August

In a world where machines and AI rule, re-skilling is the only way out

Gartner says more than 3 million workers across the world will have a ‘robo boss’ by 2018. High time businesses reorient skill development programs to help mid-level managers stay relevant.

In July, the Vodafone-Idea merger was approved by the Competition Commission of India (CCI). The mega deal will make the shareholders of both companies become part of the largest telecom company in India, and reward them in the future. It will also create a situation that can quickly escalate into a nightmare.

As many as 6,000 senior-level leaders will have overlapping roles in the new entity. Industry sources say at least 50 percent of these will have to be let go and will be “not employable”. These individuals, who have put in at least 20 years of work in various roles within the organisation, have not been trained to keep pace with the digital era. But turning unemployable at the age of 45 is scary.

Nishikant Nigam, EVP & Chief Delivery Officer, at CSS Corp, an IT Services company, says: “In this context, the mid-level management, the future leader/CXOs, in organisations also need to evolve and reinvent as traditional roles and structures come under increasing strain.

India’s IT workforce comprises roughly 1.4 million mid-level managers, and they are finding themselves at the centre of reskilling and restructuring conversations across organisations.

NASSCOM believes the IT industry’s current reskilling focus is on emerging technologies like Big Data, Analytics, Cloud, IoT, Mobility, and Design Thinking, while also investing in emerging skills like Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Artificial Intelligence, DevOps, Robotic Process Automation, and Cybersecurity.

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After years of flat revenues, CSS Corp expects 15% growth: Manish Tandon

CSS Corp is open to acquiring firms with a ticket size of around $50-60 mn to support organic growth

Chennai-based information technology (IT) services firm  has clocked around three per cent growth in the past two quarters and is expecting the same rate of growth every quarter from now on, said CEO 

Tandon, the former executive vice-president of Infosys, had joined the  services firm almost a year back when the company’s revenue growth was flat.

In the past couple of years, had been seeing flat revenues. Furthermore, towards the start of financial year (FY) 2017-18, NASSCOM projected the slowest growth rate for the  industry in nearly a decade at seven-eight per cent. In this testing environment, has started clocking a q-o-q (quarter-on-quarter) topline growth rate of three per cent in the past two quarters,” said Tandon.

We are also confident that our innovation-led strategy will continue to yield consistent topline growth beyond FY 2018,” he added. The company is expecting a 14-15 per cent revenue growth during FY’18.
Tandon said that the strategy has been to stick to profitable growth through active discussions with customers regarding their requirements. The company has been profitable in the past too, but the revenue was almost flat. The company will continue to focus on the US, apart from its business in Europe and the Asia-Pacific.

My vision is to create a new-age company,” Tandon explained. The company is working on the latest technologies and has come out with an artificial intelligence platform, called Cognitive CX Platform, to support its customers.

The company is also open to acquiring in the ticket size of around $50-60 million to support organic growth. would look at adding more people, cloud, and infrastructure capabilities through the inorganic route. A private equity firm owns the majority stake in the company, which can either raise funds from the owners or look at other options for funding.

In 2016-17, the company earned $150 million in revenue. expects this figure to go up by around 15 per cent this year.

In 2013, Switzerland-based investment manager Partners Group had picked up the majority stake in for around $270 million, according to reports. Through this deal, SAIF Partners, Goldman Sachs, and Sierra Ventures made their exit from the company.

Preview: Business Standard

CSS Corp wins Silver Stevie® in 2017 International Business Awards℠

CSS Corp, a new age IT services and technology support company, was named the winner of a Silver Stevie® Award in the Best New Product or Service of the Year – Software – Platform as a Service category at The 14th Annual International Business Awards 2017. CSS Corp has conferred the recognition for its proprietary Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform, Cognitive Customer Experience Platform.

Cognitive Customer Experience Platform is a highly personalized virtual assistant, which integrates with all customer channels like voice, email, chat, and website across devices, and offers context-driven, real-time support with a human-like interaction to resolve customers’ needs.

