October

Reskilling: The Cardinal Rule Aspiring Technologists, CXOs Need to Embrace

Enterprises have begun to work closely with academia and students to enable reskilling, and lead investments and collaboration in cognitive and emerging technologies
Artificial intelligence is now an actuality that Indian enterprises are looking to embrace or have already embraced to a certain extent. The global phenomenon is rapidly driving disruptive changes in the adoption of new technologies, business models, and jobs. From creating more immersive experiences for customers to enabling productivity, and helping businesses become more agile, AI is poised to become a global economic growth engine. However, skills shortage has become a hindrance and reskilling a necessary trump card for enterprises looking to truly embrace artificial intelligence.Nishikant Nigam, EVP and Chief Delivery Officer at CSS Corp feels that as cognitive technologies become an integral part of how businesses and people operate, ecosystem players – right from organizations to the government to talent have to adopt fresh thinking and approach to ride the digital wave.

 “Aspiring technologists have to seriously consider reskilling – raising their skillsets, learning from different sources, and investing in peer-learning, while remaining agile and responsive to the demands of the market. The days when one could choose a technology, specialize in it and work on it for years together are now history. The new mantra is to continuously evolve, be experimental, and be open to and invest in continuous and lifelong learning,” he says.

In fact, it is not just the students or aspiring technologists that need to consider reskilling, even CXOs need to be onboard the digital transformation march to encourage the same in their organizations. Mr Nigam says quoting an Intel-IDC report from December 2017 that nearly 70% organizations in India are expected to deploy AI solutions before 2020. Sectors like telecom, media, and technology in India have been the top early adopters of AI, while retail services and healthcare are supposed to see a surge by 2019.

“Organizations have started building their own labs to create a breeding ground for digital technologies. These labs can find solutions to crucial business problems and also enable employees to come up with disruptive solutions and learn new skills to upgrade themselves. In order to foster and create truly digitized organizations, senior leaders and CXOs must recognize and encourage a strong digital culture within their organizations, along with a strong digital strategy,” says Mr Nigam.

“Creating a digital culture helps organizations to enable more customer-centric engagements and build better solutions. This in turn can help them to bring employees more in alignment with customers’ journeys, and encourage them to make informed, context-aware decisions, focus on continuous improvement and take calculated risks,” he adds.

Uptime, service responsiveness and security are the top three concerns for a CIO states Mr Nigam while adding that AI based IT ops can amplify these three aspects that drive better employee engagement and experience. AI brings in an aspect of self-learning and continuous improvement over a period of time which can bring in levels of proactive performance and remediation that humans cannot match.

Since it has become of utmost importance to formulate conducive regulatory policies that are critical to drive investments, collaboration, and adoption of emerging technologies, enterprises have begun to work closely with academia and students to raise skill gaps, and lead investments and collaboration in cognitive and emerging technologies.

In order to do the same, CSS Corp has built a digital career progression framework to reorient their service lines and re-align the growth of employees to meet growing business needs. Termed ‘Reimagine’, the framework has specifically been built to fast-track employee reskilling initiatives within the organization, in 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,” says Mr Nigam.

CSS Corp has won the NASSCOM Digital Skills 2017 award for having one of the best digital reskilling platforms in the Indian IT industry, and results of Reimagine has brought in significant increases in critical business 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, Mr Nigam declares.

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What Artificial Intelligence Means to Businesses in Terms of Cost Optimization, Efficiency and HR

               Artificial Intelligence magnifies the role of HR professionals into a much broader and strategic role, which is backed with data analytics and AI-driven insights

 

The rapidly evolving Artificial Intelligence is influencing economies, disciplines, services and business models, and in the process modernizing operations, reducing costs, increasing service agility, and harmonizing customer experiences.

Artificial Intelligence for Cost Optimization and Efficiency in Business Operations

Intelligent automation platforms bring in a convergence of human intelligence, analytics, machine learning and natural language processing (NLP), which in turn can result in improved business agility, operational excellence, resilience, and faster-time-to-market. Such platforms can cohesively predict models and subsequently manage/solve complex infrastructure ecosystems effortlessly, resulting in drastically improved CX and thus, simplifying employee efforts considerably.

