Opinion

Tech advances: The rapidly changing timelines

Srini Krish | Updated on October 09, 2020

Digital experiences have now become pivotal across products and services, and reliance on technology to deliver these is only increasing

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has shaken sectors out of systemic procrastination, with technology developments that may have taken years to come to fruition now accelerated to today. While technological advances have come in waves, unprecedented global events have necessitated businesses to adopt radical solutions that are rapidly transforming the business canvas. What follows as a result are fundamental changes carefully woven into customer-facing processes and employee-facing measures, ushering in another new era of technology evolution.

What has transpired over the past months is a reconstruction of the way consumers transact with businesses — how they spend, move and manage money in changing times. A combination of restrictions and the need for contactless transactions has fuelled a shift from the physical to the digital. Digital experiences have become pivotal across products and services, and reliance on technology to deliver these is only increasing. Consumers and businesses are seeking options that are digital, at-home, low or no touch, coupled with speed and security.

Customer journeys are altering constantly, and it will be prudent to say that businesses will require adopting and investing in innovations such as cognitive capabilities, artificial intelligence (AI), service robots, robotic process automation and analytics in order to stay ahead. To cite an example, the global insurance sector has been leveraging bots to automate the process of inquiry handling and expedite loan processing. India is in line with the rest of the APAC region and has a higher deployment rate of AI-capable chatbots (13 per cent) in comparison to Europe (6 per cent), while North America (34 per cent) takes the top spot. This is testament to the fact that this transformative trend is here to stay.

Newer techniques such as creation of real-time customer data platforms and customer analytics hubs used for measuring engagement and customer interactions, are rising in prominence. The insights obtained from analytics will not only help predict future outcomes, but also help businesses mitigate day-to-day obstacles in their operations.

While businesses stand to benefit from this evolution due to less capital-intensive infrastructure, organisations will need to find an optimal balance between traditional and digital products and solutions. Organisations that can converge their traditional and digital approach and leverage analytics to deliver compelling customer experiences will emerge stronger.

For businesses to truly be effective in this day and time, we need to ensure not only a customer-centric approach but also an employee-first culture.

With large sections of the workforce working from home and continuing current work arrangement, delivering a seamless tech infrastructure that enables connection, collaboration and communication amongst associates, clients and business is instrumental. Tech supported ‘work from home’ initiatives and solutions empowering the work-from-home culture have become centrestage to employee experiences across dispersed teams within an organisation.

The shift to digital workspaces has brought with it heightened need for cyber-security. Technology infrastructure that is robust, secure, and scalable is the need of the hour to help prevent security breaches. An important aspect to always remember is that employees are the first line of defence, so investing in educating them and making them aware of risks from potential phishing or cyber fraud attempts is imperative.

This is another scenario in which analytics and data can help calculate risk exposure more accurately, so business processes can be realigned to minimise risks early on.

Global Capability Centres (GCC) have emerged as valuable partners for businesses, having made this transformation easier and more proactive by reducing risk and providing increased productivity and resilience during tough times. The GCC delivery model has strengthened in recent times to support business continuity, making them uniquely positioned to spearhead tech advances and innovation that truly drives business value.

We are at an infliction point of culture and technology. Whether it is the way we see consumer behaviour changing, or organisations beefing up their technology infrastructure to deliver on customer expectations while also ensuring increased employee productivity or adoption of new ways of working, these trends funnel into each other and are deeply interlinked, with transformations in one area pushing progress in another.

The writer is President, Fiserv Global Services

Published on October 08, 2020

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