CSS Corp wins NASSCOM’s Customer Service Excellence Award 2019

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology support company, has won NASSCOM’s prestigious Customer Service Excellence Award 2019 in the ‘Transformation’ category.

The company was chosen for its innovative approach to transform customer experience operations and create new revenue streams. The award was presented at NASSCOM’s BPM Strategy Summit 2019, which was held in Bengaluru on 5th September 2019.

CSS Corp has been recognized for implementing an outcome-based Managed Services Partnership (MSP) model for a VOIP service provider to transform its customer experience operations ecosystem. The MSP model leverages the capabilities of CSS Corp’s indigenous cognitive customer experience platform that integrates technologies like artificial intelligence, RPA, and analytics to provide world-class support services. The model offers clients with various features including end-to-end CX management, customer acquisition and retention, global service delivery, advanced analytics, gain share opportunities, cognitive automation and RPA tools, to address customer needs and manage customer engagement.
The novel adoption of the MSP model enables clients to improve their overall customer experience, transfer operational risks and shift their focus to core product development, thereby creating more business opportunities. Additionally, it also facilitates a win-win environment by aligning incentives between vendors and clients to provide more value-added services leading to higher customer retention.

“We are delighted to be recognized by NASSCOM for one of our unique and agile solutions. Technology is moving at a rapid pace and we are looking to harness the power of complex and cutting-edge technologies to create customized and simplified solutions for our clients. This award is a great example that showcases our commitment in providing a seamless and outcome-based model that enables businesses and reduces operational costs. We are confident that we will continue to innovate and offer disruptive solutions and engagement models that will help our clients in their transformation journeys,” said Manish Tandon, CEO of CSS Corp.

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‘AI Cannot Replace 1-On-1 Human Interaction In Customer Service Industry’: Dr Kiran Marri, Chief Scientist At CSS Corp – Analytics India Magazine

Global customer experience and technology consultancy services company CSS Corp helps brands reimagine customer engagements. It helps clients manage over 1.2 billion interactions and, in the process, provides technologies, tools and solutions to enhance customer engagements. Its area of focus includes shifting from reactive to pre-emptive modes and helping companies adopt the right strategies to bring in efficiencies and delivery models optimisation.

Global customer experience and technology consultancy services company CSS Corp helps brands reimagine customer engagements. It helps clients manage over 1.2 billion interactions and, in the process, provides technologies, tools and solutions to enhance customer engagements. Its area of focus includes shifting from reactive to pre-emptive modes and helping companies adopt the right strategies to bring in efficiencies and delivery models optimisation.

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Recently, Analytics India Magazine got into a conversation with Dr Kiran Marri, Chief Scientist and Vice President of Digital Engineering at CSS Corp, to understand how CSS Corp is leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Kiran is an industry consultant, educator, and researcher with over 18 years of experience in software and systems. An alumnus of IIT Madras (BE, MS and PhD), Kiran’s current role at CSS Corp includes developing innovative solutions, creating sustainable business models for growth, and launching new services in the digital, engineering and testing practices. He is currently researching to apply ML techniques and optimisation algorithms to solve complex engineering and software problems, build solutions for early validation strategies, and develop UX tools for global clients.

Edited excerpts from the interaction:

AIM: What are CSS Corp’s core tech products?
Dr Kiran: We have reimagined customer engagements and have enabled over a billion customer service and support transactions in over 25 languages across 19 global locations. We help clients succeed through intelligent automation-led outcomes and customer-centric solutions & services with the help of two AI-driven platforms:

CSS EDISON: AI-led cloud-based CX transformation platform.
CSS CONTELLI: AIOps platform; it takes an outcome-based approach and leverages cognitive RPA, AI, automation, augmented reality, and advanced analytics for IT support and services.
COEUS: provides real-time insights into agent performance and helps improve overall efficiency and productivity. Last year, COEUS analysed over 10 million transactions, resulting in a 50 per cent improvement in service levels across accounts and increasing employee productivity levels by 25 per cent.
These platforms cut across the front and back offices of any enterprise to drive meaningful business outcomes.

