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Interview with Mindtree's Rajesh Kumar R

May 07, 2019
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Interview with Mindtree's Rajesh Kumar R

Information and communication technology (ICT) has assumed greater significance in the IT-enabled service (ITeS)/business process management (BPM) industry as organisations increasingly adopt new technology solutions to deliver better customer experience and improve business efficiency. The digitalisation of businesses has emerged as one of the key trends. Every organisation has created a digital roadmap for the roll-out of next-generation technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, internet of things (IoT) and big data analytics. However, the adoption of these technologies also increases the risk of cyberthreats for enterprises. Rajesh Kumar R, Vice President, Vertical Delivery and Automation, Mindtree, talks about the emerging ICT trends...

What role is ICT playing in the ITeS/BPM industry? What are some of the ICT initiatives taken by your organisation?

Effective operations are a core component of the ITeS industry. IT is becoming imperative for the industry to continuously innovate and provide value to customers over and above the core commitments. When teams are spread across the globe, collaboration is the key to accomplishing these core demands of operations and innovation.

At Mindtree, we have always focused on improving team collaboration. While for many years our teams have used various components of collaboration in isolation, the drive now is to bring them all together on a common platform. For example, in the past we have used phone bridges, screen sharing software, videoconferences, file sharing solutions in a disjointed manner. Now, we have rolled out Microsoft Teams, which bring all these components together on a single platform along with new-age methods of communication such as chats, instant messages and video calls.

The digitalisation of businesses has emerged as one of the key trends in the ITeS/BPM industry. What is your digital roadmap?

We have been focused on digitalising enterprises right from the beginning, from enabling e-commerce in the early 2000s to bringing in AI-powered smart solutions in recent years. We even have a business unit that is focused on enterprise reimagination and transformation.

While our aim is to help enterprises digitalise, we are equally focused on digitalising our own organisation and its operations. We call it “Digital Inside”. We are looking to drive our core finance- and people-related operations with robotic process automation, enable self-served digital visitor management powered by computer vision, power employee queries through chatbots, monitor our generators with IoT technologies and so on. Automation is a core focus area for us and that is the reason we publish the bot count along with Mindtree minds (our employees) in our quarterly reports.

How is your organisation leveraging technologies like IoT, AI and blockchain?

There are multiple areas where we leverage AI technologies. AI is used to power our chatbot, Mindtree’s Advanced Conversational Intelligence (MACI), which is trained to answer queries of employees and carry out frequently needed tasks such as applying for leave, approving travel and expenses, and so on. We are considering moving to a chat-based interface for technology support too.

IoT is used to monitor the critical parameters of equipment such as generators. Our training facility, Kalinga, at Bhubaneswar is completely IoT enabled and all the technologies are developed in-house with our Centre of Excellence teams. We are very strong in computer vision technologies. We have multiple solutions for people and object detection and we use these technologies for automated visitor management. Blockchain is another domain where we have put in focused efforts to develop expertise and capability.

What are the cybersecurity risks faced by the industry? How can these be mitigated?

Cyberthreats are indeed a side effect of the digitalisation drive. That said, cybersecurity technologies  are rapidly evolving. Security assessment has now become an integral part of the digitalisation drive. We have separate units that are primarily focused on mitigating cyberrisks.

What are the key technology trends that will shape the ITeS/BPM industry over the next few years?

AI will continue to be a mainstream technology that will witness wider adoption in the future. Almost every aspect of digitalisation will be touched by AI in one way or the other. Technology players such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft are already making these solutions easily accessible and commoditising them into “as-a-service” models.

The combination of IoT, ML and cloud will play a key role in creating transformative technology solutions. The data generated through edge devices such as sensors and cameras will be processed on a real-time basis over cloud. With so much happening on the cloud and so many devices connected to the network, cybersecurity will take centre stage.

Another technology that is gaining traction is quantum computing. While significant research and investments are being undertaken in quantum computing, it will take a few more years to come into the mainstream. We see companies like Microsoft already releasing languages for quantum computing. This will bring a complete transformation in the computing world.

 
 
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