February

Budget 2020: Govt. Focuses On Data, AI, Quantum Computing

The Union Budget 2020 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made a quantum leap, calling data as the new oil and allocating a substantial sum for development of quantum technology in the country. In her address, Sitharaman said the new economy is based on innovations that disrupt established business models.

“AI, IoT, 3D, printing, drones, data storage, quantum computing etc are all rewriting the world economic order,” she said.

Are these initiatives enough for Narendra Modi government’s target of turning India into a US$5 trillion economy by 2025? Tech experts and analysts look somewhat optimistic.

Making a Quantum jump

One of the most significant announcements was the Rs 80 billion outlay over the next five years for the National Mission of Quantum Technology and Application.

Nishant Singh, Head of Technology and Telecoms Data at GlobalData, says: “The announcement is significant as the scale of investments necessary to make headway in quantum computing is not possible without the support of the government or large corporations. The quantum computing race already has stiff competition, with companies like Amazon, Google and IBM in the fray; the Indian government’s move should boost the attempts of domestic technology providers, who have been keen to enter this field, but so far did not have the necessary scale or resources.

“From the government’s perspective, quantum computing and its related applications will have significant implications for India’s digital citizen initiatives in healthcare, smart cities and research. For the wider technology sector within India, it would mean attaining indigenous capabilities in quantum technologies, which they can leverage commercially.”

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Collaboration, teamwork, and attitude – are the interpersonal skills we gauge

In a recent insightful conversation with Brijesh Balakrishnan; SVP & Delivery Head – Digital Engineering Services and GIS at CSS Corp, we were able to decode some of the latest tech trends that are the driving force behind the rapid growth of IT industry. Here are some excerpts from our talk.

What are the trending skills for job-seekers in 2020?
Heading into the year 2020, we encounter seasoned pros and freshers who are keen to know what’s up and trending, and what’s down and out. I want to say that some of those technologies that were hot in the previous year are still going strong in the subsequent years. Digital technologies like any product or service are on a lifecycle trajectory going through various phases of development, maturity, peaks, and plateaus. If I were in their shoes now, I’d cast my eyes on Front-end technologies, Data Sciences, RPA, Agile DevOps and Micro Services. Other emerging trends include immersive experiences such as mixed reality, which combines AR and VR.

What is your organisation doing to promote diversity at the workplace?
Among the many values that we espouse as a responsible corporate citizen, diversity is at the core of our hiring and retention programs. CSS Corp is an equal employment opportunity employer whose motto is to ensure a diverse blend of all genders, backgrounds, age groups, and professional tenures. Moreover, we strive to ensure that the mix across various project teams displays an accurate reflection of the best practices in the industry. We keep a close eye on the ratio of women to men in the organization. We take stock every quarter to review and ensure that all our talent sourcing programs meet the diversity and inclusion goals enshrined in our policy. Vibes from our hallways and cubicles showcase an apt composition from an orchestra of talent and diversity. It is through this diversity that we ensure the workplace is creative, engaging, and productive.

What is your take on the adoption of fast-emerging technologies by the companies?
One needn’t look further than the pink papers and media buzz to witness the widespread adoption of new-age technologies. Yes, companies are all caught up with the disruptive technology whirlwind that has swept the IT landscape. However, the focus must also be channelized internally—toward employees. At CSS Corp, for example, we are tapping digital technologies to engage employees and draw out the best from them. The need to foster a culture of reskilling, and innovation along with exposure to different domains ensures delivery teams are agile in the digital economy. In the experiences that I’ve gleaned thus far, I’d say that customer engagement, employee engagement and process efficiencies are the 3 intertwined arches that enterprise leaders must never lose sight off.

What advice would you like to give people who are starting their careers?
I’d advise job seekers to take a close look at their resumes. Skills across the latest technologies and trends add lustre to any profile. Front end technologies, Data Sciences, RPA, Agile DevOps and Micro Services etc., are music to the ears of prospective employers today. Novices who are embarking on IT careers have their whole life in front of them. Today’s digital workplaces are an oyster of opportunities. So, seize the moment. Cast off the mind-set that says: “I want to stick with Java or .NET.” Show alacrity in taking up different projects that demand various skill sets. The market rightfully demands that candidates re-skill and cross-skill across other technologies. Also, freshers must be quick on the draw to lend a helping hand in other projects and domains. Continual learning is a way to sharpen the competitive edge and stay relevant in the digital economy.

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Cloud Wars & Mobile Accords : Trends that could impact CRM in 2020 CIO Review India magazine

Authored By Mushtaq Ahmad, CIO, CSS Corp

Cloud Wars & Mobile Accords – Trends that could impact CRM in 2020
The CRM software market size is expected to reach USD 80 billion by 2025, and the battles to claim a stake have already begun. At the forefront of the action are some leading technology trends that will shape up the CRM landscape in 2020.

