Co performance in the last 10 months has picked up

Manish Tandon took charge at mid-tier software services company CSS Corp’s corner office in August 2016 after the PE investor The Partners Group pressed for change at the top. From an earlier position of an IPO in 2016-17, the company has now pushed that event by another three years. In conversation with TOI, Tandon, says first phase of restructuring at CSS Corp was over and the company was back on growth mode.
What were the key triggers for The Partners group to eject the earlier CEO? You had said performance numbers were not satisfactory. Can you elaborate?
This question would be best answered by The Partners Group of investors. Given the changes in the industry I suspect that they perhaps just wanted some fresh thinking.
You said last two quarters CSS Corp has achieved sequential growth on both topline and bottom line. What is the growth looking like? Can you share some numbers? Is the return to growth a new phenomenon or the growth was slower earlier?
We have been observing 3% sequential growth quarter on quarter since the past two quarters and with this pace we are targeting 15% growth year on year. Bottom line has always been healthy with steady double digit margins. The performance of the organization in the last 10 months has picked up and we expect to maintain the momentum going forward.
Your $150 million revenues for March 2017 is expected to grow. Can you share what would these numbers look like in 1, 2 and 3 years from now?

Numbers will be in line with the growth projections as already.
You had said the idea was to create more value to shareholders, before you look at IPO or other exit process for existing investors. Can you elaborate?

The measures we have taken will enable us to emerge as a new age services provider with a truly differentiated value proposition. That will help us drive top line and bottom line growth, with better IP creation and client acquisition which should ultimately reflect in better value creation. However, IPO or a strategic sale at this point is speculative. It would be premature for us to talk about an exit for at least 3 to 5 years.

What were the changes you effected after you took over as CEO? Can you explain some tangible steps, including HR changes or other policy changes that were effected to get growth back? What are the differentiated set of offerings you have brought in?

We have been focusing on the underinvested areas of the company. Areas like sales and marketing have been strengthened with increased presence closer to our customers i.e. the US market. We are investing heavily on building our innovation and research capabilities through the CSS Corp Innovation Labs as we believe in solution led differentiation. The lab has been able to churn out new age technology solutions in AI, automation, analytics and this is helping us get better traction in the market. Most of CSS Corp’s advanced solutions have been incubated in our labs.
On the HR front, CSS Corp’s Digital Career Progression Framework has been specifically built to fast-track employee re-skilling initiatives within the organization, in niche digital technologies including AI, analytics, automation, cloud, DevOps and IoT. Additionally, the framework enables collaborative learning and greater personalization through Virtual University, MOOCs, online portals and learning communities. The framework has created more career and growth opportunities, while resulting in an overall drop in attrition.
We have also amplified our service lines. One of our fastest growing services is Digital through which we are building innovative solutions to help our clients engage better with their end-customers while driving better customer experience and revenue conversion.

Preview: Times of India

CSS Corp wins NASSCOM’s digital skills award for 2017

CSS Corp, a global leader in providing IT Services and Technology Support solutions, has won NASSCOM’s prestigious  Skills Award for 2017. CSS Corp’s  Career Progression Framework, “Reimagine”, was chosen for its unique and innovative approach to employee up-skilling and cross-skilling in new age  technologies. The award was presented at NASSCOM’s flagship HR Summit, which was held in  on July 20th.

The “Reimagine” framework has been specifically built to fast-track employee re-skilling initiatives within the organization, in niche  technologies including Robotic Process  (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 the democratization of learning and fosters a culture of innovation within the organization.

The  of Reimagine have been encouraging so far. It and has brought in significant increases in critical  aspects, including resource utilization, team productivity, employee learning and development, and increase in revenue per employee. The framework has also created more career and growth opportunities while resulting in an overall drop in attrition.

