February

CSS Corp wins ‘5th Big Data & Analytics Converge 2018 Award’ for its ‘Active Insights’ Platform

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology support company announced today that it has been selected as a winner of the ‘5th Big Data & Analytics Converge 2018 Award’ in the ‘Best Analytics Service in Customer Analytics’ category. CSS Corp emerged as a winner for its proven capabilities in driving intelligence in customer engagements through its smart analytics platform, Active Insights. The award ceremony took place on 1st February 2018, at Taj Lands End, Mumbai.

CSS Corp was recognized for its unique capabilities that leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing to enable businesses to understand customer experience. CSS Corp’s Active Insights goes beyond traditional analytical models to predict customers’ buying behavior and identify next best actions by applying contextual algorithmic models to historical purchasing behavior.

Speaking on the occasion, Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, CSS Corp said, “At CSS Corp, we are leveraging artificial intelligence and analytics to help clients discover new revenue streams and leverage new efficiencies. Our digital analytics center of excellence is helping transform customer ecosystems, resulting in improved business agility, operational excellence, resilience, and enhanced customer experience.

He added further, “We are delighted to provide a sustainable competitive edge to our customers in their transformational growth journeys. This recognition is a testimony to our growing capabilities to deliver winning results for our clients.

 

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CSS Corp ranks 6th globally in HFS Research for Top Digital Associates Services Companies

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology support company today announced that it has secured the 6th rank globally in HFS Research’s Digital Associates Services Global Top 10 study and 5th rank in voice of the customer category. This report assessed top service providers in the industry for how well they are helping their clients embrace and realize results from deploying technology-driven digital associates solutions in a wide array of business and IT functions.

CSS Corp’s cognitive solutions have evolved from process enabling bots into next generation of digital co-workers. These digital co-workers or digital associates infuse intelligence across the operational ecosystem, driving intelligent automation while empowering and augmenting human workers’ capabilities across enterprise functions like customer service, technical support, IT, HR and more. This drives better strategic business outcomes and improves the overall stakeholder experience. HFS Research recognized CSS Corp for showcasing differentiated use cases driven by proprietary solutions such as its customer experience transformation platform for contact center operations and its advanced AIOps platform, Contelli for IT, and infrastructure operations.

Commenting on the recognition, Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, CSS Corp said, “The on-going global crisis exposed the fragility of a siloed approach to digital transformation attempted through standalone AI and automation initiatives. Businesses worldwide have realized the need to break the organizational siloes and integrate technology across enterprise functions to supplement people and processes with shared intelligence and insights. CSS Corp’s cognitive solutions are more than showcases of cutting-edge innovation as they solve real business problems and drive tangible outcomes across our clients’ enterprises. We are incredibly proud to be the only mid-sized service provider in HFS Digital Associates Services Top 10 list. It motivates us to keep pushing the bar with world-class services and pioneering digital solutions.”

“CSS Corp has significantly and steadily improved its capabilities for greater conversational sophistication and to drive business outcomes for clients across a wider range of services capabilities. The firm showcased some differentiated use cases featuring emerging technology, particularly for its capabilities with incorporating augmented and virtual reality.  This combined with strong ratings from reference clients landed CSS Corp at #5 rank for Voice of the Customer and #6 overall in our ranking.” said Melissa O’Brien, Research VP at HFS Research.

HFS Top 10 Digital Associates Services report, rates 17 reputed service providers on how well each of them performed across a defined series of execution, innovation, and voice of the customer criteria, showcasing the overall leaders and top 10 performers by sub-category.

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Budget 2019: National AI programme will create mass reach for tech, says CSS Corp

BENGALURU: Technology services industry said the government’s proposal for a national programme on artificial intelligence (AI) could democratise the technology and help a wider mass benefit using AI-based solutions.

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said in the interim Budget today that it has envisaged a National Programme on AI to take the benefits of this technology and as part of this initiative a National Centre on Artificial Intelligence would also be set up.

This centre will work as a hub and will be part of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and collaborate with other government-run boldies academic institutions.

“AI is set to revolutionize key sectors like healthcare, agriculture, education, smart cities and infrastructure,” said Nishikant Nigam, executive vice president and chief delivery officer, CSS Corp. 

“A National AI programme will help lend a structure to hold the AI initiatives together and ensure synergistic investment, R&D, and roll out to the masses. It will help democratize AI technologies, and also provide a fillip to the startup ecosystem for better ideation, creation and implementation of future-ready solutions.”

 

Survey shows companies in Indian cities plan to hire freshers between February and April

Hiring spree

Around 15% of companies in Indian cities plan to hire freshers between February and April 2021, shows a survey by learning solutions firm TeamLease Edtech shared exclusively with ET in February 2021. “Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, hiring of freshers continues to be on a strong growth trajectory,” Shantanu Rooj, chief executive of TeamLease EdTech, said. “For the period February-April 2021, freshers hiring intent has improved by 2.5 times from the lockdown period, and, as the economy opens up, it is expected to go up further.”