Boost in Cloud-based Services
By moving the on-premise CRM to Cloud, enterprises have brought in substantial real-time intelligence and 360-degree views of customers and prospects. The cloud migration has enabled them to fuse demand chains with supply chains and channelize their digital transformation around their customers. Hassle-free installations, coupled with remote data migration and upgrades, bring in a level of flexibility that on-premise services lack. Moreover, with expenses on hardware, server, and software maintenance eliminated, the Cloud-based CRM makes customers the real winner.

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Ride The Cognitive Technology Wave The Right Way

According to a 2017 Deloitte report, “90% feel that cognitive technologies will be somewhat or much more important to their companies’ strategies [in the future] than they are today.” Working with a company that offers cognitive-based technology solutions, I’ve seen this increase in importance firsthand.

The cost of missing out in the cognitive race can adversely impact your business. But the good news is that it’s become much easier to adopt cognitive technology today. The caveat is that lofty hopes, poor planning and inexperience could quickly derail your cognitive initiatives.

Here are some perspectives on creating a systematic strategy to integrate cognitive technologies in your enterprise, set pragmatic expectations and reap maximum return on investment (ROI).

Who Owns It?

Depending on which side of the fence you are on, you might say the onus of cognitive projects lies with IT or business. Well, it’s time to burn the fence. IT and business have a shared responsibility toward crafting and driving the cognitive strategy. Several early adopters are creating new roles, with chief experience officer (CXO) sponsorships, to steward their cognitive initiatives to drive positive business outcomes.

Brace For The Challenges Ahead

Some of the challenges that come with adopting cognitive technologies include:

• Finding The Right Problem To Solve: If you were thinking of using artificial intelligence (AI) to eliminate X percentage of your workforce, think again. This scenario is neither real nor ideal—and you will run into massive change management challenges internally. It is widely accepted in the industry today that AI cannot replace humans, not anytime soon at least. A smarter goal would be to minimize employee effort in labor-intensive, repetitive work. Create a transparent AI manifesto, which includes upskilling of employees to cowork effectively with AI.

• Integrating With Existing IT And Business Ecosystems: Integration of cognitive technologies with existing workflows is one of the biggest hurdles that organizations face. Ensure you check the feasibility of this integration and bake that into your strategy.

• Identifying The Right Cognitive Solution: Organizations often lack the understanding of cognitive technologies necessary to identify which solution is right for their needs.

• Finding The Right Partner: Lastly, the steep shortage of talent with technical skills and experience is hurting the cognitive roll-out. However, leading technology service providers have developed strong cognitive competencies that can be leveraged by forging strategic partnerships.

Look Inside And Start

Now that you have some idea of the challenges and the solutions, look inside your organization to start your cognitive journey. Look for projects where big data and analytics have already been leveraged. Chances are, they use some element of AI, even if it’s elementary.

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Digitalization Redefining Everything

Technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Cognitive Analytics and Extended Reality (AR/VR/MR) have become the buzzwords today. Enterprises need to leverage these technologies to create a sustainable competitive advantage. We are using these technologies to develop cutting-edge geospatial solutions from our innovation labs. Building on our strength in Cloud transformation, Big Data, cognitive technologies and custom application development, we have been able to create a niche differentiation for our geospatial offerings. Our customized solutions enable faster acquisition and accurate location intelligence for enterprises and consumers. With our rich experience and global presence, we are able to work with clients across geographies and help them solve challenges in both evolved and emerging markets.

Tech at core of digitalization
Technology is indeed at the core of digitalization. Technologies like AI/ML, IoT, Cloud, Big Data Analytics, mobility and automation are enabling enterprises to redefine everything — from business growth to customer experience. In the digital age, the importance of geospatial information across processes has grown multifold. The integration and interaction of geospatial and digital technologies create a complete picture of the real world, thereby creating new solutions, productivity gains and cost benefits. Be it 5G, autonomous driving, smart cities, HD mapping, or field operations, new-age geospatial technologies are pushing the envelope of digital innovation. CSS Corp leverages digital technologies to power its industry-leading geospatial offerings.

CSS Corp is a global geospatial player with a vision to provide innovation, unrivaled customer experience and shared success for overcoming business challenges. We offer geospatial technology services across telecom, navigation and utility domains to acquire and merge high-quality location or spatial data efficiently from multiple sources. Our services allow for simplified spatial data management, geo-analytics, visualization and utilization. We leverage digital technologies like AI/ML, automation and predictive analytics to generate actionable insights from massive datasets and develop highly accurate mapping solutions. Our niche capabilities drive enhanced business efficiencies and create opportunities for our customers. For instance, we enabled one of the global mapping companies to bring improved map features and drive adoption with automated map content extraction and enrichment.

