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Interview with Vivian Gomes, Vice President, Marketing, CSS Corp

February 07, 2018
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What is the level of adoption of new technologies such as cloud, big data analytics, and IoT among Indian enterprises?

New age technologies are increasingly changing the way products and services are delivered and consumed. Customers of tomorrow are exploring newer channels and expect personalised, proactive and even pre-emptive services. Companies across various industries are changing their sales and services strategies to attract and retain customers. In this context, businesses need to embrace adaptive and agile technologies to manage millennial expectations and growth.

2018 will see a significant increase in the adoption of technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, internet of things (IoT) and Cloud, as organizations adopt a serious approach towards digital transformation.

At CSS Corp, we have started moving aggressively with adoption and investment in customer-centric technologies like AI, analytics, cloud and digital. Our tools offer personalized and context driven insights that empower customer journeys. Some of these include Yodaa, a conversational AI platform, Contelli, an intelligent automation platform for IT Operations and Active Insights, AI powered customer intelligence platform.

Cloud is at the epicenter of all our modernization and transformation programs. Our approach towards cloud migration starts with application and then infrastructure. For example we have transformed the digital marketing ecosystem for a large FMCG retail major. We have developed a complete suite of solutions to shift from a “program” to “continuous delivery” model for cloud adoption through our key cloud solutions likeCloudMAP, CloudPATH, and CloudDRIVE. Big Data Analytics and IoT are also important business enablers, and that’s where our customers and prospects are moving towards. Recently we partnered with GE Digital (Predix Platform) to deliver cutting edge Industrial IoT solutions.

What are the key challenges faced while adopting and managing new technologies?

Leaders are constantly looking for ways to leverage the new age solutions like AI, analytics, automation and IoT to win, grow and retain customers. However, this requires a new perspective on the implementation approach and a shift in the data integration, standardisation, governance and orchestration strategies.

Enterprises face challenges during AI adoption in identifying the right use cases, data sets and business processes and while mapping it with customer benefits in terms of revenue, convenience and experience. AI systems can behave unpredictably. A badly implemented AI system can lead to objectionable consequences, including privacy breach. Companies must carefully evaluate the business processes and system for AI adoption and take into consideration legal, regulatory and ethical implications

Cloud has emerged as a critical enabler of business transformation and innovation - a powerful technology disruptor that constantly challenges the existing IT landscape, compelling enterprises to adopt newer cloud-based paradigms or risk losing the game. But with so many options available, choosing the right migration partner, the right service model, the best suited deployment option, and the type of workload to be moved, are of paramount significance. Ensuring data privacy and security in cloud adoption is another crucial parameter for consideration.

Today’s digital business environment comes with high risks that will go beyond information technology. Gartner predicts, by 2020, 60 per cent of digital businesses will suffer major service failures due to the inability of IT security teams to manage digital risk. As organizations continue to grow in their digital journey, necessary security measures need to be put in place to prevent any damage and not just in the organization but across all entities which form part of the value chain. To have a secure digital infrastructure, rigorous reviewing and upgradation should be done to ensure protection against newer threats.It is also important to come up with a broad approach to manage the risks involved in the digital ecosystem.

At CSS Corp, we follow a consulting-led approach to Digital Transformation which covers all aspects of the enterprise digital transformation journey by leveraging data to deliver superior customer experience. Enterprises can build deeper customer relationships with contextualized and personalized experiences, strategically plan with analytics-driven data intelligence and go to market faster. Our solutions offer personalized and context driven insights that empower customer journeys. Some of these include Yodaa, a Conversational AI platform, Contelli, an intelligent automation platform for IT Operations  and Active Insights, AI powered Customer Intelligence Platform, to name a few.

Which technology trends are likely to dominate the enterprise space in 2018?

