technology-driven solutions,” said Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, CSS Corp.

“Not only innovation allows organisations to stay relevant in the market, but also helps humanity to progress by making our lives more productive, healthy and comfortable. We are thrilled to be honouring CSS Corp, as they are one of the organizations leading this charge and helping humanity progress,” said Maria Jimenez, chief operating officer of the Business Intelligence Group.

Organizations from across the globe submitted their recent innovations for consideration in the BIG Innovation Awards. Nominations were then judged by a select group of business leaders and executives who volunteer their time and expertise to score submissions.

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Barranquilla, gateway for an Indian multinational to Colombia

The company CSS Corp, dedicated to the service sector, opens its second headquarters in Latin America in the Atlantic capital. They will work with local talent

The capital of the Atlantic will be the gateway to the Colombian market for the multinational of Indian origin CSS Corp, dedicated to the service sector, in what represents the vote of confidence of this business segment for the city.

“The range of local talent, the booming local economy, the compatibility of the language and the investments of the local government in developing bilingual skills make Barranquilla the ideal destination for us in South America”, explained to EL HERALDO , Jayagopi Andhoor, vice president of CSS Corp .

Andhoor added that “the location and the high levels of connectivity and infrastructure” make the city a “favorable place” for real-time global collaboration.

The headquarters in Barranquilla will be the second presence of this firm in Latin America, after its headquarters in Costa Rica, which was installed in 2013.

Plans in Barranquilla

The firm’s office in the city will start operations the first week of May, according to Andhoor’s advance, and the selection of personnel is already underway.

At the moment, 50 new jobs are planned for the opening date, but they clarify that the goal is to reach the end of 2021 with more than 100 collaborators.

The company will also run a long-term talent training program.

“In order to perfect the existing skills in Barranquilla, we will develop a program together with universities and training centers, and train them with the qualities required for the customer support industry , ” said the senior executive.

The Universidad del Norte, the Universidad del Atlántico, the Fundación Santo Domingo and the Sena are part of the institutions with which the training program is being prepared.

Investment destination

Ana María Badel, executive director of ProBarranquilla, pointed out that the arrival of this multinational “confirms the investor’s confidence in the technology sector.”

“Having human talent trained every day makes the territory an export platform for nearshore (United States) and offshore (Spain) services,” added Badel.

According to data from the promotion agency, in 2020 and so far in 2021 five multinationals from the service sector have settled in the city.

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Future of customer experience: Virtual experiences infused with a human touch

Customer experience has taken on a new definition and dimension amidst the current COVID-19 crisis. Customer expectations have heightened as purchase priorities have shifted and buying behavior has changed. What was earlier considered as a good customer experience is table-stakes today. Most businesses across all sectors are now keen to reorganize their approach to customers.

Today, brands are toiling hard to deliver experiences to modern, digitally savvy customers through new technologies and tools like real-time messaging, chatbots, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, and self-service.

But we’re getting to see an interesting shift towards ‘buying into companies’ rather than simply ‘buying from them.’ Trust is becoming multidimensional.

In the face of the ongoing pandemic and beyond, the real challenge is not just to stand out but to continue pivoting and innovating for keeping customers hooked.

Prepping for 2021? Here are some emerging trends
Let us unpack what the future of customer experience will look like.

1.Dynamic Customer Engagement: Before COVID hit the world, customer service tended to be more reactive, burdening customers to find the best channel for getting a solution themselves. But no more!

A Gartner research reveals that dynamic customer engagement (DCE) is the way forward. This strategy would help companies deliver differentiated customer experiences by leveraging data to glean actionable insights and offer the next-best-action recommendations to customers proactively.

2.Zero UI: While many brands are busy leveraging AI to automate answering services and manual tasks, intelligently route tickets, and augment messaging for chatbots and human agents to handle queries more efficiently, the technology of Zero UI is likely to catch on soon.

A Forrester research reveals that brands are likely to embrace touchless zero UI (ambient and haptic user interfaces) technology that leverages gesture, voice, and proximity to build and deliver new digital product experiences tailored specifically to each user.