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Gamification as Disruptor in Enterprise Technology

Whoever said that if you love your job, you won’t have to work a single day in your life had underscored the importance of having a sense of engagement at the workplace. Gamification, according to Gartner, is the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.

Brian Burke, Research VP at Gartner, mentioned in his blog post that the digital aspect makes all the difference. Be it an individual, a team, or an enterprise, gamification has donned the mantle of the silent coach who works behind the scenes to engage, motivate, and spur performance. From e-learning platforms and training programs to workday life, gamification has become the watchword for driving employee performance across the technology industry.

Embrace the Disruptor

Though full-scale adoption of this disruptor has met with some resistance, enterprises are getting caught up with the disruptive wave so much that every project’s performance metrics and quality parameters seem to increasingly weave the constructs of gamification. Gamification pioneer, Yu-kai Chou stated in his book that “Human-focused design” was a better term that emphasizes that humans are not rudimentary cogs in the system as opposed to “function-focused design” that optimizes only functional efficiency.

As managers become coaches, and their subordinates become players on the field of performance, the ensuing productivity gains and motivational spikes are clear for all to see. By the time managers schedule the weekly or quarterly reviews, teams have already brought their A-game to the table.

The synergy from the high-performance of various business units has a compounding impact on the enterprise as a whole. Gamification cuts across multiple business lines to transform production floors into premier league contests with performance scores running real-time on LCD displays.

Individuals are outdoing themselves like players, and teams are outplaying the others as though they’ve reached the finals of the playoffs. It’s real; it’s in action, its game on.

Disruptor in Enterprise Technology

In technology environments that are heavily contingent on human-support, gamification serves to boost the underlying motivation, morale of employees by inducing the game spirit. Production and operation heads are continually scanning their team’s performance metrics to see how they can improvise. It primarily performs miracles on the human factor (breaks monotony and mundanity) of support operations where production managers want their employees to put their best foot forward every day. As managers know who to coach, what to coach, when to coach, the result is an inspired workplace punctuated by competitive and productive employees who want to outperform and grow. The various aspects of gamification work to accelerate the performance curve and promote a culture of continuous learning and self-development.

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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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Interview with Vivian Gomes, Vice President, Marketing, CSS Corp

What is the level of adoption of new technologies such as cloud, big data analytics, and IoT among Indian enterprises?

New age technologies are increasingly changing the way products and services are delivered and consumed. Customers of tomorrow are exploring newer channels and expect personalized, proactive and even pre-emptive services. Companies across various industries are changing their sales and services strategies to attract and retain customers. In this context, businesses need to embrace adaptive and agile technologies to manage millennial expectations and growth.

2018 will see a significant increase in the adoption of technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, internet of things (IoT) and Cloud, as organizations adopt a serious approach towards digital transformation.

At CSS Corp, we have started moving aggressively with adoption and investment in customer-centric technologies like AI, analytics, cloud and digital. Our tools offer personalized and context driven insights that empower customer journeys. Some of these include Cognitive CX Platform, a conversational AI platform, Contelli, an intelligent automation platform for IT Operations and Active Insights, AI-powered customer intelligence platform.

Vivian GomesCloud is at the epicenter of all our modernization and transformation programs. Our approach towards cloud migration starts with application and then infrastructure. For example we have transformed the digital marketing ecosystem for a large FMCG retail major. We have developed a complete suite of solutions to shift from a “program” to “continuous delivery” model for cloud adoption through our key cloud solutions like CloudMAP, CloudPATH, and CloudDRIVE. Big Data Analytics and IoT are also important business enablers, and that’s where our customers and prospects are moving towards. Recently we partnered with GE Digital (Predix Platform) to deliver cutting edge Industrial IoT solutions.

What are the key challenges faced while adopting and managing new technologies?

Leaders are constantly looking for ways to leverage the new age solutions like AI, analytics, automation and IoT to win, grow and retain customers. However, this requires a new perspective on the implementation approach and a shift in data integration, standardization, governance, and orchestration strategies.

Enterprises face challenges during AI adoption in identifying the right use cases, data sets, and business processes and while mapping it with customer benefits in terms of revenue, convenience and experience. AI systems can behave unpredictably. A badly implemented AI system can lead to objectionable consequences, including a privacy breach. Companies must carefully evaluate the business processes and system for AI adoption and take into consideration legal, regulatory and ethical implications

Cloud has emerged as a critical enabler of business transformation and innovation – a powerful technology disruptor that constantly challenges the existing IT landscape, compelling enterprises to adopt newer cloud-based paradigms or risk losing the game. But with so many options available, choosing the right migration partner, the right service model, the best-suited deployment option, and the type of workload to be moved, are of paramount significance. Ensuring data privacy and security in cloud adoption is another crucial parameter for consideration.

