Rakesh Kumar, IT Head,
Admiral Technologies

Enterprises in the IT-enabled services (ITeS)/ business process management (BPM) industry have been early adopters of information and communication technology systems for enhancing business efficiencies. Companies in this space have been leveraging technologies like audio and video-conferencing, cloud computing and big data analytics to ensure timely delivery of services and provide cutting-edge technology solutions to clients. The next wave of technological growth will be driven by automation and artificial intelligence. Leading enterprises in this space talk about their IT strategies, technology trends, and challenges in implementing new technologies…

What is your company’s telecom and IT blueprint? What are some of the ongoing and planned IT initiatives and how are these helping the organisation?

Admiral Technologies supports the Admiral Group businesses in Europe, the UK and the US. In a globally competitive market, where we interact with different teams from all over the world for requirements, discussions, document sharing and deliveries, we use an entire gamut of communication technology. We have been serving our clients by using Skype, GotoMeeting, video-conferencing, a company-wide intra­net portal, team foundation server, ex­change server, share-point server, leased lines, broadband, mobile hotspots and Wi-Fi routers. We primarily use Microsoft solutions, but we also work with I90, mainframe systems, guidewire system (policy centre and claim centre which help us manage our insurance businesses better). Over the years, we have seen a steep rise in the mobile traffic on our websites, so we have concentrated on making applications for mobiles and found innovative ways for customer engagement. For our deliveries, we use hosting provi­ders, content delivery networks, virtualisation and cloud platforms. We have also made advancements in the use of mobiles for our platforms and have developed a fleet management system along with GPS to manage our staff transport.

What are the key emerging technology trends in the BPM/ITeS industry? What are the challenges in implementing new technologies?

The most important aspects that future technology will cater to are advanced mobility, big data, cloud and digital portals. Developing successful BPM systems are an amalgamation of aligning technology and management methods. At its core, it in­vol­ves identifying the best way to implement processes and instituting those operational goals. A BPM strategy needs to have a balance between process improvement and technology, which is key to this segment.

However, as far as the challenges are concerned, a major part of the problem with BPM adoption has been the learning curve to get systems operational. Some­times the products are too complex and sometimes the organisation has a low level of technology knowhow or low process acumen. But there are many kinds of re­peatable processes that BPM software ven­dors or their service partners could develop. Technologists believe they can build business processes without requiring investments in BPM, or they can automate business processes using enterprise suites (ERP, CRM, SCM, HCM, or some other enterprise suites). However, there is a lot of resistance from most IT organisations. That is the problem in a nutshell. The Bri­tish have a charming expression for this situa­tion, they call it falling between two stools. Cy­bersecurity is another challenge whi­ch is paramount for operations to succeed.

What is the outlook for the adoption of new technologies like IoT, automation, artificial intelligence, big data analytics and cloud in the BPM/ITeS industry?

We have many companies under the Admiral umbrella and a huge size of data. We use big data analytics for managing and categorising our data for better usage. We are the biggest users of telematics in the UK. At present, “The internet of things is a hot and beautiful mess until it becomes the internet of everything.” In future, we will see messaging apps become the new social media. Virtual and augmented reality is being experimented with by developing applications for consumers and vertical markets. However, organisations need to think progressively and out of the box for creating applications for augmented reality. In future, everything will become on-demand and available through a mobile ap­plication. Further, mo­bile platforms com­­­bined with geo-loco will continue to bring everyday people and businesses together to interact with trust and efficiency.

How have telecom and IT solutions helped the BPM/ITes industry in enhancing business efficiency?

Business processes are the core of what makes a business successful. Meeting customer needs requires innovative technology. Today business processes have different types of data and heterogeneous systems. They are multi-layered implementations of real-world activities logically organised into steps that span multiple IT systems and departments.

The BPM market is segmented into IT solutions, IT services, business functions, organisation size and regions. It is a highly competitive market. The demand for software and services in this market is increasing rapidly as enterprises face the challenge of reducing overall costs and improving efficiency.

According to some predictions, the global BPM market stood at $6.96 billion in 2016, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.2 per cent during 2016-21 to reach $13.52 billion by 2021.

In future, BPM software will morph into a next-generation platform, which would be more flexible and would provide many integrated content technologies. The platform would have the capabilities to support dynamic and collaborative work, inclu­ding software for analytics, business pro­cess, collaboration, content management, customer experience, social and other emergent software categories. This next-generation platform will be available on the cloud and would support smartphones.

The Indian IT-ITeS sector has been a major growth industry for the economy in the last decade. It has also been responsible for employment generation and value creation and emerged as an important business segment. Changing customer deman­ds and requirements have led to greater efficiency and flexibility within the sector. All these factors have made the IT-ITeS sector a leading industry not just in the country but overseas as well. Exports continue to dominate the revenues earned by the IT-ITeS industry. Despite being an export-driven sector, the ITeS-BPM segment has performed well in the domestic market as well. Among the verticals serviced by the IT-ITeS-BPO industry those that account for the largest share of revenue are banking, financial services and insurance (41 per cent), hi-tech/telecom (20 per cent), manufacturing (17 per cent) and retail (8 per cent), with smaller contributions coming from media, publishing and entertainment, construction and utilities, healthcare, airlines and transportation.