In 2018 some of the key trends that will have an impact on our business and industry are:

a. Conversational Customer Experience: We are moving towards a conversational economy where voice is the new frontier. A few spoken words to a smart virtual assistant can help accomplish a seemingly complex business transaction. As AI technology is maturing, forward-thinking businesses are plugging in conversational AI in their strategic investment roadmaps to leverage it for their customer service function.

b. Artificial Intelligence: Gartner forecasts that AI will lead to $200 billion in new revenue and 768,000 new positions in 2018 alone. Another study predicted that almost every new software product or service will adopt AI by 2020.  Humungous amounts of data being generated each day has been the main driver as enterprises apply this data driven intelligence to automated machine learning to meet business goals.

c. Contextualisation: 2018 will see widespread use of contextual algorithms to solve business problems through contextual automation, contextual security, contextual support and contextual marketing.  It will be at the epicenter of the success of customer experience programs across industries, especially AI driven solutions.

d. Edge Computing: In 2011, only 20 per cent of businesses had completed significant cloud migrations.  Today, cloud is the default answer for reducing storage costs and creating efficiencies, and is established as an enabler of innovation and new business models.  Edge computing is set up to follow a similar path.  Implementations will continue to accelerate, and early adopters are learning how to leverage the full value of the edge for better, not just cheaper, outcomes.

What were the key technology trends witnessed in the enterprise space during 2017?

Demand for personalized consumer experiences across different industries is fueling the explosion of AI. Just as electricity transformed almost everything 100 years ago, today we have a hard time thinking of an industry that AI will not transform in the next several years.

We are moving towards a conversational economy where voice is the new frontier. A few spoken words to a smart virtual assistant can help accomplish a seemingly complex business transaction. As AI technology matures, forward-thinking businesses are plugging in conversational AI in their strategic investment roadmaps to leverage it for their customer service function. In fact, Gartner predicts that “conversational AI-first" will supersede "cloud-first, mobile-first" as the most important, high-level imperative for the next 10 years.

According to a new report from Juniper Research, smart devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home will be installed in 55 per cent of U.S. households by the year 2022. In fact, RBC Capital Market’s Mark Mahney has predicted that Amazon will generate sales of an additional $10 billion to $11 billion from Alexa-related revenue in 2020.

At CSS Corp, we have embarked on a new journey in AI to disrupt the customer experience ecosystem with a new model called “Conversational X”

Conversational X aims at simplifying and personalizing customer engagements through AI based Voice platforms. We offer AI based solutions that enable customers to have powerful, impactful conversations with brands and helps them with insights and a new radical vision to solve a challenge.

Our focus and investments in AI is helping brands adopt the right customer engagement and support strategy and help move from traditional models to new age service models that helps them identify new revenue streams.

The key tenets of a conversational [x] that can help enterprises and even SMBs to personalize customer interactions are:

Conversational Customer Experience: A new era of customer experience has dawned upon us. Voice assistants and social messaging have given birth to the intelligent experience economy, and made customer experience more conversational than transactional. You can ask Apple’s voice assistant – Siri – to get you weather updates, find out and help you buy specific movies, play your favorite songs and a gamut of other specific activities.

Amazon’s Alexa can help you perform several tasks for you like booking a doctor’s appointment; sports scores and game times; important event dates, hear the latest news; tracking traffic; manage calendars, to-do list and shopping list, set alarms and timers; read Kindle books and play audio books; make purchases; control smart home devices, etc.

Conversational Support: Many B2C businesses are using conversational intelligence with bots as a platform for offering customer support.  We offer tech support services with this new conversational model that would field customers’ questions and help get more real-time access to resolutions. This boosts overall business efficiency and cost effectiveness.

Conversational Commerce: Conversational commerce refers to the real-time customer communication through different messaging applications and chatbots. It fits into each of the distinct steps in the customer purchase journey. These platforms empower businesses generate a sense of need for their products to potential customers. The chatbots also act as personal shopping assistants to customers by recommending relevant products and even helping with the execution of the purchase.

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