Speaking on the recognition, Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, CSS Corp said, “Winning Stevie International Business Awards is a milestone for CSS Corp. We are honored to be recognized as an industry leader in innovation. Automation and AI are becoming major game changers in the world of technology and business. At CSS Corp, we are leading this change by developing technology tools and platforms that give us a distinct advantage in delivering transformational results to our clients.

Sunil Mittal – EVP, Chief Sales, and Marketing Officer said, Our primary focus lies in building technology solutions that make a critical difference to our clients’ business while strengthening our technology pillar. Amongst CSS Corp’s many innovative solutions, Cognitive Customer Experience Platform stands tall, and to have been recognized as the Silver Stevie winner is indeed a great honor for us.

The International Business Awards are the world’s premier business awards program. All individuals and organizations worldwide – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small – are eligible to submit nominations. The 2017 IBAs received entries from more than 60 nations and territories.

A record total of more than 3,900 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories, including Company of the Year, Marketing Campaign of the Year, Best New Product or Service of the Year, Startup of the Year, Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year, and Executive of the Year, among others. Stevie® Award winners were determined by the average scores of more than 200 executives worldwide who participated on 12 juries.

“The IBA judges from across the world were highly impressed with the nominations they reviewed this year. With the level of achievement documented in the nominations from 60 nations, the Stevie® Awards are proud to honor organizations that demonstrate a high level of achievement in a variety of industries” said Michael Gallagher, President, and Founder of the Stevie® Awards. “We look forward to sharing many of these stories with people around the world over the coming months, through the Stevie® Awards blog and social media channels, with the hope to inspire others to high achievement.

Details about The International Business Awards and the lists of Stevie® Award winners are available at www.StevieAwards.com/IBAAbout CSS Corp

CSS Corp is a new age IT Services and Technology Support company. The company harnesses the power of automation, analytics, cloud and digital to address specific customer needs. The company partners with leading enterprises to help realize their strategic business outcomes. The company’s team of 5,500 technology professionals across 16 global locations are passionate about helping customers.

For more information please visit www.csscorp.com

About the Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in seven programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 10,000 nominations each year from organizations in more than 60 nations. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at www.StevieAwards.com.

Preview: Business Line

Chai Break with Sunil Mittal

Sunil Mittal, EVP & CSMO

 

What makes a good marketer?

“The Times they are a Changin’ “, sang Bob Dylan back in 1964. That’s the reality we find ourselves in today across all spheres. Marketing certainly is one of the areas that has evolved very significantly. So, for starters, good marketers need to be perpetual learners to stay in sync with the times. A good marketer needs to keep in touch with new approaches and technologies that enable marketing. They must also keep themselves updated with the latest trends in their industry or business. This knowledge translates itself into thought leading and impactful go-to-market strategies and messages.

Marketing is usually deemed a success when we hit the right person at the most opportune time with the most appropriate message through a channel that the person prefers. To achieve this in today’s world, a good marketer needs to be analytically inclined and data driven. Today we have new age automation technologies that can unleash intelligent insights about prospect/customer sentiments and buying behaviors that drive business success. Furthermore, there is a slew of market and social intelligence that enables marketers to drive messaging that is extremely relevant to prospects. A smart marketer must be able to assimilate this information and consumer data from various sources, apply tools and crunch data to be able to carry out personalized marketing efforts. These analytical traits and number driven orientation also enable the marketer to be able to track ROI and performance, especially in areas like digital marketing and for measuring campaign efficacy.

I feel that the CMO function today is more strategically critical than it has ever been. Good marketers have the opportunity to create solid business impact for their organizations.

How does one sustain their brand image?

Consistency and competitive differentiation are the most important factors for sustaining brand image. It is very important to have a consistent messaging around the brand across various channels used to build the brand image. Be it social media platforms, public relations, analyst relations, marketing and branding campaigns, advertising or content marketing, a consistent and differentiated message across all platforms is the key. Furthermore, marketers should avoid the “Me Too” tendency by focusing on unique differentiating factors.