Today’s digital business environment comes with high risks that will go beyond information technology. Gartner predicts, by 2020, 60 percent of digital businesses will suffer major service failures due to the inability of IT security teams to manage digital risk. As organizations continue to grow in their digital journey, necessary security measures need to be put in place to prevent any damage and not just in the organization but across all entities which form part of the value chain. To have a secure digital infrastructure, rigorous reviewing and upgradation should be done to ensure protection against newer threats. It is also important to come up with a broad approach to manage the risks involved in the digital ecosystem.

At CSS Corp, we follow a consulting-led approach to Digital Transformation which covers all aspects of the enterprise digital transformation journey by leveraging data to deliver superior customer experience. Enterprises can build deeper customer relationships with contextualized and personalized experiences, strategically plan with analytics-driven data intelligence and go to market faster. Our solutions offer personalized and context driven insights that empower customer journeys. Some of these include Cognitive CX Platform, a Conversational AI platform, Contelli, an intelligent automation platform for IT Operations and Active Insights, AI powered Customer Intelligence Platform, to name a few.

Which technology trends are likely to dominate the enterprise space in 2018?

In 2018 some of the key trends that will have an impact on our business and industry are:

a. Conversational Customer Experience: We are moving towards a conversational economy where the voice is the new frontier. A few spoken words to a smart virtual assistant can help accomplish a seemingly complex business transaction. As AI technology is maturing, forward-thinking businesses are plugging in conversational AI in their strategic investment roadmaps to leverage it for their customer service function.

b. Artificial Intelligence: Gartner forecasts that AI will lead to $200 billion in new revenue and 768,000 new positions in 2018 alone. Another study predicted that almost every new software product or service will adopt AI by 2020.  Humungous amounts of data being generated each day have been the main driver as enterprises apply this data driven intelligence to automated machine learning to meet business goals.

c. Contextualization: 2018 will see widespread use of contextual algorithms to solve business problems through contextual automation, contextual security, contextual support, and contextual marketing.  It will be at the epicenter of the success of customer experience programs across industries, especially AI driven solutions.

d. Edge Computing: In 2011, only 20 percent of businesses had completed significant cloud migrations.  Today, the cloud is the default answer for reducing storage costs and creating efficiencies and is established as an enabler of innovation and new business models.  Edge computing is set up to follow a similar path.  Implementations will continue to accelerate, and early adopters are learning how to leverage the full value of the edge for better, not just cheaper, outcomes.

What were the key technology trends witnessed in the enterprise space during 2017?

Demand for personalized consumer experiences across different industries is fueling the explosion of AI. Just as electricity transformed almost everything 100 years ago, today we have a hard time thinking of an industry that AI will not transform in the next several years.

We are moving towards a conversational economy where the voice is the new frontier. A few spoken words to a smart virtual assistant can help accomplish a seemingly complex business transaction. As AI technology matures, forward-thinking businesses 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 10 years.

According to a new report from Juniper Research, smart devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home will be installed in 55 percent of U.S. households by the year 2022. In fact, RBC Capital Market’s Mark Mahney has predicted that Amazon will generate sales of an additional $10 billion to $11 billion from Alexa-related revenue in 2020.

At CSS Corp, we have embarked on a new journey in AI to disrupt the customer experience ecosystem with a new model called “Conversational X”

Conversational X aims at simplifying and personalizing customer engagements through AI based Voice platforms. We offer AI-based solutions that enable customers to have powerful, impactful conversations with brands and helps them with insights and a new radical vision to solve a challenge.

Our focus and investments in AI are helping brands adopt the right customer engagement and support strategy and help move from traditional models to new age service models that help them identify new revenue streams.

The key tenets of a conversational [x] that can help enterprises and even SMBs to personalize customer interactions are:

Conversational Customer Experience: A new era of customer experience has dawned upon us. Voice assistants and social messaging have given birth to the intelligent experience economy and made the customer experience more conversational than transactional. You can ask Apple’s voice assistant – Siri – to get you weather updates, find out and help you buy specific movies, play your favorite songs and a gamut of other specific activities.

Amazon’s Alexa can help you perform several tasks for you like booking a doctor’s appointment; sports scores and game times; important event dates, hear the latest news; tracking traffic; manage calendars, to-do list and shopping list, set alarms and timers; read Kindle books and play audio books; make purchases; control smart home devices, etc.

Conversational Support: Many B2C businesses are using conversational intelligence with bots as a platform for offering customer support.  We offer tech support services with this new conversational model that would field customers’ questions and help get more real-time access to resolutions. This boosts overall business efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Conversational Commerce: Conversational commerce refers to real-time customer communication through different messaging applications and chatbots. It fits into each of the distinct steps in the customer purchase journey. These platforms empower businesses to generate a sense of need for their products to potential customers. The chatbots also act as personal shopping assistants to customers by recommending relevant products and even helping with the execution of the purchase.

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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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