CSS Corp’s Reimagine framework is synchronized with  Innovation Labs that provide employees access and ample opportunities to build customer engagement solutions like Cognitive Customer Experience Platform, CSS Corp’s recent AI platform. The various training programs and certifications that are offered on the latest technologies enable employees to enhance their  dexterity, to thrive in today’s disruptive marketplace.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. R. Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM, said, “Workforce landscape in India has evolved significantly over the last decade and the key to success lies in identifying the right talent and then train them to enhance their skills and employability and therefore enhance industry’s competitiveness. I congratulate CSS Corp for their excellent work in this area. We are sure that the entire industry will devise ways and means to scale up the reskilling efforts.

Commenting on the recognition, Manish Tandon, CEO of CSS Corp said, “We are delighted to be recognized by  for our  up-skilling initiatives. This will enable us to offer the best of career and growth opportunities to our employees while building a nimble and agile organization. We are reorienting our service lines with new and disruptive offerings, and the Reimagine framework is one such step toward this process of change, adoption and growth. We are confident that our employees will tap into these opportunities to learn and adapt, and be the change agents who will deliver transformational  in today’s rapidly evolving technology environment.

Speaking on the occasion, David Raj, EVP & Chief HR Officer, CSS Corp said, “We are honored by this recognition by . It is a strong testimony to the underlying philosophy of CSS Corp’s adaptability, and our commitment towards building a close-knit, vibrant, and technologically advanced organization. The Reimagine career progression framework has been designed to provide the right guidance, opportunities, and encouragement to our employees to advance their careers.

Preview: Business Standard

How AI is Shaping Organizations?

Indian companies and start-ups are focusing on developing conversational bots, speech recognition tools, intelligent digital assistants and conversational services to be built over social media channels

Artificial Intelligence will undoubtedly reshape the business, making our lives easier and more sufficient. AI is seen as an indispensable tool for supporting humans in every aspect of life. In the future, it will be the driving force for the Industrial revolution mainly driven by data, networks and computing power.

The two fundamental pillars of digital transformation for any organization- “Speed” and “Customer Centric Innovation” which are on the top of CXOs’ minds. Every enterprise is dealing with two basic questions, “How fast can you innovate?” and “Can you innovate fast enough?” That said we see two broad technology trends answering the aforementioned questions emerging across the board, “Cloud Native” and “AI”. On one hand, enterprises who are in the experimentation and migration stages of cloud adoption have realized that the benefits of cloud go well beyond apex optimization to the acceleration of contextual innovation. And on the other hand, we see widespread adoption of NLP and cognitive computing to provide augmented/assistive intelligence and personalized experiences to customers. With Millennial in focus for most enterprises, delivering personalization has become important now more than ever. CXOs expect AI and specifically deep learning to pave the path to achieve such targeted personalization” said Anup Nair, VP, and CTO, Mphasis Digital.

Challenges In Application Of AI 
There are significant needs to automate the M2M or machine to human interactions to enable failure prevention. The biggest challenges in this area are changing the individual mindset and attract the right talent.

Sindhu Joseph, CEO, and Co-Founder, Cognicor said “From the perspective of applying AI, one of the key challenges is about the gradual rollout process that needs to be adopted for businesses. As systems need time to optimally learn user behavior and build patterns out of the same, it is better if it becomes a gradual rollout.

According to Kartik Iyengar, SVP-IoT, Cognitive, Robotics, VirusaPolaris, the potential of AI extends far beyond helping a given business run faster or more efficiently. Along they will bring disruptive changes and give rise to new problems that can challenge the economic, legal and ethical fabric of our societies. Some of them are:

Jobs: Traditionally, automation has been eating away blue collar jobs for decades and huge leaps in AI have accelerated this process whilst propagating it to other sectors/domains as well. It is true that AI revolution will create plenty of new skilled jobs but the problem is, for the most part, the people who are losing their jobs don’t have the skill sets to fill the vacant positions.

Responsibility: When the boundaries of responsibility are blurred between the user, developer and data trainer, every party involved can lay the blame on someone else in case of software or hardware malfunctions. This can become an issue when AU algorithms start making critical decisions. New regulations must be put in place to clearly predict and address legal issues that will surround AI in the near future.