It is also important to understand the perspective and contribution of various stakeholders in business to develop the right brand image and sustain it. Stakeholders could be investors, customers, partners, vendors and even employees. All these stakeholders are brand ambassadors and advocates of the organization. By engaging meaningfully and strategically with these stakeholders, a brand identity gets cemented over a period of time.

Where do you think Marketing is headed?

It’s an incredible time for brands to deliver personalized customer experience by embracing technology.
In yesteryears, scale was the key but personalization wasn’t. Marketers often followed large-scale ‘spray and pray’ models. This carpet bombing approach does not work in today’s times. Marketing today is about providing a contextualized and personalized omni-channel experience in both B2B and B2C contexts. It’s the age of customization and about being relevant.

Today, marketing also acts as a catalyst for growth by empowering organizations to drive context driven customer engagements. Marketing is well positioned to drive competitive differentiation based on a deep knowledge of the target audience and the customer.

Marketing, if leveraged properly can bring to the table, strong understanding of the customer’s decision and experience journeys. This insight is essential to develop the right value proposition that resonates with the market, as well as to develop the right solutions that solve critical business problems. Furthermore, digitization of the customer decision journey has made it possible to be able to personalize and better engage with the customer leading to better buying decisions which ultimately translate into better revenue conversion. Persona based marketing, UX, Augmented Reality all are becoming a complex reality in a world that is going digital.

Marketing will continue to be increasingly digital and break out from the traditional push based approach to pull based and inbound approach. Technology that drives the connected world today has emerged as a disrupting factor in the CMO’s world. In fact, some accounts have even suggested that in the longer run, the CMO might be a greater consumer of technology than even the CIO. Hence, we have exciting days lined up for marketers and marketing.

Based on these insights, marketers should enable businesses to dramatically improve customer experience by offering targeted and personalized solutions to their potential customers, and providing proactive recommendations.

Do social media channels really help marketers?

It is important to leverage social media in the right way and have right expectations from it. Many people look for tangible leads and outcomes from social and tend to write it off when they don’t see directly attributable ROI. However, we need to move beyond such perceptions. Social channels provide a platform for brands to actively communicate the companies message. This percolates downstream to employees, customers and prospects, vendors, suppliers and to the wider public. In the B2C world, social engagement gives a provider valuable insights about consumer behavior and the consumer’s next best action. This is important to be able to drive better revenue conversion. In the B2B world, social engagement helps in influencing buying decisions. Social should be used here as a means to drive sincere engagement with influencers through a two-way engagement. There are tools that can track the efficiency of our social media engagements, thus, must be leveraged wherever possible.

A technology you foresee as being useful to a Marketer of the future?

Marketing automation and Account based marketing (ABM) tools have already penetrated in most of the mature organizations and are shaping the marketing function. But, amidst automation coming into play, personalization is somewhere getting lost. I see increased usage of AI in marketing in the near future which will help keep it automated but yet personalized.

About Sunil Mittal

Sunil has over 18 years of IT industry experience across multiple horizontals and geographies. He has a spectacular track record of developing new markets, winning new logos, partnering with clients, creating & winning advisor led deals and building teams & businesses. His experience in setting up sales processes with special focus on “Social Selling” is second to none.

As the CSMO at CSS Corp, Sunil is responsible for driving business growth focusing on IT Services, Technology Support Services, Application Services & Infrastructure Management Services. He provides strategic leadership to the Sales, Account Management, Marketing, Solutions Engineering, Deal Advisory, Inside Sales, Alliances and Bid Management teams.