Top job roles

The survey covered more than 800 companies across 18 sectors and 14 cities, and asked them about their intent to hire graduation freshers from both engineering and non-engineering backgrounds. The top job roles freshers can expect to be employed in are business development or sales professionals, graphic designers, digital marketing associates, content writers and web developers.

Who are the top employers

IT companies are the top employers, with 24% of them expressing intent to hire, followed by telecom companies (21%) and startups in e-commerce and technology (19%). This is followed by healthcare and pharmaceuticals, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and financial services. The lowest intent to hire was in travel and hospitality.

Necessary skills

The top soft skills in demand from employers are reasoning, analytical thinking, complex problem solving, and active learning and critical reasoning. Among technical skills, spreadsheet skills, product/service marketing, data analytics, web development and mobile app development are most in demand.

Bright-eyed employees

“Freshers constituted a significant section of our hires. We interviewed and identified over 500 candidates across colleges. The largest chunk joined from October 2020 onwards after completing their college formalities,” says Brijesh Balakrishnan, SVP, Talent Fulfilment and Digital, CSS Corp told TOI in an earlier report.

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A Day In The Life Of: CSS Corp Data Scientists Give A Lowdown

Data Science being one of the most sought after jobs, it needs a lot of commitment; it is an everyday challenge for almost every data science professional to strike a perfect work-life balance. One needs to have an effective priority list and strategies. In order to understand more about the life of a data scientist, Analytics India Magazine caught up with Priya Francis and Anshul Bazaz, data scientists at CSS Corp.

Francis starts her day at 6:30 in the morning and spends her day at CSS Corp from 9.30 am to 6.30 pm. However, her office timings might get stretched depending on client meetings and deliverables. On the other hand, Bazaz, whose day begins at 8 am, said, “It starts with me thinking about my work and what it is that I want to accomplish for the day. I check my emails to see the progress of any pending work and reply to any deliverables or upcoming meetings.”

Bazaz usual reaches office by 10 am and kick-starts his work by having discussions with his teammates and colleagues, where he exchanges ideas and update each other about work as well as current events. “Quite often these conversations result in suggestions which help me work better. Although the out-times vary on a day to day basis depending on the work,” said Anshul.

The Work Life

Talking about the duo’s job role at CSS Corp, Francis explained, “Being a Data Scientist, my role includes analysing, interpreting and managing data, and solving complex business problems using expertise in a variety of data niche.”

Francis works on massive amounts of structured and unstructured data for discovering actionable insights to shape or meet specific business needs and goals. It involves data collection, data cleaning, exploratory data analysis for deriving patterns out of data, building, validating, implementing and maintaining suitable statistical models for business use cases.

Bazaz, on the other hand, works on understanding the client requirements and designing efficient analytical as well as visual solutions to the problems. “Another aspect of my work is interacting with various teams like UX, operations, and data engineering teams to assist in solution design. I am also into coding – data cleaning, exploratory data analysis, and statistical/machine learning models,” said Anshul. He is also involved in mentoring the new teammates who join the team.

Task At Hand

While we cruised through their lives as data scientists, the duo also told us about the projects they are working on at present.

Francis is currently working on developing and implementing a robust system for the case prioritisation of an enterprise networking company. “By flagging cases at an early stage, the system results in faster resolution of customer tickets, thereby improving customer satisfaction,” she explained. She is also working on analyzing customer sentiments and top call drivers from the interaction data.

Meanwhile, Bazaz is currently working on Adherence Impact Simulator, a research-oriented project centred around influenza vaccine uptake in various countries, and Key Phrase Extraction and Sentiment Analysis, which is about finding the leading cause of customer dissatisfaction/customer care delay by analyzing textual data consisting of conversations between customers and customer care.

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TSIA and CSS Corp co-author a report on outsourcing trends in 2021

CSS Corp a new-age IT services and technology support company in association with The Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), has released a co-authored report named ‘2021 Trends in Outsourcing’.

The report uncovers two major 2021 trends in outsourcing- an increase in outsourcing contracts and service providers creating sophisticated digital capabilities’ businesses to meet the needs of enterprise customers.

The first key trend predicts an increase in outsourcing contracts this year, as many companies were grappling with their business continuity plan due to several reasons like lack of infrastructure and inability to transition to a 100 per cent work-at-home model. The second key trend focuses on how service providers have begun creating separate business units to make digital capabilities easily available to meet the requirements of large enterprise customers.

Leading service providers have made great advances in sophisticated digital capabilities, including artificial intelligence and robotic process automation. This has led them to identify opportunities to effectively scale operations and accelerate development of digital expertise in support functions across enterprise customers.