Privacy: In the hunt of more and more data, companies may trek into the unmapped territory and cross privacy boundaries. Implementation of AI and ML can impersonate people by imitating their handwriting, voice, conversation style and unprecedented power that can come in handy in a number of dark scenarios.

Prakash Mallya, Managing Director, Sales and Marketing Group India, Intel said “Currently, the lack of insights to drive deep learning systems is a major challenge as vast amounts of data collected are not transmitted to systems. Data collected further needs to be analyzed to make effective decisions based on algorithms, and we must work together as an industry and as a society to help achieve the ultimate potential. The Indian data market is growing rapidly with the central government’s push for digitization which means increasing opportunities for using AI in the country.

How AI Helps Organizations?

Most AI applications are designed with a narrow focus so they perform some fairly complex tasks like scheduling business meetings and answering common customer requests. Automation helps productivity in teams, identifying the right use-cases and automating them helps organizations to reduce the effort spent on supporting applications and infrastructures.

Rohan Angrish, CTO of Capital Float said, “We use AI internally to allocate work within our company and also use it to make suggestions regarding loan decisions. Certain loan application processes are driven end-to-end by machines and disburse in as little as 90 seconds from the time of first signing on to our system.

In 2017, our company built Cognitive Customer Experience Platform, a ‘Cotelligent’ Platform where human and machine intelligence converges to provide a sophisticated, automated solution. Cognitive Customer Experience Platform integrates with all customer channels like voice, email, chat, and website across devices, giving a consistent customer experience. It is designed to offer personalized and context-driven support, with a human-like interaction. It aims to resolve a customer’s needs at first interaction by using NLP, AI, machine learning and deep learning techniques,” said Vasudevan Sundarababu, Digital Services Head, CSS Corp.

The scope of AI in the Indian Market

AI-based applications today have already touched people’s lives in ways that are often not fully speculated. Until now, this subtle proliferation of AI technology was driven largely by the private sector and focused primarily on consumer goods.

Indian companies and start-ups are focusing on developing conversational bots, speech recognition tools, intelligent digital assistants and conversational services to be built over social media channels which are purely driven by the need in Indian market unlike driverless cars and others in U.S. market,” said Badrinarayanan Jagannathan, Vice President IT Applications Management, Juniper Networks IEC.

He further added, “Embracing automation is a necessity in the current environment. It plays a key role in enabling productivity, improve customer service and enable businesses to grow more agile. This will trigger a new wave of growth in generating newer jobs. The key for individuals is their ability to be flexible and re-skill to develop and succeed.

Ritesh Gandotra as Director – Global Document Outsourcing, Xerox India said, “AI will eventually replace many routine functions of the IT organization, particularly on the operations side, such as in system administration, help desk, project management, and application support. With advances in artificial intelligence technology, machines will successfully emulate human cognition.

What Talents Companies Are Hiring?

AI revolution is creating plenty of new data science, machine learning, engineering and IT job positions to develop and maintain the AI systems and software. “Unfortunately, the supply is not that great and the real focus should be on upskilling and cross-skilling our existing workforce. The battle for top AI talent only gets tougher from here. At VirtusaPolaris, we tie up with universities and engage them in CoE (Center of Excellence) program to get the right data science consultants and AI engineers.” said Iyengar.

Another company, Cognicor is mostly looking at engineers and mathematicians specialized in AI, computational linguistics and knowledge management sciences. “We are looking at hiring some of the premium talents in the country and train them with latest commercial exposure to AI sciences. Getting access to the research opportunities in the latest AI has been a great incentive for attracting some of the best talents in this area,” said Sindhu Joseph.

Preview: Data Quest

How The Changing Business World Has Impacted IT

Today’s IT department doesn’t look like it used to. Triggered by simultaneous shifts in the business world, everything has changed: the work, the methods and the speed. Here, we look at four recent business shifts and how they have impacted IT.