Some of the specific segments that Artificial Intelligence is being used by enterprises include:

  • IT Helpdesk: An Artificial Intelligence enabled IT Helpdesk embraces intelligent automation, and advanced analytics, to deliver knowledge-centered and context-driven support, serving as a single point of contact for all IT service needs. This results in reduced human intervention, and hence reduced labor costs, improved the end-user experience and enables the next level of productivity.
  • Self-Help Tools: Organizations are onboarding cost-effective support channels like using self-help, Knowledge Base (KB), virtual assistants and live chat to fulfill the requirements of end-users. Using Artificial Intelligence and automation, most common user queries can be prevented by understanding what your users want before they turn to support.
  • Virtual Assistants – Virtual Assistants can offer personalized and context-driven support, with a human-like interaction, through the usage of Artificial Intelligence, NLP and Deep Learning techniques. VAs can constantly learn from user interactions, and build on its ever-growing knowledge base. The Virtual Assistant understands user intent and responds to queries in real time.
  • Omni-channel Solution – Omni-channel support promotes enterprise collaboration services through mediums such as blogs, wikis, social media and KBs. It also provides engineers with extensive use cases, high visibility into each customer issue, including transaction history and most recent channel interactions.

Artificial Intelligence in HR Management, Recruitment, and Employment

Artificial Intelligence magnifies the role of HR professionals into a much broader and strategic role, which is backed with data analytics and AI-driven insights. Nearly 40% of companies are using some form of AI in HR, including prominent companies like IBM, GE, Facebook, and SAP.

AI can aid people management within organizations in several areas like accelerating the hiring process by automating screening of talent, digitizing the interview process, streamlining employee onboarding, and improving workplace learning.

How Exactly AI and Cobot are Applied to Enhance Customer Value?

With advancements in speech recognition and Natural Language Processing (NLP), AI has become the new frontier that is truly transforming customer engagements and augmenting human potential.

A blended model of human experts and AI can offer several potential business benefits:

  • Reduced Cost: A recent BI Intelligence report suggests that businesses can cut labor cost by 29% when chatbots and other AI are deployed. Though complete automation is not feasible, automating a percentage of customer success and sales positions can result in significant savings.
  • Improved customer experience: AI reaches a wider audience and stores critical data points that companies can leverage to personalize the offerings and also the buying experience of the digitally empowered customers. AI also helps brands optimize their product development with improved customer intelligence, which in turn delivers delightful customer experience.
  • Greater consistency due to reduced human assistance: With AI revolutionizing all walks of business and life, consumers aspire to seamlessly interact with multiple apps rather than multiple layers of real human assistants thereby leading to reduced reliance on humanitarian assistance.

At CSS Corp, AI-based automation is an integral part of our service delivery organization supporting global customers in various strategic and modernization initiatives. CSS Corp’s intelligent automation framework brings together two different platforms that drive modularity and nimbleness to meet the evolving customer expectations:

Contelli – Cognitive automation for IT operations (automation of back-office operations in the cloud, Data Centers, telecom networks and security)

Cognitive Customer Experience Platform – Cognitive assistant solution (front-office solution for customer support, customer interactions, and customer analytics)

Our approach in AI for business and IT operations are largely based on customers’ business critical metrics and more closely aligned with factors impacting business outcomes.  Our AI strategy did not develop out of labor arbitrage but rather from superior customer experience, providing instant gratification and delighting customers.

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Reskilling Can Get You Artificial Intelligence Jobs that Pay as Much as Rs 10 Lakhs

Reskilling has become a priority as the industry faces a dearth of skilled technologists with the advent of the digital transformation phenomenon

 

Digital transformation has become a buzzword of late and is a trend every industry wants to be onboard with. Nonetheless, while digital transformation is revamping the way businesses function shortage of skills in employees is causing hindrance for companies to truly adopt new age technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning. Therefore, companies are endorsing reskilling for it could be the only way out of this problem.

“Aspiring technologists have to seriously consider reskilling – raising their skillsets, learning from different sources, and investing in peer-learning, while remaining agile and responsive to the demands of the market. The days when one could choose a technology, specialize in it and work on it for years together are now history. The new mantra is to continuously evolve, be experimental, and be open to and invest in continuous and lifelong learning,” said Nishikant Nigam, EVP and Chief Delivery Officer at CSS Corp while addressing the issue of skills shortage.

Even CP Gurnani, MD and CEO of Tech Mahindra highly endorses reskilling and said “At Tech Mahindra, reskilling is core to our strategy; today’s disruptive business landscape demands for our talents to be future ready and it is our prime responsibility that the right tools and innovative pathways are facilitated for them. This recognition motivates us to continue investing in empowering our workforce to stay relevant in the digital future,” after he was honored with a Gold in CEO World Awards 2018 for his ambitious initiative aimed at reskilling and up-skilling over 112,000 Tech Mahindra employees, as per a release issued by the company.