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How conversational AI is driving the next generation customer experience, powered by chatbots and assistants

With a new era of artificial intelligence (AI) dawning upon us, it’s an incredible time for customer experience, with humongous benefits to the customer and ultrafast customer service. As AI technology matures, forward-thinking enterprises are plugging in conversational AI in their strategic investment roadmaps to leverage it for their customer service function. In fact, Gartner predicts that “conversational AI-first” will supersede “cloud-first, mobile-first” as the most important, high-level imperative for the next ten years.

Over the last several decades, customer service and customer experience had been all about customers seeking help from call centers, websites, emails, applications, and so on. However, in the last couple of years, the way we interact with technology has changed incredibly, and the good old days of mouse-icon-click are now ending.

NLP-infused chatbots and intelligent assistants: Futuristic sci-fi or current reality?

With the explosion of smartphone usage in the last decade, it can be conjectured that voice search has introduced AI-based personal assistance, and has given rise to the meteoric growth of bots among consumers.

Today, whether it’s a digital personal assistant on your smartphone or a chatbot on your Facebook Messenger, conversational AI is a trend for digitally empowered consumers. According to a survey by MindMeld, a US-based provider of intelligent conversational voice interfaces, 55 percent of users who use voice assistants, use them on a daily or weekly basis.

Today, bots are not just being looked upon as personal assistants; brands that want to turbocharge their customer experience and engagement are increasingly adopting NLP-infused chatbots. These offer a conversational experience between the customer and the brand, bypassing the tedious path of emailing or dialing up the customer service department. The chatbot uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology to ask questions or give answers to customers and make them feel understood in real time, thereby effectively improving the customer assistance process.

To the brands, these NLP infused chatbots provide business intelligence about customers’ preferences, opinions, purchase behavior and human sentiments, in general. With their proven efficiency in handling customer questions without human intervention, it helps brands with huge cost and time saving. NLP technology infused in chatbots addresses the growing needs of digitally empowered consumers with 24×7 assistance. Chatbots never sleep and do not keep you waiting for resolution.

AI-powered bots are redefining customer experience

At the heart of our omnichannel operating ecosystem is the idea of instant gratification. With an average attention span less than that of a goldfish (8.25 seconds), customers get real-time solutions to their challenges or questions from AI-powered bots via a messenger platform like Facebook. 2016 has proved that bots are here to stay and they have made a bigger impact on customer service in the first half of 2017 too. Gartner predicts that an average person will have more conversations with bots than with their own spouse!

Facebook recently introduced a chatbot application in partnership with 1-800-FLOWERS, where consumers could speak to a virtual agent via a Facebook Messenger window and order flowers. The interesting thing to note here is that the bot will detect conversational cues to recommend arrangements that address customers’ preferences and needs. Clearly, this is a win for customer service as well as the brand.

Advantages of Conversational AI

Advances in artificial intelligence have led to the emergence of sophisticated conversational capabilities and enabled machines in taming one of the most important aspects for intelligent interactions – context. Though chatbots and virtual assistants can rarely pass as human conversationalists, here are some of the potential business benefits that conversational AI can offer:

Reduced Cost: A recent BI Intelligence report suggests that businesses can cut labour cost by 29 percent when chatbots and other AI are deployed. Though complete automation is not feasible, automating a percentage of customer services and sales positions can result in significant savings.

Improved customer experience: AI reaches a wider audience and stores critical data points that companies can leverage to personalise the offerings and the buying experience of the digitally empowered customers. AI also helps brands optimise their product development with improved customer intelligence, which in turn delivers a delightful customer experience.

Greater consistency due to reduced human assistance: Until the arrival of AI, we had been largely depending on human efforts to produce goods or services of varying quality. This used to be a time-consuming and labor-intensive affair. With AI revolutionising all walks of business and life, consumers aspire to seamlessly interact with multiple apps rather than multiple layers of real human assistants, thereby leading to reduced reliance on human assistance.