The report highlights the trends and patterns that are going to be mainstream in support outsourcing in 2021 and how enterprises can leverage the right digital support partner. It showcases how the outsourcing value proposition has evolved in areas such as near-shore outsourcing, outsourcing of non-traditional functions like sales that form a significant portion of costs in XaaS companies and the rise of outcome-based commercial models.

It also talks about how outsourcing can enable organizations to expand into new geographies. The pandemic has ushered in an era of work-from-anywhere which has further dwindled location dependencies and provided a fillip to remote operations.

John Ragsdale, Distinguished Vice President, Technology Research, TSIA, said, “Technology companies are increasingly forming strategic relationships with outsourcers to not only help scale support operations cost-effectively and guarantee a high-quality customer experience but also to accelerate digital transformation. 2021 will see this trend amplify further and service providers like CSS Corp are well placed to emerge as strong outsourcing partners for technology organizations.”

“The Covid-19 crisis has emphasized the need to adopt digital technologies to build agility and resilience in the organization’s operations. Technology service providers like CSS Corp, have deep industry expertise in enabling business transformation for its customers and driving impact by blending human ingenuity with cutting-edge intelligent technology tools.

As organizations look to strategize in a post-Covid business environment, it will be critical for them to strengthen their core capabilities while partnering with apt service providers to help them in their digital journeys, driving innovation and creating better experiences for customers.” said Sunil Mittal, Executive Vice President, CSS Corp.

Prioritizing technology innovation in response to a rapidly changing world has never been more important. The ‘2021 Trends in Outsourcing’ report is a useful tool for companies wanting to rapidly accelerate their digital automation journey with insights on effectively partnering with technology service providers to leverage their full potential.

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Diminishing Boundaries Of Conventional IT Structure

Diminishing Boundaries Of Conventional IT Structure: Why CIOs Need To Be Ready With Strategy For Future Systems

 

The breakneck pace of technology disruption continues to cause challenges to enterprises, particularly for those which are held back by patchwork ways of working and applications built for another era. Even those who have embraced the need to make their core systems future ready face a fundamental challenge of bridging them with the new systems that allow innovation at scale.

According to experts, companies aiming for growth and leadership should plan to connect core systems seamlessly with the new technology, as applications, data, and infrastructure are merging into systems, which is diminishing the boundaries of conventional IT structure.

Therefore, the IT leaders including CIOs, CTOs and technology heads have to imaginative to create a new levels of agility with adaptable systems, exploiting trusted data and breakneck advances in AI to eliminate business friction.

According to Mohan Sekhar, Senior Managing Director – Accenture Technology and Lead – Accenture Advanced Technology Centers in India, enterprises need to elevate human–machine interactions with radically human systems, by combining high-end technology and human-centric design to create simple and relevant solutions. He said, “This will ensure that the organization continues to invest in the talent strength of the organization, while creating thriving future systems.”

Technology is now more a constant, than a trend. What is changing is the realization of the scale, speed, breadth and depth of the impact of digital transformation and disruption.

“As innovation increases, having the next generation building blocks in place and available to navigate this new paradigm will be critical for future success,” explained Sankalp Saxena, SVP and Managing Director of Nutanix India Operations, adding that this will result in smarter, more flexible businesses which are data driven, technology agnostic, software based, and self-learning digital enterprises, capable of acting, reacting and anticipating any hardware or technology, operating or market condition.

Many reports establish that organizations with efficient data management and redefined business models along with a data-driven approach for exceptional customer experience and improved operational processes are able to accelerate their digital transformation journey.

“This is true because data within organizations is growing exponentially. Along with structured data –business data – there is a significant annual growth of unstructured data – human and machine data. With this rise, several CIO’s are struggling to cost effectively manage it – especially with very limited or no insights into unstructured data – often called as “Dark Data” This inhibits the organizational ability to transform at a faster pace,” said Sanjay Agrawal, Technology Head, Hitachi Vantara.

Citing an IDC survey, Agrawal said that enterprises need to adopt new solutions and strategy to deal with the drastic growth of both structured and unstructured data, while also optimizing data quality, ease of use, flexibility to scale capacity and performance metrics to address workload management issues. “This will provide businesses with the ability to gain more relevant insights to support data governance and conquer the data challenge to deliver better business outcomes,” he said.

Agreeing with the views of Agrawal, Nishikant Nigam, EVP and Chief Delivery Officer, CSS Corp said that mass adoption of AI-driven algorithms and their contextual application in business processes has potential to be the next big thing and CIOs need to be ready with right strategy.

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Gamification: A New Business Driver

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

 

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

Design and Governance matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stabilizing the impact

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

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

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

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

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

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Interview with Vasudevan Sundarababu, SVP and CTO at CSS Corp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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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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