There is another initiative for aspiring technologists to consider reskilling. As per data released by Simplilearn, a platform that offers courses in new age technologies like data science, bid data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning, AI and ML jobs are in demand in India and those proficient in it can earn anywhere from 4 lakhs to as much as 18 lakhs.

Data on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Jobs in India

Based on current trends and demands, Simplilearn has released the top “In demand AI and machine learning jobs in India” along with their average salaries (per annum). Some of the artificial intelligence jobs in demand are data scientist (salary Rs 8.5 to 10 lakhs), machine learning engineer (Rs 6.5 to 8 lakhs), software architect (Rs 19 lakhs), data analyst (Rs 4 to 5 lakhs), and robotics scientist (Rs 5 to 7 lakhs).

The skills needed for the jobs are Python, R Spark, Java, C++, Linux, Machine learning, Deep Learning, Neural Networks and Data mining. Simplilearn mentions that there are nearly 4000 job openings in the field and banking, IT, financial services, management consulting, recruitment and educational industries are looking to hire experts in AI.

Furthermore, the machine learning jobs that are in demand are machine learning engineer (8 to 12 lakhs), software architect (10 to 18 lakhs), DW engineer (Rs 6.72 lakhs), data analyst (Rs 3.5 to 4 lakhs), and data stack developers (Rs 5.77 to 8 lakhs).

Simplilearn

The skills needed for machine learning jobs are CS fundamentals and programming, probability and statistics, data modeling and evaluation, machine learning algorithms, software and system design, python, C++, R and Java. The number of machine learning jobs is as many as 8000 and financial service, banking, research, telecommunications, IT and services industries are looking for technologists proficient in the same.

Some of the top companies hiring AI and Ml experts are Accenture, Amazon, Cisco, GoldmanSachs, JP Morgan, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Dell, Intel, NVidia, and Societe Generale, says Simpilearn.

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CSS Corp opens 2nd facility in PHL

TECH support firm CSS Corp. has opened its second delivery center in Metro Manila as part of its continued expansion in the country.

In a statement, CSS Corp. said it plans to hire over 400 employees for the new facility, located in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), within the next six to eight months. The jobs will be for technical support, help desk, customer support and account management.

“Philippines continues to emerge as an outsourcing hot spot for global players, given its strong understanding of customers in US and EU, coupled with the surge in digital-savvy talent and technical skills,” Manish Tandon, CSS Corp. chief executive officer, said in the statement.

The 24,218-square feet facility will feature “state-of-the-art” workspaces, two training centers, technical labs, collaboration rooms and recreational areas including a 24-hour cafeteria, karaoke and billiard rooms.

“The Philippines, with its ease of doing business, burgeoning tech talent, and exceptional language skills, has become a favored destination for support capabilities, especially with the rise in cognitive technologies. Coupled with strong labor policies and government incentives, the country brings tremendous potential for growth in the near future,” Arvind Kingsly Appavu, country head and assistant vice-president — Philippines at CSS Corp., said.

CSS Corp. opened its first center in Manila in 2009. The new BGC facility will bring the company’s presence in Asia to eight.

Last year, CSS Corp. opened a development center in Costa Rica and Bengaluru, India.

CSS Corp. is a new age information technology and technology support service provider that utilizes various technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation, analytics and cloud, among others. — Janina C. Lim

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CSS Corp wins gold at 10th Annual 2018 Golden Bridge Awards

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology support company, today announced that its cognitive assistant platform Cognitive CX Platform has been awarded Gold at the 10th Annual 2018 Golden Bridge Awards. The award will be presented in San Francisco on Monday, October 29, 2018, during the red-carpet ceremony.

CSS Corp has built Cognitive CX Platform to help brands reorient their customer experience approach through an outcome-based model. The company enables organizations to adopt contextual digital strategies and proposes solutions that automate interactions, amplify customer service agents and simplify their operations.

CSS Corp’s Cognitive CX Platform ties four crucial components of customer lifecycle management:
1. Customer experience enhancement
2. Digital journey orchestration
3. Revenue generation
4. Outcome-based delivery

The company is investing significantly in its Cognitive CX Platform platform to help businesses anticipate and resolve customer issues at scale and at manageable costs. The company recently released the enterprise version of the Cognitive CX Platform that focuses on streamlining and modernizing enterprise support operations.