AIM: What tech tools do you use?
Dr Kiran: Our tools vary depending on the services. We use a broad mix of proprietary home-grown tools as well as industry-standard tech tools.

AIM: How are you leveraging AI and ML technologies?
Dr Kiran: CSS Corp proposes a set of solution elements that are flexible and extensible – supported by optimum service delivery model and usage of next-generation tools, methodologies, and framework. Our framework for AI/ML projects across domains is based on five fundamental tenets:

Design right talent sourcing strategy for the program
Define a CoE model that will provide utmost operational flexibility and tight alignment to business goals while achieving the benefits of consolidation and standardisation
Enable Service Transformation that consists of tools, accelerators, new practices, and solution components, and part of ‘managed services’ delivery model, driven by SLA framework
Implement an execution framework based on CSS Corp offerings that will enable rapid and de-risked transition, process standardisation and fosters innovation
Implement Program Management and Governance guided by KPIs, metrics, and stakeholder specific dashboard
AIM: Provide us some real-life use cases.
Dr Kiran: Here are some use cases:

One of our US-based OEMs faced difficulty detecting the quality of images (video streaming) in UCAAS products. We improved their quality benchmarking using our AI/ML and computer vision solutions.
A Europe-based CPF company had challenges in detecting faulty image uploads and automating the process flow. With our cutting-edge solutions that leverage AI/ML, computer vision, and customer algorithms, we enhanced their user experience and quality.


CSS Corp’s Manish Tandon recognized as the CEO of the Year at CMO Asia Awards 2019

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology company, today announced that its CEO, Manish Tandon, has been honoured with the prestigious CEO of the Year award at the 2019 CMO Asia Awards held on 15th August in Singapore.

The award is an acknowledgment of his role in transforming CSS Corp into a new age digital services organization and up scaling its credibility in the global IT industry.

Manish joined CSS Corp in 2016 and has been instrumental ever since in introducing new measures that have established operational stability and driven innovation. Under his vision, CSS Corp has emerged as a new age services provider that offers differentiated value propositions and award-winning solutions, aimed to solve challenges and deliver incredible customer experience to clients.

CSS Corp added another feather in its cap by also bagging the 2019 CMO Asia Awards for Excellence in IT/ITeS Sector. The company was recognized for its unique outcomes-driven services proposition that fuses world-class operational expertise with best-of-breed technology solutions.

“It is an honour to receive the CEO of the Year award from the prestigious CMO Asia group. It is truly humbling when your work is recognized by industry veterans. I would like to thank the entire CSS Corp team who took the leap of faith with me and tirelessly helped in delivering the best to all our stakeholders. I also appreciate our customers for their trust and confidence in CSS Corp as we move ahead on this transformation journey. The Award for Excellence in IT/ITeS Sector goes on to show that the team at CSS Corp is breaking conventions to reach new heights in innovation,” said Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, CSS Corp.

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CSS Corp is looking at IPO in late 2023 for its standalone business: CEO

Company’s CEO says firm is working with business process management (BPM) company Startek on opportunities where they can add value

Customer experience and technology services provider CSS Corp’s chief executive officer (CEO) Sunil Mittal said the company is looking at an initial public offering (IPO) in late 2023 for its standalone business.

Mittal also said the firm is working with business process management (BPM) company Startek on opportunities where they can add value, but has had no conversations with regard to increasing the minority stake of Startek in CSS.

Whenever a private equity deal happens, there is a fund that gets created. There are multiple investors in that fund. The Startek Investment Fund is an indirect investment into that fund that is managed by Capital Square Partners. From a Startek perspective, I don’t have conversations with them on these aspects. We work at arm’s length distance, (unless there’s an opportunity). The way forward is for us to be independent, continue with the momentum and create value for our investors through an IPO,” he said.

He said the firm plans to go public as a standalone business in late 2023.

Startek’s chief financial officer (CFO) Vikash Sureka had told Business Standard that it expects to increase its minority stake in CSS Corp to give it access to a larger market.