Conclusion

Customer Experience is the next competitive battleground. Businesses are adopting new age technologies and are relentlessly reinventing themselves to stay ahead of the race. With advancements in speech recognition and NLP, conversational AI has become the new frontier that is truly transforming customer engagement, making it much more unified and collaborative. However, intelligent assistants are still perceived to be deficient in “social” intelligence, rendering them utilitarian and impersonal.

Nevertheless, the incredible uses and profitable ways in which bots can be used show strong indications that they are here to stay and evolve into more intelligent agents that revolutionise customer experience in more meaningful ways.

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Shift left and get right

In today’s rapidly evolving environment, customers are at the center of the business ecosystem. Millennial customers being tech savvy with high expectations are looking for fast and easy solutions and instant gratification. Customers looking for support for consumable goods don’t necessarily look to queue up to talk to customer support representatives, but choose quick self-help options. They are channel agnostic and often prefer that necessary information is made digitally available. And if their providers are unable to provide them with this omni-channel customer experience, they have limited tolerance and often prefer to switch to a competitor.

To overcome typical customer support and channel management issues, organizations have started to embrace “Shift left” principle that moves the issue resolution as close as possible to the front-line and the customer, at the lowest cost level.

Shift Left accelerates case resolutions and requests by enlightening the customer and agents with low cost, self-help options that lets them solve cases themselves and become brand champs. This setup cuts down calls to support saving revenue and turnaround time. Shift Left also allows agents to be critical and on top of their jobs by utilizing the latest Knowledge Bases, AI and Smart Support. The revenue gained can be pumped into customer experience initiatives which further augments the support mechanism by taking the customer through guided points of resolution.

Shift Left relates to IT Services Management (ITSM), and as a discipline minimizes business and productivity impact on the customer. Many enterprises consider this principle in terms of Service Modeling, for it offers various desirable benefits, for both short and long-term gains.
The Shift Left strategy is critical in showing a commitment to superior-grade customer service and experience while freeing up costlier project resources so that they can focus on executing more mission-critical projects in a timely manner.

Key Elements for Implementing the Shift Left Principle
(a) Knowledge Management: Implementing an effective Knowledge Management process calls for a shift in mindset, which must slowly get embedded in the DNA of the organization’s work culture. This would provide a framework for creating a repository of best practices of customer service in a knowledge-intensive environment.

A Knowledge Management System is the core of any Shift-Left approach. The repeated updates and content refresh keeps agents ticking and helps them close more cases than before. It augments engineer’s productivity making them more focused to deliver when it’s necessary avoiding expensive training costs and alignment programs.

(b) Automation: It’s indeed the most tangible way of reducing cost and boosting performance. Automation helps witness a significant drop in fault percentage, a dramatic increase in process efficiency and drives cost optimization. Applied within a Shift Left system, it removes sluggishness from the system, makes workflows sync and “in-line” with other sub systems bringing long standing efficiencies.

(c) Self-service: This adds value to the customer, and can be the best delivery channel. It results in higher user satisfaction and more measurable business results. Finding the right metrics to measure self-service performance is however too significant to demonstrate any reduction in service low costs.
Imbibing self-service for self-help includes access to portals like FAQs, Wikis, and online references and makes use of all options that are not cost bound. This helps customers understand their challenge and solution at their own pace, making them brand evangelists over time and deflects calls to the support center. It’s a win-win for the enterprise as they don’t incur costs for this support function, yet gain customers.

 

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How CSS CORP is betting on AI, automation, analytics to open new revenue streams

California-based IT services company CSS Corp, which has offices in Chennai and Bengaluru, has been investing in new technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation, and analytics over the past few years to accelerate revenue growth. This renewed focus has helped the company, which is majority-owned by Swiss private equity firm Partners Group and had hired former Infosys Ltd executive Manish Tandon as its CEO in August 2016, report an 11% growth in revenue for 2017-18 to $158 million. In a conversation with TechCircle, CSS chief delivery officer Nishikant Nigam and chief information officer Mushtaq Ahmad explain the company’s initiatives in emerging technologies. Edited excerpts:

How is CSS using emerging technologies such as automation, cloud computing, and analytics?