“Brands that master personalization and bring deep, intuitive customer experiences through smarter technology will thrive in the digital future. CSS Corp’s deep capabilities in digital, coupled with our obsessive focus on customer centricity has helped us to offer unique expertise to our clientele and aid in their transformation journeys,” said Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, CSS Corp.

“This recognition is another milestone in our innovation journey, as we continue to explore new frontiers in creating cognitive solutions for tomorrow’s business problems,” he further added.

Sunil Mittal, EVP & Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, CSS Corp said, “Our digital-focused strategy and innovation roadmap has helped us to develop intuitive solutions that identify new revenue opportunities and power growth for our customers. Our cognitive platform Cognitive CX Platform is born out of this approach, and since its launch, Cognitive CX Platform has helped us to explore greater personalization in CX, for our clients.”

“We are honored to be recognized by Golden Bridge Awards, and we will continue to push new boundaries in customer excellence through cutting-edge innovation and intelligent technology,” he further added.

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CSS Corp wins Gold in IT services at the 11th Annual 2019 Golden Bridge Awards

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology company, has won Gold in the 11th Annual 2019 Golden Bridge Awards® for its innovative network solutions.

The company was bestowed with the ‘Best Solution of the Year’ title in the IT services category. The award was presented in San Francisco on October 28, 2019, during the red-carpet awards ceremony.

CSS Corp’s innovative network solutions are designed to enable telcos to address the challenges associated with 5G installations and accelerate their 5G rollouts.

Leveraging cognitive technologies such as AI/ML, advanced analytics and intelligent automation, the solutions drive network transformation reliably and cost-effectively.

Built on their multi-vendor and multi-technology network expertise, the end-to-end solutions cover advanced network planning, NFV automation, digital quality assurance, field operations optimization, and cognitive network operations.

Developed in CSS Corp’s state-of-the-art innovation labs, the solutions enable organizations to scale up their resilience, business agility, and operational excellence.

“Building a system that is agile and intuitive with a deep focus on business operations and customer experience is indispensable today. Our digital-focused strategy and innovative network solutions have helped us to offer flexible and value-based services to our clientele, and fast-track their network transformation journeys. This award is a testament to CSS Corp’s vision to offer best-in-class solutions that leverage cognitive technologies to solve a wide range of business problems. I’m proud that our solutions have been appreciated by more than 160 esteemed jury panelists from a broad spectrum of industries around the world”, said Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, CSS Corp.

“We will continue to push boundaries and explore new frontiers in bringing more cutting-edge and cost-effective network solutions for our customers to enable them to succeed”, he added.

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Three ways to gain a competitive edge in tech-talent acquisition and retention

The need for exceptional tech talent in today’s cut-throat IT market is a no-brainer. But does that mean every organisation has the dream team in place? Well, it’s easier said than done. But even if they do source the right talent, retaining that talent is an issue that trips up talent acquisition teams of top organisations.

The mounting pressure to hire and retain talent has forced companies to redraw their recruitment campaigns and rethink their employee engagement programs—by going digital. Here’s a quick look at how organisations are going about it.

Recruiters are using social media to source niche technical skills, industry experience, and domain expertise. From hire to retire, India Inc is tapping the power of new age learning platforms that aid in recruitment, learning & development, and reskilling initiatives.

Apart from using social media, companies are adopting various digital strategies to engage and retain their new hires. They’re harnessing AI, AR, IoT, ML, and Analytics to drive employee engagement through contextual intelligence that drives learning initiatives and advances careers. For example, cutting-edge platforms offer collaborative tools to engage employees. In addition to the usual hackathons and boot camps, the platform offers university-like programs, online forums, peer-to-peer learning groups, e-learning, learning communities, facilitator-led contact classes, and courses powered by top universities and MOOC providers to help employees become more agile. Alternatively, company-wide digital skilling initiatives are also executed to up-skill and cross-skill employees across new age technologies for existing employees.

These programs offer an environment that fosters a sense of engagement, innovation and creativity. Moreover, companies save a huge amount of time when it comes to bridging the gap in project requirements and skills. By offering targeted learning modules, employees are on the fast track to skilling up for their next assignment. These benefits ultimately translate to high retention numbers and satisfaction scores.

Today, companies are also investing heavily in setting up their innovation centers of excellence and leveraging cutting edge technologies to kindle a steady stream of creative ideas across teams. Teams are spurred to contribute novel ideas in solving today’s business challenges. An innovative culture that incites employees in doing things differently.

To gain a competitive edge in tech talent acquisition, companies should deeply adapt an ‘Employee-First’ approach with employee experience as the core goal. Through means of aligning people, process and technology, they can create a unique employee experience that ensures scaling and retaining high quality tech talent.

