Yashwinee G K has worked in IT for two decades in several industries. Her resume includes experience in large organisations across the finance, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. She started out at TCS as a little-known engineer before her academic and business mindset spurred her on to become the current Chief Information Officer of Hinduja Global Solutions. She is an MBA graduate from Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and styles herself as a strategist and intrapreneur. At Hinduja Global Solutions she takes care of enterprise-wide business transformation initiatives to augment growth for the business and maintain optimum levels of employee experience. She believes that firms with business process management (BPM) or business process outsourcing (BPO) are even more relevant in the world of automation, and that machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) will transform customer service. Here are the excerpts from YourStory's interaction with the CIO of the Rs 3,329-crore company:
YS: Managing traditional IT was the role of the CTO; is it changing? I see the corporate world still focussing on maintaining the lights on business?
YGK: Traditional IT or the lights on business was the role a few years ago. Think about the network infrastructure and its management. A CTO had to manage whether the voice worked without latency. He or she had to manage desktops, servers and video conferencing. Then the person had to maintain relationships with IT vendors. So this was the role in a call centre too. At an early age I built the data platforms for a stock exchange and realised that IT and business were linked. In the recent years this has become true and IT is no longer the plumbing required to enable information flow. Today, it is about dynamic applications that can runs a series of algorithms to understand customers, clients and the entire business ecosystem. It is about transformation.
YS: How has automation changed the BPM industry?
YGK: The industry is seeing low margins. But thanks to digital technologies the entire value chain of a service is getting transformed. Take, for example, insurance, which can answer customer queries in a few steps. Say, there is a claim, then the system should be fast enough to lead you to close your policy. The faster response and reaction time helps clients save money and the customers are delighted. It also gets complex in a hospital scenario, where the claim has to go through regulatory screenings and validation before it is approved. If this isn’t done in seconds then the patient is in trouble. So the claims processing system is in the cloud, whereas regulatory systems are in legacy. We have to make sure that both systems work in tandem. So the modern BPM is about these data-led activities. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is real. It is a box which sits in a data centre and processes all information faster than an agent. But the expertise is also to use legacy systems along with modern digital systems. Also, remember, in areas like healthcare and insurance we need to handle regulatory compliance because it has to do with consumer data. These systems are on legacy platforms and we need to look at it from ground up if we have to implement new digital policies. Automated search, texts and chat bots are being built for our clients.
YS: Is the future about platforms?
YGK: Digitisation is an abused word. It is about businesses processes going digital without manual intervention. It is a world where analytics is used to understand customers. Design thinking is about knowing customer work flow and building solutions that are crisp and short. So we help our customers in digital transformation and offer services from social media engagement, to digital marketing services and customer experience management. These are all modern BPM services which have emerged thanks to the growth of digital-first businesses. These modern businesses, say e-commerce clients, need platforms that can reach their consumers faster. The future is in using a combination of customer relationship platforms, analytics and reporting dashboards that are real time.
YS: So are you working with startups to learn from them and to partner with them?
YGK: We engage with startups, but will have something formal soon. We are interested in chat platforms, automation, RPAs, healthcare claims management platforms and tools that can track IP violation. We are creating efficiency tools for our clients and innovation is a key theme in our organisation. The old way of BPM business, which is to have seats of people, is giving way to automation. But people will be re-skilled to analytics and new technical jobs.