Nigam: CSS works significantly with the business-side stakeholders in an organization who are responsible for the customer experience and revenue generation. Use of contextualized intelligence is critical in such scenarios. Adoption of emerging technologies like AI, analytics, and automation can accelerate usage of contextualized intelligence.

Our digital solutions leverage automation, AI and analytics to help customers combat disruptions effectively. We are helping pharma companies in driving patient adoption for vaccinations through deep analytics and AI; helping digital marketing teams in consumer packaged goods companies with creative interventions and insights on customer behavior, and driving predictive intelligence in managing the business and IT operations.

What products and services are being offered under the aegis of these new technologies? 

Nigam: In the past 20-plus months, we have invested heavily in our Innovation Labs. The Labs act as an entry point for clients to access new-age capabilities that augment customers’ capabilities, find solutions to crucial business problems and drive new growth streams.

Today, it’s a 70-member team with expertise in various technologies like TensorFlow, Big Data, Bigtable, and Hadoop. Across our teams, you will find UX (user experience) designers, extreme programmers, Big Data engineers, AI, and NLP (Natural Language Processing) experts, data scientists and as well as professionals from diverse fields like linguists, behavioral researchers, and domain specialists.

The labs have developed Cognitive Customer Experience Platform, a contextual AI platform for customer engagement; Contelli, an intelligent automation platform for IT operations; and  Active Insights, an AI-led customer analytics solution.

What industries are you targeting for these solutions? How do these help save cost and time?

Nigam: We have carved out a niche for ourselves in select industries like technology, media and telecommunications; retail and consumer packaged goods to handle digital and managed services expectations of our customers.

For instance, CSS helped a large consumer packaged goods company to modernize its digital marketing ecosystem through the adoption of digital technologies. We came up with a solution that helped the customer to launch global campaigns on the fly. The time-to-market rate was seven times faster and total cost of ownership reduced 60% through rapid adoption of cloud and automation.

Our customers in the telecommunications sector are looking for solutions to modernize and optimize their technical support operations to effectively manage the customer experience.

For instance, Cognitive Customer Experience Platform has helped a couple of our telecom customers reduce the cost involved to run a technical support operation by 30-40% through unified knowledge management and automation.

In a recent case, Cognitive Customer Experience Platform transformed the customer experience of a company specializing in VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls from the ground up. Cognitive Customer Experience Platform amplified agent capacity and efficiency to 65%, reduced the learning curve from 90 to just 15 days — helping agents to get on the floor faster. Using its automation capabilities, Cognitive Customer Experience Platform improved agent performance by 80% — reducing and removing all redundant tasks.

How has the adoption of such technologies helped CSS boost its revenue?

Nigam: We are seeing significant acceptance of our digital services among our customers. In the past two years, large portions of our investments have been dedicated to building digital and customer-centric solutions. These solutions are opening new revenue streams, not just for us but for our customers as well.

Our digital practice has grown significantly in the last 12 months and has opened new opportunities for us. Today, we are managing interesting analytics engagements for some of our customers that have a direct impact on their revenue and customer retention.

We are helping to discover new ways of doing business by leveraging new digital technologies. These kind of opportunities are usually content-driven, co-creation type opportunities, which tend to be smaller than the traditional opportunities. However, they are extremely strategic and open up channels and avenues for downstream revenue creation, both for service providers and customers, which the traditional services cannot generate.

Is there any particular initiative that encourages employees to come up with new solutions?

Nigam: To augment our efforts towards enhancing our technology competency, we launched our digital-career progression framework called Reimagine. This reorients our service lines and re-aligns the growth of our employees to meet the growing business needs.

The Reimagine framework promotes a multi-disciplinary approach towards acquiring new domain and technology skill sets. The framework includes structured learning paths around AI, automation, data science, machine learning and other topics in a logical progression.

