Leadership Talks: Insights on Spring Boarding your Enterprise in the race to Digital Innovation

Posted by Chinmoy Banerjee
August 28th, 2018

Today, Digital Innovation is changing the business scenario at a very rapid speed and at its core, this is nothing but the application of new technologies to the existing business practices.

Here’s an exclusive interview of Chinmoy Banerjee, EVP – Hexaware BPS with AIIA that gives us profound insights on race to digital innovation.

  • Digital innovation is a very popular phrase at the moment—can you explain what it means?

Sure, that’s a great opener to this conversation because until we know what Digital Innovation means and its contextuality, we may not experience or apply it.

Digital Innovation (DI) according to me is about applying transformative approaches and designing disruptive business models to solve complex problems and eventually deliver value to the stakeholders. Again, we can’t think digital without technology- although a chief catalyst; it’s not the only agent that will help you reach digital nirvana. In essence; digital Innovation means the blending of technology, people, processes and data that ultimately delivers value by elevating customer experience. Digital innovation within your business can happen in the way you operate, engage or interact within the ecosystem of your customers, partners, vendors and for that matter your peers and family too.

Simple daily life example of DI could be Uber- that transformed the transportation paradigm. Uber’s app allows passengers easy access to drivers, willing to provide them a trip and everything pertaining to the trip is managed seamlessly, right from booking to discounts and payments. Uber started their operations only 9 years back but quickly grew to become a global multi-billion $ entity in transport.

Amazon is another great story of disruption in retail. E-commerce brings the convenience of shopping at the tip of the consumer using technology. These are inspiring examples of being mindful, innovative, customer centric and personalized to deliver value.

To simplify DI in Business Process Services parlance; we use disruptive technologies like Robotic Automation, AI, ML, NLP, Virtual and Augmented Reality to integrate the enterprise’s core back office or front office processes, shrink the operating cost and improve the customer experience.

  • How can investment in digital innovation impact an enterprise?

Innovation brings disruption that creates competition, which in turn leads to better products and services for the end consumer. Impacts of DI are wide and many and can have mutual impact both on the consumer and the product manufacturer/service provider. This can lead to organizations creating newer markets, better service delivery while improving revenue share. Internally, digitalization can break the barriers of collaboration with your peers and extended enterprise. Let’s look at examples though:

  • Redefining customer engagement-
    • Augment and Virtual Reality for an immersive experience. How about evaluating a property in California when you are sitting in New York; customizing the interiors to your needs? A virtual tour with a property broker using an AR/VR device sounds cools. You saved a good amount by avoiding a physical trip.
    • A restaurant in Singapore services customers using drones. They fly back and forth from the kitchen carrying juices and food plates but the waiters remained around to spend more time hearing the customers.

    • That’s a great way of elevating the customer experience.

  • Do you think digitalization is a race? Which industries do you believe would be impacted the most, while setting the global pace?

Organizations need to evolve if they have to survive in this digital era because the impact of technology in our lives today cannot be ignored easily. Digital inability is the last thing that companies want to avoid in a competitive market place. So, I definitely see digitization as a race, but having said that, you should not fail to see it as a journey as well. DI needs careful planning of your resources, investments, prioritizing milestones, choice of technology and the most important being the drive right from CXO to every employee of the organization.

In terms of industries, we have observed a higher traction from Insurance followed by Banking and Financial Services firms. Retail and Telecom have picked up the pace in digitizing their businesses. What we also observed is that, the transaction intensive industries are interested in cutting redundant task and large companies are striving to be more agile. These companies are now are setting the pace.

  • Where do you think senior executives and leaders should focus their attention in the year ahead? Which technologies and organizational challenges will form the focus for 2018?

We recently concluded a joint study with 400 global enterprises on the State of Automation and AI globally, led by one of the leading analyst authority. The study indicates that 80% of the enterprise C-Suite demanded Automation and AI as their strategic priority. While 98% of the respondents had an automation agenda, 70% of customers are planning to deploy RPA over the next two years and more than 50% believe that AI will be applicable for a broad set of processes within the same timeframe.

The decision making is increasingly driven by the CXO suite in an organization and that’s a clear indication where the needle is moving (See Exhibit above).

Although technology enables change; the enablement ultimately depends on the company staff whether they embrace it or resist it. 2018 and ahead; organizations are taking the leap of faith will focus more on reskilling their employees, leadership development or hiring digital savvy leaders. It’s the Chief Digital Officers or Chief Innovation Officer that will have to lead the momentum along with the CxO Suite.
Companies who have already tasted success through digitization may look for more opportunities to scale up faster or industrialize the digital model within different functions.

Enterprises have already implemented or evaluating in near term, a mix of automation techniques like Machine Learning (66%), Virtual Agents (64%) & NLP (60%). A 2 year horizon emerges for broad-based AI implementations across enterprise functions industry-specific processes (67%), customer service (65%), and supply chain (68%). (See exhibit).

  • How do you distinguish Hexaware as a Digital Innovation Partner in this gamut of providing Intelligent Automation? Can you quote some success stories?

We deliver RPA & AI capabilities through a model which we call Digital Managed Services that guarantees business outcomes from day 1 of the engagement with customer. Essentially, we take up the entire process, streamline and progressively automate/digitize by determining the automation potential in a process. While we do that, Hexaware accepts the risk of implementation and is willing to cannibalize its own revenue for mutual success and a lasting relationship. Hexaware’s motto to automate everything stems from a comprehensive top-down view, starting from customer experience, moving onto underlying business processes and their applications and ending with the infrastructure that empowers them. Our focus is to delight the customers by providing the right attention and co-innovating using crowd sourcing methods. We are small enough to care and large enough to deliver.

To quote a few success stories,

  • Hexaware automated the Payment Investigations functions of a Fortune 500 bank, through Robotics. The customer was assured of a 45% cost savings from day1, while transforming their existing manual operations of 100+ FTE to an integrated human-machine operation of 59 FTEs and 15 BOTs. The project was also awarded as the ‘Digital Transformation Project of the year’ at GSA 2017.

  • For a large Background Verification company, Hexaware helped in bringing down the average handle time from 16-20 minutes to less than 3 minutes per case, through Smart Automation. This reduced manual dependency by 35%. This engagement won the ‘Most Promising Pilot’, at the ISG’s Paragon Awards 2017.

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