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Tech Firms Put Mental Health at the Top of the Agenda

On World Mental Health Day 2020, CXOToday puts the spotlight on some technology companies that are putting mental health at the top of their business agenda.

From increased isolation due to working from home to blurring work-life boundaries, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in increased stress levels for employees. A recently released LinkedIn report that surveyed professionals between April and September this year shows that nearly 40% professionals are experiencing increased stress or anxiety due to Covid-19.

While the economic repercussions of the ongoing pandemic have made IT professionals vulnerable to job uncertainty, financial instability, and bleak company outlook, as they continue to work remotely in social isolation, it has also given an opportunity for companies to use this time to rethink work-life balance and prioritize mental health.

On World Mental Health Day 2020, CXOToday puts the spotlight on some of these tech companies that are putting mental health at the top of their business agenda. Let’s hear from the experts

“At CSS Corp, we have launched several initiatives in line with leveraging technology towards advancing mental health and wellbeing. Our 24/7 employee assistance platform called ‘Turning Point’ provides counselling and aid to employees, along with HR chatbots that automate responses for queries, thus leading to faster issue resolutions. Additionally, we have been conducting virtual mindfulness sessions to enable employees to find the balance in the midst of their hectic schedules. It is to be noted that the increasing use of gadgets and technology could lead to ‘increased digital quarantine’ which can cause other health problems. Hence, it is crucial to be cognizant of one’s priorities and use technology appropriately. Also, there are limitations in the use of technology as it cannot replicate the human touch and reassurance. Sometimes, a simple pat on the back can be good enough to alleviate stress and anxiety.” – Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, SVP, Head of HR (Global) and Quality Control, CSS Corp

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World Mental Health Day: how corporates are ensuring the mental wellbeing of their employees

On the occasion of World Mental Health Day, SocialStory spoke to corporates to understand how they are enabling employees to cope with mental health issues and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Since the onset of the pandemic, IT services company CSS Corp has been mindful about the mental wellbeing of its employees and has been offering sessions and 24×7 counselling support. Launched in April this year, it is motivating employees through its exclusive CHEER framework — ‘C’ stands for Communicating with employees; ‘H’ for Highlighting their accomplishments; ‘E’ for Energising them; ‘E’ for Engaging with them; and ‘R’ for Recognising and Rewarding them. Additionally, it also has an employee assistance programme called the Turning Point — an initiative that focusses on mental health, providing employees with the necessary time and resources to counter problems and strengthen themselves.

“Through this programme, we have ensured that the lines of communication are constantly open so that people can easily have access to professional help, as and when required,” says Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, SVP, Head of HR (Global) and Corporate Quality. With constant feedback from its employees, CSS Corp has been trying to resolve the problems of remote working. “We believe that having a healthy work-life balance is crucial, especially in the current scenario when people are struggling to delineate between work and home. We aim to proactively neutralise burnout, anxiety, stress, and the problems that emerge from working virtually over an extended time,” he notes.

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Leaders need to be in perpetual mode of listening, understanding & acting to tackle employees’ mental health challenges

In these difficult times when organisations are trying to balance the economic compulsions with employee safety and health, Dr Rahul Kalia, Medical Director, India International SOS, said, “The inability to focus on the emerging mental health and wellbeing challenges amongst the workforce will surely undermine the overall health of the workforce and hence of the organisation in time to come, if not already.”

As companies are working remotely with employees geographically distributed, experts opine there will be a need to increase employee engagement with a greater focus on psychological safety so that people adapt to the new way of working and be more open in admitting their mistakes, without fear.

Working from home full time can sometimes cause one to feel isolated and lonely, which can further cause psychological distress. Therefore, as specialists say, communicating with your co-workers and staying in touch with your colleagues and friends are extremely important to remain mentally fit during these uncertain times.

Need for leaders to listen to their employees’ concerns and problems

Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, SVP and Head of HR (Global) & Corporate Quality, CSS Corp, said organisations need to go the extra mile to support employees in these times of need and to counter the probable seclusion and loneliness that has emerged owing to the remote working conditions.

He said CSS Corp recently introduced a platform, called Turning Point, that allows its employees to directly speak to experts and mental health practitioners, and seek their help towards alleviating the rigours and stress that emerge from working in today’s new normal.

“The innate need for socializing and human contact drives and motivates people. The lack of it thereof can lead to alienation and a disturbed workforce,” Visvanathan said.

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