3.From Omnichannel to Channel-less: This is not a trend exclusive to 2021. Most businesses today invest in offering omni-channel experiences to their customers. Some organizations that aligned their messaging, goals, objectives, and design across all devices and channels to offer a seamless omnichannel customer experience have succeeded the most in the recent few years.

However, it is important to evolve the mindset to move beyond the sheer number of channels and the internal processes that bind them. From a customer’s perspective, they do not really care about a channel but the experience. A channel is incidental. A person could even be using two channels simultaneously while interacting with a brand. Hence, it is imperative to create a digital infrastructure that can blur the boundaries between distinct channels and provide a seamless and ubiquitous experience to customers. This is improving with every passing year and the trend will continue.

4.Rise of the Bionic Support: It is being increasingly realized that customers of tomorrow will seek bionic customer service i.e., service that blends digital functionality for speed and convenience, as well as thoughtful and caring human interaction when the customer needs and demands it.

The Boston Consulting Group estimates that making telephony agents bionic could give organizations a competitive advantage of 15 percentage points in cost-to-income ratio, driven by improved cost leverage, deeper relationships, and reduced customer attrition. Such organizations would be more likely to outpace their competitors with their sustainable competitive advantage.

5.Technology is not everything: All relationships have an emotional component. And this holds true for consumer-brand relationship too. Forrester predicts that as and when the pandemic fades and people ease into more in-store experiences, consumers will be favoring brands who have instilled confidence and trust with their actions in the face of the ongoing pandemic on delivering superior customer experience.

According to a Salesforce research, 71% of clients believe companies that have demonstrated more concern and empathy this year have earned more loyalty over time.

Invest in the Right Areas to Invigorate Your Customer Experience Strategy
Adapting well to the post-Covid-19 landscape calls for brands to recognize, that, what worked a year ago is not good enough today.

If organizations are willing to invest in the right areas such as virtual hiring, adequate training and deployment of the latest technologies and tools that meaningfully connect with the business context, they will get ample opportunities to forge stronger relationships with their customers and grow their bottom line.

In 2021, it is recommended that brands focus on turning more empathetic as customers are likely to measure their efforts and value proposition on the human scale. Hence, it makes sense to invest in building a corporate culture with empathy as one of the strongest core values in 2021.

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CSS Corp Wins 2021 Gold Stevie® Award for Sales & Customer Service

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology support company, today announced that it has been presented with Gold Stevie Award in the ‘Best Use of Technology in Customer Service – Computer Industries’ category at the 15th Annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, for their customer experience transformation platform.

CSS Corp’s customer experience transformation platform transforms contact center ecosystems holistically across the business application layer, the CRM platform and the CTI system. Clients can pick and choose across a basket of flexible modules with pre-built integrations. Based on the customers’ imperatives, telephony migration to the cloud or CRM re-alignment can also be done to structure an optimized and agile ecosystem.

The platform streamlines end-to-end customer service delivery, across customer acquisition, support, and retention, with an outcome-based approach. It unites the three essential pillars of customer service, namely, customer experience, operational efficiency, and agent productivity, seamlessly with shared intelligence and insights. It leverages cutting-edge technology, including AI, cognitive RPA, analytics, and augmented reality, to deliver customized solutions for clients, and ensure tangible business benefits for them.

Speaking on the occasion, Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, CSS Corp said, “When contact centers faced unprecedented disruptions due to rising customer expectations and the shift to virtual operations during the pandemic, CSS Corp stood strong using its proprietary technology platforms. Our customer experience transformation platform is designed by strategically infusing technology interventions at all stages of the customer journey to drive unprecedented service level consistencies. Winning the Gold Stevie Award is another indicator of our capabilities and positioning to drive unique value creation for our clients as we take a pragmatic approach towards the digital transformation journey.”

“In the toughest working environment in memory for most organizations, 2021 Stevie Award winners still found ways to innovate, grow sales, please their customers, and secure new business,” said Stevie Awards president Maggie Gallagher. “The judges have recognized and rewarded this, and we join them in applauding this year’s winners for their continued success. We look forward to recognizing them on April 14.”

More than 2,300 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry, in 51 nations, were considered in this year’s competition. Winners were determined by the average scores of more than 160 professionals worldwide on nine specialized judging committees.

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