Startek announced a strategic investment worth $30 million in CSS Corp in March. The investment was made in a limited partnership managed by Startek’s majority shareholder, Capital Square Partners.

Mittal, who took over as CEO in May, said CSS is also looking at expanding to new geographies and eyeing acquisitions in areas such as healthcare.

“We have plans to take in 3,000 people and we have already hired 1,800 net positions this year,” said Mittal.

The Texas-headquartered company crossed the 10,000 employee-mark in August, and 6,000 of these employees are based in India.

“Last (financial) year, we grew by 25 per cent, and this year also we will grow more than 25 per cent. Based on the trajectory we’re seeing, we should be able to maintain that momentum for the next few years as well,” Mittal added.

The firm has presence in the US, Costa Rica, Manila, India, Colombia, and will expand to Romania from next month.

Around 80-85 per cent of CSS’ business comes from the technology and telecom sector, while 5-8 per cent is from retail consumer packaged goods. It plans to up its focus on retail consumer-packaged goods and healthcare through acquisitions.


5G network as a game changer in the automotive industry and a basis for enhanced driver tech

‘According to Barclays, an autonomous car could generate 100 gigabytes of data per second, and with a response time of less than a millisecond and output of 1Gigabit, 5G will be the new definition for speed.’

The rise of autonomous driving assistance features in cars is quite prominent and a lot of it depends on connectivity since V2V (vehicle to vehicle) and V2I (vehicle to infrastructure) are extremely crucial for autonomy. There is where the relevance of an upgraded, reliable and responsive network comes in. The current financial year of 2019-20 could see the rollout of 5G network in India. We currently have Internet-connected cars in the country, for example, Hyundai Venue and MG Hector. With the onset of a faster network, commercial and economical development could see breakthroughs like smart city development and enhanced driver assistance features.

“There has been significant progress as large Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are conducting trials with major service providers. In addition, test labs for specific verticals are being set up to focus on key sectors such as banking, railways, agriculture, manufacturing, health, power and more. We will see an increasing number of use cases ranging from connected and affordable healthcare, smart cities and homes, efficient and secure autonomous cars, to robotics, immersive gaming, immersive education and more,” says Aditya Chaudhuri, Managing Director and Lead – Communications, Media & Technology, Accenture India.

“For example, 5G vehicle-to-vehicle communications (V2V) could allow lead cars to communicate hazards to following cars, increasing reaction time and safely allowing car convoys. It could also reduce the time to find parking and help decongest roads to benefit commuters,” He further added.

Arvind Gopalakrishnan, VP & Head of Solutions, Products and Sales Engineering at Aeris Communications, explains “The basic need of digital India is ubiquitous connectivity and it cannot be successful without effective, affordable internet connection with the last mile reach. A key challenge for the automotive industry as they implement 5G core network is ensuring they have the right infrastructure enabling seamless and undisrupted high-speed connectivity and security. 5G will propel automotive from current state of on-demand information to real-time vehicle to vehicle connect to autonomous control into a full-blown 5G experience,”

“Autonomous driving or a driverless car is the next most advanced form of mobility and will generate huge amount of data which need to be responded with a less turn-around-time. According to Barclays, an autonomous car could generate 100 gigabytes of data per second, and with a response time of less than a millisecond and output of 1Gigabit, 5G will be the new definition for speed and connectivity for autonomous vehicles.

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“In the context of the Digital economy, the high-speed and low latency service will help the Government’s Digital India and Digital Village initiatives, 5G has the potential to work as a catalyst in achieving GOI’s vision of $5-trillion economy by 2025.”

“India’s telecom infrastructure would need significant capital investment to herald in 5G adoption. Technological advancements in autonomous vehicles, augmented reality, and AI will continue to push the adoption of 5G in India,” opines Sunil Mittal, EVP, and CSMO, CSS Corp.

“Flagship government programs like Digital India and Smart Cities will also necessitate 5G connectivity for its more advanced programs. 5G connectivity requires 5G ready handsets which and it will be at least a couple of years by when the general population of India will start using them, as and when the demand for an immersive mobile experience rises.”

