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. Industry experts talk about the emerging ICT trends in the IT/ITeS and BPM industry…
What role is ICT playing in the ITeS/BPM industry? What are some of the ICT initiatives taken by your organisation?
Emerging technologies are playing a key role in defining the course of the IT-ITeS/BPM sector. Enterprises in the sector are moving beyond conventional analytics to implement solutions based on emerging technologies like AI and robotic process automation (RPA). The focus is shifting to intelligent solutions with superior analytics to make the best use of the large quantum of data being generated every second. Analytics and nimbleness are proving to be the key differentiators for industry players.
As part of 3i Infotech’s ICT initiatives, we have been helping enterprises in their initiatives to adopt pervasive cloud computing and mobility solutions with a focus on security. This will help them improve flexibility and accessibility while taking strides in the digital era. We are also developing solutions using emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning (ML) and IoT, among others.
The increasing internet penetration, right skilling and the launch of initiatives such as Digital India, Make in India and Startup India have together established India as a leading digital economy. While technologies such as AI, IoT, AR, virtual reality (VR), ML, big data analytics, robotic process automation, and 3D printing are becoming mainstream, they are also presenting a formidable challenge to the strong Indian IT industry.
As a leading global digital transformation company, being future-ready is our prime responsibility. As part of our TechMNxt charter, we at Tech Mahindra are leveraging the start-up ecosystem and new-age technology partners to foster a culture of innovation and collaborative disruption by exploring newer technologies and business models.
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?
Our digital roadmap is centred on helping our customers in their digital transformation initiatives by offering them innovative, cutting-edge solutions. The solutions we offer have a strong focus on mobility, and are facilitated by new-age technologies such as AI and IoT. Our solutions perfectly complement our product portfolio, which includes a banking suite, an insurance management suite, an investment management suite, anti-money laundering solutions, and an enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite.
Along with these product suites, our capabilities in the services domain bring value to our customers. We offer consulting services and business optimisation services leveraging our expertise in mobility, data analytics, big data, testing and application development technologies.
We combine our offerings with emerging technologies and offer our customers a bouquet of comprehensive and innovative digital solutions. This offering helps them meet all the requirements of the digital age, such as faster-time-to market, efficient business processes, productivity and cost savings, enhanced customer service and comprehensive risk management.
We have introduced digital in six blocks. These include designing the right digital strategy (business model, process, technology) and implementating a roadmap for the client’s business based on market trends; digitally transforming customer-facing functions of client organisations across the customer life cycle (sales, service, engagement and marketing, etc.) as well as their internal business and technology operations (finance and accounting, supply chain, manufacturing, etc.) to deliver outcomes such as improved efficiency, better customer experience, lower risk and cost, and higher scale; leveraging emerging technologies to exploit opportunities, incubate disruptive business models and deliver experiences to “tomorrow’s enterprise”; fostering data-driven decision-making by harnessing the power of data, analytics and cognitive technologies to derive actionable and impactful insights; and laying a robust, secure and future-proof foundation for a digital enterprise.
Rajesh Kumar R.
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?
Each business unit of 3i Infotech has its own innovation and research lab. These labs have been consistently developing solution frameworks using emerging technologies such as IoT, AI and blockchain. The frameworks they develop are easily adaptable in various business scenarios and help clients stay abreast of digital disruptions that currently permeate organisations at every level. We are using these technologies to help our customers take the most informed decisions by enabling them to make the best use of both their isolated and distributed data.
In the digital era, transformation cannot happen with one technology or service line in isolation. It has to be a melting pot of all technologies. Tech Mahindra’s TechMNxt program focuses on the application of trending technologies to solve real business problems. We believe that the application of technology across sectors such as banking, finance, communications and media, healthcare, retail and manufacturing will open up great opportunities in the future. For instance, we are running a program, aLiVe, to ensure 100 per cent AI skilling for the company.
We are constantly collaborating with the industry and academia to encourage innovation and research. We have tie-ups with various universities across the globe such as the University of Nebraska, University of Berkeley, University of Suffolk, University of Sydney and a newly established Centre of Excellence in Canada to usher in the next wave of digital disruptions by promoting collaborative innovation and research programs, and providing experiential learning opportunities to students. We have also set up the Makers Lab in various locations around the globe, where we expose our employees to technologies of the future and allow them to learn, explore and experiment on our premises.
Rajesh Kumar R.
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?
With the widespread use of technology and digital platforms, the threat of cybercrimes has increased manyfold. The quantum of operational data on the internet is growing rapidly. This includes data generated from digital devices and mobile phones. IoT-enabled devices are more vulnerable to security threats. Increased connectivity gives hackers greater room to attack the network.
To counter cyberrisks, enterprises need to set up and implement a comprehensive cybersecurity policy, focusing on critical functions like data management and access control. There are a number of technology options to alleviate cyberrisks. However, we recommend enterprises to implement innovative AI solutions because they have the capability to quickly dissect massive data streams, analyse them, recognise threats and mitigate them successfully.
With increased focus on digitalisation, cybersecurity breaches, such as data and identity thefts and banking and telecom sector frauds, are set to become a big menace for Indian enterprises and government sectors. Many industry reports suggest that India faces the highest number of cybersecurity threats in the Asia-Pacific region. Organisations understand the need for a robust security infrastructure and are investing in new-age technologies to fight cyberthreats.
In addition to developing cybersecurity solutions, there is a need to train employees in basic security practices such as recognising potential threats and taking precautions. Robust access control mechanisms and IT policies, and regular software checks can further help in mitigating the cybersecurity challenges.
Rajesh Kumar R.
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?
The technologies that are making a huge impact on the ITeS/BPM industry include cloud computing, conversational services, RPA, analytics, low-code app development and unified collaborative BPM platforms.
At 3i Infotech, we understand that with the quantum of data being generated every moment, these technologies are becoming indispensable to our business. We offer efficient solution frameworks using these technologies, which help our clients store data generated from multiple sources, offer easier access, and ensure faster computing and analytics of this data.
The IT industry is witnessing exponential growth in the use of cutting-edge digital technologies such as blockchain, 5G, AI, automation (chatbots), robotics (cognitive), and IoT. These new-age technologies will make deeper inroads in the Indian and global markets in the years ahead. As the demand for cutting-edge solutions that offer a superior connected experience to end users continues to rise, we will see the emergence of new business models such as platform-as-a-service aimed at better serving customers. Most importantly, there will be a demand for new jobs in design thinking and analytics to name a few. This will require reskilling of the workforce to derive maximum benefits.
Rajesh Kumar R.
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.