What are the cybersecurity challenges you face as a digital IT services company?

Mushtaq Ahmad: With the rapidly evolving landscape, at times one wonders if security is only a problem of IT alone as it spans across the entire organization. However, at CSS, we have aligned ourselves to lead and implement safeguards and tool-based protection against targeted phishing attacks, spam, ransomware and data leaks.

Another challenge (and focus) for us is to safeguard our data. There are multiple copies of data backups at offsite places (data center, cloud), which, if not checked, may prove vulnerable. For the same, we ensure robust security protection against every access and entry point.

How has Tandon’s appointment as CEO helped revenue?

Nishikant Nigam: CSS had management rejig in August 2016, which led to the appointment of Manish Tandon, our CEO. The first goal was to arrest the sluggish growth in the company. Once that was done, there was no looking back. The revenue of the company has been showing an optimistic growth trajectory, growing at 3% quarter-on-quarter, leading to annual double-digit growth in 2017-18.

There were some under-invested areas like sales and marketing, which have been strengthened with an increased presence in the US market, closer to our clients. We have also been able to build the Innovation Labs.

 

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CSS Corp wins Gold Stevie® & Silver Stevie® at 2018 International Business Awards®

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology support company, today announced that it has won a Gold Stevie® and a Silver Stevie® at 2018 International Business Awards.

CSS Corp has been awarded two Stevie Awards in the best new product or service of the year category, for its novel adoption of cognitive technologies and deep analytics in IT Service Management and Big Data solutions. The awards will be presented on 20th October at the InterContinental London Park Lane Hotel in London, England.

CSS Corp’s ‘Contelli’ and ‘Active Insights’ platforms were recognized for their industry-leading innovation and customer value proposition. The AI-based ‘Contelli’ platform uses context-driven intelligence, Machine Learning, and Natural Language Processing (NLP) for holistic IT operations and service management. The ‘Active Insights’ platform is a cloud-based analytics powerhouse that goes beyond traditional analytical models and drives intelligence along the customer lifecycle management.

Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, CSS Corp said, “Ensuring customer centricity through innovation will be a crucial barometer on which most organizations will be measured. At CSS Corp, we obsessively pursue customer centricity. Our passionate focus on pragmatic innovation and service delivery excellence has helped us foster meaningful engagements with our customers and deliver critical business outcomes.”

“We are delighted to be recognized by Stevie, yet again, which is a great testament to our trusted customer relationships and sustainable business value that we drive in our engagements,” he further added.

Sunil Mittal, EVP and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer said, “We are honored yet again to bag the Stevie Awards. The recognition is emblematic of our robust digital services portfolio with razor-sharp focus in helping our customers handle disruptions effectively. Being a disruptor in the services industry, we are endeavoring to break the stereotypes through focused adoption of new age business models in customer engagements.”

The 2018 International Business Awards® received over 3,900 nominations from 74 nations and from organizations of all sizes and from across a gamut of industries in a wide range of categories. The Stevie Award winners were determined by the average scores of more than 270 executives worldwide who participated on 12 juries.
 

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Digital culture: The digital transformation success factor

Digital megatrends such as mobility, social media, analytics, and cloud computing are re-defining businesses worldwide. These trends are also having its impact in the way employees and people leaders interact, work, and collaborate. Mobility and cloud computing are enabling remote access of talent pools and expertise across geographies, analytics is enabling deeper insights into employee performances and behaviors, and social media can drive collaboration between employees by strengthening the employer brand. These advancements are disruptive and senior HR leadership must recognize digital culture as the key enabler in an organization’s digitization initiatives. Though a strong digital strategy is essential, a digital culture is equally needed to successfully execute the strategy. A Mckinsey study reveals culture as the significant barrier to digital effectiveness. 9 out of 10 digital transformations do not meet the business needs, says a Couchbase survey. By ignoring culture, organizations can heighten the risk of failure in digital transformation.