1. IT in business strategy: Every company is a technology company.

Nearly every company relies on IT to create differentiation in some way. Johnson & Johnson has long been a healthcare company, but it is heavily involved in biotech. General Electric, the industrial and one-time financial services company, conducts advanced research and sells tech products. Blue Apron sells food, but its heart is that of a tech company.

The challenge for businesses today lies in recognizing the opportunities that come from new technologies and offering value propositions before digital-native startups capture the market. Who knows what might be possible better than CIOs and CTOs? Rather than waiting to hear what capabilities are needed, IT leaders should be in the boardroom presenting new sources of innovation and efficiency. Building business and IT strategy simultaneously results in tight alignment, top-line growth and a competitive edge.

2. A fast-paced world: New development life cycles change IT culture.

The cadence of business is accelerating. Successful businesses have responded by becoming more flexible and adaptable, learning to quickly pivot to serve customers in a rapidly changing competitive landscape. But where does that flexibility come from? Often, from their IT departments.

For decades, there was one dominant software development life cycle (SDLC): waterfall. When businesses started to move faster, IT couldn’t keep up. Then iterative, lean, agile, spiral and DevOps models emerged. They brought significant benefits — better alignment between business strategy and IT, for example, with more rapid delivery and better end products. But adopting these SDLCs requires significant cultural changes. IT has to start working before key decisions are made and account for the possibility of the organization changing its mind.

3. The rise of XaaS: IT departments move from technology providers to technology diplomats.

Cloud computing today enables just about anything to be delivered “as-a-service” (XaaS), making it easy for business people to bypass IT and purchase technology from outside the organization. This democratization of IT has caused tech fluency to spread throughout organizations. Smart software salespeople target business unit leaders, not IT execs. So where does that leave IT?

Organizations still require strategies for information and systems. A siloed technology landscape is not usually the most effective one. Someone must sort through competing requests, prioritize IT spend, lead programs and projects, and manage vendors.

The result is that IT departments need to change their mindsets — and their skill sets. Without a monopoly license on providing technology, they need to be diplomats and negotiators. The new task at hand is to sell the business on what they want it to buy and to ensure that smart decisions are made, even if not entirely by them. Facilitating honest conversations around what the business wants can reveal a variety of things — from unrecognized requirements to misunderstood capabilities, future limitations to future growth opportunities. As IT leaders sharpen their skills, their abilities to help businesses navigate their technical futures open up a world of opportunities.

4. A digital revolution: The customer is king.

Today’s most successful brands create personalized experiences — and they grow their revenue two to three times faster than competitors. The Amazon effect (almost frictionless shopping and near-immediate results) has spilled over into every industry, with customers’ expectations for superior experiences rising.

The result is a digital revolution — not just web, mobile and social, but CRM, analytics, artificial intelligence and more. The need to keep up with customers drives an enormous percentage of most IT budgets today and defines much of the relationship between IT and business.

When database marketing began in the early 1980s, companies used direct mail and phone to market to customers one on one. As the use of the internet became widespread, email became a popular tool for direct marketing. Customer relationship management was invented when companies began consolidating detailed data about customers into centralized databases and then mining the information, turning it into valuable insights.

The focus on web, mobile and social has only continued to grow. Today, this information — plus external data sets and more — is combined to create a 360-degree view of the customer. The result has been a major shift in the skills, priorities and working relationship between business and IT.

What’s next?

As the world continues to speed up, one thing we know for sure is that things will change faster than ever before. IT departments of the future will have two crucial needs — adaptability and business alignment.

Adaptability allows IT to reinvent itself even as it continues to deliver. Services can’t be interrupted while IT implements a major transformation program. Instead, IT needs to be constantly adjusting and improving, taking changes in stride while simultaneously providing superior services. IT leaders must deal with the problems of today while growing toward the vision of tomorrow.

