“Cloud provides the sheer compute power to process large amounts of data and analytics that drive the delivery of that experience. And robotics takes on and automates many of the various pieces, ultimately delivering seamless processing and improving the experience.” – says Sanjay Srivastava, Chief Digital Officer at Genpact, in an exclusive interview with EnterpriseTalk.
ET Bureau: Which technologies would you advise businesses to prioritize, given the rapid digitization of the business environment, going into 2021?
Sanjay Srivastava: AI, data, and cloud are emerging as the key technologies for businesses to prioritize in 2021.
AI has now come of age – computer vision and natural language understanding have reached maturity and performance levels that allow businesses to get the most out of AI investments. Companies can reap large rewards and get on a different revenue curve by automating business logic, extracting information from unstructured documents, lighting up dark data, and forecasting anomaly detection.
Data was always important but was often seen as a byproduct of automation. Now, business transformation is increasingly driven by insights that come from data. As a result, investments in building the foundation of data, running advanced analytical modeling, and setting up an operating model to govern data are becoming increasingly important.
Although the early days of the cloud were all about efficiency and elasticity, the pandemic has demonstrated that cloud-enabled services are now about simplification and modernization of the application stack. The pandemic has changed requirements for companies to become resilient, and the focus with digital investments has turned to revenue growth and improved experiences to deliver to the new normal.
This requires a new technology backplane in which capacity can be delivered quickly. The innovation we have seen in the hyperscaler ecosystem has made it a perfect technology backplane for business growth.
ET Bureau: How can organizations use AI, cloud, and robotics to augment customer experience?
Sanjay Srivastava: Customer experience is becoming the largest driver of stickiness and revenue growth for large corporations.
Traditionally, enterprise IT infrastructure was designed to serve the needs of the primary users at the time – internal siloed departments. But, with the advent of digital, consumers are increasingly interacting directly with enterprise processes – for example, with a bank that now provides digital banking. Therefore, that new experience requires an entirely different set of capabilities and seamless integrations to deliver excellent experiences. And this is where customer experience is headed.
We see customer experience becoming the new “true north” of digital transformation – and AI, cloud, and robotics are essential vehicles to deliver this end-to-end experience. AI allows for more accurate recommendation engines that drive better outcomes.
Cloud provides the sheer compute power to process large amounts of data and analytics that drive the delivery of that experience. And robotics takes on and automates many of the various pieces, ultimately delivering seamless processing and improving the experience.
ET Bureau: You are in a CDO role, so in your opinion, how is the speed of digital transformation seen today? Do you think the timeline has been crunched over the last few months? Or is the speed unaffected?
Sanjay Srivastava: The pandemic has significantly accelerated digital transformation – years of digital transformation are taking place in months. Cloud, data, AI, and so many technology components and capabilities are advancing at an unprecedented rate.
Paradoxically, as fast as it has got to be, this pace of change is the slowest it will ever be. The underlying drivers in need for digital transformation and the advancements in innovative capabilities that can deliver to those needs are both acceleratings. They will therefore drive an even higher pace of innovation going into the future.
ET Bureau: Given the current market scenario, how can enterprises harness data, cloud technologies, and analytics to drive business resilience and agility?
Sanjay Srivastava: In the aftermath of the pandemic, digital transformation becomes a must-do as businesses reinvent themselves for the new normal. And yet, true digital transformation really requires programmatic execution across people, processes, data, and technology.
Data, cloud and AI can drive significant agility for any corporation, as long as they are done at the intersection of business process and domain knowledge. Data still needs to be transformed and labeled, workflows need to be configured with the business-specific rules, and analytics and AI insights need to be contextualized for the use cases and the industry they apply.
As a result, enterprises that show up with the best results in harnessing capabilities and driving business resilience and agility are the ones that are intersecting the work they do in data and technology with process knowledge and functional design.
ET Bureau: How does Genpact plan to accelerate its digital transformation capabilities and journeys for clients to help them manage the evolving complexity of data? Will it help them to govern when employees need assistance and improve customer experience?
Sanjay Srivastava: At Genpact, we serve global clients driving large-scale transformation efforts at the intersection of data, technology, people, and process. The key for us is three things – a focused strategy, accelerated capability builds, and innovation culture.
Because we believe that data and technology must intersect with people and process for true results to be achieved from transformation projects, we have chosen specific enterprise processes in defined verticals where we can truly deliver hands-on operating experience and deep process knowledge and combine that with the work we do in data and technology. All the work we do then, in turn, expands this knowledge base and makes our offerings stronger and even more differentiated.
Clearly, capability builds are very high on our leadership priorities, and we have been focused on organic and inorganic efforts. We have a strong belief that the world needs more “multi-linguals” – people that can span different disciplines – for example, an understanding of machine learning, but also of finance and accounting.
And we have built one of the industry’s largest learning programs to cross-train and develop new skills in our employees – our machine learning incubator has already trained nearly a thousand Genpact employees. At the same time, we have brought in new skills and experiential learning through a clear M&A strategy that has shown great results, most recently in the areas of the experience economy and data engineering.
And finally, we believe a culture of fearless innovation is key to success, and we work hard to build this into the core of our organizational DNA. We recently launched our purpose, which has becoming a rallying cry across our colleagues and speaks to this cultural aspect: “the relentless pursuit of a world that works better for people”.
Sanjay Srivastava is Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer at Genpact, a global digital transformation services provider. He runs the company’s digital business, which includes AI, Analytics, Automation, Data, and Technology Services globally, and oversees Genpact’s AI-enabled digital platform, Cora.