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Workplace Wellness: Physical, mental, social and financial

The Covid-19 pandemic has taught a lesson or two to both employers and employees on the importance, attention, and focus needed to be given to the overall wellness of people at workplaces, where they spend a major portion of their working lives.

The pandemic has disrupted the way the world lived and worked. It has caused a lot of mental, physical, and emotional stress to everyone.

Adapting to a new working culture has also added extra fatigue to the lives of employees. It has been over a year into the pandemic and HR leaders across the world have taken different initiatives to maintain the wellbeing of their employees.

The pandemic has really brought employee wellbeing onto the centre stage. Companies realize that employees are their valuable assets, and in difficult times like the pandemic, companies have to make extra efforts to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their employees.

Employee wellbeing is often misunderstood to be only confined to physical wellbeing, whereas it is a wide term that encompasses an employee’s physical, mental, psychological, social, and financial wellbeing.

Moderating a panel discussion at the Phoenix CXO Virtual Summit 2021, organized by ETHRWorld on September 30, Yuvraj Srivastava, Group CHRO, MakeMyTrip, said, “There is more consciousness about health and wellbeing in the minds of the employer as well as the employees, because of the pandemic. It has now struck everyone that they have to be far more careful about their health and wellbeing.”

Why should organizations invest in employee wellbeing?

“People are critical, as they are the key to the success and survival of the business and from there stems the need of investing in wellness,” said Anjali Rao, HR Leader and Senior Director, Intel India.

Employee wellbeing is extremely important for Employer Value Proposition and from the standpoint of the business because employees are the building blocks of a company. Organizations work hard to acquire the people with very niche technical skills and these are the skills that are built after investing a lot of time and effort. Employee wellbeing thus becomes very important for retaining the talent and building it further by investing in it.

“Employees’ health, psychological and emotional wellbeing is no longer a question of whether or not, it’s about how now,” said Chitresh Sharma, Co-founder and CEO, Refyne.

Employee wellbeing is very important for any organization and it is not a new concept. It has been there for a long time, but it is critical to get it right otherwise it is of no use for both the employer and the employee. The need is to come up with a programme that is relevant to the needs of the employees at that point in time and constantly evolving to keep up with the changes.

Mental and emotional wellbeing of employees

Talking about the increased interest and awareness about employee wellbeing, Namrata Gill, VP – Corporate HR, Dr Reddy’s, pointed out that earlier employees took wellness programmes as something that was thrust upon them by the management, but ever since the pandemic hit, there has been a positive shift in the attitude of the employees towards these programmes.

HR leaders believe that there is a need for a well-rounded and holistic approach to designing employee wellbeing programmes. Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, SVP and Head – HR (Global) and Head of Corporate Quality, CSS Corp, said, “The answer when we try to define workforce wellbeing is lifestyle wellbeing.” He further stated that every organization believes in a set of values, and the core values within an organization should be, respect for individuals because no one is going to stay for long if they are not respected.

Talking about emotional wellbeing, Visvanathan further said, “Instead of just putting money in their pocket, we also need to put an arm around them.” He suggested that having the resources to come out of a situation really helps the employees but knowing that their organization is there with them in their tough times gives them a sense of both financial and emotional security. “Personal support and providing solace to people that we as an organization are there for them has a huge impact on the morale of an individual and also overall wellbeing,” he added.

Financial wellbeing of the employees

The financial wellbeing of an employee is extremely important and probably is the area where the least innovation is done to date. Chitresh Sharma, Co-founder and CEO, Refyne, pointed out that a major chunk of a person’s time is spent in education and another major chunk in the organization they work for, but no one actually makes an effort to teach them how to manage their personal finances.

Sharma further suggested that organizations need to take a step towards helping their employees in maintaining their personal finances by redesigning the payroll models, for example commencing the salaries on a more regular basis, say weekly or biweekly. He also suggested that this change has to be brought through automated technology because finances are very individualistic in nature.