Business alignment means having a shared goal with the rest of the organization and driving all activities toward the pursuit of that goal. Business alignment is easily visualized in heavily tech-dependent companies (like Uber or Airbnb) but is just as important in companies with less visible dependencies (like health care and manufacturing). The consequences of failing to deliver this business alignment can be seen in companies like Toys R Us, which is going out of business largely due to failures to thrive against digital native Amazon.

It’s easy to look backward and see how business has impacted and changed IT. It’s harder to predict what comes next, but with adaptability and alignment, IT departments can handle whatever is thrown at them. As Steve Jobs said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

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Organizations need to adopt a systematic approach towards assessing employee skills

Visweswara Rao, SVP & Chief HR Officer at CSS Corp decodes the ICT skills landscape in an interview to Dataquest. Excerpts:

If you look at the ICT skills landscape, what according to you are the two challenges the industry is facing now?

According to IDC Research, the advent of emerging technologies including AI, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, and AR will enable the next wave of growth in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, widening the overall market opportunity to $5.5 trillion by 2020.

However, the shortage of skilled workforce is emerging as a major challenge to growth and future in the ICT sector, especially in India. Emerging technologies are prompting businesses to reimagine their business models and engagement journeys. They are enabling organizations to achieve business outcomes much faster and nimbler. Hence, the demand for completely new sets of skills is unprecedented.

ICT industry is evolving at an exponential pace. In this context, it is extremely important for technology leaders to focus on fostering a learning culture that would enable employees to build skills on new age technologies that are contextual to ICT. The two big skills and people related challenges the ICT industry is facing now is (a) lack of expertise in digital technologies and (b) lack of contextual application of digital while solving business problems.

One of the approaches to tackle this problem is to encourage and promote partnerships between the industry and academia. Many companies in ICT industry are collaborating with universities, academia, and local governments to bridge these gaps and boost the innovation quotient in new tech areas.

Organizations need to adopt a systematic approach towards assessing employee skills on an ongoing basis in emerging areas, identify gaps and align them with relevant learning modules. This would ensure skill-level gaps are addressed regularly and also ensures employees are future ready.

Organizations should also adopt unconventional hiring methods like hackathons and break the code models to attract niche skillsets from the market.

Niche skills like AI and analytics are required for all engineering and technical students, as they are the foundational levers of all digital engagements, and this is possible only if universities are constantly updating their curriculums to keep up with the pace of technology changes. For e.g. skills like AI and data analytics are sector-agnostic and have been delivering transformational benefits to companies across all industries.

The Digital disruption coupled with automation has completely changed the nature of tech skills required for today’s ICT jobs – as an organization how are you coping with sourcing the right skills?

Staying competitive in services business requires continuously improving skill sets and competencies. To augment our efforts towards enhancing our technology competency, we launched ‘Reimagine’, a digital career progression framework to reorient our service lines and re-align the growth of our employees to meet the growing business needs.

Our “Reimagine” Digital Career Progression Framework has been specifically built to fast-track employee reskilling initiatives within the organization. In 2017, we won the NASSCOM Award for having one of the best digital reskilling platforms in the Indian IT industry. The framework facilitates an innovative approach to employee up-skilling and cross-skilling in digital technologies. So far we have seen 9000+ course enrollments in the last 12 months.

The Reimagine framework promotes a multi-disciplinary approach towards acquiring new domain and technology skill sets. The framework includes structured learning paths around AI, automation, data science, machine learning and other topics in a logical progression. The Reimagine framework equips employees with an analytical and problem-solving mindset of curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking.

