AI-Driven Cognitive Operations Driving Enterprise Agility

AI-defined architecture unifies three typically human characteristics to automate IT and business processes – learning, understanding and solving. Using these skills, cognitive systems today can talk to people, plan and optimize tasks, make forecasts, recognize patterns, and analyze image and voice signals.

IT operation managers are under ever-increasing pressure to increase performance while reducing budgets.  With increasingly complex technologies, increased globalization, and more reliance on technology for critical business capabilities, they face constant pressure to reduce business downtime that negatively impacts customer experience, reduces employee productivity, and leads to loss in revenue.  They face highly advanced security threats, which are amplified by difficulty in having the right security staff with the right skills.  And they are often responsible for managing legacy systems, which come with an extra burden of manual mundane operations and heavy dependency on the IT workforce.

As advancements in technologies create additional pressures on IT operations, they can also provide new forms of relief.  The introduction of cognitive technologies is an increasingly useful solution to these growing problems.

Evolution of Cognitive Technologies

Cognitive has moved dramatically beyond the conceptual stages in 2016, evolving from simple isolated automation systems to integrated enterprise-class digital automation solutions. Today, we have such diverse abilities as Runbook Automation (a sequence of steps leading to the implementation of automated tasks started by a system or user), AI Ops platforms (leveraging big data and AI or machine learning functionality to improve and partially replace a myriad of IT operations processes and tasks), and AI-led Intelligent Automation (context-aware robots that cement a strong foundation for applications and services).

Over the next half a decade, we expect the impact of cognitive technologies on different industries to grow significantly. A recent survey conducted by Deloitte of more than 200 IT executives found that over 64% intend to increase investments in cognitive technologies.  Driven by new investments, AI-led cognitive systems will scale up across industries and functions including financial planning, analysis and decision making.

Simplifying IT Operations with Cognitive

Within the IT operations, cognitive technologies (especially intelligent automation) are the next game changers.  These systems detect and analyze vast quantities of data and automate complete IT processes or workflows while learning and adapting in the process. This key feature allows them to facilitate autonomous and seamless decision making even when there are aberrations in the process implementation. Some of the practical applications include:

1. Predictive Maintenance
Cognitive-based predictive maintenance systems leverage huge data sets to anticipate failures before they happen.  Companies can schedule preventive maintenance before likely failures, while getting important recommendations on how to prevent potential security breaches.

2. Interdependency Analytics
Many current infrastructure and application performance management suites offer visibility to a specific component of the stack, but not full stack visibility, causing the IT workforce to spend increasing amounts of time unraveling and troubleshooting complex environments. Cognitive-based interdependency analytics map relationships between systems, predict events based on dependencies and help engineers make well-informed decisions about data center optimization and planning.

3. Self-healing and Autonomous Remediation
Critical infrastructure, applications and software must be recovered after they crash, powered by either external or internal system breaches.  Until recently, there was no accepted mechanism to automate this.  Now, thanks to three integrated AI-based capabilities (automatic instrumentation, machine learning analytics, and integrated remediation), self-healing and auto-remediation systems can now detect the need of healing resources and utilize them appropriately.

4. Self-learning System and Knowledge Management
Intelligent (AI-based) learning systems, with self-regulated content, support self-oriented learning, enhance performance and generate competitiveness for the enterprises. Knowledge management ensures intelligence is always in reach and yielded in the context of the task. It makes it simple to find relevant information and resources, and offer relevant methods, tools, templates, techniques, and examples.

5. Role of Smart Agents to Manage L0/L1
Smart agents are intelligent and connected AI-based virtual assets. These agents can detect and respond to internal and external environment. With them, enterprises can make an intelligent shift from real-time control to predictive control to ultimately, autonomous control.

A Compelling Value Proposition 

The bottom line is that using cognitive in IT operations is good for the bottom line.  Compared to traditional models, companies can achieve significant operational cost reductions.  Enterprises with limited developer skill set can automate most of the high-volumes, rule-based work processes round-the-clock at the fraction of a cost of a human resource.

But cognitive isn’t just cheaper – it’s also better.  Preventing issues, rather than responding to them, is a win-win for business operations and IT operations.  Thorough understanding of systems, through independency analysis, self-learning and knowledge management, reduced the frequency of issues as well as the time to restore.

Implementing cognitive tools also provides value in the form of critical AI experience.  According to New IDC Spending Guide, global spending on cognitive and AI solutions will achieve a compound annual growth rate of 54.4% through 2020 when revenues will be more than $46 billion, and the US will be the largest market.  It makes sense then to look at IT to lead the charge, adopting them internally first as a precursor to implementation throughout the organization.

Looking to the Future 

AI-defined architecture unifies three typically human characteristics to automate IT and business processes – learning, understanding and solving.  Using these skills, cognitive systems today can talk to people, plan and optimize tasks, make forecasts, recognize patterns, and analyze image and voice signals.  In the not-to-distance future, self-aware machines might possess thoughts, feelings, and consciousness.  As the capabilities of these systems expand, the opportunity to use them in administering IT operations only grows.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CSS Corp Wins Big at NETGEAR Support Supplier Conference 2018

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology support company, has been recognized for its exemplary customer support services at the annual NETGEAR Support Supplier Conference 2018, held in Hong Kong on 30, 31 January 2018.

CSS Corp emerged a winner in three categories: Best Contact Center Services for All-around Performance, Best Contact Center Services in Sales and PTS, and for 15 years of Partnership with NETGEAR. The NETGEAR Support Supplier Conference is organized annually by NETGEAR to recognize and celebrate the contributions from their support partners globally.

CSS Corp has been recognized for implementing an outcome-based support model and for its novel adoption of Premium Tech Support (PTS) in support operations that transformed NETGEAR’s cost center into a profit center. PTS is CSS Corp’s flagship solution that has been built based on its extensive experience from supporting companies in the telecom, media and technology sector. PTS offers customers paid support for ‘out of warranty’ or ‘end of life’ devices focused on delivering greater customer satisfaction, new revenue sources, and lower support costs.

Speaking on the recognition, Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, CSS Corp said, “At CSS Corp, we obsessively pursue customer satisfaction. For nearly two decades, we have consistently co-innovated with our clients to create new efficiencies and generate new revenue streams that drive profitability.

As we complete 15 years of enduring partnership with NETGEAR, it is indeed a great honor to be recognized as their key support partner for global operations. This is a testament to our capabilities and resolves to consistently deliver the best value to our clients,” he further added.

About CSS Corp
CSS Corp is a new age IT services and technology support company that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence, automation, analytics, cloud and digital to address customer needs. The company partners with leading enterprises to help realize their strategic business outcomes. Its team of 5,500 technology professionals across 16 global locations is passionate about helping customers differentiate and succeed. For more information, please visit www.csscorp.com.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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