Enabling a digital culture
Creating a digital culture is a task in itself. Organizations should blend executive and employee level change management approaches to engage and inspire the entire workforce while empowering them to drive the cultural change together. When blending these approaches, it is recommended to have a transformation framework to monitor the progress through a clear vision with active leadership participation. The framework should make employees as the agents of change and empower them to drive the digital culture. The empowerment can happen by re-skilling them on trending digital skills, leverage collaboration tools to improve productivity, have metrics to enable measurable value through KPI’s and adopt a systems thinking approach to drive change more effectively. By making this framework operational, organizations can enable innovation, faster decision making, improve business readiness, and facilitate behavioral changes in employees. These steps can help in the evolution of a creative, collaborative, autonomous ecosystem which can be an attractive destination for quality talents. A digital culture can lead to a high-performance working environment enabling productivity and fostering better business strategy alignment between teams.

Drive employee centricity
Digitizing the culture can make employees more aligned to a customer’s journey; this can enable customer-centric engagements and in creating better solutions relevant to their business needs. It can bring in a work culture which empowers employees to make informed, context-aware decisions, focus on continuous improvement and take calculated risks. Heightened collaboration and increased speed in decision making in a digital environment promotes research through continuous iteration of innovative ideas, while building transparency and interaction across various levels of the hierarchy. Companies such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and IBM are able to disrupt the technology world through their widely acclaimed digitized cultures which are conducive to innovation and driving thought leadership. Telekom Malaysia Berhad drives an internal event, called Digital Day to communicate the importance of digitization. During this event R&D and digital experts share their knowledge on digital culture and its relevance.

 

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Addressing cybersecurity concerns: the CFO intervention

 Cybersecurity has become a critical concern for organizations in today’s digital world, and with rapid advancements through technology disruptions sweeping industry sectors, CFOs are gearing up for the changes and demands ahead of them.The CFO to the fore

Traditionally, the CFO’s role also included being a Chief Risk Officer, foreseeing and mitigating organization risks – legal, contractual, financial and regulatory. With the growing number of smart devices, increasing number of phishing, ransom-ware and malware attacks, there is also an emerging need for the CFO to be savvy about cybersecurity and to include cyber threats also in their risk strategy.

Leadership collaboration – the need of the hour

The CFO with a broader collaborative mindset can, therefore, create a C-suite value ecosystem to amalgamate various insights and drive a tight linkage between resource allocation and strategy, encourage seamless communications among leaders, integrate corporate strategy and budgeting processes with capital allocation processes, including M&A and divestments.

This collaboration across leadership function is also illustrative of the fact that a broader set of objectives are required to address cybersecurity concerns:

  • Onboard all key decision makers especially the CIO: This is critical to include cybersecurity frameworks across high-risk processes by involving all key stakeholders and the board to identify key areas of protection and mobilize resources to react quickly to any intrusions. There is a growing need for an effective synergy between the CFO and the CIO functions to protect shareholder value. This relationship is critical due to the convergence of technology, and security risks.
  • Strategize to fix threats: Recognizing key activities having high exposures to threat vectors, building awareness among stakeholders on their responsibilities and protecting their assets. CFOs can provide valuable insights on the financial losses that might incur during a breach. This data can be used to factor in losses such as cost to reputation, stock price impact, damage control costs, and lawsuit charges. CFOs can then use insurance as a mitigating strategy against such losses. Hence awareness of newer insurance products addressing cyber risks is a must for CFOs. These insurance products provide a wide array of protection against cyber risks, including but not limited to costs incurred post cybersecurity/ privacy threats and loss of income post a security threat due to disruption in business.
  • Prepare, and stay ahead: Adopting a digitized IT function and information model (encompassing strategy, architecture, and processes) to stay updated and take steps to counter the ever-increasing complexities of cyber-attacks. For e.g., a modern IT organization should have vulnerability assessments and penetration testing as a part and parcel of financial budgets.

 

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