Some of the key aspects of CSS Corp’s Reimagine Framework are: Digital Re-profiling: Enabling employee at all levels of the pyramid – Digital awareness, digital basics, digital intermediary & digital advanced Democratization of Innovation: Labs with access to emerging technologies like AI, analytics, cloud, DevOps, IoT, and mobile

Incubation Hub: Prototyping and designing customer engagement platforms/solutions e.g. CSS Corp’s AI Platform- Cognitive CX Platform Hyper-Personalization of Learning Modules: Anytime, anywhere and any device learning through Virtual University, MOOCs, and JAM Additionally, CSS Corp also has an ongoing partnership with BITS Pilani on a program called ‘Earn As You Learn’ – a specialized M. Tech work integrated learning program. A program that helps CSS Corp employees to acquire knowledge and skills required for excelling in their careers with the added advantage of gaining a top-notch M.Tech. Degree in software engineering from one of India’s most prestigious universities.

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CSS Corp positioned in Winner’s Circle in HfS Research’s Telecommunications Operations Services Report

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology support company, today announced that it has been recognized in the “Winner’s Circle” in HfS Research’s Blueprint 2018 report on telecom operations services.

The report assessed 18 service providers in execution and innovation, covering aspects including strategic vision, investments in future capabilities, robust services delivery, and driving new insights and models.

The report positioned CSS Corp as a leader in telecom operations services that excel both at execution and innovation. CSS Corp has been enabling telecom organizations to improve customer experience, create new revenue streams, and enhance operational efficiency, strategically aligned with their business goals. The company has been investing heavily in the Triple-A Trifecta (AI, Automation, and Analytics) to improve Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) and enable differentiated growth opportunities for the telecom and networking industry.

Elena Christopher, Vice President – Industry Research at HfS Research, “Telecommunication firms and their ecosystem partners are working diligently to modernize their core businesses while simultaneously investing in and developing new offerings. CSS Corp has quietly emerged as a strong service partner for these firms helping to enable the digital transformation of network services and customer experience, enabling both optimization and new revenue potential. These timely skills coupled with industry-leading relationship management and flexible business models have elevated CSS Corp to the HfS Winner’s Circle.”

Manish Tandon, CEO, CSS Corp, said, “Telecom companies are shifting gears towards an ecosystem-based business model partnering synergistically with digital content service providers. With seismic changes in the market environment and increased executive push towards digitization, telcos are forging new business models to create and capture value. Our vision to drive growth for telecom and networking companies is driven by a clear appreciation of these disruptive forces and deep understanding of the telecom industry.”

“Being recognized in the Winner’s Circle by HfS Research is an important milestone that validates our innovation and execution capabilities in telecom. We continue to seek out new opportunities for co-innovation and collaboration with our clients, laying a clear vision for the industry as a whole,” he added further.

Sunil Mittal – EVP, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, said, “Leveraging our deep industry know-how, we have continuously endeavored to digitally enable telcos to transform from traditional service models to new age service models. This recognition by HfS Research is another testimony to our capabilities and reinforces the faith that our customers and stakeholders have shown in us over the years.

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Data Security Incidents Prompt Organizations to Improve their Security Standards

The data held in every business is valuable, and in the prevailing hyper-competitive business environment, all enterprises are looking to leverage and monetize the information it holds to the maximum potential.

The threat landscape is exploding at an unimaginable pace. Cybercriminals are discreetly finding new ways to invade the most sensitive data from networks and to gain access, plant malware and launch a remote attack, and cause disruption to the organizational security. Safeguarding business data is a huge challenge for businesses today.

This disturbing upward trend in cyber-attack and data security incidents is prompting organizations to improve their security standards in every aspect to protect data and combat security breaches. Right from training employees to formulating robust security policies, organizations are setting up various strategies to secure data and assets that are critical to business operations.

“Enterprises have been able to gather, store and process data available in their business environment and to also use it for business purposes using big data analytics with reasonable success rates. This has made them realize that big data across their business environment is a valuable asset and needs to be well protected.

As a consequence, in addition to various legal requirements, most organisations take steps to protect their business data, assets and critical infrastructure with real time visibility, detection and remediation of threats. Information security policies, vulnerability analysis and mitigation procedures, updated cybersecurity solutions, training in-house staff and various other aspects are being revamped and recalibrated,” said Sriram TV- Director – Consulting & Business Development, Juniper Networks.