Adding to this, Vishwanathan said, “We need to ensure that financial complexities are not running in the minds of our people. Giving people a salary is also not enough. We also need to help them learn the art of creating wealth.”

Commenting on Sharma’s suggestion to commence salaries on a more regular basis like weekly or biweekly, Vishwanathan said water needs to be judged before jumping in.

Namrata Gill and Anjali also echoed Vishwanathan and said that Indians culturally operate in a way where we clear all our bills in the beginning of the month, so, for a change like this the entire ecosystem has to be changed and this process would take time although this could be a reality in the future.


Delivering better customer experience in a no-touch world

Businesses need to adapt to a new world order at warp speed. How they meet this moment will influence their trajectory for years to come.

The Covid-19 global humanitarian and economic crisis has left an indelible mark on global consumers.

As the crisis deepens, incremental improvements by organisations to adapt to changing customer behaviour no longer seem to suffice. Beyond the immediate fallout of this pandemic, customer experience has emerged as one of the key challenges facing business leaders.

Leading organisations have instituted new tools such as digital surveys and practices like social listening and sentiment analysis to track, analyse, and act on behavioural signals. Now the bigger challenge is to deliver a customer experience not just to stand out, but to pivot, reassess, innovate, and transform.

What’s visible in the industry

Movement patterns have flipped. Customers are housebound and vulnerable. Employees have atomised and adjusted their daily working practices. Supply chains are being disrupted. Physical stores are increasingly pulling down their shutters.

The customers are now more mindful of their spending. Stay-at-home orders have accelerated the transition from in-person to digital channels. Public safety has become a top priority for businesses and consumers alike in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environment.

No longer can businesses devise strategies based on simple analytics and a gut feel about their customers’ needs and preferences. Businesses must jump years in a few months to offer digital customer experiences that are simple, intuitive, and reliable.

From reactive to proactive crisis management

The traditional crisis-response playbook is now broken. As the companies outline macro scenarios and prepare scenario-based contingency plans of action, the focus of this entire generation of business leaders is shifting from reactive to proactive crisis management.

Businesses have configured senior, dedicated, cross-functional war room teams focussed on tackling immediate challenges, finding innovative operational models and technologies to safeguard liquidity and recover the business today, and retool the business for the future.

To win in the new normal, companies need to identify the current noticeable customer behaviour that will define customer experience in the near term. Companies need to rethink strategic priorities and build capabilities fast to leapfrog stages of customers’ evolution in the new normal and use digitalisation to bolster operations

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NGO launches drive to sponsor lab tests for transgender people

CHENNAI: Every six months,  Siddharth Bharati has to get blood and hormone tests, an abdomen scan, chest X-ray and done to monitor the effects of the hormones he is taking. The 28-year-old man of trans experience, who began taking hormone therapy seven years ago, says the regular lab visits take a toll on his emotional health as well as wallet.

“I have undergone a breast removal surgery, look like a cis man and have beard. But I have not had a hysterectomy so the abdomen scan will show that I have a uterus. Often, the lab staff ask me uncomfortable questions and treat me differently. I was scared to walk into labs,” says Siddharth. “And the tests are also expensive.”

Many transgender people go through similar experiences. That’s why SAATHII , an NGO, in collaboration with CSS Corp, is sponsoring lab tests for transmasculine, transfeminine, and intersex people. The package includes CBC, lipid and hormone profiles, liver and kidney function tests as well as ECG, abdomen scan and chest x-ray for people who need them. The initiative aims to cover at least 100 community members.

“Trans and intersex people who are on or want to take hormone therapy have to get these lab tests done regularly. But many of them cannot afford it so they skip it and often continue with the initial prescription given by the endocrinologist, which can have an adverse impact on their health,” says Fred Rogers, project consultant with SAATHII.


CSS Corp Launches Digital Assurance to Bring Automation to UX Testing

We recently talked with CSS Corp about its investments in QA, in particular its new Digital Assurance offering. Digital Assurance targets UX QA, an area that has not had the attention it deserves.

