“The next evolution of AI requires enterprises to truly integrate the human perspective as well” – By, Mr. Suman Reddy, MD, Pegasystems, India

Managing-Director-Pegasystems-India-Suman-Reddy1. How is low code aiding enterprises in addressing rising customer demands in the current scenario?  

The pandemic has got enterprises scurrying for solutions to ensure business continuity and customer satisfaction are not hampered. In such a scenario, it has become crucial for enterprises to come up with quick and robust solutions.

The COVID-19 pandemic created an urgent requirement for online apps and digital services across the public and private sectors. Over the past few months, we have witnessed multiple sectors digitally transform to survive and sustain the market change. Hospitals and public sectors are spinning up new mobile functionalities to track COVID-19 response. And banks are creating new applications to meet the exploding demand for loans, among other things.

Given the benefits of rapid development and deployment – lower costs, faster delivery, and greater accessibility – low code is turning out to be a silver bullet for enterprises to address myriad of challenges. In fact, a recent Forrester report projects the low-code market will double in size to $14 billion by 2024. The beauty of low-code is that it creates citizen developers, expanding their ability to either collaborate with IT departments to develop critical apps more quickly or develop those apps on their own.

2. While enterprises were showcasing a high adoption of AI pre-COVID – what are some steps to catapult their DX gaps

In a COVID monopolized world, enterprises moved swiftly to bridge their digital transformation gaps. Industries have pushed their limits to adopt a digital-first approach and champion AI-driven solutions at an accelerated pace. With social distancing becoming the need of the hour and pandemic pushing everyone into virtual work environments, technologies such as cloud computing, IoT along with automation have become an absolute necessity.

Cloud Technologies- The need for superior collaboration mediums due to remote working have skyrocketed. This has led to a greater demand of data security and network security tools.. Increased migration towards cloud computing has further strengthened the belief that cloud is not just an option but an absolute necessity to build resiliency and ensure process continuity.

Automation- Intelligent automation is changing the business landscape and technologies such as AI, ML, RPA etc. will be playing an extremely crucial in enhancing productivity, improving customer satisfaction, and cutting down on the turnover times.

Data Centricity – Another crucial aspect of any organization’s DX journey is adopting a data centric mindset. Right from data collection to analytics, businesses need to be more proactive and anticipate customer expectations, future business trends, deliver personalized service and mitigate risks. The data focused approach can do wonders to your organization provided the presence of appropriate skillset, infrastructure, and technologies.

Contrary to the general notion, DX is not just about automating process after process; rather, it’s a way of identifying your organizational challenges and implementing technologies without compromising on customer expectations and employee satisfaction. Additionally, factors such as upskilling your talent pool, defining realistic expectations, and roadmap for your DX efforts are also some steps that organizations need to realise while trying to bridge the technological gaps.

3. How can government & banking sector step up for crisis response?

In a crisis, people rely on Government and financial institutions to play a key role and empower citizens to weather the storm. A swift and strategic response mechanism along with a robust recovery plan by the government is crucial to respond to any crisis, keep the economy afloat, and avoid disruptions in areas such as supply chain management, cash flow, or other similar fronts. Today, governments and financial organizations are moving towards newer technologies to provide swift response and reach out to the masses. Automation is not just limited to enterprise-level solutions but is also becoming a massive part of administration. For example: Pega assisted the Bavarian government with lending technology which aided them in disbursing financial aid swiftly to people and businesses suffering in the pandemic crisis. Similarly, banking and financial sectors are also moving fast on adoption of automation technologies to process grants and loans quicker, and this trend is catching up fast. One area where banking and financial institutions could emphasize on is the data analytics. The healthcare sector is doing wonders in this aspect and financial institutions could follow the same model to leverage data to improve the response time of their apps. A robust data-driven approach could do wonders in enhancing efficiency and CX.

4. How would you Demystify Empathy & AI?

Personalization is a priority to sustain and succeed in today’s competitive market, however the challenge lies in ensuring that it is both scalable and intelligent. As AI becomes more pervasive, it will become a key part of personalizing the customer journey.

The next evolution of AI requires enterprises to truly integrate the human perspective as well. This means fully understanding and considering a key human emotion: empathy. Organizations need to ensure that there is a mix of human agents and technology to enhance customer experience. Human agents must take over the more complex scenarios of customer engagement while leaving the data analysis and pattern recognition to automation.