Data protection has become one of the top agenda for enterprises to remain competitive and profitable in their respective businesses. Traditional signature-based defense mechanisms are not enough to defend against sophisticated attacks. To battle against advanced data security risks, organizations must adopt proactive threat intelligence and mitigation strategies.

Importance of Securing Data

“The world of data security changes every day. Not only are there new threats from hackers, but changes in how we work are fundamentally shifting how we need to think about protecting important information” said Anjali Arora, SVP and Chief Product Officer, Rocket Software.

According to Gagandeep Singh, Practice Head, Risk Advisory Services & Security Intelligence and Operations, Aujas, organizations are realizing and recognizing the risks they are exposed to when it comes to their data which is leading to a more matured and considerate approach towards the data protection. Our industry and professionals do use data protection and data security interchangeably, however, they happen to be similar but two different terms one more encompassing than the other. The approach the most matured organizations have taken or may take would consist of the following steps:

Data Protection Policy

  • Involvement of business owners who also would be the data owners
  • In-Depth understanding of critical and non-critical data
  • Data Classification and labelling
  • Data Flow Analysis
  • Data Leakage risk assessment


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Artificial Intelligence: The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Artificial Intelligence is revolutionizing the present scenario in the world. AI has the potential to drive a car, determine the nationality of a person through his handwriting, detect machine breakdown on listening to its sound and can produce 20,000 lines of copy in a second.

All in all, it will alter our day-to-day lives. As pointed out by CEO of Google – Sundar Pichai that artificial intelligence can become more vital than fire or electricity.

On the other hand, billionaire investor Ray Dalio remarked that it is a “two-edged sword.” It is boosting the productivity but eliminating jobs, which in the run will create gaps between wealth and opportunity.

From here we need to understand is AI just a robotic apocalypse or the fourth industrial revolution.

AI: Fourth Industrial Revolution or Robotic Apocalypse?
Artificial Intelligence is one of the key rising technology breakthroughs because it can transform the world in exceptional ways. AI and robotics can change the way businesses function and advance efficiencies and cost.

Arti Pande, Lead Consultant at ThoughtWorks said that putting it in simple words, AI will aid enterprises to make better decisions because intelligent tools will augment human capability with increased efficiency, precision and creativity. Arti further stated, “The critical argument is that the fourth industrial revolution will not cause unemployment but will evolve the quality and types of jobs. Humans will re-skill and equip themselves with new capabilities, compatible with an AI-powered workplace”.

As quoted by Professor Klaus Schwab in ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’, we are living in a world where technology is influencing the way we live, connect with systems, access information, leverage services, and relate with each other socially. And when used judiciously, this new technology – AI – will certainly boost productivity, operational efficiency and customer experience in enterprises, and can provide a platform for digital reach in societies. AI can be prevented from turning into a robotic apocalypse by putting adequate regulations, governance and sense of responsibilities in place, said Dr. Kiran Marri, VP- Solutions, Digital Engineering & Testing Services at CSS Corp.

Mahesh Nayak, SAP Labs India holds that with AI becoming increasingly ingrained into our lives, it offers a lot of promise, but can also be a double-edged sword. Gartner in a report says that by 2020, artificial intelligence will create 2.3 million jobs whilst eliminating 1.8 million. But, everything about AI so far has been about helping human minds to work better, not theirs. We can simulate perception, reasoning, planning, learning, creativity but at the end of the day this is pure simulation on our terms.

Thus, artificial intelligence is definitely the fourth industrial revolution, rather than a robotic apocalypse. It is faster, efficient and more widely accessible. Moreover, a plethora of opportunities has been ushered in, as AI can now handle complex tasks including Object detection, Speech and Face recognition, etc. We may expect AI to be increasingly capable of performing complex tasks, especially in areas of application with massive data sets, believes George Mundassery, Tech Mahindra.