Clients have prioritized investment in continuous testing & automation
While many large organizations have devoted considerable time and effort to continuous testing and functional automation, they have invested only selectively on UX testing. Indeed, demand for UX testing has been limited. Regulation has driven some UX activity, particularly around accessibility testing. The heterogeneity of devices and screen sizes also means organizations spend on compatibility testing. Also, performance testing has become somewhat more UX-centric by tracking performance using end-user metrics.

To a large extent, this is it. QA and UX are two different worlds and do not feed on each other. UX would gain from the automation expertise of QA, while QA would benefit from opening up to new challenges. The world of UX is vast and growing, especially in the space of usability research and testing. But so far, it is not really automated.

CSS Corp has created a UX testing platform with Digital Assurance
So NelsonHall welcomes the investment by CSS Corp to expand the boundaries of UX testing, relying on automation. With Digital Assurance, CSS Corp has aggregated opensource software tools with proprietary accelerators. The scope of Digital Assurance is considerable, ranging from performance testing to usability testing. Within usability testing, CSS Corp has focused on several dimensions, including “appeal,” “navigation,” “search,” and “content & information.”

An example of an engagement where CSS Corp developed an “appeal” feature is for a tier-one cosmetics company, verifying that the color displayed on a screen for a lip pencil was consistent with the company’s color palette. The challenge was one of scale, the client having 3k URLs and color palettes to validate. CSS Corp used computer vision technology to compare images, thereby removing manual comparison for the client’s 78 brands.
Another example is around “search”. CSS Corp has integrated SEO as part of the metrics it tracks. For instance, it will analyze the structure of a website and identify the number of steps end-users need to go through to complete a transaction.

A third example of a feature available in Digital Assurance is in “content & information”. CSS Corp is automating localization testing with spell checks and bundling it with grammar validation and readability analysis.
Alongside these features, CSS Corp has added more common functionality such as performance testing (with end-user KPIs) and sentiment analysis (the classification into different sentiments of opinions gathered on app stores and social networks such as Twitter), along with accessibility testing.

CSS Corp pushes the boundaries of UX testing
We think Digital Assurance has two main benefits. Firstly, CSS Corp is systematically extending the boundaries of UX testing automation. UX research and testing remain labor-intensive activities, and we think the potential for further UX automation is immense (see below). Secondly, CSS Corp is steadily aggregating tools around Digital Assurance and provides an increasingly comprehensive UX testing service.

Potential for UX automation
The potential for automation in UX testing is immense. While QA has focused on test automation, UX research also has the potential for automation. An example is around videos: during the research phase, digital agencies record videos of end-user interviews. Going through these videos is time-consuming. AI bears the promise of focusing on parts of the video through sentiment detection, for instance. Once a website or a mobile app is in production, clients are increasingly correlating its technical performance with its business performance (e.g. through integration with such tools as Google Analytics). Currently, understanding the correlation of multiple events takes time: using intelligent automation will help.

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International Programmers’ Day: Here’re 5 tips from the tech leaders across the industry

International Programmers’ Day, also known as the “Day of the Programmers” is celebrated on the 256th day of the year to honor the software innovators who continue to change the world, one program at a time.

The day is celebrated based on binary code. Represented by an eight-bit byte, 256 equals 2 to the eighth power. The digit makes it the highest power of 2 that is less than 365. When translated to binary code, the day reads
1 0000 0000. Special, isn’t it?

Since this day is marked to honor and celebrate their nature of innovation, we at TechGig thought to make it more endearing by bringing in advice from the tech leaders across the IT industry. Let’s see what they have to say about the remarkable day.

Brijesh Balakrishnan, SVP – Talent Fulfilment & Digital at CSS Corp- “Fundamental knowledge across a variety of technologies is imperative to stay ahead of the curve, and to scale in this constantly changing technology ecosystem. This is the time to upskill and venture into synergistic learning skills. The onus is upon programmers to continue investing towards their growth and prowess in digital technologies and agile methodologies.”

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CSS Corp is now Movate

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