5. Tell us something about Pega’s R&D focus during COVID

Pega has been proactive in responding to the pandemic and all of our innovations and technologies during this period have been focused on addressing the numerous challenges that various sectors are facing across the globe. India houses one of the largest R&D centers for Pega and the talent here has shown resiliency in working together to address the customer demands.

In April, Pega announced a Crisis Response Solutions Portfolio to help organizations solve urgent challenges resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. The portfolio contains 18 rapidly deployable solutions that help businesses overcome a range of unpredictable issues they are facing during the pandemic – such as surges in customer inquiries, policy exceptions requests, new emergency regulations, and changing claims requirements. In the early phase of the pandemic, we launched COVID-19 Employee Safety and Business Continuity Tracker app which aided us as well as our clients in identifying and taking actions through live dashboards to safeguard employees from any health hazards.

Meanwhile, our technology innovation marches on outside of COVID-specific applications. In June we , announced Pega Process Fabric, a new cloud-based software architecture designed to radically streamline how organizations drive work across distributed enterprise technologies. With minimal deployment effort, this “platform for platforms” breaks down technology silos to unify work across the enterprise and help improve user experiences for employees, customers, and partners.

6. Keeping in mind the recent survey that exposed the digital gaps of companies struggling in terms of business operations, what advice would you like to give them?

The recent Pandemic Research Survey  conducted by Pega showcased gaps in digital transformation journey in terms of business operations, wherein 74% said the crisis exposed more IT gaps than expected. While several organizations are still in the nascent stages of their digital transformation journey, the results from a number of digitally mature organizations also turned out to be contrary to the industry’s expectations. Digital transformation is no longer an option but an outright need of the hour.

One key aspect that the organizations getting into DX need to realise is that mere deployment of automation technologies would not guarantee any success. There has to be a definite goal setting, a process of recognizing and designing your customer experience goals and more importantly having the organization wide resources on the same page. The success of your DX initiatives directly depends on the level of acceptance of internal as well as the external stakeholders.

7. How can organisations retain their strong technology and cultural core during COVID?

How organizations retain their technological prowess and continue with the same force as before would depend a lot on the organization’s culture. It has become the need of the hour to ensure that empathy, team work and organizational support are not just mere jargons but become central to your organization’s DNA. For example, we are being extremely flexible with our employees with regards to the timings and meetings and are ensuring that people are able to work as per their timelines. We have ensured that the employees are able to meet the needs of the organization in fact, our productivity levels have gone up. The employees have been available and ready to support each other and the organization. The enhanced collaboration in the virtual work environments has truly been a revelation and has proven that business continuity and technological stronghold can be maintained by keeping empathy at the core.

8. What do you think is the real role of leadership in times of crisis?

Several industry leaders have already witnessed and emerged successful from the dot com bubble and 2008 financial crisis and may be familiar with the ensuing challenges that a situation like this comes with. The industry survived both these crisis situations which also gave us some valuable learnings. For leaders, to overcome the current crisis, its pertinent to become the champions of change through a multi-pronged approach of redefining the work culture by efficient human resource management coupled with digital transformation initiatives. While it has been heartening to see the tenacity and resilience displayed by industries across the globe, the pandemic also exposed gaps in the overall digital readiness of the organizations. The scale of change has made it crucial for the leaders to embrace technology, empathy and cultural changes in workplace in order to seamlessly transition into the next normal.

9. COVID proven to be a boon in disguise in terms of hustling in digital transformation in India?

If you look at these last few months, the pandemic has pushed not only businesses but also, industries and economies to undergo digital transformation.  While the disruption brought forth by Covid has put a huge dent on the global economy, it has also forced organizations and governments to think out of the box to come up with innovative solutions. The manufacturing sector, for example, is an interesting example of the DX hustle in the wake of pandemic.  Traditionally, the Indian manufacturing sector has lagged behind on DX front compared to their global counterparts and with the current situation limiting workforces’ ability to be at the onsite, the industry is now forced to showcase some real hustle by fast-tracking their automation efforts and reducing manual intervention in the overall development cycle of a product.  

In terms of the public sector, the health crisis has brought in an opportunity to foster overall digital transformation and innovation through novel technologies, opening up new possibilities and crafting remarkable propositions. The public-private-partnership (PPP) model could be used to put the nations DX efforts into top gear. A long-term partnership with incoming companies setting up base in India, to develop the infrastructure in and around their base area, could be a possibility and certainly a mutual win-win.

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