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Reimagining Consumer Experience for Telcos in the Era of Hyper-Convergence

Implementations of human-AI collaborations are being devised to maximize customer interactions.

The telecom industry is at the forefront of enabling best-in-class customer experiences. With large-scale changes in market environments and increased executive push towards digitisation, telcos are exploring new business models to create and capture value. The digital customer needs to be delighted and operators are leveraging new levels of personalisation at a scale never imagined before.Telecom firms are now analysing real-time customer data through smart algorithms to deliver personalised experiences concurrently to millions of customers. These experiences are seamlessly integrated into every customer touch point using AI, predictive analytics, and real-time feedback loops.With the dawn of the digital world, customers expect the experiences to have the following attributes:

• Context-aware: In today’s always-on connected world, customers demand agile experiences because of their changing needs and demands, telecom providers are expected to quickly adopt data-driven insights to map customer needs, know their interaction patterns, and engage with them by anticipating their requirements.

• Service extensions: To enable services like digitised wallets, media services, and custom utilities operators ought to be partnering with third-party service providers for broadening customer reach and relationships. Telcos are expected to be multi-service providers and develop platform driven solutions to ensure demonstrable advantages for the customer.

• Service centricity: Compelling value delivered through in-time quality service can be a key lever to be factored while designing customer retention strategies. Customers are also willing to get empowered with the tools and know-how to resolve service issues. Users are also expecting personal data confidentiality and wish to have complete control over it.

The need is clear. The industry has to transform its ways of interacting with the customers since they are expecting the same level of digital experiences given by other industry sectors.


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Driving superior customer experiences by transforming enterprise support

The B2B technical support sector has undergone a massive transformation in terms of services, knowledge, empowerment, and challenges. The increased adoption of new technologies like SDN, wireless networks, unified communications, and cloud-based networks have made providing support to huge numbers of connected devices a highly complex and surgical engagement. As a result, most technology vendors wait for years to see a return on their investment.

The truth is that while the technology on offer has evolved, the support side of things hasn’t quite kept up. Issues and challenges across the support ecosystem loom large over most technology enterprises, reducing their efficiency and limiting their ability to perform well.

What’s changed, and what hasn’t?

As technology has evolved, the balance of power has shifted away from technology vendors and towards the customer. A decade ago, enterprise technology deals often involved large components that required physical installation and commissioning by a technology vendor. While vendors made their money upfront and relatively risk-free, customers had to wait for their returns and were often forced to accept bad deals.

But with the advent of subscription-based technology services, the tide has turned in favor of the customer. Rather than paying for everything upfront, subscription-based services allow customers to spread costs out over time, which substantially limits their level of risk. Meanwhile, vendors are being forced to take on more risk than ever before, and often wait years to make good on their investments.

Naturally, under this business model, vendors are heavily incentivized to keep their customers happy across the entire support lifecycle. If they can achieve this reliably, vendors can work their way into a position where they are receiving consistent revenue and don’t need to constantly spend on acquiring new customers.

Customer experience should not be viewed in isolation

Customer experience is the next biggest differentiator. For vendors, this is the real deal.

Enterprise support is only becoming more complex, with a growing number of devices needing support on a daily basis. In order to ensure a high level of customer experience, vendors must provide outstanding support across the entire lifecycle of purchase, deployment, and post-sales support, as well as ongoing relationship management

From a technology vendor perspective, there are various functions that drive this customer experience – specifically, customer care, tech support, professional services, customer success, sales operations, and education and training. The only organization that cuts across all these functions is the support organization as they are the front face of support and are always in touch with customers. This gives the support function the unique advantage of being stewards to drive CX across all interaction points radically transforming how support is thought, advocated, nurtured and delivered.

To ensure good CX, enterprises should unify all of the modular blocks that power CX using a robust digital framework. By investing in a digital framework, enterprises can transform CX operations, and obtain insights and intelligence that will help them drive operational efficiencies and enhance the customer experience.

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